Friday, 30 October 2009

Musselburgh's Last Flat Meeting 2009

MUSSELBURGH – Wednesday October 28th

Going – Good To Soft (Good in places)

The rain has returned to the east of Scotland following a dry spell. Musselburgh’s ground had eased for the closing meeting of the season headlined by the two mile Class 2 Willie Park Handicap.

1.00 1m 1f 0-65 Amateur Riders’ Handicap

EDAS has run some fair races this season on the flat though this was his first turf win of the year. He was brought through smoothly to record a win for the Cuthbert family. With a possible winter campaign in mind it’s worth noting that he is 5 places from 6 on the All-Weather and has shown up well at Southwell. In addition he’s 2 from 6 over hurdles.
BED FELLOW isn’t endowed with a great turn of foot but is at least getting into the mix. He couldn’t match the winner in the final furlong.
VERTIGO ON COURSE got hemmed in on the rails. He finished well but it seemed to me his rider didn’t have sufficient nous or possibly strength to extricate her mount from the pocket.

1.30 7f 5 2yo Maiden Fillies’ Stakes

Saeed bin Suroor introduced a newcomer here but INFANTA looked very green. She kept on late for third but there wasn’t a burst of pace and she looks a lesser light in the stable. Development over the winter may be the key.
TATIANA ROMANOVA moved nicely clear in the final furlong. She will presumably move on to middling handicap company. Her one run on the All-Weather was below that of her turf form so the jury is out on that front.

2.00 5f 0-85 2yo Handicap

Five set off in a line up front at a decent pace and two burst clear from 300 yards out. BESTY ran on better of the two to hold DANCING FREDDY.
BESTY looks a speed merchant better over five furlongs than six and this sharp five suited him.
DANCING FREDDY took the lead over a furlong out but was then outspeeded. His did little wrong though and may now have a few goes on Polytrack.
MICKY’S KNOCK OFF won here off 68 but looks held currently off 77.

2.35 1m Class 5 2yo Maiden

One or two here may benefit from a winter to strengthen and mature.
JUPITER FIDIUS, out of a dam who won over 11 furlongs, clearly benefitted from the mile trip and stayed on well to hold some opponents who may have had ‘issues’.
TASTE THE VICTORY pulled early and, though he kept on, may have used up too much energy. Possibly a shade disappointing after his York bow, but he should reward connections in time.
PALAWI weaved about and still looked green on his second outing. He got into gear late on and finished well. A tougher test looks a must and there should be more to come as he learns.

3.05 2m 0-100 Handicap ‘Weatherbys Bloodstock Insurance The Willie Park Trophy’

A fair field for the closing feature and one of Musselburgh’s top handicaps of the season.

GORDONSVILLE won here in April and then in a Class 3 event at Ayr. He’s been consistent all season and followed up a sixth in Cesarewitch with a victory here. He forged clear from two out and kept up the gallop. Gordonsville has only been out of the first six once since June 2008.
DAYIA chased the winner from two out and closed a little without threatening a victory. He’s another consistent type who has been there or thereabouts on most efforts this season. He started in bumpers and it might be interesting to see if he’s tried over hurdles, though he does have a sound record on Polytrack and rates lower on that surface than turf.
ALANBROOKE showed the determination expected of a Johnston charge but couldn’t hold the first two from three out. He looks good enough to mix it in the better staying handicaps next term.

3.40 1m 4f 100yds Class 6 Selling Stakes

ODDSMAKER’s tactics around here are well established and a win here made it 4 from 6. Andrew Heffernan carried out the plan which has been successful previously, dictating and then kicking on turning for home. Heffernan lost his whip over two furlongs out, but his mount is game and kept on for ‘reins waving encouragement’ to hold on.
LOST SOLDIER THREE picked up from three out to chase determinedly though not able to wear down the winner. Some questions have been asked about his attitude, but he’s 5 from 38 and Dandy Nicholls should place him to win a race next season.
CAPABLE GUEST, a hardened campaigner and an occasional winner, plugged on for third and nothing else made an impact.

4.10 5f 0-75 Handicap

HAWKEYETHENOO was made an odds-on favourite to follow up his recent win. This was a tougher race though, and also a had harder task than his September win here. He was slow away and could never get to the leaders though staying on late. His new mark is 72 and given the right circumstances he might still be capable of winning a handicap off that level, though the five here is probably a little sharp in tougher company.
As suits him, MANDARIN SPIRIT was able to dictate, but having looked the winner was just pipped on the line. Always worth a glance at a similar level if the draw or field make-up favours a chance to get to the front.
IGOYOUGO rattled home to snatch this race on the line. This Geoff Harker three-year-old in progressing and might step up to better class next term.

Friday, 23 October 2009

Carlisle - Thursday October 22nd

Going – Good

A sprinkling of rain over the last few days has seen the Carlisle going ease to near ‘good’. There were three on the card, one ddistinctly decent novice, a fair quality staying handicap and a lesser staying event.

2.40 2m Class 3 Novices’ Chase

A very decent novices’ chase for this point of the season, and there should be a few winners from the race.

FIENDISH FLAME made a very impressive debut. Sent on in front by Jason Maguire, he jumped very well and had plenty left in the tank to go away from three out. He’s the best novice chaser seen out in the North this season and looks likely to step up to Graded company with no fears.
DOESLESSTHANME had progressed nicely via bumpers and novice hurdles. He put in a couple of slow jumps early on and never got to grips with the winner. However, there was plenty to like about the way he went about his job and he will not catch such a strong opponent every time.
MORE EQUITY put in a cracking chase debut. She stayed on up the hill to gain a well merited place. This run appeared a good deal in advance of her hurdling form.
SONGE might be regarded as second best on the day since he paid the penalty in the closing stages for attempting to go with the leader. He was still in pursuit until a blunder at the third last saw him start to struggle. Rating 150 over hurdles, he should be capable of getting somewhere near that mark in chases given time.
OCKEY DE NEUILLAC was never near the leaders. However he did keep on up the hill for fifth. This looked a very tough task on his debut, but he did enough to suggest he should make a mark in less exacting company. It’s worth noting that Ferdy Murphy’s stable has yet to find anything like top gear this autumn.
REGENT’S SECRET struggled in this company and had no chance from halfway.
MIRAGE DORE appeared to provide further proof that Rose Dobbin has yet to have her charges anywhere near their best. His jumping was a little ponderous, but even allowing for that he should have got involved here In the end his placing of sixth was as near as he got. A watching brief is advised until the stable shows more encouraging signs.
THE KEALSHORE KID was dropped in at the deep end on his chasing debut. He made a brief effort before four out but never got seriously involved in the contest.
UPTOWN LAD had no chance in this company. For stablemate ALLEGEDLY RED this was like being asked to cross The Channel without have swum before! Off the track for yonks, he played up as the runners left the start and steadily lost ground until his rider called it a day at the bottom of the hill.

