CARLISLE – Saturday April 3rd
Going – Heavy, changed from Soft after Race One…, so that’s Heavy all afternoon then!
The Easter programme has been weakened in recent years, and with Newton Abbot abandoned the cards on show were a shadow of former years. Carlisle did lay on some competitive fields however, an all steeplechase card allowing the hurdle/flat course to recover a little for the summer season.
2.15 2m Class 4 Novices’ Chase
A straightforward task for DIAMOND FRONTIER with the race in the bag from three out. He did dive at the odd fence or two and he would have to avoid such errors in better company.
LORD LARSSON got round for the first time I five attempts, but he basically kept on in his own time.
DAR ES SALAAM has his work cut out in non-handicaps and will be better served running in handicaps. He was beaten when falling heavily at the last, though he was up after a brief pause for recovery.
LOS NADIS once again suggested he isn’t at his best over fences.
NIGHT REVELLER completed for remote fourth, but like the pulled up ROCK PORT she doesn’t demonstrate much ability.
2.50 3m ½ f 0-130 Handicap Chase
This was fine competitive contest which proved a good advert for Carlisle on national television.
HIMALAYAN TRAIL seems to suffer from a bad press at times, but he’s in his element given a stiff test in the mud. He stayed on from the rear to challenge two out and stayed on determinedly for victory.
MINSTER SHADOW wasn’t my idea of a contender in this contest, but he has steadily dropped down the handicap and is suited by testing conditions. In fact he’s seldom seen out on anything faster than soft these days, so if the ground dries out he’d presumably be put away from the season.
BAY CHERRY is an improving stayer and one I’ve got in mind for extreme distance contests next season. He was outpaced form before the last but this was a sound effort. He has few miles on the clock and is one to keep on the right side.
MA YAHAB didn’t figure seriously but stayed on up the hill for fourth.
BUFFALO BOB, a good second in a slog at Uttoxeter recently, led for much of the way before giving way three out. He may now benefit from a rest.
SUPREME KEANO made no impression from the bottom of the hill.
MORGAN BE was never going and finished last of seven to complete.
HUKA LODGE fell at the fourth, hampering HOCKENHEIM who unseated.
LORUM LEADER hadn’t been asked any questions when unseating at the twelfth.
CHERNIK was never better than midfield and probably found this contest a mite too competitive.
APPLEADAY seemed to find this distance in the mud over a stiff track testing his stamina and he was pulled up.
NOT LEFT YET never figured and was pulled up with five to go.
WILD CANE RIDGE raced prominently for much of the way but weakened from the bottom of the hill and joined those skipping the last few fences.
CATEGORICAL wouldn’t have been ideally suited by three miles in the mud here, but did run well for a long way, weakening before three out and being pulled up soon after.
ANTONIUS CAESAR raced in rear and was tailed off when pulling up with two fences to jump.
3.25 3m 2f 0-89 Handicap Chase
As the previously race was difficult to fathom so was this contest, though for precisely the opposite reason. Each of the contestants had reasons to be opposed.
In the end the race was taken by BILLSGREY, a gelding who has had his light hidden under a bushel, not necessarily by his own lack of ability. His previous handler, Swanee Haldane, is apparently a very cheerful chap, but his record as a trainer was dire. Billsgrey has moved to Willie Amos, a decent trainer given the ammunition, and fulfilled his promise against incapable, unwilling or infirm opponents. He led going well four out and came clear from two out. Given that he clearly has ability more than his 64 rating, he may be capable of scoring again even given a rise.
EDITORS ROSE has proved clumsy in chases, but has some stamina and held off the remainder for second.
PANAMA AT ONCE has been off his game since taking a pearler of a fall at Kelso, a fall many of us feared might have killed him. However, he ran well enough in third here to suggest his confidence might be coming back. If so then he would beat most of these hollow at his best.
SHULMIN ran well until three out, but she was out on her feet by two out and was a very tired fourth. She is running fair races at the moment and wouldn’t be a lost cause in the lowest company at Sedgefield.
LUSENTO got slightly more involved than of late, but once he made a mess of the thirteenth he was soon on the retreat.
Off a long lay-off PRINCE OF SLANE didn’t suggest that a revival is on the cards and was struggling from a mile out.
POLOBURY raced up with the pace early, but had to be cajoled to do that and predictably hung out the white flag early on the final circuit.
ILOVETURTLE raced prominently to halfway but was on the retreat when he saddle slipped and he was pulled up before five out.
