Sunday, 25 July 2010

Cartmel, then the Glasgow Fair meetings

CARTMEL - Thursday July 15th

Going – Good (Good to Soft in places)

Recent rain, much welcomed by the locals for some reasons, meant the going for this meeting was just on the soft side of good. Despite indifferent weather the crowd held up quite well though a figure of 5,500 was a little down on last year’s figure.

Time constraints mean I’m concentrating on the chases with brief notes about the hurdles contests.

2.30 2m 1f 110yds European Breeders’ Fund (4) Beginners’ Chase

Not a strong event and we didn’t learn an awful lot more about STAGECOACH PEARL. However, he did see off moderate opposition comfortably and couldn’t be asked to do any more. Always going well, he went clear on the long run-in.
KIND HEART made a satisfactory chasing bow. He was a little awkward at one or two fences and was left behind on the flat. He’ll probably be better over a stiffer track and will come on for the experience.
RISK RUNNER stayed on from the rear for third. He had every right to get involved considering his hurdles mark, but given that his win came at Newcastle then it’s not difficult to conclude that this track will not bring out the best in him.
GOUGANE was never in the hunt and finished a well beaten fourth.
EL PRESIDENTE didn’t achieve much on his chase sat Fakenham, despite a second place, and was feeling the pinch four out.
OVERQUEST made brief progress from the rear to the seventh but didn’t get near the leaders.
Pointing winner SENDEED has not hinted at making a mark under Rules and was tailed off from the eighth.
LISGLYNN JIM was ridden at halfway and pulled up at the eighth.

3.00 2m 1f 110yds Temple Heelis Commercial LLP (0-92) Handicap Chase

HIGH STAND LAD looks at his best when able to ‘bully’ inferior opponents, though he can’t be relied on even given those circumstances. A tongue strap was tried here and it’s possible that measure worked the oracle. He went on from four out and was well clear by the last, this effort by far his best over fences.
PEAK SEASONS chased the leader from the ninth and performed as well as he ahs done of late. He’s basically very ordinary though and has run many times since his last win.
ICE IMAGE is frustrating but kept on to take third.
HAPTHOR passed a few late on from the rear. He places occasionally but it looks hard work.
PINEWOOD LEGEND was another to make some moderate late progress.
CROFTON ARCH ran two good races here in May but reverted to his previous moderate form on this occasion.
LUKIE VICTOR faded from the ninth. He’s not sparkled for a yard which often improves horses joining them.
WELL OILED was tailed off and looks very moderate.
WENSLEYDALE WEB, who has gone consistently well here in hurdles, does not look a natural chaser and was always struggling.
TROODOS JET, normally thereabouts in this company, was close up when falling at the eighth, while EMOTIVE was in contention when overjumping and falling at the water (four out).

3.40 3m 2f Weatherbys Bank (0-120) Handicap Chase

An open event with most looking to be handicapped at their level.
MIZEN RAVEN led two out and, despite being hampered on the run-in, was driven out to the line for a narrow victory. He showed the right attitude but will find it more difficult next time.
DUKEOFCHESTERWOOD has struck me as a type capable of winning chases. He performed creditably in only his second run over fences, challenging from three out if held in the final furlong. He was squeezed for space on the run-in, but held on merit. He will learn from the experience and I’d expect him to win a staying handicap chase.
DALLAS BELL was held up but made progress in the final mile to chase the leader on the run-in. This was arguably his best effort over fences.
PETITE MARGOT had to rousted along for much of the trip, but as is here way she remained in contention. She was outpaced going to three out but stayed on after the last to finish a close fourth.
THE ARTFUL FOX led or was close up most of the way but weakened quickly after the last.
WESTERN GALE was pressed to remain in touch for much of the way and lost touch approaching the last.
ONTHEGOAGAIN was tailed off in the final mile. He’s a winner at Hexham and it likely this course didn’t suit him.
THUNDER HAWK led early but dropped out quickly from the seventh and was soon pulled up.

