PERTH – Thursday July 2nd
Going – Good To Firm
The weather was sunny and very warm throughout the afternoon. After the problems at Worcester the previous day Perth had plenty of water on hand, and Sam Morshead made a big point of encouraging use of water after races to cool the horses down. A team of helpers was hand to keep the water tubs filled. Out in the centre of the course a steady northerly breeze helped to keep the real edge off the heat during the racing.
Plenty more Irish raiders, but the home team managed to hold out 4-3, making the meeting score 8-5 and suggesting that the UK entrants can hold their own against a decent raiding party.
2.20 2m ½ f Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle
The card started with an uncompetitive novices hurdle, weakened by a couple of non-runners amongst those which might conceivably have bustled up the favourite.
PENGANA was a good deal better than the opposition here, and it’s difficult to draw too many conclusions from the win. He did what he had to, leading or racing prominently until going clear from two out. He now has a double penalty and his trainer will presumably throw him on the mercy of the handicapper.
PAPADOPOLI was outpaced going to the sixth but stayed on again late for second. She will benefit from this experience.
ENDEAVOR never threatened the leaders but plugged on from the rear for third.
If I was taking one off ‘the rest’ out of this race it would be DESERT SOUL. I should say that he clearly isn’t very quick, but did at least show a bit of go to pick up the pace from the fourth. He was one paced when headed two out, but might make a mark in a moderate selling handicap off 76.
SIERRA PEAK might have been considered a danger to the winner on some form, but he faded from three out. He’d been off the track since December and it looked to me as if the race would bring him on.
2.50 3m Class 4 Novices’ Chase
This may just turn out to be a pretty decent novices’ chase with a promising winner chased home by two previous winners.
VALERIUS had previously won three times over hurdles but no this evidence could be quite decent over fences. He jumped nicely and took up the running four out, gradually forging clear from that point. He should pick up another novice event under a penalty and then move on. His record suggests a preference for decent ground and I'd expect to see him back at Perth since he is four wins from five attempts at ‘The Scone’.
AGGIE’S LAD was brought into the paddock as late as possible, so much so that in waiting for him I lost the chance to cross to ‘the infield’ as I normally would for chases. He was notably on his toes and looks a keen sort. He was going well enough four out but couldn’t match the winner’s pace. I suspect he ran up against a decent performer here.
NO PANIC had to work hard to win at Hereford previously and found the first two a bit tougher. Nevertheless he produced a fair performance in third and should pick up another chase given slightly less talented opposition.
DEVONS BOY has progressed to chasing under Rules rather late in his career and didn’t record a win from 17 goes in Irish points. However, he did show a bit of promise here, taking them along until four out before the effort told. He probably needs a couple of runs to get a handicap mark, but wouldn’t be a total lost cause in a maiden chase.
CARRICK DHU, a winner here over hurdles when last seen in May 2008, disputed for part of the second circuit before back-pedalling rapidly from five out. He jumped a bit deliberately which was always going to be a problem against more talented opposition here.
LEADING PEARL didn’t jump well and was pulled up lame after hitting the fourteenth.
INISHEER, who pulled up when losing a shoe here on Wednesday, was prominent early but struggling after a mile and pulled up at the fourteenth.
ELLANDSHE has been dreadful over jumps and was hopelessly out of his depth here, though he did race prominently for over a circuit before being pulled up.
3.20 2m 4 ½ f 0-90 Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle
A very ordinary looking event with many established as poor performers.
INTENSE SUSPENSE only just got into the race courtesy of a number of defectors at the overnight stage. He has left behind some very moderate hurdling form with three comfortable pointing wins in recent times. He had to work very hard to see off a determined runner-up, but I get the impression that there is a good deal more to come from this one. He impressed me with his long raking stride; leading until challenged approached the last. He was briefly headed but showed plenty of determination to get back up on the run-in.
