Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Land O' Burns Stakes Day at Ayr

AYR – Saturday June 22hd

Going – Good to firm (Good in places)

This is a distinctly decent meeting with £135,000 up for grabs, but a little eclipsed by the last day of Royal Ascot. However, with a Listed contest and three Class 2 handicaps on the card this could prove one that goes under the radar. It’s worth carrying a few forward from contests here.

Rain was in the air, but the course missed the worst of the showers and the ground remained on the fast side. Given the preparation troubles Ayr have had this year, and bearing in mind the flat course looked in poor condition in March, the surface was in very good condition.

2.25 5f Scottish Sun Miss Scotland Handicap (73-86)

A very open contest to start the card with most having some sort of chance on recent form.

JEDWARD looked the likely winner when bursting into the lead at the furlong pole but she was headed in the final 100 yards and run out of it. She’s in good form and should be capable of winning a race before long.
MIDNIGHT DYNAMO finished with a flourish to take the contest at what appeared generous odds of 16/1. She had a few of these behind when third at Musselburgh and gained the upper hand here close home.
CRIMSON KNOT, like many from Alan Berry, races often but wins only in her turn. She made it first three homes for the fair sex by staying on through the field to take third. She probably needs just to be eased a little in grade if she is to score.
ARCTIC FEELING raced prominently but was held from the furlong pole.  He won a better event than this at Epsom last time, but that was over six furlongs and he made need that extra distance to be seen at his best.
BOSUN BREEZE showed good early pace but was beaten two out.
ROTHESAY CHANCER couldn’t follow up a decent effort in the Scottish sprint Cup and trailed in last.

3.00 5f Scottish Sun Land O’ Burns Fillies’ Stakes (Listed)

The Land O’ Burns Stakes has varied in conditions over the years but has now settled as competitive fillies’ sprint race at this meeting.  The first two are decent Listed class animals.

MY PROPEELER thrives on the fast ground and asserted well after challenging for the lead at the furlong pole. Kept to the right sort of event she should continue to thrive while the sun shines.
JWALA took it up two out and briefly looked the likely winner, but was passed in the final furlong by My Propeller. She emerged from handicaps to give sole power a decent race at Doncaster at September. She is decent at this level and capable of winning a Listed sprint.
Dropped to five furlongs for the first time, I’M SO GLAD ran to her best in third place. She made progress two out but was never in a position to trouble the first two. All her wins have come in fields of 9 or less and it could be the hurly burly of big field sprints isn’t for her.
EXCELETTE ran pretty much to Haydock form with the first two. Leading early, she was held from the furlong pole.
JILLNEXTDOOR ran as well as one could expect from a filly held in Class 3 handicaps. She raced prominently and kept on sufficient well for fifth place. She might well be seen to better effect with some cut in the ground.
JADANNA looked as good as any in the paddock. She made progress through the field late on despite being denied a clear run. Now on a mark of 90 she may have chances in a handicap.

3.35 1m Scottish Sun on Sunday 3yo Handicap (81-95)

A decent looking bunch of three-year-olds were on show for this contest which might prove to have been an above average event.

The winner OFF ART is a catching type, though he’s still on the leggy side and looks likely to strengthen further. On that basis it is encouraging that his sustained run allowed him to lead on the line and record his third win.  I believe he can turn into at least a Listed class performer in time.
PARTY ROYAL ran into a progressive sort in Springheel Jake at Hamilton last time, having made almost all at Haydock before that and was desperately unlucky to be pipped by another good ‘un here.  He’s done nothing wrong and must surely win a handicap soon.
HAY DUDE chased the first two honestly enough from two out but was always held. This was a sound enough effort and may prove decent form.
COUNTRY WESTERN was very awkward in preliminaries and took a keen hold in the race. He did well enough under the circumstances to hold fourth and can do better if he calms down a bit.
ROYAL PRIZE didn’t have the pace to go with the first two but was fifth, in amongst a group of closely matched animals.
SUBLIMATION made an effort two out but could make no impression on the leaders. It took him a while to break his maiden and this was a tough ask on handicap debut, but he did enough to suggest he can make the grade in handicaps with experience.
FLYMAN had plasters on the inside of his hocks which might suggest an action problem.  He raced in touch until weakening quickly from before the furlong pole.

