Wednesday December 2nd
Going – Soft (Good To Soft)
12.20 2m Class 3 Introductory Hurdle
These events are for horses which have taken part in no more than one hurdle race.
The distance is probably on the sharp side for TURBO ISLAND, but he got by on raw determination which is a good sign for the future. The stable weren’t firing when he appeared at Carlisle, but things have clicked at the Langholm yard since then. Leading for most of the way, at a steady pace early on, Turbo Island was headed from two out until the last but battled back on the flat. His battling qualities should set him in good stead and I would expect a good deal better once upped in distance. The way he jumps suggests he will make a chaser in time as he gives his hurdles a bit of room.
PREMIER SAGAS had sound bumper form and stepped up on a so-so hurdling debut. He was in the mix from two out and bustling up the winner close home. He has plenty enough ability to win a hurdle.
TARA ROYAL, an Irish point winner who disappointed on his debut in a bumper, led two out but was collared on the flat and couldn’t respond to his main rivals’ efforts. Nevertheless this was a sound hurdling debut.
GRANDAD BILL picked up from two out and was staying on at the finish.
BIVOUAC won a seller at Kelso but showed that he’s a bit better than selling level by finishing within hailing distance of the leaders in fifth.
12.50 2m Class 3 Novices’ Chase
BEDLAM BOY had only to repeat his Carlisle form to take this with ease. He came clear from two out.
PRIMROSE TIME, second to Bedlam Boy at Carlisle, once again filled second spot, staying on at the finish without threatening. She looks sharp enough to pick up at least a maiden chase somewhere.
TARTAN SNOW had shown promise on his chasing debut in the spring before capsizing at the last. Hopefully this will be a confidence booster and I suspect he needs further over fences.
PRINCE TAM was struggling once turned for home and made no advance on his moderate hurdling form.
TEENAGE IDOL, second best here on hurdles form, fell at the third on chase bow.
1.25 2m 4f 0-135 Handicap Chase
Two progressive performers came clear of the opposition here.
SKIPPER’S BRIG benefitted from a less than foot perfect performance by his main rival and led on the flat to win a trifle cosily. A step back up in distance would do him no harm, though he clearly has enough basic speed to mix it at this trip.
EXTALAR led jumping neatly until misjudging the twelfth fence. He went down on his nose and lost his back legs as he came back up, but found more than one leg and remained in contention. Having fought back to challenge Skipper’s Brig he then misjudged the third last, but still not done for he managed to take the lead with a good jump at the last only to be done close home by an opponent with more in the tank. There are clear indications that he can rate a good deal higher than the 123 he ran off here and, while his jumping may add a note of caution, his attitude is spot on.
QUITO DE TRESOR was held by more talented opponents from three out.
FLASH CUMMINS had every chance four out but was left behind from that point. I’m sure slightly better ground would suit and I’m still holding out for a three miler at Musselburgh!
SAMMY SPIDERMAN was held up in touch and going comfortably enough when falling at the thirteenth, seemingly over-jumping. There is a hint of a revival.
1.55 3m ½f 0-102 Handicap Hurdle
MISTER MARKER is one whose pedigree suggests he will improve with time. Raised 8lbs for a clear of the rest second place at Newcastle, he forged clear of the main pack and held off a determined rival close home. Staying is his game and he should turn into a chaser in time. Meanwhile he seems quite handily placed in the ratings and I’d be surprised if he didn’t notch another win.
I had a few rather cutting things to say about MISS TARANTELLA early last season. She still seems a little lightweight to me, but lacks nothing for heart judged on this performance. The distance was a step into new territory but the way she kept the winner honest suggested three miles in soft was no problem. Staying events at this level can be pretty dire, so there is hope that she might pick up a similar contest.
DELIGHTFULLY came to challenge four and looked well positioned approaching the last but then weakened. Conditions were right here but the contests she won last season were basement level.
POLOBURY came on and off the bridle in customary style. She threatened to get involved a mile out but never gave enough to challenge the leaders.
2.25 2m 4f 0-105 Handicap Hurdle
OLIFAN D’OUDARIES’s form had a fair deal more to offer than most in this field. Dictating the pace from the start, nothing got near enough to him to put him under serious pressure. He kept on well form two out but may well have benefitted from being able to dictate the race.
