Saturday 15 December 2018

Doncaster - December 15

A bitterly cold afternoon on Town Moor but thankfully the rain stayed away until just prior to the last race and the ground remained on the good side, probably riding a little tacky.

The early start caught us on the hop for once but we were in plenty of time for the second race where Newtown Boy went off a very warm order after defeating subsequent Southwell winner Rouge Vif at Hereford.

He made really hard work of things, never able to get to the front with mistakes marring his chance at the last three flights, and the good looking son of Beneficial looks in need of further already.

Esprit De Baileys toughed it out from the front and showed great battling qualities to go one better than on debut, while he lacks a bit of size he's an athlete that should pay his way over time.

You could have given each of the four in the handicap chase a chance on bits of form but Amour De Nuit is on an upward curve over fences and made pretty light work of the opposition, with The Unit again emphasizing a lack of stature with jumping blemishes throughout.

Robbing The Prey continued the losing run of those horses to have left the Jefferson yard during the summer, there's a faint whiff of schadenfraude in the air and why bloody not.

A quality quartet lined up for the staying novices chase and it would have been well argued beforehand that eventual winner Rocky's Treasure should have been sent off a much shorter price on the back of his much improved effort behind Santini last time.

However he was challenged in the market by Ascot victor King Of Realms, a horse I've not been afraid to hide warm feelings for.

But it was something of a surprise to see him back on the track just three weeks on from a pretty hard-fought win, and I've a strong suspicion he bounced here, never going with much conviction from the off. He may just be a handicapper, but I suspect he will prove this effort all wrong.

Theclockisticking has improved physically but he'll still be much better in 12 months time, and this ground would have been sticky enough, while Coup De Pinceau is another that may have found this coming a bit quick.

Quel Destin is a keen looking type, quite strong for a young horse and he finally got on top of Elysees to land a weak Grade 2 juvenile, that said he should continue to improve. Cracker Factory made no show and he could just be a summer type.

The unfortunate Oi The Clubb Oi's is a nice sort and it came as little surprise to see him out-run big odds, athletic and scopey he didn't have the run of the race and there was no fluke about his effort.

O O Seven faced his easiest assignment for a good year in the closing staying handicap chase but made awful hard work of beating Go Conquer, getting on top close home after some laboured jumping. Not form to get excited about, and the front pair will remain opposable in better company.

Straidnahanna showed a bit more and is being steadily brought to the boil, no doubt with a tilt at the North Yorkshire National at his beloved Catterick in mind.

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