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North On The Level

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    I’ll keep the Flat and National Hunt posts separate, so here’s a new thread to cover the level.

    I’ve started a blog covering racing in Scotland, but I’ll put a summary of the most interesting points on this thread.

    9/7/07 Musselburgh – Good

    The ground had dried out a beat with slightly kinder weather in the east of Scotland.

    2.30 5f 2yo Auction Maiden

    One or two here who should be contesting 5/6f nurseries shortly. GRUDGE and ROCHEFORT showed decent early pace and should show up when handicapped.
    FOL HOLLOW burst clear 2 out and won comfortably. He’s prebiously done well enough over 6f which gives his trainer a few alternatives, and has now run well on both in heavy and on good ground.
    RIEVAULX VALENTINO struggled with the pace early, but came through nicely in the final furlong.

    3.00 1m 6f Handicap

    RED SUN increased the pace into the straight but had come to the end of his tether. He stays 2m, is on a mark round about his winning mark, so a win is possible in the near future.
    ARTLESS was always handy, moved up nicely 2 out and stayed on well enough. Lightly raced and in the right hands to expect some improvement. Sir Mark will no doubt have something in mind for this one.

    4.00 7f 2yo Handicap

    Disappointing 5 runner turn out for the nursery.
    APOLLO SHARK stayed on really well confirmed Thirsk promise. SUITE FRANCHISE helped set a decent pace, kept on well, and is bred to suited by further.

    4.30 5f Handicap

    All bar the Nolan contestants looked competitive in this. In the event Kelly Harrison, who looks a potentially decent apprentice to me, brought ROTHESAY DANCER through smoothly in the final furlong.

    5.00 7f Handicap

    SANDS OF BARRA was caught flat footed never got into in from the outside box, and is capable of better. Ignore this run.

    5.30 1m 3yo Handicap

    A moderate bunch who only win in their turn, and many with a lot of mileage on the clock.

    Favourite KIRKBY’S TREASURE started slowly, but they don’t go quite as quickly over the mile as the seven furlong trip, so he steadily got back into it, just lacking a further burst close home.


    • Total Posts 5807

    The rain that swept in on Friday evening made the going soft, heavy in places, but the times suggest that perhaps it wasn’t as testing as that.
    going change caused 18 horses to be pulled out, with smallest field of 8 it was not a major problem.

    6.50 6f Apprentice Handicap

    RONDO went down early and came back a bit earlier than the others. He burst clear 1f out and won wuith a bit to spare. He looks one to watch our for when there’s cut in the ground. His rider was suspended for 3 days as he cut across the second.

    FISTRAL was well held despite the interference. Kirsty Milczarek was hard at work 2 out, but her mount responded well and kept on up the hill. Probably selling class but I would think this one can find a race. Third TURKISH SULTAN and 4th OUEF A LA NEIGE both had every chance and simply weren’t good enough.

    7.20 5f Handicap

    There was some decent recent form from some of these and it turned out to be a competitive contest.

    MELALCHRIST made all and stuck on to win by a couple of lengths. The rest were close together in the race for second. ROTHESAY DANCER(2nd), KATIE BOO(3rd) and PTARMIGAN RIDGE(4th) won’t be penalised much if at all for being close up, and all three will continue to be competitive at this level.

    11yo LEGAL SET went a decent pace for 4f and he would still be interesting dropped to selling company.

    7.50 5f 3yo Median Auction

    At first glance this looked a pretty poor event, but I’m not sure it was that bad, being closely fought with RUE SOLEIL just heading HOWARD’S TIPPLE close home. The latter had two handlers in the paddock, and has had plenty of chances, but did try hard and wasn’t disgraced in defeat. LEMPICKA stayed on for third and can now be handicapped. Since this race was only 0.3 seconds slower than the handicap, allowing weight for age, I would imagine that the first three would be competitive at handicap level.

    8.20 1m 3f 3-5yo Claimer

    SIMPLY ST LUCIA has run respectably over hurdles and showed willingness to hold on having led at halfway, but won’t find many poorer claimers. FRITH, looking fit after a break, stayed on for second. Favourite PATAVIAN had every chance, but didn’t look all that keen to me.

    RAGUANY found the front three too quick in the final 2 furlongs, and the rest just look slow.

    8.50 1m 65y Handicap

    STOLEN GLANCE won this with plenty in hand, scooting clear from over a furlong out.

    NEIL’S LEGACY is in decent form and held off HOWARD’S ROCKET for second. The latter was stepping up on some poor previous form. Lightly raced GREYFRIARS ABBEY started slowly, was rousted along coming into the straight and could never muster a challenge. I would imagine he will be capable of better given time.

    1m 65yds 3yo Handicap

    A moderate handicap won in convincing style by ICE BOX, leading 2 out and staying on for a comfortable 7 length win from MILSON’S POINT. I suspect the latter might just have found the distance stretching his stamina in the ground. FLAMESTONE, a fussy sort in the paddock, is only selling class and was a further 3 lengths back though keeping on willingly.

    HEAVEN’S GATES was prominent to 2 out but then faded. He looked fit enough after a lay-off so the ground could have been against him.

    CAPE DANCER weakened quickly 4 out, and was pulled up before the furlong pole. He looked sound afterwards, so perhaps it was a breathing problem.

    I’m preparing a Course Focus article for the features section which should appear early next week. I even took some photos, though it was ahrd work as I don’t get on with digital cameras!


    • Total Posts 5807

    July 19 Hamilton Park (good/soft)

    2.20 5f 2yo Maiden Auction

    Newcomer ANOSTI won this readily, going clear in the final furlong. In the paddock I reckoned there was still a bit to work on with this one so I’d expect improvement. It’ll be interesting to see how she’s campaigned, as I believe she’s in a couple of sales races. In the short term I would certainly be interested if she were aimed at a nursery.

    ELIJAH PEPPER led until 1 out, hanging right, but kept on well for second place. STORM JOURNEY improved on previous form in third challenged the second to the line.

    RED DELIGHT was badly outpaced from the start, but picked up nicely up the hill and kept on well, She’d been staying on over 6f at Thirsk, so a longer trip will see her to better advantage.

    2.50 6f Claimer

    SPIRITUAL PEACE hadn’t looked madly keen on occasions. He did enough to hold on from REGAL RAIDER in what looked a very moderate event. The latter might be suited by a return to 7 furlongs.
    THE SALWICK FLYER showed good pace and kept for third. All the more remarkable considering he’d unshipped her rider on the way to start and run 3 furlongs back past the stands. He still wasn’t settled going down, but improved on previous form, so a lowly handicap or seller would seem at his mercy.
    THROW THE DICE showed good pace to lead until 1 out. A drop back to five furlongs may help.

    3.25 1m 65yds Handicap

    IGNITION put a poor run at Musselburgh behind her, she was badly drawn there, setting a steady pace and increasing the gallop to hold on up the hill. LOCAL POET had every chance a furlong out, but the step up to the extended mile was probably a little too much. He’s in good form and back at 6 or 7 furlongs would have every chance of picking up a race.
    HOWARD’S ROCKET has huge feet which might suggest soft ground suits. Maybe it had dried a bit too much as he couldn’t raise the tempo in the last furlong.
    Maiden MANDARIN ROCKET had been in good form but fell away tamely up the hill.
    JABRAAN held a chance on stands’ side 2 out, but didn’t get to the leaders, and this could be as good as he is.
    NORTHERN DESERT looked in very good nick, but pulled hard early and didn’t get to the leaders. I suspect he needs more of a gallop.

