Thursday, 21 November 2019

Hexham - November 21

Frosty, drying conditions probably made for some very holding conditions although some of the times didn't seem awful, but they did miss out the usual second last flight of hurdles.

The opening handicap hurdle looked a closely contested race but it was won in striking fashion by the Irish raider Duchess Ravenwaves, who was fit beforehand as you would expect although isn't the most taking specimen.

But she won this with any amount in hand, although you could argue that her chief rivals didn't have things in their favour, while runner-up Sleepy Haven is building up quite a losing run.

Fourth-placed Monfass is possibly better on a flatter track and maybe better ground, he seems to have more speed than stamina, while the eye was drawn to Shetland Bus who looked big and burly on his debut for Justin Landy.

Never put in the race at any stage, a wind problem was given for the seeming lack of effort on the jockey's part, but the fact he was only 12 lengths off fourth at the finish suggests he is one to keep a very close eye on.

The market sorted a few out at the head of affairs in the novices handicap chase and it looked a straight match between recent winners Mah Mate Bob and Bering Upsun, the latter much preferred having caught the eye in the paddock looking in particularly good order.

J Ewart's inmate traded at odds-on for much of the back straight before making a howling error three from home, effectively ending his chances.

He'd been a little careful at times prior to that and victory was far from assured, especially with Mah Mate Bob already having proven himself a tough nut to crack when the chips are down.

Surprise of the race was the performance of Lastin' Memories, who looked far from fit in the prelims and was having his first start over the larger obstacles, but he didn't do a great deal wrong before going down narrowly. His strike rate is a poor one, but he should improve on this.

One of the more intriguing races for the track came up next with southern raider Kiltealy Briggs a surprising uneasy favourite despite coming up against a handful of horses in the process of getting themselves handicapped.

Money came for one of them in the shape of Theflickeringlight but she didn't look fully wound up on her second start of the season and was allowed to bowl along at the head of affairs with little chance of getting home in the conditions.

By contrast, another likeable project in All Hail Caesar was held up in rear but he was unable to make much of an impact and finished equally tired...this robust individual didn't look a great deal fitter than 12 days previously and I'd expect to see both horses entered in handicaps over the festive season.

Itsnotyouitsme again did well to finish second although is a bit on the small side and may just struggle a bit if taking the handicap route, but a small novice should fall his way.

It was all about the winner though and J Snowden has a smart prospect on his hands as Kiltealy Briggs galloped clear of the opposition, relishing the stamina test presented to him. A marked step up in grade surely awaits this striking chase type, who has loads of filling out to do.

The four miler made very little appeal as a betting medium, three race-fit horses filling the first four and they came home really strongly despite a healthy gallop being set by the winner Dontdelay, Lowanbehold claiming second despite an absence.

A wise sage assured me the prices were 'all wrong' in the two-runner novices chase and he proved spot on as the nicely backed outsider Just Your Type jumped and galloped his way to a facile victory over Supremely Lucky, whose goose was cooked after seeming to take a false step with about a mile to race.

The finale was a poor affair and punters couldn't resist the recent course form of Espoir Moriviere, who was backed into an insanely short price, but over this trip he had no answer to Casimir Du Clos, reverting to hurdles with a stylish success.

J Landy's second runner on the card McCrackens Gate came in for solid support at big odds and rewarded each-ways backers with a solid effort; he looked a good deal straighter than the one in the opening race but there was still a bit to work on and I'd expect him to build on this.

It's difficult to hold out much hope for the rest.