Apologies I hope to produce more regular updates in the coming months.
PERTH – Saturday August 20th
Going – Good
Perth introduced this meeting successfully last year as part of the Perth 800 celebrations. With the involvement of Alex Salmond and Prince Charles, this year’s meeting became a big charity fundraiser and there was a packed house for a meeting featuring a well endowed hurdle.
LOS NADIS won the opening middle distance hurdle. He made the running from the start and had plenty in hand to see off the opposition. When he first started hurdling his jumping was rather clumsy, but he really has learnt with experience and jumped his field silly here. GLINGERBANK, normally at his best after a break and on decent ground, followed home in second and retains his ability with advancing age. He may be worth an interest if given a bit of break before an autumn outing. GRANDAD BILL stayed on for third, and that was a fair effort from bottom of the weights, but he’s basically a bit frustrating.
The result of the main event, the Summer Champion Hurdle, pretty much reflected the handicap hierarchy, with top weight OVERTURN playing his customary front running role and keeping on strongly under encouragement up the straight. GENERAL MILLER ran a sound race in second, but the best effort was from Stuart Crawford’s improving dual purpose performer NOW THIS IS IT. The latter looks a decent prospect for either hurdling or chasing as Elliott sees fit in the coming months. NOBLE ALAN filled fourth, running soundly enough, and I would imagine his target might be the Kelso limited handicap chase that he was placed to win last autumn.
RESTORATION should have been a winner of the 2½ mile handicap chase but hit the least hard when taking charge and unseated some way after the fence. ASHFIELD’S DREAM had raced prominently and had enough left to hold on up the run-in.
The subsequent races were not the most competitive and the standard fell away toward the end of the card. However, the winner of the bumper might go on to better things. ANNA’S ARCH is flat bred and I wonder if Alan Swinbank might take option to aim this one at a Flat maiden. The runner-up, Irish trained JAMESSON is bred for the ‘winter game’ and showed enough to suggest a race is within his compass. Pace setting AND HE’S DREAMING was disqualified from third after Tom David took the wrong course going away from the stands.
HAMILTON – Monday August 22nd
A low key card but one significant performance came from UNKNOWN REBEL, leading and staying on too strongly for the others in the 1m 3f Betfair Stayers Series handicap. He won at Chester the time before, and has also won going right handed, so must surely be a live contender if aimed for the Series Final at Musselburgh on Saturday 3rd September. I wouldn’t be put off by the two furlongs longer trip and he hints that he might be better with distance.
Another hinting at better to come was JONNY DELTA who stayed on from the rear to take fifth. This bumper winner looks capable of better on the flat and could be an interesting hurdling recruit come the autumn.
William Easterby rode his father’s RYEDANE in decent style to winner the amateur handicap, suggesting he’s a talented recruit to the amateur rider ranks.
SEDGEFIELD – Tuesday August 23rd
A very moderate summer jumping card with little encouragement for future races.
CARTMEL – Thursday August 25th
The August meeting started with an evening meeting of small and generally moderate fields.
ITZACLICHE jumped better than most and stayed on determinedly to win the 3m 6f contest under a sound ride from the trainer’s daughter Jo Richards.
SOUL MAGIC loves it around Cartmel and won the 2m 1½f handicap chase, staying on well up the straight. This one and Scotswell have been in rattling good form for Harriet Graham this summer, but Soul Magic might suffer under the handicapper when going elsewhere. EXECUTIVE’S HALL has been consistent of late but didn’t seem suited by the cut in the ground, though close up for third. He may do better if encountering fast ground before the summer is out.
PAINTED SKY held off WINTER ALCHEMY in the closing stayers hurdle. Given that the latter seems to be improving so the winner’s effort looks decent.
HAMILTON – Friday August 26th
DELIBERATION won the 6f Class 6 3yo handicap with a bit in hand. He looks ahead of the handicapper at the moment and might well score again even if upped a grade.
The runner up INCA BLUE has been campaigned at longer trips, but the drop back to six furlongs didn’t prove and inconvenience and he was clear of the rest. He has chances in a similar event if avoiding anything progressive.
A small group were clear in the 6f Class 4 handicap and, provided the handicapper doesn’t bump them all up, VALERY BORZOV ( lightly campaigned this year, took charge to win with a bit in hand), AMENABLE (found this class more matching his ability) and KLYNCH (another benefitting form a drop in class), can all make a mark in coming weeks if kept to no higher than 0-90 contests. That assumes the winner is moved up no more than 5lbs!
SHERANANDO landed the Lanark Silver Bell for Mark Johnston from a field of largely exposed handicappers. The fifth GOGEO kept on trough the field and might have more improvement in him than some. He might land a race if Alan Swinbank can find a less competitive event, possibly over further than 1m 4f.
I’m still hopeful that THE FIERY CROSS might be capable of picking up a Class 6 sprint handicap. He was outpaced two out but kept on finish third to SPARKING in the closing five furlong handicap. I reckon a six furlong race at this level will suit best.
CARTMEL – Saturday August 27th
This was a stronger card than the Thursday meeting, but itr’s wroth bearing in mind that rain since Thursday made the going very tiring.
I’m indebted to commentator Ian MacKenzie for a few little nuggets of information passed to the throng during his commentaries.
GOLDEN VIEW won the beginners’ chase from Aspatria Restricted winner DODGEY DREAM. Both should improve with experience in chases.
A Musselburgh hurdles winner last autumn, DICA was third here but got tired having raced in rear. He jumped well enough but looks to need faster ground. His rider James Reveley has spent the summer working in France for Guillaume Macaire, an experience which will have done him no harm.
COLDITZ was coaxed to victory in masterful style by AP McCoy. He saw of a field of dubious characters in the 2m 5½f Class 5 handicap chase, but it’s worth noting that the runner-up GUNS AND BUTTER seems to have received and enthusiasm injection since joining Jimmy Moffatt. Trained on the outskirts of Cartmel it seems the Lakeland air has done the former Rose Dobbin trained gelding some good. I may regret this, but he might just pick up a race in the near future.
INDIAN PIPE DREAM held off FOXESBOW in a slow motion finish at the end of the staying handicap chase. SEIZE didn’t jump well enough to trouble them, and probably was suited by the softened ground anyway. The first two may struggle in more competitive company. SEIZE may put the form behind him on a firmer surface.
The feature handicap hurdle for the Cartmel saw a group of multiple winners attending. VIVA COLONIA came away in the straight to win with something to spare and his trainer might now have a pot at some decent autumn handicap hurdles.
I should be at Musselburgh for Betfair Finals day this coming Saturday. After that my programme should pick up a bit as we head into the autumn. I shall make the effort to update at least once a week.