Friday, 26 April 2013

PERTH FESTIVAL 2013 - Days 1 and 2

Wednesday April 24th
Going – Good to Soft

Last year one of the groundstaff told me that the grass had been cut seven times before this meeting. After a miserable cold spring that certainly wouldn’t have been the case this year. However, the sun has appeared in recent days and the meeting opened to a bright day, the ground just on the soft side.

3.00 2m 4½f Aberdeen Asset Management Maiden Hurdle (Class 4)

A weakly contested event, made even more so by the dismounting and withdrawal just before the start of THE COCKNEY MACKEM. He fell a couple of years back in a similar event at this meeting and, though a chase winner, has still record a hurdles win.
In the favourite’s absence the locally trained STANDINTHEBAND outstayed VALLEYEOFMILAN to put Lucy Alexander in pole position for the Conditional Jockeys’ Title. The pair were well clear of TOTAL ASSETS who at least stepped up on previous run, but may not have achieved an awful lot in the scheme of things.

3.30 2m 4½f World Horse Welfare Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (86-115)

Up one minute and down in the depths the next. The Alexanders lost GOLDTREK in this race. The headstrong mare led until stepping at the seventh, the injuries resulting from her fall meaning that she was put down.
The race was won by the improving GOLDEN SPARKLE who eased clear on the run-in. She ran well at Ayr and has made good steps forward this season.  She can hold her own in open company, as can LUCEMATIC who stayed on encouragingly down the straight to take second place.
LILLIOFTHEBALLET looks quite well exposed and was put in her place from two out, while the fifth, BLAZIN WHITE FACE, is better as a chaser.

4.05 3m ½f EBF Future Champions NH Novices’ Hurdle (Perthshire Challenge Cup) (Class 2)

The event attracts only a small field, but there are normally one or two decent sorts amongst the runners. UTOPIE DES BORDES has won in Listed class and was ridden clear from before the last to win here. He should have a chance in handicaps next term if held at his mark of 137.
NELTARA, rated 5lbs less than the winner, ran at least to that level in second and arguably slightly better. Despite creditable runs with cut in the ground, I suspect this one is better on a decent surface.
IMPERIAL VIC went well in front, but stepped at the fourth last and didn’t recover sufficiently after losing significant ground. He was bought as a chaser, so the owners are well pleased with his achievements this season. He was not disgraced in third and looks an exciting prospect for chasing next season.
BEEVES was struggling from three out and didn’t run his race here.

4.35 2m Aberdeen Asset Management Novices’ Chase (Class 3)
Despite sweating heavily beforehand, KIE gained reward for a series of excellent efforts, staying on well to see off a main opponent 7lbs well in at the weights. His free-going style is well suited by this turning track and he held the aces up the straight.
UPSILON BLEU was held from two out despite his best efforts. He has run creditably since coming over from France, but it remains to be seen whether he can make an impact in handicaps off a mark of 140 next season.
PRIVATE EQUITY tried to match the winner, but was out on his feet from tow out. He had won from the front on his last two outings and the obvious conclusion is that being taken on did him no favours. In small fields and given an easy lead he can pick up handicaps in future.
SEAN AIRGEAD didn’t jump with any fluency and was well held some way out. I would imagine he will be back at Perth over the summer and will find easier races.

5.05 Fonab Castle Hotel Amateurs’ Handicap Hurdle (67-105)

I struggle to find these races as much of a pointer the future, the winner here AHHDEHKEN stepping up on some moderate previous form, racing prominently and asserting approaching the last flight and holding on from the consistent GLASSON LAD. The runner-up remains a maiden and keeps finding one too good, and he’s always likely to be near the front of the market.
Double winner GREY AREA was held from before the last and may need a bit more cut than he got here. A fair effort though off an 8lb higher mark.
DELIGHTFULLY came from well back to finish fifth, his rider being suspended for easing off and losing fourth to BREDON HILL LAD.  The latter is relatively unexposed and may have more long term prospects than many here. The same can’t be said for professional loser DICKIE HENDERHOOP, once again priced in single figures but steadfastly holding on to his maiden tag.

5.35 Aberdeen Asset Management Handicap Chase (114-136) (Scottish Memories Challenge Cup)

A competitive event that resulted in a one-two for the Tom George stable from Slad in Gloucestershire.  The winner GODD ORDER is relatively lightly raced for an eight-year-old and may have scope to improve further. He moved into contention approaching the straight, challenged two out and led at the last, staying on well for victory. He can be placed to win again before long.
CHARTREUX raced prominently and then led four out, but couldn’t hold the winner on the run to the line. Not over-raced, he’s a versatile sort who has won on good and heavy and on different types of tracks.
REAL MILAN kept on for third without threatening to finish any nearer. This was a reasonable effort for a first handicap run.
Enigmatic PIGEON ISLAND, seen a number of times at Perth during his career, picked off opponents late on to finish fourth. He’s at his best in big fields and being allowed to stay on through the field.

6.10 Try Crabbie’s Curiously Crisp Scottish Raspberry Handicap Hurdle (107-132)

DEEPSAND doesn’t look the most straight forward of animals, but he sprinted clear from the last here to complete Lucy Alexander’s double  and looks a good deal better than the 121 mark he ran off.
PLATINUM was put in the right places by Harriet Bethell but just found one far too good. Philip Kirby shouldn’t have any problems placing this one to win in the coming weeks.
SMADYNIUM was held from two out and looks on a high enough mark, while the fourth JAWAAB was way too keen and had burst himself by three out.
LATERLY has fallen over hurdles and fences recently and his hurdling was far from fluent on this occasion.

