Sunday, 14 October 2018

Hexham - October 13

Conditions were truly abysmal as strong winds carried showers through with them during the day, with the going softening although it was never that desperate.

That the opening maiden hurdle was won by a 10 year old probably tells you all you need to know about the race, and although the booking G Sheehan didn't appear significant beforehand it did afterwards.

Glen Roe looked to be carrying condition pre-race but that didn't stop those connected with the horse backing him from 66s into 25s; some of these Irish handlers clearly know their onions.

The betting was dominated by southern raiders, and Hobbs's Arthur Mac had the best bumper form plus looked most forward, but he was simply too novicey on his first start over timber and lost momentum at most obstacles. He's not one to give up on just yet.

The Bowens' Fortunes Hiding had plenty of size about him and clearly looked as though the run would bring him on. The way he travelled through the race suggested he has his share of ability and it came as little surprise that he faded late on. He'll come on plenty and find a race.

Ain't My Fault is a gigantic chaser in the making and showed a bit of speed to lead them to the final climb, where his lack of condition told. He's probably too unfurnished to make an impact over hurdles and he may need a lot of time.

The novices handicap chase was a difficult race to assess and threw up a second nibbled-at outsider in the shape of previous course winner Sophie Olivia, who is on the small side but wasn't fazed by this first outing over fences.

After nearly 12 months off it was a fair training performance from a yard not easy to predict. There did appear to be value in the race as Creadan Grae was short enough after landing what I felt was a weak race last time, when decent ground and an easy lead probably saw him to good advantage.

Granard came in for support despite not really impressing as a chase type beforehand and he was never sighted, even for those with strong binoculars.

The Paddy Pie is a typical plain, chaser that the Smith yard does well with and he'll surely come on for the run, while Heart Of Kernow looked pretty straight for such a big horse and is an out and out chaser.

He met the final ditch wrong and came down before Hughes had asked him for an effort. He's keen going and this looks his trip, and he can make amends if all is well.

Bako De La Saulaie looked fairly straight but was disappointing last season and although he has time on his side he ran his usual race, which is basically just showing the one pace when the chips are down.

His future surely lies over 3m or even further but his mark leaves him exposed to more progressive types for now, while he just lacks for a little bit of size.

Le Frank was given a typical 'first time out' ride over fences, allowed to do his own thing essentially being passed by most of the field and then re-passing all bar the front three.

This is his trip for now but he'll want further before long, and he was keen in his earlier races. With no mileage on the clock, he's a tall, angular individual likely to improve as the season goes on.

Simply The Betts was the class horse on show and he travelled like a good thing in the novice hurdle, and after looking pretty straight beforehand I was surprised he didn't put the race to bed, eventually having to battle to beat the Smiths' Informateur.

The conditions were so poor though it was basically job done and connections view the second season novice as well-handicapped, knowing full well that a win here was unlikely to change that.

The runner-up looked quite backward physically but this chase type was the second Smith horse to run well on the day, and they came well clear.

Torrid, a miler on the flat, came through for third and although he's robust enough it remains to be seen what he can do in this sphere. Sweet Vinetta also made some useful late gains and this staying type could make her mark in handicaps later on.

The 3m chase was attritional in the conditions and not many fancied it, particularly Spinning Scooter who had his ears pinned back throughout proceedings, but it found the inconsistent Misfits on a going day and he was the only one that really travelled.

Born For War was tight at the head of the market and he looks a strong staying type, he'll probably improve a bit even though he was pretty straight but isn't one to go overboard about.

A staying hurdle was up next and it saw the initially frustrating Rivabodiva record another big PB, running right away from them in conditions she clearly relishes. She looked very fit and that was another advantage she had over her rivals.

I was a little disappointed in The Hollow Ginge, who shapes as though extreme distances will suit, but he didn't look entirely at ease on the track and may not be wholly straight forward, but this hurdling type should pay his way.

Sharp Response is more of a flat track horse and looked likely to improve for the outing, and this looked a sighter for a return to fences next time out. Tikkenwolf was well-backed at his favourite track but the ground had turned against him.

The 0-100 handicap chase was typically weak, and it gave Take A Break the opportunity to win first time up for M Walford, well ridden by J Hamilton who kept nudging away on this confirmed stayer. He's only small though and he wasn't gaining at his fences.

Seven Devils has long since looked unreliable and again didn't really find much off the bridle after having every chance clearing the last. John Williams is a big unit, but looked straight enough on this bid to win for a second successive year.

The bumper featured another Hobbs hotpot in Little Rory Mac, but he faced one with similar form in Mr Scrumpy and the latter looked a nicer type beforehand, pretty straight while the booking of R Day caught the eye.

He travelled well and paid a handsome compliment to the pair that beat him at Market Rasen, a bumper that looked decent at the time, coming right away on the bridle.

Little Rory Mac is a light framed, lengthy individual who didn't seem to act on the undulations and will need more time, runner-up Creadan Belle is only tiny while third home Largy Mountain has some substance and looked pretty wound up for this.