Sunday 9 October 2022

Hexham October 8


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. 

Trainer watch

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.  

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