Saturday, 29 November 2014

'Saltire Festival' Meeting at Musselburgh

MUSSELBURGH – Friday November 28th

Going – Good

A low class card but, with good going prevailing after a reasonably dry spell in Scotland, decent sized fields unlike at a number of other courses of late.

12.05 3m ½f Saltire Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (64-100)

ONE FOR HOCKY is a progressive staying hurdler and that helps at a level full of regressives and non-achievers. Always travelling well, he took the lead before two out and soon put the race out of reach of his opponents. He will be up a grade now but should hold his own up in class.
BALLYREESODE stayed on for second without getting near the winner. He wasn’t disgraced on a track that doesn’t play to his strengths as well as the likes of Hexham and Newcastle.
DISCOVERIE has ability, but is hard work and could only plug on from two out. He often runs passably well but has yet to win.
WYFIELD ROSE set the pace until before two out. Still pitching for second at the last she faded on the run-in and she has yet to prove she sees out three miles.
CLONLENEY raced keenly up with the pace and was beaten three out.
FARMERS CROSS was visored for the first time, but he has been struggling of late from out of the handicap.
LEROY PARKER was a fair flat performer in Ireland (rated 74 at one time) but his jumps efforts in the UK have been generally dire. Hood and to the usual blinkers achieved nothing.

12.35 2m Dalhousie Bonnyrigg Mares’ Maiden Hurdle (Class 5)

THANKYOU VERY MUCH, a winner on the flat this year, raced prominently, took it up three out and stayed on well to hold her challengers. A step up on her Wetherby effort and there may be a mares’ novice event for her under a penalty. I suspect her trainer will be looking for decent ground.
TARA MAC stepped up on her previous effort, moving into contention up the straight but never getting to the winner. She blundered at the last, but I don’t think she would have won the race.
CATCHTHEMOONLIGHT ran creditably in third, picking off rivals up the straight but not getting to the winner. She needs riding like this, so if she’s going to win will probably be suited by a few battling for the lead and passing them late on.
STYLE SETTER got into contention in the straight but a couple of jumping blunders didn’t aid her cause and she was held form the last.
DEFINITELY GLAD disputed the lead but was under the pump three out and gradually faded.
KNOCKLAYDE SNO CAT is a lightly made filly. She wasn’t able to step up on a fair third at Ayr, making no impression up the straight.

1.10 2m 4f Donaldson Timber Engineering Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (101-120)

Irish trained BEARLY LEGAL was pressing the leader when left in front at the last. The likelihood is that he needs this decent ground so his trainer might well seek similar opportunities here in the coming months.
BORUMA raced well up with the pace, but he’s a dicey jumper and after taking a few liberties with his fences came a cropper at the last. He needed a decent leap at the last, put in a short one and clipped the top and came down. He has the speed but his jumping needs to improve.
COBAJAYISLAND raced up with the pace but was another who put in some risky leaps. He was keeping on when hampered by Boruma’s fall though recovering sufficiently to take second.
BETTER B QUICK raced keenly, though held a chance three out. He kept on after being left in third but would likely have been no better than fifth otherwise.
REAPING THE REWARD stayed on from three out. He looked to be getting just the worst of the argument when severely hampered at the last. He had to swerve violently to avoid Boruma and Craig Nichol did well to stay in the saddle, though any chance he had disappeared. Worth a try up in trip.
RYTON RUNNER never got into the race on chasing debut and his jumping didn’t convince.
THE ICE FACTOR looked very fit. He raced too keenly and he needs to pay more respect to his fences.
THINGS CHANGE was disappointing. His jumping was less than fluent and he was beaten three out.
BROKETHEGATE veered out towards the stable block at the start and did not take any serious part. He jumped four fences very stickily when tailed off before Diarmuid O’Regan pulled stumps.

