KELSO – Saturday October 24th
Going – Good (Good to Soft in places)
A little rain during the morning meant the ground eased slightly, though a walk of the course suggested there weren’t that many ‘patches’. On the whole I can’t imagine good ground horses would have excuses.
1.55 2m Carnacrack NH Maiden Hurdle (Class 4)
The pace wasn’t particularly strong here so some finished closer than might have been expected.
BIG RIVER won what looked a decent enough bumper here in March. Looking fit enough for his hurdling debut, Big River asserted from the last to win in workmanlike fashion. I would expect there to be better to come in time.
JUST GEORGIE looks chaser in waiting, so a close second here was most encouraging. Leading after the fifth he was headed before the last but didn’t go down without a struggle. He should find a hurdle before long, but I will look forward to seeing him take on the larger obstacles. I understand that jockey Danny Cook felt this one was a little in need of the race.
PETAPENKO didn’t look straight forward at Perth but ran a sound enough race here, not far off the pace to two out and keeping on up the hill.
CHAIN OF BEACONS will be better off when handicapped. He was another plugging on at the business end, suggesting a step up in distance will do no harm.
HERECOMESNELSON showed apparently improved form and may have been flattered by the slow pace.
COSMIC TIGRESS looked fit enough but was outpaced mid-race before keeping on up the hill. A females’ race might be an idea.
2.30 2m 7½f Clifford and Martin Frith Memorial Novices’ Chase (Class 4)
Strong novices’ chases are a rarity in this area these days, but this contest normally throws up some horses with prospects going forward, and I have no reason to doubt that this time around.
ONE FOR ARTHUR jumped well, challenged the leader two out and was soon going away. He stayed on well to win impressively and could turn out to be a decent staying chaser. We need one up here right now as decent Northern chasers are few and far between!
SELDOM INN showed promise last season in hurdles before his jumping went a bit awry. Nothing wrong with his leaps here and he saw out his race well, if not quite as good as the winner. Nevertheless a promising chase debut and he can go on from here.
BLAKEMOUNT, off the track for nearly a year, jumped very well in front but lacked the pace of the first two from two out. The race will have brought him on a bit and there’s probably better to come.
SHUBAAT has yet achieved his hurdling level over the larger obstacles. He was beaten two out here.
RACING EUROPE, looking in need of the race on chasing bow, didn’t jump well and was struggling after belting the tenth fence.
LANDECKER has ability but is apt to sulk and was never really touch. He did rally briefly to three out but faded and was walked in from the half furlong pole.
COOTE STREET was well outclassed on stable debut, tailed off four out and pulled up.
U NAME IT unseated at the sixth fence.
3.05 3m 2f EDF-ER Handicap Chase (120-138)
Question marks against many of these, but GOLD FUTURES is as consistent as any. He was eased into the race down the far side for the last time, led two out and won a shade comfortably. He is well suited by this extended trip.
STRAIDNAHANNA ran a sound enough race on return. He kept on well enough to line and can step up from this.
BALLYBEN wasn’t disgraced in this class, though outpaced from the second last. He’s probably best on this sort of ground.
VALLEYOFMILAN never got into the race seriously. He’s on his last winning mark and, though he has won over three miles, is probably better around the two and a half mark.
CHICAGO OUTFIT won four races at Hexham earlier in the year but is now some 41lb higher than when the urn started. Unfortunately his Hexham options are limited off his current mark.
WILLIAM MONEY, white and black colours looking more grey and black (through the hot wash maybe?), was well held from four out. He is better than this on his day.
HARRY THE VIKING ran well enough up with the pace, but totally misjudged the fifteenth then guessed at the next two, capsizing three out.
3.40 2m Sir Maxwell Harper Gow Handicap Hurdle (90-115)
Largely exposed types contested this and at this level it’s difficult to run up a sequence.
ALIZEE DE JANEIRO made it three on the day for Lucinda Russell and I understand gave Peter Buchanan a first ever treble. He challenged two out, led before the last and stayed on well to show better form than he had last season.
CLAUDE CARTER often runs passably without winning, and kept on through the field to take second place.
BARABOY led briefly two out until headed by the winner before the last after which he weakened into third. This wasn’t a bad effort off a break.
MIGHTY WHITEY set a strong early pace and paid for it in the latter stages.
BEECHWOOD ALLY ran prominently for a long way, was outpaced before two out and then stayed on again. She’s lightly raced, this wasn’t a bad effort and she can get competitive at this level.
4.15 2m 6½f Eric Gillie Transporting Horses 40 years Novices’ Hurdle (Class 4)
What looked a two horse race turned into quite a decent contest. The winner OSCAR BLUE set the pace and gradually stepped up the pace from a mile out. Having been headed at the last he rallied well to lead near the line. He lacks nothing in stamina and his attitude is good.
SUNNY WEST looks a staying chaser in the making, but made a favourable impression on the second Rules effort. Challenging two out, he led at the last but was just held near the line. A fine first jumping effort and word is the race will have done him some good, so worth noting for a similar contest in the near future.
MAJOR IVAN may not have been suited by the steady early pace, was under the pump before two out but saw his race out well enough if held from before the last. An even tougher stamina test looks likely to suit.
HA’PENNY WOODS ran soundly enough in fourth place, though held from two out.
Better was expected of JOHN WILLIAMS who weakened rapidly from before two out and was treading water afterwards. The suspicion is a possible physical problem during the race, as he has strengthened through the summer.
LUCYDOLI had proven a poor performer in bumpers and points. She didn’t look particularly fir and was predictably beaten a long way.
4.50 2m 6½f BARK Conditional Jockeys’ Training Series Handicap Hurdle (74-100)
A poor contest, but a good opportunity for Nick Alexander’s ANDHAAR who saw off inferiors in encouraging style, staying on much the best from two out. He proved this was no fluke with a creditable effort against better company at Ayr two days later.
WILLIE HALL has ability, but has generally been difficult to win with. Not bad this level on his day he had his chance but was held by the winner on the flat.
MARRAKECH TRADER needed the race after a long lay-off. He threatened two out but could only muster the one pace after that. He has clearly had his problems but he is no lost cause.
WINTER ALCHEMY is a moody sort. He ran well up front for a fair way, dropped back through the field only to stay on again for fourth
AINTREE – Sunday October 25th
KALANITI was flagged up as a potential prospect in a decent looking bumper at Kelso last season. She confirmed the impression with a creditable second behind the well touted La Bague Au Roi in the mares bumper. She won’t meet one that good very often in mares’ races and must be a prospect going forward, particularly when taking on fellow females.
AYR – Monday October 26th
A Kelso bumper won by Big River back in March is looking a strong contest and IMADA franked the form with an eye-catching win in the two mile novices’ hurdle. He idled near the finish but still held Double W’s who was considered good enough to contest a Grade 2 bumper last season.
Meanwhile back in fourth BENNY’S SECRET was held but is well regarded by his trainer, will likely come on for the race and needs more of a test than two miles on good ground. Keep this one in the notebook as I believe he will reward the patience.
Martin Todhunter’s MONBEG RIVER won the two mile handicap chase and his early chasing efforts smack of those of the same trainer’s Presenting Junior last season.
The bumper looked a decent contest. MEET THE LEGEND created a favourable impression but was just held by Gordon Elliott’s Fagan with the rest a long way back. The former has plenty of pace and some reckon could make a Flat horse, while I can’t wait to see FAGAN go over hurdles and the sky could be the limit for this one. He’s won three points, so jumping isn’t likely to be a problem.
Back in third SPIRIT OF KAYF created a sound impression and can go close in the near future if he avoids anything of the quality of the first two.