Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Kelso start the autumn campaign

Back after a summer break and apologies for no update for a while. Largely involved with other matters I've been to a handful of  meetings in Scotland, with a visit to Aarau in Switzerland about which I publish a report very soon.

KELSO – Wednesday September 14th 2016

Going  -  Good (Good To Soft in places)

The Kelso autumn programme commenced with a twilight meeting on a murky day, a contrast to the scorching conditions prevailing not that far south of the Borders. A light sprinkling of rain overnight and during the day resulted in the going that was just on the soft side. A pre-meeting walk of the course found the surface in excellent condition, even and with a lush covering of grass. Times were a bit slower than average, with possibility that the thick grass cover may have contributed to this. The moisture left my walking boots well soaked after a lap!
The track were trialling a new hurdle made of foam padding on a wooden frame, designed to mitigate against horses putting their legs through hurdles.

The day’s action commenced at 1pm with a charity team show jumping competition with involving rules jockeys, point-to-point riders and eventers. The winners were Lambden Racing representing the Sandy Thomson yard.

4.15 2m 5f Barbara MacLeod Memorial Maiden Hurdle (Class 4)

A weakly contested event and the four finishers were strung out from the home turn.
The winner THELIGNY travelled from Tim Vaughan yard in South Wales. He travelled well throughout the race and moved smoothly to take up the running before the last and won easily. The race won’t have done him any harm and he should pick up a novice under a penalty.

DERINTOHER YANK set a strong pace but was out on his feet before the last, though comfortably holding a clear second. As is often the case with McCain runners, there wasn’t an obvious amount of progression to be inferred from his condition so he probably needs to race with a little more restraint. His best form to date has been on good ground.
GREXIT had the best form of those with hurdling experience but was left well behind to take a distant third.

PADS was never in the race and remote in the last six furlongs.
GENTLEMAN JAMES raced prominently early but was toiling when falling heavily at the seventh. He was down for a long time but we were thankful to see him walk back apparently none the worse.

Connections of KALAHARRY were on a fact finding mission and didn’t learn a huge amount as their charge came down after novice jump at the fifth flight. There was money at a long price but  those involved with him had no idea where it came from!

4.50 2m 5½f Connie's Celebration Handicap Chase (104-110)

A five-runner contest with largely exposed sorts won by the progressive animal in the field. One discouraging factor is that all five runners were fitted with tongue-ties.
Jackie Stephen does a fine job with her small string based at Inverurie. AMILLIONTIMES made it a hat-trick with a hard fought victory off an 11lbs higher mark. Held up, he was under the pump some way out, but that is not untypical and he made good progress from the home turn, joined issue at the last and saw his race out determinedly. It is difficult to tell how much more there is to come, but he will only be kept on the go if decent ground prevails and he struggles in the soft.

UP AND GO led and, after some alarming jumps at the first three, settled down quite nicely at a decent pace. He responded well when challenged two out but couldn’t fend off the winner’s challenge on the flat. He was rated 142 at best over hurdles and, though not near that level over fences, is at least a mark where he is competitive.
SEVEN DEVILS made a blunder or two, but was in touch approaching the last and unable to raise his game. He looks on his mark.

ROUGH JUSTICE has been largely regressive since his move from Ireland. He raced prominently and challenged between the last two, but was held from the last. He is at least offering connections some encouragement.
IS LOVE ALIVE was beaten two out and recent form is not wildly encoruaging.


5.25 2m 5f Bannerman Burke Taits Solicitors Handicap Hurdle (74-100)

A moderate bunch and few got into this race off a strong pace.
MOMKINZAIN has never really threatened over this sort of trip, but has dropped low in the handicap and was able to take advantage of a low weight in weak company. Sitting off the pace he picked runners off from three out and won going away. The ground presumably helped but I wouldn’t guarantee a follow up.

DANCEINTOTHELIGHT  set a strong pace and was clear most of the way, but he started to falter before the last and had no answer when the winner passed him. He wins only occasionally and is suited by a sharp track.
SON OF FEYAN was one to catch the eye in the paddock. He was never in the race seriously but stayed on late and just failed to grab second. This was his best hurdles effort to date.

DALAMAN was a drifter from a short price but on what he had done even SP of 11/4 looked very tight. He went second two out but could only plug on for a well held fourth.
It was difficult to take encouragement from the rest of the field and it’s sad to report that KILMAINHAM could not be saved following a heavy fall at the second flight.

6.00 2m 1f Jail Dornoch Supporting M.S. Handicap Chase (123-135)

THEFLYINGPORTRAIT has been progressive over recent months and made all to win under a penalty, staying on far too strongly for an exposed bunch.
I’MJOEKING hasn’t sparkled on sporadic appearances of late, having last won in summer 2014. He stayed on from the rear for second but never got near the winner.

GURKHA BRAVE had his chance if good enough, chasing the leader two out, but weakened before the last and finished tired. He was plenty fir enough off a break and there didn’t seem an obvious excuse.
ROMAN FLIGHT  has been running well of late but was comfortably held here, never getting near enough to land a blow and well beaten.

NAUTICAL TWILIGHT seemed to need the race after a break and should come on for this if well behind here. Similarly INDIAN VOYAGE is not one that would be expected first time and he will come on for the appearance, a tailed off last not his form.

6.30 2m Prinicipal and Prosper Handicap Hurdle (116-142)
Not a bad little contest on the face of it, but one turned into a procession by WISTY who led all the way and was comfortably clear from two out.  Having run three good races at Cartmel, he clearly relished this slightly stiffer track and is fine form, though he will be bumped up a long way for a 17 length win.

MARTILA was fit enough after a break and ran a sound race. Presumably her jockey thought the winner would come back to the field, and I suspect this effort might work out better than the distance beaten suggests.
LYRIC STREET chased the second home but was another 17 lengths adrift. He’s a summer sort and will presumably be put away unless the ground stays on the fast side.

RUACANA never got into the race on debut for  Tim Vaughan.
MARDALE was disappointing here, dropping away from three out having been prominent in the chasing group.

7.00 2m Mary Irving M S Borders Branch Standard Open NH Flat Race (Class 6)

The runners dawdled for the first half of the race and the favourite in particularly did seem suited by the ‘burn up’ from the home turn.

TOKARAMORE  looks decently bred for jumping. She raced prominently and stayed on a shade better than her two main rivals. She gave the impression that the race would do her no harm so there could be a step up on this form.
THOMAS TODD was not an obvious choice, either on breeding or paddock inspection. However, having shared the pace he stuck to his guns when the tempo increased and saw his race out for a creditably second.

TEMPLE MAN looked fit enough to do himself justice, though his stable inferred that there may be better to come. He challenged in the straight but came under pressure and weaved about  on the run to the dip a furlong and a half out and losing ground, keeping on well enough to the line. The experience should help.
BARNEY’S CAULKER is a squat thick set type from a table not renowned for bumper success. He was out-speeded from two out.

NOT FAR WRONG needed the race here.
MESSI’S MAGIC was lively in the paddock. This sort of contest was unlikely to be her strong suit and she has the build to show up better over obstacles in time.