Saturday 16 November 2019

Newcastle - November 15

Dry and bright in the main, lots of rain before racing made it on the heavy side but they took things very steadily throughout and that didn't suit some of the more doughty stayers.

The first was a case in point where they went no gallop at all in the 3m handicap hurdle, just modest fare with Mr Love able to rally after looking beaten at the top of the straight to defy good support.

He looked very well beforehand but is possibly not one to rely on entirely and this really was weak stuff, the runner-up Farlam King looking a very moderate specimen indeed but another to uphold the recent hot streak of trainer M Barnes.

Rose Dobbin ran two with Final Fling still looking burly and not the type to relish carrying a welter burden, while outsider Tailspin looks an okay type for the grade and neither runner would have appreciated the stop-start gallop, both doing their best work late on.

The next was another lowly staying handicap, this time over fences and only a couple took the eye, one of which came home in front being Gatacre Street, who I had mentioned in dispatches before and had also been given an optimistic assessment in a recent stable tour.

Tight in the market, the unexposed seven-year-old looked fit enough for this seasonable bow and was always well placed in a race where few took an interest.

The result might have been different had the front running Road Warrior remained with his jockey, a tall light-framed sort having only his second start for Becky Menzies who can gain compensation for his exit two from home.

Speak Of The Devil was the other to go clear in the straight but he looked woefully one-paced, he's a big strong chasing type who probably needs more time to strengthen up.

Cavalry Scout finished well beaten in the end and he only looks moderate, and possibly a little temperamental, although you wouldn't put it past his excellent trainer to find a little race for him.

Phil Kirby was quite keen on Desaray Girl when I visited Green Oaks but I wasn't expecting the filly to be hot to trot first time over timber...but having been nibbled at in the market made almost every yard of the running to win a mares hurdle that fell apart.

Well backed favourite Ellarna looked really fit and well but ran no sort of race and may not have acted on the ground, while another nice looking filly in Chanting Hill failed to back up her recent effort and she too may be worth another chance on sounder terrain.

Elk Bridge should win a race or two in time, plenty of size and scope but her jumping was very novicey and she should do better than this.

Charlie Snow Angel doesn't win very often but he goes well here and had a huge pull in the weights with Casual Cavalier in the next, and after a solid effort last week came good with the market calling it spot on.

Skipping On and Flaming Charmer looked straight enough to do themselves justice but after dictating a modest pace faded away in the straight and market weakness seemed to speak for their chances.

The market was really strong for Royal Claret in the mares staying handicap chase but I wasn't convinced, this track takes a bit of jumping and she came in very inexperienced with only one start over the black ones.

By contrast, Sheneededtherun has been round the block a few times and her sound jumping and stamina was sure to see her go close, with her jockey's claim meaning she was receiving an awful lot of weight.

Again they pottered round, with C Todd always in the right place on our heroine, moving away smartly going to the last to settle matters. Angels Antics is a big gawky mare but was really fit and did well to get second despite another shoddy round of jumping.

Royal Claret will have other chances, she seemed to jump okay in the main but this did not test her deep reserves of stamina one bit, while Kitty Fisher didn't look straight after an absence and may improve a little on this.

Simply The Betts is a horse I've had a minor obsession about and is as nice a horse as you'd wish to see, easily accounting for a couple of rivals in a novices handicap chase with chief opponent The King Of May running flat.

I can see the winner taking much higher rank down south this season - he didn't seem right at all last term - with the Close Brothers handicap at the Festival an obvious target.

The bumper was a fascinating affair as although the market was pretty well-formed it didn't look right to me as the Dobbin-trained Trooper Turnbull looked hugely over-priced in light of a really sound effort here last term when looking big and backward.

He was much fitter and stronger this time and frankly looked the one to beat, in the end finding Tom Lacey's Unohu just too good on the run to the line having looked green when coming under pressure.

It felt like one had slipped through the net with the two favourites beaten, Wetlands not really taking the eye being quite compact and carrying plenty of condition, while Jeremy Pass is a lovely big chasing type probably lacking the spark to win a bumper.

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