Thursday, 16 May 2013

Perth - Two Day May Meeting

PERTH – Wednesday May 15th

Going – Good

6.00 3m ½f Air Ambulance Handicap hurdle (Class 4)

SETTLEDOUTOFCOURT built on a promising effort here last time. The step back up in trip helped and, having been a little outpaced after three out, he stayed on from two out to gain the edge near the line. Andrew Parker doesn’t rush his charges and this one could make up into a staying chaser in time.
ANY GIVEN MOMENT moved to take the lead at the last but was caught close home in a driving finish. This trip suits and he runs well on a right-handed track, though it’s possible that’s coincidence and that he just likes a flat galloping track, his two other recent wins having been at Musselburgh.
HIDDEN HORIZONS made a brave attempt at making all but couldn’t answer the first two on the flat. He put up a good effort and will presumably be back here for a similar event before long.
BESCOT SPRINGS was never far off the pace and kept on, if held from the last. This was a sound enough effort.
DICKIE HENDERHOOP once again wasn’t short of supporters at 6/1 S.P., but could get no nearer than the heels of the first four up the straight. The wins column remains at zero.

6.30 2m 4½f Sunburst Handicap Chase (Class 5)

A poor contest with an alphabet full of letters in the form figures. SHOOTING TIMES is better than these when he cares to show it, and he landed the race wearing a first-time visor. Always handy, he kicked no from four out and held his only challenger from three out. He was up to winning a class 4 event over hurdles and if he can be kept sweet then he ought to be able to land a race at a similar level over fences.
SNUKER put in a satisfactory effort on his second outing over fences. He chased the leader from four out but didn’t get near enough to threaten. He should be good enough to land a similar race at this level.
SOLWAY DORNAL plugged on but was fighting a losing battle from three out, while ALEXANDER OATS was under the pump a long way out but kept on past a tired few in the straight.
MONSOON MUSIC was given reminders early on and it seems as if his heart isn’t in the game. A work colleague of my wife has enquired about taking this one for re-training and that move must surely be close after this lack lustre effort. A win in a dire four-runner Newcastle chase remains this one’s career highlight.

7.00 3m Salutation Hotel Perth Handicap Chase (Class 4)

WILD GEESE has improved steadily over recent months and mad most of the running to win this event. He stayed on well down the straight to win with a bit in hand. Tay Valley Chasers should have a good time with this one in the coming months and they also have a part-lease of back to form Quito Du Tresor.
BERTIE MILAN raced disputing or near the lead most of the race, but was one paced from two out. A fair enough effort and he will have chances in similar events.
RUDEMEISTER may need a stiffer track and was tapped for pace from four out, though sticking on toward the end of the race. His jumping could still be sharpened a bit.
Nothing else got in a serious blow in the contest.

7.30 2m 4½f Strathbraan Brewery Maiden Hurdle for the Alan Normile Memorial Trophy (Class 4)

JUMBO JOHN ran a decent race in handicap company off 110 at Navan last time. He stayed on relentlessly under pressure in the latter stages to land the race for Irish trainer Lorna Fowler. The ground seems to suit this one and he could well be back here soon.
MANDARIN SUNSET pushed the winner all the way. Upped in trip, which he had hinted might help last time, he looks sure to land a race before long.
CLONDAW KNIGHT is a chaser in waiting. He made most of the running until before the last but the effort told form that point.
ANOTHER MATTIE never got on terms with the leaders but kept on for fourth.
CRUACHAN tried hard for Lucy Normile in an attempt to land the race run in memory of her late husband. Having every chance two out he weakened before the last and faded to fifth.

8.00 2m Steadfast Scotland Novices’ Handicap Chase (Class 5)

Nine fences jumped  as the first fence was omitted due to low sun on each circuit, and the open ditch in the straight was missed as it couldn’t be jumped as the first in the race.
CLOVERHILL LAD recorded a first win over fences. He had shown a glimmer of promise on his first three efforts in the UK and the sharper track seemed to suit, not a surprise since he had run well at Tramore and Clonmel, both sharpish right-handers.
CELTIC INTRGUE had every chance two out but could only chase the winner from that point. He’s run moderately well on a number of occasions without winning, though he’ll probably find a lowly handicap chase sometime.
MORNING TIME was comfortably held from three out and normally manages to find two or three too good. VOSGES showed promise early in his career, but he’s regressing and was well beaten fifth here.