A moderate opening novices’ hurdle was fought out between the two form principals, OURSININLAW and OUR GUARDIAN ANGEL, the former suited by a step back up to a more suitable trip. They beat a poor collection of opponents.
Maurice Barnes’s good year continued as he produced BOLD EXIT, a cheap purchase from Tom George’s yard, to win the maiden hurdle. The race lacked any strength but Barnes has managed to get a few moderate performers to progress in recent times, and this one saw off the second by 24 lengths. The favourite, Donald McCain’s FLICHITY, was thoroughly uncooperative, unruly in the preliminaries and hurdling poorly in the race. He finished well tailed off.
RARE COINCIDENCE scored a first hurdles win since 2006 in the 0-110 handicap over Cartmel’s minimum distance. CANNON FIRE led two out but was caught near the finish while SOUBRIQUET returned to form with a close third, the three finishing clear.
MONKHAIR was a comfortable winner of the closing novices’ handicap, though he gave his supporters a scare when stumbling and almost unseating close home. Spinning around this tight circuit seemed to suit this one down to the ground.

HAMILTON – Friday July 16th

Hamilton’s Glasgow Fair Friday meeting is headlined by the Scottish Stewards Cup over six furlongs. LOWDOWN took advantage of a favourable draw, had the run of the race and won quite nicely. A suggestion of how well favoured he was came in the sprint at York yesterday when HAWKEYETHENOO turned the form round with Lowdown struggling. Jim Goldie’s charge was badly drawn and finished lame at Hamilton but showed no ill effects on the Knavesmire. He will probably get into the Stewards Cup at Goodwood now and is in rattling good form.
The first two to finish on the far side were ESPRIT DE MIDAS and BALDEMAR. Both have run creditably since, the former when a close third over seven furlongs at Newcastle, and the latter when not beaten a huge distance in ninth behind Hawkeyethenoo at York. Both are worth noting in upcoming engagements.
The support card was of relatively low quality and I struggled to spot anything of immediate interest. However, HIGH RESOLUTION notched up a notable handicap double over the Thrusday and Friday of this meeting.

AYR – Monday 19th July

Ayr hold a Fair Meeting on the Monday afternoon, though the Glasgow holiday isn’t marked as consistently as it used to be and the crowd was around the 2,500 mark. The feature event, a Class 2 five furlong handicap was won by FAVOURITE GIRL who held on gamely in the final furlong. PAVERSHOOZ was a close second and has worked his way into form. He hit form at a similar time last year and seems primed for a win.
QUEST FOR SUCCESS is high in the handicap now but ran best of those drawn wide and might surprise before long.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Perth - Mid-July Sunday Meeting

PERTH – Sunday July 11th

Going – Good to Firm

2.10 2m 110yds Toteplacepot (4) Maiden Hurdle

DESERT SOUL guaranteed a decent pace, racing as freely as usual. Predictably he found the others too sharp once turned for home, dropping away quickly.
BAAHER gained reward following some decent placed efforts. He sweated up before the start, but certainly seemed none the worse for it. He challenged from two out and showed resolution to head the runner-up in the final furlong. He should be capable of picking up a novice under a penalty or a handicap.
DEFINITE ALL STAR led after two out but was just run out of it approaching the finish. He should finds consolation and his trainer is more than capable of placing him to win.
NODFORMS VIOLET was outpaced approaching the last and this distance over a sharp track didn’t play to his strengths. He’ll be a different horse given a stiffer test.
DEVOTION TO DUTY is rated higher than the winner but surrendered rather tamely after three out.

2.40 2m 4f 110yds Toteswinger Flexi Betting (4) Novices’ Chase

This was a stroll in Scone Park for BILLIE MAGERN. He was rated well above his nearest rival and was not extended to pick up first prize. He’ll see off much better opposition than this before the fast ground disappears.
RIGHT OR WRONG was well held but not troubled for second.
ADRIANEO got round but lost touch from the eighth.
ELLANDSHE pootled round for another completion at his own sedate pace, though his jumping has been better. He added a little to his ‘keep fund’ in the process.

3.10 2m 4f 100yds Exclusive Lodges (4) Novices’ Hurdle

Maurice Barnes’ stable has been in decent form in recent months, and he has done well with a few novices. BUCEPHALUS added to the tally by seeing off a decent opponent in NEDZER’S RETURN, though the latter has the Galway Plate as a main target and this was surely only a stepping stone. Both showed plenty of determination from two out.
The first three had the rest beaten from four out, ROSE STREET trying to match the pace set by the second but stick with the first two in the straight.

