Monday, 14 November 2016

Extra meeting at Musselburgh 'n stuff!

WETHERBY – Saturday November 12th

THE DUTCHMAN made a pleasing chasing debut in winning the novice chase. In a race run at a decent pace he made some good leaps, fiddled a fence or two and found a leg when needed, finding a bit more under pressure from the last. Another one to add to a decent roll call of chasers in Sandy Thomson’s yard.

RUNSWICK DAYS struggled upped in class having been moved up 14lbs for his Kelso win, quite a fair amount for a 7 length win with a well exposed opponent 13 lengths back in third on that occasion. However, he can still get into Class 5 and can be noted when dropped back to the lowest grade.

CHELTENHAM – Sunday November 13th

MIRSAALE ran a decent second behind exciting prospect Moon Racer at Cheltenham, staying on grittily once passed to hold a group of decent novices. There should be a Graded company win to be had from Keith Dalgleish’s novice. Don’t be surprised if this talented trainer starts making his mark in top level contests on a regular basis.

MUSSELBURGH – Monday November 14th

George Bewley has fashioned some improvement out of a number of performers in recent times and MITCD won the opening 2 mile handicap hurdle in good style. It does depend how the handicapper see this (see comments above) but there should be another win to be had from this mare. What ever happened during a year off the track seems to have worked with mare.

Taking time out to watch the novices’ chase at PLUMPTON it was disappointing to see Wishing And Hoping come down when seemingly half-lengthened by an extravagant jump from main opponent Baron Alco who went on to beat the other two by a couple of fences. Both had jumped well together until Wishing And Hoping went and are decent chasing prospects. Gary Moore has churned out a succession of decent performers in recent times and must be excited about BARON ALCO.

Thankyou Very Much won a moderate 2m 1f novices’ handicap chase jumping significantly better than the previous winner Halcyon Days who was comfortably held from two out. The other four were comfortably seen off and there’s nothing to recommend going forward on the basis the winner will presumably be shunted up a fair bit.
Exposed Mondlicht won the 2m 6f novices’ hurdle comfortably but is an exposed animal beating a winner but ordinary sort in Bassarabad. Pointing winner Ryalex didn’t jump at all well and was beaten heading for home, while Killone probably has ability but is too keen at present and jumping left something to be desired.

Sandy Thomson’s stable is in fine form and BLUE KASKADE stayed on strongly down the straight to win a competitive Class 3 staying handicap chase. He made it four wins from the first four contests on the card for Brian Hughes. Formidable Opponent lost nothing in defeat, sticking on to hold on to second and has done Willie Young Junior really proud a fine run this autumn. Mister Don stuck to his task but could never get a blow in at the winner.

The fillies’ juvenile hurdle was contender for worst race of the season and the runners went a dawdle for the first mile. Becky The Thatcher, who tended to balloon her hurdles, accelerated from two out to win from Royal Pearl, but the latter hasn’t shown much on two runs and the form means very little against anything of ability.

Quick Decisson can be considered job done for your correspondent, see recent Kelso notes, as he obliged dropped in class at surprisingly decent odds of 15/2. He just saw off Amuse Me who is exposed and John Williams gave way approaching the last and may need to dominate.

The closing contest was contested by a bunch of largely exposed performers. Brian Hughes was in superb form and drove out Smart Ruler to beat the consistent Stoneham who has been finding one or two too good over hurdles but could find a soft contest round here this winter.

Monday, 7 November 2016

Early November at Musselburgh and Kelso

Time is pressed right now for various reasons so I shall endeavour to focus on significant performances or horses to keep an eye on. Hopefully I can post more regular posts if I don’t try to cover all angles.

MUSSELBURGH – Thursday November 3rd

Quick ground meant small fields for this meeting despite very good prize money.

The opening juvenile hurdle was won in decent style by an interesting prospect CAPE OF GLORY. He wore down a quirky by determined Stone Quercus in the closing stages and won going away. Keith Dalgleish should be able to place this one to win in what is a weak division in the North. The runner-up went off very quickly but put the anchors on passing the stables. Encouraged to go on he saw his race out well and is likely to prove best round sharp tracks on this sort of ground.

The mares’ maiden hurdle was won by Taurian, but she beat very little and hung left from before the last. She is probably worth opposing under a penalty.