The bare form of this run looks nothing special but I’d put INTENSE SUSPENSE in the notebook. He looks as if he will be well suited by a galloping track, and a move up in distance would certainly do no harm. I think he is one who will eventually be seen to advantage over fences.
ONE BLACK CAT lost nothing in defeat here. She saw off all bar the winner comfortably and, though just held, lacked nothing in the battle herself. On this form there must surely be a similar race for the taking.
SOLWAY BLUE’s record is very moderate but he stayed on well enough for third.
OBARA D’AVRIL came into this race as one of few in decent form. She briefly threatened three out, but didn’t jump that flight well and never got back to the leaders. She may be worth a try dropped back in distance.
It was difficult to take much encouragement from anything else in the race since they were all well seen off.
3.50 3m 0-90 Handicap Chase
I’m not sure that the winning form will be any use on the northern circuit in the immediate future, but KELTIC LORD put up a sound performance to win this. He’s a quirky individual who needs the race to go his way and by all accounts loves the sun on his back. He certainly rattled along on the fast ground, making all and jumping really well. Just to prove how contrary this one can be, he hadn’t gone at inch at Hereford, but he was on good terms with the world today. He made the trip from Peter Hiatt’s stable at Hook Norton near Banbury, not a million miles from my old ‘patch’, and owner Paul Porter enthused about the track here.
BALLYNURE is steadily improving and should pick up a handicap chase before long. He chased the chased leader from pillar to post but couldn’t get to him at the sharp end.
SOUTH BRONX would win this event comfortably if showing his best, but he’s not one to rely on. He disputed second with Ballynure for much of the way but was held by the first two over the final three fences.
TOWER OF LLOYD raced prominently but felt the pinch from four out. He’s an eleven-year-old who hasn’t got a huge amount of miles on the clock and if a race were run more to suit him he wouldn’t be lost cause. He certainly likes the fast ground so it’s likely he will make a return trip over the Irish Sea.
GIULIANI has been found wanting even at this lowly level and, having been stretched going to the fourteenth, he couldn’t raise his game.
WRITERS BLOCK raced prominently early but didn’t show on the final circuit and his chasing form to date is not impressive.
ARCTIC COVE has only one flat win to show for 49 races and never threatened to improve that record here.
NOW THEN SID showed a bit more zest than on recent outings. He raced up with the pace to the fourteenth after which he back-pedalled. He was beaten a long way but there is just a suggestion that he retains a little ability.
RECKLESS VENTURE was pushed along going to the fourteenth and weakened quickly from that point. He had been close up recently but this was a poor effort.
BIG BONE clattered the second fence right in front of me. He was soon struggling and I suspect he either hurt himself at that point or decided he wasn’t interested.
LORD TEE has run some fair races in Ireland but was never going here and was pulled up with a circuit left.
TIP ON never got into the race and was pulled at the thirteenth followed shortly after by SILVER DAGGER who has winning form in his record but is going downhill.
What possessed anyone to help back TURBULENT FLIGHT from 25/1 to 14/1 I haven’t a clue. A distinctly unattractive beast, she is very poor despite a couple of remote ‘staying on late’s recently. She soon became detached, her jumping was clueless and her jockey gave up the struggle before the last circuit.
4.20 2m 4 ½ f 0-135 Handicap Chase
The race was run in a record time which tells us that the ground was pretty fast, but also that it was in good enough nick for the runners to go full out.
ABRAGANTE has not been in the greatest of form recently, though his last run here did at least hint at a return to form. Looking fresh and well after a break, conditions suited him here and he was given a peach of a waiting ride by Timmy Murphy. He picked off the leader on the run-in and had too much resolution for the second. He shouldn’t go up too much for this and may find another opportunity at a similar level.
HE’S A HOTSHOT produced a better run than he had done the previous day despite a rise in class. He has plenty of ability but has yet to win and it has to be questioned as to whether he was putting it all in toward the finish. He remains one to oppose when at the sharp end of the market.
STAGECOACH AMBER took up the pace from the start and ran a cracker of a race. He was only run out of it close home and didn’t give up without a fight. He’s probably as high as he would want to be in the handicap but running creditably.
