After a break of nearly a couple of weeks the Northern jumps circuit was back in action at Catterick. It’s still very cold in Scotland though, after snow and rain at the end of last week we have frost for the last few days, and it has been struggling to clear most days. Kelso have a decent card planned on Saturday including a couple of Class 2 chases and the bill topping Grade 2 Totepool Premier Hurdle which has drawn a decent entry of northern novices. The weather conditions are forecast to less severe running up to the weekend so the meeting should go ahead with no problem.
Kelso’s meeting heralds a busy period in the north with 17 meetings due to take place in my chosen area of study to the end of March. I just hope I can keep up with the action!
James Ewart flew the Saltire at Catterick and returned o’er the border with two wins.
CATTERICK – Tuesday 2nd March
Going- Good To Soft (Soft in places)
2.00 2m 3f 0-93 Lady Riders’ Amateur Selling Handicap Hurdle
One or two with bits of form, but overall this was a poor event.
MARDOOD wouldn’t go down as the most reliable performer, but he had enough resolution up the straight on this occasion to lose his maiden tag.
SAMIZDAT raced prominently but couldn’t raise his effort enough from two out. He has now run 21 hurdle races without a win.
MT DESERT kept on from two out without seriously threatening the winner.
NIGHTBOAT TO CAIRO looked to have a decent opportunity here but faded from two out.
SKIPPING CHAPEL, who had shown a little promise recently, pulled too hard early on and could offer nothing from two out.
2.30 3m 1½f 0-100 Handicap Hurdle
A staying handicap hurdle notable for the number of refugees from chasing, perhaps taking the chance of an outing after recent weather interruptions.
QUAY MEADOW isn’t very fast, but he stays well and handles cut in the ground. He made steady progress from three out, took over at the last and stayed on well to add to the win recorded off this mark of 83 last winter.
DAUNTSEY BAY made progress to lead two out going well, but found the winner stronger from before the last. He’s yet to win over hurdles, but isn’t doing too much wrong and there should be a lowly handicap within his compass.
COUNT BORIS, coming into the race off a run of three seconds, had every chance but was one paced form before the last. He’s yet to record a win over hurdles, but his previous record suggests he will need an extreme stamina test, either in the mud or at a stiff track.
The well backed WHAT’S OCCURRIN led until two out at a decent pace but weakened once headed. He ran a similar sort of race over half a mile less last time.
TEENANDO ran a fair race in fifth. His confidence seems low over fences and it is hoped this hurdles outing might help him.
3.00 2m 0-115 Handicap Chase
DREVER ROUTE seemed better suited by the slightly less testing conditions on this occasion. He’s always given the impression of being a long term project and it could be that things are starting to click. He kicked on from three out and those chasing didn’t get to him. His trainer apparently feels he ideally needs a longer distance and he may well prosper as the ground dries out.
STORM SURGE put up a season’s best in second place. He never quite got to the winner down the straight though keeping on well enough.
DESPERATE DEX, up 34lbs from his official mark two runs ago (he ran 16lbs wrong then), tried hard enough but was held in the latter stages. He needed to be driven along from quite a way out and may just have found this better class just beyond him.
TRANOS plugged on late. This was a bit better than his recent efforts, but he doesn’t threaten a win in the near future.
ORMUS never got seriously competitive and was left behind from three out. He took a heavy fall at Musselburgh last time and hasn’t yet got close over fences.
I’M YOUR MAN found this tougher than recent contests and was crying enough by the home turn.
Leading in his now customary style, CARRIETAU didn’t jump as well as he has done recently. He was feeling the pinch on the home turn and finished well held. He’s been very busy lately and looks to need a rest.
JIM TANGO, off 115 in his first handicap chase, raced up with the lead but dropped away quickly once headed on the final bend.
3.30 2m 3f Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle
GOOD OLD THYME’s form set the standard in this event. He challenged two out, led at the last and ran on for victory.
They went no pace early on, so it’s difficult to work out how much the form is worth. KRIS KIN LINE was well beaten here last time but kept on well for second place having raced prominently. It’s difficult to judge this form, though he may be a bit under-priced next time.
HARD ACT set the steady early pace, picked things up from the sixth and kept on once headed two out. This was an improvement on a poor effort at Chepstow. The latter course is quirky and doesn’t suit all horses, so I’d be happy to accept this form as more his level though with a little still to prove.
TWENTYNINEBLACK showed promise here last time, but he faded from two out on this occasion. Given the slow pace I’m not sure the longer trip would be an excuse.
CAERLAVEROCK chased the leaders three out but couldn’t raise his game enough form that point. He should come on for the race.
One of the more significant performances may have come from FINBAR FLYNN in sixth place. He raced in the rear for much of the way but made significant ground from two out. He’s from a chasing family and would be expected to show up with time, a bit more distance and fences.
4.00 3m 1½f Class 4 Beginners’ Chase
CLASSIC CUT’s jumping isn’t particularly impressive and he won this despite himself. He regularly lost a couple of lengths at fences, but his staying power was too much for his rivals in the latter stages. He’s rated 123, which doesn’t seem unreasonable on what he’s done, but his jumping must cost him around the equivalent of 20lbs so he could rate much higher.
GREENBELT ran well stepped up in trip. He couldn’t quite match the winner’s superior stamina in the latter stages.
WATERLOO ROAD, stepped up from around the minimum trip, was pushed along approaching three out and weakened from two out. He comes from Rathgorman’s family and the obvious thought is that he will be better at shorter.
BLUE SHARK was left behind from three out and was very disappointing.
Point winners BATTLE OF SONG and ONCE BEFORE were well outclassed and pulled up, not offering much encouragement for the near future.
4.30 2m 0-95 Mares’ Novices Handicap Hurdle
CAT SIX had nothing of note over hurdles previously but her latest stable seem to have found the key to her. Her temperament had let her down previously but, having won a maiden point quite nicely back in December, she saw off this moderate field with ease. Another win in similar company would seem likely.
BASFORD LASS was keen in a first time visor but kept going well enough for second place. She won a bumper back in January 2009 and would have a chance of picking up a similar event to this.
HAZY OAKS has a fair record at this track and recorded a fourth placing in seven attempts here, but she remains a maiden. She stayed on up the straight.
DEVILS DELIGHT was one paced in the straight and reported as having a breathing problem.
5.00 2m Maiden NH Flat
WILDE PASTURES built on an encouraging debut in November. He hit the front three furlongs out and galloped on well. He’s liable to improve once upped in distance over jumps.
KENSIX STAR chased the winner up the straight but could make no impression. This was a satisfactory debut and, since he looked a bit green, there should be improvement to come.
Stable record and breeding didn’t encourage support of FENTARA. However, she picked up nicely in the straight and looks one for the future. There is staying chasing blood in the family so it wasn’t a surprise to see her picking up as the race came to an end.
TALKIN SENSE comes from a stable whose runners often need a bit of time. He went well for much of the way before being held from two furlongs out.
PAIR OF KINGS, placed on his previous outing, was in trouble exiting the back straight and making no progress but kept on again in the final two furlongs.