Thursday April 25th
Going – Good to Soft

2.15 2m ½f Loretta’s Racing Collection Novices’ Hurdle (Class 4)
LONE FOOT LADDIE had been presented with two tough tasks on his last two runs. He welcomed the easier opportunity. He ran on well here, jumps neatly enough and should go on from this win. This was a welcome winner for Lucinda Russell who has had a quiet time in recent weeks.
ANOTHER MATTIE was off the bridle three out but rallied under driving, closing from two out and only half a length down at the line. He will suit a stiffer test and should pick up a race.
Favourite LOOKING ON raced close up but was held on the flat. He didn’t jump particularly fluently and is probably capable of better judged on his Plumpton win.
TANTAMOUNT was never competitive but kept on late for fourth and this debut at least suggests some promise.

2.45 2m ½f Try Crabbie’s Strawberry and Lime Handicap Hurdle (69-95)

A moderate handicap hurdle contested by exposed sorts.
URBAN KODE recorded the second win of the day for the Russell stable. He just held off SOME LAD in a battle on the flat, the pair clear of KING’S CHORISTER.
Back in fifth, LEWLAUR SUPREME ran better than he has for some time. He won here over three miles in 2011 and might now be low enough to make an impact in a staying contest.

3.15 3m Bill and Bunny Cadogan Trophy Novices’ Handicap Chase (109-130)

Lightly raced FIDDLER’S REEL was backed into favouritism here, obliging in decent style, driven out to hold hid nearest challenger. He looks potentially a good deal better than his 109 mark provided he stands regular training.
WILD GEESE ran creditably in second and has progressed nicely this season. He’s well thought off by his trainer and should be thereabouts in handicaps in the foreseeable future.
THE MUSICAL GUY was in9 rear for much of the way, not jumping with much fluency, but he put in good work down the straight to finish third. He looks one who will need a longer distance to be seen at his best.

3.45 2m 4½f Pipe and Piling Supplies Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (96-120)

SEEBRIGHT has been progressive this season over hurdles and stuck on well to take this event off top weight. He is reported as going chasing next season and looks one to keep on a list to follow.
LOOK FOR LOVE was held up but finished with a rattle to take second place. He is a keen-going sort and needs restraint.
UNTIL WINNING held every chance up the straight, but was just pipped on the line for second place. He’s a chasing sort and will presumably take that route sooner rather than later.
HALLMARK STAR was disappointing off a lay-off and is much better than seventh place here suggests.
ACADEMY showed promise in early hurdling efforts, but he’s starting to get frustrating now. He was not far away two out but was held from that point.

4.15 2m 4½f Spiffing Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer Festival Handicap Chase (Kilmany Challenge Cup) (126-147)

The conditions of the Kilmany Cup have varied over recent seasons, but it has settled into a pretty decent handicap chase. This year’s winner QUINCY DES PICTONS had travelled from the Somerset yard of Alan Jones. Racing handily, he led two out and put the race to bed nicely on the flat. He’s versatile in regards of trip and track, but will be on a career high mark after this.
MICHAEL FLIPS went up to a career high equalling 146 after his Ludlow win. He put in a creditable effort on this occasion, rallying in the straight after being briefly tapped for speed on the home turn. This was a decent effort but he wouldn’t want to go up the handicap any more.
FRONTIER SPIRIT put up a game effort from the front, only giving way at the last and beaten less than four lengths. A fine effort considering he ideally requires more cut in the ground.
MAC AEDA needs a stiffer test of stamina than this, so fourth place was no disgrace. Given the right conditions he can go close.

4.45 3m 2½f Harris Tweed Clothing Company Hunters’ Chase (Balnakelly Cup)

SPECIAL PORTRAIT has not been completely on his game this season, but asserted himself as best of the hunters in this region with a comfortable victory here, having much too much staying power for his opponents. He stays very well, suited by cut in the ground and is aimed at the 4m 1f chase he won at Cheltenham’s hunters’ meeting last year.
NOIR ET VERT tried to match the winner but wasn’t as good from three out. This was his best Rules effort for some time.
GO WEST is at his best when allowed to dominate and there was too much competition up front here, so third was no disgrace.
TOMMYSTEEL has been successful in points this season, but found this company much tougher. He ran well for a long way but gradually faded from five out.
WHO’SLAUGHINGNOW did his best here but wasn’t remotely good enough in this company. He’s a youngster who has time to improve in the pointing sphere and may well be competitive given time.
Course specialist SOTOVIK, making a Rules return after a couple of pointing wins, ran well for a long way but felt the pinch in the last mile.
TWELVE PACES was never the easiest to catch right and looks a back number under Rules now.

5.20 2m 4½f John Crabbie & Co Superior Soft Drinks Handicap Hurdle (118-135)

BAR DE LIGNE had run creditably given some tough tasks in recent runs. Back in a more comfortable class he was able to show his ability to good effect, coming clear in decent style from two out. He will now go novice chasing and his trainer reports he will be kept on the go in the coming months.
NOW THIS IS IT is a consistent sort handicapped to his ability. He’s likely to be back at Perth over the summer and a similar race will fall his way at some point.
MALIN BAY kept on well in the latter stages and will benefit from a step up in trip, his wins having come over further.
PAS TROP TARD has looked at his best in testing ground, he probably got lucky with a soft win on good here last year. He never got in a blow here.

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