Saturday, 27 October 2012

Kelso - Second October Meeting

KELSO – Saturday October 20th

Going- Heavy
This meeting looked in a bit of danger midweek, the course soaking up 70mm of rain in 12 days, but drier days on Friday and Saturday were enough to ensure the meeting went ahead. Clerk of the Course Hazel Peplinski commented that the course could have taken another 10-15mm, and on my inspection that looked accurate. Conditions were stamina sapping but well raceable. The quality of  track’s drainage was emphasised by the amount of standing water on the golf course in the middle of the course. 

2.05 2m ½f Download the Free Racing UK iphone App Novices’ Hurdle (Class 5)

Two points about the race title:
1.       Why does it have to be so long?
2.        In my book ‘App’ means apprentice in this sport!
That aside this was a decent contest which is likely to yield future winners, despite mishaps catching two of the three main contenders.
DEISE DYNAMO, second in an Irish point to twice Rules winner Dottie’s Dilema earlier in the year, was left well clear as his two main rivals departed two out. He was going well enough at that point and seemed likely to finish first two. As it was he eased home for victory.
A tall four-year-old who still has a bit of filling out to do, Deise Dynamo looks to have plenty more to give and is likely to make a mark in much better company in time.
OUR JOEY, a strong attractive sort and twice a bumper winner, raced prominently and had every chance two out, if just coming under a shove. He stumbled on landing and came down but looks sure to pay his way in the near future.
ROCKING BLUES, another striking type looking a chaser in the making, cruised up to dispute approaching two out and appeared to jump the hurdle well enough. He appeared distracted as Our Joey came down and hit the floor himself well after the obstacle. Off the track for two years since a debut bumper success he is another that looks a readymade winner.
CASTLELAWN is a chasing type who will need more time. He plugged on for a fortunate second, but will come into his own with fences and a stamina test.
ONE FOR HOCKY, a Newcastle bumper winner in March, looked fit neoguh on seasonal debut but was left behind from the fifth. I suspect that better ground will help and he’s better than a 42 length defeat suggests.
Back in February I noted EDMUND  as a chasing type who will need time. He was outpaced from flight number five and came home in his own time, but should be competitive once chasing.
RESOLUTON has shown nothing to date.
Sometimes you see a hrose running and wonder quite why connections bother. BENFIT WAY was brought across from County Armagh, his previous record in points and a bumper an abysmal PP9PFPP, the ninth when beaten miles last in the bumper. He set off in front, jumping violently right, and was totally spent by the fourth hurdle. Benfit Way is not a racehorse.

2 .40 2m 7 ½ f Clifford and Martin Frith Novices’ Chase (Class 4)

Not a bad novices chase won in decent style by OUR ISLAND, highly tried in National Hunt Chase and Scottish National last year but finding this more his level. His jumping wasn’t spot on, but good enough to keep him well in the contest. Having hit the front three out he had to be rousted to keep going on the flat, but I suspect he felt he had done enough.
MICRO MISSION stayed on determinedly but couldn’t get to the winner on the run-in. This was a decent effort, she’s favoured by the mares allowance in the conditions and should find a novices’ chase.
ON BROADWAY jumped well enough on chasing debut but got tired in the ground.  He was beaten by two decent performers and will find easier races.
GOREY LANE didn’t jump well enough in this company and was left behind from three out. Rated below a few of these over hurdles, he needs sights set lower.
SYDNEY PAGET raced in contention until falling three out. He jumped well enough to that point and looks capable of making amends.
BOLLIN RIVER has shown little to date and had no hope here, tailed off by the twelfth when pulled up.

3.15 EDF-FR Fallago Rig (110-135) Handicap Chase 

A decent little contest with a few that should win races this season.

