Saturday, 4 September 2010

Late August Steeplechases in the North

SEDGEFIELD – Tuesday August 24th

Going – Good To Firm

The last fence, the ‘Johnny Ridley Fence’ was omitted as ‘ground under repair’.

2.45 2m ½ f Clem’s Fish Restaurants 0-98 Handicap Chase

This was a poor contest with the top rated departing mid race and only three completing.

TROODOS JET is normally thereabouts in moderate events here, and a six runner contest was just about up his street. He made progress from two out and held the upper hand under pressure on the long run from the last.
SCHINKEN OTTO generally goes well here and had conditions to suit, but he doesn’t often win these days and was held in the closing stages.
ALFLORAMOOR failed to see out the three miles over hurdles at Southwell. He is headstrong, which doesn’t help at any distance, and was struggling from two out.
SKIDDAW JONES belted the second and unseated.
SAN DENG raced up with the pace but was off the bridle when unseating at the seventh.
WHATCANYASAY has been right out of form of late and was tailed off when taking a tired fall at the last.

3.45 2m 4f Classic Excel 0-91 Novices’ Handicap Chase

Another poor event with reasons for opposing each runner.

ARCHIE’S WISH had only moderate to poor hurdle form to his name carried forward to his chasing debut. There were a couple of runs which suggested a little promise, but clearly he’s a little better over fences, though it’s a moot point as to how much he achieved in winning this. He progressed down the far side for the last time, joined issue two out and then forged clear of his challenger from the last. He’s only a six-year-old and might have a little improvement but is likely to struggle in anything but the lowest class.
PUGNACITY probably has more ability than he cares to let on and can be a soft touch in a finish. However, this quirky course seems to bring out the best in him and his record here now reads 1441P122.
FIRST FOUGHT plugged on for third, but he seldom gets involved at the business end.
SIR BUMBLE has been in decent form, and led three out but he was headed on the final bend and weakened on the run-in.
EXECUTIVE’S HALL led early but ponderous jumps slowed him down and he was beaten two out. Though kept to decent ground sop far he gives me the impression that a greater stamina test would suit, and he does at least have time on his side.
ELLANDSHE added another completion though well held from two out.
JANAL often races prominently but never got into the race here and was beaten when hampered at the tenth. He’s a very weak finisher even if getting involved.
BOCCIANI lost touch from the tenth and showed no immediate aptitude for chasing.
MISS MOLLY BE RUDE disappointed on chasing debut, in rear early and tailed off when pulled up with four to go.
Having raced prominently early, NOBBY KIVAMBO was throwing out distress signals when falling at the tenth.
HAPTHOR wasn’t interested and would not go with the rest at the start. He looks disenchanted with the game.

GRAND ZOUKI put in a fair performance in the opening two and a half mile novices’ hurdle and looks good enough to make a mark handicapping.
The form of the minimum distance novices’ hurdle looks sound enough with BANDANAMAN just holding off a sound marker in RIO GAEL, the pair clear of the remainder.


Thursday August 26th

Cartmel added a Thursday date to the August Bank Holiday weekend ‘Festival’. It seems likely that this fixture will remain, though at the time of writing the July fixture has yet to be confirmed.

Going – Good (Good To Soft in places)

5.55 3m 6f Agrilek 0-115 Handicap Chase

VOLCANIC ROCK followed up a previous course win, stepping up in trip from his May victory. Clearly suited by this quirky circuit, the Irish trained runner stuck under driving form the last.
PETITE MARGOT is a cussed individual who does as little as she can get away with. That being said she does produce an effort for driving and remained in contention for Sam Twiston-Davies’s urgings although held form the home turn.
This course would not be the best for SIMPLY SMASHING, and the ground would be a little softer than ideal, so he wasn’t disgraced in staying on for third place. If the serious rains hold off he would be worth keeping in mind for a staying event at a stiff track this autumn.
THUNDER HAWK jumped very well up front, but he found opponents too strong in the latter stages and weakened into fourth.
SHULMIN raced in rear and struggled from four out. Twice a course winner earlier in the year the race will presumably have brought her on a bit.

6.25 2m 1 ½ f Cartmel Thanks Nigel Taylor Beginners’ Chase

With a rating suggesting anything like a competent jumping performance would bring comfortable victory, MAGICAL LEGEND obliged in decent style. That being said, her supporters had to survive a scare when she took two out by the roots, but she came clear on the run-in if idling significantly.
AMALFI COAST stayed on for an outpointed but clear second.
RISK RUNNER looked hard work at times but kept on for third.
Hopelessly outclassed LITTLE GIRL was detached approaching four out.
DOUGALL struggled from halfway and unseated when well beaten two out.

6.55 2m 1½f CLB Coopers Ahead Of The Field 0-89 Handicap Chase

A dreadful contest with an ungenuine 89 rated top weight that finished tailed off and nothing else rated better than 78.

COLDITZ has occasionally hinted at ability over jumps but it’s been mixed amongst plenty of dross. In a desperate finish he just held on despite hanging and is not one to carry forward with confidence.
PEAK SEASONS runs often but wins seldom. He does go well here and added another place, staying on from the last.
STOLEN LIGHT led from the eighth but thumped the last and was headed on the final bend. He couldn’t raise his game nay further.
DEVILS DELIGHT, winner of a poor handicap hurdle at Sedgefield, was outpaced from three out.
ICE IMAGE has ability but his attitude is questionable and he regularly finds ways of getting beaten. He was well behind from three out.

