HEXHAM – Tuesday May 26th
Going – Good to Firm
Taking a break from proceedings at Cartmel, the Northern circuit moved from Cumberland to Northumberland for a fairly low key card with a couple of steeplechases.
7.35 3m 1f Class 4 Novices’ Chase
Favourite HARRY FLASHMAN was out of the race at the second, hampered as he took it and falling heavily. He seemed to get up OK, so hopefully he’s none the worse.
The race was left to the Michael Hourigan trained TOBY JUG to take the spoils. He was involved in the scrimmaging at the second, but recovered quickly. He was brought through smoothly down the far side for the final time, took over at the last and stayed on for victory. This was only his third race on good ground or better and he’s now 131, so there’s a fair chance we will see Toby Jug crossing the Irish Sea again this summer.
BENNY THE PILER showed much promise as a novice hurdler. He had a year off the track to October and hasn’t been in form since, bur clearly favoured by the conditions he showed up well on this occasion. He led before the last but was just outstayed on the run-in. It’s worth noting that he performed poorly last time in a visor and looked much better with the ‘aid’ removed. Keep him in mind because in this form he can win a chase.
The win penalty probably made the difference for CHERNIK. Having set the pace for much of the way he couldn’t respond to the first two in the straight but this was a sound effort and he ran to his form.
WHATDOIDOWITHAT weakened from three out having made a few minor mistakes. He had it to do here judged on hurdles ratings and should learn from the experience.
TURBULENT FLIGHT, not one who appeals to the eye, is the worst rated steeplechaser in Britain on 43, so to be beaten only 26 lengths by a 116 rated runner doesn’t look bad. However, the time was very slow and she just plodded on so I wouldn’t read much into it.
KIRCASSOCK VIC, an Irish maiden point winner last time, made a few errors but was still there three out before stopping very quickly and being pulled up.
8.35 2m ½ f 0-105 Handicap Chase
TRAFALGAR MAN has gradually slipped down the handicap, but showed a little promise here last time and had enough to hold off a not completely committed runner-up here. He is a top of the ground horse who missed the 2008 summer campaign. He’ll go up a few pounds for this win, but given that the sun continues to shine regularly he should notch another win in the summer.
FRED BOJANGALS is another top of the ground performer. I’m not convinced that he’s inclined to put himself out to the full at the death, and he was worried out of here. He’ll presumably be a short price next time and may be one to oppose.
LONGDALE made some mistakes and jumped slowly at times. He stayed on to take third. He’ll presumably be kept on the go through the summer and swaps backwards and forwards between hurdles and fences but he needs to be on his game with his jumping to win a chase.
NORTHERN QUEST, a ‘fizzy’ sort, was taken to post early and predictably took a keen hold in the race taking a clear lead early on. He was headed before the last and weakened. This was better than recent runs and if he hits the consistent form of last year he’ll pick up a race, but he needs to be kept below boiling point.
FALCON’S TRIBUTE was outpaced form two out. Class 5 very weak Class 4 chases (cutting up to 0-95) are his level. He might be interesting at the lower level back at Hexham, though that does depend on the race programme.
CHIGORIN never got involved and is not a prolific winner.
I’M YOUR MAN beat Trafalgar Man last time, but he has two ways of running and this was not a going day. He was reported as ‘not suited by the good to firm ground’ which is surprising for one who has run on the surface a few times before and was kept on the go last summer.
I assumed COMMANCHE TOPGUN had pulled up since he was miles behind but the results show he finished 101 lengths behind I’m Your Man. He has the odd bit of fair form, but he doesn’t look win material on current evidence.
BLAST THE PAST was settled in last and stayed in the same zone until pulling up three out, being reported as ‘finished distressed’. To be pedantic she didn’t actually ‘finish’ but I’m sure we get the drift.