Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Ayr Western Meeting 2009

With time at a premium my report on Ayr’s big meeting of the season is a little more brief than I would prefer. However I’ll try to indicate a few pointers for the future.

Thursday 17th September

Going – Good

The going was reported a good to soft for the early part of the day, but I suspect the description of ‘good’ was more accurate.

JEANNIE GALLOWAY’s experience probably helped in the maiden that opened the card. She had put in a couple of decent performances previously which set the standard from her mark of 73. HORSERADISH made a decent debut, staying on to take second place. This one should benefit from a step up to seven furlongs. ANTIONOLA ran a sound race in a close third and should pick up a run-of-the-mill maiden.

MEDICI TIME took the five furlong sprint in a race where the low draws seemed to have a marginal advantage. CHOSEN ONE took the ‘nearside race’ and would be worth noting for a handicap in the near future particularly with a little cut in the ground.

The selling race on this card is probably one of the more competitive such events of the season. However, it has often been won at fancy odds and APPLAUDE threaded his way through the field to win at 22/1. He veered right in the closing stages but conjured a fair turn of foot and won with a little in hand. Sellers and claimers look his level as he has struggled in handicaps.
BOUNDLESS PROSPECT has been consistent in claiming company in the last couple of years and went close here in a competitive contest. He’s got plenty of miles on the clock but is one to mark down on the short-list even in handicaps. He’s been particularly sharp on the All-Weather in recent times. KING OF THE MOORS almost pinched the race when going clear from two out but was caught in the closing stages, though he remains in decent form.

The 1m 2f Handicap is normally a tough contest to win and DEMOLITION held on well after asserting two out. He’s had a fine season and continues to perform creditably. PLAISTERER flashed her tail when the whip was brandished by Jack Mitchell. However, she seemed to still be putting it in and a move up to a mark of 90 hasn’t stopped her chances of winning. There’s a possibility she hasn’t finished improving.
HILLVIEW BOY has graduated successfully from bumpers to flat handicaps over the year. He ran a creditable third here, probably having reached his mark at 87, and goes on my list of potential novice hurdlers for the coming months.

SHE’S IN THE MONEY made up for the traffic trouble she ran into at Newcastle to hold the consistent LEONID GLOW over seven furlongs. The former I entered over a mile at Musselburgh on Sunday 27th and the way she stayed on here suggests the easy mile there will be no problem. LEONID GLOW is consistent but just failing to get her head in front.

I pointed out COLLATERAL DAMAGE as an interesting performer for the autumn after his win here recently though the soft ground qualification proved unnecessary. This was a third win in a row and he showed plenty of determination to hold on close home. There may still be a bit more to come, particularly if he encounters soft ground.

Friday 18th September

Going – Good

Kevin Ryan’s HANSON’D doddled up in the opening seven furlong from an exposed 68 rated performer. I wonder if Ryan might aim much higher next time as he’s entered in the Dewhurst and the Racing Post Trophy. GREEN LIGHTNING looked too green to do himself justice and was outpaced but, from a decent stable, I’d expect better.

UNSHAKABLE WILL continued the progress noted at Newcastle in the second division of the maiden. He was sharp away and made all on this occasion, showing plenty of resolution at the sharp end. He shouldn’t be too harshly treated in nurseries and might pick up such an event over seven furlongs or a mile.
Michael Dods’ HUNTINGFORTREASURE made an encouraging debut in second, doing enough to keep the winner up to his game in the closing stages. This distance has been the limit for his family even though there have been 7 furlong two-year-old winners amongst his siblings. I’d not be put off if he dropped back to six furlongs.
THISTLESTAR pulled hard and this probably cost him as he faded in the final furlong to finish third. Hopefully he will learn, but he needs to settle.

The Rosebery Stakes was won in nice style by MISTER MANANNAN. The impression from connections’ comments is that he will now be kept for a go at Listed and better sprints next year. He’s only been raced on good or fast ground to date.
PUFF was aimed at Group 2 company on his previous outing, but this looks more his level and he seemed to run pretty much to his 93 rating.

It really was inevitable that a Bronze Cup would appear to accommodate the refugees for the Silver Cup, given the near 200 entry mark for the Ayr Gold Cup. One wonders how long it will be before we have an Egg Cup to be contested by those rated 0-50?
Low numbers completely dominated this event with very little to choose between BALDEMAR, INGLEBY LADY and BURNWYND BOY at the finish. It probably makes sense to take some note of the result on the near side with FELDAY heading the group but only ninth overall. He’s a winner over seven furlongs and I’d be interested if he stepped back up in distance. His Newbury win came with cut in the ground. BOND CITY and RASAMAN followed on the stands’ side but are well exposed.