8.30 3m Bruce Farms Hunters Chase

Fence in far corner missed out once again, so 16 fences jumped.
Favourite SPECIAL PORTRAIT got cannoned into by Sea Wall at the second fence and his rider was knocked out of the saddle.
HARRY FLASHMAN, always strong at this time of year, looked all over the winner at the last but idled on the run-in. Jamie Alexander urged BACK ON THE ROAD into action and he stayed on to snatch the race close home.
THE HALFWAY BAR plugged on up the straight to take third, passing WATERSKI who had done really well to still be chasing the leader two out but weakened into fourth from two out.

9.00 2m ½f Fonab Castle Hotel Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (Class 5)

I was uncomplimentary about MOMKINZAIN after his last run here. However, he came clear very nicely to win this contest, admittedly against a host of disappointing opponents. The winner was a stayer on the flat but maybe the sharper track at the minimum trip was what he has been in need of. He showed good speed in the closing stages and, if this isn’t just a flash in the pan, he could follow up even if raised to Class 4 next time.
SOLWAY DANDY is lightly raced and went some way to confirming the promise of a second to Coverholder at Wetherby. He’ll presumably be seen out at the likes of Perth and Cartmel in the coming weeks and has possibilities.
SOME LAD looked to be going well two out in the lead, but found little when asked for more effort before the last.

PERTH – Thursday May 16th

Going – Good

2.25 3m ½f St John’s Perth Novices’ Hurdle (Class 4)

INDIAN CASTLE, the short priced favourite, led but raced idly and needed reminders from Jason Maguire. He kept responding and stays well, though the second was very close at the line.
BALLYBEN travelled better than the winner, was driven from two out and closing fast at the post. He will win a hurdle before long and this contest may prove to be quite decent.
LORD FOX’s jumping was very novice but he stayed in contention until two out at which point the effort told and he was allowed to come home in his own time once beaten.
MONBEG chased the leaders two out but weakened before the last and was well held in third.
NEW VIC was the first beaten, losing touch from three out.

2.55 3m Timothy Hardie Jewellers novices’ Chase (Class 4)

IMPERIAL VIC was bought as a chaser and proved that spot on with a fine debut. He jumped well in front and his staying power was used to good effect when asked for an effort in the closing stages. He has a fine future over fences.
SIVOLA DE SIVOLA put it to the winner as best he could be didn’t have enough in the closing stages. He made a solid debut and won’t run into one as good.
FIDDLERS REEL was held; from three out. He found two decent sorts in front of him and can get competitive again in a staying handicap.
KRIS CROSS went well enough but hit a couple and a bad mistake at the thirteenth put him on the back foot. Once beaten he was allowed to come home in his own time, but he will prove better than this form suggests with experience.
3.30 2m 4½f Expro Handicap Chase (Class 4)

HAWAII KLASS raced prominently and stayed on to win wearing the blinkers that apparently wrought a degree of improvement at Sedgefield. His form hasn’t been that special over the last year or so, but he’s been more on his game of late.
FATHER SHINE kept on past beaten rivals and may have been a trifle flattered by second place.
BLAZIN WHITE FACE raced prominently and tried to match the winner but weakened approaching the last.

4.05 2m 4 ½ f Crabbie’s Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle (Class 4)

NOTARFBAD tried hard to make all. He had been headed when Urban Kode took a heavy fall two out but couldn’t hold OVERPRICED on the run-in. The winner generally gives his running, while the second has less experience than some of these and may well have a race or two in him. He kept on from the last but was too tired to raise his game further.
URBAN KODE would have won this if he had stayed on his feet. Provided the fall doesn’t harm his confidence then he should win a similar contest.
KING’s CHORISTER stayed on into a never nearer third, while LATIN CONNECTION stayed on from the rear but is exposed and generally opposable.

