Thursday, 23 October 2014

Carlisle - October 23

CARLISLE – Thursday October 23th

Going - Soft , good To Soft in places, but hurdles course (using the flat course) looked significantly more testing than the chase course which I suspect was no worse than Good To Soft.

MAXIMISER was an impressive winner of the opening 2m 4f hurdle. He jumped well, took it up four out and wasn’t in any trouble at all up the hill. The second Master Dee had some fair novice form and would be expected to make a mark. Conditions appeared testing on the hurdles course but the winner, successful in an Irish point last December, is a very interesting prospect for Simon West.
In the same contest MISTER BISHOP led until Maximiser took over and once held by the first two he was allowed to come home in his own time in a clear third place. A winning chaser in Ireland, he had not been out since a fall at Kilbeggan in July 2010, so this race proved that he retains ability and this contest will surely have knocked off some of the cobwebs that must have accumulated.

MONTOYA’S SON has revived after a spell in the doldrums during his time in Ireland. A convincing win here a Class 4 Handicap Chase over 2m 4f, grinding away up the hill and coming clear on the flat. He won under a 7lb penalty here, and will go up significantly, but he has signalled his wellbeing.
THE MAGIC BISHOP isn’t the easiest to catch right, but stayed on from three out without ever threatening the winner. He could get in the mix at this level over a longer trip if repeating this effort.

A competitive two mile and a furlong Intermediate Handicap Hurdle in which CAPTAIN CLAYTON stayed on well up the hill to win going away, recording a double on the day for Simon West. BACK TO BRACKA was just run out of it in the final furlong.
The one to note here is JUST CAMERON. Nearly put out of the race at first when two came down, Henry Brooke performing like an acrobat to stay on board, he got into contention up the final hill and still held every chance going to the last. His exertions told at this point and he lost third on the line, but is worth keeping in mind for a success soon.
UEUETEOTL raced prominently for a long while, lost his position on the bottom turn and then stayed on again late to snatch third. This pattern is not untypical of James Ewart runners and he looks forward enough to make a mark at this level before long.

The staying handicap chase (3m 2f Class 3) was won by the well exposed INCENTIVISE. He had trip and ground to suit here but will go up again for the win and things won’t get easier for this gelding who is 11 years old.
WHAT’S UP WOODY made a cracking debut for his new stable, making most of the running if not able to resist the challenge of the winner on the run-in. He jumped well and saw his race out to the line and connections will have plenty of options off his current mark of 114. His staying ability was the question but he no trouble seeing out 3m 2f.
SHOULDAVBOUGHTGOLD looked to be going best between the last two but didn’t produce enough on the flat. He looks difficult to win with and will need putting in front close home. He is probably one to oppose when placed at the sharp end of the market.
OIL BURNER ran a cracker at a class which is at least one notch above his comfort zone. He was run out of it from the last but saw his race out. He’s best with a stiff stamina test.
LIVELY BARON has gone well when fresh but bottomed out three out.

CULTRAM ABBEY was least exposed in the 2m 4f handicap hurdle and had shown a little promise. He stayed on well up the hill and won comfortably while being kept up to his work. ALL THAT REMIANS ran up to his mark in second place, holding the remainder but no chance with the winner.
LANGLEY HOUSE ran a fair enough race in third and possibly has a little bit more scope going forward than some. His win was in a Class 5 event and that is probably ideally where he needs to be.
I understand that BENEFIT IN KIND had been giving encouragement at home, and was going well when falling over fences at Hexham, but he gave way rather tamely from four out. He may want better ground than the ‘Carlisle soft’ he encountered here.

