Thursday 22 January 2015

Catterick - A jolly good Fella

Catterick escaped the snow that enveloped Wetherby overnight and the going was soft, although the times suggested it rode a bit better than that.

Regulars may remember the chagrin with which I viewed Grate Fella's impressive victory over the course before Christmas, when I had tipped him up as one to follow this season but failed to invest at a double figure price.

Well, he was back at the Bridge in his first handicap as a chaser and it looked a fine opportunity to maintain his unbeaten record at the A1 track, where he'd also won a hurdle.

Initially he looked short enough in the betting but after the 'information' punters came for Tiptoeaway he drifted to a backable 11/4 and I decided enough was enough.

Grate Fella did not go unbacked this time

I didn't really see many dangers as Tiptoeaway does not seem the force of old following an injury last year, while the other horse of interest Russborough needs at least 2m 4f. They also punted Vasco D'Ycy for the umpteenth time but he has yet to deliver in the least.

It was pleasing therefore to see Grate Fella looking magnificent beforehand. He's a lovely big horse as previously mentioned but he looked in fine health and on good terns with himself. By this time the 9/4 looked a good bet.

Russborough was not as fresh as last time and ran a similar race, staying on at one pace. He should be ready to go and I can see this one going through the weights with two or three wins this spring when stepped up in trip...he looks a decent sort.

Commiserations must go to connections of Mojolika, a model of consistency who didn't deserve to lose his life at just seven.

It was a much-needed win on a personal note on a muddling sort of day. Over And Above was a 'gettable' outsider having won the staying handicap 12 months ago, particularly considering the market leaders were readily opposable.

Fromthetop made no appeal, being rather small and having a weak profile, predictably running in snatches, while Runswick Days has yet to prove he stays this trip and really ought to be fitted with blinkers.

Enough has been said here about the attitude of Wakhan under pressure to not have to repeat those views, which were backed up in spades once again. A strong lay helped to offset a pre-race bet on Brokethegate, who looked in great fettle but clearly has a gaping hole and going by the way it traded somebody knew.

Gone Forever shaded market leader Desilvano in the opener, but again 'they' seemed to know the outcome of this before the tapes went up, Gone Forever very poor at his hurdles and not one to get involved with currently.

However, the Ellison/Cook combo had better luck when the very likeable Yorkist stayed upright to win the novices chase as the odds-on Tango De Juilley tipped up four out.

Yorkist initiated a double for in-form Danny Cook
I had a little interest in the winner as he's such a dependable sort and once again looked fabulous, the extra distance being of concern. He would probably has finished second but the favourite looked a shade quirky in the prelims and I felt there was a chance he may not be foot-perfect.

The third Calculated Risk does not have the size and scope for fences but I wouldn't be surprised if they persevere with him as this was merely an exercise for him, and he actually jumps okay. Good ground will be key for him this spring.

I liked the way Minella Hero moved through his debut for the Smiths at Newcastle last time and he was worth a wager in a tight handicap hurdle, and he once again caught the eye before backing out of things.

He may not be putting it all in as he wore cheekpieces when successful in Ireland, but a hold-up ride may suit and surely a return to a sound surface will see him in better light.

Local Hero returned to form after a break and won easily with the handicapper having relented; he is only small but was fit of course. Getabuzz is becoming interesting in spite of showing little once more. He may not be in the best of form but hasn't been put in any of his races of late and the reapplication of blinkers may be a signal that he is ready to go again.

The finale was a poor handicap hurdle in which Air Chief, Copt Hill, Made Of Diamonds and Deny took the eye in terms of fitness and good health and the winner was sure to come from these.

Deny has not been easy to keep right but the Hogarth horses have looked in good order this term and he won well landing a punt in the process. I didn't account for the grey Amtired and my exactas came in 1,3,4 which is pretty much par for the course right now.

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