3.15 2m 1f 0-123 Handicap Hurdle

The exasperating HIGH BIRD HUMPHREY reverted to hurdles and really should have won this contest. He passed front-running WHISKY MAGIC after the last, but once in front the ears pricked up and it was clear he decided he had done enough despite his rider’s urgings. Even then Whisky Magic only got up on the line. ‘Humphrey’ continues to collect place money to pay his way but is not one to trust with a win bet.

3.45 3m ½ f 0-130 Handicap Chase

DESCRIPTION built on the promise of his third in what looked a fair novice event over an inadequate trip at Hexham. He chased the leader, took over at the tenth and stayed on up the hill to win in decent style. He’s as highly rated as over hurdles, but there was enough in this performance to suggest he may not have finished the general improvement that started in February.
NILE MOON set the early pace and stuck at his job well enough to threaten once again coming to the last. He ran out of puff at that point but gained a deserved consolation prize. Good or faster ground suits him best.
SHREWD INVESTOR intersperses dire runs with the odd good performance. In fact when he’s completed the course he’s now 5 wins from 13 efforts. When his jumping holds he is capable at this level and he only gave way two out. It may be that smallish fields are his best bet over fences since his jumping is put under less pressure.
KALMO BAY sat out the back until staying on up the hill to take fourth. He tends to rely on picking off tiring opponents and would benefit from a slight drop in class.
THE WHISPERER was under the shove going to four out and didn’t threaten the leaders. Lightly raced for an 8-year-old, he has a sound overall record and should come on for this run.
SOUBRIQUET continues to perform moderately and looks to need a drop in the ratings.
MR STRACHAN had curtailed season last term and never got involved here. He needs softer ground and some relief from the handicapper.
ZITENKA, on her first run since last December, was never going and pulled up before two out. Her wins have all been within 15 days of her last run so the run was almost certainly needed to bring her on.
BLEU POIS was struggling by the eleventh and dug his heels in when faced with the last fence. It took a while to bring him to the boil last season, so the run may bring him on.

4.50 3m ½ f 0-95 Handicap Chase

Phil Kirby has been going along very nicely this season. His SIMPLY SMASHING re-acquired the tongue-tie after a disappointing hurdle run at Sedgefield. It seems the aid did the trick. He stayed on well in the latter stages to collar Ballynure on the line. If his airway can be kept clear a good stiff test appears to suit him, though he is best on good or faster ground.
BALLYNURE has not always looked the most committed, but he couldn’t be criticised in defeat here. He put in plenty of effort to look the likely winner from two out, only to get ‘done’ in the shadow of the post. The problem from a backer’s point of view is that his price is often shorter than his win record warrants.
VIEL GLUCK made a satisfactory chasing debut, though admittedly against a generally motley bunch. He had every chance at the last but then ran out of steam. That said, his best two performances have come with stiff finishes.
One of what I understand are only two in training from the Ferguson yard, SHULMIN went well enough to three out but couldn’t go with the leaders from that point. She’s best at Sedgefield and connections will presumably be eyeing a County Durham based campaign.
BULLIES ACRE, who ran passably well over two miles at Hexham, has offered little evidence that he is effective at this trip and was stymied by the finishing slope.
TOY GUN raced in front for a way then quickly fell to the back. He did keep going enough to beat a few home but the pre-Christmas wins from 2009 are receding in the memory. That being said, I note his recent record in heavy ground is 1P211P, and the last ‘P’ was when out of his depth. Value seekers might like to carry that gem forward.
FINBIN put together a good run of form when kept on the go earlier this year. He may have needed the race here and never got involved.
TREEHOUSE defeated a ‘large box of marshmallows’ at Hexham in April but has done little otherwise. He was on the fringe four out but folded at that point.
HEVER ROAD took over from Toy Gun after a circuit. He started to strain approaching four out, and once passed two out dropped back swiftly. The odds are there is a physical or mental reason for his swift capitulation.
SILVER DAGGER added a second consecutive ‘Refused’ to his record. He plugged round in the mud for a third at Cartmel but other than that his recent record is abysmal.
LETHEM PRESENT, returning after a year’s absence, was never going and his rider called it a day with a mile left.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Kelso - Second October Meeting

Going – Good (Good to firm in places)

We spent a few days in London so I caught up with this meeting on the Tuesday, though I did manage to avoid the results and watch ‘as live’.

With continuing dry weather the ground remained on the fast side. This is causing quality and quantity problems in the chases at the moment, though the hurdles filled well enough. The spectre of the low sun had an impact on one hurdle race, the second division of the novice being reduced to just four flights. This is a recurring problem and I can’t see why the course doesn’t place two hurdles down the side of the track to lessen the impact.

1.45 2m ½f Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle

SKYLANCER won a moderate event Sedgefield and probably achieved about as much here in beating an under-performing runner-up. He was brought to challenge at the last led on the bridle on the flat and stayed on under encouragement. A double penalty in novice events presumably he will be back handicapping before long.
McMURROUGH appears to have a few commitment issues. He had to be rousted going away from the stands and his hurdling left much to be desired. He really should have had plenty in hand to win this event but he was outpointed on the flat. A stiffer test of stamina seems a must, but McMurrough has much to prove.
WALDO WINCHESTER could by no stretch of the imagination be deemed reliable. He dipped out through the wing at Carlisle but behaved himself better here and stayed on late to take third. Past evidence suggests a repeat is unlikely.
DARFOUR made progress to two out but was held from that point. ERGO ran well enough at the weights, will be better off in handicaps, and it’s worth noting that the form of his last run here has worked out quite well.
JEWELLED DAGGER showed promise at Perth but apparently regressed from that form, being held from three out.

2.20 2m 6½f 0-100 Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

MYSTIFIED was one of few in decent form in this contest. He’s been a bit below his best on the flat of late, but kept up a good run over hurdles, keeping on well having being brought into the contest from the eighth flight. He’s favoured by decent ground and will presumably be put away if any serious rains arrive.
ON MY TERMS seemed better suited by this track than the long haul at Carlisle. He was outpointed on the run to the line but this was a sound effort.
BALLYBANKS kept on without threatening the front two, and DAUNTSEY BAY, just held for third, was another unable to raise his game in the latter stages.

