Saturday 16 November 2019

Wetherby - November 16

A wet morning ensured the ground would be very soft again but it hasn't been opened up at this stage of the season and really it doesn't seem too bad.

The opening novices hurdle did not looks a strong affair with Fitzroy a very uneasy favourite and looking a big backward chasing type with plenty of maturing to do.

He was soon beaten but the other big stamp of a horse Oscar Robertson knuckled down well after coming off the bridle and this tall, green individual took quite a leap forward from his latest bumper outing.

Revelation of the race was Blossoming Forth, who had shown nothing at all on her seasonal return in a bumper but was knowhere close to fitness that day.

She turned up in vastly improved condition this time around, albeit still a raw, unfurnished future chaser, but was given an enterprising ride and this was much more like it from a filly that cost six figures...a mares race would be a formality.

That said, the form still isn't that great and the well-backed Rare Clouds was the latest from the Sue Smith yard to let punters down...they are all bouncing out of their seasonal debuts and will be different horses in a month's time.

Who's In The Box isn't a bad sort from a small yard and came home quite strongly in third, but he's more of a handicap project and looks unfurnished at present.

The novices chase featured four really talented animals but it was a case of 'after you sir' as the strongly backed Good Boy Bobby was allowed a solo on the front end, the other three riders happy to have a school round.

As promising as the winner is, he won't have things so easy in future and there was plenty to like about Ravenhill Road's effort, showing up looking pretty straight and in good order after a stable switch.

Albert's Back has always been highly regarded and he too shaped with a good deal of promise under tender handling, he has plenty of size and he'll stay further, while there will be other days for Garrettstown who is every inch a chaser.

The difficult looking handicap hurdle followed and it was a bit of a rogue's gallery, Sakhee's City chief among them but today was his day under a cool ride from A Nicol.

Former talking horse Mount Mews looked fit and well but has become increasingly idiosyncratic and he took no interest in jumping the hurdles, but travelled into the race and even threatened to win.

On the face of it a mark of 134 should be well within his compass but a pair of cheekpieces could be needed to bring out the best of his ability.

One For Harry looked straight enough but proved very disappointing, while Cool Mix really should be over fences. I didn't like Applaus who was well backed but looked badly in need of it.

Mr Antolini was a little weak at the head of the market prior to the handicap chase but with just one chasing experience behind him rising 10 he was one to take on all day and The Dubai Way was as good an alternative as any.

Progressive under these conditions a couple of winters back, he took a while to get the hang of fences and in common with many in the Whittington yard didn't seem himself last term, but a stable switch has sparked a revival and he looked fit enough on this return to action.

Storm Control gave him something to aim at in the straight and the tenacity he had previously shown was in evidence again as he powered clear on the run-in, looking like one to keep onside.

It may not have taken a great deal of winning, however, with the favourite predictably struggling for fluency over fences, while Catamaran Du Seuil threw in another stinker at a course he's previously gone well at.

Big Bad Bear was all the rage prior to a hurdle race for horses having run no more than once over timber and he belied a touch of greenness to win with something in hand against a decent enough rival in Miah Grace, the pair worth keeping the right side of this winter.

A good handicap hurdle came up next and the progressive top weight Cornerstone Lad defied another rise in the ratings under the excellent B Garritty to see off another super consistent horse in Theatre Legend.

Both looked well, but there were several looking in need of the run and the eye-catcher had to be Dali Mail, who wasn't knocked about once his chance had gone and he should prove well handicapped when the time comes.

The finale saw the return of Bigirononhiship and I thought he looked a million dollars for the in-form Dobbin yard. A big strong horse he looks much better than his current mark but he only got up on the line thanks to the idling of Fingerontheswitch.

It's to be hoped the winner can build on this now granted more of a test of stamina, while it's back to the drawing board for Ard Chros whose jumping went to pieces again once pressure was applied. He's not a bad sort.

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