CATTERICK - Tuesday December 15th
Going – Good To Soft
12.50 2m 3f Class 5 Maiden Chase
This was a seemingly weak maiden chase where the winner was allowed to dictate from the start.
JIM TANGO was fitted with blinkers for the first time, and they certainly did the trick as he bowled along in front from the tapes. He had plenty in hand to keep going up the straight and won comfortably. My concern would be that he won’t always get the chance to dictate as he did here, and my instinct would be that he is liable to be a poor value price next time out.
SPELLCHECKER chased the winner for most of the way but could make no impression from three out. He’s rated higher than the winner but my feel is that he was well below the mark of 113 on this run. He was raised three pounds despite falling when tired At Sedgefield on his chase debut.
STARBOUGG was never near the leaders but stayed on through the field for third. The problem is that he’s yet to win and this effort was typical of his best hurdling runs.
STUFF OF DREAMS made some ground to four out but got no closer from there. Her close up French form was recorded on testing ground.
THE KEALSHORE KID raced third for a long way but weakened in the straight, putting in a third moderate chasing performance.
MYSTERIOUS WORLD never got into the race. He has one or two glimmers of form on fast ground over hurdles, but basically looks very moderate.
MAJOR CARD was always behind and a remote last when falling at the final fence. Three runs in the UK have been uninspiring.
HAZY OAKS, on chasing debut, was prominent early but struggling fully a mile out.
FENCOTE MYSTERY, beaten 10 lengths in a handicap last time off 68, had no chance in this contest and, tailed off by halfway, was pulled up before three out.
1.20 2m 3f Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle
The quirky MERIDIAN CITY, who disgraced himself at Musselburgh recently, was held from two out in this event by TILT who ran on without looking completely committed to the task. Tilt refused to race on a couple of occasions on the flat and would not be one to trust for a repeat.
1.50 3m 1 ½ f 0-117 Handicap Chase
YOUNGSTOWN took a while to get his act together over hurdles though he did win a Uttoxeter handicap in January. Like so many inmates of the McCain yard he has co me into his own once present with fences and won this event with a fair bit to spare. He looks well capable of successfully moving up in grade.
BORDER REIVER, disappointing here last time behind Double Vodka, seemed much more at home in handicap company and kept on without threatening the winner. He jumped soundly and saw off the remainder well enough, so it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see him go one better.
COLDWELLS goes well around here, but past evidence suggests that a couple of runs put her straight and it wouldn’t be a total surprise if she goes close in similar company before long. Always prominent, on this occasion she couldn’t raise her game sufficiently once turned for home.
STAR BEAT ran well from the front last time, but he’s also been successful when held up though on this occasion his progress came far too late to impact on the leaders.
REEL CHARMER raced with the pace until giving way turning for home. This was an improvement on her two earlier efforts this season.
BENNY THE PILER gradually faded in the final mile. He has ability but it can be devilishly difficult to coax it out of him, and he would not have been favoured by the cut in the ground.
SUPER BABY seemed to find this trip a bit beyond him and, though rallying to four out, was struggling from the home turn.
SPARKLING TAFF was never going very well and tailed off from four out.
LE VERT GALANT was never going and quickly dismounted when pulled up with a circuit to go.
NILE MOON wouldn’t have been keen on racing in the rear and was pulled up before four out.
2.50 2m 0-105 Handicap Chase
BLACKS BRIDGE gave the impression when fourth on his Musselburgh chasing debut that there was a little more to come. Put into the contest from halfway, he took the lead two out and kept on under pressure on the flat though idling a little after landing over the last. Although it looked hard work I fancy he may have more in the tank if persuaded. He didn’t spend too long hurdling and the impression is he may prove progressive over fences.
MORE LIKE IT was being worked at three out back in sixth place, but he responded well and closed on the winner approaching the last, briefly threatened when the winner idled after which he kept on but was held. He won off 4lbs higher than this mark last December and seems in good heart.
I’M YOUR MAN was thereabouts all the way and placed best of the pacesetters. He needs to be caught on the right day but is capable at this level.
STORM SURGE fell on his recent seasonal return. He got to the tails of the leaders three out but couldn’t make an impression from that point. More cut in the ground would do him no harm, and this run may just set him right.
SIR IAN set the early pace and was still in contention two out but could offer only one pace from that point. Given that Sir Ian got a lot closer here than at Warwick, Charlie Longsdon might be tempted north with him again. Given a less competitive contest he should be good enough to win at this level.
BARTON SUN picked his way through the stragglers to finish sixth. He’s basically slow but makes it into a place now and again. WATCH THE WIND occupied more or less the same ground as Barton Sun through the contest and is often hindered by ponderous jumping.
ORMUS raced prominently and led three out, but once headed he went out like a light. He doesn’t seem particularly well handicapped over fences on early evidence.
FRITH made no impact in the last mile and hasn’t regained last season’s respectable form at this level.
BRADDOCK ISLAND ran a good race at Musselburgh until falling but struggled in the last mile here.
TRANOS didn’t look interested and trailed round in the rear.
BLAST THE PAST was behind by the eighth and trailed in last. His past record suggests quick ground is more helpful.
CORDIER, his jumping less than perfect, weakened on the home turn and was well beaten when falling at the last.
NEW WISH, a moderate performer, is better on quicker ground in the summer and was pulled up here.
CROFTON ARCH has a generally poor recent record and added another P to the pod here having never got involved.