Wednesday 6 December 2017

Haydock - Wednesday Dec 6

Across the old 62 we went for a six race card with only a clutch of runners in each, but it was competitive enough and not without fun.

Most horses are rocking up fit at this stage of the season and paddock views are largely a case of what takes the eye in terms of structure and well-being.

Thomas Patrick was probably the nicest on show in the opening handicap hurdle but he went down in a head-bob to Pop Rockstar, whose form probably entitled him to win, for all that physically he is more a work in progress.

The following novices chase was a real headbanger and I ended up staying right out of it, although the couple I didn't really want to be with happened to bomb out.

Rolling Dylan was one as he didn't look very big against some of these and the 5lb penalty appeared to make things difficult, not that it mattered in the end as he was done for turning into the straight.

Buster Thomas is a nice strong sort physically but he's pretty backward and again he pulled too hard, exhausted when coming down at the last. Once he settles, he'll want a good distance of ground.

Eamon Na Cnoic was part of my betting plan on the last day at Wetherby but he jumped stickily prior to a heavy fall five out that day. Sent off an unconsidered rag here, he was smooth over his fences and this expensive purchase has the size and scope to be quite decent and this was his second course win.

Sainte Ladylime is strong but not that tall and clearly finds jumping difficult, not so Ballydine who looked as straight as he could be for his first run back off a 600+day absence.

He's a real stayer though, and just plugged on over this trip after getting outpaced on the turn in. He's a strong chaser who jumped cleanly, and given a decent break he's one Longsdon inmate to have on your side this winter, while he also goes on better ground so the Festivals may not be out of the question.

Niblawi and Shivermetimbers shared favouritism in a small field novice hurdle and you wouldn't find two more different animals, the former a small, stocky ex-Flat horse against a huge great chasing type who must go through the motions of a season or two over timber.

Neither made great appeal in the circumstances, although I foolishly didn't fully consider the third 'runner' Joke Dancer, who I've noted favourably here on his two previous starts.

A nicer horse you couldn't wish for but he'd been quite fractious and green before his races, and keen going in the race.

He's getting better each time though and was settled nicely off a slow pace before Cook rushed him through to lead two out before powering clear. I thought the flat horse's pace would do for him but Niblawi didn't really show a great deal to warrant following again.

The handicap chase was the key race of the day as Just Georgie was a well-backed jolly to break his maiden tag under rules, but it looked a bit 'too obvious' and essentially 2/1 was short enough in a race where some of them looked well handicapped.

One such was Morney Wing, who wants further but got an easy sit on the lead and backers would have found his finishing effort a shade disappointing.

Whiskey Chaser was promising two seasons back but was hit-and-miss last term and clearly isn't one that is easy to catch right. Despite dismal reappearance efforts for the past three years he looked pretty straight, but then there was nothing wrong with him when I piled in at Sedge two years ago when he was beaten a distance.

But he was on his game today and stayed on strongly to deny the willing Back To The Thatch, who is quite well made and should do better in time, once his scratchy fencing improves.

Just Georgie had just moved into contention but inexplicably put down on Cook at the last ditch and that was the end of that. He's proving costly to follow but surely would have gone close and may just be worth another chance if the odds allow.

Purple Harry is a big sturdy white horse who always looks on good terms with himself, but he's a dour stayer and looked in need of this outing. It only took him one run to hit top form in the spring and if they have a clear run this winter he should win again from this mark.

Ravensdale was all the rage ahead of another novices hurdle and he again filled the eye as he had at Southwell the last day, only stripping a good deal fitter this time.

He's a well made, professional looking animal who is just the type to continue progressing as the season goes on, and as he is stepped up in trip.

It was perhaps a little disappointing that his lead was being eroded close home by the staying on Duke Debarry, but the feeling was that the winner was only doing as much as he had to.

The runner-up may not be all that straight forward, but he'll enjoy a return to further and this at least proved he goes on soft ground.

Spider's Bite caught all the eyes at Aintree last time but that form may not be all that and he most certainly is not straight forward. Tall and light framed at this stage, he's a keen sort and typically for a Scorpion he has a lot going on upstairs. He's one to be a little wary of.

Graystown is only modest looking, at least amongst these more expensive types, but he put in another solid shift and connections will be hoping the handicapper cuts him some slack.

The finale looked wide open and Clan Legend looked vulnerable at the top of the market, up 9lb for beating a very weak field at Hexham, while the extra yardage wasn't necessarily going to suit.

You can't afford to be in the least bit keen on this ground and the way he went suggests he'll remain better over shorter, and this mark could stretch him in this grade.

One For Harry is a solid benchmark and once he got on the lead he was always going to be hard to beat. A touch of class at this level goes a long way and he ground out the W, as is his wont.

Its'Afreebee might have been an interesting poke at long odds but he was surprisingly well backed and looks to have completely gone at the game for the time being.

I quite liked Quids In and this well made youngster looked sure to run his race. This probably just stretched him but the form has a solid look and he can surely pick up something similar.

1 comment:

  1. A great afternoon I thought. Loved the story from the 80-year-old celebrating his birthday.