Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Kelso closes 2013 in Scotland

KELSO – Sunday December 29th

Going – Soft

Kelso closed Scotland 2013 programme with some decent racing. The going was soft, but the ground was generally in pretty good nick judged by my pre-racing course walk. There was just one patch of rather gluey ground on the chase course in the dip before the final fence.

12.00 2m 6f 110yds Matt The Bookie Congratulates Kelso Ground Staff NH Novices’ Hurdle (Class 5)

Not a strong event in terms of depth of talent, but the winner has scope enough to go on from this.

Another shrewd purchase by fellow ‘top of the roofer’ Billy Muir*, MASTERLEADERMAN confirmed the impression that a stiffer test would suit him, staying on well to beat a less than willing favourite. Settled handily he took over approaching the last and was not in any trouble from the last.
HELLORBOSTON has ability but looks a devilishly difficult ride. He made the pace but was niggled along for much of the way and looks less than committed. He did keep on for pressure though and the impression is there’s more in the tank should he be inclined to use it.
BLUESIDE BOY has been off the track since sustaining an injury after finishing fourth in this race last year. He was held by the winner before the last but ran creditably in third and clearly has ability and will presumably benefit from this return.
LORD USHER made headway to track the leaders three out. He hit two out and couldn’t produce enough that, but this was a satisfactory return at the sort of trip which will suit. He will likely make up into a chaser in time.
THORLAK is well considered by his trainer but has taken time to come to himself. He was held from two out but not disgraced and is likely to improve with experience.

*A measure of Mr Muir’s shrewdness is that MONT ROYALE, bought by him for £1300, won a Kelso bumper and was recently sold to a Jonjo O’Neill owner for £60,000. A pretty decent piece of business I think and Mont Royale’s progress will be followed with interest.
12.30 Black Swan Lees Hotel Kelso Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle (Class 4)

This isn’t a competitive division in the north and this contest was reduced to four with two non-runners.
RETRIEVE THE STICK took over before two out and forged clear from that point. It transpired her main rival went lame, but the winner has some ability and can take a similar contest under a penalty.
HOLD FAIR, a distant third in this event last year, kept on for second place though having no chance with the winner. She will need to be competing in basement level handicap hurdles to have any chance of winning a race.
TEXAS ROSE appeared to me to be backing off full effort in the closing stages, but it transpired that she had gone lame. She had fractured a knee, but she’s recovering and will now go to stud.
INNOCENT GIRL hinted at ability in a maiden at Musselburgh, but she was first beaten. Better ground may help but she looks to have only limited ability.

1.05 2m 7f 110yds Floors Castle Horse Trials Handicap Chase (95-112)

OR DE GRUGY looked as well as ever in the preliminaries and landed a sixth win from 19 efforts. He set the pace, kicked on from two out and was always holding the others from that point. I chatted to his owner later in the afternoon, and he’s clearly very proud of the old boy who could still be low enough in the weights to win again.
POLARBROOK didn’t jump well but was eased into the contest approaching two out. He looked the danger two out but didn’t look fully committed, hanging right on the run-in. He doesn’t look straightforward and is one to oppose at short odds.
FARM PIXIE couldn’t get to grips with the leader but kept on for third. He looks the type to come to himself over extreme distances and should break his chasing duck given a stiffer test.
I’m not totally convinced about FOG PATCHES’s commitment to the game. He had every chance here but was held from two out. He did win twice last season though, so he could be one whose confidence builds when on a roll.
MORE EQUITY drifted significantly in the betting. She might well have reached the limit of ability on her current mark. Having tracked the leader she gradually lost her place from two out.

1.35 2m 1f Monteith Memorial Handicap Chase (94-120) (Betfair Scottish Chase Series Qulaifier)

This Series culminates in a final over 2m 5½f here on May 7th.

