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.