Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Fighting Fifth Day at Newcastle

NEWCASTLE – Saturday November 28th

Going – Good to Soft

12.10 2m 4f Class 4 Handicap Chase

The third last fence was omitted.

PAMAK D’AIRY ran a succession of decent races last season without getting his head in front. Things seem to have clicked now as he recorded his second win of the current campaign. He jumps well and that stands him in good stead at this level. Although under pressure at the last he judged the fence right and stayed on for victory. Much depends on how the handicapper judges the first two as they were clear of the third. However, Pamak D’Airy is one to keep on your side in these events.
ET MAINTENANT was eased in class here and that seemed to be what was needed for a prominent showed. He was always up with the pace and hustled the leader from four out if just held on the final run. Unfortunately, a significant rise for having the third well beaten may force him into tougher company once again. If he remains at this level he should win a race.
SHELOMOH plugged on for third without threatening to place any better. His two victories were off lower marks in easier contests in softer conditions. A tougher test may give him an opportunity as he is 43211 in soft or heavy.
CRACKADEE raced prominently to the eighth but then lost his pitch. He plugged on again down the straight to secure fourth place. He needs further than this.
KING OF THE ARCTIC was outpaced from four out. He is gradually sliding down the ratings, but he seems to prefer the sun on his back these days and could possibly do with a rest until spring.
RUN TO SPACE weakened on the home turn. His jumping wasn’t good enough here.
SOMETHING SILVER was never going well enough to threaten and lost touch in the straight. He has coped with similar company so it seems the race might have been required to bring him on.
JUSTTHEONEFORYOU fell at the fourth.

12.40 2m 6f Class 2 Novices’ Hurdle

BYGONES OF BRID put himself into the Northern staying novice picture seeing off the promising GOING WRONG by a neck. The winner ran a lack lustre race at Chepstow, getting detached early but staying on late. He raced more prominently on this occasion, getting his head in front close home.

1.15 3m Class 3 Novices’ Chase

The two fences down the side of the course were omitted due to the low sun.

WEAPON’S AMNESTY, winner of the three mile Albert Bartlett Spa Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival back in March, was made favourite to take this event. He needed to be ridden to close approaching four out, but eased clear from two out. Unsuccessful in two attempts in Ireland in large fields, there is a suspicion that the smaller field here favoured him.
MUMBLES HEAD carried forward form from a win here last time and performed creditably in second. He wasn’t as good as the winner over hurdles so to finish four lengths second was creditable enough. Peter Bowen should be able to place him to win again over this sort of trip.
ABBEYBRANEY raced prominently but was held from three out. He’s yet to win over fences, and it’s doubtful the handicapper will forgive him a second to Barber’s Shop at the end of last year.
LUCKY WISH probably performed more or less to his mark in fourth, racing up with the pace but held from three out.
MIGHTY MASSINI jumped well for most of the way but he was tiring when hitting three out after which he dropped from contention. He had a tough job based on his current handicap mark and this looked a decent effort. His trainer may well look for easier opportunities in Scotland or the North.
BLAZING DIVA jumped moderately and trundled round at her own pace to pick up pocket money for sixth.

1.50 2m Grade 1 Fighting Fifth Hurdle

This was the strongest renewal of the Fighting Fifth for sometime with at least three strong contenders for the Champion Hurdle present. However, it may be the case that horses aimed at Cheltenham are not going to be fully wound up at this time of year. That gives an advantage to a trainer of a slightly lesser contender who can get his charge at the top of his game. Such was the case with GO NATIVE, running creditably to date this season, who ultimately won this race comfortably. The ‘lower rated horse in form’ angle is worth bearing in mind for future autumn campaigns.
It is a great pity that there are no Northern hurdlers considered worth trying in this contest.

2.55 3m 0-100 Handicap Chase

As suggested in the notes after her Hexham run, ITS TEESCOMPONENTS needed to be upped in trip. Having pressed the leader she pulled away up the straight to win with a fair bit in hand and well enough to suggest that she can take on slightly tougher opposition.
SEEK THE TRUTH picked off the rump of the field from the fourteenth but never got anywhere near the winner. He has won a couple of Class 5 events and he’s running well enough that his trainer might find another moderate contest for him, but he wouldn’t want the ground too soft.
SADDLER’S WAY closed approaching the thirteenth but was well held from two out. He is lightly raced and has now completed twice and probably not the finished article yet.
INDY MOOD trundled around mid to rear division, didn’t jump well and isn’t inspiring at the moment.
DAY DU ROY was 8lbs wrong in the weights and made no impact.
COPPER’S GOLD led to the ninth and kept in touch to four out, but then weakened. It seems the stable are trying to find his distance at the moment.
TIME BANDIT was never going. He was tried in a tongue-tie, perhaps explaining his poor effort over hurdles at Kelso, and there was no improvement.

3.25 3m 0-154 Rehearsal Handicap Chase

This race used to be a conditions race held at Chepstow. Since being moved and changed to a handicap I’m not sure it has quite found its niche, and I can’t believe the clash with the Hennessy does its status an awful lot of good. That being said the contest was competitive for its level which is just off the better staying chase grade.

BEAT THE BOYS is very useful on a going day but mixes the good with the bad. That being said 6 wins in 14 chases is a very creditable record, and he did his job nicely here, taking up the running three out and forging clear from that point. Looking at his record, although he has won on soft that was when he was on the way through the grades and I suspect the ground here was as soft as is ideal for him. I’d steer clear of him in the mud, but on decent ground he’s one to put on the shortlist.
COE was going well four out, briefly got to the winner approaching two out but could only stay one for second after that. He’s probably suited by a little farther than this and definitely at his best when the going is testing, 1134122 in soft or heavy over jumps.
ACCORDING TO JOHN rattled through the novice hurdle and chase ranks with a sequence of wins in 2006. This was one of his best efforts since, keeping on from three out. He should be good enough to pick a staying contest dropped in class.
JASS will presumably be aimed at the long distance chases in the north this season and was doing his best work at the finish on this occasion.
MORE LIKELY was up against it in this company. She led from the fourth to the ninth, but dropped back once headed. However she rallied determinedly in the straight and was gaining gradually at the line. She’s at her best in small or uncompetitive fields where she can dominate, particularly at Kelso, but at least this run proves she is in good heart.
NOZIC made steady progress form a mile out and came to challenge two out. His run petered out at that point. His best form has been on soft or heavy, and even off his current mark of 154 he goes on the shortlist when the mud is flying.
This was probably a bit tough for CHIEF DAN GEORGE who couldn’t get to the leaders. The handicapper has gripped him after his novice wins last season.
TOBY JUG ran a good race to two out, but he was headed at that point and weakened. He had a good autumn but is on a high mark now and his trainer may have to seek less competitive events.
HORNER WOODS briefly threatened to get involved four out but couldn’t make an impression. His second at the Cheltenham Festival saw him pushed up the ratings and it remains to be seen if he can cope at the current level.
GOLDEN FLIGHT made mistakes and was struggling with five to jump. He has four poor runs on his record since moving from France, and blinkers applied here didn’t make any difference.
HARMONY BRIG ran close up off top weight at Kelso but was outclassed in this company.
ZITENKA fitted the two-week return pattern again and hadn’t been pressed when coming down at the eleventh. Surprisingly she only went up 5lbs for her Wetherby win, so I’d bear her in mind again if returning to the course within a couple of weeks of her last run.
THE LAST DERBY and SELECTION BOX were always towards the rear and pulled up before the thirteenth. SELECTION BOX would be better in less exalted company at a shorter distance.

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