GUTO won the five furlong 0-85 contest, once again the low draws having the call, but GRISSOM did well to get close racing stands’ side. Some drawn higher than him went left, but Billy Cray routed toward the stands’ side. On that basis the form may be even better than the result suggests. ROTHESAY DANCER finished second on the near side and this run suggests she is not finished for the season.

James Lambe’s ECOLE D’ART was desperately disappointing over hurdles at Bangor but came back to form in the Eglinton Cup staying event. He’s difficult to pin down to a pattern though he has ability and might make his mark in handicap hurdle if brought back to Scotland.
DANZATRICE ran a respectable second. She put in three fair hurdling performances and would not be without a chance in a novice handicap hurdle.
PAGAN STARPRINCESS ran a fair race, beaten just over 7 lengths, in a race which might be considered a pipe-opener for a hurdles campaign. She’s a fair performer over hurdles and a mark of 126 gives a bit of scope for placement.

Saturday 19th September

Going – Good (Good To Firm in places)

The expected rain didn’t materialise in any great amounts, hence there were a significant number of non-runners.

The progressive looking CENTIGRADE picked up the mile nursery. The second AQUARIAN SPIRIT, third to a decent performer at Newcastle, is a fair measure so I would expect CENTIGRADE to pick up another nursery while on a roll.

The Silver Cup continued the trend of low numbers dominating the sprints. The winner KALDOUN KINGDOM has performed creditably in the autumn in 2007 and 2008 but won’t be especially well handicapped after this, and the fact that the draw did him favours here might mean he’s under-priced subsequently.
LOWTHER was equipped with combined eye-shield and blinkers, which seemed to do no harm. He was dropped in distance here and there might be a bit more to come kept to six furlongs.
The first to finish on the near side was PROTECTOR who finished eleventh overall. He’s only had three runs this season of which this would be the most encouraging. He’s below his 2007 winning mark and looks progressive within his own limits.

Well drawn DISTINCTIVE won the Firth of Clyde Stakes for two year old filles with a bit to spare from a good draw. BEYOND DESIRE and CONNIPTION kept tabs with most of the low drawn horses and are probably better than the bare result suggests.

The pattern for sprints was well established by this time and the first five raced up the far rail. JIMMY STYLES just headed BARNEY McGREW and the two have been thereabouts regularly in similar events. Their presence in the final argument told us nothing we don’t know already. KNOT IN WOOD is a straightforward sort running as well as ever and ran his usual admirable race in third.
Dandy Nicholls pair of EVENS AND ODDS and SONNY RED finished best of his runners in fourth and fifth. EVENS AND ODDS seems sharpest when given a month or so rest before his races. SONNY RED is arguably a shade better at five furlongs than six.
TOMBI won the ‘high race’. He is favoured by fast ground and opportunities might be limited if the rains come, though he must have some chance of a race if the dry spell continues. REDFORD was third on the same side and ran in the style of one who needs a stiff six as a minimum, but probably a return to seven would be better. He handles fast and soft and there should still be chances this season.

HARRISON GEORGE raced prominently and lifted his game to see off OSTEOPATHIC REMEDY in the seven furlong 0-95 handicap. Lightly raced PRIME EXHIBIT was third and may just have a little more to give than the more exposed leading pair. He handles cut in the ground and may pick up a race before the end of term.

PRINCE SIEGFRIED won the Listed Doonside Cup and may be capable of picking up a Group 3 race. He should stay an extra two furlongs on evidence of last two runs. Autumn ground suits him since his legs are a little delicate and he might be a contender for the St Simon Stakes at Newbury in late October. He’s worth noting wherever he appears though as he’s in good heart.
NANTON ran creditably in fourth, limbering up for a possible Cambridgeshire and Cesarewitch double attempt. A win in either would be a tremendous boost to Scottish racing.

EXTRATERRESTRIAL held off BILLY DANE in the mile handicap. Both are well exposed and the latter needs fast ground. TIGER REIGNS run of wins was halted, but he was blocked in his run and would probably have gone close. I don’t think he’s stopped winning and a bit of rain would play to his strengths.

I’m not sure what to make of the result in the closing 1m 5f handicap as AMANDA CARTER, struggling to get near the front in recent months, sluiced up under Freddy Tylicki. Good or fast ground certain helps her.
DEMOLITION followed up his win earlier in the meeting with a decent under a penalty. DAZZLING LIGHT put up a creditable effort but does have a habit of either being caught close home or arriving too late.

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