4.40 2m Media Shop Handicap Chase (Class 4)

Course specialist SCOTCH WARRIOR recorded a fourth win at Perth, passing Kai Broon on the  run-in. It’s difficult to say whether this one has a particular fondness for the course since he does most of his running at Scone anyway. He pulled up at Wetherby coming off a long break last time, but was cherry ripe for this race. He may well follow up while in this mood.
KAI BROON looked the likely winner but was caught at ‘the elbow’ and had no time to respond. He’s best on good or fast ground and will presumably be kept on the go in similar races this summer. He will normally enter the backer’s equations positively.
AL QEDDAAF tried to make all but once again was tired in the straight and looks to be held off his current mark.

5.15 2m 1/2f Joseph Ribkoff at Loretta’s Collection Handicap Hurdle (Class 3)

A race marred by a horrible fatal fall for Donald McCain’s COUNSEL at the second last.
BOW BADGER was going well at the second last and stayed on for a clear winner. His wins normally come after a long break, but it was only 21 days since his last run. He’s not been heavily raced for a seven-year-old and has possibilities going forward.
JONNY DELTA was held in second before the last.
FLAMING ARROE put together a fair effort on his handicap debut, if held from two out, and should improve with experience.

5.45 2m ½f Breakthrough Breast Cancer NH Flat Race (Class 6)

Only five contested this bumper but it could prove to be a decent little contest.
Regular raider Tom George landed the contest with French-bred newcomer VIACOMETTI who got on top in the final furlong after a prolonged battle against two main challengers.
Stuart Crawford bumper runners in Scotland are seldom far away and CRAIGANEE filled a close second place. He ran on well enough under pressure and is presumably well regarded since he started his career in a Cheltenham bumper last October.
KILBREE CHIEF looked the least well grown of these and can strengthen in time. He was outpaced four furlongs out but stuck at his job under pressure. This Irish point winner will leave this form behind in time and may prove a nice jumps prospect.
UPPERCUT DE L’ORNE is a French bred animal that found his way on to the Irish pointing circuit, winning last time up at Knockanard. He made most of the running but wandered about once the pressure was applied and could only raise one pace from two furlongs out. His point form doesn’t look anything special but he appears to have ability and will move on from here.
TOMAHAWK WOOD improved on his debut Hexham effort even though last of the five.

Musing over the Musidora

ROMANTIC SETTINGS ran a decent second in York's Group 3Musidora Stakes, having been given a favourable mention on this blog following here Musselburgh handicap win. She stayed on as well as anything at the finish and looks capable of picking up a Pattern race or two in the coming months. Richard Fahey has decided against supplementing the filly for the Oaks.

Looking at back at the Musselburgh handicap that Romantic Settings won, the second KING OF THE DANES came out next time to make all in a competitive looking handicap at Ascot over the straight mile at 6/1. Sixth placed MAHABA MALAYEEN won at Beverley next time at 9/2 and shouldn't go up a huge amount for that win. The only other runner from the race is LAZARUS BELL who was second at 25/1 in a handicap at York yesterday over seven furlongs.

On the basis of the above take note of LADY ARTISTE, LONDON CITIZEN and APACHE RISING. The latter could be particularly good value when reappearing as he was last but only a length behind the third in what is working out as a very strong contest.

Monday, 13 May 2013

Low key Monday at Musselburgh

MUSSELBURGH – Monday May 13th

Going – Good (Good to Soft in places)

2.00 2m 32Red Handicap (Amateur Riders)(Class 6)

This was a moderate handicap to start off a low key card at Musselburgh.
JAN SMUTS won here last season and seems to stay all day. He was ridden early in the straight but kept finding more and got on top in the final furlong. He can continue to be competitive in low level staying contests.
BRASINGAMAN ERIC, second here recently, led briefly over a furlong out but couldn’t match the winner. He’s got a decent record for one operating at this level and should be in the mix in staying amateur contests in coming months.
TALK OF SAAFEND was tapped for speed in the last 300 yards. He has won a similar event here, but needs things to fall his way and is generally one to oppose.
SUMMERLEA ran a decent race for one off the track for the best part of two years. He pulled hard early on, but wasn’t getting an awful lot of assistance from his inexperienced rider in the latter stages. His rider will presumably benefit from the outing, as should Summerlea who has shown bits and pieces of form from 12 furlongs upwards in the past.