4.15 1m People’s Postcode Lottery Handicap (81-99)

Looks won out over recent form here as my two paddock picks on behalf of The Racing Forum provided a forecast at 22/1 and 4/1. CAPAILL LIATH has shown nothing form wise this season, but he looked an absolute picture in the paddock and really ready for this run. He’s a nice looking well balanced grey and taking to the eye. He made smooth progress up the straight and led inside the final furlong to take the contest. If you are able then a look in the paddock would probably help if this one is running in the future.
DUBAI DYNAMO was another who looked in excellent condition.  He recently notched up a century of runs, but clearly maintains enthusiasm and ability. Clearly a hardy soul, he had 22 runs last season and this was his twelfth run of 2013. He only wins in his turn, but is seldom out of the first four or five.
BEACON LODGE looked in good nick but gave his stable girl a lot of trouble in the paddock.  He chased the leaders from two out without looking like winning. He has been on marks up to 113 and contested last year’s Ayr Gold Cup off 110, but has been eased significantly of late and might now be back in with a chance of winning handicaps.
TRAIL BLAZE won six times last year but is still on manageable mark, only 2lbs greater than his win at Thirsk last September, a win which should his battling qualities. Beaten two lengths here was no disgrace and this run might bring him on sufficiently to be at the head of affairs next time.

4.50 6f Sunsport 2yo Maiden (Class 4)

This was decent contest last season and may have yielded a decent winner on this occasion. Stepping up from an encouraging third on Newmarket debut, QUEEN CATRINE quickly put distance between herself and her opponents after leading at the furlong pole. It was an impressive run from one who looks well capable of cutting it in much better company, particularly if taking on fillies.
TANSEEB had shown some form but was found out in a decent contest at York. He battled well enough to hold second place but was well held by the winner.  This was a fair enough effort and he should be capable of taking a maiden or perhaps a nursery in the coming weeks.
STATE ANTHEM kept on encouragingly in the closing stages to take third place. She’s a half-sister to a 1m 2f winner and looks sure to be suited by seven furlongs when given the chance.
DONNY ROVER was off the bridle and behind early on but staying on through the field to take fourth place. Likely to find one or two too good in maidens, he looks one whose place is in nursery handicaps.
JACQOUTTE DELAHAYE looked well enough but suffered interference early on and never looked happy. She faded from two out and is much better than the form suggests.
The two newcomers STRAITS OF MALACCA and TWO SHADES OF GREY were both very green and spooky in the preliminaries. They both showed good early pace, Straits Of Malacca proving best and only just run out of the places close home.  Both of these should offer better for the experience.
HANDWOVEN looked plenty fit enough but was comfortably put in his places and isn’t offering immediate prospects of success.

5.25 6f Lidl Surprises 3yo Handicap (59-78)

I was stood by the paddock entrance here and saw Ian Semple taken to task because VANESSA was being led down to the start without her jockey Royston fFrench who seem a bit mystified by proceedings. The racecourse official present seemed to think it was against the rules, though the absence of an enquiry report suggests otherwise. The filly has shown plenty of temperament before and made no show.

SAND BOY provided Charles hills with a quick-fire double, quickening in decent style within the final furlong. A winner on the all-weather, he appears to be an improver and the ease of win suggests follow up is possible.
SOMEONE’S DARLING set the standard here following a Redcar win. She kept on well enough to fill second place, remains in good form and still looks weighted to win a race.
REPITITION kept on for third and is a lightly raced runner who should be in the mix in future contests in this class.
OPT OUT won twice last season, but struggled recently and has now moved to Alistair Whillans. He raced up with the pace and was just dipped out of the places close home. This was encouraging and there may be opportunities around the local circuit.

