Sunday 20 January 2019

Haydock - January 19

Not a great deal of moisture around and probably the best ground you'll see here in the middle of January, good jumping ground but far from the heavy usually associated with the track and definitely not suiting the traditional sluggers.

A weak 0-120 to open proceedings and was taken by Suggestion, who was one of three strong in the market against the other six and that's the way they came home, but not in the right order.

The rangy grey was winning from a much higher mark this time after failing to find much off the bridle at Newcastle, I thought he was one to keep an eye on going into this season but he's not one to hang your hat on and had a going day today.

Night Of Glory doesn't have a huge amount of scope and that showed when asked to jump under pressure, essentially losing valuable ground and momentum at the final two flights when trading at odds on, it may not have affected the result but who knows. He looked fit enough.

Bahama Moon really should be winning from his mark but is looking paceless and tripless, for a fourth time in a row promising more than he has delivered.

A competitive looking novices chase came next but it proved otherwise with the mare Castafiore springing a big surprise, grinding it out from the front and winning with authority.

Jerrysback had anything but a clear run in second, and he doesn't look a straight forward conveyance, making minor errors and generally not looking fully genuine, it's hard to believe he ran to his Ascot form and there's a question mark against him for now.

Crucial Role is a lovely 'old fashioned' chaser who was disappointing on the face of it, but looks for all the world like he's ready for a return to 3m, having won over that trip over timber, and softer ground will also see him in better light. He's reported to have bled, but hopefully he'll be back soon.

Le Breuil was disappointing, but he rallied on the run-in after being woefully outpaced and he too looks like a three miler now, another that would need very soft ground to be at his best over this trip. He looked extremely fit and well, and is better than this.

Mister Fisher was hot favourite to land the Rossington Main and he looks a proper machine physically, the sky is almost the limit for him and he can only get better and better and he looked a bit green and novicey still.

Bright Forecast was his main market rival and he looked well but wouldn't have the physical presence of the winner. That said, he's run a mighty race having gone for the stable exit on the first circuit and wandered around at the hurdles in front. He'll make a lovely chaser.

Idee De Garde looked very green and backward, Esprit Du Large is a nice specimen but pulled a bit hard and backed out a bit tamely as the unfurnished Muratello claimed third with a pleasing effort.

The Champion Hurdle trial went to Global Citizen who looks to be a level short of the top division but did what he had to do here, a third Pauling inmate that looked fantastic on the day.

Silver Streak may have given him more to think about had he not clattered three out, losing a huge amount of momentum, and he continues on the up. He looked big and well and has the scope to keep getting better.

Western Ryder has been one of the disappointments of the season, essentially looking one paced again on ground that may be lively enough, but he never really looked like picking up the winner.

The Peter Marsh was a cracking renewal and for a change there were a handful still in with a chance two out thanks to the better ground, Wakanda hadn't won over quite this far before but under a fantastically patient ride from Danny Cook came home really strong to land a bit of a touch for a yard absolutely flying now.

Ballydine made an uncharacteristic error three out that put paid to his chance but he looks a dour stayer and rewarded each-way supporters on the line, and the Eider could be a race for him if it doesn't come too soon.

Robinsfirth ran a mighty race having been played late by Johnson. he looked really fit for a big tall horse but it is very hard to win round here without race fitness, and with proper soft ground he could land a nice pot on a flat track.

I gave the progressive Admiral's Secret a favourite's chance in the two miler that had won by Ubaltique for the last three years, but the southern raider planted himself at the start and that was our race run. So long as this doesn't become a habit he remains one to keep onside.

I also liked Vendor having been dropped 4lb for two quick runs over the festive season, but he lost his pitch with a desperately slow jump at the first on the far side and I'm prepared to forgive him this run as he was still in there pitching three from the end and there'll be easier openings than this.

Dicosimo, quite a tall horse that looked hard fit, had been put in his place by Admiral's Secret last time out but he jumped superbly under a patient yet prominent sit and never really looked like getting beat despite Zalvados trading low late on.

The latter comes with a wealth warning and for the second race in succession came with what looked a winning run only to falter under pressure. He looks well handicapped and could be the type to turn a corner on dry ground in the spring when they can't get him off the bridle, but until then he's worth opposing.

Ubaltique didn't look particularly straight for his record attempt and he faded late on ground that wasn't soft enough, but Deadly Approach out-ran his odds and this big rotund sort could come on again for this bold effort.

The finale looked competitive but I was dead keen on a couple of progressive sorts at the head of the market, Silva Eclipse and Highland Hunter.

The former represented the in-form Smith yard and really looks to have come to himself physically, shaping like more was to come last time out and sure enough he looked all over the winner after taking over at the last, only to be nabbed on the line by the rallying Closing Ceremony.

There was good money for the Lavelle course specialist, and after getting an easy time on the lead he was able to find more on the run-in.

Highland Hunter was given a lethargic ride having pulled for his head in his first handicap as Wedge set only simple fractions on the eventual winner. Allowed to slip back through the field as the race developed, this robust staying type was left with plenty to do as the sprint began off the turn.

Having made his ground easily enough, he was green off the bridle and didn't quite find as much as the front pair but I've no doubt this is a well handicapped horse and he can show a great deal more granted softer ground and greater stamina test.

Roycano looked in good heart while carrying a bit too much condition, the race will bring him on and he looks on a handy enough mark still to win races if they can keep the wheels on.

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