CLONALIG HOUSE won the 2m 3½f Class 3 Handicap Hurdle in decent style and looked well suited by this decent ground. One would imagine that Tony Martin would seek out similar races here over the winter as the ground seldom gets testing.

SEEFOOD won the feature 2m 4f handicap chase, coming clear from two out. He’s been struggling with his handicap mark for a while but Richard Newland seems to have sweetened him and a mark of 127 here was helpful. His run at Cheltenham had hinted at a return to form and he may be able to build upon this effort and he does stay further.

Senatus was a handful at the start and keen in the race, but came clear in the final furlong to clinch the bumper. Whether he beat much is a question but WEYMSS POINT came with a rattle to take second on the line, looked as if there was a bit work on and would be of interest with the experience behind him.

KELSO – Saturday November 5th

I was able to give a newcomer a guided tour of the Kelso circuit, with learned descriptions of the game. A decent winner backed on the card and I think we might have a racegoer on our hands. I’m hoping to organise a race day for our local Rotary Club next year so will hoping to pass on my ‘knowledge’ to a few more!
Ground description of good to soft seemed reasonable among the roof top cognoscenti though the feeling was that soft ground performer might find themselves tapped for speed.

The dreaded low sun struck and we lost hurdles and chase fences in some contests.

Nicky Richards found a softie for Another Bill to pick up under a penalty and I suspect this one will now be handicapping. Tree Of Liberty went nicely on hurdles debut, will come on for the experience and pointing efforts suggest he will back a chaser. The key one here is LANSDOWNE ROAD making a belated Rules in third place, keeping on nicely in his own time for third. He won his 2m 4f maiden point at Cothelstone and was not disgraced in Restricted  over 3 miles subsequently. Worth keeping in mind, particularly when going chasing.
Christmas In USA went out like a light from three out having travelled well. One of my fellow roof-toppers thought he saw the tongue-tie come adrift and the manner of capitulation certainly suggests something amiss.

CASUAL CAVALIER won the 2m 1f novices’ handicap chase in pleasing fashion. George Bewley is working the oracle with a few right now and this one could go on from here. Chain Of Beacons led until two out but didn’t see out his race and is proving a shade disappointing. SKY FULL OF STARS and Misfits both had their chance at the last but were held on the run-in. The latter needs further and probably isn’t completely straight forward (he looked most likely before the last), the former seemed to step on previous form now he’s gone chasing and James Ewart should eke a win out of him.

The 3m 2f handicap hurdle had only 7 hurdles due to low sun was won by Landecker who is a cussed soul but decent on his day. Kidded around by talented amateur Kit Alexander, he won very comfortably but wouldn’t be at all guaranteed to repeat the form next time despite being a 130 horse running off 115 here. Stablemate Another Mattie probably needed this race but lack of opportunities meant he was routed to Kelso and he will come on for this.

Trickaway led passing the omitted two out in the 2m 5½f handicap chase but wandered around under pressure on the long run from the last. The one that took the eye here was CAPTAIN REDBEARD, not disgraced in better company here last time, who raced towards the rear before making progress to chase the leaders on the home turn. He couldn’t close form that point but was weak in the market and will likely step up on this in the coming weeks.

Imjoeking beat an exposed field in the Mayfield Restaurant Handicap Chase which has slipped in status from Class 2 to Class 3 in recent years. The winner was well ridden from in front by Derek Fox holding QUICK DECISSON who is running plenty well enough to win a Class 4 contest around the minimum trip.

Ping beat a very ordinary bunch in the novices’ handicap hurdle. Pulpitarian ran a fair race in second but remains a maiden and eminently beatable in hurdles, his last win having been in a Laurel Park Optional Claimer back in 2012.

Commitments at the Dunfermline Firework Display meant we had to depart before the last race. I did get a look at the runners in the mares’ bumper and nothing particularly took the eye. Tokaramore’s experience proved vital as she saw of Stuart Crawford’s The Vocalist from the furlong pole. Nicky Richard’s Illwalktheline wasn’t as forward as many of the stable’s runenrs in this event and will need time.