Saturday August 28th

Going – Good

2.05 2m 5 ½ f totepool Flexi Betting Beginners’ Chase

FRANKIE ANSON is a big gelding who doesn’t look immediately suited to this sharp track. The didn’t seem any great problems though as he well in touch with the leaders, led at the last and won with ears pricked, if racing a little lazily once out in front. He will be competitive in stronger company.
MISTER FIFTY TWO lost nothing in chasing home a stronger opponent. An Irish point winner, a Rules victory looks only delayed. He was keen here, but if settled looks a type to benefit from a stiffer test.
LOCKSTOWN, last seen out winning in swamp conditions at Ayr over hurdles in March 2009, but in a fair effort here but was held from the last. The race should do him good and he can step up on this effort.
OVERQUEST, and Irish point winner, was well held from four out.
FINZI CONTINI, having been reluctant to go to the start, looks ungenuine and wasn’t putting it in from halfway.
WAPITI CREEK stepped up on recent efforts over hurdles, leading until headed and falling two out. She was winner of an Irish point where she beat subsequent bumper winner Lovey Dovey.

2.35 2m 1 ½ f Grant Thornton UK LLP 0-102 Novices’ Handicap Chase

MIORNING SUNSHINE was keen early on but held enough in reserve to challenge going to two out, going on rounding the final bend and holding on well.
TRANOS chased the winner under pressure form the last and was gaining approaching the line.
EMOTIVE had every chance and was one paced from the last.
Sadly HIGH STAND LAD went wrong in the closing stages and was put down. He led the race and was still battling to stay in contention when stumbling on the crossing to the village exiting the final bend. He was quickly pulled up.

3.10 3m 2f Hadwins 0-127 Handicap Chase (Cavendish Cup)

I’ve had a decent opinion of NO PANIC since seeing him contest a decent novice event at Perth last summer. This level of summer chase is just up his street and he stayed on gamely having nicely all the way. He raced of the level he ran off last summer and there may just be a little more in the tank if pushed.
COOL RUNNING, a keen sort equipped with a cross-noseband, raced midfield until closing to two out. He stayed on from the last and was steadily gaining going to the line.
VOLCANIC ROCK was pulled out again a couple of days after victory over a longer trip. He couldn’t quite match the first two from the home turn but in a better contest lost little in defeat.
BACKBORD was equipped with blinkers, tongue-tie and cross-noseband, none of which suggest he’s straightforward. He challenged at the last but faded on the run-in.
SEIZE jumped slowly in rear and struggled from four out.
DEAD OR ALIVE raced prominently but gave way approaching two out.
SPEEDY MAX led from the twelfth until headed two out. He came under pressure and weakened.
SEYMOUR WELD is a light of his former self. He led early but finished tailed off.

Monday August 30th

Going – Good (Good To Firm in places)

2.55 2m 5½f 0-90 Handicap Chase

A very moderate handicap chase won by a capable performer at the level who has been off form this year. MISCHIEF MAN had decent form around the minimum trip in the last couple of years, but was charting new territory over this trip. What he achieved is open to debate but stayed on under vigorous riding to beat a moderate second. The drying ground helped him as his best performances have been on good or faster.
PEAK SEASONS kept on for driving to take second having been close up throughout.
MURPHY’S BEAU lost touch from three out. His recent form has been dire and he is flattered by the 3 in his form for this run.
CHARMING KNIGHT has struggled since moving up from hunter chases. He was pipped for third having inherited that place at the last.
ELLANDSHE lost touch from the eleventh and completed in his own time.
ARCHIE’S WISH provided some confirmation that he’s better over fences than hurdles. He fell at the last when close up but maybe getting the worst of the argument amongst the three leaders. A blunder three out didn’t help his cause as there’s little time for recovery with the fences down the wood side coming in quick succession.
HAPTHOR refused to race once again and is becoming a pest. An alternative occupation beckons.

3.30 2m 5½f Chas Kendall 0-125 Handicap Chase

SILMI made it three wins from four runs at Cartmel, running to something like the mid to high 120s mark he’s capable of at best. Leading two out he was well clear by the straight and eased significantly. His options are limited here; this being the last meeting of the year, and a move into the 120s won’t help.
INDIAN PIPE DREAM stayed on from rear division for second but his form has been on the downgrade for a while.
OHANA kept on for third. He is kept to good or fast ground these days.
JIMBATAI weakened from two out while STAGECOACH AMBER led until four out before giving way quite swiftly.
SPEEDY MAX, behind here on Saturday, took over four out but was deposed two out and weakened from the last.
MORE EQUITY ran a poor race, tailed off from four out, finishing just in front of PLAYER who lost touch from the eleventh.
FINZI CONTINI refused to race and is one to avoid in current mood.

4.05 3m 2f Cengis ‘Gus’ Sadik Memorial 0-91 Handicap Chase

IHAVENTABOB has more scope for improvement than the rest of this moderate field. He belted a couple on the way round, a mistake at the last certainly not helping, but he recovered and was driven out for victory. He was ploughing through the mud in his early career and will surely now be kept to good ground where possible.
GIFT OF THE GODS led until headed on the final bend. He stayed on under pressure for second.
FEELING PECKISH was left behind by the leading pair from the last and recorded race number 76 without a win.
DASHER REILLY represented the sponsoring family but was up against it from 8lbs out of the handicap. He was outpaced approaching the water (4 out) and the game was up.
STAR OF RAVEN was well beaten in fifth, similar to most of her sporadic racecourse appearances.
BYNACK MHOR has been in good form but palpably couldn’t handle this quirky track. The form looks poor but he’s worth another chance.

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