2.55 2m 6½f Class 5 Maiden Hurdle

James Lambe made it two on the day as CANADIAN BLAZE kept on well to take this event quite nicely. He’s lightly raced and has performed well on soft and heavy, so there might be more to come in future contests. The step up to this trip did no harm either.
HUMBIE is well related and on the evidence of this debut is a prospect for Raymond Anderson Green. He cost 40,000 Euros as a 3 year old but has not been hurried on to the track. Leading two out he didn’t have enough to hold the winner on the flat, but he looks a ready made winner and should go on from here.
TORTA NEL CIELO ran passably well in third, stepping up on bumper form if well held by the first two.
ECHOES OF DAWN showed a glimmer of ability in fourth but may need a bit of time to show his best.
IFBUTANDWHY showed some form in Irish points and in a novice hurdle last season but shed his jockey at the first here.

3.30 2m 1f Class 4 Beginners’ Chase

SILK DRUM is rated 140 over hurdles, so had a straightforward task if jumping competently. He jumped like a seasoned chaser and won with a fair bit in hand though needing a reminder when idling on the run-in. This race produced Feltham Chase winner Ungaro in 2006, and Silk Drum has the ability to reach a decent level.
ALL FOR THE CAUSE, frustrating last season over fences, performed adequately in second. His jumping wasn’t as sharp as it might have been.
TRANOS was outpaced from two out and took his expected third place.
MORE SHENNANIGANS had no chance at the weights, but stayed with the others to two out and did at least suggest his improved effort here last time was no fluke. Mrs MacGregor’s small jumping contingent seems in good heart.

4.05 2m ½ f 0-155 Handicap Hurdle

CAST IRON CASEY reverted to hurdles on his seasonal debut and took advantage of a lower mark. He made steady progress form the rear and got up on the line. On the face of it he had to work hard for this, but I wonder if there isn’t a bit more to come and it may be worth having another go at a handicap hurdle before returning to steeplechasing.
HAWKSBURY HEIGHTS has basically proved selling class over hurdles, but this was a significant step up on that and he was only touched off in the final strides. This appeared to be a career best.
SCALE BANK closed to the leaders three out but could offer only one pace on the flat. Given that this run brings him on, a step up in trip should give every chance of a victory in a similar event.
SOLIS wasn’t interested early on and had to be given a smack or two to get started. He got into the race going to two out but was held from the last. He is untrustworthy.
ALWAYS BEST had every chance at the last but weakened. He’s yet to seriously threaten in hurdles and needs an ease in class.
ANNIBALE CARO dropped out quickly from three out and was subsequently reported as having an irregular heartbeat.

4.40 2m ½f Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle

This race was a glorified flat race, given that the low sun meant only four flights were negotiated. The value of this form is even more dubious given that the winner NOCTURNAL KNIGHT had been unsuccessful in 38 attempts flat and jumps. He led early in the straight and ran on to record the Lambe stable’s third victory on the day.
The second ITSTOOEARLY is only rated 70 and plugged on to inherit the runner-up spot near the line. This was a first place in 17 efforts.
GRAND DIAMOND is rated the same as the winner on 105 but was well below that and had nothing other than one pace once headed after the turn for home. He’s not going forward over hurdles on this evidence.
ARRAN LAW looks more of a long term project and kept on under pressure in the straight. More jumps in the way will help.

5.15 3m 1f 0-135 (actually 0-127) Handicap Chase

MORE LIKELY goes well around here and is suited by the chance to dictate the race. She responded well when pressed after the last. She’s 5 from 16 in chases and might just stand a rise in the weights if a similar opportunity can be found here.
POKER DE SIVOLA was about 8 lengths adrift two out and worked hard from that point, finishing well to take a close second place without threatening a win. He’s yet to win over fences but showed enough to suggest he should make a mark eventually. He has a very good record at Hexham but opportunities would be limited there off his current mark.
SILVER SEDGE normally takes a run or two to warm up after a break and this was a second run this autumn. He performed well enough here, staying on without quite getting to the winner and would have chances in similar company.
QUWS LAW had every chance at the last but then weakened. He struggled when upped in company at Cheltenham last season, but is a four time winner from 9 runs at Ayr and has done much of his racing at the west coast venue.
THE SHY MAN spent most of his time last season running at inadequate trips before comfortably seeing off moderate opposition here in May. This is his sort of trip and he went very nicely until knuckling over four out.

5.45 2m 6½f 0-100 (0-95) Handicap Chase

LAHIB THE FIFTH is lightly raced and this was only his third chase. However, this was not a good event and he came into this race with a record of 5 wins from 17 runs, a good deal better than most running in 0-100 company. This was the longest trip he has tried but he stayed on well to get up on the flat. He is best on good ground and, since he has a rare uninterrupted campaign behind him, he may score again if the ground doesn’t soften too much.
WATERSKI confirmed the promise of his last race, challenging the winner but being held in the last 100 yards. He’s yet to win but seemed to try hard enough here and may pick up a similar contest.
PERSIAN PRINCE mixes fair runs with poor runs though is yet to win. He led two out but once headed had nothing more to give. Three times a point winner he looks a softy at the business end over regulation fences.
TOULOUSE EXPRESS led to two out and weakened on the flat. He has placed at this trip but it probably stretches his stamina to the limit. That aside he seems in fair heart, though as well documented needs things to fall for him.
CARRIETAU got quite close here last time but he seldom summons a big enough effort in the latter stages and was held from two out.
Blinkers first time made no difference to STAINLEY who has been beaten a long way in recent outings. He was struggling by halfway and was soon pulled up.
FARNE ISLAND hit the first and rid himself of Peter Buchanan.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Hexham - October 10

Going - Good (Good To Firm in places)

Some overnight rain didn’t do too much to change the state of the ground which remained just on the fast side. The second fence on the far side was omitted in each race.

2.10 2m ½f Class 4 Beginners’ Chase

Scottish Champion Hurdler NOBLE ALAN had only to jump competently to take this race assuming the first two maintained hurdle form. That turned out to be the case as he moved up to the leader on the climb to the straight and went clear with a minimum of fuss. He jumped well on chasing debut and has much more in the tank.
KNOCKAVILLA was outpointed comfortably by the winner. His rider attempted to take the race by the scruff of the neck three out, but he couldn’t answer against a more talented opponent. On what we know of him he ran to form and should pick up a similar event or novice contest.
DESCRIPTION filled third spot well clear of the remainder. He certainly tried hard enough and only gave way up the hill. This was way in advance of his previous chasing efforts and seems likely that a chasing mark of 107 could be exploited in handicaps. He looks good enough to pick up a run-of-the-mill non-handicap novice along the way if connections wish to go that way.
THE PANAMA KID and BELOW THE DECK were left behind from two out but both had a tough task in this company on previous chase form.
LINDSEYFIELD LODGE was feeling the pinch a long way out.
FLY TO DUBAI set the pace but was headed going to three out, weakened quickly and pulled up a fence later. He had some fair hurdle form in Ireland but has made little impact over fences.

