Saturday, 28 September 2013

Hamilton on a sunny September Sunday

HAMILTON Sunday September 22nd

Going – Good to Soft

Just over a week to go to the end of the season, but the course was shown off to its best in early autumn sunshine. The going was good to soft, but it would have been drying out throughout the day and not sure that many runners would have been inconvenienced.

2.20 6f totejackpot nursery Handicap (50-71)
An exposed bunch of two-year-olds and nothing noticeably progressive.
DONNY ROVER showed promise early in the season, but had not gone over the summer. On his best form he was arguably well treated here and had clearly been showing something extra because he was backed from 10/1 into 11/2 joint favourite in an open market. This was a good deal easier than the Doncaster Class 2 event ne contested last time and, taking it up a furlong out, he burst clear to put the race out of range of his opponents. This could be a case of everything falling right on the day and I’m not sure a repeat will prove so easy.
Bottom weight showed plenty of promise, staying on nicely for second and hinting that there’s a small nursery within his compass this autumn. He should stay seven furlongs in this company.
PIFEON PIE was well held in third after having every chance. He looks a good deal leaner than his stable companion OVERSTEP (well held seventh in first time blinkers), but looks the better performer at this stage.

2.50 totequadpot Handicap (3yo) (60-75)

BARON RUN was taken down to start early for this contest. Making all the running in the centre, he stayed on under driving to add to a previous maiden victory here.
KHELMAN chipped away at the winner in the final furlong but was always just held. Try as I might I can’t find a pattern with this one who has run creditably on stiff and flat tracks.
CHASING DREAMS had every chance a furlong on and kept on if held. She ran well in better company last season and may be one to bear in mind if the rains turn the ground properly soft.
ALEXANDRAKOLLONTAI once again threw away her chance with a slow start. Julie Burke bided her time, putting the filly into the race up the hill, but she lost by the distance she gave away at the start. Connections are apparently considering a race here on September 30th but she needs to hit the boxes if she is to win.
The remainder were beaten with a furlong to go.

3.20 6f totepool Flower Of Scotland Fillies’ Handicap (67-91)

A competitive contest for the biggest prize of the day.

DANCHEUR has done all here previous winning on ground faster than this. She tends to blitz it out in front and then hopes to hang on, but she was clear a furlong out and won with something to spare.
PEARL SEA is a strong impressive looking filly, but she hadn’t really progressed in recent runs. However, she kept on quite nicely to hold second having been near the pace throughout. She shouldn’t go up more than a pound for this a looks a potential autumn winner.
ATHENIAN came here off a break and there looked something to work on. She disputed two out but couldn’t offer enough to go with the winner though keeping on for third. The race will likely do her good and there should be opportunities in the coming weeks.
DUSKY QUEEN seemed to have the worst of the draw up the near rail. Racing prominently on this side she kept on into fourth and this may turn out to have been a creditable effort.
AVON BREEZE is probably as high as she would need to be in the handicap. She had every chance but could only find the one pace to finish fifth. Five furlongs or a sharper six plays more to her strengths.
TARTIFLETTE put in some good performances in early season but her form has tailed off a little of late. She had every chance and was held form a furlong out.
SMALL FURY was on her toes in the paddock and raced keenly. Predicatbly she fell away and would need a drop in class to have a chance.

3.50 1m 65yds EBF British Stallion Studs Maiden Stakes (2yo) (Class 5)

A closely fought maiden with any of three in with a chance in the last fifty yards.

MR GALLIVANTER has the look of one who will benefit from further than this in time. He built on an encouraging Beverley debut, staying on up the far rail and getting his head in front on the line.
Held in Group 2 company at Doncaster, VIVERE led over two out and kept finding for driving. She looked to have done enough but was foiled in the shadow of the post. She certainly has the right attitude and there should be race for her before long.
RANGI CHASE loomed up on the outside from two out, and looked the likely winner at the furlong pole, but was held in the closing stages. A good effort, stepping up on a Haydock third place.
INEVITABLE is a big strong colt who used up too much energy in the preliminaries. He was on his toes and had two handlers in the paddock. In the race he was fast away and led until two out but was one paced from that point.

4.20 1m 1f 36yds totepool Handicap (51-70)

JORDAURA has been there or thereabouts on a number of occasions recently. Having dwelt at the start, he worked his way into the race two out and stayed on to collar the long time leader inside the final furlong. A nice effort and a follow-up is possible.
LORD FRANKLIN set the pace and his tenacity saw off the majority only to get collared in the closing stages. Admirably consistent, although he’s not won at the trip he sees it out well enough and softening ground would be no problem.
HIGH RESOLUTION made headway three out but couldn’t make any impact in the latter stages. This was as good as any effort he has put up this season.
SIZE looked very fit. He couldn’t make an impact on the leaders in the last two furlongs.
ICY BLUE chased the leader until weakening from the furlong pole. He’s not the easiest to catch right.
NORTH POLE, with decent form at Brighton and Bath behind him, found the finishing hill too much here and weakened over a furlong out.

