PERTH – Saturday August 18th
Going – Soft (Good To Soft in places)
A crowd in the region of 10,000 attended on 'Carnival Day' at Scone Palace Park, going some way towards making up for what has been a miserable year weather wise. Even then overnight rain turned the ground soft, not suiting every horse entered by any means.
Crowd size meant it was difficult to cross the course quickly so I was unable to take in the steeplechases from my favourite position by the final fence.
3.10 2m ½f Bet totescoop6 Text Tote to 89660 Novices’ Hurdle (Class 4)
A two way contest here, somewhat marred by the demise of Lucinda Russell’s NAJLAA. She broke down approaching the fifth hurdle having suffered a broken tibia, and sadly had to be put down.
CADORE has been a hard character to win with, but he was given a patient waiting ride by Grant Cockburn to take advantage of a big weight pull over HAWKHILL. The second may now be forced into0 handicaps or perhaps up in class as he’s stuck with penalties for three wins. Cadore on the other hand might not necessarily find things as easy in future.
LILLIOFTHEBALLET is hard work but plugged on best of the rest to take a remote third place. She would be better off ain mares’ only races as some such contests can be rather weak.
3.40 2m 4½f North East Steel Services Ltd Novices’ Handicap Chase (99-105)
On the face of it this was a fairly even contest, but EYRE APPARENT turned it into a procession from the home turn, galloping on to win in impressive style. He’s been shunted up 11lbs for the win, which doesn’t seem unreasonable and might be progressive enough to cope with a new mark of 110. His jumping is sound and should set him in good stead against better opponents.
FOG PATCHES was tried in the latter stages but plugged on for second place. He’s now off a mark of 101 which is about as high as he would want to be.
PLOOPLUCK BRIDGE, a winner of a beginners’ chase at Limerick before joining Chris Grant, is potentially a bit better than the well beaten third he occupied here. His jockey reported that he off the bridle early on and just finding the pace a little tough, though he jumped very well. He’s only a youngster and is likely to step up on this effort in time. Of the runners here he may be the one to keep in mind.
TRUE BLUE weakened very quickly after leading to the ninth. He was pulled up before three out, his jockey reporting that he failed to handle the soft ground.
4.15 totepool Summer Champion Hurdle (Limited Handicap) (100-137)
I’ve abbreviated the ludicrously long title for this race which stretched to three lines on the racecard!
Last year’s renewal was won by Overturn, and I don’t think there will be a Champion Hurdle contender out of the contest, but there were a decent few progressive sorts.
KIAN’S DELIGHT travelled well throughout the race and asserted on the flat having challenged from two out. Peter Bowen has his string in fine form this summer, but this might be one to take on to better races in the autumn. A stayer on the flat, he ought to see out a longer trip which will increase the options.
ABSINTHE represented fair form from the north and ran a sound race in second place. He wasn’t one that totally convinced me last winter, despite a decent record, but this was a very good effort. He briefly led before the last and kept on well enough once passed. His overall record in all disciplines is 18 times 1st, 2nd or 3rd in 24 efforts and he will be competitive in similar company in the coming months. I got the impression Kelso’s stiff finish found him out, so this sort of track may suit best.
SMALIB MONTERG has been progressive this summer and ran a very creditable race to finish third here. This was the toughest company he’s taken on so far and the experience should be a benefit. Previous campaigns suggest he will be one kept to racing in the warmer months.
HUNTERVIEW has an interrupted career since recording a decent win in last year’s Scottish County Hurdle. He helped set a decent pace and kept on doggedly under pressure once passed two out.
HIS EXCELLENCY is a nice sort who was on his toes in the paddock. He ran a fair race in fifth but is high in the handicap over hurdles and fences, and it may now take all of David Pipe’s skill and planning ability to place him.
A close second in the Galway Hurdle, CAUSE OF CAUSES was held from two out on this occasion. It could be that he needed a bit longer between races.
COOL BARANCA started slowly here and could never get into the race. This class was probably too big an ask despite her good form in recent months.
4.45 2m 4 ½ f Bet totepool… Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (93-115)
A pointing winner in February, KELLY’S BROW looks to be a progressive hurdler. Leading all the way he stayed on strongly from two out and the others couldn’t get to him. He looks sure to win again over hurdles, even with a rating rise, and has the makings of a chaser as he jumped plenty big enough over the hurdles. He’s in the right hands in Donald McCain and is a definite for the notebook.
RAAJIH rallied well after looking at the end of his tether coming to the last. He’s been unlucky to catch progressive sorts on two consecutive runs and can surely be placed to win a similar hurdle before long.