Off our patch admittedly, but GULLIBLE GORDON produced a faultless performance in the novice chase at Chepstow and looks a potentially decent staying novice chaser.

3.15 2m 4½f 0-115 Handicap Chase

Connections were mystified by the improvement in form shown by I’M YOUR MAN. Consistency wouldn’t be his strong point though he has run some decent races around here, admittedly with some dross chucked in for good measure. It could be that a return to Hexham after a few runs round Sedgefield may have sparked him. Anyway, he produced a decent performance to race up with the pace and still reserve enough to hold off a determined runner-up. Will he produce it next time? If you’ve any ideas they might be best sent to Evelyn Slack.
SILLY WUPPLE won this race last year was only a whisker away from a repeat. He was always up with the pace and pressed the winner from three out, leading briefly on the flat before being hauled back. He managed another win after his victory here last year so may have a decent chance next time.
CATEGORICAL places often but doesn’t win that much for one with some ability. He was held from two out though plugging on.
FRED BOJANGALS faced tougher opposition here and didn’t help his cause by pulling hard early on and that problem cost him in the latter stages as he struggled once the runners ascended the hill.
In customary style UPTOWN LAD picked off tired horses in the closing stages, but the leaders weren’t coming back to him. He was followed in similar fashion by MANOUBI who is the same age and just as frustrating.
WELL OILED was outpaced three out. He had a fair run at Thurles on his record but otherwise his ‘chase form is uninspiring. A drop of a few pounds and an ease in class would help for starters.
SPARKLING TAFF was prominent to the seventh but gradually faded from that point. He was returning after a 9 month break and needed a couple of runs to hit form last season.
GUNS AND BUTTER, who is a good deal better than a distant ninth suggests, continued the poor run of the Dobbin stable while SOME MAGIC lost touch from the tenth and looks to have had his fill for now.

5.00 3m 1f 0-90 Classified Chase

This race was delayed as ambulances were ferrying injured jockeys from the previous for treatment. That aside there was some grave questions asked regarding Hexham’s treatment and disposal of euthanised horses on the day. Currently the course use a flat bed wagon and just cover dead horses with a tarpaulin. This doesn’t seem the most sensitive arrangement and Paul Ostermeyer brought up the matter with the course management. On a slightly more pleasing note, Course Manager Charles Enderby stated that improvements would be made at subsequent meetings. Check out the link to Paul's site for his comments and Mr Enderby's reply.

The chasing action finished with a low key classified chase with six plodders finishing close together at the finish.
ONTHEGOAGAIN was prominent all the way. The ‘cavalry’ arrived in the straight ready to see him off but he showed more resolution that the others. The course seems to suit him and I’d be surprised if James Lambe didn’t have another shot at a race here.
RECKLESS VENTURE has a very good record here, though his two wins have come over the extended 2m 4f. He had every chance but was outbattled on the run to the line.
JBALLINGAL is improving run-by-run and got very close here. He was off the track for an age before last season but showed here he retains the ability that saw him win off near his current mark in 2006. He had every chance at the last but gave way in the final half furlong. Connections’ patience might be rewarded in a very weak race.
SIERRA VICTOR plugged on for fourth, running by far his best race under Rules.
PANTHERS RUN caught an idling ‘Fred’ here over a shorter distance last time. He ran to about the same level on this occasion but arrived a little too late to get his fizzog in the picture.
THENAMEESCAPESME never quite got to the leaders and finished four lengths sixth. Evidence suggests he is better over shorter distances.
NICKY TAM was left behind from two out and TREEHOUSE weakened after thumping the same fence. The latter won here last season, but that contest though heavy on numbers was light on committed talent.
MRS BURKE was sending out distress signals when blundering at the twelfth and finished a remote last.
BEN TIRRAN raced prominently before hitting three out and stopping very quickly. His jumping goes to pieces as he tires and may always plague him.
OVER SIBERIA was struggling at the twelfth and pulled up before the last.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Carlisle - A visit to jumps 'Hoof Off Day'

CARLISLE – Friday October 9th 2009

Going – Good to Firm (Good in places)

The forecast wet weather didn’t make an appearance. However there was a strong wind blowing from the south which dried the ground out even more than had happened over the past days. There were a significant number of non-runners.

The new hurdles course has been laid out inside the chase course but it will need at least another growing season before it is ready. The plan is to use the course in spring 2011. In the meantime the flat course continues to serve hurdle races. There is evidence of the drainage work that took place on this course as there are clear drainage lines in the area after the winning post.

2.00 2m 1f Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle

This looked effectively a two horse contest, although one other with bumper form got involved in the closing stages. The pace wasn’t great with most of the runners still in touch three out. From that point the class of the main contenders told.

ALVARADO won this in quite decent style. I’d first picked up this Wylie/Johnson horse in a couple of decent looking bumpers at Musselburgh early this year. He didn’t cope with the move up to the Punchestown Champion Bumper, but dealt with the opposition competently on hurdling debut here looking well primed for his seasonal reappearance. Settling in touch, he made progress up the final hill and asserted on the run-in to win with a bit in hand. He should be capable of making his mark against better opposition.
McMURROUGH was dropped in at the deep end in hurdles last season. Back at a more realistic level he found one too good and basically just stayed on up the hill. He doesn’t look to be one for which things happen quickly, but there should be a novice hurdle to be found before a move to chasing which I suspect will show him at his best.
COCOA KEY was disappointing at Perth, but it’s a totally different test around Carlisle and he seemed much better suited by the stiff haul to the finish. A bumper winner, he showed enough to suggest there should be a race in him.
TIPSY INDIAN was previously beaten in a seller and remained close due to the slow early pace. He does hint at ability and will be better off in handicaps as will the fifth WEETFROMTHECHAFF who was never near the leaders but picked up pleasingly in the latter stages.

2.30 2m 4f 4 Beginners’ Chase

The names of Wylie and Johnson appeared often on the winners’ role on ‘my patch’ last season and the pattern was well set by the time this second race was finished. Their CHECKERBOARD showed plenty of promise last season without winning, and has polished his fencing in the meantime. He led or disputed all the way and he stayed on gamely up the hill as he was pressed by the second and third.
LEASE LEND has huge feet which can be a sign of a preference for soft ground. However, recent evidence suggests that over fences he’s better on good ground or on this occasion faster. He stayed on up the hill but couldn’t hold the winner.
If there is one I would take out of this race it would have to be the third GANSEY. Off the track for 538 days and having had a breathing operation in the meantime, he stuck on grittily from three out and was gaining at the line. He looked as if the race might bring him on and looks a nailed on winner of a similar event.
Rose Dobbin’s stable hasn’t fired to date and MIDDLETON DENE might have been expected to run better than he did here. He jumped rather tentatively on his chasing debut and was struggling from three out. If he gets his jumping together he would potentially have been better than the principals here, but the stable haven’t produced anything worthwhile to date and I’d keep a watching brief for now.
BE BRIEF as well held up the hill. He had some fair places on soft in novice hurdles and a bit of rain might not do any harm.
YACHVILI proved an ordinary sort over hurdles. He was blinkered on his chase debut here, not a particularly good sign, and he was feeling the pinch four out.
DREAM ALONG had little chance on previous evidence. He went OK in front to the seventh but whacked that one and quickly gave way.

