KELSO – Sunday November 21st
Going – Good To Soft changing to Soft by Race 3
The weather was miserable at Kelso and the going got progressively more testing as the afternoon went on.
12.15 2m 110yds 2011 Punchestown Festival Mares’ Maiden Hurdle (Class 4)
Dropped back in trip, MOSCOW MISCHIEF steeped up on largely moderate previous form. She led two out and stayed on under pressure up the run-in. Her last three races had been at Perth and it arguably that the stiffer finish was in her favour here.
SARA’S SMILE stayed on for second place. Her hurdling was better than her jumps debut but still has room for plenty of improvement.
LADY BLUESKY was made ½ favourite on her hurdling debut. She has shown winning form on the flat and will win hurdles assuming she benefits from the experience.
SCARVAGH ROSE stepped up on previous efforts, making progress to two out though unable to impress on the leaders from that point.
12.45 2m 1f Billy Erskine 80th Birthday Beginners’ Chase (Class 4)
ALFIE FLITS was the only one to put in a clear round here, the rest either departing or making errors. That being said he looks plenty capable of matching better opposition that he faced here. He went on from his only serious opposition two out and was ridden out to the line.
BLACKPOOL BILLY jumped left at most fences and this cost him a chance of matching the winner. This was an improvement on his Carlisle run but there is still plenty of work to be done.
MORE SHENNANIGANS was outclassed by the first but completed a respectable distance back in third.
ASHAMMAR jumped awkwardly and unseated at the fourth.
STEEL MAN, a poor performer, fell at the eighth.
PRIDEUS jumped poorly and his rider called it a day before the sixth.
1.20 2m 6f 110yds Clelands Jaguar Handicap Hurdle (0-125)
STOPPED OUT stayed on to win well here, despite having been hampered by a faller at the seventh flight. The first two were clear and the winner may still be capable of improvement. This was the longest trip he has tried to date and the step up did no harm.
CHARLIE BUCKET put up an excellent performance from 9lbs out of the handicap.
He’s lightly raced over jumps for a seven-year-old and looks to be coming to himself now. He made the winner pull out the stops, clear of the remainder and this must augur well for future handicap outings.
BALLYMACDUFF performed soundly in third following and 8lbs rating rise. He led two out but was held on the flat.
WATERCOLOURS kept on in the straight but looks to need a drop in class to make a real mark.
1.55 2m 6f 110yds Ashleybank Investments Reg And Betty Tweedie Novices’ Handicap Chase (0-125)
The form of this event is likely to be strong as most had shown decent form of late. TOP IT ALL looks progressive from the bottom end of the handicap and is one to place on a list to follow. He was forced to pull out all the stops, but the second looks capable of further progression. The winner appeared suited by the testing conditions.
LOCKSTOWN is a progressive sort from a small stable with a decent record in recent seasons. Mrs Hamilton boasts a 15% record with her chasers over the last five seasons. Consistent over hurdles, Lockstown doesn’t seem over burdened on a mark of 103 and should win a similar contest before long.
MORE EQUITY had every chance but couldn’t match the first two in the closing stages. She should win a chase before long, but her future may be uncertain following the tragic death of her trainer Peter Monteith shortly after this meeting.
QUINDER SPRING weakened from the last and may have found this race coming a little soon after his Market Rasen win.
CLUB CLASS was put in his place after three out and found this a good deal tougher than the Hexham novice he won last time.
These were a little too sharp for LINDSEYFIELD LODGE. . He led for much of the way but faded form the fourteenth.
2.30 2m 110yds Three Diamonds Handicap Hurdle (0-129)
DOESLESSTHANME rallied in the final furlong when challenged and held on from a fast finishing second. He was well held at Aintree in April, but does seem to have enough about him to take on better class opponents.
RAYSROCK stayed on to give Peter Monteith a second place from what turned out to be his last runner. A generally consistent sort, Raysrock should reward whoever picked up the training reins, hopefully staying at Rosewell.
Peter Monteith will be sorely missed in Scottish racing. He always struck me as a cheerful soul, never short of friends on the racecourse. As such his tragic demise, seemingly by his own hand, seems ever so much a mystery. Sympathy goes out to his family and friends.