2.30 5f EBF 2yo Maiden Stakes (Class 5)

SUZI’S CONNOISSEUR showed signs of greenness both before and during the race. He jumped off well enough and picked up nicely when asked from two furlongs out, though drifting about a bit in the closing stages. This may not prove the strongest contest, but he should produce better in time.
MEADWAY was outpaced early on and driven at halfway. The winner got a run on him but he stuck to his guns well enough in the closing stages. The experience will serve him well.
ALASKAN NIGHT broke well but was found wanting when headed two furlongs out and LENDAL BRIDGE, the only one to see a racecourse previous to this, was similarly put in his place.

3.05 1m 32Red Casino Handicap (Class 5)

The race was won by virtue of well-judged ride from the front by Graham Lee on STAFF SERGEANT. The winner has dropped significantly in the handicap and this was the easiest task he has had for some time. A Class 4 level performer running at Class 5 here, it would be hoped this will be a confidence booster for an attempt in the higher class.
EASTWARD HO kept on for second, but none got in a serious blow to the leader in the final two furlongs.
Linda Perratt’s stable is way off its game at moment and her pair of ROYAL STRAIGHT and SILVER RIME struggled from a long way out.

3.40 1m 4f 100yds Turcan Connell Handicap (Class 5)

MOHAWK RIDGE made all and stayed on well, not in danger from the furlong pole. He won in a similar fashion at Newcastle recently.
HAWDYERWHEESHT was the only one to challenge the winner in the final two furlongs, but he was held from the furlong pole.
MADRASA came out of the pack for third, but was never better placed and is 1 win from 21. CAPELLANUS stayed on from well back for fourth. The latter is on long losing run and basically frustrating.

4.15 5f Racing UK Maiden Stakes (Class 5)

A race won by a newcomer in the form of Jim Goldie’s ALGAR LAD. He was in rear early on but stayed on well in the final two furlongs to win a bit cosily. Once he got going he showed some fair speed and should go on from this encouraging debut.
RED  BARON joined issue two out and stuck well enough if comfortably held by one more speedy.
WOTALAD kept on for third and might benefit from a step up to six furlongs.
ANDERTON was made favourite but appears regressive even at this early stage in his career. He found woefully little in the last furlong and a half.

4.50 7f 3yo Handicap (Class 5)

SKYTRAIN’s persistence paid dividends in the final furlongs, the bias towards those at the front once again showing as the first two were always thereabouts. The winner is progressing steadily and seems suited by a sharpish track.
MOWHOOB, a maiden runner-up at Thirsk on Saturday, made the pace and stuck to his task well for two furlongs out. He was just held in the final furlong but went down fighting and looks good enough to pick up a similar event.
LA LUZ DEL SOL was the meat in the sandwich from two furlongs out until inside the final furlong, eventually giving way in the final 150 yards. He won nicely in a lower class at Catterick and would have every chance dropped back to a 0-60 or 0-65 event.

5.20 7f 32RedPoker Handicap (Class 6)

JEBEL TARA is clearly flying at the moment and, having been denied a run more than once, he came clear impressively in the final furlong. The fast pace set probably played into his hands, and he’ll go up a fair way in the ratings, but he is going well at the age of eight.
The whole field spent the length of the straight impeding each other, PTOLEMY coming through to take second. HAB REEH arguably had the clearest run of all but his effort over one out came to little in the closing stages.
GONINAODAETHAT went too fast for his own good, but is one who picks up lots of excuses and few wins.
NORTH CENTRAL went too quick early on. If he has a trip this may be it, but I gave up trying to fathom him a couple of seasons back!
PULL THE PIN disputed with Goninodaethat and weakened over a furlong out. His best form is over sprint distances and he is 211 over 6 furlongs at Southwell.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Hexham - Saturday May 11th

Going – Good

A low key card and run-of-the-mill racing makes it difficult to take a huge lot forward to future meetings. One or two though prove the benefit of running on better ground at this time of year.
1.55 2m ½f Novices’ Hurdle (Class 4)

DAMASCUS STEEL confirmed promise of his Perth run, taking the lead on the run-in and showing determination to hold on. This wasn’t the strongest event but he’s going the right way. Irish pointing winner ISLAND CONFUSION made most of the running only to be foiled after the last. He fought back well once headed and should go on to better things in time. He seems to handle all surfaces well enough, being a winner of a bumper on heavy after his point win came on fast ground.
The pair were clear and the remainder will have to find their level in handicaps.