CATCH THE FIRE stayed on from two out without ever threatening the leader. Yet to win, there should be a small race for him in the coming weeks. This trip doesn’t seem a problem.
NAY SECRET, a two mile winner on the flat, was under driving before two out and could only keep on at the one pace under pressure. He’s more lightly raced over hurdles than the first three though and has enough about him to turn into a capable hurdler at a lowly level. A step up to three miles wouldn’t be a disadvantage.
5.20 2m 4 ½ f Crabbie’s AGB Handicap Chase (110-123)
BOBOWEN has been in magnificent form of late and rewarded Richard Newland’s first visit to Perth with a comfortable win. He made a winning chase debut at Market Rasen in July and had no problem seeing off senior opposition here. Disputing from four out, he asserted from the last. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t add to his chasing tally in the coming months.
PYRACANTHA is more exposed than the winner but put up an excellent performance coming back off a lay-off. He disputed for much of the way before giving best at the last. Having slipped steadily down the handicap, Pyracantha now looks favourably weighted and won’t always run into such a progressive sort.
TOUT REGULIER was no threat once turned for home. She did win a point in heavy ground back in 2009, but she seems better on a faster surface.
GO SILVER BULLET has had interrupted seasons of late and is probably not as good as he was. He was struggling in the last half mile. He needs the ground faster so that his stamina is not under so much pressure, and connections post-race discussions suggest they feel he needs to drop a bit in the ratings.
MY MOMENT mixes a host of duff performances with the odd decent run, but was way off his game on this occasion. He seems better on faster ground.
RED KINGDOM has put away moderate opposition of late with his big jumping front running style. However, he doesn’t like being taken on and spat out the dummy when headed halfway through the race. The stewards report hints that the officials were not entirely happy with the explanation that Red Kingdom was ‘unable to dominate’ and ‘noted the explanation’. To my eyes it was clear cut and a race scenario I had suggested to a fellow racegoer before the start. Life is not going to be easy for Dianne Sayer with this one now rated 110.
5.50 2m 4½f STV Appeal 2012 Handicap Hurdle (105-125)
GLINGERBANK retains his enthusiasm and rallied hard on the flat to hold on having been challenged at the last. It’s worth noting that he has generally required a bit of a rest after his best efforts, butb should remain competitive despite his advancing age.
RED HOT POKER is an in and out performer who was on a going day here and battled hard from the last. He’s lightly raced for a 10 year old and has shown his best on soft ground, though he can have off days.
HUNTERS BELT kept on late having looked outpaced down the far side. He doesn’t seem particularly generously handicapped at the moment.
WHEYAYE had every chance two out but was held approaching the last. She goes well at Hexham so it might be worth keeping her in mind when the Northumberland track starts their autumn programme.
LORD REDSGIRTH is a big angular gelding who is better over fences. Claimed by Lucinda Russell out of a seller here at the last meeting, he was held here but will be seen to better effect over the bigger obstacles.
SUMMER SOUL was running for the first time for two years having changed stables. The race was needed but there was a hint that ability remains intact.
D J MILAN didn’t like the going and faded from three out having set the pace.
QUITO DU TRESOR raced up with the pace until weakening quickly from two out. He should show up better over fences and the race will have helped.
6.20 2m ½f Racing Post Form with totepool Mobile Standard Open NH Flat Race (Class 5)
Plenty to take forward from the closing contest. The winner MISTER PAGAN caught eye in the paddock, but was very keen on the way to the start. He came to take it up two furlongs out, but looked very green once in front, hanging both right and left. Lucy Alexander organised the Jim Goldie trained gelding to great effect and he quickened clear in encouraging style. Decently bred out of a winning chase mare and by Sulamani who has a decent record as a jumps stallion, Mister Pagan seems to have decent prospects for the future.
ABSOLUTELY BYGONES won a weak contest at Hexham, but he has plenty of ability and caught a tartar in the winner. He showed a willing attitude in the closing stages and may pick up another ordinary bumper before going hurdling.
LORD OF DRUMS looks a chasing type and anything he does at this level will be a bonus. Keeping on honestly enough, he won a point in Ireland and should come into own once encountering jumps under Rules.
WOR LASS performed a little better than when green on debut at Kelso, though she has some work to do to threaten a win.
ONE IN A ROW set a steady pace but was put in his place in the straight. This one wasn’t disgraced in bumpers for Shark Hanlon and Alistair Whillans should be able to place him to advantage in time.