KELSO – Saturday November 7th
Going – Good to Soft
This was a decent card despite the absence of Kalahari King who had originally been aimed at the Limited Handicap Chase. There was a pretty decent field for that event nevertheless, and generally competitive fields throughout the afternoon.
12.15 2m 6½f Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle
McMURROUGH came into this event with a bit to prove after a couple of seconds in recent weeks. He had to battle hard but, as had proved likely, stamina proved to be his strong suit and he was able to produce enough to see off a determined runner-up. He should move on from this over a similar distance of ground.
CANADIAN BLAZE improved on his previous run here, though I suspect that form could be decent anyway. Having been brought through to challenge two out, he led on the flat but just lost out in a sustained battle to the line. He’s a winner on heavy and probably wouldn’t object to softer ground.
DOC WELLS was left flat-footed going to two out, only to stay on again for third. A stamina test suits and he put a poor Carlisle run behind him.
HEEZ A STEEL led or disputed until a bad mistake two out put him at a disadvantage and he couldn’t recover. He might pick up a similar event under the double penalty, but he’s got tough tasks all round since his handicap mark is 130.
SIRKEEL hasn’t been able to get his head in front over hurdles. He might be better off in handicaps, or be seen to better light in chases.
MILANS MAN showed promise on debut, finishing sixth after being tapped for pace from two out. He’ll improve with time, as should ARRAN LAW who seems to be getting the hang of things gradually, briefly joined the leading group two out before fading to seventh.
12.50 2m ½ f Class 5 Novices’ Selling Hurdle
It’s a case of ‘what it says on the tin’ in this contest which was not high on quality.
BIVOUAC was competent at a lowly level on the flat, and didn’t need to anything more than that to win this contest with a bit to spare. He’ll face tougher tasks in future. He was bought in for £9,000 which suggests the stable consider him capable of better.
TREEKO hasn’t taken to fences but showed a bit more on return to hurdling. He was still in with a shout at the last but could only plod on once passed.
TIPSY INDIAN was flattered at Carlisle in October but a third here sums up his ability.
The remainder were well seen off including JOSEPHINE MALINES who was able to dictate at Cartmel in July and then came second in a mares’ novice at Hexham. She’s possibly best off in mares’ events now.
1.25 2m 6 ½ f 0-130 Handicap Chase
A competitive event pitting a number of regulars on the local scene against each other.
JUSTWHATEVERULIKE has made a deal of improvement over the past eighteen months, progressing from a mark of 72 to the 105 he was rated here. He’s proved versatile trip wise as well, with wins around the minimum trip yet proving able to score over three miles and a furlong here in April. Ridden patiently, he made progress from the thirteenth fence and was going best approaching the last. He hit the fence, but recovered and led on the flat to hold off a group of pursuers. His record is now 6 wins and 5 places from 18 goes over fences.
NIRVANA SWING hasn’t won for a while, but is back on his previous winning mark. He chipped away at the winner on the flat but couldn’t quite get close enough.
SHERIFF HUTTON raced prominently and stretched on going to the last. He was held once headed but didn’t throw in the towel and comes out of only his second chase with a deal of credit. He’s only a six-year-old and it seems likely there is better to come over fences. He handles this ground but possibly wouldn’t want it too soft.
CANADA STREET put in a fine effort considering he probably needs a bit further and more cut in the ground. He was tapped for foot four out but stayed on again on the flat. He looks in good heart for a tilt at winter staying chases in the north.
HARMONY BRIG hasn’t been given much respite by the handicap since winning the Rehearsal Chase in 2007. He did win a hurdle off a lower mark last January and might just be getting to the level where he can be competitive, keeping on here after being caught out for pace to two out. There have been questions about his commitment, but he has had some tough tasks over fences.
MORE LIKELY is better off being able to dominate less competitive races and she gave way from two out.
LE ROI ROUGE didn’t get close enough to make a mark. Running here off a mark of 118, it’s significant that his two handicap wins have been in 0-115 company. Make a note if the handicapper relents a sufficiently for him to drop to the lower class.
SOUBRIQUET put up another below par performance.
NILE MOON can’t dictate in a race as competitive as this, having run his race by three out and SNOWY was struggling very early on, finishing tailed off.
ET MAINTENANT seems better at shorter distances and was beaten before the turn out of the back.
OR DE GRUGY hadn’t been asked a question when falling at the ninth.
FIFTYFIVE DEGREES hit the first, came down on his haunches and dislodged Richard McGrath.
Irish trained TORY HILL LAD was soon struggling and pulled up before the eleventh. Even his best form, well hidden in amongst the poor form, is below this level.
1.55 2m 6 ½ f 0-125 Handicap Hurdle
I marked down GLINGERBANK when he was entered at Carlisle last month since he’s excellent off a break, but he was taken out because of the fast ground. He clearly needs a long break after races and the minimum break before a win has been a month and a half. Sadly common sense let me down on this occasion as I ignored him running over hurdles. He stayed on well to see off Dancing Dik. Given his ability he’s on a decent mark at both disciplines, but apparently stands very few races, his busiest campaign being four runs.
DANCING DIK did precious little wrong against a well rested opponent. Held on the run-in, he saw off the remainder with a bit to spare and looks likely to pick up a handicap.
POLITICAL PADDY comes from a stable whose inmates normally need a run or two to get fit. On that basis he deserves credit for a third place here, held from the last flight.
HI DANCER stayed on late for fourth and will benefit form an ease in class.
FLAKE led early and remained prominent until giving way approaching the last.