TIME OUT provided another indication of the well being of the Ewart yard. He seemed to be cruising two out but never got to the winner and kept on for second.
BOLLIN FIONA. making her handicap debut, came with a rush to the last and threatened to be involved with the winner, but a skewed jump put paid to her chances. The run at least indicates she in going the right way and competitive in handicap company.
GO ON BE A LADY raced prominently but weakened from two out. She has attempted this trip three times and doesn’t seem to see it out.
Lucy Alexander took a horrible fall from CONTENDO being flung to the ground head first. I can give an update from Nick Alexander’s blog http://kinneston.blogspot.com/ which tells us that Lucy was unconscious for some minutes after the fall. She was conscious when taken to Ayr Hospital but will be kept in for a few days for observation. Nick reports that the horse is fine and had a spin on the all-weather. Meanwhile Nick states, “Lucy has shown a glimmer of interest in going on a Ski Instructor's course after Christmas, right now that seems like a brilliant idea to me…”!!!
3.00 2m 0-107 Handicap Chase
This boiled down to a contest between two who have shown decent form of late.
DUKE OF MALFI spent much of last season in the wilderness, but recorded a second successive win forging clear from two out. He will have tougher tasks but did the job nicely.
CARRIETAU continued in sound form, leading until four out then basically making no impression once headed but keeping on until weakening on the run-in.
ORIGINAL FLY didn’t jump well but still had enough in reserve to deprive Carrietau of second spot after the last.
FRITH hasn’t recaptured last season’s form and was starting to feel the pinch when blundering five out.
LERIDA raced near the pace until the straight. He kept chasing but was held in fourth when unseating at the last.
WEST END WONDER jumped poorly but kept going detached until hitting two out. Regrettably he suffered injuries that required him being put down.
3.30 1m 6f 3yo NH Flat
BOLD SIR BRIAN made progress to two furlongs out, led a furlong out and ran on for victory. His dam won over two miles on the Flat and won the Galway Hurdle but this is her winner from six foals.
Willie Amos’s DARNA was in the race when the pace hotted up but was just held close home. The dam won middle distances hurdles so this one should appreciate a bit further in time.
ZARU kept on from having been up with the pace but was held in the final furlong. Out of a chase winner up to 3m 1f he is another that would be expected to progress with time and distance.
PORTWAY GIRL led and her rider kicked for home off the home bend. She wandered about once headed two furlongs out, but she did keep going for fourth. Half-sister to some decent flat performers, she progressed from her debut and holds some hope for the future.
Going - Soft
1.10 3m 1 ½ f 0-106 Handicap Chase
My theory that SYCHO FRED saves his best for Market Rasen has been blown out of the water, two prominent runs at Wetherby dispelling the myth, and then he turned up at Catterick to win this contest. He was always on the premises and got the better of a set to with Star Beat right on the line. He’s run four decent races on the trot, his fifth last time when just fading late in testing conditions.
STAR BEAT was leading or disputing most of the way. He seemed to have done enough to hold Sycho Fred only to be caught in the shadow of the post. This was his best effort over fences and his jumping sharper than in the past. In this form he should land a lowly staying handicap chase.
TREEHOUSE proved that he can handle a sharper track than Hexham or Carlisle. Staying handy most of the way he was just caught out for pace from two out.
CROSS COMPLIANCE raced midfield, chased the leaders from two out but didn’t get close enough to threaten. This was an advance on previous form and it could be that as he approaches the age of 7 he is coming to himself.
KALMO BAY normally comes from way off the pace but came to join the leaders three out. He could only offer one pace from that point but at least signaled reasonable well being. I would keep an eye on the top of the weights in a three mile contest at Musselburgh which seems to suit him, and where he has recorded a couple of wins.
POLAR GALE is better on a firmer surface, particularly at Sedgefield.
SYDNEY SLING raced in the rear until making some progress to three out. The run came to naught.
HERMANO CORDOBES raced prominently until fading steadily from the fourteenth
DARINA’S BOY barely took off at the first and jettisoned Gary Rutherford.
FAKIMA has produced odd bite of form, but he was never going on this occasion and his jockey called it a day before two out.
2.45 2m 3f Class 4 Beginners’ Chase
There is plenty happening in these events when there is decent field size and analyzing the race requires eyes in many places or a few glances at race replays. As I haven’t the benefit eight eyes, I settle for the latter.
