Tuesday 28 March 2017

Market Rasen

Drying ground at the Lincolnshire venue and it caught one or two out, not least the heavily backed Mustang On in the opening novice hurdle.

I've been charting the seven-year-old's progress for a while now and thought he had some sort of chance against odds-on jolly Louis' Vac Pouch - at least more than the compilers had suggested.

However, he wasn't given a very positive ride by the 10lb claimer and was tapped for toe in a slowly run affair, staying on steadily for third.

He's very much a work in progress but if they find a nice little handicap over an extra half mile before they put him away I'd be very interested.

'Pouch' is not straight forward but does jump well and he'll stay further once he settles down. He took a strong hold again here but saw his race out well.

Sue Smith unveiled a nice staying chase prospect in Iskabeg Lane, who has plenty of size, and needed this run. He may be only a 115-type horse but he'll be starting from a lower perch than that.

The second was a poor 0-100 affair but the market created an angle as Monkhouse was backed into less than 3 on the machine, a crazy price for a horse who has shown very moody tendencies.

A couple of dark ones lurked, none more so than the O'Neill-trained Timeforwest, who had shown next to nothing in novice hurdles.

But, unraced in eight weeks and appearing in a handicap from a mark of 98, she was a different proposition and the late money proved spot on. She beat very little but will be able to follow up, for all that she needs more time physically.

My Little Cracker is a horse I've been against for a long time but she won again last week and came here looking really well and much more mature physically.

In a classic case of mare/spring/ground combo she fairly rattled home after the last to win well, beating a fair yardstick in Vic's Last Stand, who was fit and well after a break.

The latter was never likely to have the pace to come from behind over this trip, but she looks to have improved again and I wouldn't be surprised if she defies a higher mark still.

All My Love has looked promising but she is just too small for this game, and her jumping was shoddy on this quicker ground.

Future Gilded was all the rage in the staying hurdle but this useful chaser didn't have the basic speed back over timber as Wake Your Dreams went off like the clappers in first time visors.

Quinlan gave the old horse a peach, getting in breathers round these tight bends, and had plenty in reserve for the finish. Popelys Gull again ran to form and is proving consistent albeit in the grip of the assessor.

Karisma King was made favourite for the handicap chase but I couldn't have the moderate Smith beast on this livelier surface, especially as formerly useful sorts The Clock Leary and Box Office were down to basement marks.

The latter had been very nervy over fences when last seen, but after a few months off was well backed and having been nursed into it by Coleman, won as he was expected to do off 109. He looked really fit and well, as did The Clock Leary on his first start for McCain.

He'll come on for the run as he's a big unit, although he may not be one to trust in a finish. But he's well enough handicapped to win in the north. Lemon's Gent ran to his best and gives it a solid look.

The novices handicap over 2m looked to be at the mercy of Stage One providing the Skelton inmate could jump a fence. However, he didn't find much and perhaps he needs further now, and it must be said he appears quite backward mentally.

With Never Up raised in grade and on a drier surface this didn't take much winning, however the luckless Movie Legend still couldn't close the deal yet again having taken it up two out.

The Nicholls-trained Contre Tous was a big drifter having reportedly had breathing issues last time out and he was scratched from Southwell's card last week.

This better ground is clearly important and after hitting a flat spot turning in he rallied nicely to deny Movie Legend, who found less than expected once more.

Two divisions of a mares bumper followed, the former looking the more competitive, although they were won in very similar times.

Division 1 had some decent lookers and the sustained support for debutant Outofthisworld proved significant as the compact but well-made filly powered clear in the manner of a fair sort.

The second division was won by the Henderson-trained Melangerie, a rather nervous looking horse who stepped up markedly on two previous efforts to beat a decent looking filly in Presenting Pearl.

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