PILCA is difficult to catch right. He won here a couple of runs ago but has been well held on two occasions since including last time in a lower class. He’s another who is opposable when well backed.
ANOTHER AMBITION was well backed here but not up to the task on his first handicap chase outing, fading from four out. A drop in class looks a necessity.
SEAFIELD BOGIE ran well to four out but was found wanting from that point. Try as I might I have struggled to find much of a pattern to his form. He is capable on his day but it’s difficult to tell when that day will come. His recent form suggests a left-handed track suits, but going back a way he has form going right-handed.
ROYAL RANGER couldn’t handle the move up from Irish points and hunter company to this class and needs his sights lowered. He was pulled up before three out.
THE ROCKING DOCK’s saddle slipped after a circuit and he was pulled up out of necessity. This run can be set aside.
GO SILVER BULLET contested the lead at the start, but by the second it seemed clear that Stagecoach Amber would dictate. Jumping slowly at the next few fences, Go Silver Bullet was in the pack after a circuit and struggling soon after, pulling up before three out. This was a step up in trip, but he was struggling so far out that I would suggest he didn’t fancy being taken on for the lead. I think he is well capable of winning again, but he needs and uncontested lead so potential backers are advised to check the ‘race shape’ before putting money down.
4.50 3m ½ f 0-105 Handicap Hurdle
IMTIHAN looked on his toes and readied for this one. He settled nicely in fourth place and looked the winner once he took charge from three out. In taking this race he was the second consecutive winner to record a course record time. I’d say he should be capable of defying a rise in the weights as, although he hasn’t won for while, he has followed up wins before.
ESSIFER, a tall rather sparely-made gelding, doesn’t look a particularly reliable character and though having every chance was ‘dogging it’ when asked to challenge. He’s not one to trust.
SOLWAY BAY ran a decent enough race fitted with first time blinkers, a very natty pair in the ‘stable colours’ of blue and red! He stayed on for second. I presume there’s a chance he will be aimed at a similar class race at Cartmel on July 16th over a slightly shorter trip, the latter not necessarily to his advantage.
DUKEOFCHESTERWOOD came out best of three that were placed together at Hexham with HECKLEY FOXTROT and LADY SAMBURY well seen off. He didn’t get to the leaders from three out but there’s scope for a drop in class, IF the right race shows up on the programme!
GILO looked a rather stiff walker and I wonder if he has fitness problems. He was prominent to three out but couldn’t raise his game as required.
ETHAN’S STAR probably found the company a bit tougher than the Sedgefield ‘Seller Final’, weakening from three out.
5.20 2m C.J. and Amateurs’ NH Flat
A disappointing turn out for the closing bumper. These events can be quite well contested but only seven showed up for this one, with the main action centring upon the Irish challenge.
SCREENSCRAPER was well backed to follow up a pointing win. I have to say though that his paddock appearance gave no encouragement, since he has plenty of growing to do and I’d say it will be a year or two before he approaches full strength. He doesn’t look forward enough currently to deal with better developed and slightly older opponents. He had every chance if good enough to couldn’t raise the gallop in the straight, finishing a well beaten third.
NOW THIS IS IT had winning form here in the bag and did the job soundly enough form three out. He should be capable of making his mark over hurdles.
SOLE WITNESS seemed to improve on his first effort, leading until two and a half furlongs out and keeping on well enough.
MYSTIC MINX has a bit about her to suggest there may be more to come in time, staying on for fourth well clear of the remaining three runners MANIC DREAM, ALFIE BET and THISTLEDOWN ROSE who offered no encouragement for the future.
I'll post a summary of the recent Scottish Flat action before the end of this week. After that I'm off to the Lake District, taking in the midsummer meeting at Cartmel. I'll catch up with the intervening Perth meeting when I return, along with an on the spot report from Cartmel and a summary of any worthwhile Flat runs that crop up.