BEST PROSPECT had every chance but couldn’t master the winner on the flat. Having been kept on the go during the summer he won’t have lacked fitness, but maybe the race will have his appetite for hurdling. He looks a likely hurdles winner in the near future.
BOGSIDE THEATRE raced prominently and kept on if held in the final furlong.
BEVERLEY HILL BILLY put in a decent effort from the bottom weight, holding every chance at the last but held though not easily cast aside.
3.05 2m 6f 110yds Louis Coppola Novices’ Hurdle (Class 4)
James Ewart’s stable has hit the ground running this autumn. TORTA DEL CIELO made a winning debut for the Langholm yard, staying on well to hold off three others in a tight finish. He had shown promise on his only other hurdles start and looks an interesting prospect for staying novice events.
WHAT A DREAM, having shown promise here on his last run made the winner pull out the stops. This half-brother to Lie Forrit is learning fast and his trainer should find a race for him.
IDENTITY PARADE set the standard here and put up a sound performance under a penalty. A mistake at the second last wouldn’t have helped her, but she stayed battling all the way to the line.
EMPEROR CHARLIE caught the eye staying on late to finish a close fourth. He looks a long term prospect so this run offers much encouragement.
3.40 2m 110yds Granny's Birthday Treat From E.F.C. Standard Open NH Flat Race
Regular know that I’m always keen on bumpers at Kelso. It was significant that four were in contention on the home bend and each can be taken forward at their own level.
DARK GLACIER came clear in the final two furlongs and looks potentially decent. His family contains enough ability to suggest he can win over jumps.
FOURJACKS kept on after the winner in the closing stages and finished well clear of the third. His breeding is such that he is likely to improve with distance, so a prominent showing in this company augurs well.
TRUCKING ALONG, easy winner of a Limerick point in October, was outpaced three out but kept well enough to regain third place.
FOUR FIDDLERS was in frontline swinging for home, but faded thereafter. He showed a glimmer of ability despite a last place first time out. He’s likely to progress once he goes hurdling, the stable having produced a similar promising sort in Papamoa.
SAM D’OC came for miles back to stay on for fifth and offers hope for the future.
SEDGEFIELD – Tuesday November 23rd
Going – Soft (Heavy in places)
DORABELLE saw off BORAGH PRINCESS in a slog to the line to land the 2m 4f mares’ novices’ hurdle. They are competitive against their own sex but the winner may struggle under a penalty in open company. SOPHONIE had every chance when coming down heavily two out.
KELLYSTOWN LAD landed the beginners’ chase over 2m 4f, building on a promising Carlisle effort. POKANOKET looked to improve on his initial chase effort here; being held on the run-in, while CHAMIREY couldn’t raise his game once headed going to the last. The latter seems harshly handicapped on 130 over fences, a mark apparently based on his hurdles efforts.
MONSIEUR JOURDAIN plugged on for fourth but was well held. SOFT SPOKEN GUY was feeling the pinch down the far side for the final time and HEGRID unseated and the tenth.
MARSH WARBLER doddle up against moderate opposition in the juvenile hurdle. AL DAFA, currently rated a possibly harsh 114, held HADES for second.
WAR PARTY stayed on from the last to win the 2m handicap chase off top weight. NORTHERN QUEST set the pace to two out but was held once passed and MIGHTY MAGNUS gave way from two out.
TOULOUSE EXPRESS was well held from three out and is having one of his quiet spells. SCHINKEN OTTO wasn’t suited by these conditions.
BILLSGREY has looked progressive since joining Willie Amos and won the 3m 3f handicap chase with a bit to spare. His previous under-achievement could be to his advantage since he looks potentially a fair bit better than the 77 he ran off here. He stays well, handles testing conditions and jumps accurately enough.
A bunch of more exposed opponents followed the winner home. JERINGA kept on for second having been close up for much of the way. NELLIEDONETHAT was out the back for much of the way but stayed on for third and MATMATA DE TENDRON was off his game despite favourable conditions, struggling from three out.
YES MATE was well backed despite dire previous form. He pulled up when beaten four out. BENBEOCH never looked happy and was pulled up along with RARE SOCIETY.
In-form SPICE BAR beat a moderate field in the closing 2m 1f 0-95 handicap hurdle, BARBARIAN kept on well to get within a length at the line and of the two I’d be happier backing him next time. COSMETIC ran moderately well in thirds but the rest were comfortably seen off.