The race lost two of the more likely chances when LITTLE GLENSHEE whacked a hole in the open ditch (fence 3) giving Kit Alexander a heavy fall and causing CLOVERHILL LAD to unseat. Jockeys and horses were all still in one piece and Little Glenshee was pictured by his trainer eating up on return home.
The open ditch was omitted on the second circuit due to the damage.
BALLYCOOL hadn’t totally convinced in previous chases, but took advantage here. He raced prominently and stayed on very well to the finish. This may well help his confidence and he could go on from here.
ROCKING BLUES looked held on the final bend but stayed on through the field to take second place.
ENDEAVOR, typically on his toes in the preliminaries,  chased the leader and led three out, but didn’t offer an awful lot once passed two out. He can be moody though is decent if caught on the right day.
PROSECCO led until three out but then faded while PRINCE TAM needs things his own way and was never in a position to threaten.

2.10 2m 6f 110yds Peter and Gillian Allen Caterers Handicap Hurdle (87-113)

The low sun caused the two flights in the straight to be omitted, thus only six flights were jumped.

MR UTAH was always travelling well, led three furlongs out and stayed on for driving. He showed pleasing commitment here.
QUEL ELITE has had a stop-start career, but confirmed his well-being with a decent effort in second place. He harried the leader in the final two furlongs but couldn’t get closer than that one’s flank.
DICKIE HENDERHOOP seems to have turned over a new leaf and travelled really well into the lead two out. He looked to be going best when taking a heavy fall two out from which he got up OK. ROMANY RYME wasn’t out of the contest when brought down.
CAERLAVEROCK looked to need the race but stayed on into second place from the rear, despite being hampered in his run about a furlong out as the runners squeezed up to past the omitted final flight.
AMETHYST ROSE had every chance entering the straight but was outpaced by the first two. She won at Hexham and that could be the track that suits her best.
JACK ALBERT led to the fifth but was put in his place form the home turn.
BESCOT SPRINGS was well handicapped if in the mood but was beaten by the last hurdle.

2.45 2m 7f 110yds Children’s Immunology Trust Novices’ Limited Chase (110-120)

Scottish chases are struggling to fill at this time and three was a disappointing turn out for the biggest prize of the afternoon.
The two fences in the straight were omitted, the first because of the hole caused by Little Glenshee

SETTLEDOUTOFCOURT is a progressive sort, leading all the way here in decent style. He’s an impressive strong sort who can win again.
ABBEY STORM hit the fence away from the stands both times which didn’t help his cause. He disputed from two out but found the winner too strong in the final furlong.
INDIGO ROCK bled last time and there was a concern from connections that he may have remembered it. That being said he went well enough until held from two out and wasn’t given a hard time once third place was inevitable.

3.15 2m 2f Isle Of Skye Blended Scotch Whisky Handicap Hurdle (102-120)

The ‘Elf and Safe Tea’ brigade were out in force here. Despite the sun being very low and the light hazy the two flights in the straight were omitted.
A master class in kidding home a horse that may not be that committed to the game. UBALTIQUE is talented enough but has been largely disappointing of late. Held up at the back, with some early encouragement needed, Jason Maguire brought him quietly into the race approaching the last, kidded him into the lead over a furlong out and his mount ran on to the finish.
ANOTHER MATTIE was fancied by connections but ran into a good one on the day., keeping on well enough in the straight if held in the final furlong.
TRUST THOMAS has been running consistently but generally running into one or two too good. He led two out but was overtaken by the winner and could offer no more. There didn’t look to be any lack of commitment and there should be a race for him.
DANTE’S FROLIC is considered to be potentially better than a mark of 105 by connections. She cashed the leaders but was outpaced in the final uphill run. This run was a bit of a fact finding mission to see what the mare is like this season, but there was enough encouragement going forward from a fair effort.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Carlisle - A test in the December mud

CARLISLE – Sunday December 15th

Going : Hurdles  - Soft 
Chases: - Heavy (Soft in places)
Inner hurdles track in use.
First fence away from the stands omitted.
A typical Carlisle winter test in searching conditions.