    4.00 6f Handicap
    Irish challenger RICHELIEU was last until 300 yards out, and had to come right round the field to challenge MOZAKRHAF. In the event the former couldn’t any nearer than a neck behind the winner, but his Irish form looks very sound and he looks sure to figure in similar events. MOZAKRHAF showed plenty of determination when the chips were down.
    JOYEAUX kept on well enough but that looks about as good as he is off this mark.
    GEORGE THE BEST was upped in class, and kept on well in the final furlong. He seems generally in good heart and a drop in class again should see him pick up a race.
    BRUT showed good pace but faded from a furlong out.

    4.35 1m 5f Handicap

    Perth hurdle winner BALAKAR led in the final furlong and looked sure to win. Meanwhile some way back……outsider ATLANTIC COAST was detached and Royston Ffrench stoking the coal big time at the 3 furlong pole, and was still last 2 out. The horse then took off, hanging toward the stands’ rail, zoomed past the rest and won with a degree of comfort. He clearly has plenty of ability, but I think I’d want to see him run again before risking money. He might just be be value to oppose if coming out under a penalty. All credit to his rider for persevering when some might have called it a day.
    The 11yo BALAKAR is probably running out of opportunities and really doesn’t need these sneaky tricks from the youngsters.
    GOLDEN GROOM ran an honest enough race from 4lbs out of the handicap in third.
    QAASI made progress 2 out to threaten but could find no more. THEY ALL LAUGHED had every chance but didn’t quite get the leaders and faded in the final furlong.
    PEINTRE’S WONDER looked sure to be suited by this longer trip, but didn’t threaten to get involved at any point.
    RIGHTFUL RULER led till the intersection of the loop then folded.

    5.10 1m 3f Maiden

    LOULWA was expeccted to win this with a lot in hand, but in the event had to be kept up to her work to hold off the determined LOCHIEL. The winner’s connection be chuffed to have got a win into here, and will presumably line up a sterner test. LOCHIEL is now qualified for handicaps and certainly seems to have the right attitude.
    STAR OF ANGELS led until 2 out and plugged on to finish well clear of the remainder who quite frankly look slow. Newcomer BEAUTY SHINE ran green up the straight and did at least pass a couple close home, but needs to show more to be competitive.

    5.10 1m 3f Apprentice Handicap

    RARE COINCIDENCE made the running and showed excellent determination to hold off RELOCATION. Unfortunately ENGLISH ARCHER picked up well from fourth and overtook both in the shadow of the post, much to the delight of a couple of our party who each won a decent sum. Mark Brisbourne normally knows what to do with this sort of horse, and ENGLISH ARCHER clearly has ability so might be worth watching out for in low class staying handicaps.
    THE PEN wasn’t far back in fourth and will probably be capable of picking up another race.

    • Total Posts 5807

    Newcastle – Monday 27 August

    I pointed the car south of the border for a first visit to Newcastle. A decent crowd in on the Bank Holiday and competitive racing with a few potential pointers to the future.

    2.10 7f 2yo Maiden

    The favourite CRAIGSTOWN brought forward a solid performance from Goodwood and was duly made 2/5 favourite. However, I had an eye on the Kevin Ryan newcomer ALEXANDER CASTLE, who looked pretty fit for his first run. I’d seen Ryan’s newcomer Anosti win at Hamilton, looking as if there was something to work, so a fit newcomer from that yard hit the right spot. In the event the colt was very impressive, taking over inside the last furlong and a half and galloping away from the field without being asked for too much extra effort. ALEXANDER CASTLE is well entered up in staying 2yo events, so worth keeping an eye on, though I suspect those of us who snapped up better than the 5/1 SP had a corking bet, and a couple of chaps next to me at the paddock were also on.
    INSPECTOR CLOUSEAU took a while to settle in the paddock. He also pulled hard going down, but set a decent pace and, although well held by the winner, showed the rest a clean pair of heels and looks a future winner.
    NARMEEN looks a strong sort, but her form’s exposed and she plugged on for third. Meanwhile the favourite CRAIGSTOWN was scrubbed along 2 out and only found one pace.

    2.45 1m Claimer

    Too many of these didn’t perform and with the 3rd DOMESDAY having shown little previously it’s questionable if the form is worth a lot.
    PENEL stayed on best, but was entered for only £5000 here. He has a few wins on all weather in his record, so may be worth a glance in similar events on that surface.
    YO PEDRO is a frustrating sort. His jockey commented that things went well until he saw too much daylight and he needs covering up. He may win a race but needs things to go for him, so isn’t a sound betting proposition.
    NUIT SOMBRE, wearing bandages on his forelegs, raced alone on the far side and looked to lead 2 out, but was a spent force in the final furlong. I’m not sure that the ground on that side was a problem, but lack of company may have been, so this run can probably be ignored.
    BAYLAW STAR, another bandaged in front, led early on the near side, but fell away.

    3.20 1m 2yo Handicap

    A competitive nursery labelled the ‘Blaydon Race’. A group near me couldn’t understand why they played ‘The Blaydon Races’ before the start…..doh!
    They went very fast early on, so those prominent such as BOOMTOWN, DREAM EXPRESS and MADISON HEIGHTS probably didn’t do themselves justice. MADISON HEIGHTS in particular is a big, striking individual and I’d keep him in mind for a staying nursery.
    Those held up came through at the end, the 25/1 shot TUANKU battling well and staying on nicely. The race went his way, but this was a sound enough performance.
    WELCOME RETURN battled well after being headed and lost nothing in defeat. Jockey Kevin Darley spent a good deal of time discussing the performance with connections, commenting that Welcome Return was progressing well, and he particularly mentioned that he felt the ideal target for this filly is the mile nursery at the Ayr Western Meeting.
    MARNING STAR belied the 50/1 with a determined performance to finish a close third. RELINQUISHED ran respectably in fourth without threatening to figure in the finish.
    NATURAL RHYTHM looked in a good nick, a good deal better than when I saw him at Hamilton in July. He’s been heavily campaigned recently, but seems to have blossomed. He was held up going well, but was blocked when going for a run and didn’t have the pace in this company to get out of trouble. With enough ability to win again, an easing in class would be helpful.

    3.55 2m Handicap

    I didn’t see an awful lot of this as I was down at the two mile start getting some photos. However from my position I could see SOM TALA set sail for home entering the straight and, under pressure from a long way out, he kept on but couldn’t find more than one pace. I think this lack of extra pace is the problem, and being raced prominently in long distance races is his best chance for success.
    KASTHARI led 2 out looking the winner, and didn’t do much wrong but was headed close home by grand old Gosforth Park specialist MARJAN who triumphed to a huge cheer from the crowd. Len Lungo’s charge is clearly a real favourite in these parts and received a rousing reception when he returned. The 8 year old KASTHARI is clearly no back number.
    DOWNING STREET ran a fair enough race in fourth, but he’s paying the penalty for a 13lb rise following his 13 length win at Thirsk, a race which rather fell into his lap.

