PERTH – Tuesday July 28th
Going – Good To Soft (raining latter part of the evening)
6.05 2m 110yds Class 4 3yo Novices’ Hurdle
A weak looking juvenile hurdle and I’m not sure there’s a need for three-year-old contests from June and July as now seems to be the pattern. That being said, I suppose in the ‘old days’ there would have been a handful running round Newton Abbot on firm ground.
ADDISON DE WITT was good enough to see of a couple with hurdling experience. A maiden on the flat but with steadily improving form at a mile and a half he looked fair material for jumping if taking to hurdles. He did that well enough in this limited company, taking over from the leader at the last and staying on well. T remains to be seen what the form’s worth but he did beat a previous second and they were miles clear of the the others.
ROYAL MAX is about the same level on the flat as the winner, pretty moderate in the low fifties rating-wise. He jumped economically for most of the way but dived at two out then clipped the last and couldn’t keep it together when pressed. He may pick up a moderate race but there’s a chance others will improve past him.
ORSIPPUS was the best part of a furlong back in third. He’s rated higher than the first two on the flat but hasn’t cut it yet over hurdles.
AGRICULTURAL and CAPTAIN CAVENDISH has done nothing on the flat this year, and their long-odds were accurate.
6.40 2m 4½f Class 5 Maiden Hurdle
SCREENSCRAPER struck me here last time as needing more time. Gordon Elliott clearly feels differently and pulled him out for the third time in a month to win what looked a moderate contest. He has clearly benefitted from a distance of ground making up for lack of acceleration, and I reckon a further step up will do no harm. I still think he’ll get better with a bit of time, but I’ll bow to Elliott’s greater knowledge if he keeps this one on the go.
BAAHER was always there or thereabouts but was held by the winner on the flat. If we take his 102 mark as a measure then he sets the standard.
ANNIE GO looked dangerous three out but weakened from two out and the possibility is that this form wasn’t much better than her well beaten hurdling debut at Bellewstown.
SOLWAY STAR, rated 96, should have got closer here but was struggling with four to go. It’s possible the rain didn’t help.
7.10 2mc 4 ½ f 0-90 Selling Handicap Hurdle
This was a dire contest won by a 66-rated maiden.
KALATIME was patiently ridden by the talented claimer James Halliday and produced to take charge from two out. Her two previous best efforts were in similar company and it’s difficult to see her making much progress out of selling handicaps. There was no interest at the auction.
CATCH TWENTY TWO, blinkered for the first time, had every chance two out but couldn’t match the winner from that point.
NEEDLE PRICK raced prominently until calling enough in the straight and given that this was his second run after a year and a half off there is a least a little encouragement for similar events, which is more than can be said for the remainder of the field.
7.40 2m 4 ½ f 0-100 Novices’ Handicap Chase
Tim Vaughan generally makes decent use of his ammunition on long trips and BURGESS HILL did the job nicely here on chasing debut. He jumped well all the way challenged three out, led two out and stayed on well from that point. Given that the second and third had shown promise over fences previously, and the three were well clear, I’d attach some weight to this form.
SIERRA PEAK showed promise behind a couple of decent opponents first time over fences. He confirmed that promise here, jumping well in front but held from two out though keeping on determinedly enough for second. He should win a chase.
SHANAHAN, a stable mate of the winner, raced keenly early on and possibly just paid for that as he couldn’t raise his game enough on the flat. He’s arguably more exposed than the first two, but has shown enough in three chases to suggest a similar event is within his compass.
WRITER’S BLOCK was well held in fourth and needs to be in the lowest grade.
BILLYANDI was well backed, as has been before at this course, but never got into the race. His chasing record suggests he’s one to oppose.
ARCTIC COVE made it 44 runs sine a win, struggling from the tenth fence.
PAPERCHASER probably had the trip as an excuse at Cartmel, but he made too many poor jumps here and was struggling after four out. The rain probably didn’t help.
ELLANDSHE managed a second consecutive remote completion.
8.15 3m ½ f 0-100 Handicap Hurdle
The field was stretched on the final circuit and not many seriously got into the race in the last six furlongs.
