Friday 13 March 2020

Doncaster - March 12

A very strong wind up the home straight made life a little trickier than ideal, while the ground, although drying significantly, looked pretty rough after a long winter.

Not a bad little novice heat to start proceedings with the three penalised runners dominating the finish, and fair play to The Macon Lugnatic for repelling all raiders with a strong staying performance.

The form probably isn't that strong, but this chasing type should continue to pay his way in novice handicaps over larger obstacles next season, especially with his fine attitude.

No Getaway is another good, lengthy chase sort and the clear paddock pick, but after travelling like the winner fell in a bit of a hole after the last. He looked fit enough off a three month break, but should be able to defy a penalty this spring on better ground, although a weak finisher is always a concern.

Glenduff ran a race full of promise in third considering his very sturdy build, he looks the sort to benefit from racing for all that he was able to win first time out this season. He wasn't knocked about, and I'd bet on further improvement next time.

The eye-catcher for all to see was rank outsider Aquila Sky, a rather unfurnished youngster picked up by the emerging Sam Allwood for a song out of the H Fry yard.

Not knocked about after going keenly, he stayed on well when the race was over with a run that caught the eye even of the stewards. Unfortunately for connections the horse is likely to be hindered by a stiff mark, and he won't go unnoticed in the betting in his next novice start.

The handicap chase was a weak race for a 0-120 and the A King-trained Jaboticaba confirmed an earlier impression that he lacks the scope for fences, while Knockrobin has never been one to have much faith in.

Quite what happened going to the last when the latter faultered significantly with the race seemingly at his mercy who knows, but he remains one to be extremely wary of.

Eventual winner Top Decision is a tall, light-framed horse who probably isn't the easiest to train and wouldn't want the ground too soft, but he rocked up very fit after a 10-week break and the way he hit the line suggests a follow-up is in the pipeline, for all that he has a patchy profile.

Some decent looking juvenile fillies assembled for the next, the first four in the betting quite interesting from a paddock perspective, particularly the eventual winner Champagne Terri who was like a coiled spring following a six month absence.

Strongly supported in the market, she was ridden with intent on the front end and finished off strongly after being challenged on all sides early in the straight.

Operatic Export was one of the biggest and unlike the majority of the Newland runners she appears to be slow in coming to hand, perhaps there will be better days for her in due course, however Gilka was weak in the betting and doesn't have much about her.

The 0-105 handicap chase was really weak with just the two at the top of the weights having shown much ability of late, and sure enough they came right away from the rest in the straight.

Summit Like Herbie has plenty of size and scope and although he does things his own way he has a good leap in him, albeit very much with a left hand bias, while Coopers Square is a bit high in the weights still and is going to be vulnerable to one as unexposed as his market rival here.

The staying handicap hurdle wasn't a bad little race although far more open than the betting suggested, warm order Premier D'Troice dropping out at halfway as though amiss.

There was plenty to like about some of the others, eventual winner I'd Better Go Now one of several likely to thrive when sent over fences, and the way he travelled and then saw it out suggested he is way better than his current mark.

The one that went with him was Tango Boy and he's a real strong chase type who was nibbled at in the betting, he settled well enough under a cold ride and he will have his day again on decent ground that probably suits him.

They were clear of two strapping chasers, Mercian Knight who is gaining valuable experience prior to tackling larger obstacles, similar comments applying to Teescomponentstrig, who is still only five and has made good strides this season. Both will stay all day.

One of the reasons for making the trip to Town Moor was to check on the well-being of Storm Goddess, who had been ticking over in decent races since dotting up in a weak race at this track last season.

A likeable, handy mare she was very fit and fresh after three runs on ground she doesn't relish, and back on a sounder surface she proved herself to be well handicapped and positively ran away with it as if she had a stone in hand.

Runner-up Trapper Peak can usually be relied upon to run his race so the handicapper should be well positioned to act, and it will be interesting to see what connections will do next with the winner.

Another mare Feuille De Chene came in for support in the green and gold, but she looks an unfurnished individual in need of more time and she was tame in the finish, with a breathing problem reported.

More was expected of Stacey Sue but she checked out with a breathing issue as well, but she's not one to give up on and looks very much like a chase type who should stay further having won a Point and a staying bumper.

The finale looked the lesser of the two divisions but interestingly was run in a time that was five seconds faster than the previous race...this despite a visual pace collapse at the top of the straight.

That meant they came home quite strong, the modest jumper Western Rules getting up close home to deny Just Call Me Al, who was given a fine ride by A Nicol who clearly hasn't lost any nerve or indeed verve following another injury absence.

The runner-up has long been on the radar as a horse with potential and now they've found the way to ride him he could be one to keep onside when returning to larger obstacles, which he has the size and scope for.

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