CARLISLE – Monday November 9th
Going – Soft (Heavy in places)
The first hurdle down the far side was omitted due to the ground.
12.50 3m 1f Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle
ROYAL MACKINTOSH limbered up nicely for a chasing campaign by breaking his hurdling duck in quite decent style. He led three out and stayed on up the hill to hold the challenge of Johnson/Wylie newcomer WHATS UP WOODY, an Irish point winner who looks a promising addition to the stayers’ novice hurdle ranks.
1.20 2m Class 4 Beginners’ Chase
I was looking forward to the chasing debut of REINDEER DIPPIN who progressed over hurdles last season. Sadly the debut didn’t last long as he overjumped at the first and came down. I believe that this mishap will be left behind. McCain’s other runner IT’S A DISCOVERY didn’t get an awful lot further, hitting the fourth and unseating.
BEDLAM BOY had jumped poorly in three chases late in 2008. It would appear his jumping has been sorted out on the schooling ground, since he jumped very well here and was in little danger from three out. He should score again under a penalty.
PRIMROSE TIME stayed on up the hill without threatening the winner, displaying better form than anything since her 2008 bumper win.
MORE EQUITY plugged on up the hill and needs a longer distance.
MAGELLAN STRAITS lost touch from three out.
BATTYLE OF SONG jumped slowly in the rear and was soon tailed off.
1.55 3m ½ f Class 2 Graduation Chase
There was prize money of over £18,000 to the winner for this event and five were rated 132+, top rated being on 160.
I was very encouraged by the lightly raced MONEY TRIX when he won at Kelso in February. He looked one who could go on to win decent races if staying fit. He confirmed the impression in emphatic style, leading two out under gentle encouragement and going clear from that point. He must surely be a contender in decent staying handicap chases this season. He has only been out of the first two once in ten career runs, and that was a fall when going well. Put him on the list to follow.
COMPANERO, 6lbs badly in at the weights with winner, ran creditably enough in second. He kept on after the winner from two out but wasn’t quite good enough. His record is as impressive as that of Money Trix, 5 wins and 3 places from 8 runs under Rules, and he was 3 from 3 in Irish points before that. He was unlucky to meet one so sharp and is another who should make a mark in decent company.
LODGE LANE is on the same rating as the winner but is more exposed. He was well there two out, possibly just in front, but one paced from that point. He’s yet to try handicaps but might need to be eased in the ratings to make an impact.
BOLD RANSOM latched on to the tails of the leaders four out, but that was as close as he got. He was lowest rated of the first five and put up a sound performance. He will have easier tasks.
ROLL ALONG has moved up to a mark of 160 following a sixth in the Cheltenham Gold Cup. He was detached by four out and may be a twilight horse that proves difficult to place
MINSTER SHADOW had little hope at the weights and was beaten three quarters of a mile from home.
In typical Paul Murphy style, MAIDSTONE MIXTURE was dropped in over his head. He has the ability to win a 0-120 staying chase, but clueless or ego driven placing continue to hinder him.
2.55 2m 4f 0-124 Handicap Chase
A competitive handicap which ended with five horses separated by a couple of lengths.
The ‘stayers on’ picked off the trialblazers in the closing strides. NEWMAN DES PLAGES stayed on best to get his nose in front for the first time in the UK having been off the pace four out. He was hammered by the handicapper when coming from France but has been given some respite. Given a similar chance to show his stamina I reckon he can pick up another race.
MISTER POTTER looked the winner after the last but he did nothing in front and the winner sneaked up on him. He’s capable of winning a race, and suited by a stiff track, but has plenty of quirks and probably isn’t one to get involved with at a short price.
LIVINGONAKNIFEDGE looked to be going nowhere until two out. He chased the winner home down the middle to finish a close third. All his wins have been with cut in the ground, three of them being on stiff tracks and the other two in heavy ground.
OR D’OUDARIES had a sustained battle with the second and fifth from three out but lost a couple of places close home. This was a decent effort in this class.
GO SILVER BULLET had a bit to prove here. Having raced prominently he was headed two out but kept battling if just held on the flat. He sees out the distance and proved that he acts on the going, and also showed battling qualities when challenged.
SPARKLING TAFF led from five out until two out but then gave way. He would be better off dropped in class.
STORYMAKER was never going comfortably and had no chance from five out.
SAMMY SPIDERMAN may have needed the race and was beaten a mile out.
OPEN DE L’ISLE made no impact and had lost all chance by four out. The evidence is that James Ewart’s runners need the outing at this stage.
