BALCORMO MAINS – Saturday April 25th
Going – Good
It’s taken me too long to finally get to the point-to-point meeting, but it won’t be my last following a visit to the Fife Hunt meeting at the delightfully situated Balcormo circuit.
Credit to Robert Hogarth, oft heard at Musselburgh and Kelso who kept the racegoers well informed throughout the afternoon. The number board is clear and accurate, and viewing of the course is excellent from the spectator areas. Credit is also due to the army of volunteers in high-vis jackets who did their job well but with a light touch.
The afternoon opened with two pony races, 138cm and under over five furlongs and the 148cm and under over six furlongs. The opening event was won by Annie, ridden stylishly by Nick Barratt-Atkin who took the chance to pose to the crowd in the closing stages. The six furlongs event was won by Pick Pocket ridden by 15-year-old Connor Murtagh, the latter looking all over a jockey and I would imagine likely to graduate to Rules racing in the next year or two.
All the point-to-point races took place over 3 miles and 19 fences, which equates to 2 and a half circuits and includes two open ditches.
2.00 Turcan Connell Fife Hunt Members, Subscribers and Farmers
Only three turned out for this one, as the Alexanders gave the contest a miss, though I presume they have at least a passing interest in the winner.
MILANO MAGIC was reasonable under Rules and proved clear best of the three here. Nick Orpwood sent Gemma Cochrane’s charge on from two out and he was in little danger from that point.
SIR WATTY, recently moved from the South West England circuit, raced keenly and jumped slowly and deliberately in front. Overtaken two out he plugged on and was booked for second when his other rival departed at the last.
The only way MOMKINZAIN will stay three miles is at a crawl or in a horsebox. He raced well enough for a long way, but was out on his feet when thumping the last and unseating. My wife was watching near the last and was not impressed by Harry Reed’s flailing of the whip before the last.
2.30 Subaru Restricted
More Ps than Bird’s Eye amongst the form of many of these. On the other hand, one who has been in the mix in races consistently is NELLY LA RUE who travelled nicely for Tom Hamilton, stretched on at the fifteenth and came home well clear to follow up a Tranwell win. The step up to Open company will be a bit tougher but she could be competitive in the weaker events at that level.
COBH NATIONAL has been struggling since a win at Alnwick back in January. He made something of a return to form here and kept on for second without ever threatening the winner.
RUNNING BROOK led or disputed for much of the way, but had given all when hitting two out and finished tired in third.
THE TOFT might be a prospect in the long term but didn’t really fire on this occasion. Never in the contest, he was behind from three out.
CALL THE DOCTOR, a maiden winner at Hackwood last year, hasn’t shown anything for his current stable and veered off the course at the bend after the fourth.
FLYING MASTER well beaten by the winner at Tranwell, was behind when pulled up at the fifteenth and would have been better off in the Maiden.
FLYING NATIVE was getting reminders at halfway and pulled up before the sixteenth.
3.00 Albert Bartlett Ladies Open
Only two pitched up out of an entry of five for this contest. The winner beat only two at Tranwell last time, so maybe it’s just the case there aren’t many to contest these races.
Amy Waugh is little more than four feet tall, but what she lacks in height she makes up for in ability. She presents her horse at a fence in fine style and dictated this from the start. Although the second closed from three out WHITEABBEY retained plenty enough to hold on with a little to spare.
DURBAN GOLD won a 3m 5f contest at Tranwell and is an out-and-out-stayer. She kept on but couldn’t close down the winner. She wouldn’t be a lost cause in long distance events under Rules.
3.30 Pentland Land Rover Mens Open
ROSSINI’S DANCER us decent at this level when he puts it all in and had conditions to suit here. It was by no means plain sailing but after racing prominently, Kit Alexander sent him on two out and he was driven out to hold on. Apt to disappoint on occasions, but there are more such cases to be won with this one.
SOME TARGET has been pretty decent, but isn’t as good as he was in Ireland. He disputed with the winner for much of the way and had every chance, but didn’t quite match the winner from the last. He needs a soft event or a long distance Open, or a combination of both(!), if he’s to score.
DUHALLOWCOUNTRY ran at least to his form level in third. He had every chance two out but gave way to better animals.
INDIAN PRINT was outpaced from four out and his Tranwell win was presumably in a weak event. He ran well in the Heart Of All England Chase last year, but general level of recent form is moderate.
RAIFTIERI won at Cartmel in August but that didn’t look a great event and he has struggled since. He was under the cosh with a circuit to go and was a remote last when pulled up before the last fence.
4.00 Lundin Links NPPA Club Members Race
The biggest entry of the meeting yielded the joint biggest field of seven.
The veteran BACK ON THE ROAD is a consistent sort and has a good attitude. The evergreen Jamie Alexander sent him third at the fifteenth and then into the lead three out. He had to dig deep to hold off a determined second from the last and held on by a short head.
GREAT GUSTO raced prominently, had every chance and gave it his best but was just held. He’s not quite up to Open standard, but these races offer his best chance as winners get a penalty.
SILK AND ROSES led for much of the way but is not quite at the level of the first two and was held from before two out.
HAVE ONE ON ME won a couple of minor events in 2014, but was put in his place from three out here.
OLDRIK was beaten a long way and is a non-stayer in points.
CILLISEAL lost his rider two out when well held. He was a slowish chaser under Rules and seems to have settled into life as an even slower pointer!
WEEUMA has struggled in recent times and had fallen well behind when pulled up with four to go.
4.30 Bruce Farms Open Maiden
The five runners brought forward a host of moderate form.
HAVNA JACK had hinted at ability if novice on previous runs. He was able to settle to his task in this moderate company. He disputed when blundering two out, but was left in front and dug deep to hold the second on the run to the line. He’s only five and should improve going forward.
SOUND BARRIER showed promise last time at Tranwell after a couple of pulled ups. Not rushed by Rachael MacDonald, he was produced to challenge the winner before the last and made that one pull out the stops. Some encouragement going forward.
LAY DE BROOK was handful in the paddock, keen on the track and novice in his jumping. Tired three out and behind, he offers little prospect of success even at this level.
POLL AN EASA disputed or led and held and advantage when blundering two out, at which point his rider either lost irons or reins and had to pull up. He looks to offer some hope and can probably pick up a weak maiden with better luck.
LUCYDOLI is a small mare who jumped slowly at many fences until unseating at the eleventh. She showed nothing in bumpers and hasn’t indicated that she is a racehorse so far. The course commentator often struggled with anything that stretched the basics and didn’t identify the missing competitor for a couple of fences.
Exit from the track was straight forward and it took us no more than 50 minutes to get back to Dunfermline. A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon and one I can recommend.