RED DANCER has been racing mainly in cross-country events in Eastern Europe in recent seasons, and at the age of 14 didn’t suggest that a return to ‘orthodox’ racing would serve any good. He weakened from the tenth and was pulled up before the fourteenth.
ESME RIDES A GAINE looks totally disenchanted with the game at present. She lost touch after a mile and was pulled up after halfway.
THE MAYSTONE followed his last decent run with a series of dire efforts, so it didn’t come as a surprise that he produced nothing here after his Kelso third.
4.00 2m 4f Class 3 Novices’ Chase
Despite the small field this was an interesting contest with five capable novices in attendance.
HEEZ A STEEL made the most impact with an impressive chasing debut, staying on well from the last. He’s always looked the type capable of making a chaser in time and went a fair way to confirming the view by seeing off four previous winners. George Charlton will surely be capable of placing him to follow up and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him pitch up at either Ayr or Perth in the coming weeks.
MR WOODS is the marker for the form as he won last time and did nothing wrong here, just being outpointed from the last, seemingly tiring in the testing conditions.
YOUNGSTOWN is plenty capable but he’s a quirky character and was no and off the bridle for much of the race. He stayed on from the rear for third and is likely to be more of a stayer in the long term, though he was very disappointing in the four miler at Cheltenham.
GINOLAD was beaten from four out and finished fourth while FINNEY, who jumped left early, lost touch from four out and was pulled up.
4.30 3m ½ f 0-96 Handicap Chase
SEVEN IS LUCKY has been up and down in form and hadn’t won a race before this. He stayed on from the bottom of the hill, responded to pressure on the flat and got up close home. His two best efforts in recent times have come in heavy ground.
In form TEERIE EXPRESS looked likely to prevail but was caught close home. Even after a serious rise in the weights he’s still on a competitive mark and capable of winning again.
ROSENEATH ran to his mark in third, keeping on under pressure from two out and gaining credit for finishing close on the heels of the first two.
POLITICAL PENDANT, from a stable which has not fired this season, made headway to three out but hit that and got no closer.
THE GREEN HAT is weak when the race warms up and faded from the bottom of the hill.
DARK GENTLEMAN has struggled in two efforts over fences and hasn’t shown much this season.
SEEKING STRAIGHT threatened to win over hurdles this time last year. He’s been regressive t6his season and broke a blood vessel here to add to his problems.
SEEKING POWER had course and ground to suit. He has jumped well last two outings but was sticky early on lost touch and was never going, pulling up before four out. He’s capable of much better.
TULLY HILL led pulling hard but struggled from a mile out and was another who was pulled up.
5.30 2m 0-113 Handicap Chase
ET MAINTENANT is difficult to tie down to a pattern. He’s capable on his day but I struggle to fathom when he’s likely to produce his best. His wins have come on anything from fast to heavy, and over distances up to 2m 4f. A stiff test probably favours him, but I wouldn’t take that as gospel.
CASH MAN ran a solid race in second. He’s probably handicapped to his best but is in good heart.
SHELOMOH had conditions to suit but was never going well enough to threaten a win. In the event he kept on under pressure to take third, which was more than looked possible four out.
NATIVE COLL seems to run about the same regardless of class and was a creditable fourth here off bottom weight. He’s suited by the mud.
SOTOVIK was prominent for much of the way but made no impression from three out.
QUICUYO didn’t build on a promising comeback last time and was held from three out.
BAMBY has good form at Carlisle but was well held from four out, JUSTTHEONEFORYOU never got into the race after being hampered at the seventh, while NORMINSTER continued a wretched season with a well beaten ninth place.
FLAMING HECK needs things his own way and was never happy, finishing tailed off.
TARTAN SNOW and ICE IMAGE, fallers in recent races, both came a cropper before the race began in earnest. CARRIETAU was nearly brought down at the fourth and couldn’t recover the ground and was soon pulled up. His performance here can be set aside.
5.35 3m ½ f Hunters’ Chase
A wide spread of ability in this event and it was a cakewalk for FAIR QUESTION who led all the way and had his field beaten a long way out. He did scare his backers by whacking three out, but his rider held on and was able to ease to a walk on the run in.
AREYACODDINMEE stayed on up the hill to take second but was never near the winner. He is giving his connections some fun and reward under Rules though.
KNOW THE ROPES got round but was very tired in third.
HASPER never got into the race and was pulled up before two out.
The remainder also pulled up. TRISONS STAR was a difficult sort at best and now looks disenchanted with racing. SILVER PALOMINO felt the pinch form halfway and SILK PARASOL, a front runner in points tired quickly from the eleventh, pulling up a couple of fences later.