Thursday, 9 March 2017

Catterick

A tricky little card run on softish ground, it felt warm as we faced the sun with spring in the air at last.

Akula looked a very obvious selection in the opener seller being the only one bringing any recent form to the race.

At least half the sextet are complete hounds and the well-backed Smith horse Absolute has looked like a crock this season, he's got terrible flat feet and that may be his issue.

A return of 3/1 was surprising for the veteran, but things were only to go downhill after such easy pickings.

Nomoreblackjack was the proverbial good thing to back up last week's outrageously easy success and once again he looked in terrific condition - the big rangy horse that cost quite a few quid has clearly come to himself of late.

Nine Altars was the obvious one to chase him home and he looked in good order, but after being coaxed round by Hughes fell in his usual hole, and having done so now at different trips he is very much one to avoid.

Leanna Ban as so often looked burly off a break and he'll improve on this, especially when upped in trip, while Boss Des Mottes remains very weak physically.

The three fillies from the Wetherby race a month ago took each other on again in the next and for much of the way it looked as though the attractive five-year-old Golden Vision would repeat her success.

However, she could never get away this time and having failed to bag the stand rail was beaten when fluffing the last.

She'd gone at it a fair way out with All My Love which played into the hands of juvenile Becky The Thatcher, who has stamina in abundance.

I've seen her progress quite nicely physically and although she gets buzzy she looked well and fitter than ever. I wasn't expecting her to reverse Wetherby placings but the market was too dismissive of her chance.

I got the handicap chase over the minimum trip all wrong as Sky Full Of Stars has looked one to oppose for a long time.

His hurdles win last week was against nothing and although the blinkers worn there clearly perked him up, he had plenty to prove back over fences.

However, he was exceptionally strong in the market which is quite telling for one of Ewart's, while Minella Suite and Bandol were weak.

Minella Suite is a chaser through and through but has wind issues and isn't finishing his races off. He's young enough to turn things around, and will want more of a stamina test, but until he proves he can go through with it he's one to be wary of, or at least to trade out of.

Bandol looked really moderate beforehand and this is as good as he is. I thought he'd turned a new page at Sedgefield but this was another example of form from that dog track not translating elsewhere.

The staying handicap hurdle was almost impossible as the majority were opposable for one reason or another, with only the unexposed Robins Legend having any kind of scope for improvement.

But having hit everything in his path he was out of the race with a mile to run - it was one of those days. I'd given up on Redkalani a long time ago but he seemed to relish the more genteel ride offered by Miss E Todd on this day.

The hunter chase was essentially a three runner affair where Flash Garden looked fit and ready after a year's absence.

But he would have to go some to beat Knocklong, a plain animal with plenty of mileage on the clock, who nevertheless had been making hay between the flags under Miss C Walton.

With a new jockey in the plate things were very straight forward, Knocklong jumping well enough before repelling Flash Garden's effort on the run-in.

Comedinewithme came home lame but was never really going well enough to be involved.

Shearling had done precious little wrong prior to stepping up to 2m for the first time in the closing bumper. She's a nice sort with some size, and didn't have a great deal to beat.

Unraced Whiteoak Stroller was weak in the betting and she looked quite green in the prelims, even more so on the track as she came on and off the bridle.

Considering her mother was very useful in this sphere it was a very disappointing effort. Third favourite It's All About Me looks very light framed at present but should be able to win races given time, while the second Floral Bouquet might be okay although again she's very weak at present.


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