12.15 2m 1f Novices’ Hurdle (Class 4)

The only two with any presentable form had this between them. Previous winner VICE ET VERTU chased the leader and took over approaching two out after which he was in no trouble.  The winner wasn’t tested here, but might prove quite decent.
DARK DUNE made a race of it, setting a decent pace and finishing clear of the other four who didn’t show anything of immediate encouragement.

12.45 2m 4f Handicap Chase (69-103)

ETXALAR does stay well but any distance around here seems to suit. He set the pace jumping extravagantly at times and found more once challenged from three out. He’s well suited by giving weights to inferiors.
INDIAN VOYAGE progressed to dispute past halfway. He briefly led before the last but found the winner outstaying him from that point. This was a decent effort in the conditions.
TRESOR DE L’ISLE was outpaced from three out and hasn’t run up to his Ayr winning form on his latest two runs.
FRED BOJANGALS struggled as age appears to be catching up with him.
LUKEY LUKE had made progress into third and wasn’t totally out of it when falling three out.
SOUL ANGEL race prominently but made mistakes and dropped away from four out .
Veteran PANTHERS RUN’s best from has come at Hexham and he was well beaten by four out.

1.20 3m 1f Handicap Hurdle (Pertemps Qualifier) (120-147)

KAKI DE LA PREE stayed on well from two out and took control on the run-in.  He won a maiden hurdle last time and looks a nice progressive sort that could be in the picture for the final of this event.
PINEAU DE RE looked the winner approaching the last but didn’t find very much when asked on the  flat.
TRUSTAN TIMES was left behind from two out and seems plenty high enough in the weights.
OUR JOEY set the pace for much of the way but struggled from two out.
LIE FORRIT was under the pump before the straight and struggled from then on. I suspect he wants a flatter track these days.

1.55 2m 5f Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (127-133)
KNOCK A HAND was given an aggressive ride by Richard Johnson, driven into many of his fences, jumping well and pulling clear from two out for a first chasing win. He’s entered for the Welsh National and is a stayer over hurdles.
AVOCA PROMISE was settled second, got a bit outpaced four out, stuck on after that but never got to the winner.
JET MASTER made smooth progress before four out, but flattened out approaching two out and was held from there.

2.25 2m 3f 110yds Novices’ Hurdle (Class 4)

OSCARS DEN recorded a second win in two runs over hurdles. However it proved quite hard work as didn’t jump at all well, though he did get the last right and led after which he had to be driven out to hold the gap. He needs to sharpen his jumping to make a mark against better opposition.
SEALOUS SCOUT stayed on under pressure from two out but couldn’t impact on the winner from two out. This was an improvement on his first hurdles effort.
JUST CAMERON set the pace until the last but emptied on the run-in.

2.55 3m 2f Handicap Chase (103-118)

WAYWARD GLANCE took control when his nearest rival Emma Soda gave four out a thump. The others couldn’t get to him after that and he won in decent style.
EMMA SODA had every chance when her bad error four out left her with too much to do. She stuck on after the winner but had no chance of getting to him. If she can be kept fit she can pick up a staying chase in the south in testing conditions.
THE FRIARY was driven along for the second half of the race and was never better placed than his finishing third place.
FIDDLERS REEL was left behind from four out and ran to about the form of her previous run over course and distance.
PAPAMOA went a good deal more easily than he normally does and led for much of the way until five out. He was pulled up after four out and reported lame on his near fore leg.

