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Captain Quint is every inch a chaser and got back on track with a fairly straight forward success in an interesting novices handicap. I think he’s quite a bit better than what he was able to show here but it was a good place to start off, as they say.
If North Parade ever gets his act together he’ll prove himself way ahead of this mark, but his race was blighted by errors. A strapping chaser, he was still carrying plenty of condition but I’m not sure if I’d be with him next time. Another spin round might get him to where he needs to be and a big track like Newcastle should eventually suit.
Becky Menzies ran a couple, Ritson again finding nothing off the bridle despite looking the more forward of them. Twoshotsoftequila isn’t entirely straight forward but came home strongly having been given a quiet run round. He has just about enough size for this game and will be better over further and on a different track.
I nearly backed my first Sue Smith horse of the season in Right Said Ted at big odds in a desperate handicap hurdle over 2m, and he stayed on for what would have been some nice each-way returns. A tall shell of a horse, he looked fitter than some stablemates probably owing more to a lack of meat on the bones than anything else, but he’s literally on a basement mark and should keep improving as long as they keep him well fed.
Doctor Ken didn’t kick on over hurdles last season but if ever there was a horse that was going to excel over fences it’s him and just like when I saw him here 12 months ago he blew me away with his size and scope. Clearly still quite immature, I thought Aidan Coleman gave him a fine ride and the horse didn’t let him down at the obstacles, using his range when necessary.
That was no more evident than at the last when he engulfed the well backed Ree Okka before powering to the line. I loved the way he responded to pressure, as he finished weakly at times last season, and this tells me he’s starting to come to himself. I’ll back him again next time as he must be a 140+ horse.
Ree Okka shaped much more like a three miler last season and I suspect he’ll go back up in trip next time, doing little wrong here although he wouldn’t have the scope of many, and isn’t an out-and-out chaser on looks despite what you might read elsewhere. He didn’t look short of fitness, either, so we can say that the best horse came out on top on the day.