2.30 2m ½ f TDR at Q1 Selling Hurdle (Class 5)

RADMORES REVENGE had much to spare on his four opponents and came clear in the closing stages. I’LL BE FRANK kept on gamely but had little chance of holding the winner at the weights, while THAT’LL DO NICELY was running on the spot before the last.
BORDER TALE is now in decline at the age of 13 and this former trailblazer is a light of previous days.
LEWLAUR SUPREME needs to be in a bottom grade staying handicap hurdle to have any chance and was beaten two out here.

3.05 2m 4 ½ f Conditionals’ Handicap Chase (Class 4)

OR D’OUDAIRIES has been consistent in recent times and was finally rewarded here with a first win since 2009 and a second victory at Hexham. The second SERGEANT PINK is unreliable though kept on well enough here, while the third PAPA CARUSO has not totally convinced though his record is 2 from 18.
CLASSIC CUT was outpaced three out and is basically a stayer, while stablemate CIVIL UNREST’s jumping once again let him down at crucial stages.
ANCIENT TIMES has been in good form lately but didn’t cut it in the latter stages. He may well need a bit more cut in the ground to be seen at his best.

3.40 3m Handicap Hurdle(Division 1) (Class 5)

A bunch of underachievers gathered together for this one.
CORKY DANCER was clearly on good terms with himself. He led from the start and was well clear from three out and stayed on from that point.
SOLIS stayed on late without ever threatening the winner and this was a typical performance.
GREY COMMAND tried to match the winner down the far side for the last time but paid for efforts and weakened into third, the rest being well beaten off.

4.15 3m Handicap Hurdle(Division 1) (Class 5)

Episode 2 of the staying contest was arguably a bit stronger than the first contest but this was a real slog. The winner CANDLEFORD stayed on up the hill and took up the running before the last. He was driven out to win and added to some decent runs in points and a good second at Newcastle. He may be worth a time over regulation fences.
GRANWOOD kept on for second but couldn’t match the winner from the last. He’s a regular at Sedgefield where he recorded his sole success.
BOB’S TICKET plugged on into third but he’s well exposed and doesn’t look an immediate winning prospect. He wasn’t bad in Irish points but hasn’t progressed over hurdles.
SADDLER’S MOT was fourth, not able to follow up a selling win at Wetherby where Corky Dancer was fourth. Given the result of the previous contest, that pretty well sums up the throw ‘em in the air and see what comes down nature of races at this level.

4.50 2m 4½f Novices’ Hurdle (Class 4)

Another weak contest, the winner showing more resolution close home than her main rival.
A winner of a Uttoxeter bumper, RATTLIN kicked on down the far side and still led approaching the last. She was headed but stuck her head down to get back in front close home. She may well have to stick to mares events for future success.
AZERODEGREE closed up the hill and let at the last. Her head went up and she didn’t seem totally willing close home. It could be inexperience but she doesn’t look one to trust unreservedly at this point.
MISS McNAMaRA chased the leader to the top of the hill and then weakened. There may be better to come but this form is lowly.

5.20 3m 1f Novices’ Handicap Chase (Class 4)

STAGECOACH JASPER made much of the running and still held every chance when falling two out.
LUKEY LUKE was left clear and stayed on well enough in the latter stages to make it two on the trot. He followed up a Class 5 handicap chase win at Wetherby, which sums up this race in terms of overall level.  He jumps well though which sets him in good stead in this company.
BOLLIN FIONA is not the most fluent jumper and had to be driven along after many of her fences. She is game though, suited by a stiff track and stuck at it enough to take second in front of JUSTJO who was never closer in this race, but as close as he’s been in any contest to date.
CALL IT ON was feeling the pinch when unseating three out, while ON BROADWAY was never really travelling, pulled up three out and possibly needs more cut.
DOLLAR MICK, off the track for the best part of a year, was always in rear and pulled up before the sixteenth.