Some Carlisle novices’ events can be very decent, particularly at this time of year and the Beginners Chase over the minimum trip looked a decent signpost.
 The five here can all be taken forward as future winners.
DUKE OF NAVAN is best at short distances and his speed made the difference in the closing stages against a staying type. He jumped well enough and has a turn of pace. His trainer believes he is best on good ground, so he may be carefully placed.
URBAN HYMN is a stayer, so did well to push Duke Of Navan in a duel to the line. He looks like a chaser, a really strong type, and will step up on this once covering a decent distance of ground. He jumped very well and all-in-all this was a very encouraging chase debut by this Grade 2 hurdles winner.
MORNING ROYALTY went with the first two but found the class of the first two a bit too much from that point. A fine effort in third though and there will be plenty of easier opportunities.
HIT THE TOP had a tough task on hurdles ratings and was well held from two out. He jumped well enough though and can build on this effort.
UBALTIQUE needs holding up and couldn’t match the pace of the rest from three out. The ground on the chase course (seemed no worse than good to soft) may just have been a bit quicker than ideal since all his wins have come on soft or heavy.

BECAUSESHESAIDSO bagged the bumper in a sustained duel with COURT DISMISSED. The pair were well clear of NORTH COUNTRY BOY who ran well for a long way before giving way inside the final two furlongs. The latter should build upon this.
SOLWAY PRINCE had the best form of those that had run prior to this. Helping to share the pace he could only find one pace in the final three furlongs, but Lisa Harrison has something to work with and should place him to win races in time.
GOLD OPERA looked to be struggling at the bottom of the hill but stayed on until flattening a little in the final furlong. An encouraging effort from one who can progress with time.
RESOLUTE REFORMER was not disgraced on Rules debut back in sixth. Stuart Coltherd has some raw material to work with.


I noted a couple from the novices’ hurdle at the Southwell meeting.
KALANE showed the field a clean pair of heels in the closing stages and looks a decent recruit to the mares’ division of the novice ranks. Her dam is a sister to Kicking King, so there’s certainly ability in the family.
McCABE CREEK was given a quiet ride by Wayne Hutchinson, but was working his way into the race when coming down three out. A first four place was certainly in the offing and there is likely to be significantly better performances from this one in the coming months.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Kelso mid-October meeting

KELSO – Saturday October 18th

Going – Good (Good To Soft in places)

A bit blowy but sunny and mild at Kelso, with the going decent and much better than that prevalent at Ascot’s big flat meeting.

1.40 2m ½f Isle Of Skye Whisky NH Maiden Hurdle - Division One (Class 4)

A weak contest in which only two ever threatened to take a serious hand.
SPICULAS raced prominently, took it up three out and was pretty much in charge from that point. He built on a decent effort at Hexham and can go on to better things in time.
ANOTHER MATTIE ran a succession of decent races last season without getting his had in front. Plenty fit enough on debut, he once again found one too good having set the early pace. He looks honest enough and should win a similar contest.
Stablemate of the second ALWAYS TIPSY kept on encouragingly from two out, improving on his bumper form.
Big purchase a couple of seasons back PRESENT LODGER has had his problems, wearing a tongue-tie now, but ran well enough in fourth to suggest he isn’t a lost cause.
The likes of COOL ME DOWN, TURTLE CASK and WARRIOR’S TALE are all chasing types who would have found things happy too fast in this contest.

2.10 2m 7½f Clifford and Martin Firth Novices’ Chase (Class 4)

These events are not well supported these days, the worry of getting close to something highly rated presumably being the off-putter.
I NEED GOLD, rated 135, put in an excellent round of jumping and had the race won by two out.
STRAIDNAHANNA is a fine big chasing type but did not jump at all fluently, so it says something that he stayed in contention until the straight. If he tidies up his jumping I would expect him to at least match the winner and more in time.
HARRYS WHIM ran to her best though well held in third.
Point winner MISSION BEACH’s jumping was lousy early on and he simply wasn’t good enough to keep up on the last circuit. He is now qualified for handicaps and low grade in that sphere will be his target.

2,45 2m ½f Isle Of Skye Whisky NH Maiden Hurdle – Division Two (Class 4)

A much better event than the first heat.
SELDOM INN, a bumper winner at Newcastle last term, won this impressively. He cruised into contention two out and left his rivals standing on the flat. I would expect him to improve for a step up in distance.
DEFINITELY GLAD is the fly in the ointment of this form as she is only rated 97. To my eye she ran above that level here, leading for much of the way and comfortably holding the remainder.
CARRIGEEN LANTANA was held up, briefly threatened to get involved but couldn’t get to the first two.
AZURE GLAMOUR has every chance but wasn’t good enough from two out.
SPECIAL WELLS is a big chasing type that will improve with time. Worth noting as long term project.
BENNYLICIOUS challenged on the final bend having chased the leader but was probably getting the worst of the argument when unseating two out. He created a decent enough impression on debut, particularly given that he looked to need the race and will likely go on to better things.

