Friday 28 August 2015


I wouldn't say the jumps season is up and running yet but it was good to have an outing to blow away a few of the cobwebs.

It was just a shame that Thommo, the resident MC, was doing his best to spoil the occasion.

There were one or two horses of interest on the card and just a couple of decent looking betting opportunities that went west.

Viens Chercher was all the rage in the opener to give Danny Cook a winning return from suspension and the French exile looked the part before galloping all over decent yardstick Raise A Spark, who was fit to run his race.

While it looked a poor race the odds are the winner may be half-decent. Third-placed Jumpandtravel looked burly for this debut for the quiet Hammond yard.

Another novice hurdle saw D Pipe's Vayland go off favourite but after a couple of spills he looked a bit short on confidence as were his supporters, who allowed him to go off quite weak despite little opposition.

The market determined that Prince Khurram would provide the danger and was backed accordingly to follow up his win here in the spring on decent ground.

This very one-paced animal was there to be shot at but was in receipt of a stone all told and that mattered in the final analysis as the Pipe horse could not get past on the run-in. The three 'runners' all looked well.

An interesting six-runner handicap chase came next in which the majority were very opposable, most notably the jolly Dynamo who has yet to convince physically, mentally or ability-wise. The Skelton yard is also having a quiet time.

Nothing particularly took the eye beforehand, the Smith's Alba King arguably the pick but probably in need of further, while Sleep In First was well turned out although a market drift is a often a big worry from the Ewart kennel.

D Cook made a winning return from suspension on Viens Chircher
In the end it was The Bay Bandit, who has won some very weak races in Jersey, who took the spoils, but this is not form to get excited about.

A ghastly 0-100 saw The Bay Bandit's stablemate Strictly The One drift in the market and they came for two regular losers in District Attorney and Jebulani, the latter predictably failing to stay.

We nearly found the winner in 8/1 poke Park House, who looked fit and well and had shown bits of promise, was down in the weights and had B Hughes replacing A Thornton (surely worth half a stone).

We just got run out of it by Craigdancer, who got pretty stressed in the paddock and was easily opposed after bombing out last time with a wind issue. It was another feather in the cap for trainer Jo Foster.

The 0-120 was easily whittled down to the two market principals Grams And Ounces and Waterclock and it was difficult to split them.

The former returned to form last time and clearly takes his racing well as he carries plenty of condition, while the latter is a decent flat type and looked sure to benefit from having the hurdles down the back omitted due to the low sun.

There was plenty of money for 'Grams' while Waterclock was solid, but this clearly talented individual missed a huge opportunity to win again here and he looks very much one to oppose in future.

A second handicap chase had some of the intrigue taken out owing to the low sun, meaning the four down the back were omitted. This turned it into something of a lottery and not a betting opportunity.

The unexposed Smith pair were strong in the market but Alf The Audacious is a big sort in need of a trip while Optical High may be ordinary and he showed very little here. Both looked fit enough. Caspian Piper headed the market and you could easily make the case for a third win in four for the southern raider.

Three that looked really well were The Backup Plan, Champagne Agent and Joyful Motive, although it was hard to make a case for the trio on form.

The Backup Plan had proved really disappointing thus far but has clearly benefited from having three months off, although this was unexpected having been allowed to go off such a big price in a weak affair.

With this not being much of a jumping contest, however, the form should be treated with caution.

The finale saw the bet of the night in Derryfadda, who had won two Irish points before moving to the R Ford stable. I was very happy with the horse's condition and well-being and he warranted a good bet to see off the slow Supapowers over the marathon trip.

I failed to account for two things...a return to form for the gritty Omid on ground faster than looked ideal, and Derryfadda running with the choke out for much of the race.

As such, it is surprising that they would run the beast over an extended trip first time up, they must surely have known it is a free-going sort.

Anyway, he travelled like the winner before emptying in the straight and, although we can claim a moral victory, that won't feed the family tonight.

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