Tuesday 19 February 2019

Carlisle - February 18

A really decent novice hurdle to start proceedings and it saw Sue Smith's Hill Sixteen finally come good after several promising efforts.

The fast pace suited this staying chase prospect and as always his sound jumping was notable - he'll surely make a fantastic chaser next term - and of course being by my favourite stallion Court Cave will want 3m in due course.

I'll take a jumps bred over a flat one every day of the week and Vis A Vis' novicey jumping cost him dear late on, a particularly poor effort two out when challenging making things difficult. He's got enough size for this game though and can build on this.

Champagne Court was heavily supported dropping back in grade but once again was quite keen and although another by Court Cave he's shown loads of speed so far and while his penalty wouldn't have helped, a drop back in trip may suit next time.

Don't read much into those beaten a long way behind this decent trio; there will be other days in handicaps for the likes of Pleney (not fit here) and The Big Galloper, while Murphy's Law is another likeable sort for the future.

A lowly staying handicap hurdle followed and paddock pick Some Can Dance came good under a very patient ride, the son of Gold Well had some solid form behind him and has the size for fences so is one to keep the right side of.

Mid Day Gun stepped up on previous efforts and this strapping animal is another likely to keep going the right way, the headgear doing the trick here. Third home Wig Wam Wiggle could do with softer ground but finally put a couple of runs together and he too shouldn't be dispensed with yet.

Absolutely Dylan has been a bit disappointing this season despite recording two wins, and he still needs riding round the pre-parade ring and you could say is a typical Scorpion, loads of attitude and his effort in the 2m4f handicap chase makes him one to be wary of.

I thought Native Robin looked in great heart but he's not easy to win with, requiring a hold up ride and the rider got it all wrong here, getting there far too soon and hitting a wall. He looks weighted to his best but could pick up a weaker race this spring if remaining in this form.

Pookie Pekan has really strengthened up this season but looks and shapes like a real stayer...the early fractions not to his liking and a bad mistake put him right out of it. He's worth another chance if finding some soft ground and a 3m+ test.

Knocknamona came here fit and well after a short break and the race was perfectly run for him, he just has the one pace but they got going early and this fell into his lap. He barely sees out 3m but is a consistent sort that jumps well.

Never Up was fit enough but doesn't win often, similar comments applying to Ueueteotl who nonetheless went well for a long way and may need 3m now.

A really competitive handicap hurdle saw the Smith novice Informateur well backed all day with some solid looking form to his name, but this was a steep introduction to handicaps and he never seemed to find a rhythm in a rather frantic race. He's better than this but is essentially a big, raw chaser.

Teescomponents Lad wasn't sure to be suited by the drop in trip but after crashing through the last on the first circuit was put into the race by the ever-improving R Chapman and the consistent stayer was always in the right spot thereafter.

Wetherby gamble Thosedaysaregone ran up a bit light for me and may have had enough for the time being, but the eye-catcher was Saint De Vassy who has the make and shape of a soft ground lover.

Having travelled a bit too well he was noted staying on after hitting a bit of a flat spot and he can only improve for this and may prove to be a fair tool. McGowan's Pass went far too keen in front and while his jumping was much better, he didn't stay.

Quite a competitive looking handicap chase was turned into a bit of a procession by the well-handicapped Arthur's Gift, and he looks booked for stiffer assignments after this. His yard is adept at placing novice chasers and he can land a big pot this spring especially if it ever rains.

I liked Dr Des but he has yet to transfer his hurdles form to fences, making several minor errors here. He travelled like a horse well ahead of his mark and while not over-big, should be able to pick something up in the coming weeks and again he should relish some wetter ground.

Groundunderrepair lacks any kind of substance and remains one to oppose, Blakemount carried a bit of condition and may yet have a race in him on soft. I thought Very First Time would go well in much-needed headgear but they didn't help his confidence and he remains under a cloud.

Dorking Cock was a warm order to back up his impressive Sandown victory last week and it was simply a question of whether he had recovered from that in what looked a weak field for a 0-115 handicap.

He has loads of pace despite a strong pedigree and looked in trouble at the bottom of the hill, but it proved to be a flat spot and he came through strongly, he's an unfurnished sort that will benefit greatly from another summer in the field.

Broughtons Admiral bumped into one and with the pair coming away late on he should gain compensation, he looked really well for all that he's not very big at all. I didn't think much to Larch Hill and he's only modest.

The bumper was a cracker but the market pretty much went the way I saw it with Thomas Macdonagh and Lossiemouth dominating the betting and the business end, the latter really hitting the line hard in the style of a useful horse.

A really lengthy, sizeable individual, he's arguably one of the more exciting ones in a yard full of good types and this form looks sound with the runner-up doing little wrong, possibly just getting tired after a break and a wind op.

Taking Flight looked the most immature of the others mentally and is sure to make amends, Sidi Ismael took a walk in the market but is a nice athletic horse and will come on for the run.

Young Bull has shaped like a dour stayer on his previous outings and this sharp track wasn't to his liking; he'll want at least 2m4f when sent over timber but has the make and shape of a nice horse.

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