Got to make this as brief as possible as it is a Saturday evening after all...however some very interesting horses to follow for the future. The ground was obviously heavy but I've seen worse at the course and they weren't stopping in front.
Baywing looked in good order and is a nice well-made sort. This is the first time I've seen him since debut and you have to tip your hat to connections for getting him a rating of 89 first up. Shades Of Midnight is a nice big stamp of a horse and looked well but just isn't straight forward and I won't be backing him until they thrown on the cheekies. Horizontal Speed looked great but he checked out quickly and was clearly amiss.
There was nothing in the paddock to suggest Otago Trail would run so flat, but clearly his exertions thus far this season have taken their toll. He completed in his own time but you would have to say he would have been hard pressed to beat Bristol De Mai anyway - the young grey jumping for fun and staying well. The rest didn't stand a chance.
This was interesting. I didn't get involved but I nearly got against the favourite Le Prezien as I thought at 6/4 he was short enough on what he'd actually achieved. By the time I'd made up my mind he was too big to lay but it proved to be the right play. I quite liked Its'afreebee beforehand - a lovely strong chaser - and with stamina in his form and pedigree he looked one to have on side. I thought Skelton gave it a great ride, poaching a couple of lengths turning in, and it proved the difference. Vieux Lille strikes me as a staying chaser in waiting and as such ran a big race over the minimum trip. I'd be surprised if he ran over it again, and might want to oppose it if it did.
No comment. The New One has never appealed as top draw on looks and scrapped it out as is his wont. Nothing else appealed.
Game on. Ante-post bets on Reve De Sivola and Cloudy Too left me feeling in good fettle before, during and after. In truth in these feature races it's most unusual to find anything looking other than cherry ripe in the prelims. They all looked well - Gas Line Boy is a nice strong horse and was fit from an absence and would surely have gone close. He seems to loves the track. I must say that Splash Of Ginge looked out of his depth physically. You wouldn't say he was dwarfed by the opposition but frankly he looks pissed off with the sport and it's not hard to see why. I'd be very interested in him if they freshened him up and found the right race back over timber. We know how good he can be. I've seen Third Intention looking better, too, namely that time he won here.
I couldn't figure this race out and then it came to me - UBALTIQUE. What a grotty little horse he is, but every dog has his day the handicapper had given him a proper chance. Not only that they had put a tongue-tie on him for the first time (belatedly we found out they had performed some sort of wind procedure - Matt of Geegeez are you listening??) and with the excellent A Coleman on board for the first time he was surely the answer at very backable odds. I have the feeling Goohar is a bit of a pig, but they can't put blinkers on him because he's too highly strung, while Island Confusion simply isn't progressing and Gold Opera let the latest form down badly. A word on Morning Royalty - why oh why the hold up tactics? Just look through the form guys - 'made all' and 'made all' and oh 'made all' again. Seriously, I understand holding him up over 3m, but at 2m? Just let him do what he wants to do and he'll win a half-decent race such as this. The money came again for Crafty Roberto and I'm still trying to figure out why. He had his own way in front and still couldn't deliver.
By the finale we were in clover and the filthy business of Friday at the Rasen all-but forgotten. Vintage Clouds set a very decent level and you knew exactly what you would get with him. He was a worthy but vulnerable favourite as he really could do with going over further, and sure enough there was a live one against him in Bun Doran. T George's horse is as nice an animal as you could wish to see, and for once you could almost say £76k well spent. He went easily to post and with that very useful bumper form in the book he was well worth taking on the jolly with, despite the juicy prices long gone. Sometimes you just have to jump aboard. And boy could he jump. He gained lengths on the grey at every obstacle and is surely one of the nicest prospects I've seen since the start of last year. He does have a high knee action so beware - he could be a proper soft ground horse.