Friday 28 February 2014

Catterick - Just Divine

Good to soft, very dead ground greeted the runners after an all-too-brief dry spell. It was a weakest card though with only a couple of races worthy of serious interest.

The opener was a two-horse affair and it was very much a case of 'after you sir'. Dursey Sound was made favourite to be beat the equally irresolute Bit of a Jig, who was allowed to lead and there he stayed. The winner is a nice-looking son of Alderbrook but is happy to save plenty for himself - at least connections have yet to call on any headgear, although that may not last long. Dursey Sound is only six but already looks a dog.

Summerlea, very fit and well, finally gained his reward for a consistent season in the lady riders hurdle where Blue Sea of Ibrox ran an encouraging race in third. A poor looking filly with hardly anything behind the saddle, she could improve vastly with a change of trainer and a good feed.

Benzanno was opposed by the regressive Rock A Doodle Doo in the maiden hurdle but Maguire bossed it from the front as he is apt to do at the Bridge and won as he liked. There's not much hope left for the eventual third, now seven, who was outstayed by the uncertain stayer Kolonel Kirkup.

As always for your correspondent, the 2m handicap chase was of great interest and the angle into the race was the short priced favourite Lucky Sunny, a faller two starts ago but a close second at Ludlow last time. I'd seen him earlier in the season at the same track and he's not the best of jumpers, not the most pre-possessing of types and at the age of 11 was one for the taking. The two-milers in the race weren't the most inspiring though, with the likes of Turf Trivia and Cloverhill Lad always ones to take on. Little Jimmy could be given a squeak in first time cheekpieces but he's only moderate and it had to be the Foxhunters runner-up Divine Intavention who was the one to be with. The trip was an obvious concern, but he's not the typical big hunter chaser being quite compact yet strong, and it was worth chancing that the gallop he could maintain would be enough for these. As it happened he had a solo run round, with Lucky Sunny capsizing early on and the rest unable to keep tabs on the nibbled-at winner. Happy days.

The staying hurdle saw a mixed bunch gathered and none impressed much beforehand. Mootabar and Quobilai look more like chasers so the former's run was worthy of note, while Madam Lilibet is becoming one to oppose as the cheekpieces didn't have any effect here. Brae On was at first glance one to take on after winning last time but I thought he looked capable of improvement and after two months off was produced in good shape by G Bewley to win again and was well-backed to do so, although didn't carry my money. Not necessarily one to follow, but maybe the trainer is.

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