Wednesday 10 February 2016


Pretty mundane stuff by any standards and things just didn't quite work out for this billy bunter despite a couple of good goes.

The opener saw Yes I Did brush aside William Of Orange in a match. It's been a pretty ordinary start to the winter game for the latter, but I've no doubt he'll be a different proposition on top of the ground. The winner jumped really well and was expertly handled by a rider who is great value for her claim.

I'd backed the hitherto disappointing Seventeen Black in the morning and was on fair terms with myself as it was trading at half the odds at the off. He looked fit and well and really there seem no excuses for another laboured effort - even JR couldn't rouse any improvement.

It was pretty moderate stuff with the returning Charlie Wingnut carrying top weight 7lb beneath the ceiling. The Smith horse was fit enough and looked the winner turning in before being hunted down by the mare Chasma. He might do better over a bit further.

The handicap chase over 2m 5f was a fascinating puzzle where I thought Verko could be up to justifying his higher mark. With lots of pace in the race the set-up looked a good one for the Hammond horse.

But he just looked a bit rusty after six weeks off and was unable to get to the winner My Friend George, who was winning off a 21lb higher mark than when scoring here in April. Fair play to K Slack for producing this horse for another personal best at a track the horse clearly loves.

The assessor may have got Verko for the time being but the horse is young enough to improve further. Physically he looks much stronger than he did. The money came for Court Dismissed yet again and I can't for the life of me see why.

He hasn't shown any great potential over fences and lacks the scope for them. Better ground is sure to suit but his slipping mark is merely a reflection of a lack of progress. Edmund is a sturdy animal and is sure to benefit from this,

Benny's Well looked fit from a break and went well for a long way. He never looked like shaking them off though and perhaps a return to Carlisle this spring will see him back in the winners circle - he's handicapped to win again.

Heart O Annandale and Leney Cottage were interesting in the staying hurdle having their first runs for new yards. Neither is in the first flush of youth but were worth a pop - the latter looking all over the winner for much of the final circuit.

However, this extended trip is for specialist stayers and Leney Cottage didn't quite get home. He looked okay but can improve and he's clearly of interest if seen out in the next 4-6 weeks.

Rocky Stone will always stand out in the paddock at this level but simply finds nothing off the bridle and again it was very surprising punters went for another McCain horse exposed as ordinary. Heart O Annadale looked really up for it but stopped quickly and is not one to trust I'm afraid.

I'll admit I slightly overlooked the winner Snuker even though the blinkers were always likely to pep him up. He certainly travelled with more aplomb and got a strong ride from the saddle. They just held on from Optical High who was bouncing back from a flat effort. He's not one I'm a fan off.

Roxyfet had the form over course and distance to go in again in the 2m handicap chase. Mistakes that often hinder his chances surfaced again but he still looked to won his race jumping the last.

However, the poor looking Captain Sharpe was lingering on the scene and rallied to good effort, bringing to mind his finishing effort when landing his last race from a vastly higher rating over timber a year ago.

This was basement stuff and a winner that was hard to find. I couldn't give much of chance to the others even so, but Gin Cobbler lasted a bit longer than usual after settling better in front and he could be ready to step up if we get some better ground in the next couple of months.

The finale was one of the worst races of its kind. There was all sorts of 'inside' money flying around for the rag Norfolk Sound, although the bets never looked like landing.

King's Chorister had been given a real chance by the handicapper and he duly ran a better race, although surprisingly reluctant in the finish, while Copt Hill confirmed once again that his bark is worse than his bite. The money came for Azure Glamour but the beast hasn't shown anything since his opening bumper effort and clearly has a physical problem.

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