3.40 3m 110yds Tote Exacta Flexi Betting (0-113) Handicap Hurdle

Nigel Twiston-Davies has kept a few aside for a tilt at Perth in recent years. He’s been eclipsed by Gordon Elliott in recent times, but HERMOSO went some way to proving that the Gloucestershire stable still earmark a few for Scottish raids. This performance made up for Sam Twiston-Davies’s clanger at the previous meeting when riding an early finish. Most of these are exposed, but Hermoso is lightly raced and progressive. He looked as if he felt he’d done enough, but stayed on well enough under pressure and should win again soon.
SPARKLING ZOLA ran to his best in second, while TARKANI stayed on for third, but this is his normal style and he’s tough to win with.
LONG WAIT was held under his weight rise, being held approaching the last.
FLY TIPPER and BRONX BOY ran creditably enough and finished quite close. Both can find easier opportunities in 0-100 company or lower off their current marks.
CATCH THE PERK found it hard work from three out and, having set the pace, STROBE dropped away quickly once headed approaching two out.
PADDINGTON BOB was in contention when going wrong approaching two out and being swiftly pulled up. There was no report registered giving a reason.

4.10 2m 4f 110yds Tote Flexi Betting (0-124) Handicap Chase

This race was won comfortably by RETRIEVETHELEGEND, but he’s exposed and I’m not sure any of the rest ran to their form. While the winner is in good heart I doubt he’ll be value next time.
RUN TO SPACE was outpaced going to four out when the winner had the whole field in trouble, but kept on again to take second.
ISLAND FLYER weakened from two out having failed to match the winner.
GO SILVER BULLET couldn’t dominate here but he lost a shoe anyway, so it may be that this run can be set aside.
CROFTON ARCH had no chance from miles out of the handicap and was the last to finish.
BOW SCHOOL was disappointing again, a ‘nasal discharge’ being reported after he had pulled up before three out.

4.40 2m 110yds Queen Tribute Band July 27th (0-95) Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

It has taken a time for the money to drop with SHOPFRONTSPECIALST. He’s often been well backed but never quite produced what someone clearly thought he could. He put things right in emphatic fashion on this occasion, admittedly against a moderate bunch, having the race in the bag from two out.
The rest are at best a ‘win in turn’ collection. FRONT RANK ran to his level in second.
TIGER KING hinted that he is no back number in third, keeping on without threatening the first two. That being said he’s only a winner of one race and that was in 2007.
SEA COVE kept on from the rear for pressure to finish sixth and needs a stiffer test than she got here. Her rider got unbalanced on the run to the last which possibly cost her a place or two, and she might be noting in a weak contest.

5.10 2m 110yds totepool A Better Way To Bet Standard Open NH Flat Race (Class 5)

It’s difficult to draw too many conclusions from a close fought four-runner bumper.
CIANNTE saw off Hallmark Harry in a close finish with the other two held from two furlongs out. Having had a couple of respectable runs the winner was able to take an opportunity here.
HALLMARK HARRY was behind at Southwell in January but was at least competitive against one with some promising form.
FLOAT MY BOAT was outspeeded in the straight.
The fourth, BURAIMI OASIS, looked to have a bit of growing to do when I saw him at Musselburgh in December. There is probably better to come but a watching brief is advised.

Friday, 16 July 2010

A midweek trip to Catterick

CATTERICK – Wednesday July 7th

Going – Good to Firm (Firm in places)

We took in this Catterick meeting on the way down south to attend a wedding and visit family and friends. It’s a mark of how busy the flat schedule has become these days that a fair few runners from this meeting have appeared since, some within a couple of days of Catterick. Time available to concentrate on racing is not as plentiful as I’d like these days, hence I’m really finding it a struggle to keep up with the flat even just in my area.

The viewing at Catterick is pretty good, though the trees in the middle of the course are starting to obscure bits and pieces of the back straight. Memo to course managers: if you are going to plant greenery make it stuff that grows outwards instead of upwards. Being only nine furlongs around it’s easy to follow the action from the steeply graded steps of the three stands, even more so on the jump course which runs up above the flat track on the far side. However Aileen’s standard complaint at many northern racecourses, to whit no seating, applies once again. The only seats available are benches at ground level.

2.00 5f 2yo Class 6 Selling Stakes

A very moderate contest to start the card and it’s difficult to see many of these winning in future.

JOHNNY HANCOCKS showed more pace than the rest. He broke well and always led, coming clear from two furlongs out. He’ll find it tougher if moved up to nurseries and sellers or claimers will likely prove his level, particularly on sharp tracks where he use his early pace. There was no bid at the auction.
CHESTER DEELYTE wandered about a bit under pressure form two out though kept on for second. Her form is moderate but does seem to be going the right way.
FOREVER VIENNA hinted at ability in third. He looks to me to have some growing to do and might do better once he strengthens. BIGALO’S LAURA B looks well grown on the other hand and I wonder if there’s an awful lot more to come past a fourth here.

