Sunday 15 March 2020

Newcastle, March 15

Still no let up in ground conditions, it wasn't bottomless after a couple of dry days but it was still soft and quite holding.

A deserved victory at short odds for Stainsby Girl in the opener, she's a likeable enthusiastic mare who didn't have to run up to her 120 rating here, although there's no reason to think she can't be competitive from that mark.

Irish import Golden Robin appeared to shape with plenty of promise on her debut for Sue Smith, not looking great in her coat but typically having a bit of size and scope, making late gains after the highly strung Maid O'Malley paid for chasing the winner.

Not content with mopping up at Cheltenham, G Elliott sent a couple up here and Robin Deuz Pois was a rare odds-on chance in a staying handicap chase, but the early money was in the right place (surprise) and she did the job, although looked all out in the end to repel Solid Strike.

It was a lowly contest all told, Definite Wisdom jumping poorly on ground unsuitably soft, and there was nothing else to take from it.

The standard was better from there on, followed by an open-looking handicap hurdle that wasn't reflected by the market, headed by Oscars Leader on the upgrade and awkward looking novice Thor De Cerisy, who doesn't please with his attitude.

On paddock inspection you could give plenty of them a chance, including eventual winner Altruism who looked well and fit off a break, while Keyboard Gangster is getting fitter all the time but looked beaten when crashing out.

Roar looks harshly treated while the juvenile Scorched Earth has very little size and scope and probably wants better ground.

A staying handicap for novices was another really competitive race for the grade, and a favourite that looked far too short in Ladronne, who may have been flattered when winning earlier in the week when the opposition melted away.

Another strong looking paddock where it was hard to make a choice, Sirwilliamwallace arguably the most likeable future type but there were others, including Baron De Midleton who has shaped nicely several times this season.

He may have made it three wins had he not done a somersault at the second last, having jumped notably soundly throughout, leaving Mr Scrumpy in an unassailable lead.

Disappointing on his last couple of outings, the winner had benefited from a nine-week break and having been quite a hot horse in the past was completely overlooked in the market this time.

Rath An Iuir stayed on dourly for second but once again he hit a flat spot at the wrong time and he looks a thorough stayer, and the sort to benefit from another summer before going over fences.

Minella Trump was a shade disappointing but on looks he may not be a great deal better than his current mark, however it's early to make too strong a call.

The Paddy Pie has been very costly to follow, including when coming down three out at Wetherby two runs back when running as though a good 10lb ahead of his mark.

That didn't quite play out next time when appearing to have remembered that spill, and there was a growing concern that claggy ground doesn't suit all that much.

However, positive tactics were applied for the first time against a pretty exposed bunch and he never saw another rival, jumping accurately if edging to his right at times.

He simply travelled too well for the one-paced Bollin Ace, who has probably become a bit of a thinker but continues to shape like he wants 3m, staying on stoutly after the last for the forecast.

Disappointment of the race was Stoney Rover after a trainer switch, but his jumping had been awful in several goes for his previous stable and it was the same again here. Maybe he's one for next season when Mr Thomson has had some time to iron things out.

The market was all about two horses in another handicap hurdle and this time it was spot on as the likeable Overcourt won for the second time, albeit rather fortunately as the way Kauto D'Amour rattled home he would surely have got there but for pitching badly on landing over the last.

The winner himself, a compact athletic hurdler, had blundered at the final two flights but they seemed to be motoring, and this son of the wonderful Court Cave can win again in this sort of form, especially when stepped up to 3m.

Kauto was dismal at Sedgefield last time but wouldn't be the first not to appreciate that gaff, and he travelled sweetly enough before Mania injected some pace into the race as they turned for home. Another stout looking stayer, he'll remain well-handicapped after this.

By definition, the third home Big Bad Dream should also be followed next time as he too stayed on nicely in first time blinkers, the yard has had a frustrating season but he looks a winner in the making off his current mark.

Fourth placed Do Not Disturb hasn't managed to build on on his season-opening success but this was a step in the right direction, and this tall son of Mahler should appreciate the return to better ground and will relish a fence in due course.

It was getting cold by the bumper but it was worth hanging around to see a clutch of interesting types in a race that was far more open than the betting suggested, skewed as it was by the second Elliott raider in Getabay.

A nice enough sort, he wasn't the most imposing in the paddock and hadn't managed to get his head in front in three starts prior to this.

A couple were preferred, particularly at the odds, and they came clear with previous all-weather winner Tupelo Mississippi showing the benefit of his experience to defy his penalty with a determined effort.

He looked a big staying chase type when first sighted at Wetherby and he's come on a good deal since then, but he remains firmly in need of a test such as this.

Onward Route comes from the family of Top Cloud and by Yeats is sure to stay well, and he was just run out of things after travelling like much the best horse...he should appreciate better ground and looks a decent recruit.

Murvagh Beach has loads of size about him but looked very big and backward and was really green throughout - he'll need a bit of time.

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