Friday, 8 November 2013

Musselburgh - Jumps opener

MUSSELBURGH – Thursday November 7th

Going – Good (Good to Firm in places)

While McCoy was busy making history at Towcester there was slightly more mundane fare at Musselburgh as the latter opened their winter season.

1.0      2m Northern Hotel Brechin Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle(78-100)

CIVIL UNREST found things hard work over fences last season after a good start here. He’s been in pretty decent form in recent months though, winning over fences at Sedgefield last time and then following up in convincing fashion here. He set out in front and gradually wound up the pace in the final mile, pulling clear down the straight. He’ll go up a significant amount for this win, but he looks well suited by the sharp track and decent ground.
CADORE, held up out the back, was never in a position to challenge the winner but stayed on through the field for second. He’s the type to remain competitive in similar events at this track.
SHAN VALLEY, coming off a lay-off since March 2012, closed encouragingly after the sixth to chase the winner but couldn’t muster enough pace down the straight. She won a similar event at Wetherby in January 2012 over half a mile further and on the evidence of this run Stuart Coltherd has the mare in good heart.
TWEEDO PARADISO won at Carlisle last time but isn’t an easy ride. He was on his toes when entering the paddock and bit grinding all the way through the preliminaries. He moved into contention down the back straight but made no impression once turned for home.
Nothing else got into the race seriously.
The jockeys reported the ground as genuinely good ground.

1.30 2m Archerfield Juvenile Hurdle (Class 4)

Not a strong event, but a good measure was hard pressed by a hurdling newcomer so there may be some value in the form.
AKDAM set the pace and was pressed all the way from the home turn but prevailed with his will ni the last 50 yards. He’s well exposed, possibly the most raced juvenile hurdler this season, but is very consistent and gave of his best.
GOLD CHAIN, a winner of a Lingfield maiden a couple of months back, challenged from three out and pushed the winner all the way. She hurdled nicely enough and looks capable of picking up a small race on decent ground.
SEASIDE ROCK made an effort two out but was well held by the first two.
WILD DIAMOND is exposed and was beaten two out and isn’t offering encouragement at this time.

2.00 2m 4f William Hill Novices’ Handicap Chase (86-107)

We lost two at the first in this contest, Chase newcomer TEO VIVO fell and BEN AKRAM fell, the latter having put in a poor round at Kelso last time. TEO VIVO was quickly caught so took little out of himself and goes against at Kelso on Saturday 9th as does BEN AKRAM who had a little more of a gallop.
GET THE PAPERS, a fine big individual who will surely make up into competent chaser in time, was well backed throughout the day and bowled along in front until the home straight. There wasn’t much in the tank once turned for home and he faded to last of five finishers. Although he looks the basic raw material it was a little disconcerting to note that he wore a tongue-tie. I’d like this gelding see out a race before risking too much.
  CLOUDY JOKER, a point winner with some fair novice hurdle form, scored for the first time under Rules. He led three out and stayed on under driving to prevail. Given his point win you would expect some improvement over further.
BALLYMOAT has the build of a chaser and may well improve with time and experience. He chased the leader from two out and kept on under driving without getting to the winner.
FORESTSIDE arguably improved on recent form and kept on for third without being over punished once held by the first two.  His best hurdles form was at stiff tracks or in testing going.
CLONDAW FLICKA still oks rather raw. He never got into the race but plodded on for fourth place. He looks likely to need more of a test before he shows his best.
AGRICULTURAL took a heavy fall four out having chased the leaders to that point.

2.30 2m Don King and Neville Porter Bookmaker Mares’ Maiden Hurdle

This division isn’t strong in this part of the world, but the first two here may prove a bit better than the norm.

I was half of a mind to put BRIJOMIQUEEN on my list of horses to follow but eventually decided against it. This double Kelso bumper winner quickened nicely passing the omitted second last hurdle. The race once over but she responded again to see off a persistent challenger. She should stay further than the minimum and there will probably be opportunities in mixed company.
RATHVAWN BELLE looked plenty fi enough here, kept on after the winner in the closing stages but was held. She won’t find many better novice mares against her than this winner.
RETRIEVE THE STICK chased the leaders down the straight. She was held but no=t disgraced on hurdling debut and gives hope of better on the back of three placed efforts in bumpers.
HELLESBELLES may a passable debut in fourth but couldn’t get to grips with the leaders. Tim Vaughan travelled from South Wales for this and will presumably comb the programme book for opportunities.
Not much encouragement from the other runners. JORDAN’S DAY fell at the second giving James Corbett a crunching fall from which he came back in the ambulance. He got out looking very pale and with his arm in a sling. His mount meanwhile hasn’t proven competitive at hurdling.

3.00 3m Lyn’s Sahara Walk: Responsible Gambling Trust Handicap Chase (82-108)

MORE EQUITY put up what was arguably a career best at Kelso and wasn’t moved up the ratings despite coming third there from 5lbs out of the weights. Racing off her proper mark here she stuck on determinedly down the straight to record a deserved win.  This track probably doesn’t play to her strengths so on that basis it was even more meritorious. Last season I did say she was regressing, but the mare has proved that to be totally wrong.
DUKEOFCHESTERWOOD  has been a frustrating sort who is a good deal better than his 2 win record suggests. However, Karen McLintock has him in good heart and he stuck to his guns having apparently been a bit outpaced after leading briefly early in the straight.
KNIGHT WOODSMAN is a fizzy sort who needs two handlers in the paddock. He ran a decent race here having every chance three out but just outpaced in the closing stages. He is a course and distance winner and needs good ground or faster.
FOOT THE BILL looked to need the race after a lay-off. He was in the rear by the thirteenth and had no chance afterwards.
QUINDER SPRING disputed for the first two miles but weakened from four out. He has hsown some form this year but is inconsistent.
JAN JANDURA ran only twice last season, falling in this event last year. He made some headway after the fourteenth but that run soon petered out and he lost touch and was pulled up before the second last.

3.30 2m 4f Loganbet Brechin Handicap Hurdle (102-116)

I missed out on seeing McCoy’s 400th winner, the Towcester race being shown on the big screen. I was too busy eyeing up the runners for the closing contest at Musselburgh.
I’m not sure I can add a huge amount to what’s been said about McCoy’s achievement other to say that as far as I can see it puts most sporting achievements well into the shade. Could you imagine a cyclist winning the Tour De France 20 years a row or maybe Wimbledon? No, well it must surely equate to the dedication commitment and nerve that AP has required to remain the clear top, and the stress is on the clear. There have been many seriously good riders in the past 20 years, but none can live with McCoy, and that’s at a time when it could be argued that the strength of the jumps brigade is as high as it has ever been.

Meanwhile, back with more mundane Musselburgh matters, UEUETEOTL made up for just missing out at Kelso, racing handily and taking the race by the scruff from two out. He’s now going the right way and it has been intimated that he may go novice chasing before long.
MERCHANT OF DUBAI put in a sound effort in second place on his first hurdles outing for a while. He’s lightly raced and has shown enough to suggest he can win a handicap.
Sandy Thomson’s stable ahs had a very slow start with most of his runners well beaten of late. ANY GIVEN MOMENT, a winner round here before, gave more encouragement. He led for much of the way but was held from two out though sticking to his job.  He’s not on too bad a mark and should win a race or two this term.
BOGSIDE did his usual job of running a fair race without ever threatening to win.

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