    4.30 1m 4f 3yo Handicap

    John Dunlop trained DOUBLE BANDED had shown a degree of promise at Newmarket and advanced on that leading close home here. He won’t be penalised too much for the win and there may be more to come.
    LA VECCHIA SCUOLA has been upped in distance rather dramatically,, having won over 5 furlongs earlier this season, but performed very well, leading most of the way and holding off BOZ before being ‘done’ by the winner. Kelly Harrison got a day suspension for careless riding, interfering with Boz, though it made no difference to the placing of either. BOZ had every chance but was third best.
    FALCON’S FIRE, looking very fit, moved up from 7 furlongs, but had won a hurdle recently. He raced just off the pace, found himself struggling to hold the leaders 2 out but then found a second wind once pulled out and finished quite well in fourth.
    ALWAYS BEST was up with the pace but weakened in the straight.

    5.05 6f Handicap

    The field was a quite well spread out at the finish for a good ground sprint.
    DAKOTA RAIN was disappointing last time but came back to form here, leading one out and going clear. No reason why he shouldn’t continue to be competitive even with a rise in the weights.
    The second RAINBOW FOX is consistent, did nothing wrong here and is worthy of consideration in similar class. GUEST CONNECTIONS was presented to challenge on the outside but hung fire, and is possibly a little quirky.

    Of the others CHARLES PARNELL ran respectably in fourth, YORKSHIRE BLUE looked very well but never threatened, and the same could be said of CONNECT. LORD OF THE EAST went down very early, having to be mounted on the track as getting him to stand still seems a bit of a trial. He then performed very poorly.

    5.35 5f 3yo Handicap

    A lot of these got very fractious, and although three were due to go down early at least five were down as soon as they could be.

    NOMOREBLONDES made this a one horse race, quickly away, settling in front and then pulling away in the final furlong. Looked a decent performance to me and there could be more to come.
    MANDURAH ran well enough in second if never threatening the leader. PEGASUS DANCER, one of those who was stroppy in the paddock, couldn’t get to the leader and headed a group of four just behind Mandurah. BAYBSHAMBLES misbehaved in the paddock, and I was told had done it before, but stayed on belatedly in fourth and may be interesting with a drop in class. TRIPLE SHADOW ended fairly close without threatening and DUALAGI had every chance on the outside but simply didn’t have the speed at crunch time. Favourite WOQOODD, a winner over 6 furlongs last time, never figured.

    • Total Posts 5807

    AYR – Thursday September 20 – Good To Soft(Good in places) becoming softer during the afternoon.

    I finished ‘the set’ of course in Scotland with a visit to Ayr. Some competitive racing on offer for the first day of the Western Meeting.

    2.20 6f 2yo Auction Maiden

    The strong wind blowing across the course seemed to unsettle a few of these in the paddock. A few of them looked a bit green.

    NORTHERN BOLT, stepping up on his debut performance was settled nicely in the lead. Asked for an extra effort two out he responded well, and stayed on well enough in victory to suggest he’ll get 7 furlongs.
    ELIZABETH SWANN came out of the pack to chase the winner, did nothing wrong and will win a race. DARING DREAM stayed on in third and HAMISH MCGONAGALL stayed on but never threatened the leaders.
    EMPERORS JADE was very green in the paddock and on the course. He looks quite a nice colt for the future.
    DREAM EXPRESS seemed to dislike the first time blinkers and didn’t give his running.
    RIDLEY DIDLEY was slowly away but showed decent early pace before falling away quickly from 2 out.
    Andrew Mullen commented ‘this is going to be as green as grass’ as he rode FORREST STAR to the start. He was spot on in the race, but his mount picked off a few late on, and with time might make a racehorse.
    CHANTEUSE DE RUE was green and will need time.
    RIVERSIDE is a compact strong looking sort, but missed the break and didn’t get into the race. She’s bred to show some speed.

    2.50 1m 2yo Novice Stakes

    This race lost a fair bit of interest when favourite REDESIGNATION clipped the heels of Ivestar early on and unseated his rider.
    GRACEFUL DESCENT, very relaxed in the parade ring, was headed by IVESTAR in the final furlong but showed plenty of determination to battle back. On the face of it this was probably about the level of her previous form. IVESTAR was just pipped, stepped up on previous form and should win a race.
    AAIM TO STORM threatened approaching the furlong pole but found no more. SHEPHERDS WARNING was swamped by the other three in the final furlong. Claiming races seem his level.
    Newcomer PONDAPIE ambled out of the stalls and didn’t get into the race but he made up a lot of ground in the final couple of furlongs. With experience I suspect he will step up on this.
    DANZIG FOX, coming off a lay-off following a course win, was never in it. IBROX, presumably to the glee of any Celtic fans present, showed little.

    3.20 5f 0-70 Handicap

    A ‘whose turn is it today’ sprint handicap.

    CHARLES PARNELL burst out of the pack at the furlong pole to take this. He handles the softened ground OK and is probably best at 6 furlongs so may well be capable of taking another race this autumn.
    HOTHAM has been consistent without winning and again put it all in, only to find one too good. HOWARDS TIPPLE only has a single win to his name, but has been consistently in the firing line. BRUT once again showed good pace, but couldn’t hold on in the rush to the line.
    FUNFAIR WANE ploughed a lone furrow up the centre and wasn’t beaten far. I suspect he may take another race before the turf season ends.
    THROW THE DICE showed his usual decent early pace on the far side. The others on that side lost touch and this probably didn’t help, but he was still a close fifth.

    3.50 1m 2f Seller

    Quite a competitive seller for better than usual prize money.

    SWEET WORLD had a bit to find on the official ratings, but his determination in front made the difference here. He made the running and was challenged on all sides in the rush to the line, but held off all-comers. He has three wins on Polytrack to his credit and I’m sure Alan Jarvis will try to place him to advantage over the coming months.
    BRASTAR JELOIS has been running consistently and stuck on well enough in second. TOP JARO stuck on for third without threatening to win. TIZZY MAY was scrubbed along early, got into the mix 2 out but only found one pace. PRINCE NOEL started slowly, moved up 2 out but didn’t get to the leaders.

    4.20 1m 2f 0-100 Handicap

    The leaders went off quickly here and paid the price.

    ROSBAY led and fell away after 2 out. Probably went a bit quick for his own good.
    PECULIAR PRINCE has won races contesting the pace in Ireland, I saw him win over a mile at Bellewstown in 2005, but he was held from the furlong pole. I wonder if a drop back to 9 furlongs or a mile might help.
    DAN DARE raced prominently and faded.
    SMOKEY OAKEY did best of the early leaders, leading around the furlong pole but unable to find that bit extra and finishing fourth. I think there’s a race to be won with this one.
    THE GREY BERRY is very nice ‘keen’ looking sort. He was in decent form over the summer and came back to winning form, showing a good burst in the final furlong to take this. He goes on most ground and is effective at a mile and 10 furlongs, so I don’t think he’s stopped winning.
    BEST PROSPECT led 1 out, seemed to carry his head at an odd angle and was caught close home. VERY WISE ran a sound race but couldn’t find enough to challenge the first two.
    DESCARTES wore a cross noseband which suggests he pulls, was mounted at the walk and was never competitive. He’s lightly raced and has presumably had problems.

    4.50 1m 3yo 56-70 Handicap

    Heavy rain hit the course before this event and the ground seemed to have softened.

    Irish trained NANS BEST didn’t settle early, but clearly had enough left as he battled on well close home.
    DARK ENERGY made progress from 2 out and was gradually gaining in second place. DUCAL PIP SQUEAK was up with the pace and plugged on for third.
    GRETHEL stayed on for fourth without threatening those in front.
    KUNTE KINTEH was up with pace but faded from 2 out. TREMELO POINTE went out like a light after the 2 furlong marker.

