Tuesday, 10 July 2012

North goes East... to Great Yarmouth

YARMOUTH – Thursday July 5th

Going – Good to Firm

A holiday visit to friends in Norfolk enabled me to pay a first visit to Yarmouth racecourse. With the remainder of the country worried about floods Yarmouth had escaped the rain and was bathed in sunshine. I’m told the course can be a bleak place if the wind blows off the North Sea, so I chose the right day.
The course is clearly signposted off the A47, signs appearing on the outskirts of Norwich, and alternative routes are given when reaching the roundabout at Acle. Once in the town the course can be found in Jellicoe Road off the A149 road to Caister. Public car parking is £2 which seems a bit off given minimum admission prices of £14, £21 being charged for the Premier Enclosure which doesn’t provide any significant extra creature comforts for the added £7 . A racecard is £3 for pretty much the same content  as we get for free at Musselburgh.
Plenty of cover is provided in two stands, though the steps are very steep and play havoc on the legs if a lofty viewing spot is to be attained. There was no big screen provided on this occasion, and I am led to believe such an aid is a rare luxury. Viewing is decent with binoculars.
The paddock area is pleasant and accessible to all patrons.
Although I won’t see many of these live over the remainder of the season, but at least one of the winners is likely to appear north of the border.

2.10 6f British Stallion Studs BHEST EBF 2yo Maiden Stakes (Class 5)
The first contest was supported by BHEST, the British Horse Racing Standards Trust, bringing racing to schools across the country. A local junior school party was welcomed by the course in conjunction with this contest, a number of the pupils carrying out the presentation to the winner. Why didn’t they do trips to the races when I was at school?
Two Royal Ascot came here with chances but were trumped by an improving sort from what appeared to be a decent  Doncaster maiden. Off a steady pace HASOPOP produced a nice turn of foot inside the final furlong to win a trifle cosily.
AJMANY, in the ruck in the Windsor Castle Stakes was well touted for this contest. He challenged tow out but was held in the final half furlong. Trainer Luca Cumani isn’t one to rush his youngsters and it’s likely there is more to come from this 65,000 Euro purchase.
OCEAN APPLAUSE made late headway into seventh in the Norfolk Stakes. That looks flattering as he was held in third place, may find his handicaop mark a bit high so an ordinary maiden would seem the best bet.
Newcomer HASBAH looks a fair prospect for the future. She made good headway over two furlongs out, leading briefly only to be put in her place in the final furlong. She’s a nice enough looking filly and will progress from here.
VINIFERA is a compact sprinting type who may do better once eligible for nurseries. She showed up for four furlongs but then gave way.

2.40 6f Yarmouth Stadium 2yo Selling Stakes (Class 6)
The winner SENORA LOBO is trained by Lisa Williamson, a frequent traveller north,  and may well be seen on the Scottish circuit. She picked up nicely off a pace just a shade quicker than the maiden, holding on in a duel to the line. She is a strong sort and it was surprise that there was no interest at the subsequent auction, though these Yarmouth sellers can be ordinary contests of  their type. The filly knew her job and I would expect she will be thereabouts again before long.
SMILING SHARK made little impact when fourth ion poor maidens, but was made favourite for this race. A narrow sort who didn’t particularly appeal on looks, he disputed the pace but was held by the winner in the closing stages.  He was claimed for 5,000 guineas by Claes Bjorling, a Scandanavian owner trainer who is not averse to raiding these contests. I presume this colt will resume his career in Sweden.
STRAWBERRY DUCK, placed in similar company here previously, couldn’t match the first two and looks ordinary even at this level.

3.10 7f WaterAid Charity Handicap (55-74)
MRS GREELEY was dropped down in class and recovered the form that saw her win last term. In a tight finish she led inside the final furlong and held on well.  She needs to stay in this sort of grade so her trainer will be hoping she doesn’t get bumped up too far in the ratings.
EXCELLENT JEM, probably suited by the drop back to seven furlongs, led briefly in the final furlong only to be run out of it. This was only his fifth race and he showed enough to suggest that a seven furlong handicap is within his capabilities.
Consistent FIRST CLASS put in a challenge in the final furlong and kept on to the line finish a close third. He doesn’t look handicapped out of these contests yet.
FLYNN’S BOY, a muscly sort looking the best of these in the paddock, led a furlong out but was run out of it in the final 100 yards. He’s back to near his best and might well land a handicap before long.
SPIRIT OF CONGREE had to be walked to the start, the chatty Cathy Gannon following on foot, and delayed the start. He led until one out,  but quickly gave way and blinkers didn’t work the same way they had on his previous run.
BRIMSTONE HILL was too revved up for his own good, 4-time winner this year SPIN AGAIN faded in the final two furlongs and INTOMIST, second here the previous week, was very disappointing in rear.
ANTON GHIGURH is a nice enough individual but looks too headstrong at the moment.