3.05 2m 4f 0-90 Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

A very ordinary contest with very little solid form to latch on to.

Paddock watchers were treated to the long and short of the game. CINAMAN is not much more than pony-sized whereas LIZ’S DREAM is huge and must be well in advance of 18 hands. I suspect there was at least a foot difference between them, and perhaps even more. In the event Cinaman showed more fizz, though in the wrong direction since he ditched Graham Lee as the field charged the tape and then did a 2/3rds circuit back to the stands. Some discipline was then administered by his stable lass to call him to book. Liz’s Dream meanwhile is basically a slow old boat, not often seen on the racecourse and tongue-tied as well. He lumbered into sixth place.

DUNBRODY HOUSE showed up well in a couple of bumpers early in the summer. On his handicap debut this poor company was easy enough for him to cope with. In the front rank two out he forged ahead on the run-in. He will have to take his form up a notch or two to cope with a rise in the ratings.
TANTOBIE showed his first promise when running fourth at Kelso on Sunday, and advanced on that staying on for second in this contest. It’s taken a while for the penny to drop, and he’s hardly overloaded with talent, but at least he is progressing at this level.
SEA VENTURE never got near to the leader but stayed on from two out, snatching third close home. He has been rated around 100 so it’s to his advantage to be eligible for this 0-90 company.
PUGNACITY led the way up the hill but ran out of puff after the last. The contest she won at Sedgefield was even more dire than this.
ON MY TERMS struggled from two out and seemed to find the final hill a step too far.

3.40 2m 0-125 Handicap Chase

My betting plans were blown out of the water in this one when Camden George and Glingerbank were pulled out.

The key here lay with the pace and SOME TOUCH got a soft lead. I had expected him to be taken on by Go Silver Bullet, but that one was never asked to pressure the leader seriously. Denis O’Regan made it a hat-trick for the connections as Some Touch made all to win with a bit in hand. His jumping can be a bit iffy if he is pressured but he wasn’t troubled here. I think he will struggle off a higher mark.
I wouldn’t expect this course to bring out the best in NUDGE AND NURDLE but he put up a respectable performance in second, though I wouldn’t have backed him with buttons at 6/4. However, this run was good enough to suggest he hasn’t finished winning yet if appearing at a less exacting venue.
HIGH BIRD HUMPHREY ran his normal sound race, keeping on after the winner if never getting to grips with him. He’s desperately hard to win with, his only win came when scraping home in a Catterick maiden chase, but regularly picks up place money so keeps himself in oats.
I don’t think this course will bring the best out of GO SILVER BULLET. He was as fit as could be here, but was feeling the pinch at the bottom of the hill. He did keep on well enough to take fourth though I think he’s better being able to dictate round a sharper track.
PORTAVADIE ran respectably on return to chasing. Tat being said, he didn’t threaten to get involved in the finish and needs easing in the handicap at both disciplines.
DIVINE GIFT looked well enough on his return but didn’t make an impact.
LE ROI ROUGE’s best form is with cut in the ground, with three wins on heavy and two on French ‘very soft’, so might be excused this run. Keep him in mind when the rains arrive.
SOUBRIQUET raced well to two out but then gave way. He hasn’t made a mark in handicap hurdles and chases off a level of around 120 and some easing looks required.

4.15 2m 1f 0-110 Handicap Hurdle

This was a better contest than the earlier novices’ handicap but once again the form lines were not laden with positives.

BENMADIGAN was noted picking up from the back late on at Perth over three furlongs further last time. It seemed the slog up the hill here outweighed the drop in distance as this was his first try over the trip since his hurdling debut. He challenged going to the last and forged ahead of four close chasers.
WENSLEYDALE WEB proved there is ‘life outside Cartmel’, rallying well up the rail on the run-in though arriving too late to trouble the winner.
ROOT CAUSE ran up to form but couldn’t make inroads from the last. This was a decent first effort for Donald McCain following arrival from Ireland.
SEA COVE was moved up in class under a penalty but put in a fine effort, just being raced out of it in the last 100 yards. She will presumably be moved to around the mark of 96 that she ran off here but might not be held just yet if carefully placed.
CHIP N PIN had every chance at the last but got the worst of the argument from that point though not going down without an effort. Tim Easterby might coax a handicap out of this one eventually.
BORDER FOX charged off like a lunatic out in front and was knackered when headed after two out. KNIGHT VALLIANT looked interesting when winning a maiden at Musselburgh a couple of years back, but he was well in arrears on his debut for Barbara Butterworth. WALDO WINCHESTER continued a desperate run of form when dipping out through the wing at the fourth.

4.50 3m ½ f 0-115 Handicap Chase

This race was diminished in numbers by four defectors. Four well known ‘locals’ took on raiders from Wales and Gloucestershire.
Peter Bowen’s Haverfordwest yard provided a very comfortable winner in RIPALONG LAD who came clear of his field over the last three fences. He an erratic maiden in points but seems to going the right way now and his chase record reads 2 wins from 3 attempts. His jumping was basically sound and this evidence suggests he may be a good deal better than the 100 mark he ran off.
NATIVE CITY let himself down with some slipshod jumping but McCoy kept him going late on to take second. He hit the last but the maestro rousted him enough to pip Nelliedonethat for the consolation prize.
NELLIEDONETHAT performed well in this class and looks refreshed following a break. If he reproduces this form he should pick up another race in a lesser class.
GETINBYBUTONLYJUST often gets found out for speed unless it’s a real stamina test and was feeling the pinch from two out.
CATCH THE PERK was never going with any ease and was held from the bottom of the hill. He’s fine when in the mood but I’m not sure he appreciates this track these days.
SAM CRUISE has two speeds, ‘Very Fast’ and ‘Stop’, and his jumping is enthusiastic but often hairy. His fast gear was engaged until as he tired he hit four out at which point ‘Stop’ was selected by default and he was allowed to coast to the finish. He has plenty of ability and is capable of winning in this class but his tearaway tendencies make things so difficult. He’ll probably pop again sometime but his backers have to be possessed of a thick skin!

