Saturday 1 February 2020

Wetherby - February 1

A very strong wind behind them down the home straight, drying the ground making it quite holding and the sort to provide excuses for some.

A decent looking fillies' novice opened proceedings and it saw Emmas Joy bolt up under a very positive ride with stamina assured, never seeing another rival. She's not that big but is handy enough although how far she goes I'm not sure.

Full Of Surprises was a bit disappointing considering the nature of her Catterick win, but that may not have been a great race and she looked a bit unfurnished beforehand.

Easter Gold did not get involved in the early pace burn-up and stayed on well for second..she's one to follow over longer distances and is quite rangy so should continue to pay her way.

The huge disappointment of the race was Who What When, a really likeable filly with plenty of size and scope, but she was beaten by the home turn and this was not her running. She has good form on soft but did win on good ground and maybe she's worth another chance on sounder terrain.

Set In Stone is now eligible for a mark and is a type to improve for some spring sunshine and drier ground, not quite seeing it out up the straight on this occasion.

Nuts Well was the proverbial good thing when he sluiced up here two starts back but arrived here 16lb higher after following up at Musselburgh.

A bonny sort, they lost him a little physically last winter and he never came right, but he's holding condition better this time around and proved better than ever to land the hat-trick in a tricky looking handicap chase.

He didn't look the best handicapped going into it - that honour fell to Niven, but he's becoming a bit of a cliff horse and failed to see it out after being hassled all the way on the front end by the returning Bollin Ace.

A sturdy old cork, Bollin was predictably burly in the prelims but to his credit plugged on for third and he looks to have retained his ability after a long time away, jumping notably fluently.

The Dubai Way looked dry in his coat and hasn't backed up his victory here before Christmas, while Kapgarry looked overbet and didn't make much appeal, lacking a little scope for fences.

Winter Escape attracted support and looked the part, but checked out very quickly as if amiss, although he could want much better ground.

Kalooki took the three-runner novice hurdle as he liked, a nice robust chasing type he'll do well for another summer to strengthen up and could be quite good.

The Towton Novices Chase looked a cracker without attracting any star names, and you could have made a decent case for the front four in the market, Chapel Stile not looking to have the size to compete at this level.

Ardlethen looked buzzed up by the application of blinkers but was still found wanting, with Boldmere and Newtide looking set to dominate the finish.

The former caught the eye in the paddock at Doncaster last time out and again he looked really well made and athletic, a little weak in front which another summer behind him will sort.

However, he took a nasty tumble at the last following mixed signals from 'Young' James Bowen, and it left the big, strong Newtide to defy idleness and pick up the prize.

A type to keep improving with age, Newtide is one for regional nationals in years to come, looking as though he'll gallop all day.

I rarely bet in mid-range handicap hurdles owing to a desperate strike-rate in such races but such a policy allowed one to get away when good old Secrete Stream rolled back the years to win the next on the nod.

A burly type, who has done us plenty of favours down the years, he looked on fantastic terms with himself and was ready to go in an open race in which few came in with solid credentials, well-backed jolly Antunes having pulled up last time out (in much higher grade tbf).

Bhutan looked super-fit but surely got to the front far too soon and was spent at the final flight. As I say this wasn't the strongest race for the grade and there wouldn't be many you'd want to be with next time.

Foxhunters champion Hazel Hill looked in good form prior to his 'match' with Minella Rocco, a really good looking individual in very good shape.

Opinions will differ on the reasons for the outcome but it could just be that 'Rocco' was simply the best horse on the day, taken wide in search of the unpoached ground before winging the last.

Having seen Ask The Honey Bee win twice now it looked a fine piece of placing from the bumper expert F O'Brien with the likeable jolly only carrying a 10lb 'double' penalty with the excellent Liam Harrison taking seven off.

A very forward, handy individual, he was well positioned on the front end and there was no sign of him getting outpaced like on his two previous starts, simply galloping them into the ground. Sadly, the predicted market drift never materialised.

N Mulholland, owner/trainer of runner-up Solwara One, should find it easier to find a buyer as the likeable relative of Turpin Green shaped with a good deal of promise, and he has the make and shape of a decent type.

Midnight River stayed on nicely for third after looking a keen sort in the prelims, and he'll most likely come on for the outing, as will the staying chase prospect Tupelo Mississippi, who wouldn't have been suited by the steady fractions. He should have a future over fences.

Disappointment of the race was the well-backed Rattle Owl, but he isn't very big and looks one for the level.


  1. I backed Boldmere last Thursday evening at a lovely price and was smarting badly until Ruth's 18/1 old friend came to the rescue.P.S- Yes, it was rather windy wasn't it!

    1. I missed the 4/1 so it was a bullet dodged. Still hate myself for not backing SS though...