4.50 1m 5f 9yds toteexacta Handicap (66-78)

A race where the winner was gifted an early lead and only two ever looked like winning.
KING OF PARADISE set a decent pace without overstretching himself. He had a five length lead three out and dug deep in the closing stages to hold his only challenger. This was his fourth win, all at Hamilton, and he saw out the trip albeit with only a neck to spare. Eric Alston commented that hold up tactics had been tired with this one, but they didn’t work and he’s much better allowed to do his own thing in front.
DISCAY chased the winner all the way and wound him back up the final hill, just being held in the final reckoning. He’s proving quite consistent and ran to his best here. It could be argued that his jockey just misjudged things, but I guess he expected the leader to come back to him.
SWINGING HAWK was reported as hanging throughout the race, staying on from a long way off the pace. He needs holding up and would have received little cover if he had chased the pace. His jockey was caught between a rock and hard place and this run can be ignored.
GETABUZZ led the chasers to the main group, but didn’t close when asked and wasn’t good enough on the day.
CALEDONIA is proving disappointing on the flat and was beaten over three out.
CAPTAIN BROWN was making a first flat appearance for 800 days and was the first beaten.

5.20 5f totepool Handicap (45-64)

A very ordinary handicap but won by one of the few who is consistently in the mix. PULL THE PIN was fast away and led, responding well to pressure in the final furlong to hold on all out. He has a good attitude and it’s worth noting for the coming months that he has a fair record at Southwell.
ROCK CANYON stayed on late and just failed, but he’s had plenty of chances this season.
CHESTER’SLITTLEGEM is consistent and was never far away, finishing a close third.
SAXONETTE kept on from the rear for a never nearer fourth place.
DISTANT SUN notched up a hundredth run but didn’t look like winning while WICKED WILMA took her run tally to 106 without threatening. CHLOE’s DREAM couldn’t repeat Beverley form faded in the final furlong having raced prominently.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Edinburgh September Holiday Monday

MUSSELBURGH – Monday September 16th

Going – Good (Good To Soft in places)

I had a morning in the office before taking the train to Musselburgh for the Edinburgh Holiday Monday Meeting. There were a few families at the course, and many on the train making their way to North Berwick to take advantage of a bright if breezy September day.
Sunday rain resulted in a slight softening of the ground form good, but the Musselburgh turf is in excellent condition considering this was the third last meeting of the flat campaign here.

2.10 7f 30yds Batleys Foodserve Handicap (58-64)

A evenly matched if moderate field for the first event of the afternoon, 14 having been eliminated at final declaration stage.
I arrived about five minutes before the start but the antics of PARTNER meant I had time to settle. The gelding who unseated his rider going to post and then ran loose for at least a mile and a half possibly more. It was slightly surprising that Partner was allowed to take part, and after leading for four furlongs he was quickly brushed aside. He has ability, but his temperament isn’t helping.
The result was a dead-heat between two of the in-form runners here, Fraser Perratt taking in the region of ten minutes poring over the photo before announcing what everyone had imagined was inevitable.
CARA’S REQUEST is normally a front runner but didn’t lead on this occasion, although always handy. He took over two out and looked the likely winner. Keeping on well in the final furlong he battled back after being headed and got back right on the line.
SUMMER DANCER challenged throughout the final furlong and gained a half-share of a race he won last season.
The combined age of the first two is 17, so neither is likely to improve at this stage, but they are both honest sorts who gave their best to provide a cracking finish.
VIVA RONALDO has slipped down the handicap but showed a glimmer more than of late, staying on into third place without threatening the winners. He has won on soft so might be able to land a similar event in the autumn.
PERFECT WORDS had every chance if good enough and turned out not be on this occasion. This was a first urn at seven furlongs for this 19 race maiden and he appeared to see the trip out.
MOWHOOB is probably capable of winning at this level, but doesn’t show too much inclination to exert himself at the business end. He was comfortably held in fifth.

