Thursday, 25 April 2019

Southwell - April 24

A chilly, largely dry evening to end the season and although the going was good they had watered plenty and times suggested it was a bit dead, although it was modest fare in the main.

A 0-110 chase opened proceedings and the betting was as wild as the race itself, hefty support for the moody Silent Steps hard to fathom despite winning here earlier in the season when the race fell in her lap.

Loch Linnhe went in the opposite direction but had first time blinkers in a bid to reverse his slide in form, and they seemed to do the trick as he got up in the shadows of the post, seeing his race out well despite some hairy leaps.

Little Windmill came second again despite racing off an historically high mark and this small horse often finds himself outgunned late on, not necessarily due to an attitude problem.

The same cannot be said for the others, Cruising Bye coming from a mile back to pick up third place after not appearing in the rudest of health beforehand, in other circumstances he may well have finished tailed off.

Race two wasn't much stronger, the 0-100 event looking to be at the hands of Hexham scorer Johnny Yuma who looked none the worse for those recent exertions and he duly hacked up at quite rewarding odds; this strapping horse seems to have turned the corner.

Cervaro Mix looked an unfurnished sort ahead of an easy assignment but he had to be rousted along to collect and he looks likely to struggle from his allotted mark.

A good field of eight gathered for a staying hurdle and The Drone looked in rude health off a break for the somewhat beleaguered A Hales yard, which has endured a quiet campaign.

The PTP winner had been absent since failing to take to regulation fences but was fit and well in a pre-race hood, and went with plenty of enthusiasm in a race that saw a few under perform.

Point N Shoot came in for support on the back of a Sedgefield saunter but form from the Co Durham venue cannot be trusted and N Hawke's light-framed horse failed to reproduce his latest effort from a much higher mark, the jockey unable to claim the full 7lb as well.

Flying Verse looked sure to run his race back at a venue where he's won twice but simply looked to bump into a slightly better handicapped one, while Sackett ran a typically solid race without really looking as though he was going to win.

A three-runner mares hurdle was quite intriguing but we settled on the jolly being a bit of value at the off, O Sherwood's Millarville holding much the strongest form of the trio and looking to have more stamina than the other pair.

Those Court Cave genes held her in good stead up the straight and she toughed it out against a back-to-form Ceara Be, while Prophets Prayer once again suggested she'll be a force in handicaps, staying on nicely after appearing burly off an absence beforehand.

All eyes were on Just Call Me Al in the next after a soft unseat here at the last meeting when bearing down on the leaders, and he ran a similar sort of race coming from some way off the pace under his 10lb claiming rider.

The winner, Manofthemoment, had been given a much more positive ride by R Patrick with the step up in trip sure to suit, and this smallish compact horse was a worthy winner having plenty in the tank at the line.

The runner-up also hit the line running and Just Call Me Al will remain of interest now he is settling better, seeing out this trip well. He has plenty of size and scope and hopefully will now be put away before a novice chase campaign.

Midnight Aurora was weak in the betting and compromised by a hold-up ride considering her form over further, and although not very big she appears well capable of building on this return when sent back over 3m. Little else appealed with Shine Baby Shine's form all on very deep ground, while Timely Gift has no scope whatsoever.

The race of most interest as so often is the case for us paddock watchers was the bumper and I was keen on Old Jeroboam after this likeable son of Jeremy had got up close home to land what looked a fairly strong race at Wetherby.

With J Nailor reducing the burden he looked just about good enough to defy the penalty despite strong support for the debutante Celtic Tara, who had plenty of size about her.

Experience can often count for plenty in these races and the jolly was far too green to repeat what must have been some decent home work, instead the sizeable Skelton youngster Olly The Brave was the one sticking it to the other market leader.

Nailor had to get down and dirty after the slow early fractions but Old Jeroboam once again finished strongly to collect and looks a fair tool for next season, the pair pulling nicely away from Symphony Hall, who was typical of the Greatrex yard in looking compact and unfurnished on his opening start.