Friday April 26th
Going – Good To Soft (Good in places)
After viewing the first two days via TV coverage I was able to get along to the third day of this meeting. It’s so much better to be on course as you see so much more of what is going on.
There have been notable changes to the layout around the entrance and paddock area. A new horse walk from the paddock now takes a wider arc behind the fish and chip shop, and if nothing else this gets over the problem of the fish and chip queue blocking the horse walk! Extra food outlets, seating areas and general open space have been added to this area.
A mobile racecourse museum was situated near to the paddock and is worth a look to see how the course has developed over its 400 year history, and particular the strides that the Scone venue has made in recent years.
2.20 2m ½f Highland Hospice Maiden Hurdle (Class 4)
A penalty kick for THE COCKNEY MACKEM who was much better behaved than on Wednesday when he refused to start. He took charge from three out and soon had the race won. He’s consistent but this was his first win, though he’s an animal with plenty of ability who must surely record further wins over hurdles and fences.
DAMASCUS STEEL ran encouragingly to take second. He couldn’t make any impression on the winner from three out, but he was well clear of the remainder. This winner of a maiden point at Great Trethew last year can be placed to win a small race on the local circuit.
CLONDAW KINGHT is a long term project and wouldn’t be seen to best effect at two miles around Perth. He kept on steadily have been tapped for speed three out and will show more given time.
SILVERTON is a big mare who should do better over fences. She led or disputed to the fifth but was held from three out.
ELMAATIGRA fell away from three out. He cut into himself, was treated by the Clydevet Equine Hospital and his racing future remains in the balance at this time.
BARDELI showed some promise in a bumper in February. He never got competitive here, but was not given a hard time once his chance had gone and the impression is that he’s a good deal better than his sixth place here suggests. He may well reward patience and is worth keeping on a list of ‘ones to keep an eye on’.
Gordon Elliot normally brings a strong contingent to this meeting. However, this season he brought only one horse to Perth in the shape of JIMMY THE HAT. Elliot has worked the oracle with a few dubious characters, but he’ll have his work cut out with this one who doesn’t look straightforward. He was placed in a maiden point last year so it may be that a significant step up in trip is required.
2.55 2m Turning Out Quality Handicap Chase (115-124)
ANAY TURGE has performed pretty decently all season and ran off his career highest winning mark here. Held up early on, he made progress down the far side and took charge from two out, galloping on to win with a fair bit in hand.
QUTIO DU TRESOR, now in the ownership of Tay Valley Chasers, showed his best form the season, staying on up the straight but never able to match the winner. He needs decent ground and remains more than capable in this 125 or less grade. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he’s kept on the go this summer and aimed at similar contests in the short term.
Tony Martin watched the race at my favourite spot by the last fence, and the remarks on the phone suggested he was fairly happy with third place for GALLOPING GANDER. A Thurles maiden chase winner on good ground, he’s been struggling in the mud through the winter. Held here, but looks capable on his day and is worth looking out for in the coming weeks either side of the Irish Sea.
OPERA OG has been progressive this season but was held here. He took over two out but then blundered at the next and was soon beaten. Previous evidence suggests he is better with a stiffer test.
AL QEDDAAF had every chance but couldn’t match the leaders from the home turn, while WOODY WALLER was never happy and trailed in last.
ROSSINI’S DANCER won this last year when able to dictate, but he was taken off his feet from the start, lost touch before the fifth and was soon pulled up.
3.25 2m 4½f Traditional Crabbie’s Green Ginger Wine Handicap Hurdle (74-100)
KING’s CHORISTER, fresh from a fair third here on Wednesday, stayed on well to lead on the flat. It’s worth nothing he’s had no more than a 15 day lay-off before any of his wins and he certainly looked very well in the paddock here.
GOAT CASTLE is a headstrong sort who was held up. He stayed on late but retains his maiden tag at the age of nine.
SETTLEDOUTOFCOURT was well backed from 5/1 into 3/1. Stepped back in trip form three miles, he stayed on up the straight but didn’t get to the winner. A stiffer track might be helpful, with a trip to Hexham being a possibility on that front in coming weeks.
MOMKINZAIN has ability but has been largely disappointing as a hurdler. He looked to have every chance at the last but faded on the run-in.
NORTHERN ACRES never got on terms with the leaders and was struggling three out, though passed a few up the straight.
YOUNG SPARKY took a heavy fall at the last when beaten. He was down behind the screens for a fair time, but jockey Richie McGrath emerged with thumbs up, followed by his mount who was applauded as he passed the stands.
4.00 2m 4½f Lonmar Global Risks Novices’ Handicap Chase (127-133)
Not sure what to make of this as the winner didn’t jump all that well and only three of the five completed.
ANEYEFORANEYE, coming here off a long break since winning here in September, stayed on well from the last having had to swerve to avoid a faller at the last. He has been well placed by Malcolm Jefferson who had him in decent nick on return.
CHARTREUX, second on Wednesday over a longer trip, raced close up and was left in the lead at the last but outpaced on the run-in. A sound effort for one who needs further.
SWIFT ARROW was niggled at from a long way out and always in the last pair.
ROUGE ET BLANC hit the tenth and unseated. He then took an awful fall when loose, but thankfully came lolloping past the last fence a while later.