1.45 2m 4f Cornhill Building Services Ltd Maiden Hurdle (Class 5)

FLY VINNIE built on a promising third here in a three mile event. This was arguably a bit short of what is likely to prove his best trip, but Danny cook set out to make the best of his stamina. He responded well when challenged and held on gamely from a determined challenger. Bearing in mind a promising rules debut it was hard to see why he started at 25/1. He’s a nice sort who will make up into a chaser sooner rather than later.
RED SPINNER put up a creditable effort in second on hurdling debut. Pressing the winner from three out, he lacked nothing in effort and was clear of a fair performer in third. A visit to the winner’s spot looks very likely in the near future.
TRADEWINDS was tapped for speed from three out. He has been beaten by a succession of decent hurdlers and his day will come.
MERCHANT OF DUBAI, second to a progressive type in handicap last time, probably ran to his 115 mark here. He had work to do at the weights with the third and the first two are likely to be at least high 120s performers.
THE COBBLER SWAYNE disputed second four out but faded form the final bend and nothing lese was in the contest over the last three hurdles.

2.25 2m BAM Construction St Andrew’s Day Handicap Chase (87-115)

UN ANJOU raced close up, led four out and looked a likely clear winner at the last. He was idling on the flat and almost caused close home by a rallying second but had enough in hand to hold on. His early career in France was spent running in deep ground, but he looks a better animal on decent ground.
CHESTNUT BEN ran without his declared tongue-tie after problem with the equipment in the preliminaries. He was outpaced early in the straight but rallied and was staying on when making a mistake at the last. He finished with a rattle, just too late to pass the winner.
WOT A SHOT, who has had plenty of chances over jumps to date, could never quite get to grips with the leaders down the straight despite keeping on to the finish.
WHY BUT WHY had every chance four out and wasn’t far away at the last, but the tank was empty and he faded on the run-in. He needs the ground and stays only the minimum trip.
TWEEDO PARADISO was made joint favourite though I don’t have an earthly as to why that was. He unseated here on his last run and never got seriously involved in the contest on this his second outing over fences.
SADDLERS DEAL was beaten from three out.
REGAL D’ESTRUVAL has been well beaten in most of his chasing efforts. He led until five out but dropped away once turned for home.
BALLYCOOL and YOURHOLIDAYISOVER both jumped stratchily in rear and never got in a blow.

2.55 2m Be One Step Ahead Handicap Hurdle (66-99)

ENDEAVOR showed admirable resolution to take this. It was a contest where many had questions marks but the winner has been giving his running consistently of late and battled well to hold two serious challengers. He has 12 wins form 77 efforts which is creditable from one operating at this level.
CLAUDE CARTER wasn’t disgraced on follow up to his win here. He stayed on and was closing at the line.
DALSTONTOSILOTH looked to be going best of any approaching three out but didn’t find enough when asked. His jockey wasn’t very complimentary about this one’s attitude afterwards and you get the feeling he has more ability than he cares to let on. Not one to risk the mortgage money on.
PEGASUS WALK stayed on when the contest was over, but performed adequately on handicap debut.
VAN MILDERT was thereabouts for much of the way before fading from two out. Not a bad effort from out of the handicap but he will need a very weak race if he is to score.

3.25 2m Belmont Wallyford Maiden Open NH Flat (Class 6)

A few here that might make up into jumpers in time.

IM TOO GENEROUS built on a promising second to take this very comfortably. They went no pace early on and Stuart Crawford’s charge came clear under Crawford frere Steven once asked for an effort. He was second in a Bartlemy maiden point, and the other one from that contest to have come out under Rules won at Chepstow (and the second there has won since), so he’s likely to have a future over obstacles.
There is definitely a bit to work on with LEADING SCORE who battled on for second. He will step up on this in time.
CHAIN OF BEACONS looks a chasing type, so a staying on third place augurs well for the future. This was a satisfactory debut for Sandy Thomson.
MASIRANN didn’t look suited by the four furlong sprint that this turned into. He was under the pump much of the way up the straight, but did stick to his job and was never completely seen off.
ATTENTION PLEASE was well beaten back in last but I wouldn’t worry too much at this stage. He looks a jumping type who should develop with time and was rather green in the preliminaries. He’s a half-brother to a decent sort in Court In Session.

