Saturday 9 January 2016


As is so often the case in the depths of winter there was no issue with Donny putting some racing on and it was a fairly interesting card in one way or another. Soft ground was the theme but by current standards it really wasn't that bad.

The first race was sharply in focus as I'd been waiting more than a year for Redkalani to be running in the right race - and this looked to be the one. Here's what I wrote about the horse in February;

Redkalani was delicately handled once more by Reveley and this effort should not go unnoticed - the seven-year-old can improve fitness-wise and he'll stay three miles without doubt.
The key was the trip - he hadn't been able to go with them at the end of his races after being held up every time he ran over shorter. With JR keen to lead the line at the tapes we could finally be confident that today would be a going day. And the way he jumped and stayed strongly suggests he will be able to defy a much higher mark over fences. At eight, they have little time to lose.

Vyta Du Roc was taken on by Bouvreuil in the novice chase and although there wasn't a great deal between them on hurdles ratings the market suggested the former would be taking this with ease. They got that wrong, and 9/2 about the latter in effectively a two-horse race looks big now. I didn't play.

Iron Butterfly didn't turn a hair in backing up her win here last time out and she looks in great form - a hat-trick is not out of the question by any means. I felt Donna's Pride may have run into one last time but this surely confirms she wants better ground. She has the size for fences and although she's been backward they may turn her attentions to larger obstacles this spring.

The staying handicap chase was of interest but really it looked like the market leader Lovely Job was well found after running in THAT Leicester novice but he was not going to carry my money at cramped odds.

I thought Mysteree was a touch of value but he's really not that strongly built and you do wonder if he can progress from here. He also had that 18 months off and I'll repeat here once again - I do not like to bet horses that have been crocked.

Lovely Job was robbed on the line here but I thought PB went for home too soon. It happens, but Askamore Darsi looks to have turned the corner mentally and he jumped really well. He's the sort to go well over marathon trips and with form on better ground the Scottish National off a low weight must be a target.

Leanna Ban is a nice big sort who ran a decent race here, jumping well until crashing out three from home. This was unfortunate, but hopefully all will be well with him. Good ground is sure to suit better.

Divine Spear is a gorgeous big chasing type with a lovely long stride - the type you would expect to see thrive on better ground. They obviously came here for some half-decent terrain but after pulling hard he had no answer to the diminutive Baoulet Delaroque, who was completing a treble for P Nicholls.

The Henderson horse is one to watch - he will be a totally different animal in the spring and autumn when I expect him to do really well, possibly down in trip, on good ground. The Nicholls horse looks a proper hurdler.

Dalkadam came home third for the each-way thieves but this grey is a very moderate looking chase type who has been pin-fired in both back legs. Bred to stay forever, he's of no interest whatsoever from a betting perspective in the short-medium term.

Ami Desbois looked a worthy favourite in the finale and as I mentioned after his run at Catterick, Caged Lightning will need headgear if he is to thrive over timber. However, they were a fair looking bunch, none more so than the eventual winner Chase End Charlie.

I mentioned him as a nice chase type for the future after his decent bumper effort here but this was a big step up to defeat Ami Desbois after that one posted a good figure in a warm race last time out. He's not a typical Scorpion on looks and could be half-decent. Moidore, back in third, looks a headcase and regressive.

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