2.40 7f 30yds Drinks Express 2yo Selling Stakes (Class 6)

MAID IN RIO had not shown much before this, well held at Ayr and Beverley then outclassed in a sales race at The Curragh, although she did show some speed in the latter event. This was however a good deal easier and she showed four rivals a clean pair of heels from the two furlong marker. Connections went to £8,500 to see off a single opposing bidder. She will presumably move on to nurseries.
BLACK TREACLE was very late in the paddock, presumably because he looked rather revved up. He led for the first half of the race, and kept on honestly enough once passed to hold on to second. The effort suggests he stays seven furlongs. He’s honest enough and consistent and just caught one too good on this occasion.
PRINCESS TAMAY hasn’t been brilliant to date. She had two handlers in the paddock and appeared a bit of a handful. She kept on in the closing stages but was held by the second throughout the final furlong.
ANGEL ROSA was beaten two furlongs out and disappointed in comparison to previous efforts.
BOY RANGER was way too lively in the paddock and much too slow in the race.

3.10 2m Batleys Cash And Carry Handicap (64-79)

A competitive little contest for a decent prize on a quiet Monday.
MAN OF PLENTY has raced on no firmer than good and one supposes his trainer feels he’s best with cut. A little bit of juice presumably suited and he made the trip from Newmarket pay, asserting from a number of potential challengers from two out.
BOWDLER’S MAGIC impressed with a determined effort chasing after the winner if never closing fast enough. He seems in good heart for his new yard, that of David Thompson. Seen out here in hurdles last season performing passably well, it would be no surprise if he pitches up again in November when the Musselburgh jumps season begins.
DR IRV was outpace in the final two furlongs and appears on tougher mark now having been raised 6lbs for a neck win last time out in a six-runner contest.
HIT THE JACKPOT had every chance two out and wasn’t good enough when the chips were down.
JAN SMUTS was moved up a couple of grades and didn’t help his cause by rearing at the start. In rear for most of the way, he made some progress to threaten briefly over two out but could muster no more at this point. He needs to drop back in class. He didn’t convince over hurdles last year and I wonder if Wilf Storey might be tempted to use his staying power at Southwell.

3.40 5f Best One Nursery Handicap (55-72)

The winner ONE BOY has ability but it’s proven difficult to get the tactics right since a win at Redcar on debut. He tracked the leaders and showed a decent turn of pace to hit the front at the furlong pole, sticking on well to hold the main challenger. He has decent speed and should be capable of winning again.
BOUNTY GIRL emerged from the field to chase the winner in the closing stages. She was tried in eyeshields here and ran to the best of her previous form on this occasion.
I can’t remember seeing too many dead-heats in forty odd years of racegoing, but there were two on this card with CLASSICAL DIVA and BOUNTIFUL FOREST sharing third place in this race. The pair don’t look especially favourably handicapped, but weren’t disgraced here.
NOBLE ASSET, an expensive Breeze-Up purchase, races a little too keenly for his own good. He showed early pace but was spent by the final furlong.

4.10 1m 1f Best In Claiming Stakes (Class 6)

This was a decent contest for a Class 6 with a number of older campaigners with decent form in the book. The race offered what I considered the best bet of the afternoon, the bet paying off as DEMOLITION landed the money off bottom weight. Entered for £5,000 by Noel Wilson, he was well favoured at the weights and didn’t look in any danger after taking charge two out. Demolition has been finding the task just beyond him in handicaps but he’s done well dropped to claimers and adjusted ratings gave him 7lbs plus in hand.
EXTRATERRESTRIAL, another who has been making his mark now aimed at claimers, chased the winner form two out and was not disgraced. He might well find a similar contest and he has won claimers at Carlisle and Newcastle this season, suggesting that a stiff track suits.
PRIME EXHIBIT is a hard puller who was restrained from the gate by his jockey. He never got a blow in at the leaders but stayed on in the last two furlongs to take third place.
ROYAL STRAIGHT chased the leaders two out but couldn’t get in a serious blow at the leader. He ran quite well at these weights, but he’s favoured by fast going and time is probably running out this season.
JEBEL TARA ahd every chance and wasn’t good enough from two out. He had a purple patch when well handicapped early in the season, but he’s gone up in the weights and found this company a little tough.
SEATTLE DRIVE was squeezed for room two out and never got in a blow. He was subsequently claimed for £10,000 by David Pipe. Fifth in a big field maiden hurdle at Galway a year ago, he may now be aimed at hurdles by his new trainer.