Mostly midweek racing for the rest of the month and I'm almost out of holiday, so it will be Kelso's Borders National Meeting before I pick up live racing again. However, I will keep an eye on local racing and post a ntoe if I notice anything significant but maybe not so obvious.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Kelso - Seldom Inn and One For Arthur on the up

KELSO – Saturday October 22nd
Going – Good To Soft

The chase rail was moved out significantly giving a finish on the chase course no more than half a dozen horse wide. Last hurdle was 150 yards out with second last about as near to the home bend as it could be. On my pre-racing course walk I judged going descritpion pretty accurate although intermittent rain during the afternoon meant that rain had started to get into the ground by mid afternoon.

2.00 2m Ian Anderson Memorial NH Maiden Hurdle (Class 4)

Pace on from the start here and the runners were soon strung out. Paul Nicholls BRIO CONTI trained was a warm favourite but there looked a bit to work on and we were none the wiser after he departed at the first.
The mare KALANITI showed plenty of promise in bumpers last term and showed plenty of determination to see off her main challengers from the last. She’s a nice mare and would be a shoo-in with a penalty in a mares’ only event.
SAMMY B isn’t the most handsome gelding but has shown some promise and saw out his race well enough for second place. This was a decent enough comeback and he can move on from here.
Unusually for Donald McCain he appeared to have left a bit of condition on MIDDLEBROW. He led until after two out and could muster only one pace on the flat. He will come on for this and, though the form isn’t top rate, can progress.
One to take out of this race long term is MEDAL OF FREEDOM. He raced prominently on hurdles debut before giving way approaching two out. The race will be of benefit and he will likely turn into a chaser in time.
LAST DATE is another chasing sort who will need time, but was not totally disgraced in fifth.
OISHIN had minor places in moderate bumpers before this. Maurice Barnes is not one to rush his charges and this one definitely needed the race and was well beaten.
PEPPAY LE PUGH was hampered at the first and despite progress at halfway never got into the race and was pulled up. He’s probably capable of better.

2.35 2m 7½f Cliffrod and Martin Frith Memorial Novices’ Chase (Class 4)

This event normally throws up some decent animals and this didn’t look a bad renewal.
SELDOM INN lost his way over fences last season and didn’t make a mark over hurdles subsequently. He looked a different animal this time round, settling better and generally jumping well though ploughing through the last when comfortably clear. He could be a bit decent if able to repeat this from, though Sandy Thomson’s campaign for him will be determined by his new mark though it appears that handicapper has down rated others rather than being too harsh on Seldom Inn.
BALLYBOKER BREEZE, a previous winner at Perth, was well held from three out.
WARRIOR’S TALE, another Perth winner, was well back in third and the handicapper has dropped him 8lbs.  He led to four out but had nothing left in the straight.
CAPTAIN REDBEARD looked fit enough but was not good enough in this company. He’s rated 114 and would be much better off in a novices’ handicap.
URBAN HYMN has had spells off the track. He looked fit, a typical Jefferson sort, raced prominently for a long way but weakened quickly from three out. He looks the business but a better run is needed to prove all is physically well.

3.10 3m 2f EDF-ER Handicap Chase (109-135)

The feature race of the afternoon and one I watched from down by the second last, the open ditch.

ONE FOR ARTHUR has promised to be a decent animal, and beat Seldom Inn in last year’s renewal of the previous event.  He travelled well and pinged the second last coming to take it up from a willing front runner. He quickly pulled clear in the  closing stages and the Becher Chase is now on the agenda, an event for which he will lack nothing in jumping ability.
SCOTSWELL can be difficult to get past on a good day and ran will real zest here. He had all bar the winner beaten off by two out but just couldn’t live with that one from two out. He’s in good heart and worth noting when able to dictate.
PENA DORADA had a tough ask in this company but performed with a degree of credit, seeing off the remainder of the pursuing group from two out. Not especially well handicapped but this was a decent effort.
KILFINICHEN BAY has been on the go through the summer. He had no real excuse here, outpaced from three out.
CYCLOP was struggling when doing well to stand up after making a complete horlicks of two out.
NO PLANNING may need more testing conditions and was outpaced from three out.
BALLYROCK didn’t look to be going well at any point and was well behind when pulled up before two out, equally off the mark PRESENTED accompanying him past the last two.

