SEDGEFIELD – Tuesday April 27th
Going – Good To Firm
Ah, it’s nice to back after the close season break…. Just wish we had more of a rest than three days!
6.50 2m 4f Class 4 Novices’ Chase
KNOCKAVILLA was pushed out to win the first northern chase of the new season. He’s very much better than most of these and this should serve as a confidence booster.
DONTPAYTHEFERRYMAN ran to his hurdles mark on his chasing debut so connections can take plenty of encouragement. With obstacles in the way there’s less emphasis on out and out speed, something which favours this gelding who keeps on well enough without showing much acceleration. He should win a chase or two this summer, though being a versatile type he may well be seen out on the flat.
ANOTHER DARK RUM showed a modicum of promise in keeping on for third.
MAGELLAN STRAITS was held from three out but should benefit form this experience.
FOLLOW ON struggled from halfway finishing a place in front of ELLANDSHE who got round in his own time as usual.
BRADEN BROOK and BIG BURROWS cut no ice and finished tailed off.
DEER FIN was tailed off when falling two out. His Rules form has been consistently awful.
7.20 3m 4f 0-130 Durham National Handicap Chase
GENERAL HARDI jumped better than he has done in the past and stayed on down the straight to land the race for local trainer John Wade. He has a fair record on fast ground.
NEPTUNE EQUESTER had shown improved form at Wetherby last time having shown at little promise in early outings. He could prove a fair performer in these events with a big more experience and the fast surface seemed to do no harm.
LEAC AN SCAIL raced close up but was outpaced going to four out and could only keep on for third.
JUSTWHATEVERULIKE kept on from two out but was never better placed than his final fourth place.
DESCRIPTION weakened from three out and didn’t appear to see out the distance on his first attempt at three and a half miles.
DALDINI made a little progress to four out but was left behind from that point as was QUATTROCENTO who never got seriously involved.
Last year’s winner LUCKY NELLERIE struggled from four out. I suspect the ground was too fast as all his wins bar one, in a two horse race, have come with cut in the ground.
MR POINTMENT raced prominently or led until fading from the seventeenth. He is on the downgrade. Paul Murphy’s other runner CERIUM has run well enough in the last two Grand Nationals but has been well put in his place elsewhere, losing touch with a mile to go here and eventually being pulled up.
KELSO – Thursday April 28th
Going – Good to Firm (Good in places)
The forecast rain didn’t show up and the watered ground dried out, leading to a number of withdrawals throughout the evening.
5.50 2m ½f Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle
SAVEIRO was finally rewarded for his consistency, out-battling the runner-up with the pair well clear. With AL QEDDAAFF carrying forward decent form from Aintree, and not shirking the battle here, the form has a solid look about it.
DEVIL WATER ran pretty much as he has done previously over hurdles, setting the pace but having no answer once passed. He kept on well enough and now needs fences and a distance of ground.
IMPERIAL BREEZE chased the leaders until weakening on the flat. Jimmy Lambe should find a small race for him somewhere along the line.
KING PENDA stayed on late to offer some hope for the future.
6.20 2m 6½f 0-122 Novices’ Handicap Chase
This contest was reduced to five runners as four defected, and SIERRA VICTOR departed after a less than a mile being reported as losing his action, though he returned sound.
QUICK WILL ran a decent race at Musselburgh in February but otherwise has struggled as have the stable in recent days. He was good enough to see off his main rival here. PHONE IN kept on for second if held and the impression is that the first two are both around about their mark over fences.
BORDER REIVER led until four out, a mistake two out ending any chance he may still have held. He has proved a weak finisher in chases to date and was reported as having breathing problem.
Irish challenger ON GOSSAMER WINGS was put in his place from three out.
6.50 2m 2f 0-125 Handicap Hurdle
HAZELDENE needs things his own way and got his wish on this occasion. Ryan Mania judged the race well and held enough in reserve as his charge stayed on well under pressure to win.
Ewart’s seem to have recovered their form or fortune and NEVERTIKA chased the leader from two out, though couldn’t get near enough to challenge seriously. This was a solid effort.
NINE STORIES ran promisingly after over a year off the track. He lost a lot of ground when blundering badly two out, but he battled back in the latter stages.
PREMIER DANE, blinkered for the first time, was one paced form the last. He hasn’t won a hurdle since 2006, but it may be worth noting that his hurdles wins have all come on fast ground.
CASSIUS was outpaced approaching two out and may have found this ground a trifle too lively.
SUNARRI was pulled up before the sixth with the ground being given as an excuse. Previous evidence suggests the problem lies between his ears rather than below his feet.
7.20 2m 6 ½f Class 3 Handicap Hurdle
COASTLEY has been progressive since moving form hunter chases and continued his upward momentum. He led on the flat and stayed on under pressure to take what was a competitive event, and in doing so suggested that he is capable of standing a rise in the ratings.
PONTOP is getting no favours form the handicapper, and is vulnerable to improvers. He led until the flat and kept on once headed to record a fourth consecutive place. To my mind he’s honest enough but just lacks an extra turn of pace at the business end.
WOT WAY CHIEF, whose chasing form has been better than his hurdles efforts, acquitted himself creditably here. He kept on for third and would be an interesting prospect back over fences as he seems in good heart.
THE GLOVES ARE OFF ran quite well under a penalty but he was held from two out.
HARMONY BRIG hasn’t seemed keen over fences and pretty much jacked it in from the eighth here.
7.55 3m 1f 0-116 Handicap Chase
TOP DRESSING wouldn’t any awards for consistency, but he’s capable on his day and took advantage of what would be a generous mark at his best. He made progress from the home bend, led at the last and stayed on well for victory. He wouldn’t be guaranteed to produce the same next time.
SEIZE, pulled out of the Highland National when the ground softened, proved how well he acts on fast ground. He made progress from the fourteenth and got involved up front at the last but was held by the winner from there. He’s another who is not the most consistent.
NILE MOON goes well around Kelso. He raced prominently most of the way but was found wanting headed at the last.
MINOUCHKA failed to build on a promising effort last time. She plugged on form two out but didn’t threaten the leaders in the latter stages.
HARRY FLASHMAN was another failing to build on recent promise. He struggled from three out. That being said, he does have a strong record at Hexham and could be worth considering if returning there in the right class.
I fancied OCARINA to pick up a race or two over the winter but he was never quite good enough. He was outpaced form two out on this occasion and this has been typical of his recent performances.
BILL’S ECHO raced close up for a long way but weakened quickly from three out and finished tailed off.
SOMETHING SILVER was pulled up having not handled the lively ground.
SNOWY lost touch past halfway and is out of sorts.
RING STREET ROLLER struggled going down the far side for the final time and was pulled up before the last. She has disappointed of late.
8.25 2m ½ f NH Flat
This was possibly not as competitive as some Kelso bumpers, but nevertheless the notebook should be used.
STORM KIRK comes from a very good family and looks set to continue their tradition. He stayed on in impressive style and gives the connections another interesting prospect in addition to Storm Brig.
GOLDEN VIEW, a maiden point winner in Ireland, made a satisfactory Rules debut. He disputed the lead and battled back well once headed, if held by a decent looking winner.
KVARNER RIVIERA stayed on to take third having had a chance two out.
LA BACOUTTEUSE showed some promise after a lay-off in finishing fourth. The latter has shown some ability at Catterick last year and has shown enough to suggest a win is possible. Though the name might not suggest it, this one is a gelding.