Sunday, 5 September 2010

Gannin' down the East Coast Line... see the Blaydon Races!

NEWCASTLE – Monday August 30th

Going – Good To Soft (Good in places)

I made my annual August Bank Holiday pilgrimage down the east coast to Newcastle for a card featuring the Blaydon Race Nursery. Regrettably the meeting seems to be done on the cheap since the Class 2 feature race ‘rewarded’ the winner with only £5050 and the winning owner’s ‘take home pay’ for the Class 6 handicap was a mere £1107. It may be a case of ‘While you can get away with it’ I suppose, and the racing was well supported, but Northern Racing doesn’t seem inclined to dig too deep for what could be a showpiece card.

Having lost the privilege of a company car on being made redundant earlier this year I had to be content with a journey by train. That being said, it wasn’t expensive booked in advance and the trip down the coast around Berwick is as scenic a section of railway as I’ve travelled on. The track is about a mile and a half from Regent Centre Metro station, 12 minutes journey from Newcastle Central, with a bus connection to the course. As it was I chose to walk which took about 25 minutes, on the return walk sharing the pavement with joggers and runners presumably limbering up for the Great North Run. The jogger who I could keep pace with while walking has a lot of work to do…

The rail on the stands’ side was moved to allow 3 metres of fresh ground to come into play. The only one to try this ground was P J McDonald on Coole Dodger in the claimer. To my mind the gelding performed above himself at the weights, but no one else took the hint.

2.15 7f European Breeders’ Fund 2yo Maiden (Division One)

There are normally one or two of interest in the maiden on this card, and we had a bonus of two divisions this year. The first division appeared the weaker of the two heats, but the times were identical.

LOUKOUMI stayed on under pressure from two out having been held up. She seems likely to see out a mile and that might bring about a little more improvement.
The fly in the ointment here is the 100/1 second RUDEGIRL who had shown little on her first two outings. On the face of it there was no fluke since she came through to lead inside the final two furlongs only to be run out of it in the final 200 yards. She is entered in a Sales race at Fairyhouse in September and after this effort it wouldn’t be a total surprise if connections had a go there.
IBSAAR didn’t particularly impress in the paddock and was keen going down. He competed for the pace until after two furlong pole, only raising one pace from that point.
DEEP APPLAUSE never got into the contest seriously but stayed on to some effect in the final two furlongs. He’s from a middle distance family and should be seen to better effect when stepped up in trip next year.
MAVERIK, equipped with a cross-noseband, was taken down early. He had every chance over a furlong out and wasn’t good enough. He does now qualify for nurseries.
THE BELLS OF PEOVER raced prominently on the far rail but was one paced from two furlongs out.
Newcomer PINK DIVA opened at 11/2 but eased to 7/1. She’s entered in the Fillies’ Mile at Ascot, but she was green in the paddock and struggled after a slow start. She has enough about her to suggest there’s better to come in time.

2.50 7f European Breeders’ Fund 2yo Maiden (Division Two)

The time was identical to the first heat but the first two here were both newcomers and caught eye in the latter stages.

The winner SERGEANT ABLETT is far from the finished article. He’s a lengthy gelding who looks to have some filling out to do, and looks likely to benefit from a winter’s growth. As it was he led one and a half furlongs out and soon had the race safely secured. His half-brother Drill Sergeant is a three times middle distance winner and stays two miles, and Sergeant Ablett looks the same sort of material.
SUD PACIFIQUE was held up by Daryll Holland and pretty much caught out by Sergeant Ablett’s burst. He would have won most similar contests as he quickly pulled clear of the remainder and his visit to the winner’s enclosure is only delayed. By Montjeu out of a sister to a Prix Marcel Boussac winner, Sud Pacifique has Group 1 entries and is clearly well regarded.
INDIAN GIVER is a sound marker and probably ran to his 69 rating though totally outclassed by the first two from two furlongs out. There’s probably a minor fillies’ maiden for her, or she could be aimed at staying nurseries as her new mark is downgraded to 65.
FACE THE FUTURE stayed on for fourth and improved on his Ayr debut effort.
WHITE FUSION raced prominently but was held from two furlongs out.
A few were headstrong on the way to post, particularly ADLINGTON who has regressed from his initial efforts.