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Musselburgh Jumps Opener

MUSSELBURGH – Thursday November 6th

Going – Good

A damp and chilly day to pen the jumps season at Musselburgh, but the course avoided the worst of the wet weather that hit Scotland. The resulting ground was described by jockeys asked as ‘perfect’.

1:00 2m 100% Racing UK Profits Return to Racing Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle (93-108)

A low key start to the season here, six Class 4 events, and the opener saw a bunch of largely exposed performers take each other on in a ‘whose turn is today?’ handicap hurdle.

CLAUDE CARTER is capable on his day, but I’m sure even his trainer can’t be sure when that day is going to be. He took up the running on the final bend and saw off all-comers up the straight. He’s by no means guaranteed to produce a similar effort next time and is now 4 from 52.
AMILLIONTIMES has been consistent for his Aberdeenshire trainer over the summer and put in another sound effort, always prominent and chipping away at the winner from two if unable to wear him down. He goes well on good ground and is most likely to be seen here again if the ground remains decent.
ENDEAVOR isn’t running badly at the moment and stayed on from two out for third place. He has fair wins to starts record, but can be difficult to catch just right.
SEPARATE SHADOWS was nicely fit after a break, came there with a chance three out but couldn’t make an impact from thereon. No real excuses as far as I could see, he just wasn’t good enough on the day.
URBAN KODE was up with the pace but faded from three out. The race will have done him no harm.
Three-year-old ISTIMRAAR was comfortably held from two out, but may well benefit from the handicapping debut against more seasoned opponents.
BEIDH TINE ANSEO disappointed, as did the veteran DHAULAR DHAR, consistent on the flat of late but perhaps not over enamoured with hurdling in the damp and chill.

Son of the winning trainer, Ewan Whillans has retired as a jockey and now taken to assisting his father with training. Don’t be surprised if the license passed to son in the near future.

1:30 2m Bespoke Event Management Novices’ Hurdle (Class 4)

The principals here all seemed fit enough to do themselves justice.

Coming into this race with the best Official Rating, ROSERROW made all and was comfortably in command up the straight. He took time to click over hurdles but is now going the right way.
RIDE THE RANGE followed up a win at Hexham over an extra four furlongs by staying on late take second place. This would be more than sharpish for him and a stiffer test would suit better. On the face of it a decent effort and it would be reasonable to expect a win under a penalty given the right circumstances.
NARCISSIST had every chance here and simply wasn’t good enough at the sharp end. I’m just wary of his commitment at the business end.
CRINKLE CRAG was held up and never got to grips with the leaders. He’s probably of stepping up on this.
WHY BUT WHY has plenty of jumping experience and won over fences in Ireland. He’s a two miler and it’s likely to be in handicap chases where he will show up best.

2:00 2m 4f Racing UK Available Anywhere Now Novices’ Handicap Chase (87-105)

An eventful race in which only one finished recording the first ‘finished alone’ that I can recall watching in over 40 years of watching live racing.

SHINE A DIAMOND had to survive a number of dicey jumps, including practically walking through the twelfth, before being left on his own three out. Even then he was getting the worst of the issue at that point. He doesn’t look reliable material against competent fencers at this point. All credit to the capable Graham Watters for a great ‘sit’ at fence 12.
BORUMA hadn’t been anywhere near foot perfect and along with the winner had to skip round a faller and an errant loose horse on the way round. There’s probably a chase in this one with experience and, at four-years-old, one would hope he will learn.
THE BACKUP PLAN had put in the odd sketchy jump before coming down at the eighth. I watched from side on to this fence and Jason Maguire was optimistic asking a novice to pick a stride. The writing was on the wall two strides out, two became three and the partnership slithered to the ground landing side. Maguire held on to the reins to make sure The Backup Plan didn’t go hurtling off and no damage done to either party. This one will win a chase in time.
TWEEDO PARADISO thumped the fourth and decanted Wilson Renwick, subsequently making a pest of himself to the two remaining runners down the far side for a second time.

