CARLISLE - Thursday October 15th
Going - Good (Good to Firm in places)
A re-visit to Carlisle after a gap of a few years revealed a number of significant developments which have moved an already decent course up a notch or two. There are a few different viewing places almost give a view of the whole course, though the reservoir just stops us getting a 100 per cent view. It’s worth taking a stroll down past the main stand, a rooftop and rooftop terrace give an excellent view of the action.
The course makes a play of having a ‘full colour race programme’, but the downside is that it costs £3 and Musselburgh(£2.50) and Kelso(£2) both manage the same for less. The Trendsetters Guide is of limited use at best. That aside course facilities and surroundings are fine and it's a good afternoon out for jumping fans.
A decent autumn continued, giving a warm afternoon with very little breeze. The going was on the fast side but there’s a good covering of grass. Fields sizes reflected the fast ground, but racing was competitive.
2.10 2m 1f Apollo In Play Betting Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (69-108)
Top prize for value spotting goes to my wife who landed a winner with Endeavor. Third behind Dynamic Drive and now 7lbs better off and in front of Push Me last time, yet both of these were up vying for favouritism yet we secured 14/1 in the ring about Endeavor who started at 12/1. He can be cussed soul, but boasted a record of 13 wins from 84 over jumps before the race, pretty decent for a horse never rated higher than 110 and he ran off 95 here! My wife asked why he was that price, to which my answer was ‘good question’!
Emma Sayer is as good a rider to have on your side as any in these contests, and knows ENDEAVOR inside out. Always handy, he moved up to the leader on the final climb and hit the front after the last, winning with a bit to spare.
DYNAMIC DRIVE took up the running two out but was overtaken after the last. He saw his race out well enough and was not disgraced under the penalty. He remains in the good heart that gave him a nice win at Kelso.
URBAN KODE isn’t bad at this level but generally runs into one or two too good. He led to two out and plugged on into third.
NAFAATH had his chance but couldn’t match the principals from before two out, though keeping on for fourth.
TRIPLE EIGHT didn’t see out his race over this stiff track. His recent decent efforts have come at Stratford and Bangor.
PUSH ME raced keenly early and once her saddle slipped Blair Campbell’s main concern was trying to pull her up.
2.40 2m 1f Download Your Racing UK App Novices’ Hurdle (Class 4)
The winner here, FREDERIC CHOPIN looked fittest of the bunch and stayed on nicely from two out to take the main prize. Decent on the flat, he’s going the right way over hurdles and it will be interesting to see him take on tougher company.
DON’TDROPMEIN wasn’t disgraced on hurdles debut, but he pulled hard and having taken up the running four out had nothing left to resist the winner from two out. He should be capable fo stepping up on this effort.
After a miserable week when he lost the patronage of the Paul and Clare Rooney, Donald McCain need a fillip. Sadly SIGN MANUAL was not able to provide a win. A rather stocky sort not typical of McCain’s normal charges, this one has gone backward from a promising start. He was sweating freely and beaten before two out.
QUESTION OF FAITH was clueless in her jumping on hurdles debut and well behind when pulled up after walking through three out.
3.15 2m Book Your Christmas Party Here Novices’ Handicap Chase (119-134)
GERMANY CALLING, a tall strong looking gelding looking very fit, had the best form of these and duly recorded a second chase win. However, he mixed good jumps with a few hairy efforts and might find his jumping under pressure if upped in class.
The one to take out of this is RELIC ROCK who placed a creditable second having looked as if the race would bring him on. Bandages in front were a little off putting, but he made an encouraging chasing debut, jumping very nicely and seeing his race out well if unable to match a more experienced winner. His hurdling wasn’t as good as it might have been, but Brian Ellison has clearly done some good work with this one over the chase fences.
FANTASY KING was working himself into a challenging position at the last, but walked through it and couldn’t recover. Encouraging, though he is apt to throw in the odd duff jump or two.
COURT DISMISSED was outpaced approaching three out but kept on again in the latter stages. He would be helped by a slight drop in class.
VODKA WELLS looked fir enough on his return, but was left behind from three out.
LUCKY BRIDLE tripped over his feet in the paddock, which wasn’t encouraging, and then walked through the first giving Brian Hughes no chance.
3.50 2m 4f Racing UK Anywhere NH Novices’ Hurdle (Class 4)
In a race with a hot favourite I spotted glaring value in the Tote place market. The second favourite Lincoln County looked vulnerable after a moderate hurdles debut, whilst third favourite Delusionsofgrandeur hailed from an in-form stable and was a pointing winner. The latter duly obliged for second at a rewarding £3.40 place dividend. The Tote place pool is generally not for place but big bets, but this one paid for our food!
SHANTOU VILLAGE is a nice sort who had an easy hurdling introduction, going clear from two out. Winner of a point, bumper and hurdle, he is a fine prospect for Neil Mulholland.
DELUSIONSOFGRANDEUR created a decent enough impression on his hurdling debut. He couldn’t match the winner but kept on well enough and should win a hurdle.
LINCOLN COUNTY was under the pump three out and couldn’t match the runner-up.
LANDMEAFORTUNE was outpaced from the eighth as was MISTER HENDRE.
KICKING LILY was a nervous looking sort in the paddock. She dropped out quickly after the eighth and was pulled up before two out and walked home.
4.25 3m 110yds Racing UK Handicap Chase (115-135)
There was a strong entry at the five day stage, but this cut up to four by the start.
The field was soon reduced to three as GEORGE FERNBECK blundered at the first was slow at the second, and then hit the third giving Fin O’Toole no chance.
ENCHANTED GARDEN jumped well enough, challenged the long time leader at the last and asserted on the run to the finish.
LOOSE CHIPS made the pace and kept on once headed at the last. A sound enough effort and presumably the Military races at Sandown will be a target.
BY THE BOARDWALK didn’t jump fluently, losing a length at some fences, and was outpaced two out and soon beaten.
5.00 3m 123yds Watch Racing UK Anywhere Handicap Hurdle (84-120)
With the more lightly raced performers not coming up to scratch it was the in and out performer MAGGIE BLUE who secured a comfortable win from the front. Leading at the fifth she tested the field and was clear by two out. She’s capable on her day but can’t be relied upon to reproduce this form next time.
OMID stays well and kept on to the finish. He’s a not a prolific winner but does put up some passable efforts in this company.
SIMARTHUR was badly injured at Hexham last season and I understand his survival was touch and go for a while. He chased the leader three out but could only keep on at the one pace. Given the circumstances connections must be more than happy with this effort.
PRESENTED, a chasing winner at Perth last month, was outpaced from three out.
The lightly raced but well backed COOPER’S FRIEND was well beaten and very tired when walking through the last. HORSTED VALLEY was another well backed but ran no sort of race and was pulled up.
5.30 2m 1f Weddings at Carlisle Racecourse Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race (Class 6)
Bumpers at Carlisle aren’t far behind those at Kelso in my realm of interest.
Previous winner CLOUDY DREAM used his experience to good effect, wearing down the newcomer second in a duel from three out. He should turn into a hurdler.
GROUNDUNDERREPAIR, a gelding whose breeding suggests he will make a jumper, made a decent race of it on debut. Given the way the race panned out he will be a short price for upcoming engagements, but looks a winner in waiting.
FINAL FLING looked far from the finished article but pulled clear of the remainder in the final furlong. He will come on for this outing and is worth entering in the notebook.
KALONDRA was a bit keen and held from the bottom of the hill. A promising sort in Irish points, he should make up into a jumper in time.