2.50 7f 3yo 0-75 Handicap

JUST THE TONIC looks well suited by this trip and going. Held up in rear she picked up from two out and came to pinch the race on the line. The manner of here win suggests she has a bit in hand if a race suits the hold up tactics.
SKYFIRE comes out of this race with a fair deal of credit since he did best of the pace setters. Near the front all the way he seemed the likely winner at the furlong pole only to be cut down in the shadow of the post.
MERCHANT OF MEDICI stayed on for third and probably stepped up a little on the form of his selling win. This was a better event.
CHINESE DEMOCRACY once again failed to show enough commitment in the final furlong and was held in fourth. He was taken down to Warwick the next day and won a similar event there, showing he has ability if inclined to use it.
KILMANSECK and DESERT FOREST set the pace and their efforts told from two furlongs out.

3.20 1m 7f 177yds 0-77 Handicap

The turn out here was very disappointing, particularly considering that £1,800 appearance money was available to split between the runners.
BERGONZI tracked the leader and then just got the better of a battle with CLOUDY CITY in the straight, the pair pulling clear. The winner is probably at his level but the second would seem to have a bit more scope for improvement.
ACT OF KALANISI was found out once headed in the straight and ARCHITRAVE was beaten by the home bend. BIJOU DAN ran a lifeless race not seeming that keen and losing touch down the far side for the final time.

3.55 6f 3yo 0-75 Handicap

THINKING broke his duck here, just wearing down a determined second on the line. The winner might just be positioned to take advantage of his handicap mark as he’s probably a bit better than bare recent form suggests and won’t go up much for this.
THE HERMITAGE didn’t do too much wrong in second and, like so many of Mark Johnston’s charges, battled hard before being passed at the post. The Johnston yard suffered a frustrating meeting with three consecutive seconds all beaten on the nod.
REACH FOR THE SKY looked very small compared with the colts and geldings but, given that she was 4lbs out of the handicap, put up a sterling effort to take third place. There will be easier races for her and it’s worth noting that she handled the sharp bends a fair bit better than a few.
None of the others made an impact in the straight, RAVENSFIELD not handling the home bend well.

4.30 7f 0-65 Handicap

DHHAMAAN is not a bad performer at this level when allowed to dictate and was on his toes in the paddock. Nothing got to him on this occasion and he never looked like being caught from two out.
CALL OF DUTY stayed on for second and has been thereabouts on a number of occasions recently.
NEEDY McCREDIE looked very well and ran a personal best if held form two out.
ARJEMIS, another on his toes in the parade ring, stayed on late without threatening.
STRAIGHT FACE was left a few lengths at the start and had no chance after. This run can be ignored and he’s better than recent form figures suggest.

5.05 7f 0-65 Handicap

NUIT SOMBRE was well touted here but he’s better in less competitive claimers. He couldn’t raise his game once challenged two out.
ELLIES IMAGE stayed on well from two out to take the prize from SAN SILVESTRO who ran on down the centre but never got to the winner. The latter is capable but a bit frustrating.
URSUS stayed on for third but is basically moderate and BAYBSHAMBLES didn’t seem particularly inclined to go through a gap in the final furlong.
IT’S BEYOND ME was equipped with a tongue tie, cheek pieces, a full cheek snaffle and a cross-noseband suggesting assorted physical and mental problems. He wasn’t quick enough to keep up and looks as if he should be doing something other than racing.

5.40 1m 4f 3-4yo Maiden Stakes

This race only concerned two from the turn for home. Sir Mark Prescott’s NEZHENKA had shown signs of temperament previously, but she has a fair bit of ability. She led after two furlongs out and came away nicely from that point.
CEOIL AN AITH was outpointed from two out and became Mark Johnston’s fourth second place of the meeting. She flashed her tail when the whip was brandished, though she did run on for hands and heels.
MISS MEFT finished a once paced third but her current mark of 67 might flatter here.
SHEIKHTOTHEMUSIC was a never dangerous fourth and looks destined for low grade handicaps.