    5.20 7f 50yds 56-70 Handicap

    SANDS OF BARRA came there cruising after 2 out, pushed to go clear and then battled well to maintain the advantage. He was a bit in and out early in the season, but has hit a rich vein of form lately.
    CROCODILE BAY bustled up the leader in the final furlong and had a bit to spare on the remainder.
    MYSTICAL AYR looked very fit and came through to take third.
    The one that interested me here was ESOTERICA. His jockey commented after the race that he didn’t handle the ground, but since he recovered from getting behind early he did well to finish fourth. He needs a sound surface to be at his best, so it’s possible opportunities might be limited now, but keep an eye out when the sun shines next season.

    • Total Posts 2924

    Just saw this, thanks, Rob! 8)

    I was counting my winnings as Best Prospect hit the front, luckily I had a saver on the winner. Interesting what you say about Best Prospect’s head carriage, I hadn’t noticed that.


    • Total Posts 5807

    Just to prove me a bit off the mark, Best Prospect won the other day. Looking at this one’s handicap marks though I notice that he had come down from 96 to 82, and was running off a pound lower than the Ayr race. While I don’t think the odd pound makes that much difference, the fact that he was now eligible for a 0-85 event really was significant. Of course the downside is that he’ll probably move back out of that class, though as an in-form competitior might cope with a 0-90.

    I’d like to say, having ignored Nuit Sombre’s Newcastle run for the reasons given that I was on him when he was 33/1 winner last week. Sadly, I didn’t even notice he was running!

    Esoterica was disappointing at Musselburgh yesterday, admittedly from a fairly wide draw, and his form may just have tailed off for the season.

    Interesting to see Ouef A La Neige won when stepped up to 9 furlongs in the claimer at Musselburgh. This one’s been campaigned at sprint distances formost of the season, but it’s possibly significant that the two wins in this season’s form have been at 1m and 1m 1f.

    Princess Ellis won the opening sprint handicap at Musselburgh in decent style. Sometimes the ‘fairer sex’ show improvement at this time of year and this one is worth watching out for in the next month. Would certainly be interesting if appearing under a penalty.


    • Total Posts 5807

    North is back ‘On The Level’ for 2008!

    HAMILTON – Sunday May 4th 2008

    Going – Good (Good To Soft in places)

    Hamilton’s season commenced with a relatively low key card.

    2.25 5f 2yo Median Auction Maiden

    Sometimes Hamilton is talked of as a stiff track. While this is true of the finish, it is by no means true of the whole course. On the five furlong course the runners spend as much time running downhill as they do uphill. VERONICA’S BOY struggled on the downhill section and looked an unlikely winner in the dip, but picking up really well on the rising ground, he weaved his way between his three opponents to win with a little in hand. He might be capable of winning again here, but I would be more interested on a flat or stiff track, Newcastle perhaps?
    WHERE’S REILEY made a satisfactory debut, being overhauled by Veronica’s boy in the final furlong but staying on for second.
    METROLAND looked very green for her debut, wandering around a lot and being tapped for speed up the hill. It would be expected she would learn from this race, and I’d expect a decent run next time particularly in a fillies’ race.
    RUSSET REWARD may well be better on a sharper track, as having shown good early paced he weakened up the hill.

    2.55 1m 65yds Jump Jockeys’ Handicap

    KING OF THE MOORS almost won this from the front. Nothing got near him until Keisha Keighley came late to pip him on the line. It’s just possible the heavier weights carried ni this contest may have favoured him, and he would be worth considering in an amateurs’ contest.
    KEISHA KEIGHLEY was held up and brought with a well timed run by Graham Lee to lead close home. She will presumably go up a few pounds but should continue to be competitive in similar class.
    The rest never got a blow, DECHIPER coming out of the pack to snatch third. He had some decent form last year and this may signal a return.
    Well fancied BIVOUAC and PIANOFORTE were disappointing. The former is yet to win, while the latter is 3 from 47, so neither appeal as betting material.

    3.30 1m 65yd 3yo Selling stakes

    THOMPSONS WALLS had them all on the stretch early and held on up the hill. Might progress to a claimer, but he would not find handicaps such an easy touch.
    WISEMAN’S DIAMOND kept on for second and she has been there or thereabouts a few times.
    BOURBON HIGHBALL looked better than this on at least one occasion as a two-year-old, but found little up the hill.
    INDECISION, MUJAHOPE and NORTHWEST look slow on this evidence.

    4.05 1m 5f Class 4 Handicap

    A race where those from off the pace didn’t get involved.
    NERO WEST raced prominently, led 3 furlongs out and kept up the gallop. Relatively lightly raced for a seven-year-old, and has won off 3lbs higher, so there is hope for another win.
    PEE JAY’S DREAM has been in good form, and was another to race prominently. He chased the leader for the final two furlongs. Another not over-raced for his age, he may have another win in him soon.
    COTTON EYED JOE never got to the leaders but held off the pack for third. He’s 4lb higher than his best winning mark and may just be held by the handicapper at the moment, though performing well.
    SMUGGLERS BAY was a winner but quirky over hurdles in the winter, and seemed to duck the issue a bit here. I suspect he may run into a few places, but doesn’t seem one to have the mortgage money on.
    JAFARU finished quite close considering he was under pressure fully four furlongs out. His 65 rating gives scope for a drop from this 61-80 class, so there’s hope for him.

    4.40 1m 3f Maiden

    LOCHIEL was unfortunate to run up against some decent animals in maidens last year. He was urged along after 5 furlongs, but stayed on well up the hill.
    LIVVY INN comes from a predominantly jumping stable, but showed enough promise in second to suggest a chance of a flat win before a hurdles career in the autumn.
    PRINCE RAYDDARCH looked a difficult ride when a well beaten fourth on his debut, but seemed to have benefited from that run. He settled better than many, was caught flatfooted when the pace increased, but stayed on again in the final two furlongs.
    EVELITH REGENT pulled hard in front early on and weakened in the final two furlongs. He needs to settle if he is going to win a race.
    ARCH, who ran creditably on his bumper debut last year but was then disappointing twice subsequently, moved up two out but couldn’t go with the leaders. He may be better over a longer distance.

    5.15 6f Class 5 Handicap

    THE BEAR had shown very little in six outings since 2005, but led all the way and kept on up the hill to record a third career win. Since he won off 93 as a two-year-old, it’s not inconceivable that he’s hiding away on a decent mark, particularly against similar opposition.
    INGLEBY PRINCESS looked another potentially well weighted. She came out of the pack to take second without getting near the winner.
    CROSS OF LORRAINE had very chance and probably ran to his mark in third, and the fourth, MAISON DIEU, was near the pace all the way, having nothing left for an extra burst in the final furlong.
    YORKSHIRE BLUE ran a lack lustre race and, though he does win races, is difficult to tie down to a particular race.

    5.50 5f Class 6 Handicap

    The field split into two groups with four on the far side initially headed by CONJECTURE and OVERSTAYED having an early advantage. In the end the best finisher on that side was DOUBLE CARPET in fifth. The far side used to be favoured, but I’m not sure the bias is there now. It may be that Double Carpet’s effort is better than it appeared.

    ROTHESAY DANCER is well handled by Kelly Harrison. The apprentice brought her mount through in the final furlong to win a shade comfortably, and it’s not the first time she has secured such a win.
    HIGHLAND SONG stayed on for second and last time winner BAYBSHAMBLES seemed to run to her mark in third.