3.25 1m LA Taxis Claiming Stakes (maximum claiming price £10,000)

I’m very comfortable assessing claimers and this race threw up the best bet on the card in MOODY TUNES who looked very well in himself. A fair enough handicapper, these races are much easier for him and he pulled clear from two furlongs out having raced prominently.
JUST FIVE is rated a couple of pounds less than the winner, and is possibly a few pounds better on Southwell’s artificial surface than he is on turf. He kept on well for second and it’s worth bearing in mind that he has been eased from 80 down to 77 in the all-weather ratings.
WIGWAM WILLIE plugged on a well held third. He won a handicap off 85 last year so even at the age of eight his trainer may have something to work with off 73.
TEN TO THE DOZEN kept on after a sluggish start to pick up fourth place, but he’s only rated 40 and the position probably flatters him.
COOLE DODGER ran better than his 50 rating suggested he might. He was brought up the stand rail, the only one to try it during the meeting.

4.00 1m Blaydon Race 0-83 Nursery Handicap

We were treated to Lindisfarne’s version of The Blaydon Races in full in the minutes leading up to the main race on the card, though I can’t help feeling that there was very little play on the theme during the afternoon.

The time was 0.7 seconds greater than that of the claimer, but at the weights that’s at least respectable and would suggest the winner is capable of running to a good bit more than his mark here of 74. MY SINGLE MALT is a robust looking colt who needed the attentions of two handlers in the paddock. He went about his business well when asked for an effort two out, and held on well from the persistent second.
Of the first two I’d probably give a little more weight to the performance of NEXT EDITION. He led until the furlong marker and was not brushed aside from that point. A good effort and he looks likely to step up a place soon.
ARABIAN STAR stayed on for third and seemed happier here than he had at Epsom.
The fourth REGIMENTAL should be worth keeping in mind for upcoming races. He came through to challenge with the winner but was held form the furlong pole. There’s a class difference between the two and this one would have a strong chance is a lesser contest.
MY MATE JAKE struggled with pace form halfway but stayed on in the closing stages.
Course winner CHIN ‘N TONIC had every chance but wasn’t good enough in the final two furlongs.

4.35 7f Hanro 56-72 Fillies’ Handicap

CLUMBER PLACE is an occasional winner who pulled clear with her nearest challenger ALWAYS DAZZLING, another near the bottom of the weights. It’s difficult to believe that the two have improved so much over third placed LEITZU, another exposed performer, and my gut reaction is to take the form with a pinch of salt. Cue wins for all three!
LUV U NOO didn’t appear to run to her recent level in finishing fourth, she was held from two out but did at least keep on, and SILLY GILLY was below form in fifth.

5.10 5f Alexandra Cars 46-65 Handicap

Twelve turned up for the princely first prize of £1419 (oh yes, and 29 pence) and CAYMAN FOX was given an easy ride to the purse. Allowed a comfortable lead, she forged on from two out and was never in danger. She’s in good heart and might just have another race in her in the near future.
DISPOL KYLIE chased the leader from two out without making an impression. She has been thereabouts at this level a few times, but hasn’t won for a couple of years.
FUTURE GEM, who has struggled this term, hinted at a return to form in third. She appears to retain her ability and might just squeak a weak sprint handicap before the season is out.
DIVINE SPIRIT kept on for fourth but is difficult to win with and on a long losing run.

5.45 5f Happy 21st Birthday Laura Jane Fenwick 56-72 Handicap

BRONZE BEAU was another leader able to dictate and took charge approaching the furlong pole. This was a pattern that had been repeated throughout the afternoon, late runners not getting near to the front. Linda Stubbs’ consistent gelding is noted as enigmatic but he’s not been out of the first three for some time.
JIGAJIG added another place in what has been a successful season. A right ‘street fighter’ type, he’s probably as high as he needs to be in the handicap but continues to give his best.
DANCING FREDDY made his effort approaching the furlong pole but was held.
TEXAS QUEEN got tapped for pace two out and, though she picked up again, she could not make an impression on the leaders.
AREEG was outpaced at halfway and isn’t good enough in this company.
TILLYS TALE faded approaching the furlong pole and looks held by the handicapper at present.

6.15 6f Waverley TBS 61-80 Handicap

GINGER TED had the race set up for him here. He needs to come off a decent pace and was able to do so, taking the lead approaching the furlong pole and running on well.
MANGO MUSIC was near the head of affairs most of the way. He kept on well enough in the final furlong. Given that he was coming off a break this run was very encouraging and, in the hands of a shrewd trainer in Richard Fahey, he can be placed to advantage soon.
REVUE PRINCESS has been in good form and looks a sound marker with her third place finish.
Three exposed sorts followed home the first three in AVONTUUR, BOND CITY and BAYBSHAMBLES, none having any discernable advantage over the assessor.

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