Friday 4 October 2019

Hexham - October 4

Drizzly but mild on arrival in Northumberland, the rain had got into the ground though and it looked pretty tiring, although they generally went a sensible gallop throughout the afternoon.

The opening mares handicap hurdle looked a competitive little heat but the only one with course form was 14/1 shot Sweet Vinetta and she made that knowledge count to win for Gillian Boanas.

As luck would have it I was round at chez Boanas the day before and the young grey was discussed at length - she certainly looked stronger than at this point last year and didn't deserve to be overlooked in the market.

Irish winner and Dr Newland newcomer Somethinaboutangela had plenty about her beforehand and this was probably a step up on what she had previously achieved, with more to come.

The market favoured Mega Double who looked well but much of her form is round Cartmel and she travelled like the best horse for a long way before the weight took its toll up the hill - that can happen round here and it was a slow motion finish.

Three went to post for a staying novices hurdle and they are all worth a second look next time, French import Echiquier proving a class apart and it looks like this chase winner will have a novice hurdle campaign this time.

Elle Est Grande is a lovely stamp of a horse still on the weak side, while Speak Of The Devil is every inch a chaser and the best may not be seen of him until next term.

He may be the next Buddha Scheme as the next race was a case in point in how so many of Lucinda Russell's horses improve for the switch to fences...Buddha Scheme showing little in three starts last term but again looking a great big chaser albeit rather gangly and gawky.

He looked beaten in the dip but the two fancied horses Trixster and Ard Chros clobbered the last opening the door for the 40/1 shot to land a wild staying novice chase, after Senor Lombardy had tumbled out of it having reached for the downhill fence five out.

Ard Chros, noted here last season running a fine race despite carrying plenty of condition, looks a really nice prospect and he will strip fitter next time, however the well-backed Trixster is an active horse who looked pretty fit, but he's not a brilliant shape and he's going to struggle over larger obstacles unless he smartens up his act.

I'd rate the race round runner-up Cairnshill who I suspect has run up to his best hurdle mark of 117.

The fourth was a tricky looking handicap hurdle that featured the return of Taxmeifyoucan, who looked a poorly handicapped horse last term after a couple smart efforts in his novice year.

As with Senor Lombardy earlier on the card the Keith Dalgleish inmate looked likely to benefit from the outing and he looked to have hit a bit of a flat spot when the taps were turned hitting the hill, but was in there pitching at the last where Old Salt took an unfortunate spill when his back legs slipped from under him.

He would probably have won, but he hampered Taxmeifyoucan in the process who looked booked for second as the outsider Eviscerating, a big rangy chaser, found himself several lengths in front only to pull up with the line in sight, B Hughes galvanising the Dalgleish horse for a final winning thrust.

Melody Of Scotland failed to catch the eye and looks little more than a summer type, the rest looked pretty straight although Carrigmoorna Matt is a big lad and may need more work under his new handler.

The cash came for Bocasien Desbois in the 2m4f handicap chase and the grey had certainly dropped to a good looking mark following a modest campaign when the M Todhunter yard was very quiet.

Not a horse with huge scope, the grey jumped soundly enough to win a shade cosily from Orioninverness, who looked fit enough and may have benefited from a more dynamic ride having form over much further than this.

Ripstick put up another sound effort in third having been given plenty to do, and if seen out again in the near future could be poised to pick up a small race.

The finale saw Court Baloo bidding to supplement his impressive victory here last time out which was achieved in a very decent time and has seen the well-beaten runner-up go in at Perth.

The ground was very different that day but this was water off a duck's back and, under a positive ride, stayed on too strongly for Our Nest Egg and Pleney after the last.

Two very different types, the former didn't appeal at all from a physical viewpoint unlike Pleney, who had come in for each-way support during the day and looked sure to enjoy the test of stamina.

This well made sort may have needed the run this time but should be able to find a similar opening closer to home in due course, he's still learning about the game and could yet prove ahead of his mark.

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