Thursday, 10 September 2009

Sedgefield Steeplechases - Early September

SEDGEFIELD – Tuesday 8th September

Going – Good To Firm

The going remained fast though there was heavy rain in the half an hour preceding the second chase on the card.

Racing was delayed following a nasty incident at the first flight of the juvenile hurdle which saw five horses come down. Lucy Horner needed the services of the air ambulance to be taken to hospital after suffering a dislocated shoulder and facial injuries. Much fuss was made on the Betfair Forum about the quality of jumping in these events, but given that one came down at the first and the rest came down in a concertina effect it's difficult to draw too many conclusions. That particular Forum is a haven for those who talk through their pockets or express their immediate jumbled thoughts without engaging brain.

In the chases the open ditch in the straight was omitted once again. I’ve noticed an increasing tendency for fences and hurdles to be missed out over the last couple of seasons. I’ve asked a question of a BHA representative about this matter and hope to have an answer soon.

3.00 2m ½f Class 4 Novices’ Chase

This was a fair novice event for this stage of the season with a number of the principals rated in the 120s.

The Irish challenger KALELLSHAN took up the running at the third fence. He put in a couple of awkward jumps but had plenty left in the closing stages and held on well. A double penalty may now make a life a little tougher. All best from has been on good or faster so I would imagine he will be put away once the rains arrive in serious amounts, the serious amounts which have given us a soaking in Scotland but don’t seemed to have reached the North East of England!
NOTICEABLE made the trip from the Bath area to finish second. He’s another who wouldn’t want too much cut in the ground and has been consistent this summer. Racing prominently, he kept on if never quite getting to grips with the winner. He won a novice chase at Huntingdon in May and should be capable of winning an event similar to this.
SCHELM is suited by the conditions but though he tried he couldn’t muster enough under pressure in the straight. As with the first two he pretty much ran to the official figures. He goes well on fast ground while still keeping his form with a little cut and his record around Sedgefield now reads 113.
FOLK TUNE made a decent chase debut against opponents with previous experience. He jumped neatly all the way but could never quite get to the leader in the closing stages but will be one to keep an eye on in the coming months around the minimum trip as long as the ground doesn’t get too soft.
SCHINDLER’S GOLD was comfortably held once the race warmed up and looks a bit below the level of the first four.
TRANOS ran a bit better than odds of 100/1 suggested he might but was held from the top of the hill. This was a bit more promising than recent efforts over hurdles and on the flat and he did win twice over hurdles in the summer of 2008. He needs good or fast ground.
THE PANAMA KID rated 122 over hurdles was well held from three out and may need to gain some experience over fences. He was a fair enough novice hurdler and not one to cast aside just yet.
LINDSEYFIELD LODGE isn’t good enough in this company and was showing distress signals from four out.
MAHRAJAAN had bits and pieces of decent form, including a third on chasing debut in Ireland, but was never going on this occasion and doesn’t look like one to rely on.
RECOIL has been a poor flat and hurdles performer and there was no evidence he’s any better over fences. He was at the back from the start.
CAN’T REMEMBER was bought following her win in a selling hurdle here in April but in retrospect that was a poor event and she looked out of her depth here.

4.45 2m 4f 0-105 Handicap Chase

SARAHS GIFT, trained near my old ‘patch’ in Oxfordshire, had rattled up a couple of wins previous to this including over the course and distance. He won this with a bit in hand suggesting that he hasn’t finished winning yet. Settled nicely he came to challenge down the hill and went away on the run-in. H has had jumping problems in the past, but evidence suggests that he has got his act together.
IT’S A ROOFER is often there or thereabouts but is yet to record a chase win. He led from the start and was going well three out but outpointed once headed. I can’t see that he did much wrong and it should be possible to find at least a novice handicap.
FRED BOJANGALS goes well here but needs things to fall his way and punters need to allow for that when backing him. He chased the leader from two out but didn’t get close enough to challenge for the lead, plugging on for third.
PANTHERS RUN kept on for fourth. He didn’t threaten the leaders but this was as well as he has run for a long time. Not betting material though.
KEENE SPIRIT was in the rear for much of the trip but picked up a little late on. He hasn’t jumped fluently enough in his chases to get seriously involved.
TOULOUSE EXPRESS raced well enough to three out before giving way. He is still not showing the zest he did when at the top of his form last season.
PUTITAWAYFORAYEAR moved up to the heels of the leaders going to two out but that was as close as he got. The 23 lengths beaten here was as close as he has got to the winner so far but there are still no signs of serious competitiveness.
TREEKO made progress from the eighth but was held when stumbling on the home bend. He has a little ability but may need more time.
I’M YOUR MAN looked held when hampered four from home. He isn’t the most predictable performer and has been below his best recently.
PEAK SEASONS runs often but seldom wins and having raced prominently he subsided from three out. He’s only 6 but has managed 83 runs to date though amassing only 4 victories. He presumably has an iron constitution but is one to oppose at single figure odds.
YOUNG HENNO has shown only glimmers of ability in Ireland but wasn’t out of the argument when falling at the eleventh.
Four times course winner DEAD MAN’S DANTE jumped stickily in the rear and was never going, eventually pulling up after two out. He had a spell of 11 runs in point-to-points without success and has looked off his game since returning to Rules.

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