2:30 3m ½f Bet With Your Racing UK App Handicap Hurdle (64-105)

ONE FOR HOCKY, a keen sort who was equipped with a hood in the paddock, has proven consistent and showed determination to get his head in front close home. I’m not sure he’s the easiest ride but Brian Hughes was on the money here, producing his mount on the spot. He saw out the trip well enough and there should be plenty of options even if he is moved up above the 100 level in the ratings.
DUN TO PERFECTION is a fair stayer at this level and led most of the way, kicking on with a circuit to go and only worn down close home. He rallied well and is one to keep on the right side in these lowly stamina tests.
ANOTHER DIMENSION chased the leader three out but weakened in the closing stages. A fair effort and he may find them getting away from him a bit around this quick circuit.
DRUMLISTER and FIGHT AWAY BOYS were held from three out, though the latter is less exposed and may do better in time over this sort of trip.

3:00 2m 4f Watch Racing UK Anywhere Handicap Hurdle (100-120)

Not a bad handicap hurdle for the level and won by a progressive type that may well step up in class.

NEXIUS finished last season in good form and picked up where he left off. Brought seriously into the race from three out, he asserted in the last half furlong as a pair pulled clear. This might prove a better effort than the winning distance suggests and he looks one to keep on the right side. There are some decently prized handicap hurdles he could be aimed at here in the coming months.
MERCHANT OF DUBAI is lightly raced over hurdles and arguably put up a personal best in finishing a close second. His sustained effort made a progressive opponent pull out all the stops from the last. He may run into the winner again, but I would imagine Jim Goldie will eye up similar opportunities here.
MO ROUGE has done sterling work alongside stable companion AMilliontimes this year, and ran another admirable race in finishing third. He was tapped for pace from before the last, but the slow early tempo wouldn’t have helped and he was not disgraced. He needs good ground so, like his stablemate, will likely be aimed here if kept on the go over the winter. Thumbs up to Inverurie based trainer Jackie Stephen who has done a fine job from her base two and half hours drive north of her nearest track.
TOTAL ASSETS set the pace and to his credit didn’t give up the ghost once passed. He summoned up sufficient stamina to keep on for fourth place. He probably needs a slightly stiffer test than this.
GURKHA BRAVE chased in vain from three out, while BOGSIDE was on the tails of the leaders early in the straight before giving way after two out.

3:30 3m Download RacingUK App Handicap Chase (75-105)

Unusual to finish with a staying chase, but the light is plenty good enough at half three on an afternoon in November.
The jumping was good deal better here than in the novice event earlier.

SHADY SADIE broke her maiden tag in convincing style, jumping soundly and going clear after leading two out. She needs decent ground and stays well.
FOOT THE BILL was on and off the bridle but put in some good work under pressure in the latter stages. He’s another unlikely to appear on ground too much softer than this and is regularly thereabouts in similar company.
LADY OF VERONA raced close up and stuck to her game under pressure up the straight before fading on the run-in.
The three were clear of GENEROUS CHIEF who remains a maiden and was held from two out.
ARMEDANDBEAUTIFUL travelled from Inkberrow in Worcestershire and was well fancied here. However, her jumping was sloppy and she was beaten before the final bend.
WINTER ALCHEMY won a selling handicap chase at Kelso in May, but generally finds a few too good in anything bar the weakest company. He set the pace for much of the way but gave way from three out.

MUSSELBURGH – Friday November 7th

The ground softened a shade overnight to Good to Soft, though the weather was much brighter at race time. I couldn’t make it for this card but there were some pointers worth noting.