6.00 1m 2f Arnold Clark Fillies’ Handicap (72-87)

Five competitive fillies here and all in with a chance entering the final furlong.

MAVEN is going well on fast ground and was brought to take up the running at the furlong pole, staying on and holding her main challenger to the line.
STAR OF LAHIB’s jockey was collared by a spectator to have a photo taken with the man’s two sons before the race. Asked if he thought he would win he said "I wish this rain had come an hour ago". His mount ran well enough to chase up the leader and it might be worth taking the hint if the going eases a little.
ACT YOUR SHOE SIZE raced prominently, was tapped for speed three out and kept on without threatening after. A sound enough race but the handicapper has her in his grip.
Hat-trick seeker CHRISTMAS LIGHT made an effort two out but could make no impression. She is another that goes well on fast ground but a six pound rise may have done for her here.
LADY MACDUFF led until over one out and was then beaten. She’s on a good mark but might need a drop down a grade.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Hamilton Park in Royal Ascot week

HAMILTON – Wednesday June 19th

Going – Good to Firm

Just for once we are having a very pleasant summer north of the border and the ground came up on the fast side for this fixture.

House move out of the way and boxes mostly unpacked I’m now able to put my mind back to the local horse racing circuit.  Racing books and my rapidly increasing racecard collection remain boxed up, substantial shelving requiring installation!

2.20 6f 2yo Maiden (Class 5)
CENTRE HAAFHD got on top in the final furlong having raced prominently. This was a step up on Beverley form and the result here suggested experience counted with the prinicipals having had a run.
STONEY QUINE showed plenty of pace and was going best two furlongs out. She kept on but was held in the final furlong and, over this stiff track, a drop back to five might be to her advantage.
BROWNSVILLE was best of the newcomers, keeping on for fourth and might be expected to progress with the experience.

2.55 6f Handicap (Class 5)

SUNRAIDER burst between two in the closing stages to take this 7 runner event contested by exposed animals.  The three-year-old FINDOG might conceivably have more to come and could be viewed as unlucky having been denied a run on a more than one occasion. However, the problem came because he didn’t have the speed to put himself in the right place when it counted.

3.30 1m 3yo Handicap (Class 6)

This was a very messy low class race, with plenty of bumping and barging going on from two furlongs out until inside the final furlong. ROCKET RONNIE did well having suffering in the shoving match and finished well to snatch the contest on the line. It remains to be seen if he’s better than this class, but there is a hint of better to come.
ISLE OF BEAUTY avoided the worst of the trouble and may be a trifle flattered by a close second place. That said, she’s lightly raced and at least showed a decent attitude.
MULTILICIOUS kept on for third without looking a likely winner in the final furlong. A fair race on huis fourth outing but no more.
4.10 1m Handicap (Class 4)

Carlisle claimer winner SPRINGHEEL JAKE showed plenty of determination to take this five-runner race. The stiff track seems to suit him. Leading early, he was headed three out but picked up again once he hit the final hill. His attitude looks sound and he’s going the right way. I wonder if his trainer might consider a go in the Carlisle Bell next week as he’s qualified off his current rating.
Three-year-old PARTY ROYAL took over inside three out but was outpointed in the closing stages. He was clear of stable mate Declamation and the form should prove sound.

4.45 1m 1f Maiden (Class 6)

WALL OF SOUND stayed on well to win the race at 1-4 favourite. She had every right to win this on previous form but did nothing wrong despite hanging a little as if the track wasn’t entirely suiting her.
ARGAKI kept on for second but was held. He may find a weak maiden though handicaps are likely to be his area.
PRIMARY ROUTE was a shade disappointing and well held in the final furlong.
I had word that AMISFIELD LAD would be tried on the flat after he disappointed over hurdles at Kelso. He was very green in the stalls and lost a few lengths, then outpaced from three out. He won a bumper and has some ability so may be competitive in handicaps in time.