    • Total Posts 5807

    HAMILTON PARK – Friday May 9 2008

    Going – Good To Firm

    It was Office Party Night at Hamilton, and your correspondent joined the party from my own office for the evening. A fine time was had by all, I noted and scribbled, the rest drank, and we had enough winners between us to keep most of the group happy.

    The warm weather of recent days had dried the ground out to good to firm. The weather, after a sprinkling of rain during the day, was overcast and sticky.

    6.05 5f 2yo Maiden (Class 5, though the conditions mention that it’s counted as a Class 4 for penalty purposes)

    A small but select field of five for this event, all of them newcomers. They looked a pretty decent bunch in the paddock, and I suspect all five will win races.

    Of the five runners it was the winner FATHEY who appeared the least forward in condition, so it’s likely there’s better to come. The contest was run at a steady pace down the hill and picked up hitting the incline. Fathey led a furlong out and forged ahead, hanging slightly toward the rail, blocking Snow Bay which caused a concertina effect behind. His rider got a two day suspension, but the gap which Snow Bay was trying to come through was only ‘half there’. Fathey has plenty of speed in his pedigree so should go on from here.
    OFFICER MOR just held the others for second. He was pulling hard and running a bit green down the hill, had as good a chance as any and couldn’t hold the winner. He seemed well forward to me and possibly may not come on quite so much as the others, but has a sprint pedigree and should win a similar event.
    BRAGGING RIGHTS looked very fit and struck me as a nice walker. He came with every chance a furlong out but couldn’t match the winner’s speed, being caught up in the jostling close home. Backed down to favourite here, he has presumably shown a bit at home. He’s bred to be suited by further, so a step up in trip would be no disadvantage.
    SNOW BAY would probably have finished second but for the winner drifting across under the whip. He was on his toes in the paddock and pulling going down, possibly not suited by the steady early pace. His breeding suggests that a step up in trip wouldn’t be a hinderance.
    GOING TIME was the one of the party to get left flat-footed when the pace picked up. She was picking up in the final furlong, but couldn’t find a gap and had to be snatched up close home as Snow Bay was blocked. There’s decent speed in her pedigree and there should be better to come.

    6.35 6f 3yo Class 3 Conditions Stakes

    An interesting contest with some decent previous form recorded. The pace was no better than average, with the field being restrained down the hill.

    Two broke away in the final furlong and a half, with the filly PERFECT POLLY battling determinedly as she went clear with Burnwynd Boy. She was previously trained in Ireland and has a fourth to Natagora on here C.V. An interesting prospect.
    BURNWYND BOY ran a cracker for local trainer Linda Perratt, having previously been with her current assistant Ian Semple. He gave it the works close home and, bearing in mind he was carrying 10lbs in penalties, this looks a cracking effort. He seemed to be an amenable type, so there’s plenty of optimism that he’s up to at least Listed standard this year.
    VAN BOSSED, a double winner recently, found the front two a bit sharp over the last furlong and a half. Handicaps would appear his level at the moment.
    EXHIBITION looked fit enough for his seasonal debut, but was slightly disappointing. He pulled hard early and couldn’t accelerate with the front three up the hill. He did stay on at the end though, and given that he won over 6 furlongs on heavy as a two-year-old it could be that seven furlongs may suit.
    RIVER ARDECHE won a maiden on heavy at York last July on his only previous run. He had a tough task on here and was left behind from halfway.

    7.10 1m 4f 17yds 51-70 3yo Handicap (Actual distance with rail movement was approximately 1m 4f 40yds)

    An interesting heat with a few handicap debutants and one or two moving up in trip.

    I understand Len Lungo has a hurdling career in mind for LEGION D’HONNEUR, but it’s possible he might pick up another handicap or two on the flat judged on this performance. He led 2 out and ran on really well. I’d say it’s likely he will handle further.
    PRINCESS LOMI lost nothing in defeat here, staying on well once headed. She seems a bit nervous, being equipped with a padded rug for stalls entry and the jockey whipping off the blindfold as the stalls opened. That being said, she settled nicely and would seem a likely winner at this trip or further.
    SHEER FANTASTIC, more exposed at the distance, pulled hard early and stayed on for third.
    CHANTEUSE DE RUE was out the back for a long way but stayed on for fourth.
    PEQUENO DINERO was apparently bumped exiting the stalls, was always in the rear and eased in the final two furlongs.
    SOXY DOXY raced prominently early but simply wasn’t good enough in this company.
    LIVVY INN ran promisingly in a maiden at the last Hamilton meeting, but started slowly and never got serious on his handicap debut.

    7.40 6f Class 5 Maiden

    This race was run at a decent pace, so the form is probably sound. A few were outspeeded and didn’t get into the contest.

    TAWZEEA raced comfortably and came away in the closing stages with the feeling there was something left in the tank. It’s likely he’s better than the bare form suggests.
    STRAWBERRY MOON ran creditably in second, chasing the winner determinedly and should win a maiden particularly a fillies’ event.
    JOHNSTON’S GLORY has raced mainly on the all-weather, 13 attempts having yielded one place, but coped well with fast turf. He’s a solidly-built sort, and the first time blinkers apparently did no harm, racing up with the pace and keeping on if held by the first two .
    I commented last September that FORREST STAR ‘may make a racehorse in time’. It seems she’s on the way there, since she showed good pace here and stuck at her job once headed. May still need a race or two more, but I think this one will win eventually.
    HOWARDS WAY, off the track since a promising debut at Musselburgh in April last year, was woefully outpaced early on, but picked up really well on hitting the rising ground. He finished fast to dead-heat for fifth with EMIRATE ISLE who, returning after an extended lay-off, ran to the form of his previous outings two seasons ago and is not without hope.

    8.15 6f 61-75 (Class 5) Handicap

    This looked potentially competitive and it proved so as the first handful were separated by no more than a length. The race was run at a sound pace.

    CHEERY CAT was disappointing over 7 furlongs at Redcar, but here he kept on well once putting his head in front in the final furlong. Not a bad win and place record to date and shouldn’t be too harshly penalised following a tight finish.
    RAINBOW FOX made a return to form, finishing fast from out of the pack, and would have been in front in another 20 yards. He impressed me in similar company last season, goes well on a track with a stiff finish and on fast ground.
    MINERAL RIGHTS had been running over 7 furlongs on the All-Weather, but a drop in distance and change of surface did no harm. Of those up the with the pace, he was the one who stuck to his guns. I think this was a creditable performance since he was drawn on the outside and significant action took place on the stands’ side, and I’d bear him in mind in similar company.
    OPAL NOIR had every chance two out but just couldn’t match the first three close home. A good
    COLEORTON DANCER was up with the early pace, and kept on, but couldn’t hold the pack. He’s apparently paying for being thereabouts fairly often despite not winning for three years. I wonder if he might be aimed at a claiming race?
    GAP PRINCESS finished close up without threatening a place.
    BAHAMA BAILEYS, KYLLIS and STEEL BLUE all went with the early pace but faded up the hill.
    DNATA FLYER, on handicap debut, seemed to find things happening a bit too quick but put in some good work close home and might be interesting at a decent price in the near future.
    YORKSHIRE BLUE wins in his turn, but throws in a few average races in between and never showed here.
    ARGENTINE looked unsettled in the paddock and didn’t show.
    ULYSEES isn’t good enough at this level these days.
    Favourite VARADOURO, a convincing Southwell winner, found this tough and didn’t make it to the front rank. He’s a strong sort who was on his toes in the paddock, from a sprint-specialist stable, and looked ‘ready to go’, so maybe a flatter track would be better.

