Monday, 14 December 2009

Weekend Round-up - December 11 to 13

I'M DELILAH confirmed the promise of her Kelso chasing debut when seeing off Scottiah Champion Hurdle winner Noble Alan in the novice chase at Doncaster on Friday. Ferdy Murphy's mare jumped very well in front and summoned up an impressive turn of speed when challenged by the useful second. I'm Delilah has been a consistent performer over the last couple seasons adn would appear well capable of progressing. Meanwhile this should have proved a confidence booster for NOBLE ALAN who fell at Aintree on his previous run. He won very nicely at Hexham on his chasing bow and should be capable of picking up another chase.

SA SUFFIT was shade disappointing when 16 lengths eighth at cheltenham. However this was by far the most competitive race that James Ewart's charge has competed in, and it sometinmes takes a horse a race or two to become battel hardened once stepped up. I believe he will produce better off his current mark.

Lucinda Russell took ET MAINTENANT to Cheltenham to contest the 2m 5f handicap chase on Friday. He was in with a chance three out but gradually faded from the home turn. This was a good deal tougher than the Class 4 event he contested at Newcastle and it's worth noting that he was only put up 2lbs for that run. He can still get into 0-115 contests and it should be possible to find a softer contest in the north.

Jim Goldie's DHAULAR DHAR went close on his hurdling debut and is likely to pick up a novice event in the near future, though this performance in a fair looking heat probably blows any chance of a decent price.

The behaviour of some elements of the Doncaster crowd has been well documented elsewhere. Saturday's two mile handicap hurdle was halted since there was no safe route to pass the stricken Spanish Conquest. The course officials had no choice but to make the call they did, but it's a sad comment that a percentage of the crowd value the potential contents of their pocket more than the welfare of the contestants. One hopes that Doncaster might seek to discourage the rowdy element, but from past experience that is definitiely hope rather than expectation.


Group Captain John Prideaux has taken over as Chairman of Musselburgh racecourse. He replaces Councillor John Caldwell who previously held the post of racecourse chairman and chairman of the Musselburgh Joint Racing Committee which runs the course on behalf of a partnership of Lothian Racing Syndicate Ltd and East Lothian Council. Councillor Caldwell continues as head of the MJRC.

Musselburgh has made excellent strides forward in recent seasons and it is hoped that progress will continue under the stewardship of Group Captain Prideaux who has a wealth of experience as a steward at Mussleburgh, Perth and Kelso. While the flat programme at Musselburgh has been well established and improved, it is the National Hunt programme which has been particularly strengthened in recent seasons. The excellent winter ground that the course can provide has attracted strong entries from the whole of the UK and from Ireland, the quality of jump racing having improved as a consequence.

Unfotunately Ayr became a victim of a cold snap and their meeting today has been called off. Assuming the forecast bad weather isn't too extreme, Musselburgh holds its last meeting before Christmas on Monday December 21st. That will be it for Scotland until the New Year Sprint Meeting on December 29th, well worth a visit if you are at a loose end between the Christmas and Hogmanay festivities. Meanwhile I'll keep readers up to date with the steeplechasing activities 'over the border', Catterick, Newcastle and Carlisle providing the pre-Christmas action. Sedgefield then open their doors for traditional Boxing Day action, though the fixture swaps to Fontwell in 2010. Yes, that's what I thought!

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