5.20 1m 1f Handicap (Class 5)

TECTONIC just held off fast finishing ROYAL STRAIGHT with three others in close attention. The runner-up returned to form on his favoured fast ground while the winner was rewarded for consistency, but these are an exposed bunch and what you see is what you get.
Mark Johnston’s three-year-old WELLINGROVE set the pace and kept on once headed. He looks on his mark at the moment.
5.55 1m 4f Apprentice Handicap (Class 6)

SCHMOOZE came from off the pace to hold EL BRAVO, the pair clear of the remainder. Linda Perratt’s stable has started to hit form after a struggle through April and May and the winner may be able to repeat.
GOODLUKIN LUCY needs things to fall for her and couldn’t respond sufficiently when taken on. She’s probably better when bowling along in front at Musselburgh.

I’ll be at Ayr on Saturday for the Land O’ Burns Stakes meeting. Meeting report to follow and, phone technology permitting, I’m hoping to put up some paddock picks on Twitter.

Saturday, 1 June 2013

Edinburgh Cup Day

Yes, I know, it was Derby day as well, but this is always a competitive meeting with plenty of forward pointers!

MUSSELBURGH – Saturday June 1st

Going – Good To Firm (Good in places)

This meeting has proved a decent pointer to Royal Ascot and beyond in recent seasons with the feature race and the two-year-old contest very reliable pointers.

1.50 1m toteplacepot Handicap (3yo) (Class 4)

The first two look a bit better than Class 4 standard. LLAGERYB raced towards the rear, made steady progress up the straight and soon put the race to bed after leading one furlong out. He looked to have a fair bit in hand and can advance on this.
CORN SNOW took it up two out having raced prominently. The first two were clear of most of the runners and the form should prove strong. Corn Snow can be placed to win in similar company.
GREY STREET came from well back to take third place, closing fast on the first two in the closing stages. He’s going the right way, seemingly stepping up on last year’s efforts, and there should be race for him in the near future.

2.20 5f ToteScoop6 Edinburgh Castle 2yo Stakes (Class 2)

Regularly a decent contest which yields contenders capable of making their mark in Pattern company.
The first two broke well and were pretty much neck and neck over the final two furlongs. SLEEPER KING, a close fourth in maiden at York first time up, travelled well for much of the way and dug deep to hold on in the closing stages. He showed plenty of pace over this sharp five and will presumably be aimed at Ascot.
JUSTICE DAY came under pressure from two out but dug deep and was only run out of it close home. His previous efforts suggested this sharp five wouldn’t bring out the best in him at this stage, and a switch to a stiffer five or back to six furlongs would do no harm.
JACQUOTTE DELAHAYE picked up from two furlongs out and finished a close third. She looks to have plenty of ability and will find easier tasks.
SUZI’S CONNOISSEUR, a winner here on debut was by no means disgraced in fourth and will find easier opportunities.
On evidence of previous renewals all entries here are worth keeping an eye on so make a note of WITHERNSEA, VINE DE NADA and PIGEON PIE once they are dropped down to less exacting company.

2.55 1m 4f 100yds totepool.com Tradesman’s Derby (3yo) Handicap (Class 4)

A £20,000 added contest which gives a good incentive for trainers with horses rated 80 or less.

EMERGING raced prominently and took up the running three out. He was headed two out but had battled back to lead by the furlong pole and asserted in the final furlong. This was a taking performance by David Elsworth’s colt who won over a mile on the all weather in the winter. He was stepping up significantly in trip here and looks well capable of seeing out a bit further.
ROYAL SKIES put in to the winner two out and led for a while but was collared in the final furlong. This was arguably his best effort this term.
HASHEEM stayed on well in the closing stages to finish close up to the second. He won nicely at Newcastle over ten furlongs and this trip didn’t seem a problem on handicap debut. The experience will help and he looks a decent prospect.