    8.45 1m 1f 36yds (Approx 1m 1f 60yds with rail movement) 56-70 Handicap

    In the main these are an exposed bunch who win in their turn, but the winner hadn’t previously won on turf, so could be on a more generous mark.

    ROYAL AMNESTY had been running really well in similar events on the All-Weather and was running off a mark 13lbs less than on the artificial surface. He came from last to first in a race where the pace wasn’t great, so it was a creditable performance. Given that the first two were clear he’ll go up 6 or 7lbs, but there must be scope for a further win or two on the turf. He’s 7 from 28 on the A/W, so has plenty of proven ability, and fast turf held no terrors.
    PIANOFORTE had conditions to suit here and stepped up on his Sunday fourth over a furlong shorter. Well exposed and if moving up in the handicap will be at his limit, so with a 3 from 49 record, but 13 places, he’s not one where there’s a lot of win betting value.
    MOONSTREAKER was on his toes in the paddock and pulled hard in third place. He basically couldn’t go the leaders’ pace in the final two furlongs but kept on for third.
    MUNCASTER CASTLE needs a drop in class, but performed creditably here. He was in the front rank two out and kept battling if lacking the pace of his higher rated opponents.
    KING OF THE MOORS performed well here on Saturday, but pulling hard in front early he couldn’t respond well enough when headed two out. Conditions seemed right for him here.
    REGENT’S SECRET has the ability to win this sort of event but didn’t pick up from his usual spot held up in the rear. He wins in his turn, but isn’t on his game at the moment.
    ALBERT’S STORY, FARNE ISLAND and MYSTICAL AYR were all well held and may be handicapped to the hilt.

    • Total Posts 5807

    HAMILTON Friday May 16

    Going – Good To Firm

    6.20 5f 2yo Maiden

    This could just be a significant two-year-old race since it was run in a faster time than the competitive closing sprint handicap.
    SPIN CYCLE clearly learned from having an outing, and went clear impressively in the final furlong. PENINSULAR WAR ran creditably in second and will surely win a maiden.
    METROLAND wasn’t so green as on her previous outing here. This one might be interesting when the nurseries come round.
    GASSAL was outpaced down the hill, but stayed on well for third and is worth noting over six furlongs.

    6.50 6f 3yo Handicap

    Another race run under the standard.

    LEADING EDGE led until close to the line, and is likely to gain compensation.
    OPUS MAXIMUS came late and the form is probably significant given that this looked competitive. He may well stand a step up in class.
    GREAT CHARM and LEGENDARY GUEST lost no credit close up behind.

    7.25 1m 3f Listed 3yo Stakes

    CAPTAIN WEBB led and then went clear in the final two furlongs, seeing off the challenge of LOVE GALORE.
    MEERISS faded having gone well early, and didn’t look quite up to the class. Handicaps will be a better target.

    8.00 1m 1f Maiden

    This may not have been a great maiden, but STOCK MARKET surged clear and should go on from here around 9 to 10 furlongs. SOCIETY VENUE ran respectably and seems a good measure in second.
    A significant performance on debut from HUNTING COUNTRY. Left flat-footed at the start, this one stayed on for fourth suggesting a maiden is well within his compass.

    8.35 1m 4f Listed Handicap

    A very close five runner event which turned into a sprint in the straight.
    TURBO LINN probably wasn’t suited by how the race was run, and did well to finish a close second to ERADICATE. ACROPOLIS, NIGHT CRESCENDO and GULL WING were all close enough to suggest they will competitive in decent handicaps this season.

    9.05 5f 0-75 Handicap

    ROTHESAY DANCER, brought with customary late run by Kelly Harrison, just failed here. Should continue to be competitive at this level.
    STEELCUT held on well from all-comers and lacks nothing in determination.
    RACCOON ran a cracker on his own on the far side. He had to do it on his own from halfway, and he probably ran better than his finishing place suggests.

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    Other commitments have meant I have been struggling to keep up with local racing in recent weeks, but here are a few notes from recent meetings.

    HAMILTON June 5

    All the excitement here concentrated on the opening two-year-old maiden contest. Leader VERINCO jinked right close home and bashed into LUCKY DAN, with both jockeys ending up on the floor. The theory seems to be that somebody near the winning post was waving and the horse shied. That being said, the finish at Hamilton is a bit of a funnel, with the trees on one side and the stands on the other, so it doesn’t surprise me if some nervous horses do shy a bit.
    CALLEY HO was presented with the race, but was in the process of putting in a decent performance, staying on in third place. I wouldn’t be surprised if this one improves if upped in trip.

    MINERAL RIGHTS has run well over seven furlongs this year but showed his versatility, going close over 5 furlongs. He should win soon.

    OUEF A LA NEIGE went sprinting for a while last year but looks better over further. Staying on in the 1m 65yds 52-69 Handicap he suggested a move up in trip will do no harm and I’d expect a win before long.

    THE BEAR ran a decent race in second in the 6f handicap. The winner OPAL NOIR is steadily progressing, confirming previous promise over the course and distance. YORKSHIRE BLUE can be frustrating, but gave a hint of a return to form when running into third. He does win in his turn, but is often well backed so it’s questionable whether he is value to back.
    MANDURAH, RAINBOW FOX and COLEORTON DANCER were close enough to suggest they have a shout in upcoming events.

    The versatile LA VECCHIA SCUOLA sluiced up in the last, a handicap over 1m 5f. It probably wasn’t the toughest race, but if her hurdles form is anything to go by she could be a good deal better than this level on the flat.


    SPIN CYCLE won what looked a competitive novice 2yo event and now goes for the Norfolk Stakes. The ones I would take out of this race are third placed KERRYS REQUIEM, still a maiden though surely not for long, and fourth placed newcomer ELEGANT CAD who mixed it well with some promising juveniles. The latter’s trainer has a reasonable record with two-year-olds and should place Elegant Cad to advantage.

    RECORD BREAKER found more once headed in the 1m 6f Handicap. This looked competitive despite only 6 runners, he won’t go up far for a narrow win, and I suspect there is more to come. SIR DUKE came to win but was just outbattled close home.
    On the face of it, ROYAL AMNESTY’s performance was disappointing, but given that this was a step up in trip and class I’m prepared to forgive this ‘miss’. He will find easier opportunities in 0-80 or 0-85 company.

    The ‘Tradesman’s Derby’, a 0-80 3yo handicap included a few progressive sorts and was a close contest, RESPLEDENT LIGHT responding well close home to hold on in a tight finish. SUNDOWNER came from the back and just failed. I suspect this form is good enough that both can step up in class.
    YES MR PRESIDENT veered toward the crowd in the closing stages and finished a close third. BETCHWORTH KID was another arriving from the rear, finishing not far away in fourth, just failing to summon an extra surge.
    STEP THIS WAY led but gave way in the final furlong. He’ll find easier races.

    In a race full of exposed sprinters, PRINCESS ELLIS made her record three out of three at the course in the sprint handicap, leading all the way from the no. 9 stall. Given that she would presumably have been even better suited by a rail draw, this performance might be better than bare value.

    • Total Posts 5807

    HAMILTON – Thursday 17th July

    Going –Good

    A few showers before racing, but nothing other than ‘wetting the turf’ so the ground remained the same. The course was well presented, ready for the upcoming ‘Fair Friday’ Meeting.