ACROSS THE BAY looked nicely set up for his first run of the season. He bowled along in fornt, jumping well and pulled away from two out. He can stay further and trouble better opponents.
BESCOT SPRINGS performed to his best here. Wearing a visor for the first time, he stayed on well from two out but couldn’t get to the winner. His current mark of 123 might enable easier opportunities to be found and he can win before long.
LORD VILLEZ looked very well for his first run for five months. He stayed on from midfield in the straight. Ferdy Murphy’s string normally take a time to warm up in the autumn, so a prominent performance is a good sign for one who looks well enough handicapped.
ROLECARR looked as if the race would bring him on. On the heels of the leaders to two out, he flattened a bit after that but promises better to come.
LEAC AN SCAIL raced in co0ntention until a mistake three out knocked the stuffing out of him. This was a fair effort and there is plenty of scope for placing him off a mark of 114.
Willie Amos apparently expressed reservations about whether LIE FORRIT should have been running in the testing conditions.  This suggests the gelding wasn’t as far forward as his trainer would have liked. He faded badly from three out.
BLENHEIM BROOK raced well enough to three out before giving way. A combination of firat run of the season and the testing conditions may not have helped. This will be his level in time.
CAVERS GLEN needed the race and dropped away from three out. He should come on a fair bit.
SUPER ALLY had a tough task here and was never travelling. He was another that needed the race.

3.50 2m ½f Peter Doyle (91-113) Handicap Hurdle

A largely exposed bunch were seen off by a revitalised HUNTERS BELT who didn’t look in much trouble from two ou, despite breaking a hurdle section in half. A twelve length win means he’ll be pushed into a higher class and will have harder tasks.
The remainder of the field all took advantage of the gap caused by the broken hurdle, led by STANLEY BRIDGE who kept on well enough for second. Four times a winner last season, this run suggests he has every chance of adding a victory or two this term.
I marked RUPERT BEAR down as one to keep an eye on last season. He won a race at Hexham in the spring, and this big typically robust James Walton gelding performed creditably on his handicap debut.  He’ll make a chaser in time, should be capable of winning a handicap hurdle in the meantime and will stay further.
ENDEAVOR plugged on for fourth, but never in the contest. He’s capable at this level, if quirky temperament wise, but below his best at this time.

4.30 2m 6 ½ f Happy Birthday Gillian Novices’ Hurdle (Class 4)

Irish import STREAMS OF WHISKEY looked fit on his UK debut for Nicky Richards. He was bit green in front in the closing stages, but held on well enough. This wasn’t the strongest event but he should progress.
Rated 103 after a couple of places in Ireland, MILANO MAGIC stayed on honestly enough after the winner. He placed over three miles in Ireland so further may suit, and Nick Alexander should palce him to win a small race.
A winner at Perth last time, RYTON RUNNER was well held here.
JUMBO SUPREME looked a nice sort in the paddock but faded tamely from three out, while11-year-old TEERIE EXPRESS found these too sharp for him.

5.05 2m 1f Beginners’ Chase (0-110)

I took a chance to watch this race from the centre of the course. However, walking down to the last fence it was clear that the low sun was far too bright for the fences in the straight to be jumped. They were omitted, so I made a quick trek across a soggy golf course to the fence past the stands. I had to keep on the move from here to see the whole race.
This was a ratings related contest which does at least give a chance to those now forced to have a run in a non-handicap chase before going handicapping.
Five runners were reduced to four as WILLIAM MONEY dived at the first fence and fell. He was hacked back and looked none the worse.
ROS CASTLE was impressive in winning this. Jumping significantly better than his opponents, he gained a length and a half at the fence I was stood at. He was not pressed to come clear in the straight. He stays 2m 4f and will prove his worth in better company.
ANGEL SUN was held up rear of the four survivors and never got to the winner. He kept on encouragingly up the straight to take a clear second and should be capable of picking up a minor chase before long.
OVERAFRICA was hanging left and this didn’t help him when meeting his fences. He was well outpaced in the closing stages and is likely to need a tougher test of stamina, particularly given that his best hurdles performance was over 2m 5f at Towcester.
TUTCHEC is a big animal who probably takes some getting fit. He jumped soundly enough but was left behind from two out, this race being likely to bring him nearer to fitness.

