Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Catterick

One of the more low-key meetings at the Bridge for some time, not many tasty betting opportunities or ones to take out of the card going forward.

I wrote about Point The Way here when he made a successful hurdles debut and I thought there was every chance he could double up under the in-form Danny Cook.

Just like in the finale at Wetherby yesterday, Cook was keen to put his mount's experience to good use against a hurdles newcomer, and it reaped dividends again.

Vinciaettes was a dashing winner of a bumper but was novicey on several occasions on this day and was never able to land a blow. He didn't exactly knock me out beforehand so I'm not that bothered what he does in the near term.

The staying handicap chase came up second on the card, a race previewed here. I took a punt on Admiral Blake's jumping but it let him down even though he managed to get into the race exiting the back straight. Disappointingly, he lacked a bit of size beforehand and I wasn't that confident about his chance, plus he was weak in the market.

I also liked Veroce, despite writing that here that I thought he was a stone too high in the weights, and was just 5lb lower. He's a good strong sort that will do better in time, with his rating down in the mid-80s.

I had a flagged Auldthunder as one to keep an eye on in the market as he had dropped to below his last winning mark, and sure enough the Hammond boys stepped in at big odds to send the horse off at half its morning price. I hope some readers took what was a pretty small hint!

I didn't fancy anything else in the event with Treliver Manor showing form for the first time having dropped to a lowly mark. He should be able to build on this as he was up there for much of the way.

I was very keen on Forest Bihan in the handicap hurdle which saw a very disappointing turn-out for a 0-140 contest. I like this horse a lot and although he looks quirky I'm certain he can lift a decent prize, probably after he's had a summer break.

Cook was seen to good effect again, taking up the running over on the far side, although that was soon enough for me. Unfortunately the jockey then dropped his whip trying to switch hands after clearing two out, and that cost him the race.

Some will want to crab the runner-up, who is certainly no saint, but for now I think he's just a bit of a baby and a couple of good cracks after the last would have settled it. I didn't fancy Tomkevi but let's not taking anything away from the winner, another ex-French horse who will improve for a well-earned break.

Poulanassy looked a very short price on what he'd actually achieved but he ran as though something was awry, and sadly we lost him to a crashing fall at the last.

Star Presenter took the 2m chase and what a purchase he has been. I had been worried about the ground but when a horse is in the form of its life they seem to float over it. Soft at Catterick is not as soft as anywhere else and this horse can win again elsewhere on much better terrain.

That said, runner-up Nautical Twilight once again revealed a questionable attitude and it was noticable that Hughes never went for his stick. Her last win fell into her lap and something with a bit more vim might have gone past the winner on the run-in. However, the pair came clear which counts for something.

Uno Valoroso had been given every chance by the handicapper but thankfully I wasn't fooled having missed out the last twice. I still think the beast wants a stiffer test but his formally sound jumping has become rather messy of late.

I did get drawn in by Aye Well, a thoroughly consistent sort that only seems to run badly when carrying the Norman cash. This was ghastly effort on his first visit to Catterick, which probably didn't suit.

The finale was a typically dismal affair for the track, and while you couldn't fault the effort of the winner Notebook, there was nothing in behind for future reference.

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