Sunday 30 October 2022
Saturday 29 October 2022
Sunday 9 October 2022
A frustrating day on many fronts primarily IN MY OPINION because the jockeys saw 'soft' in the going description and decided to hack round in most of the races, which turned into 'sprints' (relatively speaking, obvs) and thus making for dubious results.
The notable exception was Tristan Durrell who, with owners present, had clearly been instructed to make sure his partner She's A Saint look the business, setting solid fractions from the start and seemingly maintaining them to the line, and beyond.
The compact five-year-old hadn't cost a great deal following her Irish Point success but may be quite a capable sort. Good luck putting a mark on this - my guess would be 125 and that's probably a bit high.
Pileup plugged on for third, a nice type for low grade handicaps and connections will be delighted with this as he can't be rated much more than 100 and he's a better horse than that having not looked fit here.
Graystown knows this place better anyone and was bidding for a hat-trick of wins in this particular race so it was surprising that regular partner S Coltherd wasn't more aggressive on a horse that stays much further. They pottered round and the well-backed Rocco Storm ponced to victory. An inauspicious start.
Lucinda Russell always starts a few off at this meeting and you can be certain they were 95 percent ready to roll. They were good enough if forward enough and that proved the case for Green Vault, who isn't the biggest and was far from foot perfect.
He'll pay his way but may reach his ceiling quite quickly over the larger obstacles. It proved a well judged ride from D Fox although Coltherd set a decent enough pace here on the keen going Velasco who isn't the most straightforward.
Robin Des Fox is a big unit and wants a proper track with decent fences but I have my reservations about him for all that he needed the run quite badly.
Charlie Longsdon sent up a couple of live ones but they ran stinkers despite being strong in the market. Both Lyrical Genius and Gaelic Park were 100 percent fit but couldn't get out their own way. You could make excuses for the former who was on the softest ground he'd faced, may not have taken to the track or relished the slow gallop, but with tongue-tie and cheekpieces already enlisted I'd be giving him a wide berth for the foreseeable.
Gaelic Park was easy to fancy on paper, registering decent figures in his Point and bumpers, yet physically he made no appeal whatsoever, being close coupled and chunky in the middle, narrow at either end. I can't see any reason to follow him either after seeing that.
Similar comments apply to Irish raider Finnthemagician, who came in very late and looked quirky to say the least - you can see why the BFG has already called for some headgear.
Paddy The Horse typically ran to form and proved just good enough to fend off Skelton's Snipe, who probably surprised a few people with this promising effort despite looking rather light framed.
George Bewley can have long spells in the wilderness but when they're right they're worth following and Breaking The Ice followed up the success of Paddy The Horse to make it four wins in 10 days. There may be a couple more to come in the weeks ahead and both winners looked straight enough on their return, which is not always the case with this yard.
Sam England is a trainer of note in these parts but the winter horses tend to need a run or three at this time of year and punters were way off beam regarding Croagh Patrick, who will be back paying his way once he's worked off the summer excess.
Sam had a runner in the opener too, a Skelton cast-off starting out on a basement mark. He's every inch a staying chaser and while probably not straight forward, I'd bet short odds that he'll be operating from a higher mark later this season.
There was only one horse anywhere near full fitness in the closing bumper and thus Merrjig was a good bet for maverick Newmarket handler John Berry. Why on earth W Kennedy didn't take the race by the fluff of the scroat at some stage will undoubtedly remain one of life's great mysteries. I'd prefer to die knowing, William.
I'll tell anyone unfortunate enough to be in earshot that unfit horses don't win races. Well, I reckon maybe it happens one in every 500 and it happened today. Well done if you backed the 10/1 shot Rolling River.
Thursday 6 October 2022
I wouldn't go as far as to say it was 'good to be back' at the Co Durham venue as it's a notorious graveyard for this particular railway shunter.
To be asked at the gate if I was a 'concession' punter - implying I look 66 despite not yet turning 50 - hardly improved the mood. 'It's hard to tell how old people are these days', apparently.
There were concessions all round in the first as Jimmy Moffatt's Yukon caused a turn-up, not that the owners standing right behind me minded too much. I've booked in to see the hearing consultant tomorrow.
Summer Moon ran poorly on his debut for Dr Newland and while I'm aware he had a winner the other day it certainly didn't cross my mind to take on the Ellison jolly with his ex-Flat stayer. Enthused was very fit but he lacks scope to be much good at this game.
Hajey ran a blinder despite looking burly, although the Waggott likes to keep plenty of condition on them. Heritier De Sivola might be one to keep an eye on at a lower level, needing this outing.
Atomic Angel made her debut over fences in the staying chase but she lacks the size and while jumping nimbly in the main I'd expect her to come up short in this discipline.
Ruth Jefferson went to £110k to secure Point winner Thermusa and this good walker probably has a fair future after making a winning debut despite looking green and novicey. She'll come on for the run fitness-wise but it's far too early to say how good she might be.
There was plenty of cash flying around for Reve De Niamh in this, despite her only costing £1200 quid. It was a 'no contest', but she too looked novicey and the cash might be recouped at some later date.
The mare's trainer Ian Jardine didn't go home empty hearted though, his well backed Half Shot landing the finale with plenty to spare.
An okay looker, he wore a red hood to the start as he's had a history of being difficult and he could be the sort to win again if they can channel the ability.
Hidden Commander looked really well and wasn't notably unfit but probably wouldn't have won even without a mistake two out, while Creative Control went into some notebooks but not this one.
I got him wrong last year when he sweated profusely prior to winning at Doncaster, and he looks a fairly honest sort. The fact Hughes took him wide throughout (as he had in an earlier chase) suggested today wasn't the day and he'll probably pick up a race at somewhere like Musselburgh.
He's only medium sized and compact though, so to my mind he's not one to get too excited about over fences and I'd be a little surprised if he ever rated much higher than 120. He'll be a better hurdler.
Sam Allwood is one of my favourite young trainers, probably because I was lucky enough to latch on to his multiple winners Sheneededtherun and Out On The Tear earlier than most.
He seems to have a knack of keeping them sweet for long periods and he's now got Bempton Cliffs to win three of his last four races over fences.
I don't like backing Flat breds in this sphere but this one seems to love the game, he's not the most robust but has size and scope. He's uses that Flat speed to get on the lead early and he showed plenty of stamina and determination to beat the in-form Tico Times.
He's probably a bit of a one-trick pony as he clearly loves to have it his own way in front, but Allwood can be relied upon to keep him fresh and there should be more to come.