Saturday 9 December 2017

Wetherby - Saturday Dec 9

A card decimated by withdrawals owing to the ground, which was reported to be very hard work and still frozen in the more exposed parts of the track. The less said about this state of affairs, the better.

The opening novice hurdle was the most interesting on the afternoon with several to note for the future.

While Wemyss Point looked overpriced when winning at the last meeting, physically he didn't have anywhere near the presence of some of these chasers of the future, and well-backed again he represented any value other than in the place market.

Knight In Dubai was noted as a strong sort in need of softer ground when routed in a Sedgefield bumper nearly 10 weeks ago, but given time to strengthen by his astute trainer took a giant leap forward here.

Despite looking more unfurnished than most, he travelled incredibly well and won with his head in his chest. It looks he's run to around 120 here and he's a useful recruit that can defy a penalty.

Game On and Indian Hercules were closely matched on their Uttoxeter running and both have a future over fences. The former doesn't have much respect for timber but should be able to pick up one of these granted softer conditions, while the former is well made but didn't seem to appreciate this terrain.

Overworkdunderpaid was a surprising springer in the market as he looks a really big ugly tank of a horse, who won't come into his own until further down the line. But he shaped with promise and is another to take out of the race.

Finally, Trixter wasn't given a hard time back in the pack and this compact sort is one to look out for in something like a 0-110 where his trainer likes to have a bit of a touch.

Ami Desbois did what he had to do in the novice chase against A Vos Gardes, who has used his time on the sidelines to strengthen up quite nicely. The winner looked strangely quirky in front but I suspect he wanted a bit of company and if it comes up on the soft side at Cheltenham in March he'll be at the forefront of my plans.

On A Promise was the selection in the staying hurdle and he travelled like the winner on this hat-trick bit, but the stone rise did for him although in fairness he beat the rest pointless behind Pop Rockstar, who followed up his Haydock quite well in the end. Obviously very well in, it may be that the second didn't stand much of a chance.

Six went to post in the next and it fell to perennial rogue Captain Mowbray, who took the step up to 3m in his stride to finally get off the mark.

That doesn't tell the full story as he did his best to chuck it away two out with a dreadful blunder that shot T Kelly forward, and the Irishman did a remarkable job to stay in the plate in the save of the season.

If anything else could raise a gallop they were done for but Big Meadow and Mr Love, two big chasing types making their debut, were spent and Kelly was able to rally the Captain to an epic win, which also gave his trainer a well deserved winner.

Aristo Du Plessis made it two from two at the track this term despite not being able to take up his usual front running role, and it's to the credit of jockey C Nichol that he kept to his own even tempo, which was more than enough for two rivals. Sakhee's City looked more wayward than ever and he surely now wants blinkers.

Only three left in the handicap chase as well, Movie Legend winning again with Pistol Park again not jumping with much fluency and Ifandbutwhynot stopping to nothing. The winner may be getting better but I'd be wary if he gets a big rise for this.

Just a fillies bumper over 12 furlongs to finish and the market sorted out the best looking of them, the well-made Behranell coming in for support ahead of Perfect Myth, who was a bit on the weak side but had some quality about her.

The biggest of them by some way was the nicely bred Kuragina, but while she was expected to learn plenty for the outing she galloped all over them and won with something in hand in the end, landing a small touch for the shrewd Slack yard.

The amount of times the biggest, strongest filly wins in these races is remarkable and something for us all to remember.

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