HEXHAM – Friday November 6th
Going – Good To Soft (Soft in places, Good in places final 3f)
This was a low key card, though still producing the odd performance worthy of note for the future. A wordy going report showed the going on the soft side of good with the slight variations course wide that might be expected at an ‘uppy-downy’ venue.
12.50 2m 4 ½ f 0-88 Selling Handicap Hurdle
I wouldn’t normally have taken too much notice of this event as it’s ‘south of the border’, but there were a couple of familiar chasers on the roster.
The race was won by well exposed selling hurdler FREEDOM FLYING, who has been running respectably in similar company. She’s a fair performer at the level but not one you would wish to risk the mortgage money on.
She was followed home by REXMEHEAD, back to hurdles after two fair runs in moderate chasing company.
Back in third was well documented performer STONERIGGS MERC who couldn’t raise his game from two out. Tim Vaughan managed to coax a very moderate event out of him at Ludlow and is canny enough to keep placing him for prize money. He’s a soft touch over the latter stages in anything competitive over fences.
1.20 2m 4 ½ f 0-105 Handicap Chase
GARLETON was progressive at this level last season. He kept on well enough to see off this bunch over a trip arguably short of his best. Stepped up in trip he may be capable of advancing successfully to the next level.
CARRIETAU acquired blinkers on here which seemed to produce a little more effort in the latter stages. Mainly weak in the closing stages he rallied but was held on the flat. Take out a winner going forward and this was a respectable effort. His next race in blinkers will tell us whether their effect was temporary.
IT’S TEESCOMPONENTS looked to be struggled as she dropped back after the ninth fence. On that basis it was a surprise to see her fighting back for third close home. Her rider got ’10 days’ as the stewards’ considered ‘he had asked for an effort too late as a result of a serious misjudgment.’ It looked to me as if she couldn’t keep up as the pace quickened. If this previously troubled campaigner can be kept fit, she should pick up a race over a longer distance.
MANOUBI, as so many times in the past, made late progress but was pipped for third close home. He is capable but normally arrives too late to trouble the leaders.
DOLAN’S BAY, returning after 964 days’ absence, performed respectably by plugging on to secure fifth from 7lbs wrong in the handicap. There was enough to suggest he retains some of the ability that produced a 2006 hurdles win at Carlisle.
I’M YOUR MAN, a course and distance winner here last time but unpredictable, raced prominently until giving way from two out. The rain would not have done him any favours.
KIRKSIDE PLEASURE ran prominently until the tenth and was feeling the strain when hitting two out. He’s yet to win a chase, and his jumping howlers don’t help.
NEIDPATH CASTLE was probably in need of the run after a break. He was behind from the eleventh fence and he needs more cut than he got here.
SHULMIN started at the back and stayed there. A run at Sedgefield may be needed to see if her ability is retained.
MAGE D’ESTRUVAL has struggled despite a steadily decreasing handicap mark. He was in the rear when hitting the seventh and was well behind from that point.
NAVAL ATTACHE was getting outpaced when clouting four out and losing his rider.
DAY OF CLAIES showed up well in 06/07, but he’s been dire since and having lost his place after halfway was pulled up before the last.
1.50 2m ½f 0-95 Handicap Hurdle
Two came clear in this event. All the way leader, the very well backed ETOILE D’OR, held no under a vigorous ride by Richard Johnson which suggested a better than average percentage might have been on offer!
Miss R. Jefferson on the runner-up brought CUMBRIAN KNIGHT through smoothly but was comfortably outridden by Johnson form the last. However, that’s no disgrace against a jockey of the quality of Richard Johnson. Miss Jefferson’s mount needs a bit of coaxing and is desperately hard to win with these days.
The third AMJAD has more ‘previous’ than Norman Stanley Fletcher so third was about the best that could be expected.
2.20 3m 1f Class 3 Novices’ Chase
THE HOLLINWELL raced up with the pace, challenging in the straight and staying on to gain the upper hand. He was by no means straightforward over hurdles, but he’s always been a chaser in the making and this was a sound start.
LEAC AN SCAIL is consistent without having got his head in front in recent times. He stayed on from the last.
RIVER SHANAKILL, a winner of two Irish points and a novice hurdle, led three out but was stretched when tackled on the home bend and came home at one pace. He’s lightly raced and will improve for this sound chasing debut.
HARRY FLASHMAN tracked the leaders but was feeling the pinch when pecking four out after which he quickly folded and was pulled up before the last. He needs good or faster ground these days.
DOUBLE DEFAULT showed some promise, leading to three out before weakening. He had been off for 649 days and it’s likely the race will do him good. I’d expect better next time particularly if the going softens even more.
MR BARNACLE didn’t jump well enough here. He was outpaced four out and weakening when pulled up before the last.
THE GREEN HAT is slow, pulled up here and has only completed once in five goes this side of the Irish Sea.
3.50 2m ½ f 0-95 Handicap Chase
A veritable rouges gallery on display in this event.
DUKE OF MALFI won this event last year but then his form went totally to pot. He returned to form with ‘sideburns’ re-applied, racing prominently and keeping on in front of a second who didn’t look keen to pass.
YANKEE HOLIDAY looked less fizzy than usual and settled very well. He had every chance at the last, and momentarily hit the front, but he soon settled into a nice steady pace a length behind the winner. He hasn’t won for ages and here he blew as good a chance as he will get.
DEUTERONOMY is lightly raced, but consistent when appearing if rather frustrating. He was tapped for pace from three out but stayed on to pick up third place. He ideally needs at least two and a half miles.
TROODOS JET challenged up the hill but could offer only the one pace in the straight.
BRIERY STAR ran a fair race on her chasing debut. Having been tapped for pace four out she made a mistake two out, but stayed on again and was gaining at the finish. There isn’t much of her but her trainer may squeeze a soft contest out of her.
LERIDA popped up over fences at Carlisle last year but is generally easily beaten and though plodding on, never got near enough to challenge.
FLAMING HECK, in good form before a break, was going well enough when thumping three out and that was enough to finish his chances.
FENCOTE MYSTERY has shown little over jumps and had no chance from four out.
JANAL was always in the rear.
BRIGHT SPARKY won a 0-115 chase from out of the weights at Bangor, but everything else underperformed badly that day. He hit the seventh and was struggling from that point. His rider reported that ‘he sulked due to the fast pace of the race’.
TOULOUSE EXPRESS couldn’t get near the front and seemed totally disinterested from early in the race.