HAZY TOM raced in the lead, and was apparently eyeballing Chartreux approaching the last which may have caused his fall. He was down for a good ten minutes, attendants pouring water on him to cool him down. Patience paid dividends as he eventually got to his feet and was another to get a generous round of applause as he returned up the track.
A handful of us were watching the operation to look after Hazy Tom until we got ushered away by a steward. It may smack of voyeurism, but it was fascinating to see track attendants, vet and trainer working hard to do their best to help the gelding. His flanks were heaving and I presume the shock of the fall places a strain on horse’s systems when they are tired. All well in the end though and credit to those involved.
4.35 3m 7f G A Engineering Highland National Handicap Chase (For the Julian Llewellyn-Palmer Trophy) (94-125)
One of my favourite contests of the season and a decent race, somewhat better to watch than the 2 finisher slog in the mud that we saw last year. I missed these in the paddock as course crossings were stopped due to the presence of the stricken Hazy Tom following the previous race. Thankfully they all have a look at the last fence before going to the start so I did get a look at them.
FLYING AWARD, a winner over 3m 6f at Bangor earlier in the setting, is a fair stayer at his level. In the rear division early on, he made steady progress on the final circuit, took it up three out and stayed on determinedly for a deserved victory. Fine reward for Suzy Gardner’s trip from Devon.
VICTRIX GALE was second place and his trainer Tony Martin was stood near me down by the final fence, a location he seems to have realised gives as good a view as any at Perth. The mare went steadily in midfield and was brought to challenge at the last. She kept on well enough up the run-in and was just gaining at the line. Martin went hurtling off after her shouting “Go on Victrix! Go on Victrix!” and he looks to have a fair staying mare on his hands and she can win a similar long distance contest, particularly if able to race her on decent ground.
SOUDAIN stays all day and kept on up the straight but never got to the leaders. He needs softer ground than this and on that basis this was a very creditable effort.
CERIUM won this last year and had shown some signs of a revival in recent runs. He never challenged but plugged on into fourth place. His overall record is 9 out of 39 and I still wouldn’t count out one last hurrah as he retains ability.
BALLY SANDS was bang there until weakening from three out. His wins have been with more cut.
PETTIFOUR has run well in similar events but never got into the contest here.
LIVELY BARON was never better than mid division, losing touch from four out and pulled up at two out.
OVERLADY had a tough task from out of the weights, lost touch when belting five out and pulled up before four out.
BEAU DANDY disputed for two circuits, but soon dropped away and pulled up after hitting five out, the same point at which LORD VILLEZ called it a day having been in rear from the start.
EXTALAR is better at Carlisle and was taken off his feet in the second half of the race, pulling up with six to go, as did ACRAI RUA who raced with the pace for two circuits then quickly gave way.
PAPAMOA was shoved along for much of the first two circuits, but he probably needs softer ground and Lucy Alexander conceded defeat after the sixteenth. Don’t write this one off for similar events next winter.
5.05 3m 3f Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (103-129)
There are few such stamina tests on the hurdling calendar, only Sedgefield run a contest over farther. KRIS CROSS has looked an out-and-out-stayer and this distance and class suited him down to the ground having been highly tried last time. He led at the last and held on determinedly for victory. I would imagine his future lies over fences and he will be an interesting recruit to the staying novice section of that discipline.
SUN CLOUD, held up early, chased the leaders two out and stayed on into second. He’ suited to this sort of event, but doesn’t look especially consistent.
ARKOSE disputed until being run out of it on the flat. He mainly exposed, stays well and ran to form here.
DAASIJ never got seriously into the race and was well beaten in fourth.
TOO COOL TO FOOL led until headed and four out, losing touch from two out. He’s useful on his day but not consistent.
5.35 2m ½f Racing UK Standard open NH Flat Race (Class 5)
Lucy alexander went most of the way to clinching the Conditional Jockeys’ Title with a third win of the Festival on FRANKIE’S PROMISE. This one has come on for each of his runs and, despite needing a fair of encouragement, came readily clear. This one should make a mark over hurdles next season. Lucy meanwhile will have an enforced holiday for overuse of the whip, though her father comments that she’s more likely to be in the gym than soaking up the sun!
GREENSALT was the pick of the paddock and looked the likely winner three furlongs out, only for the winner to come by and leave him behind. A brother to Raya Star, he should make his mark over hurdles.
MYSTEREE kept on into third and this was a very promising debut under Rules. His Irish point second may not read that strongly but he’s in the right hands and made a fair start.
BARNEY RUBBLE stayed on in the final two furlongs. He’s a half-brother to a 6 furlong seller winner out of a sprinting dam so anything he achieves in National Hunt will have to be judged on course efforts rather than pedigree.
Of the remainder I’d keep an eye on CENTRAL FLAME, a James Walton gelding who showed up for a long way until weakening turned for home. The stable’s horses generally need time so it’s encouraging that he can run prominently at this stage.
The Inverurie stable of Jackie Stephen produced MO ROUGE to make a Rules debut. He was left behind in the final half mile and the most northerly stable in the country have yet to make a mark. This one does look the raw material if the stable can get things to click.