PERTH – Saturday August 21st
Going – Good (Good To Soft in places)
Perth staged a Saturday card for the first time in many years, the racing being part of the ‘Perth 800’ celebrations marking the signing of the Fair City’s charter in 1210. Various events took place from 12.00, a falconry display kickoff proceedings and then a Jousting Show taking centre stage. The latter was quite entertaining in it’s own way, the Scottish Knight beating The Black Knight in a sword fight play-off after a drawn final. The local hero slew the baddie, but the latter was dramatically brought back to life when doused with a bucket of water!
There followed a procession down the course by ‘King William’ and his wife to meet and handover the City Charter. The king, equipped with what must surely have been the naffest red wig in Perth, was met by the Lord Provost of Perth accompanied by Sam Morshead dressed, we were informed by the announcer, as Friar Tuck. Quite what Friar Tuck was doing in Perth in 1210 I wasn’t sure, but apparently he was a character in Scottish May Festivals in medieval times.
Meanwhile back on the racecourse the fare was lowly but nevertheless entertaining for a decent sized ‘festival’ crowd. It’s notable that Scottish crowds seem a lot better at enjoyable themselves on a Saturday whereas there seems to be so much more rowdiness at weekend meetings south of the border. Before anyone questions that as Scottish bias I might point out I’m Berkshire born and bred with of the worst offenders, Newbury, being my former local.
3.00 2m ½f New Homes At The Mill Balgowan Maiden Hurdle (Class 4)
The card kicked off at a slightly later than usual time to accommodate the Perth 800 activities. The opening maiden hurdle would not go down as a particularly competitive event and only two got seriously involved from out.
JEWELLED DAGGER set the pace, was ridden after two out and had more determination than a proven less than committed second. The winner looked very well, seemingly a straight forward type that Jim Goldie should be able to place to win again in the future.
DUTY FREE has more ability than the remainder here but doesn’t show much when challenged. Although he ran on the winner held him from the last. His best chance might just be kidding him through off a fast pace in a big field, but he’s no betting material at short odds.
MORNING TIME kept on from midfield for third. He’s shown a glimmer of ability over hurdles and might show better given a stiffer track or step up in trip.
RAIN STOPS PLAY ran a moderately decent race in fourth, being held up off the pace and picking off tiring rivals late on.
Gordon Elliott’s MAKHAALEB made no impact once turned for home.
DRAMATIC JEWEL, Lucinda Russell’s second string, is a lengthy gelding who doesn’t look cut out for hurdling. He was outpaced from three out.
3.30 2m 4½f Fearless Freddie Williams 0-114 Novices’ Handicap Chase
This was a card financed entirely by Perth Racecourse and Sam Morshead expressed the hope that the course can hang on to the fixture in future years. They cast around for sponsors among the bookmakers and Julie Williams stepped forward to name a race in memory of her father, a renowned layer in the ring.
EMOTIVE seems to have benefitted from a change of tactics. He’s generally been held up in chases but, encouraged by a good showing behind Strobe here, he was sent up to harry that opponent. It worked well as the consistent if slightly frustrating gelding stayed on well to win nicely.
KING ROONAH challenged from four out but was held from before the last. He jumped a bit better in this small field but can be a little awkward at his fences.
MORE EQUITY kept on from three out and offered some encouragement after a break.
Jim Dreaper’s chasing debutante PAINT THE TAPE was out paced from four out and didn’t offer too much encouragement off a mark of 88.
STROBE set the pace but dropped back after hitting the eleventh when hustled by two others. He gives the impression that he needs things his own way.
ANNIBALE CARO went wrong behind and was quickly pulled up approaching the seventh fence.
4.00 2m 4½f Ecosteel 0-107 Novices’ Handicap Hurdle
Ten-year-old FLY TIPPER broke his maiden at the 27th attempt. He’s gained a few places previously but recent poor efforts perhaps encouraged application of the tongue-tie. He didn’t seem bothered by the addition in the paddock and there was certainly improvement on the course, Fly Tipper seeing off a persistent runner-up as the pair pulled clear.
CAPE SECRET won a seller at Uttoxeter and didn’t do much wrong off top-weight here. Held up in rear, he progressed to close approaching the last and ran on if held on the flat.
