Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Catterick - December 18

Windy and rainy for another trip up the A1 but mild enough and a decent enough card with plenty of angles to attack, and while it looked quite testing, particularly on the hurdles track, the times suggest it wasn't much worse than good to soft.

Little to talk about after the amateur riders race that opened proceedings, Haasab once again looking the type to do better from a physical point of view but only has modest form and a high head carriage doesn't help. PC Dixon wasn't fit and may take a few runs to reach last year's highs.

The juvenile looked to be at the mercy of Wetherby winner Fabianski and the only surprise about the easy win was the price, great value for those who thought she was a good thing. A well made sort, she can compete in a better grade.

Runner-up Dagian has plenty of size and ought to pick up a race, the same can be said for Fanzio who has a decent enough frame to grow into. Nothing much else held any appeal.

The novices handicap chase looked wide open and this was backed up by the market, and it was the heavily backed Eureu Du Boulay that landed the spoils in a race that didn't take much winning in the end.

Allowed a fairly soft lead, there aren't many better at dictating than Danny Cook and with an enthusiastic partner comfortably held the challenge of Manwell from the home turn.

The winner has just enough size and strength to win over fences as a four-year-old and should continue to progress physically, while Manwell could have been unfortunate to bump into one once more, although he's not easy to make excuses for, having received a very patient ride.

Tetraites Style is one for the long-term, a really good chasing type whose fencing got better as the race went on, but faded right out of things after taking quite a strong hold.

Bred to stay very well, it could be next winter before he's seen to best effect but I've no doubt he'll be winning his fair share in time.

Gettysburg Address is a nice scopey sort and looked fit enough, but was quite weak in the market before making several minor blunders before tailing off, and this has to go down as disappointing bearing in mind the trainer's ability to ready one from a lengthy absence..

Decent bumper winner Marley Firth was a major flop and faithful backers must be out of patience now, never really jumping or going with any fluency.

The staying handicap hurdle didn't look very strong for the grade with market leaders Our Reward, Colby and Djin Conti having plenty to prove for one reason or another.

Too Many Chiefs looked really well and was poised to go close with a couple of outings under his belt and the ground turning in his favour, and he was well ridden by R Chapman to outstay his rivals, Djin Conti appearing to stay the trip on his first try at it.

Colby is a raw, unfurnished young horse that needs time and he doesn't appear to have the tools to deal with this type of ground yet. Rainy City came there moving well but probably didn't quite get home.

Sweet Vinetta was first noted here and in more detail here and after taking quite a substantial step forward at Hexham last time out looked set to go very close in the novices hurdle with the step up in trip sure to suit.

Another positive ride from the excellent Chapman meant we never had an anxious moment as the petite grey bolted up in what turned out to be a very weak contest.

Hopefully the handicapper will take a sensible view of things, with favourite Morriman over-rated for his facile victory at Musselburgh last time, and the other promising type Skye Chief appearing to need the outing.

Calliope ran well although her opening mark will not now leave much room to manoevre, and Skye Chief should offer much more hope for the future as he's quite a nice staying chaser in the making.

But this was Sweet Vinetta's day and with plenty of room to strengthen and grow hopefully she'll become a standard bearer for patient connections.

Midnight Chill was a warm order in the next to follow up his Sedgefield triumph and despite running in snatches early doors, came home really well to deny Halcyon Days, who had optimum conditions and has basically bumped into one.

They came a distance clear and now face a hike in the weights, the winner finally starting to fulfill early potential while the latter could now struggle in all but the weakest 0-115s, for all that he's a most likeable sort.

I may have mentioned here before that Middlebrow looks mentally and physically frail, and he showed once again that he's not one to trust. Nicolas Chauvin looked as well as I've seen him but again checked out in the style of a horse that's gone at the game.

The bumper cut up with three scratchings on account of the ground, although their absence may also have had something to do with the punt on PTP winner The Second Coming, who probably isn't, but nonetheless was good enough to beat a very weak field; with only The Maestro appearing forward enough to take a hand.

The winner, a big unit for a Yeats youngster, had trouble navigating the bends but galloped on powerfully once sent for home and he'll require a trip over obstacles. The Maestro was disappointing but might just have bumped into one as it happens, while the rest were knowhere near ready.physically.

Don't forget to read my fortnightly Little Black Book column on the Racing To Profit website, where I cherry pick some horses to follow.

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