3.40 5f 43yds Norfolk Chamber Of Commerce Handicap (44-60)
A handful of this moderate bunch had appeared on my radar at one time or another. However, it was well handicapped filly at the bottom of the handicap who had enough to win the race. IRISH GIRLS SPIRIT  made an effort two out, led one out and did enough to hold on. She was collared close home at Windsor and five furlongs on fast ground looks best for her.
ONE KOOL DUDE looked about as fit as could be. He was gaining on the winner at the line but never looked likely to catch her and remains a maiden, placed 2nd or 3rd in 10 out of 17 runs.
AUTOCRACY kept on for third. His recent good efforts have been on sharp tracks and that maybe the key for this one, not over-raced for a five-year-old sprinter.
Well exposed THE JAILER occupied a fair fourth, followed by SIMPLE RHYTHM who couldn’t impact on the principals from the furlong pole. Three raced near side but were held two furlongs out. Of those, northern challenger ARCH WALKER performed best in eighth place and might be worth an interest in similar company. He’s back to a feasible mark and has hinted at a return to form of late.
OOI LONG totally missed the break and had no chance. He has been progressive and should pick up the threads before long.
Giles Bravery’s PRINCESS PALMER was withdrawn at the start and carried back to the stables in the horse ambulance. I would guess she knocked into herself, but enquiries drew no other information than that she was ‘being looked at by the vet’. I trust that she is recovering.

4.10 1m 1f Guide Dogs For The Blind (3yo) Handicap (64-79)
This looked a reasonable event though, with winning prize money of less than £4000 for the ‘feature event’, it proves that courses can get away with low levels of reward.
Major stables were well represented here and Sir Henry Cecil’s TOUCH GOLD made all and had the race in safe keeping from the furlong marker. He is progressing nicely now and will presumably aimed a bit higher next time, though he did have things his own way here.
SARMATIAN KNIGHT raced prominently and kept on to hold second. This was decent effort on handicap bow and there should be a race in this one, with Ian Williams ready to travel to take an opportunity. The fast going suits and he looks the sort to be suited by a bit further.
DISPOSITION stayed on through the field to take third, performing best of those held up. She showed promise in maidens and can do better with handicap experience in the locker.
FULNEY, another on handicap debut, looked spot on for this but a promising run three out didn’t produce enough to threaten the winner.
OPERATION TRACER may be one to take out of this contest. He appears to be coming to himself and was on his toes for this, he kept on into fifth place and can make a mark in a lower grade over a longer distance.
Luca Cumani’s STRADO FACENDO was well touted, but two handlers in the paddock was a bad sign and his shortlived effort fizzled out inside the final two furlongs. OCEAN TEMPEST, a winner at Windsor last time, was very fizzy in the paddock and had nothing left two out.

4.40 1m 2f E.A.C.H. Charity Handicap (52-70)
Lightly raced three-year-olds took on more experienced campaigners in this contest. One of the former, TIS ROCK ‘N’ ROLL was the victor, leading two out and then rallying when challenged and pulling away again close home. A winner this year on the all-weather, he showed the right qualities here and could still be ahead of the handicapper.
Ex-German LANDESHERR battled on well under pressure for second. This was arguably his best effort in four starts in Britain and Steve Gollings should squeeze a small handicap out of him. He didn’t seem madly keen on the tongue-tie in the preliminaries, but he didn’t seem unduly troubled on the track.
SILVER ALLIANCE looked very fit, had every chance from two out and kept on for third. He seems honest enough but the handicapper has him covered.
ROGUE REPORTER, running for the first time since being gelded, stayed on through the field for fourth. Connections were discussing a step up in trip after the race.
Top weight TIN PAN ALLEY didn’t show but has the look of a jumper about him.

5.10 1m 3f 101yds The I.J.F.  Hands And Heels Apprentice Series Handicap (47-65)
Two pulled clear in this event, THE DUCKING STOOL repelling the persistent challenge of LOCUM in the final furlong. The winner was well handled by Shirley Teasdale, one amongst a number of decent young  female jockeys riding at this time. The winner has run well on heavy and looks a pretty easy sort, so should continue to show up well in similar company.
LOCUM saw his race out well enough. He normally finds at least one to beat him, showing 11 seconds in 46 runs against 2 wins.
The rest were well beaten off, RIO SILVER plugging on into third and basically looking very ordinary, while MAGICALMYSTERYTOUR seems on the downgrade as the years catch up.
IVAN THE TERRIBLE is a robust animal who looks as if he could do a job over hurdles, but his jumping efforts  were lousy and this return to the flat offered precious little encouragement.

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