3.30 1m 4f 100yds totepool Edinburgh Cup Handicap (3yo) (Class 2)

A catching performance by the winner of one of Musselburgh’s biggest prizes of the season. DASHING STAR came from off the post to lead inside the final furlong and to win a shade cosily. He competed in the Dante at York, finishing eighth to Derby second Libertarian on that occasion and the company was less taxing here. That being said he looks a nice sort at this level and it seems unlikely that he has finished winning. The step up in trip seemed beneficial.
NARU made a brave attempt to make all, sticking to his task grittily under pressure but mastered in the closing stages. He’s more exposed than some here, indeed won three times on the all-weather, but seems an honest sort with plenty of ability.
Last week’s Haydock winner VAN PERCY had every chance but couldn’t get to the first two. He raced keenly early on which may not have helped his cause and retrospect the traffic problems he encountered at Haydock may have helped rather than hindered his cause.
ESTEAMING won a Class 4 event at York but this move up in class proved just too much. To his credit he was not far away in the closing stages and will have chances at a slightly lower level.
BLUE WAVE, twice a winner this season and busily campaigned,  chased the leader in the alst two furlongs but lost a couple of places close home.
The five were clear and will be worth monitoring for future engagements.
ALLNECESSARYFORCE had severe steering problems, losing all chance when going very wide on the final bend. He ran second to Blue Wave at Kempton earlier which suggests something other than direction of the track is bothering him.

4.30 5f totepool Mobile Handicap (Class 4)

A cracking finish to this six runner race. ROTHESAY CHANCER was slow away, which is not untypical, but produced a fine burst of speed to wrest the race near the line under an all action ride from Graham Lee. This one has a fair amount of speed but probably hasn’t won as much as might be expected, though this was his fourth victory at Musselburgh.
FLASH CITY led and rallied when challenged, only just being pipped in a tight finish. He has only won once in 22 efforts.
BOSUN BREEZE led inside the final furlong but was run out of it in the last few yards. He hit form to win this race last year then followed up twice, so might be worth a glance if turning out in the next couple of weeks.
TAX FREE could have picked these up and carried them at one time, but he’s not a sharp as he once was and indeed this was his first foray in a Class 4 handicap since his three-year-old days. He made an effort form over a furlong out but could make no impression in the final furlong. A fair effort, but what you see is what you are likely to get nowadays.

5.05 1m 1f toteexacta Handicap (Class 4)

CLASSIC COLORI made up for an unfortunate defeat when his rider mistook the winning post at Haydock last week. He just held on after a sustained battle with /assizes, though Karaka Jack was closing fast. The winner is in good heart and on a reasonable mark which isn’t likely to alter much for this tight win.
KARAKA JACK was held up going well for Adrian Nicholls but the gap narrowed as he went for it, the gelding just hanging fire as he was asked to go through. He fairly rattled home once in the clear and would have been in front in another 20 yards. He remains in decent form and there should be another race for him if things fall better.
ASSIZES led two out and stuck to his task all the way to the line. This was a good deal more encouraging than recent efforts.
SPES NOSTRA set the pace but raced much too keenly. He should produce better than the last of six he managed here.

5.35 7f totetrifecta Handicap (Class 4)

Muredach Kelly reported that REPOSER, a  double winner previously, was unsuited by the fast ground. He does have a round action and this may be true, so sixth place may not have been a bad effort. It’s also worth bearing in mind that he helped set a very strong pace with another in-form contender in SNOW BAY, the latter also finishing well beaten.
POWERFUL PRESENCE just held on from Alenjandro. He’s a well exposed sort and ALENJANDRO has proved nothing special previously so it’s not a race I would get over excited about if carrying the form forward.
KALK BAY finished with a rattle and needs further, his proximity to the winner presumably being aided by coming off a strong pace. He looks to be dropping back to a manageable mark.