3.25 2m 1f NH Flat Race (Class 6)

This probably wasn’t the strongest contest and was there for the taking by Donald McCain who weighs up his placing of horses in bumpers very well. STONEBROOK travelled well and picked up the pace best of all in the final two furlongs and will carry a double penalty if trying for a third bumper win.
HAIL THE BRAVE half-brother to a four times chase winner, stuck to his task well enough having had every chance two out. He showed enough here to suggest he’ll have pace enough to win jumps rasces.
The one to take out of this for me is Irish point winner THE ORANGE ROGUE who made or shared the pace for much of the trip. He couldn’t hold the first two once the pass picked up, but he stuck to his task encouragingly enough and will benefit from the stiffer tests that jumping will provide.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Musselburgh December Meeting

MUSSELBURGH – Monday December 9th

Going - Good, Good To Soft in places

Musselburgh brought the pre-Christmas Scottish circuit to a close with a relatively low key card, though typically keeping the prize money to a fair level with two £10,000 pots on offer. Free mince pies were on offer and I lasted until just before race tow before succumbing to temptation. Anybody who knows how well I hoover up mince pies will tell you that’s quite a feat!

12.15 2m 4f 32Red Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase (103-111)

Lucinda Russell and Peter Scudamore thought LORD OF DRUMS would need the run after a break, while your correspondent had it down as ‘looked fit’. I was right, though a very sound round of jumping made the difference in this contest, Lord Of Drums going nicely in front and outjumping his challenger at the last. I noted that the winner wore ear plugs, not an item that needs declaring but one that does help some animals.
ALPHA ONE came to challenge two out, held every chance at the last but got it wrong, sprawling on landing and unable to recover on the shortish run-in here. A sound enough effort, this looks his trip and he may squeak a similar contest.
MY IDEA, winner of a soft contest here last time, was outpaced from four out. He doesn’t have a good strike rate and is probably on a harsh mark now.
LOS NADIS has not looked a chaser on any attempt over fences. He jumped left and his technique just isn’t up to chasing and I’m surprised his trainer tried again. His speed between the jumps earned him fourth place here.
ENDEAVOR was comfortably held from four out, while MISTER WALL STREET, returning from a year off, was first beaten.

12.45 2m 4f 32Red.com Interactive Planning Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (79-105)
“What sort of race do you want they” asked the trainers? “A middle-distance novice handicap hurdle” came the reply…, presumably, and hence this contest.
JUST ALBERT jumped poorly for the first circuit but warmed to his task as the race went on. Outpaced on the final bend he stuck on up the straight and got on top after the last. The winner raced prominently and the pace was favoured.
BRUNELLO led or disputed most of the way, had every chance but was run out of it in the final half furlong. A fair enough effort on third hurdles race and he looks capable of taking a similar contest.
SOLIDAGO, presumably finding this a bit easier than similar contest in Ireland, was another holding every chance at the last but found no extra on the flat.
BLACKMORE looks harshly handicapped and was tapped for pace for much of the way. He stayed on into a remote fourth which he would have contested with HERON’S MILL had the latter not unseated at the last. Heron’s Mill needs a stiffer test.
MOMKINZAIN looked fit enough but ran no sort of race.

1.15 3m 110yd 32Red.com Maiden Hurdle (Class 4)

Placed in decent handicaps, POPULATION had only to jump round to break his duck and did so in a canter.
MAY’S BOY stuck to his task in second and deserves credit, while GETABUZZ was stayer on the flat and kept on late, presumably needing farther over jumps. The rest will struggle to make a mark in the immediate future.

1.45 32RedPoker.com Handicap Hurdle (81-99)

LUCTOR EMERGO hinted at ability over hurdles back in April with a second at Carlisle. Apparently relishing the stamina test here he led two out and had asserted by the last.
TOTAL ASSETS put up his best performance in gaining second place having held every chance two out, but then held from before the last.
VALLANI struggled to keep up for quite a way, not untypical for her, but stayed on in her trademark head down style from three out to take third. A bit softer ground may give her a chance but, though she won twice in the summer of 2012, she’s not a prolific winner.
KING’S CHORISTER didn’t jump fluently enough on return to hurdling and was held from three out.
GOODACRES GARDEN was well backed but his jumping went to pieces after halfway and he was well beaten.
STITCHED IN TIME had things his own way here last time, but that was a soft contest and he was beaten once headed three out here.
RHYTON, coming back after 16-month layoff, went wrong coming out of the back straight. He was taken into the horse ambulance and is back home, but his racing career is over. Let’s hope he is found a good home.
JAWAAB was withdrawn from the race after entering the paddock, apparently because of the going. Quite why that decision was made so late in the day only Philip Kirby knows.