5.40 2m 6 ½ f Edinburgh City FC Conditional Jockeys’ Training Series (62-98) Handicap Hurdle

Nick Alexander’s string is in decent form at present, and he seems to have wrought some improvement out of those horses acquired from his now assistant Sue Bradburne. CAUGHT IN THE ACT won a bumper but disappointed afterwards. Coming off a break he was always going well and asserted from two out under an assured ride from Joe Colliver. Racing off only 81 here, Caught In The Act seems very well handicapped given the evidence of his two wins.
SOME LAD ran creditably here last time and saw out this extended trip well enough. He probably ran in to a decently handicapped winner and was clear of the remainder, leading three out but finding the winner too good from the last. He should win a similar class race.
LIVVY INN was never in the contest proper but stayed on through the field for third and it’s difficult to know what to make of this effort. On the face of it this was better than recent races, but I’d be happier if he had got more involved.
DICKIE HENDERHOOP, a long standing maiden, once again flattered to deceive for a while before coming up short. Not for the first time made favourite, it’s amazing how many are happy to follow this one over a batting cliff!
KING KALIUM hasn’t shown much to date, but did at least keep on in the closing stages to take fifth. He looks a chasing type and could make a mark in time in lowly handicap chase company.
DUNDOCK has been running well in recent times but never really got into this contest. He was hled from two out having been off the pace for most of the way.
VALLANI is normally decent in this class but she ran no sort of race here. That said she had top weight, which for a small mare in this ground is a bit of a task.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Kelso commence their winter campaign

KELSO – Sunday October 7th

Going – Good to Soft (Soft in places)

There’s an air of the jumping season starting ‘properly’ as the Kelso season gets underway.

The course took on a slightly unfamiliar with layout changes having been made. The hurdles and chase course now have separate run-ins. A summary of changes:

Hurdles Course
More flexibility in positioning of the last hurdle, on this occasion my pacing out estimating the run-in to be 210 yards. The second last hurdle is now approximately 2½ furlongs from the finish.
Chase Course
The fence opposite the stand removed and the fence before that is now repositioned to give a run in of 260 yards. There is now only one open ditch on the course, which is the second last fence. A few distances have been changed and I’ll pick up on them as the season goes on.

The courses change result in a different type of finish with a handy position at the last being more of a factor than it was with two furlong slog to the finish.

The turf looked in immaculate condition for the start of the winter season.

2.20 2m ½f 93-115 Radio Borders Handicap Hurdle

A field full of exposed performers contested this race, and it wasn’t a great surprise that the race was won by a lightly raced promising sort. David Pipe’s WAR SINGER was considered good enough to compete in a decent handicap at Punchestown in April and found this company to his liking. Always travelling well, he took the lead approaching the last and was not pressed to record the win. He should win again.
Jim Goldie took second and third places, GRAND DIAMOND keeping on well enough for second
though he doesn’t win very often. LILLIOFTHEBALLET raced prominently, led from three out until approaching the last and had enough in reserve to hold third place. She’s on the upgrade and is good enough to pick up a minor handicap hurdle, perhaps on slightly quicker ground.
SNOOKER was near the front most of the way but found out for pace on the run-in. His best jumps efforts have been on quicker ground.
ENDEAVOR is a moody sort, but capable on his day. He’s below his best at the moment and never got in a blow. He looked as if the race would bring him on a bit after a lay-off.
FARMERS CROSS caught the eye on his first run for Jonathan Haynes. Held up in rear, he made significant progress approaching three out, staying in the straight but not getting in a serious blow. His best form is on quicker ground and he showed enough here to give hope for the coming months.
BOB’S DREAM looked a bit tubby, was beaten by two out and will come on for this race.
KAI BROON was disappointing back over hurdles.
WEETFROMTHECHAFF put in some clumsy jumps and was not a threat from two out.
TOSHI never showed and is currently running well short of his best.

2.55 2m ½f Betfair Commits £40 Million to British Racing Juvenile Hurdle

An unremarkable bunch in the paddock, this race was taken by the one I viewed as marginally the best looker. A tall gelding who looks a nice type for jumping, RED TYKE was made to battle but pulled out plenty from the last hurdle to hold on by a neck. He may find life tough under a double penalty, but shows the right attitude.
FINE KINGDOM has come up against one or two of the better early season juveniles. He pushed the leader all the way to the line and should find a similar contest before long. He wouldn’t want the ground any softer than this.
ASTEROID BELT stepped up on his Perth effort putting himself in the firing line second half of the race and only giving way in the final 100 yards. A maiden on the flat, he’s a rather narrow sparely made sort, but at least showed he can put the effort in when required.
FORSTER STREET chased the leaders until two out but had nothing further to offer from that point. He looked fit enough here, but may need some time.
RECKLESS ROMEO was well off the pace for most of the way, racing lazily, but picked off a few on the run to the line.  After a couple of runs in Irish maiden hurdles this effort offers his new stable some cause for optimism.
GREYHOPE was making a move when clouting two out and that put paid to his chance.

