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.