Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Sedgefield

Not a great deal to write home about and a quiet day on the punting front. At last there was decent ground to be had although it was a bit patchy and the times suggested it was basically good.

The contrast was stark in the opening novice hurdle between market rivals Ebadani and Boa Island, both on raids from their Southern bases.

Ebadani a real nice looking flat bred animal from the Snowden yard was up against P Nicholls' Boa Island, a much bigger animal that had been pointing some time back. It was a no-brainer that on this decent terrain the former would do the biz and he coasted home with something to spare.

A mark of 119 looks more than fair and he should be able to win off that mark, providing the assessor doesn't stick him up for this routine success.

Mr Witmore came home a disappointingly distant third and after showing up well in a decent bumper he hasn't done anything yet over timber, although he already needs at least 3m and handicaps will suit.

I didn't manage to catch the novice chasers but San Benedeto looked quirky in defying very short odds and could be a second Nicholls runner on the day off to the sales shortly.

The maiden hurdle was equally uncompetitive as the four rags looked moderate at best, and Mr Kit Kat looked a shoo-in to finally get off the mark. He duly obliged after looking temporarily one-paced, but runner-up Jamhoori made mistakes for a second successive time and needs more practice.

The handicap chase was quite interesting although you could make a case for a few of them and it didn't represent a great betting medium with just six going to post.

The one I couldn't have on my mind was Master Rajeem, who got away with winning here over two furlongs further last week on softer ground, and this drop in trip was never going to suit a stout stayer.

He also ran a stinker under a penalty two Januarys ago so there was every chance he would be out the frame here, and at 3/1 he was short enough to get against.

Ever So Much would have been interesting had he come in for support, but he's never been one to be with physically and again he looked moody under the gun, and so the revived Edmund was left to oblige again from a winnable mark.

The J Best-trained Little Buxted was 'expected' to take the next which looked a race to swerve, but the beast was quite weak in the market late on and in the end it was left to veteran Hi Dancer to come home unchallenged following a change of tactics. A race to forget.

After waiting all winter to back Gin Cobbler on his favoured good ground you'd think your correspondent would have been jumping at the chance to get on in the 2m handicap chase.

Twelve runs since the start of October on the northern grind had done little to dent the enthusiasm of the 10-year-old, serving merely to shave a full 16lb off his rating. Surprising weak in the betting therefore, he was given a canny ride after they went off quick enough in front.

Sadly I had been drawn to the chances of a returning Aregra, a little grey horse I liked the look of when he won in the Fall. I shook off concerns about the short trip but it proved a very serious problem and beast was terribly outpaced from halfway - he'll need at least another half mile this summer.

What made matters worse was that I couldn't have anything else in the race - the story went that Scorpions Sting had had a wind op which may have explained the punt on the wayward beast - there was little in the form book to suggest he was up to challenging for major honours.

Sendiym ran his race as he does but he's always been in need of further and the minimum proved too short. He remains in form though and he jumped more cleanly on this good ground; he's on a good mark.

The only one you could have backed in a weak bumper was the favourite Patience Tony, a big tall horse with a load of scope. Nothing appealed - Jacarno is a huge thick-set horse who moved poorly to post, as did Trinity House.

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