TELEGONUS ran creditably stepping up from selling class, particularly given that he rose 20lbs in the handicap, but he gave way at the last.
DUNDOCK has needed a run or two to get him straight before and ran well enough for a long way to give hope for the winter. He’s twice a winner at Musselburgh and may visit the East Lothian venue before long.
KING OF CONFUSION had every chance when ducking out through the wing at the last. He didn’t really take to chases and it appears he has a quirk or two.
ENGLISH CITY went well enough until falling two out. QUICK WILL was given as ‘unseated rider’ but tripped over English City and was to all intents and purposes ‘brought down’.
2.25 2m 1f 0-149 Handicap Chase
Although Kalahari King was a ‘no show’, though originally aimed at the contest, it’s a credit to Kelso’s pulling power that they had a 10-runner field rated 129 to 149.
ALBANOV was well prepared after the best part of two years’ absence due to leg problems. He disputed the lead for most of the way, took over from the last, but was then headed before battling back bravely to hold a determined runner-up. He has only been out of the first three once over fences and if staying fit must surely progress from here.
CALATAGAN is well exposed, and his last win was in late 2007, but he ran an admirable race in second.
MISTER McGOLDRICK remains competitive at this level despite advancing years. He looked to be feeling the pinch after the second last, but stuck to his guns no the run-in to secure third place. There’s still hope of a last hurrah for this fine campaigner.
SANTA’S SON was always up with the pace and took the lead approaching the last. He was comfortably held on the flat. He is paying the penalty for a 19 length win at Wetherby last winter and is currently 12lbs higher than that winning mark.
OUMEYADE cashed the leaders over the last mile but was never close enough to get into the final argument. After a meteoric rise through the ratings in 2008 he has found things a bit tough.
Tony Martin’s KEELAGHAN made no impression from two out and the 131 mark he was on here seems rather harsh.
PALOMAR didn’t jump well and never got into the race. His two chase successes were well below this level.
TOM’S TOYBOX has run well off his mark of 130 but that was giving weight to inferiors. He never got in a blow and was struggling by four out.
MARCEL has been off his game over hurdles and showed no spark on return to chasing.
3.00 2m 1f 0-115 Handicap Chase
I cast some doubt over the value of the form from BOB’S DREAM’s Carlisle run. He stepped up a fair way here, seeing off I’m Delilah in a sprint set to on the flat. It’s likely he will be forced up to the next grade now, but there’s enough evidence to suggest he might still pick up a race.
I’M DELILAH had a sound record in her hurdles career and made a excellent start as a chaser. Always going well, she challenged on the flat as the leading pair pulled clear, but was just held by an opponent with fitness on his side. She looks a nailed on winner even if taking on tougher opposition.
RUN TO SPACE plugged on for third though left behind on the flat. He was badly hampered at the sixth and the bare form may be better than the distances suggest.
PADDY’S UNYOKE, lightly raced under rules with a hunter chase second as his best, raced along in front. He was hampered by the loose running Fred Bojangals two out and got the worst of the argument from that point. This wasn’t a bad effort and Stuart Coltherd should find an easier event for him.
STORM PROSPECT is a moody sort and never got involved.
REGENT’S SECRET won a virtual match on his chasing debut at Perth, but has been nowhere near that on three subsequent efforts.
SMART CAVALIER raced prominently early, but he struggled to keep it going in hunter chases last year and was dropping away from four out here.
NORMINSTER was going well enough in second when unseating at the eighth.
FRED BOJANGALS blundered and unseated at the sixth. He then caused a pest of himself two out when running loose.
3.35 3m 1f 0-110 Novices’ Handicap Chase
The first fence in the straight was omitted due to the low sun, making a run-in of around four furlongs.
Milnathort based Jean MacGregor has had WATERSKI in decent form in recent weeks, and he rewarded her with a determined effort to win here. Admittedly he was aided by the second’s argument with a loose horse, but he stuck on gamely to record a first win in 18 attempts. Mrs Macgregor’s post race comment suggested that the family improve with age, so hopefully there might be more to come.
SIERRA VICTOR took up the running at the fourteenth and contested the lead from the last. He was banged sideways by a loose horse but battled back determinedly if just too late to get in front.
LAHIB THE FIFTH had every chance approaching the last but weakened on the flat. He may struggle as the ground turns softer.
LE VERT GALANT made an effort two out but was held on the long run from the last. This was a sound enough chasing debut.
SIMPLY SMASHING was outpaced from two out and probably needs a stiff test.
GERSHWINNER was rather disappointing after two decent chase performances. He was bothered by the attentions of a loose horse at the thirteenth but he gave way tamely from two out.
CLASSY CHAV has shown very little ability in ten runs and plodded around in the rear.
SOTOVIK unseated at the first.
INDY MOOD fell at the eleventh and the caused interference at the thirteenth and on the flat when loose. BREAKWATER HOUSE was brought down at the eleventh.
4.05 2m 2f 0-110 Handicap Hurdle
STILL AT LUNCH stayed on nicely to record a second course and distance win. He’s a little frustrating in that he has never strung together two places runs in a row over obstacles.
CASSIUS plugged on for second place and needs a little further to show his best.
ANAY CAR has gradually improved on what were some ordinary efforts early in his hurdling career. He attempted to challenge the winner from two out but was held for pace from the last.
TARKANI has a few quirks and after exerting himself to win at Worcester never got into the race seriously here, plugging on past tired rivals.
SCALE BANK was outpaced two out and after a run of fair form disappointed here.