Thursday 30 October 2014

Sedgefield: Royale rout

The downside of going racing and letting your eyes do the talking is that often the market has already taken shape and sometimes you just have to take what it gives you.

That was the case today and it led to a quiet day's punting, made all the more melancholy by the plight of Kenny Johnson, who had to be airlifted to hospital after a crunching fall from Lord Brendy. I hope and believe all will be well with the veteran.

Golden Jubilee was a very warm order to land the opener and in truth there was very little to field against it - a small interest in Amir Pasha went west and it was left to the previously ordinary Nautical Twilight to serve it up to the jolly, only to go down fighting.

There was little to be gleaned beforehand, other than to reinforce the feeling that Mister Jones is up to winning one of these - although once again he showed precious little.

I was hot on the chances of Island Heights in a competitive novices handicap chase after a pleasing sighter at Perth but he never got to grips with Sharp Rise, who had shortened in the betting.

The winner was sweating between the legs early on - rarely a good sign - but it didn't stop P Robson's unexposed sort, who could do well in this sphere.

Island Heights lost no caste after a couple of early slow leaps while the third, Ballymoat, is a proper chaser and will come on for this and do well over a little further.

Stablemate Clan William also looks alright although he was a tad disappointing as was the punted Vasco D'ycy, who had a big hole in it when last seen and has been entrusted with Jedd O'Keefe to find the answers.

For one so heavily backed he was never seen with a chance and it remains to be seen if they can unlock what talent there is.

Another disappointment was Silver Gent, although I really wanted to be against it as he looks a real out-and-out stayer and of course the McCain yard remains in the doldrums.

It's a shame Lord Brendy came down so early as there's races to be won with him, while Markem ended last season with issues which have still to be ironed out on this evidence.

I couldn't unlock the 2m4f handicap hurdle even though I wanted to take on Sendiym, who is now handicapped to his best. Fair play to Acordingtoscript to back up his Carlisle win off a 13lb higher mark.

I liked the look of Spitz, who was well supported and did well to chase the winner home after an early blunder saw him shuffled back, but not the filly Spieta who did not take the eye at all.

One who did was Aficionado, and nice sort who has filled out and will be better for this pipe-opener. Shrewd connections may be looking to get the mark down even further before pulling the trigger but he's definitely going to do the business this term.

I thought I'd found one in Mulligan's Man and after a nibble at big odds he went off single figures only to stop to nothing at the top of the hill, and he's clearly one to have reservations about.

Sam Lord is a gross horse who will surely improve for it, especially as he was unusually held up here before running on into fourth.

The market had sorted out the four-runner distance hurdle early on but I needed to see them in the paddock to clarify things before playing.

The backed Rev It Up is a big chasing sort who was fit for this return but had got rather warm, although he was not the only one to do so on an unseasonably mild afternoon.

Having missed the prices I opted to take on Night In Milan, who had a sighter in this race 12 months ago and once again had come for the day out, without the essential blinds, and yet was backed in late doors to favouritism.

The Durham National was another race in which the players had long since shown their hands, with Royale Knight backed off the boards all day and sent of at 11/4. I couldn't force myself to play at that price even if I wanted to, and he duly bolted up.

Lackamon looked a deal fitter than at Wetherby a fortnight ago, yet can improve again, while Kilbree Lad is very awkward at the walk and surprised me by taking third - he's very consistent.

Sun Cloud was the only other to get round and he looked well, only just better for the outing. They'll find another marathon for him in due course I'm sure and at least this moderate jumper got a clean round in.

Bit Of A Jig, Speed Master and Jurisdiction all looked perfectly fit to do themselves justice, while Many Stars was very warm and for a big horse this test came a little early in his career.

Oorayvic was heavily backed to win a poor 2m handicap chase but he got very warm in the prelims and the suspicion was this came too soon after a hard race at Kelso 12 days earlier. He's bred to stay much further and given a few weeks off he can build on these two runs.

The eventual winner Carters Rest was around 15L behind at Kelso and off a career low mark could be given a squeek and had been nibbled at in the betting. For a horse rising 12 he looked pretty sprightly and was held together well to do the business in a race that took no winning.

Henri De Boistron was the dark horse but the four-year-old looked ungainly and green beforehand and was unable to capitalise on the allowance, although the penny seemed to drop late on and there may be a poor race to be won with him as this was his first real piece of form.

Little could be said for the others - Morning Time is not much to look at and does not go well here while Dynamic Drive is not well handicapped on his hurdles form and is an unlikely improver for larger obstacles. The others could not be given a chance.

The closing bumper fielded some useful types for the future. The favourite After Toniight was fully tuned up but was free to post while the other market principle Chitu looks more of a stayer and the Crawford yard does not seem to be firing right now.

McCain's Court Of Law is very much on the leg and got warm, while Paddy Mulligan is a nice sort that was on his toes, and Professor Plum is a lovely big sort - another nice youngster from the Dobbin yard.

Smooth Stepper is big and tall, but was green beforehand and will improve bundles from what was an informative contest. To be honest it was all a bit frantic after the Johnson incident as officials tried to make up the time and hopefully we can be more calm and focused at Wetherby tomorrow.

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