SEDGEFIELD – Tuesday January 26th
Going – Soft(Heavy in places)
This was a low key card though there’s a possibility the maiden chase might have thrown up a fair staying chaser.
Course layout note - The first hurdle away from the stands was so close to the bend that it was almost turned into a ‘hurdling Canal Turn’! The final hurdle was placed after the second last fence quite a way down the straight.
1.30 2m 1f Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle
Four were seriously concerned in the last half mile, each of them having shown promise previously. The last hurdle was omitted as a jockey was down following a first circuit fall.
TARA ROYAL built on decent opening effort at Ayr, pushing on from two out to win a shade cosily. The three behind all had form previously so he should have enough in hand to win under a penalty.
COLOUR CLASH provided a further indication of that the Dobbin stable have shaken off their problems. He stayed on from two out, never got to the winner but appears to be going in the right direction.
BENNY BE GOOD brought forward sound bumper form, his sixth last time being in what looked a very decent race. He made a satisfactory hurdling debut, keeping on down the straight after racing prominently.
KELLYSTOWN LAD won over further at Musselburgh and he stayed on late to suggest that a step back up in trip is required.
2.00 3m 3f Class 4 Maiden Chase
As is often the case in these events there was a wide range of ability on display.
Three time Irish point winner VFORVICTORY looks a very interesting recruit to the chasing ranks. He put up a promising effort over hurdles on his Rules debut and stepped up here, pulling clear in the straight to win with stacks in hand. He should now go on to take better contests than this.
WORK BOY performed as well as his handicap mark of 97 suggested he would. He was close up when making a mistake three out and chased vainly from that point. Work Boy went close in handicap chases last season, and that’s where his chances lie.
SAMSBRO has been running in fair to middling staying handicaps, but he never got into the contest here. He was well below his best and finished a tired third.
SMART MISTRESS plodded around for fourth and despite form figures of 24 has achieved little in two chases.
DOC WELLS raced prominently early but was feeling when he fell at the first fence on the final circuit bringing down BRIG OF AYR, another struggling at the time.
EDITORS ROSE had run a creditable race but was just plugging on when unseating two out. This wasn’t a bad start in the UK and she would be better off in low level handicaps.
CLOISTERS HILL raced prominently to the fifteenth but dropped away and was pulled up two out. He has shown nothing that suggests he can cope when a race begins in earnest.
Maiden point winners CULLEN’S CAPER and GREENANDREDPARSON were never competitive and pulled up two out having raced in the rear.
VIEL GLUCK should have shown up better than he did. He was struggling when hitting the sixteenth, his jockey calling it a day soon after.
2.30 3m 3½f 0-100 Handicap Hurdle
There are so few hurdles over this distance that it is questionable if there’s much to take out of such races.
FRENCH TIES had unimpressive chasing form in Ireland but clearly stays well, picking his way through the field in the final mile and staying on under pressure. Unless he gets his chasing act together seeking out extreme distance hurdles, or those run at stiff tracks, would seem the obvious way to go.
GOURANGA seems a little more versatile than some in this contest and signalled a return to form with a staying on second place. He has hit form early in the year on more than one occasion. He had enough speed to win over 2m 5f at Warwick last season.
PADDY’S TERN chased the leaders but was held for pace from three out, and ONIZ TIPTOES got within hailing distance on the final bend before fading.
TOY GUN was suited by the conditions but never got into the race seriously, plugging on past a few for fifth. He’s hardly the most consistent and seems better over fences these days. His jockey reported that he 'ran flat' which he does quite often.
3.00 2m ½f 0-90 Handicap Chase
This was a dire contest won by the one horse progressing at the moment.
DESPERATE DEX caught by eye before his race at Huntingdon, mainly because I guessed that Ferdy Murphy must have seen something in him despite a set of form figures befitting his name. He did the business on that occasion and followed up with the minimum of fuss here despite being bumped up 25lbs in the handicap for a win from 16lbs wrong. He’s clearly stones better than the 61 he was rated at the start of the campaign and the evidence of this win is that he could stand a rise in class, the Huntingdon race being a good deal better class anyway. It’s telling that Ferdy Murphy has run him around the minimum trip when all his previous jumping efforts had been over 2m 5f plus and many over extreme distances.
LERIDA occasionally shows fair form at this level though is totally unpredictable. He performed creditably against a well handicapped opponent, but probably won’t reproduce the form next time.
TROODOS JET was in touch two out but was left behind from that point.
KINKEEL, a surprise winner at Southwell last time, was outpaced before three out and could only plug on from that point.
WHATCANYASAY has been off his game for a while and dropped away before two out.
There was no fairytale ending to Peter Beaumont’s training career as FENCOTE MYSTERY dropped away from four out to finish last of six finishers. He had shared the pace up to that point but is a very moderate maiden chaser.
MISCHIEF MAN raced prominently early but was struggling by the eighth and pulled up before two out. He has never produced the goods in soft or heavy ground. His jockey reported thta he didn't handle the ground.
ANGLICISME was always towards the rear and pulled up before two out. He won a selling hurdle this time last year but his form since has become steadily more dire.
ONE BLACK fell at the first fence he has attempted in public.
3.30 2m 4f 0-88 Handicap Hurdle
If the staying handicap hurdle was bad there is a case for saying this race was worse.
I’M YOUR MAN can be difficult to catch right, but he’s plenty good enough against this opposition if on his game. He raced up with the pace and forged clear from three out. The problem is that there’s no guarantee he’ll do the same next time.
NIGHTBOAT TO CAIRO produced a second consecutive career best, chasing the leader from three out to take second place. She might conceivably pick up a similarly low key race and the step up from the minimum trip appeared to do no harm.
ALLANARD went prominent halfway and plugged on in the straight to take third.
The phrase ‘passed a few late on’ suits AMJAD to a tee and he did the usual in staying on for fourth.
SAMIZDAT remains a maiden. This looked a good opportunity but he wasn’t good enough once the runners had turned for home.
4.00 2m 1f Mares’ Only NH Flat
This looked a moderate mares’ bumper won by the Richard Fahey trained LESANDA, well held on two previous occasions but good enough to go on from two furlongs out here. She would appear to have a bit more scope than others in the field and may progress once sent hurdling.
CATLEEN stayed on for second place without quite getting to the winner. She was promising in Irish points, stamina is the family’s strong suit, and she is another likely to benefit from going jumping.
The remainder were well seen off, PORTWAY GIRL held once passed two furlongs out and Hereford winner SAINTLY LADY only able to plug on for fourth.