Monday, 13 February 2017

Catterick

The sun came out again for another trip to Catterick where after weekend rain the going was soft, although they were getting through it.

Same Circus in the opener set a very decent standard for a mares novice and the market told all you needed to know regarding the chief market rival Big Penny, who drifted markedly with the jolly being the only one backed.

One heavily backed favourite followed another when Kauto Riko made light work of the well-handicapped Tomkevi as the pair came away from the returning Almost Gemini.

The winner was very fit, and quite light framed, so probably did well to handle ground this bad and certainly looks on the upgrade all things considered.

The cheekpieces didn't make a great difference to Tomkevi, who didn't travel or jump with much authority and remains below his decent form of last term. Perhaps a step up in trip may suit.

Almost Gemini has surprised us all by winning when looking in need of the race before, but he certainly ran as though it would do him good this time around.

The novices handicap chase was a dire affair featuring three horses that have shown difficult tendencies, two with no chance and another - the eventual winner in Milly Baloo - who had half a dozen placed efforts at Market Rasen but had yet to repeat the form elsewhere.

Powerful Symbol had essentially been the only one able to raise a decent gallop but he was only a few lengths clear when over-jumping three out and shoving A Coleman over the top.

He probably would have won but he's one I'd rather oppose than back next time out, a similar sentiment afforded to the others including the winner, who was pretty tired at the line.

Beeno had run into Lady Buttons at Newcastle but was rightfully a warm order to gain compensation at this tighter venue in the next.

However, he looks the sort to need everything to fall right and they didn't do so here, the early pace not a generous one meaning he was too keen over the first three flights.

And with H Brooke saving every inch on the chewed-up inside, an enlightened W Kennedy swung his mount Raise A Spark around the outer turning for home to grab the favoured near side rail.

It's the only place to be here during the winter months and it was a race-winning move. Us Beeno backers were left to mull what might have been - although he's probably not one to be making too many more excuses for. From a handicapping perspective he should have been able to close the deal.

Quill Art was the only other one to be worried about and sure enough he ran a race of promise, albeit getting outpaced at a crucial time. A bigger track and faster pace at this trip should suit best. Our Thomas continues to be tremendously disappointing.

I Just Know has to be one of the horses of the season and he bolted up again from a mark in excess of 20lb higher than where he began the campaign.

He simply does not make mistakes and like ol' man river just keeps rolling along. When you saw him next to Nortonthorpelegend in the paddock you knew it was no contest with only 4lb between them.

Hedley Lamarr was well-backed and has threatened to produce a bigger effort before now, but didn't take much interest and is frankly one to avoid. Expect some form of headgear to be applied sooner rather than later.

Katachenko proved here that 3m is a trip he's been crying out for and he'll find much easier assignments than trying to match strides with a horse like I Just Know.

That just left the bumper and a competitive one it looked with a handful I liked against the field, against a couple I was against, namely the Jefferson horse Mountain Hawk, who is a big strong type but backward mentally, and the eventual third Golden Jeffrey, who was by some way the smallest on show.

Indian Harbour, the second of the Swinbank horses, was too big and lairy, but stablemate Brecon Hill looked the part and showed a good attitude on the run to the line.

Teescomponents Lad is clearly a fair sort and looks one to keep the right side of, while Red Ochre and Rownak both look capable of winning one of these.

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