CATTERICK – Friday January 22nd
Going – Soft
The ground cut up and the later races in particular turned into a real slog. As is often the case at Catterick there were decent field sizes and some competitive racing. I would normally just stick to reporting the chasers at Catterick, but since there's been so little racing and more bad weather is forecast I'm covering as much as I can.
12.50 2m 0-90 Selling Handicap Hurdle
This was a poor event.
SHADRACK had been well held in novice company, but found this level more to his liking and stayed on nicely from the sixth to win with a little to spare.
ROYAL FLYNN has yet to win in 19 attempts over hurdles, though he is a 7 time flat winner. He chased the winner from two out and at least kept Shadrack honest.
The two were a long way clear of NIGHTBOAT TO CAIRO who stayed on from the rear for third, just pipping top weight NOUS VOILA close home.
1.20 2m 3f Class 4 Beginners’ Chase
FORTYSECONDSTREET looked the most likely winner of this event when leading three out. He looked to have sealed the race when John Forbes made a hash of the last, but Howard Johnson’s charge slowed on the run-in and was caught close home. His hurdles wins were on good or fast ground and the testing ground may have found him out.
JOHN FORBES, who had four attempts over fences in 2007 but has been kept to hurdling since, chased the leader down the street. He looked finished when whacking the last but responded with determination to get up close home. He showed enough to suggest he can score again.
ANOTHER CHARMER was starting to feel the pinch in third when n hitting four out and was allowed to come home in his own time.
Double hurdles winner KING FONTAINE dropped back swiftly after the seventh and appeared to have a problem.
SEVEN IS LUCKY started to lose touch by the sixth and, having just struggled over the eighth, was pulled up before the ninth.
1.50 2m 3f 0-130 Handicap Hurdle
This proved to be a test that favoured the bottom weights, with the first 6 finishers emerging from the bottom 7 in the handicap.
SENDALI was tucked away in midfield for most of the way, move through to the head of affairs two out and stayed on from the last.
DANCING DIK has been running well this season. He held every chance down the straight and challenged at the last, but was held in the final 100 yards. He should be capable of picking up a similar contest.
THE GLOVES ARE OFF led approaching the second last, staying in contention to the flat, but was held close home. This was a creditable debut for his stable after a move from Ireland.
Versatile WOODY VALENTINE bounced back after a poor effort at Hexham. He was 50/1 here but his overall recent form isn’t bad and slightly better ground might see him back in the winner’s enclosure.
BRACKENMOSS never got into the race but stayed on through the field for sixth place, previous evidence suggesting that even more testing conditions would be helpful.
2.20 3m 1½f 0-119 Handicap Chase
A decent sized field for this contest was comfortably put in its place by top-weight BALLABRIGGS. Donald McCain’s charge impressed me as a future chaser when I first saw him. It’s taken some time for him to fulfil promise but his long term target is now the Topham Chase after he cruised home here. He joined the leader at the twelfth, over jumped three out but was pulled up from on his nose, then stayed on far too strongly for the remainder. He should progress to make his mark against better opposition.
DARK BEN impressed at Newcastle, but ran disappointingly at Kempton over Christmas when a lost shoe was the excuse. Back to form here, and jumping exuberantly as before, he raced prominently before being outpointed form three out. He showed enough here to suggest it won’t be long before he wins again.
HERECOMESTANLEY is a tough sort and followed up a second at Fakenham on Monday with a sound performance to take third here. He’s well exposed but is tough, genuine and in decent form.
CROSS COMPLIANCE raced in touch with the pace before finding extra effort beyond him from three out. He’s lightly raced, had shown some promise on his previous run here and might be of interest dropped in class.
COLDWELLS closed up at the twelfth and was still in contention on the final bend. However, the tank emptied from that point.
CANADA STREET is a dour stayer who often finds himself tapped for pace at crucial stages. He couldn’t raise his game once outpaced approaching the last in the back straight.