5.25 2m 1f NH Flat

They went a pretty decent pace in this race and a handful came clear, so I suspect the form can be taken forward with trust.
LAST OF THE BUNCH had a couple of moderate runs to show from earlier in the year. Presumably the summer has served this one well at a key point in development for a potential young jumper. She raced up with the pace, took over one and a half furlongs out and ran on well to the line, hanging a little toward the rail but having a bit to spare. Given that the second and third looked ready to do themselves at least some justice then I think the form will prove sound.
SOUTH LEINSTER looked the pick of the paddock, a very nicely made sort though probably having just a bit still to work on. He pulled hard early on, took over after five furlongs then kicked on up the hill. He didn’t have enough to repel the winner and was possibly slightly intimidated as that one hung across him. He was however second on merit. A good debut and this one should win a race.
GLINGERMILL, from the family of a couple of winning hurdlers, has been given a bit of time and will come into his own over jumps. He didn’t quite get to the first two but showed a decent attitude.
Debutants CHIEF BUCANEER(4th) and DONTGIVEAMONKEYS(5th) showed enough to give hope for the future.
PLAYINGTHEFIELD, placed in a point, was a solid 7/1 in the market but would seem more of a long term prospect for jumping.
GLACED OVER showed some promise at Perth but tried to dip out at the exit gate by the stands and was pulled up.

My thanks to Paul Ostermeyer for being my guide to Carlisle. He does regular updates from on course at selected meetings on his excellent website and I’m sure punters will find his news very useful. Paul has reviewed all of the courses in the UK and a number in Ireland, and has written some thought provoking articles.

I find Carlisle a ‘fair to middling’ venue. The course is easy enough to access off the M6 and parking is across the road from the stands, though crossing the road is not a lot of fun after racing. The course really needs a policeman directing traffic on the main road to ease congestion coming out of the main car park.
Viewing is OK but by no means perfect. I couldn’t find a position from which all of the course could be seen and viewing of the third last fence and the dip is not good. The big screen has to be used at some point. There’s open terracing in front of the main stand but arguably a slightly better view from the back of the Tote Stand just past the winning post, though the view of the finish is almost straight on. The view from the roof of the weighing room isn’t bad, but it’s open and the finish is completely head on. Being in quite a lofty location it’s plenty breezy enough.
There’s plenty of viewing around the combined parade ring and unsaddling enclosure, access from the Tote Stand being very convenient and there is decent access to the pre-parade ring beyond.
Food and drink prices are not too bad, though £3 for a steak pie that I would pay no more than £1.50 for at my local non-league football grounds is over the top. Add to that, the pies at Crossgates Primrose* are far superior……, even if the football isn’t great! On the contrary the B.L.T. baguette here for £2.70 was excellent. Coffee for £1 varied from one drink to the next.
As so many competitors here venture into Scotland I keep a close eye on the racing, but I suspect it’ll probably be an occasional track rather than a regular.

*For those interested, the best football pies I have come across in Scotland are at Crossgates Primrose, Brechin Victoria and Eyemouth United. None of them well supported but the faithful few are well fed! On the senior side the steak bridies at Dunfermline Athletic take some beating, although the team have been below Par(s) lately, and Kilmarnock’s pies are legendary.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Kelso - First Autumn Meeting

KELSO – Sunday Octobr 4th

Going – Good (Good To Firm in places)

The ground was just on the fast side and this was a chance for quick ground specialists to pick up something before the autumn rains arrive. There is a chance though that one or two of those who need good ground could be aimed at Musselburgh over the winter.

2.20 2m 2f 0-95 Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

SEA COVE has put in some decent performances at this level of late. He raced prominently and then determinedly held all comers from two out. It’s taken some time for him to click, but he has been steadily progressive at this level, has a good attitude and is not likely to be punished excessively for this victory.
ERGO, whose hurdles runs have been few and far between but has been kept on the go on the flat, stayed on well to take second without getting to the winner. This was well in advance of his previous hurdles form, but he was lame after running passably well at Haydock last November and has run some decent flat races in the meantime. On this evidence a similar race should be within his compass.
PRIORYJO got into the argument from two out. She challenged after the last but was held. She has come down a long way in the handicap of late which must have been a help.
TANTOBIE was always thereabouts but found wanting from the last. He got much closer than he has done in non-handicaps.

2.55 2m 6 ½ f 0-110 Handicap Chase

SNOWY looked to be struggling when tapped for pace on the final bend. However, he does stay on well up the hill here and I wasn’t surprised as he started to pick up again approaching the last. He stayed on determinedly through the group of horses and poked his head in front near the line. He was in excellent form round here and Musselburgh last season and remains in good heart for the new campaign. He did win once on heavy but he really needs good or fast ground to be seen at his best.
DAWN RIDE was held up at the rear and looked the winner when forging ahead on the flat only to be caught in the shadow of the post. He’s more than capable on his day, but not particularly predictable.
WOODY VALENTINE was revitalised following a move to Evelyn Slack’s stable, ran another decent race here and showed the handicapper has him more or less right on 115. This trip would be as far as he would want. He’s versatile, is swapped between chasing and hurdling and holds his form well.
ANDY ANSHAN looked to be going as well as any on the run to the last. However he couldn’t find an awful lot on the run-in and was held in fourth.
NILE MOON set the pace or disputed until the last after which he could not raise his game. This was a fair enough effort and he is dropping back near the mark he won off twice around here earlier in the year.
SIERRA PEAK hit the eighth and wasn’t going after that, being pulled up before three out. He led in his two previous chases and being taken on by Nile Moon may not have helped.
MANADAM hit the second, jumped slowly thereafter and his confidence seemed to have gone.

3.30 2m 6 ½ f Class 3 Intermediate Hurdle

An interesting contest in which novices met second-seasoners, and the form worked out according to the figures.

Two pulled clear in the closing stages with HEEZ A STEEL staying on under severe pressure from the last to capture first prize. I wasn’t impressed with the ride he was given from the last, Mr Findlay bumped a bit and there was some serious whip wielding. However Heez A Steel did respond and beat a promising sort into second place.
NOW THIS IS IT has had a decent summer in which he has graduated from bumpers to hurdles. He lost nothing in defeat against a more experienced opponent, looking the likely winner two out but held in the final furlong. He should pick up another novice event but is likely to need good ground.
SAM LORD is rated a few pounds below the winner and probably paid the price for being a bit keen early on. He had nothing left to fend off the first two from two out. His run well off near his current mark in handicaps and that’s where his future lies.
NIGHT FORCE was struggling in the last half mile. He hasn’t progressed following a firm ground hurdles win last autumn.

