Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Catterick - Happy days

It's always pleasant to nip up the road to Catterick where once again the sun was out and the horses were able to race on some decent jumping ground.

I'd had a couple of bets pre-racing, one of which was a bit of a punt on Cango in the 2m handicap chase. Connections had picked up a nice sort in Mister Spingsprong and with this one coming via a similar route I thought he could be alright against a very poor lot.

Looking at them beforehand only confirmed my view that he was the one to be one and judging by the market I wasn't alone. Cango is a big, tall youngster still on the weak side, and you could see why he wasn't getting home in Irish points.

But he's got a bit about him, more than can be said for market rival Dark And Dangerous, who simply looks like a flat horse and it must have been a very weak race he won here last season. With Cavite Eta and Pinder looking in need of the run after breaks, the only plausible danger was Safari Journey who hasn't won for four years.

Cango looked different grade to a poor lot
The winner was given a conspicuously easy time of it up front and if you'd backed the second you might have been left wondering about the ride he got from young Greenall.

We'd already banked some cash after cheering home Notnowsam in the juvenile hurdle. N Quinlan's youngster left a good impression at Wetherby, a race after which I wrote that he was 'by far the most likely to improve with racing.'

With the better ground sure to suit I thought he was a cracking each-way bet and frankly I was disappointed when the morning line favourite New Street was taken out. I was very surprised you could still get 5 on the machine near the off and it proved a great wager, knuckling down late on as if the penny had finally dropped. He'll continue to be worth following and he jumps particularly well.

They made Grand Meister a well-backed favourite but he's a big gangly thing with plenty of filling out to do, and most of his form had been on the all-weather. He too should improve for the experience. The remainder weren't much to speak of, with Tashbeeh once again catching the eye staying on late and is one with handicaps in mind.

Chieftain's Choice was a very short price to defy a penalty in the novice hurdle and he did so with ease...he must have a decent engine as he's not a looker, medium build at most. But J Quinn does great with this type and no doubt he'll be campaigned sympathetically.

Runner-up Argent Knight gave valiant chase and he looked a nice sort beforehand, compact and fit for his debut, while Jacks Last Hope was the paddock pick but proved very disappointing and this surely wasn't his running.  Neither May's Boy nor Rough King looked fit but the latter is a likeable sort with good size and this run underlined the return to form of the Candlish yard.

The stayers handicap hurdle looked very tricky but I wouldn't have put anyone off the winner Iconic Rose, who is a nice strong mare who looked fit enough for this return from a year off. She looks tough and will continue to pay her way.

Foot The Bill ran his race yet again in second despite getting warm while Another Dimension is quite a nice sort who should be able to jump a fence. Palm Grey was the potential improver but I'd seen him on both his runs at Hexham and he's got a lot of filling out to do before he'll be seen to best effect. One more for the long term. The rest looked a real average bunch.

Notnowsam confirmed Wetherby promise in style
If In Doubt provided the talent on the afternoon and he overcame a hell of a blunder to win the beginners chase. He's a real nice sort who will be much better off in a better standard of race when they go quicker, as he seemed to jump better the further they went. Cheltenham may be a bit too much for him but he may yet win a decent prize this term.

Askamore Darsi gave him a good tow before coming down at the last. He was probably running to his hurdle mark of around 120 and I wouldn't go overboard about him, however I do like the other two Volo Mio and Lord Brendy.

I mopped up plenty of big prices in the morning about the former but he was never put in the race today which accounted for the late drift. He's a nice big sort as I mentioned at Wetherby last time and if the handicapper is kind he could be one to follow as he gains experience...he finished full of running suggesting there's plenty under the bonnet.

Lord Brendy is a horse I like and has a nice handicap in him if he is well placed in the near future. He jumps like an old hand and a trip of around 2m5f looks perfect at this time with some cut in the ground. If they put a different jockey up he could be maximum bet material.

The bumper was one of the more interesting ones as the Irish duo of Junius Brutus and Chitu looked the most forward of the seven, the latter a particularly good mover while the former remains on the weak side.

Bear Island Flint did not take the eye at all while My Teescomponents is a big backward horse that surprisingly garnered market support. Along Came Theo has plenty of size about him and once again showed some promise, in different hands he may have a future.

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