Friday 18 October 2019

Carlisle - October 17

Another bonanza eight-race card on softish ground, worse on the watered hurdles course that is used for the Flat and probably just good to soft on the chase course after a couple of dry days.

The opening handicap chase for novices should throw up a bunch of future winners, not least on the basis of a decent-looking time, but also because it brought together a decent lot.

Khage headed the market and looked as fit as any beforehand, his hurdles form standing up to close scrutiny, however the Whittington yard remains rather quiet and after going freely in the first half mile had nothing left for the final climb.

Hill Sixteen held up well in the market and I know at least one shrewd tipster had put him up in the morning, however he clearly isn't a fan of the blog as I clearly stated yesterday that the Smith yard is a mile behind at the moment and I firmly held the opinion he could not win this race.

What a lovely big staying chaser he is, by Court Cave he'll relish a test in due course but even in full fitness it would be hard to see him contend over the minimum trip at this stage of the campaign.

He duly beat one home, another nice staying type from a yard sending them to the track well short of fitness in Buster Valentine, not before he threatened to take a hand three from home in what was quite a taking debut.

All seven showed enough to be worth a second look next time, stayer Smiths Cross looking and shaping as thought needing the run, while Esprit Du Large looked fit but is still fairly light framed although he has a touch of class and stayed on in eye-catching style.

The King Of May appeared to be carrying condition but that is not uncommon of the Ellison yard which is on fire with its chasers at present and the five-year-old won with more in hand than the official margin suggests.

Having travelled sweetly he put the race to bed in short time; connections' patience quickly rewarded and he looks useful. West To The Bridge doesn't have much presence and was keen throughout before staying on - he's clearly talented.

The first of two novice hurdles saw the mare Methodtothemadness put her race fitness to good use with an all-the-way victory for the in-form Lucinda Russell. A lengthy five-year-old, she's not necessarily a chaser in waiting but jumped notably accurately and will stay further.

Jelski looked fit enough on seasonal return and shadowed the winner throughout but was far less fluent and that paid in the end, while the leggy Irish Odyssey shaped with loads of promise before weakening late on.

Sense Of Adventure looks a backward sort for the longer term while Black Ebony will prove this form all wrong once fit, this big strong Malinas gelding looking a useful prospect having strengthened up since last seasons bumpers.

The second division only had two horses with recent outings and sure enough the Flat-fit Multellie ran them ragged in a time far quicker than the previous race. It has to go down as a fine piece of placing.

Runner-up Ask Himself has loads of size and scope and is typical of the yard, a future staying chaser who went with a deal of promise until fitness told, while the third Tango Boy is a similar type and really rather nice.

Some Detail should win races this season on his bumper form but was beaten a long way out and may already want much further, while Bourbon Borderline has a good frame but looked unfurnished and can only improve on this disappointing effort.

The big race was a 0-140 handicap chase and was taken by Pop Rockstar, who looked a shade burly and doubled in price before supplementing last season's win off a 12lb higher mark.

This form doesn't look strong with the very modest looking Aasleagh Dawn chasing him home and the inconsistent Bandsman filling the places.

Arthur's Gift was disappointing but he will be sharper next time and ideally wants a stiffer test at the trip, relishing heavy ground, while Looksnowtlikebrian was carrying plenty of condition and doesn't appear to have improved his jumping technique.

Two legs of a handicap hurdle followed and both were won by race-fit horses, the active Iolani back down to a winning mark and sluicing up in the first despite the late rally of Romeo Brown.

This was a noteworthy effort from the runner-up, the first from the P Kirby to really see a race out this autumn, and the yard will have taken plenty from the run as he wasn't given a hard time when the race was developing.

The favourite Tegerek turned in a puzzling effort under a very forward ride, this change of tactics not working out in trying conditions first time out, and looked a bit short of fitness beforehand.

Mega Double shaped as though weighted to the hilt, while Arctic Road wasn't fully wound up.

Attention Seaker completed a double for Tim Easterby in the next, a horse I followed many years ago before injury struck. She's not a looker by any means but positively hacked up in a weak looking race once the heavily backed Higgs flopped for a second time in a week.

I'd been bullish on the chances of Le Frank - 'the last of the King's Theatre's' - in the handicap chase and it's hard to believe he's still on a mark of 105 after dotting up at Hexham nearly a year ago.

He hasn't really grown and filled out as I imagined he might and came into the paddock very late, having looked like he may have got stirred up in the saddling box. We shall never know but he was quite weak in the market and didn't go with much zest in the first mile.

But thankfully they went a fair pace and his stamina brought him into it as they met the hill, proving that he'll want further and/or softer from now on.

It was hard to fancy much else, Felix Mendelssohn and Never Up didn't look fit while the rest are either quirky or disappointing, Sporting Press again suggesting he's a bit soft and better on flatter tracks.

The mares bumper probably didn't take much winning but a strong pace separated the ladies from the girls and the one with Listed form proved far too good as the well-related Legends Ryde came home alone under a positive ride, she's a strong jumping type that impressed in every department.

Lady Bowes and La Chanteuse were amongst the best of the rest in the prelims and they defied big odds to fill the places, the robust Southern Girl tiring late on while plenty of others didn't get home including longer term prospects Kleos and Silk Or Satin.

Blossoming Forth ran no sort of race but was somewhat rotund in any case.

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