Sunday 5 April 2015

Sedgefield - Fun in the sun

Spring really seems to have sprung this week and with the sun bearing down upon the healthy crowd it looked like the runners were to be faced with drying ground.

However, it looked pretty tacky and hard work for some with the times bearing out that theory, and the principles appeared to be struggling late on in the opening novice hurdle.

I couldn't believe they had priced Venue up so short against Apterix with the Ellison horse in receipt of a stone, despite the pair running to a similar level previously.

The odds-compilers forced our hand where Apterix was concerned
It just didn't make any sense, our hands were forced early doors and sure enough the market got it right in the end. I liked the winner when first seeing it at Wetherby but he ran up pretty lean here and got very warm, suggesting he may have done enough for the campaign.

Venue was fine and actually looked the pick - he is improving but I'm still not sure he puts it all in off the bridle. That said he ran a super race giving all that weight away. The fact that Hatton Springs got within 12 lengths suggests the race was not of great quality, although it was good to see the tall and weak Ballalough show some promise late on and he'll be alright in time.

I was very interested in Major Ivan in the next even before Warriors Tale was scratched, and was left to rue not taking the 5/2 when they re-made the market. Black Jack Rover did us a good turn at Catterick in a bumper but he shapes like an out and out stayer and I was sure the Jefferson horse would have his measure, especially when seeing him in the paddock.

He was very well after his absence and is another horse from the yard to prove that early season form all wrong. He'll probably get a mark of around 115 for this but I'm sure they'll find a race or two for him before he goes over fences next season.

The lovely Major Ivan was a good bet
The handicap chase was a proper conundrum with stakes very much at a minimum, and the well-backed My Friend George made it three hotpots in succession to go in for Kenneth Slack. It was very poor fair and the jolly did what he had to do, but will surely find things harder from now on.

Roxyfet has finally found his level and showed there may be a race in him over a bit further, but the rest didn't really show much sparkle.

The mares' race was no easier although I wanted to be against Debdebdeb, whose Catterick win was gifted to her and the handicapper has overreacted markedly. However, I had no idea who would capitalise with Samedi Soir the most likeable type, even though she has yet to fill out. Given a quiet ride, she'll be better next term.

My Friend George beat a motley bunch
I didn't have a clue about the marathon hunters chase although Dica did not take the eye at all, coming home in fourth under what appeared to be a poor ride from his owner/trainer, although some suggested the tack had gone wrong.

Jokers And Rogues has been put up by this column countless times and if ever this disappointing animal was going to produce the goods it would be today, down in trip for the first time. However, Wade's horse clearly has a hole in it and once again found nothing at all off the bridle. I'm afraid this was one blowout to many.

The problem was it was very hard to put one up against it, with Bertie Milan clearly not fancied and Beyondtemptation setting the benchmark. Jebulani was not at all easy to find but the runner-up once again ran to form so it was probably no fluke.

I had been looking forward to seeing Banny's Lad racing under rules after seeing this nice individual 'win' a point-to-point race early this year. I reckoned a repeat of that run would make it hard to beat and although he looked the part he ran no sort of race and it could be that he needs much more of a trip.

Chief market rival Monogram is not the force of old and hung badly right again - it will be a surprise if he is able to get his head in front at this stage of his career.

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