4.00 5f Petrushka Vodka Handicap ( 48-69)

WINDFORPOWER has a lot of races under his belt for a three-year-old since this was his 38th outing. This was a sixth career win, a decent record at this end of the spectrum, though this was a first turf win. He raced prominently, led a furlong out and showed determination to gain the day.
ECONOMIC CRISIS, noted on more than one occasion here as ‘runs often but wins seldom’, once again earned a bit of keep with a decent effort and was closing in on the winner at the line. Not betting material but does enough to keep her owners interested.
MR MO JO led at a decent pace and kept on well enough once headed. A sharp five furlongs suits fine, though a win at Newcastle suggests he’s not one dimensional.
GO GO GREEN, a winner of a seller this year, stayed on from the rear for a never nearer fourth.
OUR DIANE came to the front approaching the final furlong but was headed and held in the final furlong.
SAXONETTE didn’t go the early pace and could only pick up a length or two under driving late on. A fair enough effort, but the race she won at Hamilton in July was a dire contest and she normally finds a few too good.

5.10  1m 4f 100yds Xtra Local Handicap (Betfair Stayers’ Series Qualifier) (51-62)

A competitive event won in catching style by an improving three-year-old filly in Bayan Kasirga. She had tack problems last time when unseating, so this effectively reads as a second consecutive win. She led two out and ran on strongly to pull clear. The impression is that there’s a bit more to come and it wouldn’t be a surprise if she overcomes a weight rise. The final of this series is held here on October 14th and I would imagine Brian Ellison will be eyeing that contest.
GEANIE MAC kept on well enough for second and ran up to her best of this season.
Philip Kirby has recently acquired BURNS NIGHT and he could take advantage of this one’s current mark. His best form on the flat has been short of this distance, but he seemed to see out the trip if getting in a blow at the leader. He may be placed to win in the coming weeks.
VALANTINO OYSTER isn’t straight forward but has regularly been in the mix lately.  Pushed up to lead early on, he stuck at it once passed but had nothing left in the final furlong.
HIGH ON THE HILL raced in rear and stayed on through the field to take fifth place. Lightly raced since winning in 2011, Iain Jardine seems to have the six-year-old in good heart and there may be a minor handicap for him this autumn.

5.40 Petrushka Vodka Handicap (47-69)

I noted OPT OUT as a possible future winner back in June when spotting him at Ayr. He didn’t go on from there, but he looked very well and the latent talent was uncovered on this occasion. Covered up on this occasion, he came through to lead inside the final furlong and asserted bin the closing stages.
TOM SAWYER ran a decent race under a penalty. He soon led and ran on once headed, suggesting that there is another win around the corner.
HERE NOW AND WHY had every chance but was held in the final furlong. He’s a win in his turn performer, but has been in decent nick of late.
IRISH GIRLS SPIRIT probably needs the ground slightly quicker, so a close enough fourth was a sound enough effort.

With an hour to kill before the train back to the city I took a stroll across the centre of the course and walked down the back straight of the jumps course. The turf is in excellent nick and should please trainers looking to run in the four jumps fixtures coming up before Christmas. The turf is very lush and the surface even.
Meanwhile the golfers were appearing for a few late evening holes on the links. Two of them put on a pretty dire exhibition of putting and chipping for me to watch. Gives me hope if ever the clubs appear from the garage again…
Onward past Ma Forman’s pub at the end of the golf course. It was a sorry sight a few years back, but has had a new lease of life in recent times and the food menu looks well worth a try.

Other commitments mean I won’t be at Ayr for the Western Meeting, but I will be on course at Hamilton on Sunday September 22nd. It’s then on to a belated birthday celebration at Musselburgh the following Sunday courtesy of my wife, a review of the Epperston Suite to follow! Kelso start their jumps programme in early October, then I hope to get in another visit to Musselburgh on October 14th when the Willie Park Trophy heads what should be a very decent card by normal Monday standards.

Monday, 9 September 2013

Early Autumn at Perth

That's the meteorological autumn, as opposed to the equinoctial one before anyone asks...

PERTH – Monday September 9th

Going – Good

An extra day on the schedule at Perth this year with good prize money on offer, ideal ground,…and very disappointing field sizes.
The second last hurdle was placed as far down the straight as I can ever remember.

2.20 2m 110yds TUV-SUD Novices’ Hurdle (Class 4)

IT’S A MAN’S WORLD has plenty of flat mileage on the clock, but has progressed over hurdles and recorded a second consecutive winner. He travelled well all the way, led before the last and comfortably the double penalty carrying winner. He’s versatile ground wise so I wouldn’t imagine softer going would be a problem itself, though there’s a fair chance he would struggle for stamina.
SMART RULER was outpointed from before the last but not pressed by his jockey once his chance had gone. He’s won twice recently, but looks to need decent ground and may be put away once the rains arrive.
ULTRA DE CHATELET  was outpaced at key points in the race, but wasn’t totally disgraced after a 9 month lay-off. He has chasing experience in France and his future is likely to be over fences.
KING KURT jumped nicely in front until two out but then gave way. He looks to have the basics for hurdling and will make more of a mark once gaining a handicap mark.

