Thursday 5 March 2015

Carlisle - Reach for a Whiskey

The last outing before Cheltenham week meant a trip across the mountains to an extremely windy Cumbria for a fiddly little card in which business was expected to be thin on the ground.

There was very little to get excited about in the opener with Miss Estela looking a pretty solid favourite against a very moderate looking bunch both physically and form-wise, but she ran no sort of race and has become very disappointing.

The second race was probably the race of the day, a deep-looking novices handicap chase from which there will be a few winners.

It looked competitive but we were soon able to whittle them down to a small handful, as I didn't particularly fancy Marlee Mourinho, a big rather ungainly animal who has had a fair few chances and wasn't certain to appreciate this right-handed track.

Having viewed some videos of Midnight Request I thought he looked very one-paced and although having enough size for fences he was a very short price to go in on debut over the larger obstacles.

Whiskey Chaser looks one to follow
Leney Cottage was one to have on your side as was Our Boy Ben from the in form Jefferson yard, although the six-year-old remains on the weak side for the time being.

There's no getting away from the fact that Whiskey Chaser was a big price as he was in effect a winner without a penalty after he unshipped young Cowley at Leicester when coming to win his race.

A big chasing sort, anything he did over hurdles was immaterial and he is starting out from a very low base. He was very backable if you ignored the big drift and he was given a good positive ride in the front rank off what was a pretty fast pace. He will continue to be of interest with his jumping looking a real asset.

The run of Midnight Request was fascinating, after he made a very bad mistake early he came there with every chance before being outpaced again. I'm of the firm impression that very soft ground is the key to him, where a slower pace will help get his jumping together. He does look one-paced though and maybe three miles will also be required.

Leney Cottage also made mistakes and this point winner will benefit from the experience - again they just seemed to be going half a stride too quick for him - while Vasco D'Ycy relished the extra yardage and could yet get off the mark over longer distances.

I was a big fan of Grove Silver before he won at Sedgefield earlier in the season when the Candlish yard had just hit form, but he didn't take the eye in anything like the same way today. It may be that once again it is a case of him filling out as the season has gone on and could be something that I need to address when appraising the horses.

I thought he was really opposable although I didn't especially fancy anything to beat it with the ratings giving him an obvious chance. Wolf Sword is a big sturdy animal who is only progressing at a moderate rate, while Westend Star came in third but is really plain looking, especially when you consider what he cost.

Becausehesaidso has gone backwards fast after his very hard race in a bumper here, and I liked Tambour Major, a point winner who looked quite a nice type, tall with a bit of substance. I backed him to be in the first four and hilariously he was done by a nose on the line. Well, you've got to laugh. D Costello, you owe me.

Grey Life was a warm order to land the handicap chase and although I've not warmed to the horse this term it was hard to build a case for anything else.

Jefferson's horse is not over-big and like so many greys looks to be carrying condition, but has a good pop in him and was more than good enough to see off the disappointing Ultra De Chatalet and Sergeant Pink, who is a big horse but was fit for this after a long break bar a spin on the flat.
Greybougg was the paddock pick ahead of Poker School
The next saw an effective match between Poker School, who ran into one when the cash was down last week, and Greybougg who was really well backed to win for the second time in 48 hours.

You could see why they wanted to run him so quickly again as he looked delighted to be back at the track and is a very enthusiastic looking horse, very active.

I had in mind Poker School's weak finishing effort at Donny and although he did little wrong here the money for the winner was well placed. The Hawke yard is flying at present and they had a similar type in the bumper that also hacked up.

Prior to that was an impossible looking handicap chase for the stayers, hosting many of the usual suspects. It was daft to even consider sorting them out on looks with Armedanddangerous the only real negative, looking quite moody and running in similar fashion, while Irish raider One Cool Clarkson was of interest as a potential wild card but his run came to nothing.

It's a fair reflection of the race that Basford Ben was able to win again. While he's a fair sort for the owners he's usually one to take on, although he does seem to love it here.

The bumper looked like it might be alright but Hawke's Speredek was the most forward of them all, and with form already in the book was another worthy favourite. There's nothing on Beer Goggles so he must have some engine to run to the mark he does and will be of interest in another 12 months.

McCain's Mahler And Me is really backward while Bollin Ace is quite big and strong and will be better over obstacles, but Rocklim was very small and lean and is another from the Ewart yard who has not progressed.

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