4.05 2m ½ f 3yo Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle

I doubt that this will prove to have been a particularly strong contest. The winner KNOCK THREE TIMES was very ordinary on flat (rated mid-40s) though did hurdle sufficiently well to step up on that level. She will find it tough once the better youngsters appear.
MONSIEUR JOURDAIN was one of the more exposed entrants and ran a sound race without pulling up any trees. He’s been awarded a rating of 109 off the back of his third to Tillietudlem and that seems harsh. I don’t think he will win handicaps off that mark.
SYDNEY COVE looks a bit of a plodder but kept on into third place, turning round flat form with a few behind him.
AVITUS went well to two out but could offer no more, and NEW TRICKS, a flat winner in front of Sydney Cove at Hamilton, went well in front to two out before giving way. Both at least showed a little on hurdling debuts.
Back in the field there were some abysmal jumps from a few, and I do wonder how much schooling has gone on. HUNTING MAGIC, who must have given away 20 lengths plus with poor leaps, stayed on quite well through tiring opponents and might be worth monitoring for signs of more accomplished hurdling technique.
Ann Duffield’s pair STREVELYN and BERRIEDALE looked to have schooled better than many when filling the first two places at Sedgefield, but there was early carnage in that event and they were put in their place by opposition that stood up here.

4.35 2m 1f 0-100 Novices’ Handicap Chase

There was a decent pace on from the start and I suspect the form will stand scrutiny.
SILVER STEEL was never far away taking a keen hold. He took a dive at two out, but that didn’t stop him and he went clear on the run-in, only to idle and let the others close toward the line. For all his foibles the second is a sound measure when on his game and Silver Steel has proved steadily progressive with perhaps a bit more to come.
TOULOUSE EXPRESS is a veteran of these events and having only recorded a first win in March he has until October 31st as a novice. He’s as safe a conveyance as you will get in these events having never come to grief in 38 chases. He was very frustrating for a while last autumn, then things clicked over the winter and spring to the point where he recorded three wins. He does need the race to fall right but is starting to come back to form, producing a promising effort at Market Rasen last time and closing in on the leader from two out on this occasion.
MORE SHENNANIGANS has done his darnedest to let his level fall down amongst the worst in the North. However it appears all is not completely lost as he showed hither to hidden talents to close on the front two after the last. He was 22lbs out of the handicap so can expect to be shunted up to around the mark he ran off here, but at his level ratings can be incidental. The recent showing of Waterski suggested that the stable might at least be in reasonable fettle. I await the re-appearance of More Shennanigans and Waterski with interest if not necessarily with stake money poised!
CARRIETAU raced prominently as usual but was held on the flat though finishing quite close. He was a whisker away at Bangor three runs back, but has been a weak finisher over fences.
WHAT HAPPENED had every chance at the last but hit the obstacle and gave way, but still finished as close as he has over fences.
BALLABROOK led briefly four out, but then hit three out after which the writing was on the wall. While he hasn’t achieved a huge amount he does at least seem to be improving.
FARNE ISLAND, a maiden over hurdles, jumped round but made no impact on chasing debut.
DARAYBAD was ridden from three out to get closer but couldn’t offer much. His jumping hasn’t been sharp enough in three chases contested.
TROODOS JET, who has shown the odd glimmer in similar class, gave the fourth fence a rap and never showed.
NEW WISH races often but has only managed 3 wins from 76 efforts at all disciplines. The promise of his Uttoxeter effort was undone by a lack lustre effort here.
COPPER’S GOLD, making a chasing debut, thumped a couple early on and was never competitive. As a five-year-old he does at least have a bit more time than some.
PALOS CONTI jumped abysmally, so it was a bit of a surprise that he wasn’t completely out of it with three fences to go. One bad jump too many saw him fall back swiftly to finish last. He undoubtedly has the pace to win one of these events but a return to the schooling ground is on the cards.

5.10 2m ½ f 0-130 Handicap Hurdle

I would expect to see a number of this field appearing in decent ground handicap hurdles over the winter. The better end handicap hurdles at Musselburgh will be an obvious target for a few given the better chance of good ground.

HELLO NOD didn’t cope with chasing in three attempts earlier in the year. He then reverted to hurdling, going close on a few occasions without winning. He is decent enough in this grade and having joined issue early in the straight he stayed on well to take the main prize. It wouldn’t surprise me if he picks up another similar race this autumn.
CARAVEL proved a decent quick ground novice for Howard Johnson last season. He found the Swinton Hurdle at Haydock a bit beyond his capabilities in May, but showed he is plenty capable in this grade on his first run since then. He led briefly on the flat but was held in the final furlong.
DANNY ZUKO has struggled to make a mark over fences in recent months. However he proved that his basic speed remains in running a sound race on this occasion. He had every chance at the last but couldn’t raise his game any further. However, off a mark of 110 there is scope for taking on lesser opposition and he finished close enough here to suggest a win in possible soon.
ELITE LAND, in decent form on the flat of late, was backed in to a very short 7/4 favourite in this company. He was going well enough two out but a mistake there didn’t help his cause and he was just held from that point although beaten less than five lengths.
I couldn’t understand what merited him being made 7/4 in a handicap, but he’s another who could certainly see off lesser opposition if dropped in class.
STELLINO ran a fair race on his return to hurdling and is falling down the handicap. He kept on into fifth place. His form figures don’t look impressive but keep this one in mind.

5.40 2m ½ f NH Flat

If you wanted to keep a list of inexperienced horses to follow then making note of placed horses in Kelso bumpers would provide as good a list as any. The bumpers here often see some decent performers making their early appearances and they produce plenty of subsequent winners.
This looked stronger of the two heats with NODFORMS VIOLET bringing forward form from a couple of promising runs last season. He couldn’t get clear in the final two furlongs and finished just held in second. However, the first two came clear from a third hailing from a clued up stable, so I reckon the form will turn out to be sound.
MONOGRAM showed plenty of determination to see off the more experienced second. I would imagine he will contest another bumper under a penalty before going over obstacles and I’m sure he will win again.
FREDDIE BROWN, the biggest horse in the field, was held from the two furlong mark, but he did enough to suggest he has a future. He might have learnt enough to pick up a minor bumper, but his best is probably to come over jumps.
WESTERN SAHARA took an age to get ‘the message’, although being hampered on the stands’ bend certainly wasn’t a help, but he stayed on in the latter stages and gave encouragement.
Peter Monteith’s BEAUCHAMP showed up well to two out but then gave way.
The favourite JURISDICTION, from the fledgling stable of Rose Dobbin, hampered a few when seemingly aiming for the exit gate on the stands’ bend. Down the back straight he lost touch, with a hint that Wilson Renwick felt something might be amiss. However he plugged on late and does at least have a win in the bank from his previous stable. One concern is that Mrs Dobbin’s stable hasn’t fired yet and I’d be happier once she manages to get a few runners into challenging positions.

