Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Wetherby

The horses were declared on good, good to soft ground but morning showers made life difficult for punters, the hurdles track appearing to ride better than the chase course, which looked soft, with times backing up the view that overall it was pretty tacky.

A ghastly seller opened proceedings with the Ellison pair Down Time and Newstart backed off the boards, to the exclusion of all else bar the favourite Mr Snoozy.

There was nothing to be gleaned from the paddock apart from learning that Newstart is little more than a pony. That trainer must be a genius, as the beast ran to a mark of approximately zero seven days ago when in the hands of JJ Hanlon.

Down Time had been backed all day into odds of 5/2, remarkable considering he looks like a horse destined never to win again.

Sigurd headed the weights for a competitive handicap hurdle and he's quite an imposing sort who nevertheless looked badly handicapped on novice form and market weakness told you everything you needed to know.

Next in was Caius Marcius, a horse the stable have always thought something of but has often been let down by his jumping, not unsurprisingly as he lacks a bit of size and scope.

But he clearly has an engine and, more importantly, the right attitude which can't be said for the frustrating Our Thomas, who had everything go his way but still couldn't get the job done with headgear applied.

Crickel Wood was fit but may not have acted on the ground, and C Longsdon is having a quiet patch at present.

He had the well-backed Nightline in the handicap chase but I wasn't mad-keen on his chances and once again he didn't finish his race off very well after cruising into contention on the home turn.

I couldn't keep the ultra consistent Leanna Ban out of the frame despite a big market drift and he looked better than he did last time, but D Cook was at his best once again on Swing Hard who finally came good with conditions in his favour.

I've said many times before that he doesn't properly stay 3m but a forceful ride at around 2m4f-6f suits best especially in some bad ground, and he jumped really well more importantly at a price that made him backable.

Although the softer conditions changed the complexion of the race I didnt agree with the market that the pair to concentrate on would be Powerful Symbol and Banny's Lad.

The former has a serious attitude problem and needs to be avoided, while the latter had no excuses at Doncaster last time and merely cantered round in terrible ground when beating trees at Sedgefield.

I have now lost more money on The Cobbler Swayne than any other horse in training. I remain convinced this horse wants three miles on proper good ground. They also seem to ride it like it's made of bone china. Just get it out there and get it galloping. It needs to man up!

One I didn't like at all here was morning favourite Clues And Arrows. The market drift was notable but still he lacks size and scope and it's little surprise most of his form has come at Cartmel on good ground.

The opening division of a novices handicap hurdle was the first real opportunity for Doctor Glaz to reveal his true identity. Tracks like Ayr and Kelso would be too tight for this huge animal, who doesn't fully stay 3m.

With conditions ideal he really had little reason not to win, although in the end he made it look hard work and I suspect he was idling all the way up the straight.

The form as it stands is worth very little, but he could learn a lot from this and he must surely be much better over fences.

There had been some huge pre-race gyrations in the price of Ask Paddy on the exchanges as he went search of a four-timer, eventually going off a well-backed 15/8 jolly for division two.

That was really in the absence of any real opposition, with Captain Mowbray and Rocky Two being perennial losers.

The obvious danger was Jester Jet on her debut for the likeable T Lacey yard. A weak mares maiden would have been at her mercy but they opted for the handicap route and she looked in fine order for this first outing in nine months.

She made a right horlicks of one down the far side but took it well enough in the end, like Doctor Glaz looking to idle in the straight and surely worthy of a clearer margin of victory.

A bumper closed the show but they weren't a great bunch. Word got around that Town Head had been going well and he looked as nice as any of them, and I'm sure they'll take him down the point-to-point route.

He just got touched off by Captain Woodie, defying a penalty by a narrow margin, but value for the win. The son of Presenting probably didn't enjoy the ground but is nice enough to go on to better things once he settles as he was keen before and during the race.

The Jefferson horse Fernan looks quite backward and didn't look one to be on, while Hello Fellas should have been capable of better as he's well made albeit on the small side at present. He's probably too weak at the moment and he looked quite keen, so could be a fair handicap project for the shrewd Richards outfit in time.