3.35 2m 6½f NSPCC School Service Intermediate Hurdle (Class 4)

This is normally a revealing contest and looked a decent renewal, decided by the conditions which favoured a well-rated hurdles maiden.
Irish raider MAGGIO impressed when winning a novice chase at Musselburgh last December. Still a maiden over hurdles, he was favoured by the fact that all the rated near him were conceding 7lbs or more. On that basis a 5 length win was no surprise, even if an SP of 9/1 was! Given that he’s a novice hurdler  with only one race win then there must be scope for placing him this term. Alternative options would include handicap chasing.
There was some muttered post-race criticism of Lucy Alexander for setting a searching pace on JET MASTER. Looking at the ratings though I have to conclude that she got it right and it can easily be argued that this was a career best for this gelding on debut for Nick Alexander. It’s worth bearing in mind that his Perth win came in similar style, and this tight circuit definitely helped. He kept on well enough under pressure to suggest that this trip is no problem.
MIDNIGHT TUESADY chased the leader for much of the way, but could only race the one pace on the run for home. A sound enough effort and he ran near to his best.
SOUTH LEINSTER was the lowest rated of the principal contenders here, but kept on to finish a decent enough fourth. He would be fairly rated at 120 for handicaps, and I wouldn’t mind seeing him go chasing.
IMPERIAL VIC gave encouragement with a staying on fifth place. Rated a ‘three mile chaser’ in the long term by connections, this Irish pointing winner showed enough to rate 115+ here and a moderate staying novice should be his for the taking.
NUTS N BOLTS was badly off at the weights with his serious rivals. He was never seriously in contention and was eased when it was clear he was held. He’s reported by his trainer as being difficult to get fit, so the race will have helped, and it was felt he didn’t handle this track. He will produce much better.

4.05 2m 7½f 106-129 Betfair Boosts Prize Money at Kelso  Handicap Chase

The first race using the new chase course layout and over a new distance to boot.
LIVELY BARON disputed the pace for most of the way despite jumping to his right. He stuck his heady down determinedly in the straight and just prevailed in a finish of bobbing heads. While his wayward jumping tendency didn’t help, he certainly makes up for it in effort. He won’t go up much for this and remains in the picture for similar events.
A big thick-set, typical Lisa Harrison animal, SOLWAY BAY moved into a prominent position down the far side for the last time. He stayed on all the way down the straight, and looked as if he might prevail up the run-in only to be ‘done’ in the shadow of the post. His record here now reads 04312.
YOU KNOW YOURSELF normally needs a race to get him straight, and so it appeared on paddock inspection. However, Sue Smith is good at getting them prepared off a break and this one gave it his best shot. He was just held in a three-way battle, but loses nothing in defeat.
BOCCIANI clearly gets revved up, was brought into the paddock very late and ridden to post with no irons. He made progress to go prominent at the twelfth but could never get to grips with the leaders once turned for home.
BESCOT SPRINGS was held up and struggled to match the first four from the final bend.
MORE EQUITY rallied briefly going to two out having been outpaced early on the final circuit. She was never close enough to get in a blow and found this contest a little too competitive.
LORD REDSGIRTH was never in with much of a chance and was tailed off from four out. He was reported to have a cut which needed vet’s treatment.
FLYING DOCTOR was never travelling all that well and was pulled up when tailed off two out.
O CROTAIGH needed the race. He led for the first mile and a half, but lost touch before being pulled up two out.
ROSSINI’S DANCER, an impressive winner at Perth, raced prominently early but was reported as not being keen at the start and hanging right most of the way. He was pulled up before two out and may need a rest.

