Tuesday 29 December 2015


A quieter day and certainly not as successful as yesterday, aggravated by getting stuck in traffic and missing the first race for the first time EVER.

Doubly frustrating was that I'd already backed Donna's Pride without great confidence thinking the Hobbs horse Catherines Well may not be all that and was a false favourite.

If I'd known they had changed tactics and made all on the thing I might have been able to bail out. You never know what you might have done in different circumstances but I had been hoping that Reveley would have been able to dictate at his leisure.

So quickly we were 0-1 but at least i'd no intention of playing the novice hurdle and could settle down a little, expecting Go Long to defy a penalty after his impressive win last time. He's still a bit on the weak side and perhaps the tacky ground caught him out against the more experienced Wade Harper, who finally put it all together.

There were loads of nice horses for the future here, starting with the third Royal Milan who is a good stamp of a horse who is as yet unfurnished, while Set In My Ways is a very strong chasing type. Chap is a strong horse while Wild Ginger constantly caught the eye beforehand and this stayer has some quality about him. They all showed plenty of ability.

The Grey Taylor was all the rage in the novices chase but I thought he was 'too obvious' and little value. He's always going to be there to be shot at and doesn't have a great deal in hand of the assessor.

This was all about whether Baltimore Rock had the look of a chaser and the answer was yes. Not only that he looked pretty fit for this return. An Imperial Cup winner, he's a useful recruit and I can see him going close in one of the Festival handicaps in March.

Zeroeshadesofgrey is well known on the northern circuit and was on a decent mark for the staying handicap hurdle. Unfortunately the tipping lines were out in force early doors and punters had to wrestle with the decision of whether to play despite some rather cramped odds.

The big grey proved he was well in despite not seeming to travel all that well, and he was clumsy at a few hurdles. They will look to next season now before going back over fences but he'll be one to have reservations about in that sphere as he just doesn't seem to use himself that well.

This was a funny race and several appeared not to get home despite some lazy fractions - Red Devil Boys, Bold Conquest and Milord failing to stay while Top Billing and Kerisper rallied after being briefly outpaced as they quickened it up. Balmusette struggled on the dead ground but I wouldn't give up on her as this race didn't suit her come-from-behind style.

Not much of interest in two (more!) mares races - Kalane looks a nice prospect despite coming down here, while the amazing Run Ructions took yet another step forward.

It all came down to the last race and I simply couldn't look beyond the front two in the market - Wild Bill and Ziga Boy. It was just a matter of choosing which way to play it.

Wild Bill did the column a favour when winning here last time and despite this being a deeper race he looked a horse on the up, while Ziga has not gone on but was back on a mark 2lb below his last win. At six he can still turn things around and the money came good and strong in the morning.

However, the late move was for Wild Bill and I opted to stick with the West Country raider and save on the grey, who was quite easy to back in the end.

We ended the day on a 'green' note but not by a significant amount. It was a fine ride by young Bellamy who made up the horse's mind for him and no doubt this better terrain suited. There wasn't a great deal to report on the others...I've long admired Westward Point as a specimen but he has failed to show much since an injury absence and the burden of proof lies with him.

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