Thursday, 17 October 2019

Wetherby - October 16

Unseasonably wet weather is bringing them out in their droves, an eight race card on good to soft ground and those with recent form again proving that fitness is key at this time of year.

The two divisions of the juvenile held little interest here, particularly weak as they were especially the second leg where the double penalised Maria Magdalena wasn't out of second gear to win again. Nothing to see here.

The whole world wanted to take on Sam Spinner on his fencing debut it seemed and layers were preening themselves after the insubstantial seven-year-old was starting to tail off five fences out.

However, he was able to latch onto the leading trio on the long run to the next and his jumping, although rather low, seemed to get better the quicker he went.

Reeling in the much larger Beakstown on the run-in, the few who stayed faithful to the top-class staying hurdler were rewarded at healthy odds, and he will remain something of a conundrum next time.

Beakstown may just have needed the run and didn't seem to enjoy being in front, either early or late on. This muddling affair didn't see him in his best light I think it's fair to say.

Return Ticket looks a proper horse that has been minded until now by patient connections, and he ran a race full of promise in third.

Better ground may suit him and he will certainly be sharper next time...you could see him contesting a decent race at Aintree or Ayr come the spring.

Vado Forte continues to race on his nerves and was edgy beforehand, he still lacks condition possibly because of these tendencies but if he ever settles down he could prove very useful.

A decent novice hurdle came next where it was clear that a talented hurdling newcomer would be required to take down the double penalised Jatiluwih, who has the make and shape of a very good horse indeed.

All bets were off though when he unshipped D Maxwell on the way to the start - the double bluff meaning he went unbacked at tasty odds as he came home a cosy winner ahead of some promising types.

The heavily backed West Cork lost nothing in defeat on this rules debut, a decent looking type he's still weak in front and was certainly over-bet beforehand.

Young Bull had some tidy bumper form for a stayer and he looks tough as teak, a compact, strong individual who looked in need of the outing. As such this effort was meritorious indeed.

Dino Boy is worth a mention in fourth, while Eclair On Line was disappointingly small and only workmanlike in appearance. Russian Invasion is a lovely staying chaser for the long term.

Blowout of the race was the good looking Keep Rolling, whom R Johnson didn't fight early on and he was a spent force by the home turn.

The handicap chase wasn't as competitive as the numbers first suggested but by the time it was clear market leaders Crievehill and Sky Pirate were the ones to be with, neither made much appeal at 9/4.

The latter has his own ways of getting from A to B and it wasn't the first time he got low at one when capsizing four from the finish. He is capable of picking up a decent handicap this season with his high cruising speed if he puts it all together.

Crievehill looked in terrific health for his seasonal debut and was ridden positively on this drop in grade - he looks sure to go well if they tackle the Grand Sefton next.

I say the same thing every year but it should be evident by now that the Sue Smith horses are not wound up on their first starts of the season at this time of year and they were all very much in the need of the run this day.

The staying handicap hurdle looked wide open despite several players racing from career high perches, race fit trio Jacks Last Hope, Victarion and Justatenner coming to the fore in a daft little race where they pottered round for the most part. No sectionals required here.

Teescomponents Lad probably just needed the run but the dawdle wouldn't have suited and he's worth sticking with, however Monkey Puzzle proved disappointing.

Ecu De La Noverie was the buzzword ahead of the 2m handicap chase but connections are clearly finding out about him as they go and the ducks weren't aligned this time.

Held up off a fast pace, 'Dave' made good headway in search of the double but took a pull round the home turn, ceding first run to B Hughes on Ballyvic Boru and that proved the key to the race.

Ecu looks a very useful chaser in the making and an extra half mile should suit, while I thought he would tighten up a bit for the outing.

The winner had a recent spin under his belt and it finally clicked for this frustrating type who had disappointed me too many times before. To be fair you could have made excuses but he took his chance this time, benefiting from the strong gallop.

Sir Egbert rallied nicely to get third and he ought to prove capable from his current mark, while Treshnish was only half fit and shaped quite well in the circumstances.

The closing 0-140 was a weak race for the grade and presented Project Bluebook with his easiest assignment for a long time despite being high enough in the handicap.

Poor Jonjo Jnr had his brain scrambled by the low sun and chequered flags, mistakenly bypassing the third last when setting sail for home. It was a chance gone begging but whether he would have beaten the impressive Antunes is a moot point.

The Skelton horse caught the eye in a big way beforehand, being a big rangy chaser and looking very fit for this seasonal debut. It can't be long before they switch to fences and the way he went through the race was impressive.