Wednesday 4 March 2015

Catterick - Battling on

Still feeling a bit under the weather so a laid-back approach was the order of the day on a poor-looking card as Catterick brought the curtain down on their NH season.

It's hard to believe we're into the final weeks of the season and the time seems to have flown by. Still these are the nuts and bolts of it and it's time to get stuck in.

There were some short ones priced up, starting in the seller where Lord Navits was looking to secure a quick double. He's not a bad sort and looked the best of these but is clearly a bit moody and after some sketchy leaps didn't put it all in.

It was a no-bet race as It's A Man's World had all the best form in the book of late but hailed from the out of form Ellison yard. Nonetheless he was good enough to repel the fit-looking Glenconkeyne with the jolly back in third.

Classinaglass looks a bit of a crock 
The handicap chase looked tricky as the favourite Classinaglass had the best form but does walk very stiffly in front and looks a borderline cripple. He was worth taking on and the one to be on at a price was Pistol Basc, who looked more enthusiastic than of late with the hood no left off.

He came to join issue at the second last but is a bit of a rogue and got a touch outpaced before staying on again. In fairness he never looked like getting past the jolly so we were denied again. Again the money came for Silver Shuffle which is totally beyond me, but what can you say. The other two have gone the wrong way.

The mares race was essentially a three-runner affair and it was hard to split them in the paddock with eventual winner Debdebdeb looking really well, on her toes, while there was plenty to like about Allez Encore and Mollasses.

However the favourite threw it away at the start and it wasn't really a contest thanks to a very poor ride from the one on the second, who never put his horse in the race and only went down half a length. Debdebdeb had a solo and did enough but may be one to take on next time.

I wasn't going to play the very tricky handicap hurdle that saw Deny being well-backed, until I noticed Henry Brooke lining up in front on Grand Vintage.

This is a horse who has shown promise on several occasions but has clearly had problems, yet ran okay again last time out and looked on good terms with himelf. It was the first time he had been asked to make all and it struck as a great move on this gelding bred to stay much further.

I quickly reached for the android and got some on before the price collapsed, and frankly with only the doggy Deny to beat in the straight he never looked like being caught to these eyes. I do like it when new tactics are introduced and this was a good move from connections, who deserve the plaudits.

Smiles all round as Grand Vintage gets the job done
Binowagh Bay was well-backed but made least appeal being very lean, while Sendiym may have done his winning for now. Simmply Sam looked well but didn't show.

I was looking to take on Henri De Boistron in the novice chase as he looked as mad a badger at Sedgefield earlier this season but had clearly progressed to win at Leicester. I thought he could be caught out at this faster pace and liked the chances of Cousin Guillaume, who has really progressed physically of late.

I could see Renwick bouncing out and making all but he never got anywhere near the front after ploughing through the first, it was therefore galling to see the hot favourite run largely as predicted behind Narcissist, the only other plausible contender.

MW Easterby's debutant had first time blinkers after going the wrong way over timber but he looked quite strong beforehand and a likely runner if taking to it, which he did.

I need to give a big shout out to on-course comrade 'Racing Ray' a regular in these parts and point-to-point enthusiast who's been around since the Ark.

The old coffin dodger gave me a second huge priced winner in as many days when Soleil D'Avril landed an ordinary hunter chase which otherwise would have been hard to find. The beast, ordinary under rules previously, did look the fittest of the lot and quite a handy sort for this type of track, but it still took a leap of faith to go in.

Cave Hunter looked the best but clearly needs a real test as he was never going the gallop while Sportingfriendship looks quite average and didn't find a great deal late on.

With that in the bag we moved happily on to the bumper where Midnight Tour was all the rage, but looked quite small and backward beforehand. I much preferred Song Saa, a nicely made animal, especially with the experience, but the stamina-bred youngster didn't have the toe to see off the nimbler winner.

The pair were the best sorts on offer though as Sherry looked rather leggy and the form of her win had not worked out, while Superfection looked a bit ordinary and Ten Trees confirmed the impression given at Wetherby that she's very weak this stage.

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