2.50 3m 110yds Moness Estate Handicap Hurdle (Class 3)

EMILY’S FLYER was in control of this contest on the final circuit. She’s lightly raced, beat two recent winners and won with a bit in hand. The track and ground clearly suited her and she was enterprisingly ridden by Paddy Brennan.
TOYE NATIVE chased the winner from four out but never got near enough for a blow. She saw out the trip well enough and kept on in the closing stages.
JIMMY THE HAT didn’t look at all comfortable from three out and was well held. He hinted that there may be something hurting.
LOS NADIS was under the pump before three out and is below form at the moment.

3.20 TUV-SUD Handicap Chase (Class 4)

ACAPULCO GOLD jumped nicely enough here. He challenged before two out, led at the last and stayed on nicely. He has a pretty decent record over fences when his jumping holds up.
WILD GEESE ran a better race than his last two efforts. He had every chance two out but was held on the flat.
DIDDLEY DEE was off the bridle by halfway and driven along for much of the remainder of the contest. It’s not untypical of him and he really a race to fall for him.
O CROTAIGH made the pace jumping well, but he does need his own way in front and the others were always close enough to hassle him. He gave way once headed before two out.
RATHMOYLE HOUSE was still in touch and hadn’t been asked a question when falling four out.
SOLWAY SAM was hampered by the faller and lost ground, then slipped on the home turn and unseated

3.50 Crabbie’s Amateur Riders’ Handicap Hurdle (Class 4)

Not a strong event and it resulted in an Irish one-two.
CALL BOX led three out and stayed on under pressure up the straight to beat HOLD EM COWBOY. The runner-up has a fair few miles on the clock and is not a prolific winner.  CALL BOX on the other hand has only raced 14 times and there might still be a little more to come over hurdles.
BESCOT SPRINGS never got to leaders and was beaten before the last. He’s not at his best at the moment.
MUMGO’S DEBUT, well regarded when first entering the Russell yard, travelled well enough for two miles but faded quickly in the straight and ended up being passed by TIM’S APPROACH, a slow animal who is easily beaten.

4.20 TUV-SUD Handicap Hurdle (Class 4)

DHAULAR DAR was given a cracking ride by Gary Bartley. He’s been running creditably on the flat, if not quite at his former level, and it wasn’t a huge surprise that he won even if he was 25/1. He was waited with got into the race up the straight and took charge from the last. Nice to the old boy having another visit to the winner’s enclosure, and I wonder if there might be a chance at Musselburgh when that course begins their jumps season?
MOONLONE LANE has yet to win but ran a fair race to fill second place.
ENDEAVOR wasn’t disgraced in third and ran respectably from a career high hurdles mark.
OUTRAGEOUIS REQUEST was dropped in class having contested the Summer Champion Hurdle here last time. He tried to make all the running but was out on his feet by the last and faded to fourth. He may be better with a little less use made of him.

4.50 2m 4f 110yds Prestige Handicap Chase (Class 3)

A cracking race that saw two in-form sorts who hadn’t been apart here last time contest a bobbing finish. SCOTCH WARRIOR’s record round Perth is now 6 wins from 12 runs, though it should be said that he hardly runs anywhere else these days. He won’t go up far for this win as he had to dig deep to hold the gallant second.  His trainer has done really well with this one.
SERGEANT PINK is a totally different animal from the one I saw ‘dogging it’ at Kelso last winter. Ultimately he probably lost because he was not fluent at any of the last four fences. He has a fair amount of ability though and that kept in contention, digging deep on the run-in but just held. If his jumping is better at the sharp end he can win again.
DARK ENERGY was always on the tails of the leaders and had every chance at the last but was just held.
QUITO DU TRESOR went well enough in front but came under pressure two out and had nothing extra to give on the flat.
MAGGIO was beaten before two out and disappointing while Gordon Elliott’s JAMSIE HALL didn’t get in a blow.

5.20  2m 110yds Pipe and Piling Supplies Standard Open NH Flat Race(Class 5)

Only three runners but I think all will be worth keeping an eye on for the future.
IT’S ALL AN ACT looked a bit green when driven out in the straight, but made all and had plenty in hand. He’s nicely bred for the jumping game and is worth keeping on a list of long term prospects.
INDIAN WRITER was a bit outpaced five furlongs out but kept on nicely enough in the closing stages.
SHARP was outpaced in the final two furlongs, but has enough about him to suggest he can make up into a racehorse. He will likely put this form behind him in time.