The staying maiden hurdle was light on numbers, but the three finishers are well worth keeping in the notebook.  MASTER DEE was hammered by a distinctly useful animal in Maximizer at Carlise, but stayed on well to land the spoils here. He’s not run a bad race to date and his trainer should be able to place him successfully in future.
TOMMY O’DWYER ran well to take second on hurdles debut and wouldn’t be hindered by a stiffer track.
FLY VINNIE, nibbled at fancy odds in the market,  found the first two a bit too good, but wasn’t disgraced in third place and Sandy Thomson should be able to find a little staying contest for him near to home. He may have a fair purchase on his hands at £6,700.

The novices’ handicap chase was no more convincing for the future than the previous day’s effort. REAPING THE REWARD looked the likely winner until walking through five out and unseating. Left in front, WALTZ DARLING didn’t look overkeen when unaccompanied and odds-on favourite WELSH BARD didn’t look convincing at any point.

The two feature handicap hurdles had really decent prize money. FIRST FANDANGO, returning to hurdling, just held off CAPELLANUS in the three miler, the pair well clear of FULL JACK who has struggled off high marks since coming over from France.

In the two miler SMART RULER just held off in-form MASON HINDMARSH. However, the one I noted from this was YORKIST who wasn’t given an over-hard time once held and would relish softer ground (4 from 8 on soft or heavy). He has run well enough off his elevated mark to suggest he can pick up a stamina test in the mud.

BAILEYS CONCERTO continues in rattling good form for Dianne Sayer and ran up a seventh success in 8 attempts. He showed too much resolution close home for ROBBIE, though the latter was by no means disgraced. If we don’t get too much rain then there’s a decent two and a half mile chase here on New Year’s Day which might be a target.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Ayr - First November Meeting

AYR – Saturday November 1st

Going – Good to Soft, Soft in places

Ayr welcomed in November with a card which served the role of ‘under-card’ to some decent racing at Ascot and Wetherby as the National Hunt season kicks into gear. Nevertheless there are a few pointers going forward, including an encouraging run from Outlaw Tom.

1.05 2m - John Smith’s Mares’ Maiden Hurdle (Class 5)

Not an inspiring event to commence the programme.

ARDNAHOE showed promise in bumpers and started nicely over hurdles here. Travelling prominently, she led two out and was driven out to score.  Only a four-year-old, she should be able to build on this.
BOBS LADY TAMURE has had more experience than the others here and sets the mark with her 95 rating. She had every chance two out but found the winner too good in the latter stages. She’s nothing special but does see her races out and should find a little handicap or weak mares’ maiden hurdle somewhere along the line.
KNOCKLAYDE SNO CAT had every chance down the straight and wasn’t good enough from before the last.
JENNY’S MELODY struggled to go the pace two out but picked up late on under a vigorous ride from Paul Moloney. The jockey reported his mount as still raw and likely to come on for the experience.
LUCKY BUTTONS had her chance and could only find one pace from before the last.
THIS THYNE JUDE is a strongly built chasing sort who has needed time. She’s still a bit keen but should make her mark at a lowly level in time.

1.40 2m 4½f Lomond Plant Handicap Chase (97-115)

There seems to have been a re-arrangement of starting positions as there used to be 2m 4f and 2m 5f starts here but this one between the two gave a shortish run to the first.

Five out of six of these had a tongue-tie which suggests a lot of breathing difficulties in the past. REDPENDER sported the mouth apparatus for the first time, and it appeared to bring about some improvement. Chased the clear leader for some way, he was outpaced a mile out but picked up in the latter stages to win a shade cosily. Whether he can progress from this is a moot point.
CARLOS FANDANGO didn’t convince with his jumping but kept on for second place. He looked very fit for this and would need to brush up his fencing to achieve more.
HARRYS WHIM set off in front as is her way. She plugged on after being headed three out but probably raced too freely early on.
SUBLIME TALENT was always towards the rear and never got seriously involved, and BALLYCOOL was another never seen with a serious chance. He’s capable of better and his winning form is around two miles.
RED TANBER looked a shadow of his 2011/12 self returning after a season off.  After hitting the ninth hard he soon lost touch and was pulled before four out.

