PERTH – Sunday May 24th
Going – Good To Soft (Soft in places)
The normal packed house was in for Perth Gold Cup day, the official figure being 11,144 and showing the pulling power of this delightful track.
The going had eased with some rain and as a result there were a number of non-runners.
2.15 2m 4½f Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle
Gordon Elliott is not one to miss an opportunity and it’s not untypical to see his progressive chasers revert to hurdles to pick up easy money. The job was done with ease here as NEDZER’S RETURN followed up his Perth Festival double. He was not the slightest bit troubled from three out.
Another swapping from chasing was the second HUNCHEON WELLS. He chased the winner up the straight without threatening.
PROFICIENCY ran an honest enough race in third. She should eventually find a small novice or maiden, particularly if there’s a mares’ only event available.
ELCANOS promises much but went out like a light from two out and all the indications are that he has a physical problem once pressed.
2.45 2m 4½f 0-112 Novices’ Handicap Chase
SOTOVIK has been rather frustrating over fences but he got lucky here, being left in the lead when the likely winner keeled over at the last. He kept on under pressure with those chasing even more tired than he was.
KING ROONAH looked to have the race won when falling in slow motion at the last. He couldn’t quite get his legs under himself as he went down. He’s shown enough in his last two efforts to suggest he will win a chase before long.
ATHOSS, an ordinary hunter chaser at best, was held from three out.
MEADOWS THYNE was well out the back most of the way but stayed on late and almost snatched second. While he seemed to finish well he was never in the race.
CROW SPINNEY was outpaced form the eleventh.
PHONE IN was well fancied but struggled from the tenth fence and pulled up before four out. All his best form is on good or faster, so it looks safe to put this run aside.
3.15 2m 0-115 Handicap Chase
THE ROCKING DOCK ran a succession of good race here last summer, and bounced back to form with a win here. Leading at the eighth, he had to be reminded of his job up the straight after being headed, but kept on to good effect.
Lightly raced HELEN WOOD took up the running in the straight but was headed at the last and could muster only the one pace.
COACH LANE won a weak event at Uttoxeter. This wasn’t strongly contested, but he was outpointed from four out.
PRINCE TAM is a weak finisher and the distress signals were out with four to go.
ALL THE CAUSE ran a poor race, pulled up three out, and remains frustrating over fences.
ANNIBALE CARO barely went a yard and was pulled up before the seventh fence.
3.45 2m ½ f 0-104 Novices’ Handicap Hurdle
WIND SHUFFLE showed promise here on his previous outing, the third has won since, and he made a successful handicap debut on this occasion. He led until headed at the last and then showed admirable battling qualities to get back up.
CABERNET SUAVIGNON sets the standard with a solid performance in a Limerick handicap recently. He looked the likely winner at the last but was worried out of on the flat.
The other three, SHPFRONTSPEECIALST, SOLWAY BLUE and ROSSINI’S DANCER are ordinary and were beaten in the straight.
4.20 3m 0-136 Handicap Chase
OLLIE MAGERN suggested with his second at the previous meeting that he still had a win in him. He proved very game here, making the running and holding too much in reserve for this field. He’s been done plenty of favours by the handicapper, running off 134 here, but it’s heartening to see the popular veteran return to winning form. Leading all the way, he kicked on form three out and stayed under pressure from two out.
Wincanton SIR BATHWICK chased the winner up the straight without quite getting close enough to challenge. He’s in solid form and there may be another race for him before long.
GO SILVER BULLET was entering new territory trip wise. He chased the leaders most of the way but had run out of reserves after two out. This was a good effort and he would be interesting drop back in trip. He certainly had no trouble handling this class.
PIANO STAR closed to three out but hit that fence and that ended his chance. He has won the Midlands National at Kilbeggan in July two years running and I would imagine that would be a target again.
GINOLAD was struggling from four out and struggles in the latter stages of his races.
CATCH THE PERK plugged on but this company is a bit too competitive for him these days.
FLEMROSS went well on fast ground last summer. The cut in the ground wouldn’t have helped him, and he back pedalled after a mistake four out.
LOTHIAN FALCON and HOOPY never made a serious mark and finished in rear.
JACK THE BLASTER was detached by the twelfth and pulled up as was DOC ROW, the latter finding this far more competitive than his recent runs.
MILITANT, running his first race under Rules since 2007, was another to pull up before the thirteenth.
4.45 2m 4 ½ f 0-120 Handicap Hurdle
SUMMER SOUL has been a frustrating sort in the past, but he had the run of the race on this occasion and came clear from two out. He’ll be punished by the assessor for this and will struggle to follow up.
CORKAGE stayed on having been outpaced to three out.
BATHWICK MAN led or disputed until two out but was one paced form that point.