We made our way down to Ripon for an overnight stay. Although our stay didn’t go quite to plan I can recommend the Royal Oak Hotel in the centre of Ripon. First off it’s a Timothy Taylor pub which means the ale is good. Secondly, the food is excellent, both a lovely dinner and breakfast next morning, with the majority of ingredients locally sourced. Unfortunately the plumbing failed and we had no water overnight after a pipe burst, but on the upside we were not charged for bed and breakfast. I’m sure this was just a temporary hiccup.

Sunday, 4 July 2010

Perth - Midsummer Meeting

PERTH – Wednesday 30th June

Going – Good To firm (Firm in places)

This was very much summer form with the ground as fast as it is likely to get in this part of the world. Gordon Elliott made hay while the Scottish sun shone, one of his regular raids from his Irish base paying dividends three times on each day of the meeting.

2.20 3m ½ f Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle

A very comfortable win for Gordon Elliott’s winning pointer ABBEY LANE, adding to a win in a Gowran Park maiden hurdle some ten days previously. He just had to be pushed out to win this event and this impression is that there is a fair bit to come, probably over fences in the long term.
KEMBLA GRANGE saw out the trip on stepping up from 2½ miles. He stayed on gamely from two out but was no match for the winner, though he showed enough to hint that a small race is his for the taking.
ELUSIVE MUSE, another long distance traveller but this time from Wales, led until after three out, keeping on at one pace for third.

2.50 2m Class 4 Novices’ Chase

Tragedy struck in the second race as the mare TREATY FLYER came clear up the straight seemingly on the way to an impressive victory. She came crashing down at the last in what proved to be a fatal fall. A prolific winner, she seemed to have taken to chasing very well and will be sorely missed in Alison Thorpe’s stable.
RED KINGDOM was well held when left in front but summoned enough to hold on from the last. He looks better over fences than he did over hurdles and there will probably be better to come.
STAGECOACH PEARL was hard driven four out but stayed near enough to the second to challenge on the flat.
GRAND OPERA kept on for third though never looked like winning.
ALL THE THE CAUSE ran no sort of race and was well beaten.
SALTRASH lost touch on the final circuit and, given that he was reported as having bled from the nose, it was surprising he wasn’t pulled up.

3.20 2m 4½f Class 4 Mares’ Maiden Hurdle

NIAMH’S WAY, rated only 81, stayed on to win this though the form looks worth very little.
Bumper winner GRACE N’ FAVOUR led until before the last and was then one paced under pressure.
MILLROCK LADY raced close up but struggled from two out.
MODESTINE raced prominently until hanging badly left after the seventh and being pulled up. The manner of her exit suggested a problem, physically, mentally or with the tack.

3.50 3m 0-130 Handicap Chase

All BILL’S ECHO’s wins have come on good or faster ground and he returned to his best, picking up from two out and leading at the last. He’s dropped the best part of 20lbs in the ratings over 20 months and that won’t have done any harm.
HARRY FLASHMAN ran another sound enough race, though he might well have won having been left clear on the home bend. I wonder if he was giving it his all from the last.
WESTERN GALE kept on for third without ever being better placed. He’s not running as well as he is capable currently, though I suspect a stiffer track will do no harm.
BEAR WITNESS tracked the leaders but was held from three out.
FLYING DOCTOR got reminders going to thirteenth and was driven. He did respond to get in touch, but then whacked three out causing his jockey to lose his irons. Jon Farrelly made a decent recovery, but all chance had gone. On balance this was no bad handicap debut and I believe he can make his mark in similar events.
SHERIFF HUTTON, with conditions to suit, was beaten after three out and eased down to come in last.
PETIE MARGOT had been driven for some way but was still hustling Harry Flashman when her rider came adrift on the home bend. It appeared to me that Paddy Brennan may have had a tack problem as he exited ‘stage left’.

4.20 2m 4½f 0-105 Handicap Chase

KING ROONAH had looked a winner in waiting on more than one occasion of late and obliged at what seemed a very generous 7/2. He challenged on the bridle too out though got lazy on the run-in and had to be driven out. He was beaten in better company the next day but should win another chase.
EMOTIVE progressed through the field from three out. He never looked like winning and, though he has taken quite well to chasing, he is frustrating.
STOLEN LIGHT stayed on for third having been in the lead or near the front most of the way. This was a good effort from 12lbs wrong, but does devalue the form a bit.
STORM PROSPECT is a cussed individual though did consent to stay on from the rear for fourth. Peter Buchanan deserves plaudits for his persistence.
ICE IMAGE once again proved a softy at the sharp end, fading from two out.
CLUELESS dropped away from three out and hasn’t shown much other than a brief glimmer when fourth at Sedgefield.
HIGH STAND LAD lost touch from the tenth. He won at hurdle at Musselburgh last season when able to dictate and needs things his own way.
NOBLE COMMANDER weakened three out, BROADWAY STAR was feeling the pinch from the eleventh and ATHOSS was never going.