MONGORNO made some progress to four out but was quickly on the retreat. He was reported as having a breathing problem.
MALKO DE BEAUMONT has yet to recapture last season’s form and was a well beaten last here.
3.30 3m 2f 0-102 Handicap Chase
A sad note here was the loss of regular campaigner GETINBYBUTONLYJUST. Often a frustrating character, but nevertheless often in the prize money for Dianne Sayer, he broke a leg approaching the sixth fence and was put down.
Regular readers will know only too well my opinion of TREEHOUSE and his abilities. Equipped with first time blinkers he consented to give it the works on this occasion, staying on well up the hill after leading four out. He clearly needs an uphill finish when he gets into contention, but it’s anybody’s guess whether he will produce similar next time and I’d oppose if he is short priced though he was 6/1 here, which suggests someone gave him a chance.
MATAMATA DE TENDRON is suited by a slog in the mud, though probably best at Sedgefield. He chased the leader from four out and would be on the shortlist in similar conditions at the County Durham venue.
INDY MOOD managed to put in one or two naff jumps but stayed on his feet and plugged on into third. He has a fair record at Carlisle but hasn’t won since 2005.
NELLIEDONETHAT challenged two out but couldn’t raise his game any further. He is getting closer and is the type who has enough ‘get up and go’ to take a race once in form.
TOY GUN who is suited by the conditions, got in touch four out but had nothing to take him up to the leaders. It may need a leap of faith, but this was a shade better than his previous run and I’d stick with him for a while.
JOE’S A BOY raced up with the pace for a short while but then dropped to the back by the seventh. He put in a short lived effort on the final circuit but had lost touch with five to go.
STORMONT DAWN led from the seventh until four out at which point she weakened quickly. While the bare form looks poor, it’s worth noting that both here wins have come in the mud here in Class 5 events. She has never been close in this Class.
SADDLER’S WAY was in the rear when unseating at the twelfth.
AND WHATEVER ELSE was last when falling at the eleventh.
SEDGEFIELD – Tuesday 10th November
Good (Good To Soft in places)
1.50 2m 4f Class 4 Maiden Chase
CHARINGWORTH’s jumping was tidy and he saw off the second between the last two, being eased well before the line. This appeared a significant improvement on his hurdling exploits.
KILKENNY ALL STAR put up some fair performances in assorted chasing company last season without breaking his duck. He didn’t seem to do too much wrong here, just finding one too good for him from two out. He appears better at this trip than two miles.
GRASSCUTTER lost touch with the first two from the home turn. He has been placed plenty of times but seems to lack the commitment to add wins to his record.
MAJOR CARD was held from before three out and PATCHOULIE CONTI had sent out distress signals two fences earlier. PLAYING THE FIELD had lost touch by the eleventh, whilst OUR COMMANDO having raced prominently for a circuit quickly folded and was pulled up.
2.50 2m ½ f 0-94 Handicap Chase
The second last was missed out having been damaged on the first circuit.
BRADDOCK ISLAND raced prominently, led before three out and was all out to hold a group of challengers from the last. This was a good deal better than his two previous chase efforts.
MISCHIEF MAN got into second three out but was held by the winner on the flat. He is a double hurdle winner, and this does give some encouragement for chasing prospects.
BARTON SUN made progress from the rear to be in contention bypassing two out but he was one paced from before the last. He is on the decline but at least put up his best effort for a while. It does say a bit about the ability of the contestants though.
TROODOS JET plugged on into fourth without threatening the winner. He hardly has stacks of ability but has run a few fair races of late.
FENCOTE MYSTERY had a chance bypassing two out, but weakened approaching the last. This was the closest he has been in 8 chases.
Chasing debutant CORDIER made headway three out but was one paced once turned for home.
WHATCANYASAY raced close up and was still in the argument going to the last, but he folded to such an extent that he ended up in seventh.
PERSIAN PRINCE looked to have a good opportunity here but, having led to the eighth, he weakened from three out. It’s worth noting that he’s been best from late-November onward in previous campaigns.
CLARRICIEN weakened from four out and doesn’t suggest any inherent advantage for Irish raiders at this level.
FRITH practically hurdled the fallen Hair Of The Dog at the fourth. On the face of it he recovered well enough, but he was in trouble by the eighth and I suspect an apparently poor effort can be set aside.
HAIR OF THE DOG put in poor jumps at the first three fences then hardly rose at the fourth. In falling he damaged the fence which had to be missed on the last circuit.