Wednesday 28 January 2015

Newcastle - Fog on the Tyne

More rum weather greeted the trip to Tyneside where the ground looked pretty hard work and a fierce headwind up the straight to boot.

Now with the best will in the world I like to think punters get a fair crack of the whip most of the time, but sometimes the dark forces rear their heads on two occasions it was apparent tissue favourites were going to get rolled.

On to that in a moment but first the opener where punters opted for the flat-bred charms of Zip Top over the strong, jumps type Fascino Rustico despite strong racecourse whispers for the latter.

It came as little surprise that the latter had too many guns up the tough straight though, and bigger things now await. In behind, Imperial Prince was eye-catching in fourth - he's a fair sort, a bit on the leg but pretty fit for this seasonal return. Clan Chief is a lovely chasing type but looks very immature at present.

The handicap over three miles was by far the most interesting contest of the afternoon but here the market was extremely vocal, with No Through Road a huge drifter from an early 5/4 as he went in search of win number six.

How THEY knew he would run a stinker is beyond my ken but knew they certainly did. It was still a competitive little race and I've spoken in glowing terms about the merits of Little Glenshee here before.

I had gone in early doors but this was a trappy event and I was looking to offload at some stage as both Beeves and Silverton had chances, the former very well backed all day and you could see why when he arrived in the paddock looking very sprightly indeed.

The fact he got an easy lead was not lost on the in-running players and under a fine ride from K Renwick Beeves held the challenge of Little Glenshee, who saw the three miles out well. However I didn't like her finishing effort and I've now got a squiggle against her - I'd like to see her in cheekpieces and an aggressive ride from the front.

The staying hurdle saw MacGillicuddy put in a short-priced favourite and to these eyes a solid one at that, yet he drifted like a barge and was beaten a mile from the finish. He looked fabulous beforehand yet THEY knew he wouldn't win. Go figure.

In the end it was Amore Mio who made all under an enterprising ride to win just his second race since 2009 - good luck if you were on that. Verko, as always, was lean and on his toes but his last chance went at Carlisle last time and he looks to be useless.

The four runner chase over 2m4f looked to be at the mercy of Cobajayisland, yet he couldn't be backed because of the jockey and once again P Buchanan read it all wrong and conspired to get the horse beat.

Having allowed McCain's Up And Go to blow the cobwebs away on an uncontested lead the veteran Scot then decided to go and win his race fully a mile from the finish. A slovenly leap five out gave the initiative back to his main rival but Buchanan put the gun to the head of his mount again, winning the race for a second time on jumping the second last.

But Peter, the winning line comes after you've jumped the last and by that time the race was run, the canny J Maguire pulling his mount wide to challenge again and forge clear on the run -in.

The proximity of the third Top Cat DJ possibly tells you that the front two had gone at it plenty early enough; that said the big outsider does look a fair sort and appeared capable of leaving his very modest hurdles form behind. Once again Scimon Templar was backed but his supporters must have turned a shade of grey by now.

I'd give Cobajayisland one more chance in the hope that he gets a more balanced ride. Good ground may also be of benefit so there should be opportunities this spring. As for the winner, he's on the small side and could be one to oppose next time especially if upped in grade.

The maiden hurdle saw Dan Emmett put in very short in a race where several could be given some sort of chance. He's a nice big sort but could do with more experience over timber before he's ready to carry support. Lovely Job gave McCain a treble but this one was not easy to predict as the horse looked rather unfurnished and as such this was a decent effort.

Gilnockie is a nice lengthy sort with scope to fill out but I was put off Calivigny by that one's lack of size and I wasn't surprised by his laboured effort - he needs more experience and time to strengthen. Perseid is very sparely made but was gambled while Redkalani is one to bear in mind for handicaps over further.

The bumper featured a few likely sorts, with the rather taking Mahler Lad heading the market. Thus is was a surprise that he was under the pump over a mile out and he was only able to plug on behind impressive winner Captain Chaos, who was very edgy beforehand and was clearly named by temperament. Corsair Prince wasn't fit and is another from the Reveley yard to put away for another time.

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