4.50 2m ½f 0-130 Handicap Hurdle

WIKAALA has looked a tough sort to win with, but she showed enough determination in the closing stages to win this fair quality handicap hurdle.
DISHDASHA has been in good form of late and stayed on well for second. He still looks competitive off 130 and won’t be a huge amount higher after this.
Keen going RAMPANT RONNIE, wearing a first-time tongue-tie, led until headed at the last and could offer no extra. Nevertheless he put up a respectable effort.
SPA WELLS raced prominently and kept on for fourth, ahead of ANNIBALE CARO who was held from before the last.
PERTH – Thursday July 1st

Going – Good To Firm easing to Good (Good To Firm in places)

With rain about, and it’s much needed in the area at the moment, the ground eased in the early part of the afternoon.

2.20 2m ½f Class 4 Novices’ Hurdle

RIVERSCAPE’s Downpatrick victory suggested that she had more to give. This proved to be the case as she saw off two higher rated opponents. Getting into contention form two out, she led on the flat and ran on well.
WIND SHUFFLE ran creditably enough in second, disputing three out, leading from two out until the flat and running on once headed. He should be capable of picking up a novice or perhaps a handicap.
BEIDH TINE ANSEO was held from before the last here though this was a good deal tougher than previous assignments. He is only young and I’d be surprised if his progression has ceased.
MR NOBODY kept on steadily from the rear and Tony Martin might be expected to place him to advantage somewhere along the line.
WHAT A RIDDLE ran creditably but appeared held when coming down two out.

2.50 3m ½f 0-105 Handicap Hurdle

With sixteen going to post this race was big on numbers but decent form was thin on the ground.

LONG WAIT won this very easily having taken time to get the hang of the job over hurdles. There looks to be more to come though the form has to be seen in the context of the quality of opposition.
TARKANI normally manages to avoid exerting himself to the full though stayed on for second.
MAOLISA, who is moderate but does stay well, kept on for third having been thereabouts for most of the race.
FOLLOW ON passed a few late on to finish fourth. His only win was at Hexham and that stiff track would suit him better.
HERMOSO appeared to have run out passing the stands for the second time, but it transpired that Sam Twiston-Davies had ridden a finish a circuit too soon, an offence for which he was awarded a 12 day ‘holiday’.

3.20 3m 0-90 Handicap Chase

HURRICANE JACK normally finds that the fences get in his way. However, he ran respectably in first-time blinkers last time and stepped up here against soft opposition.
GERSHWINNER has been mainly disappointing since winning here last year. His jockey gave him reminders even before the first fence though he did keep on for second place.
EXECUTIVE’S HALL was outpaced to three out but stayed on again for second. He has time to develop and I believe he has staying chase wins within him given time.
LORD LESCRIBAA dropped out of contention form three out. He blew hot and cold in points and seems pretty much the same in ‘senior company’.
HASPER was going nowhere when taking the thirteenth by the roots and unseating Gillan Crow.
JANAL raced up with the pace early but dropped away on the final circuit and was pulled up. He isn’t currently hinting at adding to his only win.
SHORT STRAW has shown little to date and was beaten past halfway, being pulled up before the back straight for the last time.
The blinkers applied to ASH HIGH brought no improvement and he was tailed off when pulled up before four out.

3.50 3m Class 4 Novices’ Chase

This could turn out to be a strong contest with the first three potential 140+ level over fences.

BILLIE MAGERN has plenty of pace and jumps well. He ran this field of novices ragged, had the race won down the home straight. Given that the second is rated 132 and the third has a hurdles mark of 145, then there’s every reason to suggest that Billie might be capable of scaling the heights that brother Ollie reached. He certainly looks a natural at this game.
DEL RIO couldn’t match the winner, and a mistake four out didn’t help, but he kept on to see out the trip in second place. He will turn into a decent handicap chaser in time.
CHICAGO GREY’s jumping wasn’t as slick as that of the first two and he was outpaced after four out. He has the basic ability and is another decent prospect given a chase or two under his belt.
CORRICK BRIDGE ran respectably coming off an 8 month break. He had a fair second to his name previously and plugged on in the straight. He would be unlucky to cop such sharp opposition in future events.
Maiden Irish point winner QUEEN COURT had a very tough task on her second chasing outing. She did well to stay in contention until two out before the effort told. Connections must take encouragement from this effort.
DUKEOFCHESTERWOOD, who has always looked a potential chaser, jumped competently but faded steadily from the twelfth. This was a tough ask and he can find his level in time.
AURIFEX had no chance and was tailed off in the last mile.
HAVING NIGHTMARES lost touch form four out.