5.50 2m ½f Standard Open NH Flat Race (Class 6)

ZIGGIE set a steady pace, quickened down the far side and was good enough to hold his only serious challenger. He looks to have enough about him to go on from here.
LINE D’AOIS made the winner pull out the stops in the closing stages to make a promising start under Rules. There should be a small contest for him before long.
The other five were well beaten and no so much out with the washing as out with the neighbour’s washing! They showed nothing to recommend them in the immediate future.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Hamilton first evening meeting of 2013

HAMILTON – Friday May 10th

Going – Good to Soft, Good in places

6.05 5f Follow At HamiltonParkRC On Twitter Apprentice Handicap (Round One Of The Hamilton Park Apprentice Series) (Class 6)

If anything in this field had a chance of progressing it would probably be DARTRIX who led inside the final furlong and won with a little to spare. A stiff five furlongs makes all the difference to this filly.
MANDALAY KING ran another decent race but once again found one too good.
WICKED WILMA broke well and showed up for a long way, keeping on into third. She’s never won before late June, so it’s encouraging that she ran well this early and she’s on a decent mark at the moment.
ROCK CANYON went well until the final furlong and is twice a winner here. He’s nothing special but might find a weak contest here in the coming months.

6.40 6f Thomson Open Maiden Stakes (Class 5)

Five in with a chance entering the final furlong and not a great event. SCRIPT ran on well enough to record a first win in 25 events. She’s only rated 48 but held off a 65 rated animal in A J COOK who was put in his place in a 5 furlong handicap at Beverley on Monday.

7.15 1m Alex Fergusson Memorial Handicap (Class 6) (Qualifier for the Betfair Scottish Mile Series)

After a successful series in 2011, Betfair have returned after a year break to sponsor the series once again. The Sprint, Mile and Stayers Finals will be split between Hamilton, Ayr and Musselburgh in the autumn.
Three broke clear in the final two furlongs. TED’S BROTHER, who has dropped steadily in the handicap of late, came to take up the running inside the final furlong and stuck on gamely. A stiff or galloping suits and he might be handicapped to go on from here.
TECTONIC’s form had been moderate bar a decent Kempton effort early last year. He was going well over two furlongs out and looked ready to go clear, but didn’t find quite enough in the final furlong and was headed.
RAAMZ came down the stands’ side in the closing stages and was making ground in the final two furlongs, just failing to gain second place. She showed some promise in bumpers, and has not been disgraced in maidens before this. She seems to have enough ability to find a handicap, particularly if upped in trip.

7.50 1m 1f Handicap (Class 4)

Most hand a chance two furlongs out but two broke away from the remainder in the final furlong. This was the first time KARAKA JACK has won over further than seven furlongs, and he saw out the trip with no apparent problem, digging deep to hold off his nearest challenger.
SPES NOSTRA came here off a 499-day break and put up an excellent performance in second.
A winner at Ayr and Wolverhampton in 2011, he has clearly retained his ability and may well prove a bit better than his current mark.
BROWN PETE came from the pack to take third. He ran up a quick fire hat-trick last December and his two turf wins were recorded no slightly quicker ground than this at Yarmouth.
LE CHAT D’OR led two out but couldn’t muster an extra effort once headed. He goes well with cut in the ground.

8.25 1m 3f Thomson Claiming Stakes (Class 6)

JORDAURA made steady progress to take it up approaching the final furlong and burst clear from front runner ACTIVATE to land Paddy Aspell’s third winner of the evening.. The latter pulled hard early on and had nothing left when challenged two furlongs out, missing a decent opportunity as he seems quite high in handicaps off a mark of 74.
BOLD MARC made an effort two furlongs but ran out of stamina in the closing stages.

8.55 6f Ginger Grouse Braveheart Night Handicap(Qualifier For The 15000 Betfair Scottish Sprint Series Final)  (Class 5)

A winner here a few days ago, NASHARRA came away from five opponents in the final furlong here to record a third win in three visits to this course.
GREENHEAD HIGH went for home two furlongs out, was passed in the final furlong but kept on and is running creditably. FAIRY WING filled third and her recent wins have come off a significantly lower mark, while ECONOMIC CRISIS couldn’t repeat the effort from the last meeting.

Meanwhile at Ascot, KING OF THE DANES confirmed the form of his Musselburgh second with an all the way win in the closing 3yo mile handicap. I’ve got his Musselburgh conqueror ROMANTIC SETTINGS on my list of horses to follow and she will be well worth noting in upcoming engagements. She has an entry in the Musidora Stakes at York, which is a tough ask but does suggest she is very well regarded.