MIRPOUR, in first time visor, was under pressure by the thirteenth and faded. It’s a while since he’s shown any worthwhile form.
TOP CLOUD raced prominently to a mile out before gradually dropping out of contention. He’s been disappointing of late.
DARINA’S BOY led or disputed early but had lost touch before the twelfth and completed well in arrears. His jumping wins have all been on better ground and he is in the twilight stage of his career.
DAWN RIDE raced in the rear and finished remote and tired.
ADARE PRINCE lost touch from the fourteenth and finished a very tired last.
BENNY THE PILER unseated at the second.
SHREWD INVESTOR was never going and is better in smaller fields where his jumping is not put under pressure. I’ve got him as one to follow when running in fields of 8 or less. It’s an arbitrary figure but a reasonable guide.
EBAC ran a couple of fair races in novice events last summer, but most of his form is dire and he was pulled up with a mile to go.
DO L’ENFANT D’EAU almost fell at the third, was tailed off by the eighth and his jockey called it a day going on to the final circuit. He had been off the track for a long time and his form is a light of former days.
2.55 3m 1½f Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle
This was a tiring slog and two went clear, MILANS MAN, racing up with the pace, going on from two out and holding the lead on the flat despite hanging to the right. With two wins under his belt I would presume his trainer will now aim at handicaps and in the long term go on to chasing.
TILT chased the winner from two out and performed creditably enough, finishing over 60 lengths clear of the third.
SADDLERS MOUNT plugged around for third and looks a long term project, this double Irish point winner’s future likely to be over fences.
PERSIAN GATES won at Southwell but proved well below the level required here and was a remote last of the four finishers.
3.30 2m 0-113 Handicap Chase
CARRIETAU has been galvanised by the application of blinkers. Before the aids were applied he was a poor finisher and dropped away in the latter stages. However, the one strength he has shown in recent efforts has been stickability. Things got tough close home and his resolution was tested, but to his credit he did enough to hold on after being at the head of affairs for most of the way. I get the impression he hasn’t finished winning.
DREVER ROUTE was driven along before halfway and detached from the main group. He stayed on through the field late on to secure second place, but the over-riding feeling is that he’s not achieving as much as his raw ability merits.
MISS PROSS was with the leaders when hitting four out. She was ridden to close again on the home turn but was tired and held from two out. The race may well have done her some good and she still seems competitive off a mark two pounds higher than her top winning rating. She has a sound record at Sedgefield but hasn’t run there for some while.
BAMBY raced with the leaders but was treading water from two out. She has needed the run after a break before and might come on for this outing.
CROW SPINNEY broke her duck in a hurdle at Perth last June, but has done very little since and lost touch early on here plugging on for fifth.
BRADDOCK ISLAND won at Sedgefield in November. He showed up well at Musselburgh until falling on his next attempt but he’s shown very little otherwise. He lost touch from the eighth.
KARMADICE took a heavy fall at the seventh when in midfield. He got up OK but his jockey Shane Byrne stayed down. TRANOS was impeded and unseated.
FARNE ISLAND has yet to break his duck but seemed to be going best three out. He fell and with that went a golden chance, though he has shown enough of late to suggest a small handicap may fall his way.
4.05 2m NH Flat
Cambridgeshire based Mrs Humphrey has a respectable record with a small string and seems to have unearthed a fair performer in CARPINCHO. This race became a three horse race in the straight in the cut up ground and two came clear in the closing stages. French-bred Carpincho was an Irish point winner in October, looks a chaser in the making and there are winners in the family.
VANNIN was a promising second at Carlisle first time out and kept on well here if held in the final furlong. As a four year old he has time and should make up into a hurdler.
ATTAGLANCE never got competitive with the leaders but stayed on well for third. This home bred sort gives some promise for the future and the yard is clever enough to get the best out of him.
ALLOW ME led to five furlongs out and battled back to challenge three out though was held from that point. He shown enough to suggest he can be competitive over hurdles.