Thursday, 2 October 2014

End of September at Musselburgh and Hamilton

A briefer than usual summary for a couple of meetings at the end of September. I’m quite busy at the moment, so concentrating on a few pointers from each meeting.

MUSSELBURGH – Sunday September 28th

Weather was dry and the ground remained on the quick side.
PENELOPE PITSTOP is the one to take from the opening seven furlong two-year-old maiden. This sister to a five times winner looked as if the outing would do her the power of good. She took an age to get going, but stayed on to good effect and was closing in third. She will come on for the race and I’d be surprised if there aren’t races to be won with her. Up front Best Example shrugged off a disappointing effort at quirky Brighton, seeing off the odds-on favourite Manshaa who didn’t have a lot to offer when passed two out.

The five furlong nursery was a poor event but the winner THE WISPE is at least going the right way and won it a shade cosily. She will stay six furlongs and looks one to progress again at a moderate level. Surrey Pink is at the bottom end of the handicap but ran a creditable race in second and has run well enough here before.

ART OBSESSION has a rather dipped back and doesn’t make the most attractive individual. However, handsome is as handsome does and he battled well to record a win in the seven furlong handicap, holding off a number of challengers. He has presumably had problems and is lightly raced but might step up on this. Beautiful Stranger threatened from two out but his effort petered out in the final furlong.

Progressive sorts REKDHAT and WHO’S THAT CHICK were clear of the rest in the Class 3 Fillies’ Handicap and both can go on from here. Rekdhat in particular looks capable of a step up in class.

HIDDEN GOLD benefitted from a step up to 1m 5f and was going away from ore exposed opponents at the end of the Royal Scots Handicap. He has won on softer ground, is in good form, and there seems no reason why he shouldn’t be seriously in the mix again before the end of the season. LEADERENE faded in the final furlong, but he was taken on for the lead and may not be one to forget yet if able to get an uncontested lead in similar company.

Three-year-old PIGEON PIE saw off a field of well exposed sorts over a mile and a furlong and I’d be a bit wary if she takes on less exposed rivals. Blinkers first time didn’t seem to do any harm. Royal Straight looked fittest here but is on a long losing run and not getting any younger.

IRISH GIRLS SPIRIT won the closing apprentice sprint handicap last term and arguably had an easier task this time round. She is really sharp out of the traps and soon held a comfortable lead. Saxonette
got to her quarters but the winner had plenty in hand. Findog ran a fair race in third but the other six did not encourage, though there’s a hint that HENRY MORGAN might do better over six furlongs. His wins came over six and he’s very lightly raced at seven-years-old.

HAMILTON – Monday September 29th

Hamilton closed their season with decent ground on yet another bright and pleasant day.
Twenty one hours later and IRISH GIRLS SPIRIT was back on the track in what looked a tougher race, though she avoided a penalty. The opinion amongst a few regulars was that she might struggle to hold on up the hill. Not a bit of it, as she was once again quick away and seemed to pick up even better up the slope, scooting away and being eased close home yet still five lengths clear. She’s entered at Wolverhampton this Friday though she will have to go a bit from an outside draw.
TWO TURTLE DOVES and BRONZE BEAU are fair enough competitors at this level. They race far side and fought out second place.

STRAIGHTTOTHEPOINT showed fine resolution to hold off four opponents in the nursery handicap, coming home comfortably clear of C/D winner White Vin Jan. The visor seems to have sharpened the winner.

FEEL THE HEAT caused a 50/1 shock in the six furlong claimer, though not completely out of it if judged on 2013 form. He was making quite a noise on returning the stables though, and I wonder if he has a problem which explains his recent absence. Tango Sky, favoured at these weights, ran a fair race but was held in the final furlong. There wasn’t any real encouragement for anything else.

Lightly race QUEENS PARK held off her Class 5 elders over a mile and a bit. She may have more to give in time whereas the second ELLAAL is pretty much where he needs to be at the top of the weights in this sort of event. He battled well having been up with the pace and was just held close home. Tectonic is a devilish ride but often thereabouts and filled third place.

The Hamilton Apprentice Series Final was a dire event. It’s a great pity that the course couldn’t put up more than a £3,000 total purse for a series final. The finish was fought out by two very moderate maidens, Wilf Storey’s CARD HIGH just holding off PROSTATE AWARENESS, the latter’s third earlier this season the only passable form between the two. Libra Romana looks one of the poorer animals in Sir Mark Prescott’s yard while Taxiformissbyron was plenty fit enough but couldn’t hack it from over a furlong out.  

BARON RUN won a competitive six furlong Class 4 handicap from two other course specialists, CLASSY ANNE and ALEXANDRAKOLLONTAI. Connections of the latter seemed a shade disappointed, but Alistair Whillans’s filly was arguably recording a personal best here. The first three have all been progressive this season.

Steadily upwardly mobile STANARLEY PIC just held off the gallant effort of veteran DHAULAR DHAR in the closing mile and a half handicap. The pair pulled away from their pursuers in the closing stages. Dhaular Dhar retains enthusiasm at 12 and there might just be one last win in him, even if he has to continue as a thirteen-year-old. Fittest here appeared to be Hero’s Story, but he faded quickly after setting the pace to three out and doesn’t look that keen when asked for an extra effort.

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