2.15 3m ½f Plumbstone Handicap Hurdle (95-115)

Not the strongest event of its type, and one that turned into a penalty kick for the in-form TOP BILLING. Nicky Richards charge comfortably slotted it ‘into the corner of the net’ asserting from three out and clear at the last. He’s gone up 23lbs this autumn and continues on an upward curve, though will probably be forced into more competitive contests now.
QUEL ELITE has often threatened to be a bit better than he has actually produced. Held up here, he stayed on up the straight without threatening the winner. He often runs passably but is 1 from 20 over hurdles.
WELLFORTH set the pace or disputed until headed by the winner three out and was passed by the second at the last hurdle. He essentially a staying chaser, his last run was when falling in the Haydock Grand National Trial, so new connections will presumably be happy with this effort.
ISAACSTOWN LAD hasn’t made too much of a mark under Rules to date and never got close enough to get in a blow here.
BESCOT SPRINGS was held from three out and below par.
MAKHZOON raced prominently early but lost his place down the far side for the final time and nick alexander reported him as having knocked a leg. He was dismounted but reported as fine the next morning.

2.50 3m 1f John Smith’s Handicap Chase (107-109)

I had to watch the replay of this one to get a reasonable idea of how things panned out. When I have an ownership interest then I only have eyes for one horse though Outlaw Tom really pleased us with his effort here.

The winner PRESENTING JUNIOR is a progressive seven-year-old who has moved from a rating of 74 up to the 108 he ran off here. Second to Always Right on Monday, he came here looking fresh and well. Tracking the pace set by Outlaw Tom he quickened between the last two and had the race won from there, staying no strongly to the line. Much depends on how the handicapper measures this form, but Martin Todhunter and connections have a cracking improving stayer on their hands, surely capable of winning again.
OUTLAW TOM set the pace, Peter Buchanan’s intention being to try to burn the finish out of the winner. It’s a balancing act which didn’t come off but the gelding jumped well enough in the main and saw his race out strongly to the line and had the other two well beaten. He pecked a bit at the fourth last and didn’t meet the third last quite last, but on balance he was beaten by a better animal on the day. All systems go now for the 4 mile Northumberland County Chase at Hexham on November 19th.
Given that my record as ‘owner on course’ is abysmal, I reckon I can be excused for being first into the unsaddling enclosure and making the most of the placing! My best placing when presen on course had been a sixth, and bear in mind that I started with a tailed off in a six furlong seller at Windsor! It could only get better from that point.
STRIKE FAST is lightly raced under Rules though did win a point. He was beaten once Outlaw Tom upped the pace from four out, but has shown a glimmer of ability and there is probably hope for this one.
BERTIE MILAN looked in need of this race, confirmed in Nick Alexander’s blog, and couldn’t go the pace from four out. He thumped three out and Kit Alexander did well to sit tight, needing most of the run to two out to organise his feet in the irons. This one is best with more cut and essentially an out and out stayer that we might run into again this season.

3.25 2m ½f  John Smith’s No Nonsense Handicap Chase (108-135)

Two mile races normally start in the chute before the third last, but this was half a furlong longer and started at the exit to the back straight.
I missed the preliminaries due to pre-occupation with the previous race.