3.20 EDF-ER Barmoor Handicap Chase (114-138)

A competitive looking event won very comfortably by CARLITO BRIGANTE who is a bit better than this level than when at his best. He’s best on good or quick ground and stayed on very well to leave some fair staying handicappers in his wake. He will go up significantly for this win which will necessitate aiming at high level three mile handicaps.
GLEANN NA NDOCHAIS recorded a career best effort in second. I was told by another racegoer, watching down the far side, that his jockey had to take a pull six out. Held by a better animal, he saw out his race well and this augurs well going forward. He used to be hit-or-miss, but ‘hit’ is starting to dominate.
NEPTUNE EQUESTER stays all day and was pickling off horses in the closing stages. He often makes it seem hard work, but seems in good heart.
BEEVES was held form two out. He’s a moody character and doesn’t especially well treated at this point in time.
FILL THE POWER looked plenty fit enough but was beaten four out.      
Having been used to IMPERIAL VIC being turned out looking very fit by previous trainer Michael Smith, it was quite a surprise to see him clearly well short of peak fitness in the paddock. Harriet Bethell clearly has different ideas on preparing this one, new tactics being tried here as he was held up and it was no surprise to see him labouring four out and he was well beaten. Favourite backers were clearly unaware that this one needed the race and I’d want to have a good look at him in the parade ring in future races.

3.55 2m ½f Carnacrack Handicap Hurdle (97-117)
Apparently refreshed after a season away from hurdling, MASON HINDMARSH built on a promising second here last time. He led, pulled away from two out and won very comfortably. He will be bumped up significantly for this but is clearly in good nick.
AMILLIONTIMES has been doing his small yard proud recently and ran a decent race in second, keeping on to the line if never threatening the winner.
BEIDH TINE ANSEO ran an encouraging race after a 510 day lay-off. He progressed to chase the leader three out but couldn’t make any further impression. This was encouraging and he is well handicapped on his best efforts.
DYNAMIC DRIVE has been kept on the go and kept on into fourth without seriously threatening.

4.35 2m 6½f RP Adam Ltd Novices’ Hurdle (Class 4)

Jackie Stephen has been doing a fine job from her Inverurie stable, a location which involves a trip of around two and a half hours to get to her nearest course at Perth and another two hours on for Kelso. Amilliontimes and MO ROUGE have done the stable proud this season, the latter coming from quite a way back two out but, despite being severely hindered by One for Arthur t the last, staying on well to take this contest. I felt on first seeing Mo Rouge that he had the make of a chaser, and I strongly suspect he is capable of stepping up on hurdle form once tackling the bigger obstacles. He was flying at the finish and gave the impression he can step up over three miles.
DONNA’S DIAMOND looked the likely from three out, but was tired on the run-in, wandered toward the stands’ rail and have nothing left to give. A decent effort on hurdles debut against a previous winner and he should have no trouble winning a hurdle or two.
ONE FOR ARTHUR is a chasing type, but should pick up a hurdle in the meantime. He challenged from two out but looked tired at the last, wandering Across Mo Rouge, and there was no more left. Some of Lucinda Russell’s runners have seemed a run off their best and he should be all the better for this outing.
ISLA PEARL FISHER probably ran up to his best hurdles form, in contention two out but tapped for speed from there. This pipe opener will help for a chasing campaign.
Under a penalty WICKED SPICE was held from two out.
JACKOFHEARTS was held up, made an effort two out but couldn’t get on terms. He was tired when falling heavily at the last and, with hindsight, maybe should have been pulled up. He was down for a long time and things didn’t look good, but trainer’s daughter Amy McGregor tweeted that he was up and jig-jogging later.
The McGregor’s SNOOZE N YOU LOSE led to the fifth but either downed tools or ran out of puff. There’s no evidence to date that this one is a racehorse and perhaps he should be doing something else.