    A low standard card, and it’s difficult to imagination there are many emerging from this card to give the backer an advantage.

    2.20 5f 2yo Maiden Auction

    The Johnston newcomer was a non-runner, so some of the interest disappeared.

    SUSIE QUW, noted as being ‘keen’ going down, broke smartly and went clear in the closing stages. She did the job well enough and will presumably move on to nurseries before long.
    PADDY BEAR drifted in the betting from 11/10 to 7/4, though he seemed in good enough nick. He started tardily but stayed on well up the hill for second. Whilst this probably wasn’t a brilliant race, he seems to have progressed. An extra furlong shouldn’t be a problem.
    ROYAL MUWASIM showed speed for 4 furlongs.
    WHAT A FELLA seems a slightly ungainly galloper. To my eye he struggled with the slopes at Hamilton and may be better on a flat track.
    WEE BIZZOM was well beaten and doesn’t look quick enough at the moment.

    2.50 5f Claimer

    The disparity between the top claiming price of £15000, and an owner’s prize value of £1772 says much about the organisation of British racing. Here we have horses potentially considered to be worth £15000 which, in theory, would have to win at least 8 such events to return it’s value. That makes the game ’expensive fun’.

    On the face of it a competitive little heat with the six having shown decent form recently. In the event, the race only really involved two.

    HARRY UP blazed a trail, only to be cut down in the last 50 yards. He was well clear of the rest and this was a sound performance.
    GUEST CONNECTIONS is really a six furlong horse, and the finishing slope helped his final charge. He was outpaced downhill but picked up three lengths in the final furlong to win with a bit in hand. He won three of his first 16 race, but then had a 22 race barren spell. Now he’s picked up the winning thread again it could be there are more wins to come.
    FIRE UP THE BAND was third best on the day, KINGS COLLEGE BOY couldn’t get to the leader, but has been running consistently in handicaps and is always worth consideration in his grade. HOWARDS TIPPLE, a bit worse off than in handicaps, didn’t threaten the leader. LULOAH needed to be on top of her game here, but ambled out of the stalls and had no chance from then on.

    3.25 1m 65yds 46-65 Handicap 3yo (Due to rail movements actual distance approx. 1m 40yds)

    This was a fairly lowly event and the runners finished in a heap, which uggests the handicapper has them where he wants them.

    FLASHY MAX challenged 2 out, led inside the final furlong and stayed on well enough. He had no penalty for this race, since his win came in an apprentice race, so the rise in weights following two wins is likely to be bad news.
    HASTY LADY, MGANGA and CASTLEBURY finished in a heap behind and look handicapped to their level. The very moderate MISS UNDERSTANDING was a couple of lengths back.
    JOHNNY FRIENDLY raced freely in front and had nothing left in the final two furlongs. He raced like a seven furlong horse.

    4.00 1m 3f 16y(1m 2f 211yds) Maiden

    The first three were well clear in this event.

    BUDDHIST MONK led, pulling hard early but settled after half a mile. He looked the likely winner 2 furlongs on, but then veered across the track. Seb Sanders dropped his whip so couldn’t correct his course. Whether the bit slipped or there was some other problem was not clear. Perhaps a quirky performer, though not without ability.
    WELLS LYRICAL is possessed of great finishing pace, but stuck on well to pip the wayward runner-up and won’t be troubled by further.
    DEER DAYLAMI ran possibly his best race to date, close up in third.
    GARRA MOLLY fell away in the last three furlongs, CIRCUS CLOWN was never in the argument. The others were remote, RONNIES GIRL was cussed at the start and ROBIN DE LA FOLIE is a slowcoach over jumps and on the flat.

    4.35 6f 56-75 Handicap

    The best event on the card, which doesn’t necessarily say a lot.

    The winner GRAZEON GOLD BLEND boasts a reasonable 4 from 23 strike rate and this performance suggests he’s going the right way. He’d been a promising thid to Dickie Le Davoir at Pontefract, and built on that here, despite pulling hard early he had enough left running on well to take it cosily.
    STEEL CITY BOY led until close home. He didn’t really do too much wrong, and continues in good form.
    KATIE BOO is handicapped right to her mark and ran an honest race in third.
    HEUREAUX ran respectably in fourth without threatening to win. OPAL NOIR stayed on in fifth, if perhaps suffering from lack of a clear run through.
    Word was that OPTICAL ILLUSION was fancied by connections here. He got left a bit flat-footed up the hill, and when he did pick up, he had knowhere to go. His rating does give some scope for a drop in class and he’s running well enough to pick up another race.
    WESTPORT headed the race 2 out, but caved in once headed

    5.10 6f 46-60 Handicap

    A ‘whose turn is it today?’ sprint ended in a comfortable first victory for SPLASH THE CASH. He’d been somewhere near in recent races, but this was better as he led from the start and went clear in the final two furlongs. He’ll go up a fair chunk in the weights, so his trainer should be looking for a race before that rise takes effect.
    OUEF A LA NEIGE worked his way through from the back in the final furlong to finish second. He does win in his turn, but isn’t a prolific winner.. If he’s to win at six furlongs he needs a race to fall into his lap, but I think he’s better around one mile.
    FERN HOUSE is a good sort whose looks belie his lowly handicap mark. He had every chance and stayed on behing thirs place dead-heaters WOQOODD, who ran better than recently, and HIGH REACH who stayed on late.
    RIDE A WHITE SWAN had every chance on the outside, and wasn’t good enough in the final reckoning.
    PADDY JACK, previously in decent form, looked really well but ended up in last place.

    • Total Posts 5807

    AYR – Thursday 18th September

    The Western Meeting commenced with the going reported as Heavy following the wet weather of recent weeks. Normally I’d be a little wary of the form recorded if the tough conditions, but I reckon there might be one or two interesting pointers to come out of the meeting.

    2.20 6f 2yo Maiden

    A run of the mill maiden, won comfortably by the most exposed of the bunch. KYLLACHY STAR was hard at work a couple of furlongs out, but picked up nicely to win with a bit to spare. There may be a novice event for this one, but it’s more likely to be handicaps.
    FRONTLINE GIRL ran a decent enough race, staying on for second.
    The most interesting one here was MOHAWK RIDGE, nibbled at long odds in the market, who started slowly but picked up nicely in the final couple of furlongs to finish third. I presume this one will step up in trip and there should be a race to be found.
    LIBERTY TRAIL was always struggling and seemed to hate the conditions.

    2.50 1m 2yo Novice Stakes

    Four runners here, three with winning form and the fourth ROMANTIC INTERLUDE looking very slow.
    The pace set by TALE OF SILVER was decent enough given the small field and conditions. The leader picked up nicely two out to see off the challenge of Guestofthenation. He’s progressing nicely and was given a good ride by P J McDonald.
    GUESTOFTHENATION found the winner too good, but stuck on to hold the third, although his odd head carriage in the closing stages perhaps adds a cautious note. AAHAYKID in third couldn’t muster the pace to challenge and will probably benefit from longer distances in time.

