Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Wetherby - Back to business

Regular readers of the blog may be aware of the odyssey I've endured with one Back To Bracka, a horse I've come to know well over the past six weeks.

In a nutshell, the story is thus - October 10; Horse looks great, join in the gamble, jockey gives horse an astonishing ride in atrocious ground, beaten 50 lengths. October 23; Dropped in trip, drifts like a barge, nearly wins @9/1. Promising. November 10; Chase debut over 2m 4f, jumps great, held up, never put in the race.

Which brings us to today. It looked the perfect opening for Lucinda Russell's charge, and I liked the booking of the promising C Nichol. Plenty of pace in the race meant the horse could be settled and brought steadily into the race.

The market was wild and woolly, and set the race up perfectly. Dunowen Point and Vasco D'Ycy have had holes in them for as long as I can remember, yet there was plenty of money around for both (admittedly and expectedly the cash dried up for the former.) Tiptoeaway didn't look anywhere near fit for his return and yet was backed into 5/1 - just a point more than the winner!!
Back To Bracka finally does the business - and we were on.
Quicuyo is a burly type who didn't fit the bill either while Tresor De Bontee rated the danger - a real solid jumper who was overpriced, probably based on the assumption he would fail to back up the Lingfield win.

That was the race as I saw it and I was happy to march in for some of the 4s on our hero, saving on Tresor Du Bontee. It's a race I'll be watching again as it looked like the second and third did little wrong behind the well-treated winner, with the relative time by far the best on the day. It was at least a step in the right direction for the well-backed Vasco D'Ycy.

By the time that fourth race came around we'd just managed to poke our heads in front after a hideous early setback.

The bunch for the opening claimer were miserable looking lot, with the odds-on Too Generous hardly standing out. But it's a mug's game trying to second guess these horses from the Pipe yard and I preferred to get against Leath Acra Mor, who minced around the paddock as if having a problem. Surely the ground would be an issue as well but it was through gritted teeth for all involved that he stuck his neck out for the place money behind the moody Harris.

The second was a competitive six-runner novice chase where favourite backers can feel aggrieved at the ride given by R Johnson aboard If In Doubt. A good-looking sort, if just a little on the weak side, he was ridden as if defeat was out of the question but an untimely mistake three out meant he wouldn't get to the winner Sego Success (fine, nothing special.)

Walk On Al didn't particularly appeal as one to pile into, ditto Billy Twyford who lacked the size and scope of the rest on his chase debut. Of much interest though was Volo Mio, who was interestingly ridden by B Hughes. A lovely tall, sizeable seven-year-old he looked really fit and well and should be found a much easier assignment in the coming weeks. Thom Thumb also looked great although he may lack ability.

The next saw the highly touted Ma Du Fou sent off at prohibitive odds against a big field that should throw up a good few winners. You wouldn't have picked the odds-on favourite out beforehand, being of medium build and rather workmanlike. The winner The Grey Taylor looked unchanged from his debut win and this was a decent performance under a penalty and in different ground.

Runner-up Rossmore's Pride was noted as a nice strong sort who was keen beforehand, others worth a mention were Acertain Circus (strong), Halcyon Days (fair sort, bit backward) while Mr Grey looked as though he would improve again for this second outing. A King's L'Amiral David doesn't look much at this stage.
Wasn't especially taken by Top Of The Glas
A third odds-on shot got turned over when Top Of The Glas was left with too much ground to make up on all-the-way winner Officer Drivel. Readers will know these baby races are not my forte and I had the first two down as weaker/speedier types, while Notnowsam (a lovely chestnut with good scope) is by far the most likely to progress with racing. Final Countdown did not sweat up as has been the case but has not progressed, although connections may now keep him for the better ground in the spring.

Sadly the handicap chase was a bit of a non-event as Smiles For Miles looked a good thing to follow up his impressive Chepstow win where he improved for the switch to fences. His main market rival Greenlaw is a good size and looked fit enough to give it some sort of race, while Chicklemix and What A Dream both looked as if their second outings of the season would bring them on again.

The market suggested the mares bumper was a bit of a match between the Crawford-trained Now Let Go and N Richards' Carinena. The latter looked very green beforehand though and quite fizzy, while the former was far more relaxed and she would know her job better. Midnight Silver is still weak and unfurnished and ran above my expectations, as did the winner Isla Fernandos who didn't particularly take the eye.

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