DOUBLE VODKA came into this with a little more experience than some and he had recorded two respectable placed efforts in a truncated ’08-09 season. Although there was a doubt about the trip, he seemed to see out the nineteen furlongs comfortably enough, staying on o hold the placed horses at bay with a little to spare. He might just be handily handicapped off 123 under the right circumstances, but should be capable of picking up a novice event with a penalty.
THE PANAMA KID stayed on in the closing stages to wrest second place on the run-in. He was a fair novice hurdler and looks well capable of winning a chase.
FORTYSECOND STREET led or disputed most of the way but was run out of second place on the run-in. His free-going style might prove better around two miles, but this was a sound chasing debut.
SCALE BANK raced up with the pace but made a couple of mistakes and was held from two out. On his hurdling form this was a decent effort since the first three would all be giving him the best part of a stone over the lesser obstacles, and it is hoped that he will progress with chasing experience.
GREENBELT never showed at the front end but was staying on through the field up the straight. His best jumps form has been saved for Catterick and Wetherby and he is favoured by some cut in the ground. Depending on how the handicapper looks at this effort he may be one for a novices’ handicap chase around here.
Rose Dobbin’s runners continue to struggle, only a couple of thirds from 21 runners to date, and MIRAGE DORE could only keep on at one pace in the straight. He seemed to jump quite well here but lacked any ‘oomph’ at the sharp end. If the stable start to fire he will most likely leave this form behind.
YEOMAN SPIRIT never got in a blow at the leaders.
YACHVILI is proven as moderate at both hurdling and chasing and was another who failed to land a blow.
BORDER REIVER raced prominently early but slipped back through the pack in the second half of the race. He was well beaten by Pamak D’Airy in a small field on chasing debut and has to show a lot more.
MAGELLAN STRAITS was never nay better than midfield and ran to the same level as his chasing debut run.
ANOTHER CHARMER weakened from five out, but at least completed which was more than he managed in two previous chasing attempts.
FAITH AND REASON thumped the first and was always towards the rear from that point.
THE KEALSHORE KID trundled round in the rear to the tenth but then made progress only for his run to peter out in the straight.
EASBY PARK finished a remote last having been beaten a long way on his Sedgefield chasing bow. Early evidence is that chasing is not his game.
3.20 2m NH Flat
This could turn out to be a decent contest and a number of the runners caught my eye, both with short and long term prospects in mind.
DEAR SAM, a winner for his previous trainer at Sligo, recorded a win on his second outing for Steve Gollings. Driven to lead two out, he was soon headed but kept on to regain the lead close home despite holding his head to the right.
COUNTY COLOURS has more of a proven jumping pedigree than the winner. He ran a decent third close up of 25 at Punchestown before being acquired by Graham Wylie and looked the winner of this event when taking the lead inside the final furlong. However he was just worried out of it close up. Nevertheless this looks a decent effort and I would imagine we will see the best of him once he goes hurdling.
SAMBELUCKY was held up right at the back of the field. He started to pick up five furlongs out and gained steadily on the leaders up the straight but arriving too late to trouble the first two. If put into the race properly he should pick up a run-of-the-mill bumper.
TAHITI PEARL was up with the pace for most of the way and kept on under pressure from three furlongs out. This one is likely to be better once sent jumping, being from a family that includes Truckers Tavern and Willie Wumpkins.
CHIEF BUCANEER was fourth in what looked a decent bumper at Carlisle. He raced at or near the front but was held from two out. He’s another from a jumping family who should improve given time.
BENNY BE GOOD was an easy winner of a lesser event at Sedgefield in November, the second in that event well exposed. He had a chance two out but was held from that point. MORELLO MIST showed promise, running with the pace for much of the way but showing greenness in the straight and only offering one pace. A price of 50/1 suggests nothing special was expected but she’s bred to be a mid to long distance chaser, so getting into the scrap here suggests she will be something to work with in the long term.
MANNERED, a stable-mate to Benny Be Good, was the one of the stable’s runners who caught the eye. Eased up to chase the leaders into the straight he was never over-pressed by his rider and gave the impression there’s a bit more in the locker. A half-brother to two bumper winners, and out of a dam who won a bumper and stayed 3m 3f over hurdles, the impression I would expect a good deal better.