Wednesday 23 March 2016


Quite an interesting card on a rare trip south of the 'border' and thankfully Thoonavolla came home strongly in the second race to more than pay for the trip.

This quite nice, neat looking horse caught the eye at Leicester before Christmas, chasing home an in-form Truckers Highway over an inadequate 2m. 

Connections of the multiple point winner have been patient waiting for the better ground, having withdrawn the horse on a few occasions.

He turned up looking plenty fit enough but we had to wait and wait some more for the odds to droft to a backable price, hitting a juicy 4 on the machine just before the off.

Denali Highway was all the rage and you could see why, the Thornton>Skelton switch being more than a minor jockey upgrade. Santa's Secret wasn't much of a threat if his win in a poor race last time was anything to go by.

As it happened it was the aforementioned Thornton who would put it up to our hero on Somchine, who in fairness looked primed to run well pre-race and nearly stole it between the last two.

Thoonavolla, novicey on occasions, took a while to hit top gear but he thankfully met the last on a good stride, unlike Somchine, and the momentum carried him to the line and he won going away under the stylish A Wedge.

Lightly raced, you can see the winner going in again at the likes of Stratford over a shade further. He travels well and obviously has stamina too.

Midnight Chorister had won the opener cosily after fencing neatly, beating Owen Na View who was backed off the boards but could never really shake off his rivals.

That was the chasing action done with but there was plenty of interest over the baby obstacles and Some Are Lucky improved markedly on his Musselburgh second to beat Monkhouse by a wide margin.

T George's charge shaped well in a Cheltenham bumper earlier this season and clearly needs this better ground. He didn't hurdle very well the last day but was much better over these small fences.

I think he'll benefit greatly from another summer at grass, he's very unfurnished at present but clearly has an engine and stays very well. As for Monkhouse, this was disappointing as I favoured him beforehand.

A nice strong sort, he jumped poorly and was soon done for down the back straight when the taps were turned on. He's another son of Scorpion and there's a lot of them about at the moment. Like the sire, I'm concerned many of them have their own ideas about the game.

There wasn't much depth here although Ted's Lad will leave his hurdles form behind when sent over fences, such is his size, but Sandygate is a moderate sort and will surely be dispersed at one of the spring sales. 

We lost Lewis in this race. I really took a shine to him at Carlisle last season but he never really fulfilled his early potential and it was really sad to see him perish at the final obstacle with what appeared to be a shoulder injury.

Division II of the maiden hurdle threw up a shock with Weyburn landing a few bets at big odds for M Keighley. He wasn't one I was with but was happy to have him running for me against Behind The Wire.

T George's youngster sweated badly at Donny last time and was again very warm here. He's a strong sort who could be alright when he grows up, but he's keen in his races at the moment. However, the way he stayed on up the straight suggests stamina in abundance and he's one for teh long term.

Dante's Way was a short price on the balance of things, having been a bit disappointing in his second bumper at Carlisle. He was quite fractious in the prelims and immature in the race, with layers likely on good terms with themselves from an early stage.

It meant the third-in Minella Experience was worth a go on this better ground having floundered in a Warwick bog. This was better but he looked a bit slow having had his own way up front.

The bumper was a decent one but I was against the favourite Raised On Grazeon, who was well forward on his debut and didn't improve second time at Catterick, on both occasions I felt he wasn't putting it all in.

Harry Fry's Water Willow was fancied but I wasn't that taken by her, quite small and sturdy and she was looking recalcitrant before rearing up right in front of me and squashing her jockey. This was a disconcerting experience and she might be one to overlook if out again soon.

Scorpion Princess was quite leggy and light framed but is nice and had the form in the book, thought good enough to run in a very good mares race at Huntingdon. 

I thought she'd be stronger in the market though and I was ambivalent towards her chances in the end, but this daughter of Scorpion did it well in the end and will hopefully go on from here.

McGregor's Cottage is bred to stay but did too much in front in this slowly run affair and she'll be better than this when sent over timber next term, but runner-up Book At Bedtime was a real looker, if a bit backward, and a decent run by her wasn't unexpected. Reveley has unveiled a few good youngsters this term and this was right up there.

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