5.10 2m 1f 82-104 Sire Maxwell Harper Gow Memorial Handicap Chase (82-104)

The best finish of the afternoon with the more exposed SOME LAD just holding off a moderately progressive sort in WAKHAN in a nodding finish. The former has run some good races around here. Wakhan is younger and still a maiden but lacked nothing in commitment at the sharp end.
OORAYVIC went nicely in front, kicked on four out and responded well when challenged though eventually giving best on the flat. On this evidence he is likely to prove better over fences than he was a hurdler.
OSCAR LATEEN showed promise on chasing debut, stepping up markedly on his hurdles efforts. He was outpaced on the run to two out but stuck to his job up the hill.
ROC DE PRINCE raced prominently early but was feeling the pinch when a bad mistake at the seventh ended any chance he may still have held.
YOURHOLIDAYISOVER was well revved up in the preliminaries, not for the first time. He raced keenly before unseating at the third.

5.40 2m 6½f James and Suzanne Gray Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (72-98)

A moderate race won in decent style by ANOTHER DIMENSION who has a fair record of 3 from 18, 2 from 2 at this course and distance. He has rated much higher and could shrug off a weight rise, though he wouldn’t want the ground too soft.
KARINGO is lightly raced but his two efforts here suggest Kelso suits. He was held up and never got to the winner though staying on up the hill to record a best effort to date.
NORTHERN ACRES, who kept on from mid division for third place, is capable on his day at this level though throws in quite a few moderate runs. Much the same comment goes for KING’S CHORISTER who had his chance two out but was held from that point.
FOOT THE BILL was in contention when unseating at the eighth though had six furlongs still to cover.
BALLYREESODE went up 18lbs for his Hexham win and that was plenty enough to stop him on this occasion.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Simply Ned stars at Kelso First October Meeting

KELSO – Sunday October 5th

Going – Soft (Good To Soft in places) drying to Good To Soft

Kelso’s season kicked into gear in front of a healthy 3,600 attendance. The rain on Friday into Saturday caused a significant number of non-runners but the racing was competitive with a few pointers going forward.

The opening two mile handicap hurdle was won by in-form SLEEP IN FIRST who stayed on well having led all the way, and thus recording a hat-trick.
Returning to jumping after a spell flat racing, MASON HINDMARSH ran an encouraging second place, though some in behind didn’t run their race.
Enigmatic ENDEAVOR came there with every chance two out but gave the impression that he held a little back.
The Lucinda Russell pair of Rhymers Ha’ and Pulpitarian were disappointing and their form has not given enough encouragement in recent runs.
MOST HONOURABLE was plenty fit enough after a break but faded disappointingly before two out.

MR GALLIVANTER made a procession of the four runner juvenile hurdle, coming clear with any amount in hand. Even at this stage he looks a talented recruit in this category. The second Al Musheer couldn’t match the winner and his handicap mark of 108 could prove harsh.
Cape Arrow jumped round neatly enough in his own time and might make up into a handicap hurdler at a modest level in time.

Two finished in the staying novices’ handicap chase (2m 7½f – horses rated 83-103). BIG SOUND set the pace and stayed on determinedly when challenged to win in decent style. He’s consistent, determined and stays well.
WAKHAN wasn’t good enough but has encouraged on both runs for Sue smith and she should coax a basement handicap chase out of this one.
DOTTIES DILEMA had every chance when belting three out. He stopped pretty quickly after that and I suspect he was winded or otherwise hurt himself a bit in that incident. Capable at this level if he gets his jumping up to scratch.
VENITZIA looked to need the race after a long lay-off. He lost touch on the last circuit and was well behind when pulled up two out, but this race will have been of great benefit. The fact that he has been persevered with after a 925 days break suggests his stable have faith in his ability.