Welsh challenger DEFINITE DREAM prevailed in a close fought contest that saw four in with a chance at the last. He ran on well to land the race, coming off the back of a 172-day layoff. Not over-raced for a seven-year-old this one is going the right way and there looks to be more to come. He seems to run best when fresh.
TOO COOL TO FOOL saves his best for Ayr. He led from four out until the last and kept on well enough to the line. He’s versatile as far as distance is concerned and has kept his form very well at the age of 11.
AUTHINGER came to Barry Murtagh from Ireland having started his racing career in France. He was found wanting from the last but not totally disgraced. On balance of form he needs further than this.
MASTER OF THE GAME was well there until the last but found no more on the run-in. A decent enough effort suggesting that James Ewart can have a pot at the better 2m to 2m 4f chases in the North.
KUMBESHWAR didn’t jump fluently and was behind from three out. His trainer feels his lost his confidence over fences and she states that will take time with him at home.

4.00 2m John Smith’s Extra Smooth Handicap Hurdle (110-133)

Class told in this decent little handicap hurdle, with top weight FISHER wearing down the long-time leader to take it up on the run-in.  He’s three from 7 over hurdles and likely to remain on a workable mark after a three-length victory.
CIRCUS STAR set off at a fair lick and was soon 25 lengths clear. I did wonder if John Dixon had misjudged things, but to the amateur pilot’s credit his mount was only caught at the last and only gave way after dogged resistance. A very good effort and connections have done well to channel tearaway tendencies in the right direction.
VOYAGE A NEW YORK chased the leader from three out but was held approaching the last. He will turn into a chaser eventually but his trainer is likely to resist the temptation to go over the big obstacles until next season. In the meantime he is likely to be upped in trip which should help over hurdles.
LORD WISHES ran creditably enough on his return to the track following a lay-off since April 2013. Once the rust is knocked off he has plenty enough talent to win decent handicap hurdles.
The tactics have been changed with CAPTAIN BROWN, hold up being the order of the day now, but I feel he’s better setting or up with the pace.
COOL BARANCA looked a bit dull in her coat and this might just have been one race too much. She never got involved seriously.

4.30 1m 6f Newcomers NH Flat Race (Class 6)

The rain swept in from the Irish Sea before this event, causing many to depart the course. Anyone who knows my racing preferences will be well aware that these events are the ones I wait for. I’ve been tweeting some lousy paddock picks recently, but I kept my powder dry until the last here and came up with the winner.

ANOTHER BILL was a typical Nicky Richards ‘bumper job’, hard fit, relaxed in the paddock and schooled to do his job. He stood out in the paddock and was a no-brainer selection. He travelled smoothly into contention early in the straight and sprinted clear once the button was pressed. He’s a half-brother to Dark Glacier so will likely progress when going over obstacles.
VERONA OPERA is half-sister to flat, hurdles and chase winner Eye Candy. She challenged two out but was held by the winner once he increased the pace. Clear of the remainder she was unlucky to run into such a sharp sort.
VERNI is a decent looking gelding who has plenty of decent jumping blood on his dam’s side. Green in the preliminaries, as were a few here, he was outpaced in the final two furlongs but did enough to suggest he can make a mark in time.
MASTER MOON, another green in the paddock, is a half-brother to a seven furlong winner. He was left behind from two out. His dam was a 10-furlong flat winner rated 78 so two mile hurdles probably wouldn’t be stretching his stamina too much.
Greenest of the lot in the paddock, and starting the others off, CA LE FERRA led from a mile out but gave way over two furlongs out. He’s a half-brother to multiple pointing/Rules winner Saveiro and also to hurdles winner Plus Jamais. One to keep an eye on.
COOKING FAT raced prominently for a long way. Her dam stayed well and was multiple winner over hurdles and on the flat. Rather lumbered with his racing name, but showed enough to suggest that a serious racehorse may surface in time.
DIMPLE is a strong looking jumping sort but was seriously wayward here. Refusing to corner turning for home he careered through the rails, dislodged his jockey and, by means unseen, ended up running up and down the car park to the left of the stands. Your correspondent, looking to make a sharp exit, was rather alarmed to see Dimple cantering across in front of him. Thankfully after some scares the gelding was caught and seemed none the worse. Looks like equine psychologist territory though!