Going – Good (Good to Soft in places)
I missed this meeting as I was away on holiday, but now a chance to catch up if a little belatedly.
2.10 2m ½f Class 5 Maiden Hurdle
Jim Goldie clearly took my hint following SPIRIT OF THE MIST’s last outing here! A drop in class did the trick and the gelding won this easing down. The one drawback might be that he had similarly rated runners in second and third and could suffer in handicaps. The upside is that he ought to take a novice event with a penalty. This one is fast turning into a decent hurdling prospect with a not dissimilar profile to the same trainer’s Toshi who beat him here last time.
WORDS OR WARNING couldn’t hold the winner, but probably ran to form. Martin Todhunter should be able to find a race for him.
DESERT STORM was comfortably held once passed two out. This was disappointing compared to previous jumping efforts.
PARSON’S PUNCH showed a modicum of promise on jumping debut.
2.40 2m 4 ½ f Class Novices’ Chase
CORKAGE’s form has a tendency to be a little up and down, but his basic profile over hurdles was progressive. He made an excellent chasing debut here, leading three out and staying on for victory. A mark of 130 already puts him amongst the best chasers in Scotland and there should be more to come.
BUCHAILL ON EIRNE is more exposed than the winner and would appear vulnerable to those improving past him. In the short term concentrating on similar events is more likely to pay dividends since a mark of 133 seems rather harsh.
SIERRA PEAK had a very tough task on chasing debut but acquitted himself very creditably. He led or disputed to three out jumping well, but was held from that point. Definitely one for the notebook and I’d be surprised if he doesn’t go on to win chases.
RED DAWN had no chance and was left behind from the tenth.
ELLANDSHE raced prominently but was feeling the pinch by the ninth and was tired when pulled up before the last. He frequently runs in comp any he can’t cope with and needs a try in lowly handicaps.
MORE SHENNANIGANS is rated 52 and was already behind and struggling to keep up when unloading his rider at the sixth. He got as close a 15 lengths behind the winner in a dire handicap at Carlisle in the winter but otherwise has shown nothing.
3.10 2m 4 ½ f Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle
A progressive novice hurdler took on a Galway Plate bound opponent seeking easy pocket money on the way. CARSONSTOWN BOY has progressed over the course of three runs here, with a beating in a tougher Irish assignment last time. He stepped back up in trip and that would have helped. I suspect he will get three miles and his future will eventually lie over fences.
BACKSTAGE ran creditably enough in defeat against a younger improver. He seems in good heart ready for the Galway Plate.
SOFTLY SPOKEN GUY was well held from three out and POSH LADY weakened from three out, being reported lame.
3.45 2m ½ f 0-100 C.J. Handicap Hurdle
Those that had previously won were no better than ‘win occasionally’ so I’m not sure the form of this race is much to take forward.
GUERILLA’s previous form consisted of many moderate runs interspersed with the odd glimmer of talent. On a going day he was able to take advantage of a mark of 80 which is probably a bit below what he capable of. I’ve always had the impression that he’s not 100 per cent physically and it would be a leap of faith expecting a repeat.
GOLDAN JESS had been out of form over hurdles but a run on the flat seemed to have helped. He probably sets the standard here beaten six lengths off 94.
GRAND OPERA was one paced in the straight, pretty much reflecting earlier hurdling efforts.
HARCAS led three out but couldn’t offer any more once passed after two out.
FREEDOM FLYING had every chance two out but ran out of puff.
4.20 2m 4 ½ f 0-130 Handicap Chase
I managed to find reasons to oppose all of these in a lop-sided event where the top weight was rated 129 and the spread of the rest was 107 down to 103, or 99 allowing for out of the handicap. In the event HE’S A HOTSHOT took a good opportunity to break his duck following a number of decent runs around here. He has shown up well when carrying light weights and seems a better proposition in 0-130s than the likes of 0-110 handicaps. He raced prominently and had enough in hand once challenging at the last.
FLEMROSS ran well enough given that this course doesn’t play to his strengths as much as the stiff finish at Hexham. He led until the last and couldn’t respond once the winner went past.
BENNY THE PILER is consistently held in this company and was struggling in the straight.
HOLLOWS MILL’s little run seems to have come to an end and he couldn’t cope here.
HUNCHEON PADDY probably needed the race after a long break and was well beaten from four out. It’s not encouraging that his last two races have been preceded by a break of around a year.
THUNDER HAWK went well enough until hitting the tenth. That took the stuffing out of him and he quickly retreated before being pulled up.
4.50 3m ½ f 0-115 Handicap Hurdle
MITH HILL has been in the wilderness over jumps in recent times but recovered form on this occasion. He ran off 127 in April 2008, so anything near that was good enough here. He ran in a visor for the first time and it apparently helped, though he would need more to follow up.
TARKANI was held up in the rear for much of the way. He came to challenge between the last two and kept on to the line. He mixes dire runs with the odd reasonable effort.
NEWMAN DES PLAGES was finishing fastest but arrived on the scene too late to catch the winner. This was his best effort since moving form France and he would appear to be on a ‘workable’ mark currently. The step back up in trip did no harm.
SOLWAY MINSTREL is consistent and ran another creditable race off a career high mark.
HOWS TRIX was not far away three out but couldn’t get close enough to challenge. This was a better effort than his recent runs.
5.20 2m ½ f NH Flat
BATTLE GROUP would appear to have learnt from a promising start at Uttoxeter. He won this with any amount in hand, though possibly not beating an awful lot. He’s going the right way and can probably defy a penalty.
FINELLAS FORTUNE stayed on up the straight under pressure. Breeding on the dam’s side is basically speed based but she didn’t seem to be stopping.
BACHELOR LAD made all in what looked a better event at down Royal. However, it’s possibly significant that the ground was fast that day, whereas a bit of rain meant there was just a touch of ease here.
The remainder were well seen off and offered little encouragement.