3.40 2m 7f Myles McNulty You’re Never Fifty  Novices’ Hurdle (Class 4)

When Nicky Richards prepares one spot on for Kelso get on!  ANOTHER BILL was the fittest here and wore down his two main rivals to win this contest. He may have a tougher task under a double penalty in future and could be forced into handicaps.
ARCTIC DESTINATION was made favourite but looked a bit short of full fitness. He led before two out until the last and saw out his race. He will come on for this outing and his winning turn looks merely delayed.
GRAN PARADISO was outpaced before two out and might have been expected to get a bit closer here.
The race didn’t hot up until the last half mile and only other contestant who is worth a note is NOMOREBLACKJACK who made the pace before giving way two out. He looks a chasing type that may well find his level given time.

4.15 2m Sir Maxwell Harper Gow (89-115) Handicap Hurdle

COOL BARANCA ran a cracker from out of the weights at Market Rasen recently and followed up in emphatic style under an excellent ride from Emma Sayer who was recording a first win at Kelso (I had to check that one as I couldn’t believe it!). Held up as is beast, Cool Barance cruised through from two out and took it up to win most comfortably. She may well follow up as long as the going doesn’t turn too testing.
Emma Sayer, who will be gifted Cool Baranca once the mare’s career has finished, has taken up a position as PE teacher in a Cumbrian secondary school. She has reverted to amateur status and is worth noting against fellow amateurs as there won’t be many better.
BIG RIVER needs further and I would imagine has a future over fences, so a staying on second here was most encouraging. A decent effort off a lay-off and he looks very well handicapped whether he stays hurdling or goes chasing.
ZARU ran most creditably after two years off and is clearly no back number.  Having led to two out he could only raise the one pace but this run suggests James Ewart can eke a race or two out of him in the coming months if he can be kept fit.
OAK VINTAGE was outclassed by traditional Dancer in a match here last time and his limitations were signalled in this company, being outpaced from two out.
LEVELLING looked plenty fit enough, but was well held on debut for Marjorie Fife. He’s young though and has the odd bit of promise in previous form.

4.50 2m 7½f  Bruce Farms Handicap Chase (76-98)

A moderate event full of well exposed stayers.

RUNSWICK DAYS has been off his game on recent runs, but going back a while has decent form at this level in the book. George Bewley would appear to have sweetened him nicely as he led two out and won quite nicely. He ran off 76 here and, given his previous marks, he would still be a likely contender when re-assessed and may be capable of scoring a co8uple of times before the handicapper catches up.
PROUD GAMBLE has been showing decent form and saw his race out for a decent second place. He doesn’t have as many miles on the clock as some and is worth a glance in similar company.
ROSQUERO is inconsistent but competitive at this level when he fancies it. He had his chance in the straight but gave way before the last.
MY IDEA disputed for a long way but was beaten in fourth when unseating at the last.
BROTHER SCOTT looked fit enough and had his chance, disputing for a fair way, but finished well beaten and is difficult to win with.
APACHE PILOT has shown his best form at stiffer tracks. He was well behind in the latter stages.
INNIS SHANNON jumped abysmally in rear, yet Jonathan Bewley managed to coax her close enough to chase the leaders on the home turn. Efforts told from that point and she was pulled up. She’s only six and if her trainer can sort her jumping she will win at this level.
MOSCOW MENACE is a headstrong sort, two handlers in the paddock, and blows himself out in his race.

5.25 2m 6½f BARK C.J. Training Series Handicap Hurdle (74-100)

Not a great event and a case could be made to oppose most here for one reason and another Tim Vaughan spotted a long range opportunity for the maiden BASSARABAD who stayed on too strongly for his opponents. Seemingly well regarded in early days he has dropped to a mark he can cope with and stayed on well enough from two out to break his duck. He copes with softer ground and may build on this.
BINOWAGH BAY was thereabouts most of the way but outpointed from the last. His form is mixed but he has a fair record when travelling over the Irish Sea.
PRESENT TREND had his chance but was outpaced going to the last. She’s lightly raced and may find a chance in a lowly event dropped back in distance.
HONEYCHILE RYDER was apparently mis-pronounced by Gareth Topham, as I reckon it should a southern US Honey Chil’ rather a ‘Honey Chilli’, but others may know better. She’s very moderate and was put in her place from two out.
KING’S CHORISTER can win at this level on his day but looks increasingly less inclined as time goes on. His last win was in March 2015 when he had our now retired slowcoach The Village back in fifth.
This trip probably stretches MOMKINZAIN’s stamina