4.20 2m 4 ½ f 0-130 Handicap Chase

NATIVE CORAL had a dismal ‘09/10 but showed that he’s no back number by coming from the rear off a strong pace. The race was probably run to suit but he has a fine record here which reads 121161. Fast ground suits and he’s now four out of five at trips around two miles and a half.
QUITO DU TRESOR takes a lot of credit since he raced up with a decent pace all the way and looked to have seen off his field by the last, only for the winner to arrive with a wet sail late on. He is consistent, goes well on good or faster and should add to his tally of wins in the near future.
STAGECOACH AMBER kept on for third though never able to dominate the field as he would wish.
KNIGHT LEGEND gave way two out having led or disputed to that point. This was a fair effort but he’s not as good as he once was and time is starting to catch up.
RETRIEVETHELEGEND, returning to fences having been hurdling since a fall last September, was held up and never got seriously involved.
SOUBRIQUET made on impact here though this race was a good deal tougher than the company he beat at Sedgefield.
KING ROONAH was beaten before three out. This was a rise in class and his efforts of the previous day may not helped.
STORYMAKER lost touch before four out and ANOTHER AMBITION had been dropped a fence earlier, eventually pulling up before three out.

4.50 2m 4½f 0-90 Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle

This was a very moderate event which looked likely to go to GRAND ART. Coming off a lay-off well in excess of a year he was going very well two out. He veered left when put under pressure going to the last, interfering with Can’t Remember in the process and, though he stayed on well enough to hold on, he lost the race in the stewards’ room. Tim Vaughan seems to have Grand Art back to the form he’s capable of and he might well make amends.
CAN’T REMEMBER has shown form on and off but wouldn’t go down as consistent. She came to challenge at the last and rallied after being bumped approaching the hurdle. She showed determination and it could be that the tongue-tie applied here made a difference to her.
KNIGHT VALLIANT showed continued signs of revival in third, staying on from two out.
PAPRADON led until two out but was one paced once headed.
MIDDLEMARCH didn’t run so freely this time, the visor having been dispensed with, and kept on for fifth.

5.20 2m NH Flat

ESPERAO led under pressure after two furlongs on the bridle two out, then had to have pressure applied to pick up a furlong out from which point he came away from his field.
CORKY DANCER stayed on for second. He’s not quite confirmed the promise of hiss debut win but he looks good enough to make a mark over hurdles.
INISHARGIE was held once passed two out. He lacks pace over this trip and will come into own given a stiffer test of stamina over hurdles.
BLUE SHIRT LILLY was outpaced five out, but she was not pressed by her rider from that point and is probably better than the distances suggest.

Thursday, 1 July 2010

A Rainy Monday Evening at Musselburgh

MUSSELBURGH – Monday June 28th

Going – Good to Firm (Firm in places) easing to Good (Good To Firm in places) by Race Three.

The rain threatened during the afternoon and finally arrived before the start of the first race. It rained on and off through the evening, a particularly heavy burst half hour before the race sending me to refuge in the Rosebery Café. No real complaints about the weather from this quarter, given that we have had a very dry summer so far, the ground looking quite parched in the Musselburgh area.

6.55 2m 0-65 Amateur Riders’ Handicap

A low key card stared with one of the Bollinger Series of events for Gentleman Amateur Riders. Peter Montieth booked useful Simon Walker for LOS NADIS who would pick this lot up and carry them over hurdles. He showed that ability on the flat here, staying on relentlessly up the straight and winning with a large chunk to spare. He won’t often get it this easy, and will pay for the winning margin, but it was a decent effort from one who has rated much higher than the 55 he ran off here.
ANDORN stayed on determinedly without threatening the winner and may not be finished winning if finding softish events.
SUMMER SOUL is in decent form over hurdles and plugged on under pressure from three out, while KYBER could match the pace of the first three from two out and hasn’t been at his best recently.