STROBE ran a little better than in recent months, his jumping let him down over fences, but was held from two out.
BAAHER closed to three out but could offer disappointingly little from that point.
5.30 2m ½ f NH Flat
Not a race I could get too excited about, but Sedgefield winner LOVEY DOVEY beat this field nicely. Already a point winner, she should be competitive when sent over hurdles.
CALL ME BILL chased the winner home clear of the remainder. His bumper form looks sound enough and he has prospects going forward.
Of the remainder, the third FLOAT MY BOAT and MONASHEE, eased once held in the straight, look long term prospects. Both are bred to stay well and will need a stiffer test to bring out the best in them.
HEXHAM – Tuesday 25th May
Going – Good to Firm
7.35 3m 1f Class 4 Novices’ Chase
The low sun meant that the second last down the near side was omitted on both circuits.
MIDNIGHT CHASE won this with the minimum of fuss and has proved that
he’s capable of troubling better class than this.
BALLYLANGAN tried to put it to the winner in the latter stages, but was well outpointed up the hill and very tired when falling at the last. He will probably be better running at a sharper track.
POLITICAL PENDANT was struggling for much of the way but stayed on past a tiring opponent to secure second prize.
CURRAHEE showed just a hint of promise on his chasing debut. He had a tendency to jump big but went well enough until tiring after the climb to the last.
8.35 2m ½ f 0-105 Handicap Chase
ARUMUN is pretty well exposed but had a nice opportunity against some ordinary northern two-milers. He made steady progress to three out, took over at the last and stayed on to catch an idling leader on the flat.
ICE IMAGE really should have won this. He looked the likely winner at the last and went on, but then idled and was caught, though apparently having a bit still left. He’s more than capable of winning a race like this, though not necessarily inclined to show it.
THE KEALSHORE KID was in rear for most of the way but picked his way through the field from three out. He wasn’t beaten far, is still in fair form and I suspect he’s better on a sharper track.
HEAVENLY CHORUS was detached early but kept on for fourth.
MORE SHENNANIGANS ran respectably from 9lbs out of the handicap, keeping on for fifth. He’s run more decent races than bad in latter times and I still feel there might be race in him if kept to the lowest company.
STORM PROSPECT is never the most committed and having progressed to two out he couldn’t offer any more.
GLIMMER OF LIGHT led at a decent pace but faded before the last. He’s capable on his day but used up too much too soon here.
MORE LIKE IT weakened three out as did SEA COVE, MAGELLAN STRAITS and the tailed off SKIDDAW JONES. More Like It won a moderate hurdle race recently, but none of these offer any immediate encouragement over fences.
I couldn’t pick up much of significance from an ordinary asset of hurdle races on the card. However, PATRIOT was rewarded for a succession of decent efforts, taking the maiden hurdle.
SEDGEFIELD – Wednesday May 26th
Going – Good
2.50 2m ½ f Class 4 Novices’ Chase
ELLERSLIE TOM led and made a succession of ‘cat like’ jumps, really stretching to clear his fences. He made his ability tell and held the second from two out, idling a bit on the flat.
FINANCIALREGULATOR didn’t do much wrong but was outpointed by a better opponent. It’s difficult to make too many judgements from a three runner contest, but he hinted at ability over fences.
SCALE BANK was beaten from four out.
4.00 3m 3f 0-95 Handicap Chase
A race rendered a two-runner contest at the fifth fence. SOLWAY BEE dived at the obstacle, came down and GREENANDREDPARSON and OVERON LAD had nowhere to go, both being brought down. Thankfully all horses and riders got up in one piece.
FINBIN was left to see off HASPER from before the last, and was eased close home.
5.00 2m 4f 0-95 Novices’ Handicap Chase
GINGER’S LAD was in contention when falling here the previous week. Always going well he challenged at the last but hit the fence, then recovered to head the long time leader near the line. His jumping appears a bit hit or miss but he should be capable of winning another handicap.
PUGNACITY, a hurdle winner here on his previous outing, was going well three out but then looked tapped for pace going to the last. He picked up again on the uphill run to the line and was staying on.
PERSIAN PRINCE, a winner here last time, set the pace and still led briefly after the last but could offer no extra on the run-in.
CLUELESS challenged approaching the last but was one paced on the flat. This was at least an improvement on recent efforts.
JANAL stayed on to finish a close fifth, but his proximity does little for the value of the form.
SOLWAY BLUE chased the leaders to two out but was then held. He has yet to win a race.
EXIT FORTY FOUR was tailed off by halfway.
CHERRYLAND raced prominently early but as previously had nothing left when the race began in earnest and was pulled up.
DOWNING STREET was behind early, briefly flattered before the ninth but was well behind when pulled up before two out.
PATCHOULIE CONTI and maiden point winner FLAG HILL never figured and were both pulled up.