AYR – Thursday March 25th
Going – Good in Soft (Good in places) changed to Soft after race 4
The second last fence down the back straight remained ‘ground under repair’ but will hopefully back in action for the Scottish National meeting.
2.10 2m 4f Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle
OSCAR HONEY had lost his way since stringing together a decent sequence of results in spring 2008. When he main rival went wrong here he was left to win comfortably and must take some confidence out of this display. He seemed to lose confidence over fences, but a mark of 115 might be exploitable in handicap hurdles.
MERIDIAN CITY led briefly before three out but it soon became clear there was something amiss and he was pulled up after two out, badly lame in front. Taken away in the horse ambulance it’s clear that at best he’ll be off the track for a fair while.
EIGHTEEN CARAT put up by far his best effort so far to finish second. The dam comes from a good jumping family and he should improve with time.
HATHAMORE stayed on for third, but is only rated 69 and hadn’t got anywhere near previously. RAVENSBILL plugged on for fourth but is basically slow, though Willie Amos has eeked out a little improvement since taking over from Swanee Haldane.
Fife trainer Nick Alexander reports that FEARLESS FOOTSTEPS has suffered a breathing problem and will be retired after pulling up here. Alexander said, “she will make a lovely horse for someone”. May she live a long and happy life.
2.40 2m 4f Class 4 Novices’ Chase
With a 49 rated tortoise finishing third here the form means nothing, but NOBLE ALAN had a gentle exercise canter to win this. The second EL BANDINDOS doesn’t look anywhere near his 118 rating while ELLANDSHE added another completion and some more ‘keep money’ in third, plugging on honestly but slowly.
LE PLATINO was a slow fourth and Bellewstown hurdles winner LIGHTENING SKY doesn’t look up to it over fences.
3.15 2m Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle
OVERTURN won this very comfortably and might be a decent novice if his jumping wasn’t so sloppy. Setting the pace he stretched on from three out and didn’t look like getting caught.
SI BIEN stayed on from three out but couldn’t hold the winner from two out. He’s rather one paced at the business end but should find a race somewhere along the line.
MALIN BAY stayed on late for third giving some cause for hope on his hurdling debut. WORLD OF EVENTS was a one paced fourth and the rest were well beaten off.
3.50 2m 5f 0-105 Handicap Chase
SOMETHING SILVER has been hinting at a possible win of late, and with the ground softening during the afternoon the conditions that suit him prevailed. He won this comfortably, leading most of the way and staying on strongly. Given a wet spell there may be another race to be won soon.
MANOUBI is in decent heart at the moment and stayed on determinedly to take second place. He generally stays on from out the back, but has been raced noticeably nearer the pace of late with a good deal of improvement.
BENNY THE PILER is not the most reliable character and was cajoled along in the rear before consenting to stay on down the straight for third. He may win a similar race but can’t be relied on.
CROFTON ARCH ran a fair race to finish fourth, certainly better than a number of recent efforts, but was well held from four out.
SKIPPING CHAPEL made an effort going to four out but dropped away approaching the next. He’s proving a weak finisher and will need to be dropped to the lowest level to have a chance of winning.
PANTHER’S RUN was a never dangerous sixth, PHONE IN was struggling by the end of the back straight, finishing tailed off though in front of enigmatic YANKEE HOLIDAY who couldn’t dominate here and probably found the going too soft.
SNOWY fell away disappointingly down the far side and was pulled up. He has had a ‘bitty’ season and isn’t in good heart at the moment.
PLAY THE ROCK made progress to the home turn but faded swiftly and was pulled up before the last.
4.25 2m 0-108 Handicap Hurdle
ELITE LAND was out the back early but picked up mid race, challenged two out and got up on the line. He’s still eligible to run off about the same mark that he ran off here and there may be scope for completion of a treble if brought out again soon.
PATRIOT looked the likely winner approaching the last, but gave the fence a clout and couldn’t recover enough to hold the winner.
BEIDH TINE ANSEO made a fair handicap debut, staying on from three out, whilst NIGHT KNIGHT had every chance but was held from two out.
4.55 2m 0-115 Handicap Chase
DUKE OF MALFI led or disputed and was stretching on, four lengths clear, when left well ahead of one rival four out. The other two were going well but you have to jump round.
EMOTIVE and THE KEALSHORE KID were matching strides when coming down independently four out. The impression was that THE KEALSHORE KID was going better at the time and would likely have troubled the winner.
KOSTA BRAVA pulled too hard and lacked of concentration on his fences saw him come down at the third. He will be troubled if not learning to settle.
CALCULAITE was left a remote second four out, a shadow of his performance here last time.
5.30 2m NH Flat
This looked a moderate contest. The pace was slow early and COMERAGH KING, well held at Doncaster, asserted from two out on this occasion.
BROOKLYN BAY stayed on to take second off FLINTY BAY in the final furlong. I wouldn’t mind betting the latter to come out best of the first three over time and he will come on for this outing.