7.25 5f 0-65 Handicap

This was low grade sprint handicap, but to their credit this bunch had managed 42 wins between them. SILVANUS was the one to make it 43 with what turned out to be a cosy win. His rider worked hard from two out to get him into contention, but once he got his head in front he had a bit to spare. He was eased off close home and in this form might pick up another race soon.
SPEEDY SENORITA showed good pace from stall one, looked held approaching the furlong pole but stuck on well. This was a better effort and she has chances over a sharp five.
SANDWITH ran a respectable race if held form the furlong pole, while the largely frustrating FASLIYANNE kept on late.
RACCOON had a good draw in box two, he’d won 4 out of 6 from stalls 1 or 2 here before this, but he’s not hit peak form this season and weakened from the furlong pole.

7.55 5f Class 5 2yo Stakes

This was probably a decent contest for the level. The time was only 0.32 seconds slower than the handicappers, which is decent for two-year-olds, and the first three were clear.

ALBEN STAR was ready to do his stuff as are so many of Richard Fahey’s youngsters. He led a furlong and a half out and showed a good attitude to run on well for victory. He’s sprint bred and should pick up another contest before long.
Of the first three, EARL WILD looks the one to take forward. He gave me the impression that there’s a bit to work on and he was picking up nicely in the final furlong. I’d be surprised if he didn’t win a race or two soon.
MISS MEDIATOR represented solid form from York and kept on if held in the last 100 yards. She will win a race and would be a fine prospect in a fillies only contest.
FLEET CAPTAIN is a strong colt who seemed to find this sharp five too quick for him. He was eased after being hampered in some scrimmaging at the furlong pole and will produce better in time.

8.25 1m 4f 100yds 0-70 Handicap

Five finished in close proximity here which suggested they have pretty much established their level. Consistent PARK’S PRODIGY ran close up to a generous pace set by Balwearie, took over a furlong out and battled well to hold on. He lacks nothing in commitment.
Held up off the pace set by his stable companion, ROYAL STRAIGHT stayed on from three out without quite getting close enough to threaten a win. His best chances will come held up off a strong pace as he’s not straightforward.
HYDRANT and GRAND DIAMOND kept on for third and fourth respectively, neither beaten far.
BALWEARIE has had an interrupted career, including a 27-month break followed by a broken jaw incurred when he slipped up last season, but retains some ability and enthusiasm. He went at a fair lick and kept battling once challenged; only giving way in the final furlong. He might have to be aimed very low but he does seem capable of a win.
SAFEBREAKER was pushed along four out and lost touch, being eased down considerably once booked for sixth.

8.55 1m 0-65 Handicap

In-form Paul Hanagan scored a third victory of the evening as he found a gap in the final furlong to produce GLENLUJI to win here. This trip was more to the winner’s liking than the six furlongs he ran over last time. He probably needs covering up, he won in similar fashion over a mile at Ayr, and the gap appeared nicely inside the final furlong.
SAN SILVESTRO is a fair performer at this level and stayed on for second.
QUEEN’S SCHOLAR was making only her fourth appearance and kept on having been ridden up with the pace. Mark Johnston might squeeze a small race out of this one.
ZABEEL TOWER challenged two out, leading briefly at the furlong pole, but was then held in the last 100 yards. He looks handicapped to his mark.

9.25 7f 30yds 0-55 3yo Handicap

The card closed with a weak looking three-year-old handicap.

The first two showed more determination than the others and had a good set to from two out. CHOC’A’MOCA ran a good race at Catterick earlier and seems at his best round a sharp track. He just got the best of RESCENT in a finish of bobbing heads. Both are ordinary but at least show some willingness and you need that on your side at this level.
MONSIEUR PONTAVEN kept on for third having been in the rear for the first half of the race. The step up from six furlongs seemed to suit and he looks likely to stay a mile. It should be noted that on my past performance on judging ideal distances on the flat you should lump on if he drops back to six furlongs!
The fourth COOLELLA was held from two out.

I’d like to get to a few more meetings if I could, but work commitments are limiting scope at the moment. Perth midweek meeting report to follow and then I’m off to Catterick next Wednesday, taking in the meeting on the way to visit family and friends in the South of England. The report from Perth Sunday meeting on July 11th relies on AtTheRaces! Hopefully I’ll take in a couple of Musselburgh meetings during July and then finish the month by taking in Ladies’ Day at Hamilton.