6.10 2m 1/2f NH Flat

A late finish as the bumper was divided.

CORKY DANCER was in the rear and not picking up four out. However, he got the message once turned for home and ran on to lead in the final 100 yards. He was pulling clear by the finish and the impression is that there is more in the locker. His dam won 5 from 19 over hurdles and rated 125, so there is encouragement in his breeding.
MANITOBA challenged in the final two furlongs but couldn’t hold the winner once passed. This was his fourth run, three of them second places, so it’s now a question of whether he can learn hurdling well enough to give him a few extra lengths advantage.
FINELLAS FIORTUNE disputed for much of the way but was one paced in the final two furlongs. This one is first foal of a sprinter but does at least seem to have enough stamina to see out two miles.
CHICAGO OUTFIT took a keen hold in the early stages and weakened late on. This one cost £95,000 in the sales last season and it would presumably be hoped he will make up into a hurdler, but he may need a little time.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Hexham returns for the autumn campaign

HEXHAM – Friday October 2nd

Going- Good To Firm, easing slightly as rain fell during the meeting.

Hexham opened their autumn campaign with three relatively low key chases. The apparently standard ‘missed fence rule’ was invoked(!), with the second in the back straight omitted in all races.

2.50 3m 1f Class 3 Novices’ Chase

Nominally the best of the three events on offer, but this race was light on numbers and essentially concerned only two.
WESTERN GALE’s jumping let him down a bit at Uttoxeter, but he was not rushed here and that certainly seemed to help. His sound placed Irish form gave him every chance here and he wore down the leader in the closing stages. The second is a reliable guide and this looks a fair performance, though he may find others improving past him in non-handicaps and he might be best aimed at handicaps.
BEAUTIFUL VISION’s sound jumping served him well for the second occasion in a row. Settled nicely, he took over going up the hill but he was possibly just coming to the end of his tether on the run-in and this trip appears to stretch him on a stiff track.
PLANE PAINTER performed a good deal better than on his chasing debut. His jumping was ponderous early on, but he did gain some confidence in the second half of the race and finished a creditable 6 lengths third. His best recent hurdles performances came over extended distance on sharp tracks.
KEENE SPIRIT looked held at weights, and so it proved as he struggled from two out. CHERNIK should have mixed it with the front two but he jumped poorly. He weakened from three out and it turned out he had broken a blood vessel.

4.00 3m 1f 0-95 Handicap Chase

BALLYNURE is plenty capable on his day at this level. However, he is difficult to win with and needs races to fall his way. Against a bunch of out of form or underachieving opponents he was able dominate in the latter stages and came home in splendid isolation. The handicapper isn’t likely to take too kindly to a 24 length win and that makes things potentially very tough for an 11-year-old.
CHAPEL FLOWERS led three out but couldn’t respond once headed going up the hill. This was a fair effort from a lightly raced gelding which offers some hope in similar company. Though there isn’t a huge amount of evidence to go on, his best two runs have come off a long break.
ONTHEGOAGAIN, an Irish point winner making a chasing debut under Rules, was close enough going to three out but was left behind from two out. He stayed on at one pace afterwards and seems just a dour stayer.
SEEK THE TRUTH has the ability to win a race or two at this level but is difficult to predict. Try as I might I struggle to find a pattern in his form. He weakened from two out.
DORIS’S GIFT got on to the tails of the leaders going to three out but fell back from there. He’s better over hurdles and has yet to place in chases off a very low mark.
CLEAR THE WAY got round in his own time but his chasing form is uninspiring.
What respectable form SYCHO FRED shows is normally reserved for Market Rasen and even then he’s not easy to predict. He was well beaten from three out and came home in his own time.
WIZARDS DUST never got into the race and was struggling by the twelfth, his rider eventually giving up the ghost after two out. He takes a run or two to get going and had been absent for 130 days, but even so this was a poor effort.
WAKI BAKI was at the head of affairs until the tenth but he quickly went backwards and was reported as having bled from the nose. His overall profile is discouraging.
MURPHY’S BEAU added another abysmal effort to an increasing collection, never going and being pulled up at the twelfth.
DAD’S ARMY won a dire contest here in Spring ’08 when the odds-on favourite ran atrociously. Other than that he has shown nothing of note.
Wilson Renwick suffered a slipping saddle on BEN TIRRAN and pulled out before the eighth fence. He ran prominently before falling here on his previous outing in May, so while he doesn’t shape as betting material I wouldn’t give up on him just yet.
PRIVATE AFFAIR disposed of his rider at the third on chasing debut.

5.10 2m ½ f 0-95 Handicap Chase

With a number of keen sorts in the race this was run a a decent pace.

FRED BOJANGALS occasionally produces enough to win, most of his best saved for Sedgefield, but he can be desperately frustrating. He went clear approaching the last, but those who have seen him know that he could not be considered a certain winner. He was caught right on the line. He’s in good form right now but needs the race to fall into his lap. One consolation for connections is that he often contributes to his keep.
PANTHERS RUN is one who sometimes shows ability but has proved adept at keeping it hidden from view more often than not. He has tended to plug on in the latter stages before, and having sat off a good pace he picked off the leaders as they slowed. His last three chase runs have been respectable.
I can imagine YANKEE HOLIDAY had plenty of energy to burn after a 5 month lay-off. He raced prominently all the way but as so many times before there was no extra in the closing stages.
LONGDALE is quite consistent over hurdles and fences. He couldn’t make an impression in the straight and ideally needs a little further.
RAVENSCAR was there with every chance two out but the hill-climb told on him and he slipped back to fifth. He hasn’t won since November 2007 and doesn’t produce a huge amount at the business end.
BULLIES ACRE ran respectably from 10lbs wrong, though held from two out. His best form is at stiff tracks with give in the ground but he is on a very lowly rating and will normally be running from out of the handicap.
REXMEHEAD, a selling hurdle winner here in the spring, ran a fair race on his chasing debut but couldn’t make an impression from three out.
RED DAWN added to his list of losses.
UPTOWN LAD, having shown a glimmer of form at Market Rasen, would be suited by coming off a strong pace but he didn’t get into the argument here.
BARTON SUN was always in the rear division along with MOON MELODY who is capable of better but in the doldrums recently.
Recent winner MORESTEAD ran prominently until going out like a light after the eighth. Neither rider nor trainer could offer an explanation but this run was not untypical of his efforts prior to his win.