Wednesday 29 November 2017

Wetherby November 29

Not the best card on soft ground, including a couple of small field chases and a pair of weak mares bumpers.

A juvenile hurdle opened proceedings where Alan King looked to have picked up a nice strong youngster in Doctor Bartolo, who was worthy of support in a fairly weak looking race.

He was novicey at his hurdles, no more so than at the last, and although it was disappointing he was run out of it he should benefit enormously from the run.

The victory went to Albert's Back, who continued MW Easterby's fine run over the sticks of late. This big rangy animal will jump a fence in the years to come and was clearly marking time on the level.

His 18/1 SP was very surprising as not many others could be fancied, Falcon Sun is an ok looker as you would expect from the Skelton kennel but didn't produce much on his debut and was third at a fair distance here.

Bid Adieu came in for strong support but the Irish raider looked a very active type beforehand and he duly went bombing off in front, effectively running his race in the first mile.

Richard Strauss is quite athletic and could be a handicap project, while The Blues Master lacks a bit of size although he should make a fist of it in this sphere.

Captain Chaos was a worthy favourite in the novice chase but he doesn't look like one for the mortgage money for reasons not easy to pinpoint, but didn't do a great deal wrong in fairness and winning under a penalty suggests his 140+ rating is entirely fair.

He was closed upon by Threeways, who lacks a bit of size for fences, between the last two but the winner pinged it when he needed to. The runner-up is a gritty staying sort and gives the form a solid look, the disappointment being Secrete Stream.

Jefferson's horse has always been a lovely chasing type and was turned out in great shape, but he isn't bred for this stamina test; that said he was beaten long before that became an issue. It's to be hope he hasn't gone wrong again.

The novice hurdle over the minimum was actually a belter with a handful of horses showing similar form in bumpers and novice hurdles.

King Vince was backed into favouritism but I felt he had more questions to answer than most, having no form on this ground and looking like a horse that needs time physically.

The visually impressive winner Fin And Games looked a horse of quality and strength beforehand and the solid support for him came as little surprise.

The current form of the McCain team is hard to fault and this performance suggests the son of Oscar has a really bright future.

He brushed aside Not That Fuisse, who travelled like the winner until two out, although the Skelton team will be happy to have their horse back on track. He's quite unfurnished, but this may turn out to be a fair effort.

Jersey Bean lacks a bit of size but shaped like a thorough stayer in third, while The Dawn Man is a big raw chaser that faded quite disappointingly after making the running. I thought he'd go better than that but again perhaps that just shows there may be plenty of depth to the race.

Destined To Shine was held up this time and it's back to the drawing board for him, while The Road Home is probably only modest.

Gino Trail looked the proverbial good thing in the four runner handicap chase and the only surprise here was the fact he traded odds against right up to the off.

This classy performer didn't need to improve to win from a perch of 140 and he duly obliged despite opting for a shortie at the second last when he'd gone very long at several others.

Never Up didn't stand a chance of keeping up in this grade and I wouldn't he hard on him as he wants further and a drop to C4, while Pain Au Chocolat was a huge price for a likeable horse and I can see him going very well back here over Christmas, when hopefully his yard is in better form.

Speaking of which, none is going better than M Hammond and he banged in another at the remarkable odds of 33/1 in the handicap hurdle via Becky The Thatcher, who was fit from the flat and bound to improve for the step up in trip.

She had her share of weight but is a bonny filly and got a good ride from O'Toole, who didn't go for her until after the last. Away For Slates was run down after the last but ran to his mark, but I never thought he was that straight forward and perhaps found less than expected.

Micky saddled the third in Only Orsenfoolsies despite minimum assistance from the saddle, while Reverant Cust has been given quite a few chances now and this small individual didn't find anything off the bridle and needs headgear.

The first mares bumper was the stronger of the two by a mile and it went to Harrisons Promise, who was entitled to go well on the back of a couple of solid efforts, and may not have improved much to take it. The connections are much maligned but are having winners and this one has a better physique than many of theirs.

Jennifer Juniper was heavily backed but the F O'Brien inmate looked very slow and never showed, possibly amiss. Shantung should improve on this as she looked mentally backward, while Strawberry Spirit is quite small and possibly wants time. The Mistress has loads of size and I expect she'll head over timber now.

The finale was very weak indeed, O'Brien's well made Belle Amis eventually wearing down Birch Vale to win going away. She should improve fitness-wise, while the second is a large daughter of Presenting who can only improve for obstacles.

Sammamish was the sole market rival to the winner and although she looked a bit backward her effort was deplorable, while Looe Bay attracted each-way support but she looks of little account, getting worked up and she clearly lives on her nerves.

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