2.20 2m 4f 32Red.com Handicap Hurdle (112-125)
STRONGPOINT won here for Charlie Swan three years ago and retains his ability on the basis of this performance. Peter Buchanan set a decent pace, wound things up from the home turn and had the race won by the last. It may be worth bearing in mind that he had things his own way.
BIG WATER chased the winner from three out but made no significant impression.
SCOTS GAELIC stayed on through the field for third but was never near the leaders, and similarly MERCHANT OF DUBAI stayed on through rivals for fourth. In retrospect both were held up too far off the pace and Merchant Of Dubai in particular is capable of more if put properly into the race.
A Cheltenham Festival winner over fences in 2011, DIVERS chased the pace until weakening three out. He doesn’t look as good as he once was.
UEUETEOTL was never involved and a rise of 15lbs for an easy win here in November may have stymied him in the immediate future.
NINE STORIES manages a third place in a Leicester seller pretty much on sufferance recently and was the first beaten in this race.

2.50 3m eastlothian.gov.uk Handicap Chase (104-123)
A four-runner contest which was difficult to judge beforehand as there were question marks against each of the competitors.
KEALIGOLANE has always been best when allowed to dictate the race and was able to do just that here, despite some reservations about the distance. Unsurprisingly he looked a bit revved up in the preliminaries, but settled nicely in the lead, jumped well and stretched on from three out.
STORMING GALE is not the easiest to catch right. He stayed on into second but didn’t seriously threaten the winner.
BERTIE MILAN was held up in rear but never got in a blow, only inheriting third place at the last.
BLENHEIM BROOK chased the winner until weakening before two out and fading to last place. He looked plenty fit enough and in her subsequent blog his trainer pondered if something might be ailing him.

3.20 2m 32Red Casino Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (Class 5)

IT’S HIGH TIME built on previous promising runs here, chasing the pacemaker and seeing off that one in a duel from two furlongs out. He’s an immature sort at this time and it’s not unreasonable to think he will be a decent hurdler in time.
GURKHA BRAVE is a typical forward bumper sort for Karen McLintock. He had promising outings eleven months a part previous to this. Setting the pace, Brian Hughes wound things up off the home bend and his charge had a battle with the winner from two out. Although outpaced close home he stuck to his task encouragingly, and there should be a race to be won with him.
All the first four looked more set up for a flat race than the others. Irish point winner KATACHENKO had shown promise in a Limerick bumper but was tapped for pace in the final two furlongs. A fair enough effort though and a stiffer test will be of benefit.
COINAGE looked best if you worked on the basis of a horse likely to win a flat race, but he was comfortably held. He did race keenly and showed signs of greenness when asked for his effort, so it’s likely there is better to come.
Back in the field NEVILLE WOODS and RANDALL’S MILL both look long term projects for chasing and it’s unsurprising they couldn’t make a mark around this sharp track.

We now wait until after Christmas for the next Scottish meeting with Kelso racing on December 29th. The fixtures then come in rat-a-tat-tat fashion as Musselburgh hold their competitive New Year’s Day meeting followed by Ayr on the 2nd, then back to Musselburgh on the 3rd January. Assuming weather doesn’t intervene I should get to three out of the four fixtures in that period.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Borders National Day

KELSO – Sunday December 8th

Going – Good to Soft

A rather damp day for one of Kelso’s big days of the season, headlined by the Border National and supported by a couple of other Class 2 contests. Unfortunately other commitments meant I was reduced to watching meeting courtesy of Racing UK, hence no paddock observations which does cramp my style a bit.