The 2m 6½f Intermediate Hurdle has thrown up decent sorts in the past. On this occasion LANDECKER was held up by Lucy Alexander produced approaching the last to take the prize. The winner is not entirely straight forward but he seems to get better the farther he goes. I believe he may rate into the 140s in time and I wonder if he might be one for the Alexanders to take to Cheltenham?
GOLD CHAIN has been running well over the summer and performed up his best in taking second place.
SPIRIT OSCAR is quite highly regarded but was allowed to go off at a fair lick by Derek Fox. In retrospect he probably used up too much energy and was found wanting from before the last. Better to come if ridden with a little more restraint.

SIMPLY NED has been one of my favourites in recent seasons and was impressive off 157 in winning the feature 2m 1f handicap chase, looking at absolute picture. Second in the Grade 1 Maghull Chase at Aintree last season and this latest success likely takes him out of handicaps, though he should be competitive in pattern races. It’s always worth looking out for Nicky Richards runners aimed at the decent prizes that Kelso put up for their better races.
SCOTCH WARRIOR is a real credit to his trainer Mike Smith, that’s one based in Ayrshire. Running at a distance short of his best he was outpaced two out but stayed on well to take second place. There’s no suggestion that he is harshly treated on his mark of 132 and, upped in distance you have to fancy this one to take a decent handicap this autumn. He has won seven and been placed in six out of 23 races contested.
SWIFT ARROW can be difficult to catch right, but was not disgraced in third place. Though is on a high enough mark.
JET MASTER was held up and made a number of jumping errors, particularly at three out which cost a number of lengths. Driven back to challenge for second, Lucy Alexander asked for a long one, but Jet Master begged to differ and a short stride resulted in a heavy fall. The horse has come out OK but Lucy is once again on the sidelines nursing a broken collar bone.
KUMBESHWAR, up to this level at best but regressive in the last year, showed no immediate signs of a revival on first outing since pitching up at Arlary. He looked plenty fit enough but lost touch approaching two out.

The penultimate contest was a pretty dire 2m 7½f handicap chase contested by four horses rated 67-90. It was won by LOCAL PRESENT who is at least reasonably consistent and showed plenty of determination to hold a persistent challenge from the last having set the pace. Not one that I would particularly expect to follow up.
SENDIYM really should have won this but a number of less than accurate jumps put him on the backfoot. His ‘class’ compared with the other three kept him in the contest but he found the winner just too determined.
RUNSWICK RELAX normally looks a picture but can’t match that look in ability. He had every chance before the last but won’t find many softer events.
BALLYCOLIN is a slow old boat these days and not threatening to add to his one win in a Musselburgh novice event in 2011. He had Maggio in second that day, but is a shadow of the horse he suggested he might be then.

The card close with a basement level 2m 2f novices’ handicap hurdle. BURNT SIENNA built on a degree of promise shown in novice events and stayed on well to win here. She is more than a forlorn hope to progress from this. She did make one serious error down the far side, but that seemed to be more due to being restrained.
ONE FOR HOCKY was made favourite here, but often has excuses and is not one I’d be diving in for at short odds. He had every chance but was held by a less exposed winner.
CATCHTHEMOONLIGHT was flagged up by her trainer as one who needs to be held up and allowed to stay on through the field. She was finishing best of all, but the first two were not in range. Her best bet for a win will almost certainly be in bigger fields where there’s a bit of pace on.
BRUNELLO had apparently been working very well for his new trainer and was quietly fancied. However, he really doesn’t seem madly keen on this game and faded tamely from two out.

Just a note that I am really struggling to keep up with as much racing as I would like at the moment. I will keep an eye out for significant performances but notes will mainly concern those meetings visited. The autumn plan is currently:

Saturday October 18 – Kelso
Saturday November 1 – Ayr (Hopefully to watch Outlaw Tom who is tentatively aimed here)
Thursday November 6 – Musselburgh
Saturday November 8 – Kelso
Friday November 28 – Musselburgh (part of the Saltire Festival in East Lothian)
Sunday December 6 – Kelso
Monday December 29 – Kelso
I might manage Newcastle on December 20th but that depends on Chrimbo Shopping commitments!

All the above weather permitting of course…