Saturday 11 January 2020

Wetherby - January 11

I bit of recent rain to freshen up the ground but it still looked quite holding and hard work for a lot of them on a fairly run-of-the-mill card.

The opening maiden hurdle didn't look much on paper nor on paddock inspection with plenty of types likely to better once handicapped, leaving Coconut Splash with the race at his mercy on this season's form.

There's not a great deal of him, and you'd imagine they'll take their time with him this season. Weak in the market, he had to work hard to get on top after jumping the last but he'll come back stronger next winter.

Chief market rivals Bean In Trouble and Giovanni Change didn't appeal much in the prelims, the former on the small side and unfurnished at present, the latter a bit close coupled and lacking scope, while not looking straight forward either. He may prove difficult to win with for all that both his runs have been fair.

They pulled a mile clear of the rest who need plenty of time, the robust Yorvik wanting much further already while Small Present was disappointing but he is likely to come on for the run and improve for better ground. Fazayte was one of the nicer ones and went ok before stopping quickly after the last.

The four-runner mares chase brought a trio of decent types together although for the a second time With Discretion didn't look in love with the game and a return to the breeding shed surely awaits this strong sort.

Annie Mac was preferred to Alsa Mix in the betting and they got it spot on, the winner being more scopey of the pair and it was that ability to make ground at the obstacles that proved decisive in the end.

Plumpton scorer Penny Mallow took on the boys in the novices hurdle and her fine attitude was again on display as she galloped them into the ground from the front despite some fiddly jumping.

Prince Llewellyn got back on track after blowing out last time and this big strapping chase type is most likely to build on this, although you can be certain we'll not see the best of him this season.

Dhowin was up against it carrying a penalty and it proved too much while running a solid enough race, and he's another that will do better in time.

Itsnotyouitsme did not look out of place amongst the others beforehand and duly stepped up on previous form over this longer trip, benefiting from more patient handling. Despite a hike in the weights for this he'd be of interest in a handicap and could even jump a fence next term.

Hawk High had what seemed a decent opportunity in the feature race but Katpoli came in for support and looked a horse of quality in the prelims, quite a forward-going sort.

A progressive five-year-old was always going to cause trouble for Hawk High, especially over the minimum trip, although the runner-up once again didn't fully convince with his efforts for all that further would probably suit.

Niven was given a very bullish ride for a yard in form on this drop back in trip but he just looks a class below this grade and he'd be of more interest giving weight to inferiors, while he looks versatile regarding trip.

A competitive looking handicap hurdle had a very lop-sided market in the next with the well-backed novice Big Bad Bear and the even more heavily supported Mr Scrumpy taking plenty out of the market.

There was a lot of each-way value if you could find it (not) with the free-going West Of The Bridge returning to form back over timber and a positive ride. I never thought he'd make a chaser being on the small side and he'll be best in this sort of race.

Sakhee's City ran his race again back at his favourite track to get second, but it proved too competitive for stablemate Zig Zag who wants it drier than this.

Big Bad Bear failed the jumping test on this move into handicaps and his lack of size has always been a concern from the day when he was beaten here by Prince Llewellyn in a bumper. Mr Scrumpy was a bitter disappointment and was well beaten when coming down two out, failing to truly pick up for a second successive run.

The staying handicap chase looked best treated with caution with few going into the race in good form, an outlier being the former P Hobbs-trained Ice Cool Champs, who looked a horse going places a couple of seasons back.

Things didn't work out last term but having been switched to the Kerry Lee yard he arrived here looking fit and strong, having been given a helping hand by the assessor. The excellent A Wedge had things in hand a long way from home and he looks a thorough stayer that jumps well.

The market was spot on ahead of the closing fillies' bumper with Maridadi and She'soneofourown looking the most likely winners in the stretch.

The former, representing a yard with a fine record in this sphere, had a touch of class about her beforehand and came nicely clear in the end, having more basic speed than the runner-up who looks a good strong galloper, who will relish 2m next time.

Storm Force One ran a blinder in third despite looking unfurnished beforehand and she clearly has ability, while the equally backward-looking On My Command gives the form some substance, having finished fourth last time.

Lime Drop comes from a really nice family and has plenty of size, but looked green and was keen to post but should leave this behind before too long.

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