Tuesday 26 March 2019

Hexham - March 26

With the water table so low across the country any moisture is disappearing as quickly as it arrives and there wasn't much 'good to soft' left - the times confirming as much.

There were a couple of notable Irish raiders on the day, both partnered by R Dunne and both heavily backed, the first Captain CJ landing the opening novices hurdle with something to spare.

The eight-year-old by Westerner isn't much more than medium sized but is well put together and had form in bumpers and over hurdles to suggest this would be easy pickings.

He came home clear of the luckless Shaman Du Berlais, who deserves one of these but simply lacks any kind of gear change, rallying to pick up second place ahead of the eye-catching Ard Chros, a strong chase type who looks well bought for in-form connections. He should come on a ton for this.

Largy Prospect failed by some way to back up his Ayr success but this tall, chasing type probably wanted much softer ground, a similar comment applied to Stung For Cash, who didn't look entirely at home on the track.

I'd backed the talented but bonkers Saint Freule at Kelso at the weekend only for the six-year-old to refuse to race and was lucky to get refunded, so wasn't going to make the same mistake twice...a decision that proved costly as B Campbell got him away on terms this time and the price was no longer there.

It's amazing that he's now won twice considering his many antics, although the handicapper is likely to take offence at this 14-length stroll and he'll need to buck his ideas up from now on.

It wasn't much of a race, with the hitherto disappointing Felix Mendelssohn out of excuses after blowing a softish lead in first time blinkers, once again fading out of things.

Murphy's Law looks more of a long term project, while Lucky Lucarno would be better served by softer ground and further, while he'll certainly jump a fence. Mint Gold stayed on for third but looks tall and weak and could do with a summer at grass.

A 0-100 handicap chase followed but not many of the 10 could be fancied with any confidence, Graystown far from certain to run his race after finally getting off the mark last time out.

It was best left to Well Joey to hand R Dunne a straight forward brace, overcoming a couple of sketchy early jumps to readily get off the mark at the 27th time of asking, although just his second outing for P Stafford, who has history at this course.

Katalystic isn't put together brilliantly and once again failed to impress in the jumping department, while Westend Theatre let down each-way backers with an error-strewn round at a track he's done well at before. Like many of these, he would have preferred it softer.

There was a surprise in the handicap hurdle when Glinger Flame took a walk in the market despite having the look of a very solid favourite with his latest form at Ayr working out so well.

The question was only of whether he'd find much up the hill but so well had he gone throughout that they couldn't get him off the bridle, and was another impressive winner on the day now in line for a hike in the ratings.

Niceandeasy appeared to have gained condition with his new yard and I expect him to come back to form with some cut in the ground, while Pieceoftheaction didn't back up his run here 12 days ago and this may have come too soon. He's a decent type that will prove this effort wrong.

The fifth race was a desperate 0-100 handicap chase over 3m which carried no betting interest, and one of the least appealing on looks came good in Prince Dundee, who was outstaying Square Viviani when that one came down at the last.

It goes without saying that this is desperate form, with the winner thoroughly opposable next time.

The bumper wasn't much of a contest on paper although there were some interesting types in the paddock. Sidi Ismael had much the best form, particularly at Carlisle, and he duly got off the mark with the minimum of fuss, he's a decent enough type.

Market rival Djebel Rome made little appeal, a moderate moving animal that looks an out and out stayer, he'll do much better in soft ground. Fair Minx has loads of size and out-ran his odds, while the home bred Crow Stone is nicely made and showed enough to suggest the ability is there.

Be One was the most imposing but he was keen in the prelims and this 30k purchase will need time to learn to race, and may not be of interest until jumping fences.

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