CARLISLE – Sunday November 29th
The well publicised recent weather in Cumbria left Carlisle in a position familiar last season, fields of runners slogging through the mud.
2.00 2m 4f Class 3 Novices’ Chase
COMHLA RI COIG had some fair form over hurdles and rating at 142, but he has always been a chaser in waiting. He progressed from a moderate debut at Bangor and should go on from this. Always close up, the McCain gelding took over two out and gradually forged clear. He’s in the right stable for a steeplechaser and should be placed to advantage.
MR WOODS lost nothing in defeat chasing home Comhla Ri Coig since he’s rated a stone less than the winner over hurdles. He stays well and is arguably suited by slightly better ground than this.
CLASSIC CUT was never seriously involved in the contest, seemed to struggle with his jumping in the heavy ground and had lost touch with a mile to go. He stayed on again up the hill to pass tiring rivals. He will benefit from a step up in distance and a faster surface would do no harm.
DIAMOND FRONTIER doesn’t look as good as the first two and struggled from three out. He should find a chase but needs his sights lowered a little.
POLITICAL PENDANT is only rated 84 over hurdles and had no chance in this company, while Irish point winner NEBELTAU has shown nothing in two runs under Rules.
ALLEGEDLY RED was shooting at the moon with a catapult here and unseated at the second anyway.
FETTLER has yet to show any semblance of ability, was soon detached and pulled up before the tenth.
2.30 3m ½f 0-127 Handicap Chase
James Ewart’s string is now hitting form after a slow start to the season. Stable veteran HUKA LODGE showed that he retains his ability, staying on up the hill to hold a promising runner-up. Huka Lodge has consistently shown himself up to this class with all his recent wins coming in Class 3 events, and he revels in the mud with 6 soft/heavy wins out of 7 successes.
PRINE DE BEAUCHENE looks something to go forward with. He was just held by a seasoned campaigner suited by the conditions, but this was a very promising UK chasing debut. Another who clearly handles testing conditions, although held he was keeping the winner honest on the run-in. There must surely be better to come from this half-brother to useful staying chaser Miko De Beauchene.
HIMALAYAN TRAIL was chasing the leaders to four out but got left behind from that point. I suspect less testing ground and a flatter track would see him to better advantage, though this company is more his level after being set some tough tasks in the past year.
NEWMAN DES PLAGES found this an all round tougher assignment than his win over half a mile less here last time. He ran in snatches and just plugged on at one pace from four out.
MINSTER SHADOW never got into the race and has not got his game together after an interrupted season in ‘08-09.
REEL CHARMER was struggling by the thirteenth. The race he won at Cartmel was a much softer contest, and he is 7lbs higher than that mark.
MASTER SEBASTIAN returned after missing last season and was in trouble a mile out. I would expect the race to bring him on.
TEEMING RAIN, who has shown ability occasionally, added another letter to his ‘impressive’ collection when falling at the tenth before having been asked a question.
3.05 2m 0-125 Handicap Hurdle
A decent afternoon for James Ewart continued as OPEN DE L’ISLE took this race, staying on strongly from two out to win with a bit in hand. He swaps backwards and forwards between hurdling and chasing, and has about the same level of form in both disciplines. I haven’t fathomed a pattern with this one I’m afraid, but he is at least in good heart and an overall record of 5 from 25 is decent for a fair to middling performer.