WOTCHALIKE was kept in touch and brought into the fray in the straight. Leading two out he was driven clear on the flat. He’s had a couple of unsuccessful outings on the flat this year and has been generally below par, but the mark of 80 was very generous if he was anything like back to form since he was a handicap winner off 97 in March 2008. He hit a good run of form at that time Jim Best, and may be capable of a follow up now he’s hit form in his current yard.
NIGWELL FORBEES was on the premises for much of the way and produced his best run to date. He kept on but couldn’t muster enough speed to challenge the winner. He spent three years off the track before June this year, and there is a hint that the patience may pay off in a lowly staying handicap.
DORIS’S GIFT set the pace as his preferred way, giving way from two out but at least showing he is in reasonable heart.
Everything else was well beaten off with BALLYNURE, returning from chasing, unable to get his own way and back-pedalling from three out.
8.45 3m 0-135 Handicap Chase
HE’S A HOTSHOT once again proved better receiving weight than he has done giving weight in a lower class. He tracked the leaders and came to lead two out, keeping on under encouragement as he idled on the run-in. As he does no more than he can get away with it’s a little difficult to judge how much there is left in the tank, but the impression I got was that there was still a little more to come. It could be said he has a good record here, but since he currently does all his racing at Perth that possibly doesn’t tell us much.
CRAIGLANDS was held up at the rear and looked a serious challenger when brought through from three out only to be held on the run-in. This was a very promising move up from hunter chase company and Jim Goldie has an interesting prospect on his hands for staying chases.
Paul Murphy looked to have every chance of taking a staying chase with MAIDSTONE MIXTURE if dropped to a lower class than the 0-120 he ran in last time. In classic Murphy style he duly ran the gelding in a higher class from 11lbs out of the handicap and will now presumably pay the price for his charge running so close. He led or disputed until just running out of puff at the last and does seem better at staying chasing than his previous disciplines. Oh that he were with a trainer who could campaign him more realistically.
NGONG HILLS wouldn’t have been suited by the softening of the ground so ran a very creditable race to finish around 10 lengths fourth. He had every chance in the straight but was held before the last. It’s worth keeping an eye out for him back on fast ground.
SOME CRAIC has done all his winning on good or faster ground and was held from four out.
CORKAGE was in the process of making a decent handicap chasing debut when decanting Campbell Gillies three out. He made a blunder at the eighth, so perhaps needs to sharpen his jumping in this company but looks competitive.
NUDGE AND NURDLE was still on the bridle when slipping in front of the thirteenth and unseating his rider.
5.15 2m ½ f 0-115 Handicap Hurdle
ANNIBALE CARO was enterprisingly ridden by James Reveley and it paid dividends. On the face of it the two front runners appeared to be going an above average clip, but the time suggested otherwise so it could be a case of a number of riders misjudging the gallop. He’s a headstrong type but was kept in check by Reveley and had enough in hand to hold off his one serious challenger Farne Island up the run-in.
FARNE ISLAND is running well enough at the moment but has only ever one once from 36 races and is basically very good at chasing others home.
GUERILLA was held up at the head of the main group which I felt was the right way to ride him and probably achieved as good a result as possible in this company. He ran on and was closing at the line.
DON’T THINK TWICE never got to the leaders. DESERT SOUL probably isn’t good enough in this class and my impression is that BED FELLOW needs both a lower class and longer distance.
STYLISH SHOT pulled very hard and was restrained. He had used up his energy by three out and never got competitive. He’s now 0 from 17 taking into account flat and hurdles form and just seems a difficult ride.
The rain toward the end of the evening presaged and overnight downpour which resulted in Wednesday’s meeting being abandoned. The Northern jumping circuit now takes a break until the return of Sedgefield on August 25th followed by the two day Cartmel August Bank Holiday meeting. Perth have two days remaining this year, the 23rd and 24th of September, Sedgefield serving up the other two meetings in September.
Due to other commitments I've rather neglected the flat recently, though readers will understand that my preference is for the jumps. There's a lull in jump action during August so hopefully I should catch up with some Flat notes and I hope to take in a meeting or two in the coming month.