ORMELLO has ability but doesn’t win very often, keeping on for third without threatening a win.
A tall rather sparely made gelding, SOUL MAGIC ran a fair race coming off a 486 day absence. He looked as if the race would bring him on, but led until approaching two out before fading into fourth. Lightly raced for an eight-year-old, and with a fair Kelso second to his name last year, he looks worth keeping an eye on.
Course winner MAOLISA led until two out before weakening.
4.35 2m ½ f stanjames.com 0-90 Selling Handicap Hurdle
A poor contest won by a gelding with more ability than his mark suggests, but one whose attitude has been questioned frequently in the past.
Sporting a natty set of red and white striped blinkers to match his silks, PEREZ closed at halfway, led three out and pulled clear without any great alarms. He’d rid himself of Lucy Alexander at Wetherby earlier in the year, but Paul Gallagher kept him up to his work all the way to the line for a 21 length victory. He’s probably a good deal better than the 70 mark he ran off here and Consett-based Wilf Storey, recording a quick double, went to £5,200 to retain him at the auction. Though he will presumably only be raised value for about half the winning distance the problem for backers is that he’s far from guaranteed to repeat the form.
The horse had been taken out of the ring by his groom before the auction. Sam Morshead had to make an announcement to Anne Wilson to bring her charge back to the unsaddling enclosure. Thankfully for the groom the gelding remains in the stable.
ARCH, a big strong gelding clearly difficult to keep fit, plugged on for second though clambering in tired fashion over the last.
DESERT SOUL charged off in typical style and kept going well enough for third.
DARAYBAD, rather fidgety in first time visor, had every chance three out but couldn’t keep up a strong enough gallop from there.
The Michael Blake trained pair BARI BAY and WE’RE DELIGHTED, having travelled all the way from Trowbridge, were disappointing. The former faded from three out, and the latter was pulled up after trying to match Desert Soul from the start.
5.10 3m Murrayshall House Hotel 0-101 Handicap Chase
This race looked a weak affair and TWELVE PACES, presented looking very well after a season off, saw off two challengers from the last fence. Twelve Paces is none too consistent, but he can handle better than this opposition on his good days and ran on determinedly from the last having travelled well throughout.
KYBER has struck me as a possible chasing type. He was making a belated chasing debut here but gave Jim Goldie plenty of cause for optimism. Held up early on he progressed from the last, challenged on the flat and didn’t go down without a fight.
ADRIANEO looked very well and made a satisfactory handicap chasing bow. He led at the twelfth and had every chance at the last though unable to respond to more race hardened campaigners. He has time on his side.
CHARMING KNIGHT is basically hunter class and was pulled up before three out.
THUNDER HAWK is another better off in hunter company, a fact totally ignored by those who made him 6/5 favourite. He led until before the twelfth, was then ridden and lost touch before his jockey called it a day approaching three out.
CUTE N YOU KNOW IT had bits and pieces of form but isn’t very good these days. Inclined to jump slowly at times, he was left behind from the twelfth and pulled up before four out. He showed signs of stringhalt in the paddock, though the effects seemed lessened after a few circuits of the ring.
5.45 2m ½ f Perth Bookmakers 0-112 Handicap Hurdle
SHOPFRONTSPECIALST looked to have an excellent opportunity to continue a run of victories. In the event he stepped at the third hurdle and fell. Paul Carberry got hung up as the horse recovered and seemed to get a nasty kick as the gelding freed himself of the ‘encumbrance’. The rider lay still for a while, track staff making quick efforts to doll off the hurdle, but Carberry then waved frantically that he would get clear. The jockey limped to the side helped by medical staff and the hurdle was re-instated. Carberry was taken off in the ambulance but, as is the way with this tough breed, he presumably saw it as a handy way back to the changing room!
The favourite fall meant that Gordon Elliott suffered a rare Perth blank, but the Irish did finally notch a win as REPORTAGE saw off his remaining three rivals from the last. Looking hard fit, he was excitable early on in pre-parade and parade rings but settled a bit if still on his toes. He led before the last and ran on well.
BAAHER, forced to hurdle Shopfrontspecialst and Paul Carberry after the third flight, kept on under pressure for second.
COOLNAHARAN had every chance but was held on the flat.
TIGER KING set the pace but could muster no extra once headed approaching the last.