There was no bet in the first even though the Williams beast Definite Dream has never impressed on looks or attitude and this big chasing type should have been the lay of the day. Hindsight etc, etc.
Readers may recall the column talking up Major Ivan after his tidy win here last time and he was odds on to back that up, looking wonderful again in the prelims.
|Paddock watchers knew Sharp Rise was fit from a break - did you?|
I watched the race pan out before getting involved and was surprised to see the odds largely unchanged at halfway despite Reveley sitting handily out in front on Sharp Rise.
Readers will know that I rate JR as the best in the north by some way right now, especially when he's allowed to dictate the fractions. Hughes was just having to restrain the favourite in behind and it looked like Reveley had things under control so we had to go in.
Make no mistake, the second will be a very nice chaser next term as he's plenty of maturing to do. But Sharp Rise could be fair and he jumped with great aplomb again - it was a signature of his win over fences and he should be up to winning many more.
The staying chase was a ghastly affair - just the type Over And Above likes to pop up in every now and then. He looked awful prior to winning at Catterick but was in good order here and well worth a punt at decent odds with little else worthy of the name. I particularly didn't like the front pair in the market with the slow Strike Fast merely a nominal favourite.
|Old rogue Over And Above did it again|
He's a decent sort sort, held back by the handling of S Drake and on a couple of occasions being run too quickly after a good run. He needs time between runs and with D Costello in the plate he was sure to go well in what was a tricky heat.
I was surprised by the run of Be A Dreamer who has looked overcooked for some time. I can't wait to see him after a summer at grass and he's sure to improve a ton. This was a good effort but i'm convinced he'll be a stone better in short time come November/December.
With morning rain turning the ground soft there were a spate of non-runners and it made finding value a little tricky. There was little 'v' around in the next when they went 6/4 each Our Boy Ben and Shady Lane with question marks over the pair.
I'd been to the well twice with the former of late but this drop in trip was sure to suit, while I wasn't convinced about the Skelton horse on soft ground. I had to side with Jefferson's horse and backed him to recover recent losses - a not inconsiderable amount!
|Finally a return off Our Boy Ben|
The stayers hurdle looked a riddle but I was very keen on Heart O Annandale despite a weight hike for his decent run in a maiden hurdle at Hexham last time. That was a poor bit of placing from connections but I figured this nice chase had had a ton in hand at the time, and was just coming to form.
He looked in really good heart beforehand and once again with the market leaders Kilcullen Article and Urban Gale readily opposable it all looked to fall into place. Even the runner-up Blue Cove looked fantastic and running off somewhere near his correct mark for the time was certain to run his race and it was no surprise when he ran on to fill the forecasts lot.
With the pockets full, we decided to skip the last where only a handful were left following a clutch of scratchings.