12.25 2m 110yds Border Facilities Novices’ Hurdle (Class 4)
A difficult contest to weigh up as there were question marks against those at the front of the market for one reason and another.
TOUGH TRADE was well beaten on his hurdling debut at Newcastle three weeks ago, but stepped up significantly to take this contest. He was put into the contest two out, led approaching the last and stayed on nicely.
KING OF STRINGS made and encouraging hurdles debut. Always on the premises he kept on to the line and should be capable of landing a similar event with experience behind him.
PULPITARIAN looked dangerous and then flattened out approaching the last.
MUHARRER made a fair debut, always up with the leaders but tapped for pace on the flat.
REGAL SWAIN found form turned round along way with the winner from their Newcastle efforts., finding only one pace from before the last.
ROC DE PRINCE, returning after a 177 day lay-off since an Aintree win on hurdling debut, set a good pace but weakened quickly once headed two out. Many of James Ewart’s charges have needed the run on return from a break and this one should come on for this.

12.55 2m 7f 110yds Scotty Brand Paris Pike Novices’ Chase (Class 2)

COVERHOLDER travelled best of these for most of the second circuit and eased away from his field to win very comfortably. He has come on in leaps and bounds since being bought out of a seller by Harvey Smith, and proved that he stays this longer distance. Some decent winners have come from this contest in the past.
Game mare LITTLE GLENSHEE lost nothing in defeat here. She set a decent pace for much of the way and stuck to her task though well held. She can win a mares event in one can be found and there’s no reason why she shouldn’t be competitive in handicaps.
BEEVES didn’t seem entirely happy taken on for the lead and his jumping wasn’t as fluent as it might have been. That being said he rallied well after looking beaten three quarters of a mile out and was challenging for second when clouting two out. He did keep on under pressure but looks to need things his own way.
TALKIN SENCE went well enough on chasing debut and was overtaxed by his rider once held from two out.
STANDINTHE BAND had a tough task on chasing debut and was well held from the twelfth fence.
ATTYCRAN was struggling at halfway and has been presented with some tough tasks over fences, though he has picked up prize money on a few occasions.

1.25 2m 110yds Kevin Oliver Christmas Handicap Hurdle (102-119)

BOGSIDE isn’t the easiest to win with but does go quite well at Kelso. He travelled well throughout and led at the last. He had to be  kept up to his job as he hung on the flat but had enough in hand. He’s not one you could guarantee would repeat the form next time.
TITUS BOLT raced nicely in front and kept on to the line once passed. He’s lightly raced over hurdles and still a maiden, but Jim Goldie should be able to secure a race with him before long.
SUD PACIFIQUE had every chance approaching the last but faded on the run-in. He’s competitive, but as high in handicap as he would need to be.
STREETS OF NEWYORK got the heels of the leaders two out but couldn’t make an impression after the last. This was an encouraging UK debut for this Irish import and Brian Ellison is shrewd enough to place him to advantage.
PHOENIX RETURNS, REDPENDER and the well backed GUNNER LINDLEY all had their chances but were found wanting from two out.

1.55 4m Persimmon Homes Scottish Borders National Handicap Chase (111-135)