4.35 2m 2f 62-95 John & Liz Eliot Ruby Wedding Novices’ Handicap Hurdle

MWALESHI set the pace and pulled clear impressively from two out. He’s not straightforward but the hood tried here seemed to help. On the face of it he’s better than this class, but not guaranteed to repeat the form.
ANGEL SUN was a clear second best, chasing the leader in vain down the straight but seeing off the rest with a bit spare. He’s lightly raced and looks good enough to be palced to advantage in a similar contest.
SOME LAD just headed a bunch all under pressure in the fight for third, just seeing off Malcolm Jefferson trained ACCORDINGTOSCRIPT who could prove better over fences.
CIGALAS stayed on from two out and fifth place was creditable from ‘7lbs wrong’. His proximity to the third probably says much about the quality on show here.
My own view of this race concentrated, arguably too much, on SHISHA THREESIXTY in whom I have a small ownership interest. Held up to get him settled quietly, he made progress to three out but didn’t get to grips with the leaders, though staying on a one pace under encouragement. This was a better effort than his previous two runs, probably down to a bit of a rest after a busy time in late summer. He is going the right way and will be aimed at similar contests on good ground, Musselburgh free-draining turf making races at that course an obvious target.
TALK OF SAAFEND, competitive at this level on a going day, ran no sort of race and was pulled up.

5.10 2m 7½f 69-95 Fleet Bar Eyemouth Handicap Chase
The second last fence was omitted due to the low sun. Typical that this happened on the first day of the new course layout, though we were spared a four furlong run-in!

OR DE GRUGY was off his game last season and has slipped down the ratings 122 to 92. His trainer Nick Alexander reported that he has gained 20kg since the spring and this win appears to signal a return to fitness. Racing prominently in his typical style, Or De Grugy took up the running approaching the omitted two out and forged clear from that point. Given that he appears in good health now then it would seem likely he will follow up, and remember that he has a good win record at Kelso.
Former pointer BALLYBANKS was another to race prominently, leading for much of the way. He’s yet to win under Rules, but ran a sound race here and his turn appears only delayed at this level. He saw out this trip well enough.
BOB WILL was another of the pacemakers, but got tapped for foot on the long run to the last. He stayed on but couldn’t get to the first two. This effort was a good deal better than some of his recent runs over fences. He wouldn’t want the ground any softer than it was here.
GUNNER ROSE raced near the pace and kept on in the closing stages. He was held on the flat but this was a decent effort for one whose wins have come on faster ground than this. He is a three times winner at Southwell and ran well last time at Worcester, suggesting that a flat left-hand track is ideal.
SECRET DESERT was the best finisher of those held up and put up a best effort over fences, if held from the home turn.
WORTH A KING’S has not looked a chasing natural on his rare efforts over the bigger obstacles. He struggled most of the way and was well beaten.
BARR HEAD led early, but he was beaten on the last circuit and his Rules record in uninspiring.
LEGBEFOREWICKET showed a degree of promise if well beaten at Perth last time in a decent contest. She ran no sort of race here and struggled on the last circuit before being pulled up in the straight.
LIVVY INN was never going and was pulled up before the last. He’s been below his best fro some while.
FESTIVAL KING, off the track for two years, raced prominently early but dropped away from  five out and was pulled up before the last. He was reported lame on his near fore and retirement may now be beckoning.

5.40 2m ½f City Roofing Ltd Standard Open NH Flat
A few  here that may make up into racehorses in time.

A tall gelding, CALEDONIA was on his toes in the paddock. He was distinctly green going on to the track and needed a fair bit of guidance from Lucy Alexander on the way to the start. Once on the track though he knew his job, moving into contention in the straight and running on well up the hill. He related to a number of winners and should learn a fair bit from this run.
ENCHANTED GARDEN, by the same sire as the winner and half-brother to a number of winners including Calatagan, made a move in the home straight to lead a furlong out. He led only briefly but saw out his race and should be capable of picking up a similar contest. He showed a bit of greenness in the closing stages, but the basics are in place.
SPITZ kept on encouragingly up the hill to take third and gives the impression he will be suited by more of a stamina test.
BOP ALONG raced prominently but was tapped for speed approaching the furlong pole. This was a decent effort from a cheap purchase and connections will draw encouragement from this effort.
From the same stable as the fourth, REGAL RAMIREZ kept on at one pace, another offering encouragement on debut.
JUST CAMERON’s effort back in sixth was similar to his spring debut. He’s a tall stoutly bred gelding who needed the race and will need more of a test than he’ll get in bumpers. A nice type though and worth keeping in mind once he goes jumping.
KARINGO led three out, but weakened after two out. He looked to need the race and on that basis this was an encouraging effort.
RINNAGREE ROSIE set the pace for a mile and a half, but dropped back quickly before the home bend.  She had reportedly been schooled over the track, but this was not up to the form of her previous runs.