HEXHAM – Sunday June 21st
Going – Good (Good to Firm in places)
Hexham closed the shutters for the summer with a couple of fair looking chases. There might be a few pointers for the summer campaign out of these and at least one ‘hidden one’ worth a glance for the future.
3.20 2m 4 ½ f Class 4 Novices’ Chase
FLEMROSS once again proved that a stiff track and fast ground is a combination that suits best. He led at a decent pace and, having been challenged at the last, kept up the gallop too well for the runner-up. His options might be a bit limited now, though if there’s not too much rain in Ireland then he could be campaigned on his home patch until the autumn meetings here.
The favourite ARMENIAN BOY ran well enough in second place as he came up against an in-form second favourite. He rallied up the hill but there wasn’t enough left after the last. He has a good record on fast ground and should pick up a race or two over the summer.
EBAC proved that his previous form here was no fluke and ran another decent race in third. He chased the leaders from two out but couldn’t get close enough to trouble them. If the handicapper doesn’t take too harsh a view of this performance Ebac would seem to have a good chance of picking up a novice handicap chase.
KEENE SPIRIT plugged on from the rear for fourth, more or less repeating previous form behind Flemross.
STORYMAKER got to a challenging position two out but the hill took its toll and he weakened in the straight. He can handle quick ground, but all his best from is on soft or heavy.
STORMFIELD, a point winner in Ireland, lost touch from halfway.
IT’S A ROOFER, making his chasing bow, belted the second fence and was struggling for most of the way.
SHORE THING was well placed when unseating at the eighth, whereas HAPTHOR was struggling when shedding his load at the same point.
HARTBURN disappointed on his move from hunter company. He never seemed happy after a mistake at the fifth and his rider called it a day at the ninth.
KIRCASSOCK VIC raced prominently early but weakened from four out and pulled up before the last. There’s a hint of ability with this one, but he’s subsided very quickly in the second half of the race in two chasing appearances.
DODGEY DREAM, ELLANDSHE trundled around in the rear before pulling up.
COUNTRY SERVANT looked totally clueless at his fences in the rear and Ryan Mania called it a day after the ninth, for his own safety as much as anything.
4.20 3m 1f 0-110 Handicap Chase
A good effort from ESME RIDES A GAINE to win this from 14lbs out of the handicap. She had hinted at ability on the odd occasion but stepped up on previous efforts, leading or disputing all the way. She went on from three out and stayed on just well enough to hold the fast finishing second. She is bound to be bumped up a stone for this and life will be more difficult.
CATCH THE PERK raced out the back until brought steadily into the race from three out. As with his previous effort he came rattling up the run-in just too late to get in front at the post. He seems a bit quirky in his old age but does retain his ability and it would be no surprise if he adds to a pretty decent win tally this summer.
Tim Vaughan must welcome the introduction of his local at Ffos Las, but it won’t stop him racking up the miles and he made the trip with CHANGING LANES here. He had every chance from three out but hadn’t got enough in reserve. He is suited by fast ground and in good heart so it shouldn’t be beyond his handler to find an opportunity.
HASPER didn’t disgrace himself moving from hunter chases to handicapping. He was found wanting from two out though and probably needs a drop in the ratings.
BENNY THE PILER wouldn’t be rated as the most consistent and he was left behind from four out. He has yet to win over fences and, for one with some ability, is more than a tad frustrating.
CARDINGTON raced prominently to three out but had been on and off the bridle before then. A less exacting track would be more helpful.
TORA BORA raced prominently early but was struggling by the twelfth and didn’t figure from a mile out. He has some fair form on his CV and reached a mark of 140 at one point, but seems on the downgrade now.
BALAKAR has been on the go for a while and found things too tough from the fence at the top of the hill on the final circuit.
THUNDER HAWK lost touch from the twelfth.
SNOWY was struggling before four out and his trainer’s comments inferred that this was one race too many for now. Hopefully this regular on the northern circuit can be freshened up for an autumn return.
HILLTOP CHARMER was another to race prominently early but he weakened quickly from four out and was pulled up two fences later. Since his Rules record is much better at distances around two miles, his Irish pointing record suggesting he struggled with the trip, I would keep a close eye on his entries as Gordon Elliot is a canny spotter of an opening.
WAYNESWORLD, pulled up before three out, looks too slow for this job now and never showed seriously.
HOWS TRIX seemed in a foul mood, jumped poorly and was tailed off when pulling up at the thirteenth.
DAD’S ARMY ran more like Private Godfrey than Private Pike, pulling up before the thirteenth.