The feature race of the card and of the latter part of the year at Kelso.
ROYALE KNIGHT, a course winner in May, had lost his way a little of late, well held over hurdles at Exeter on return from a break. He clearly stays well and was always travelling within himself, stretching on from the long time leader approaching two out and in no great difficulty after that. At seven he’s the right end of the age scale and is an interesting prospect for similar events on decent ground.
The staying novice brigade is encouragingly decent in this area at the moment,the force being led here by SCOTSWELL who jumped like a veteran in front despite racing over fences for only the fourth time. He didn’t have enough to respond to the sweet travelling winner but he saw his race out to the line. He’s tough, consistent, jumps well and stays well and is another seven-year-old with a bright future in these events.
IMPERIAL VIC, another having only a fourth chase outing, ran a brave race under top weight conceding a stone plus to the first two. Racing near the pace, he was gradually left behind by the first two from three out but saw his race out in typically honest fashion. There will be staying chases to be won with him in the near future.
MORE EQUITY had a tough task here but plugged on from two out to take fourth place and was not disgraced.
ROS CASTLE found himself outpaced to four out and couldn’t get back into the race from that point.
SOUDAIN raced prominently but was beaten five out and pulled up soon after a slow jump four out. The Cambridgeshire National he won was not strong event, and it’s more a mark of his level that he was a well held third in the highland National last April. He’s now on a very harsh mark.
BISHOPS HEIR chased the leaders to four out, but faded from there and was pulled up in the straight.
ROYAL SAM went prominent with a circuit to go, but hit the fence going away from the stands and never got into the race after that and was pulled up in the latter stages.
BESCOT SPRINGS jumped indifferently and was well beaten four out before pulling up.

2.25 2m 7f 110yds John Wade Always Right Champion Chase (Handicap) (121-138)

KRUZHLININ won well here last time and stepped up on that form, winning going away having travelled well and taken up the running before the last. He was up 8lbs for his last win and that didn’t stop him, so he should justify presence in top level three mile handicaps on this evidence.
NO PLANNING is another young chaser on an upward curve. He came up alongside the leader approaching two out and soon led, but found one too good on the day. He was not disgraced and will find further opportunities at this level.
NIGHT ALLIANCE didn’t jump at all well, giving a few fences a significant belt, but had got himself on to the heels of the leaders when taking a heavy fall at the last. When his jumping hols up he will be a force in similar contests.
ROLECARR stayed on to inherit third place on the run-in, but was well held and needs softer ground.
GARLETON raced with his usual zest in front but weakened once headed two out. He needs easing significantly in the handicap, but is still capable should he be given a chance by the official handicapper.
ROSSINI’s DANCER can be truculently on occasion, was difficult at the start and never really going.
SEAN AIRGEAD jumped poorly for most of the way and finally dumped Peter Buchanan on the turf when well beaten two out.

2.55 2m 6f 110yds McMillanfineart.com and James Ewart Racing Mares’ Novices Hurdle (Class 4)

TONDAVOSA looks a decent novice mare and travelled well at or near the head of affairs. She pulled clear from two out and, though wandering about approaching the last, won with a lot in hand. She’s a very decent mare and one to keep an eye on.
DOMINETTA VITALI, placed in hurdles and chases in Ireland, stayed on for second and it’s worth her trainer seeking similar opportunities on this side of the Irish Sea.
REV UP RUBY was held up, ridden into the race two out but not good enough from there on. A fari run and there should be easier races for her.
SPRING OVER was held from two out.
THE FLAMING MATRON went well in front until before two out but was beaten from then on and will be better off in handicaps. The event she won at Cartmel was a soft one.
RATHVAWN BELLE was well beaten and disappointing even allowing for this being tougher than her last two races.

3.25 3m 3f Lazy Grace Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (66-99)

This would be one of the longest events, if not the longest, in this class for novices over the course of a season.
BRAE ON was not unbacked at 14/1 and stayed on well up the straight having been rousted along after three out. He was well on top by the finish and the extreme distance clearly suited him well.
ST GREGORY, a mare even the name doesn’t necessarily suggest it, stayed on well enough in the closing stages to take second near the line. She’s another that stepped up with the extra distance.
SNUKER is described as ‘a tractor’ by his trainer as he just keeps on going. His hurdling wasn’t as sharp as it might have been here and he was vulnerable to those able to muster a finish, headed before the last and run out of second close home. He’s been better over fences of late but his lower hurdles mark does give him a shout if his trainer can find similar events.
LADY OF VERONA had every chance and faded close home but she had the rest of the field well beaten off.