    3.20 5f 53-68 Handicap

    A moderate level sprint, though there were enough in form to associate some merit to the form.
    This was GRIMES FAITH’s first run in heavy ground and it was clearly no hindrance. Having been prominent from the start he was more able to keep up the gallop than the others. He’ll presumably get put up a few pounds for this. He may score again while the turf remains soft, but it’s significant that he’s only rated 60 on the All-Weather and may be well placed to exploit that mark.
    ALMOST MARRIED never looked likely winning but progressed late for second. He’s got every chance of a win this autumn if moved up to six furlongs.
    LAKE CHINI couldn’t offer enough in the final furlong under a penalty and could well be held now after two wins. WITCHRY stayed on from the rear for fourth.
    WICKED WILMA hung for much of the way, and this apparently caused her saddle to slip and thus any chance she had disappeared. She’s better than this.

    3.50 1m 2f (Class 4) Seller

    A better than average selling contest, the front three finishing clear of the remainder.

    SHE’S OUR LASS, the 1/2 favourite, seemed likely to take command two out, but couldn’t get away from her challengers. She was held close home. Retained by means of a friendly claim, she’s in foal to Guineas winner Cockney Rebel, and now retires to the paddocks.
    80/1 chance JIM MARTIN gave it the works in the final quarter mile and just got his head in front close home. His trainer Linda Perratt describes him as, but on this evidence he as ability to win out of selling company if he wishes. It may be significant that this is the first time he’s run in testing conditions.
    RESONATE didn’t seem to do too much wrong and was a head second. He tried hard enough and as a 10yo his best chances will continue to come in sellers and claimers.
    The rest were held, although ULYSEES departed after three furlongs, unseating after colliding with the running rail.

    4.20 1m 2f 78-92 Handicap

    ALLIED POWERS relished the conditions, forging clear from 2 furlongs out and there’s more to come form this one, I suspect.
    BLUE SPINNAKER ran a better race than of late, staying on for second without getting to the winner. WIGWAM WILLIE raced prominently but had no answer in the final furlong and a half.
    BEST PROSPECT stepped up considerably on recent form, staying on from the rear and giving hope of a win in the near future.
    ELLA WOODCOCK led early but went out like a light and was reported as not suited by the heavy going.

    4.50 1m 3yo 54-66 Handicap

    GRIT, fast away but then steadied, came to lead a furlong out and forged clear from RED SKIPPER, but may find the rise in the weights will make things tougher. RED SKIPPER ran well enough and may be favoured by a drop to seven furlongs.
    The most significant run here probably came from seasonal debutant IBROX. He stayed on eye-catchingly from the rear for third and it would be no surprise if he makes up for lost time this autumn. Bear in mind from a value point of view, particularly if he runs in Scotland, that a goodly percentage of the Scottish sporting public wouldn’t back this one under any circumstances.
    TAMASOU battled with Ibrox for fourth, having similarly come through from the back.
    A number of those prominent early, NATURAL RHYTHM, TALON and DARING DREAM had nothing left in the last two furlongs. On that basis GRIT’s effort could be regarded of extra merit since he was prominent all the way.

    5.20 7f 50yds 61-73 Handicap

    KEYS OF CYPRUS has had training problems but is making up for lost time, the six-year-old taking his record to 4 from 7. Given that he entered this race on a mark of 63 plus a 6lb penalty, and that he forged clear readily, it’s not beyond the imagination that his trainer will place this one to win a couple more before year end. Evidence suggests he’ll handle a higher class than this.
    NOK TWICE was slowly away, but stayed on from the rear to take second. Given that the winner is apparently better than this class, then Nok Twice might be expected to win before long.
    BLINDSPIN was another putting in his best work at the end. NINEFINEIRISHMEN was up front until headed by Keys Of Cyprus and, though battling hard, couldn’t muster any extra reserves in the final furlong. He’ll find less tough assignments.

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    MUSSELBURGH – Friday April 3rd

    Going – Good to Firm (Good in places)

    Like the curtain at the start of a play, the coastal fog lifted just before the start of the first race, and so there was a sunny start to the Scottish flat racing season 2009. The ground reflected the dry weather of recent weeks, being recorded as generally fast.

    2.20 5f 0-70 Handicap

    I had marked NOMOREBLONDES as a potential repeat winner, but sadly that was back in August 2007 and it’s taken her that long to get her head in front again. She managed to work her way from an outside draw to lead the field and held on under a sustained challenge from SANDWITH. The winner is rated 66 and looks to me to need to stay in the 0-70 band if she is to follow up. She may go up a pound or two too much.
    UNTIL WHEN made a satisfactory return in third place, if held in the final furlong.

    2.50 5f 2yo Maiden

    MONALINI, from a stable who know their way with two-year-olds, looked well set up for this ordinary event and won nicely.
    My interest for the future in centred on the second MR SMITHSON who looked distinctly green early on but warmed to his task nicely. He won’t have to do an awful lot more to pick up a run-of-the-mill maiden.

    3.30 7f 0-70 3yo Handicap

    GREEN AGENDA was rushed up to grab a prized prominent position around the far bend, and wasn’t significantly troubled after that. He looks well forward and his trainer will be looking for a chance to run under a penalty.
    PETER’S GIFT showed enough in second to suggest she has trained on.

    4.05 1m 4f 100yds Selling Stakes

    This was not a bad class seller with ratings between 78 and 60, though ages ranged from 5 to 9 and all are pretty well ‘what you see is what you get’.
    RAUCOUS was highest rated here and won well enough, but a handicap would be different kettle of fish. He could be best kept to sellers and claimers for now.
    BRIDGEWATER BOYS ran creditably in second. His recent record in sellers and claimers is 1212612132, so he’s one of the first on the list in this sort of contest.

    4.40 1m 0-85 Handicap

    A race full of exposed sorts, with JUST BOND holding on in a tight finish from CELTIC CHANGE. JUST BOND idled in front and just held on from a runner-up who has a record of 1 win in 18 goes.
    WIND SHUFFLE went a little too quick for his own good, but finished quite close in third and looks the one to take forward from this contest.

    5.15 1m 1f Maiden

    Both the winner UNION ISLAND and the second AKBABEND showed a tendency to hang here, and some of those beaten didn’t look madly amenable either. AKBABEND should have won it but hung toward the stands’ rail.
    I would be loathe to trust either of these two in the short term.

    5.45 2m 0-70 Apprentice Handicap

    DON’T STOP ME NOW impressed as front running hurdler over the winter and showed her tenacity from the front in this event. She was headed around the furlong marker but battled back. She goes well on fast ground and her trainer may have options on the flat or over hurdles in the coming months.
    DANZATRICE led briefly but was worried out of it, and is another who ran with some credit over hurdles.
    LOS NADIS, another coming off a winter hurdling, flattered briefly two out before giving way.

    • Total Posts 5807

    HAMILTON – Friday May 15th

    Going – Good To Firm (turning Good with rain falling)

    The rail was moved out on the loop and I’ve allowed for the extra distance in the longer races.

    I can’t ever recall Aidan O’Brien having a runner at Hamilton but he made the trip for ‘Braveheart Day’ at the Lanarkshire track. Two Listed races for decent prize money featured on the card.

    6.20 5f Class 5 2yo Maiden

    An ordinary maiden won comfortably by CORPORAL MADDOX who will be given another outing in a conditions race before a decision is made on participation at Royal Ascot.
    TRINDER, who is blind in one eye, made a satisfactory debut in second. He is bred to go a bit so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him take a race soon.

    6.55 6f 0-80 3yo Handicap

    Not a particularly strong event, though the winner ALL THE NINES put up a decent handicap debut, following up a Southwell maiden win. She showed plenty of determination up the hill to hold on.
    AL MUGTAREB performed moderately on his handicap debut but bounced back to some sort of form here. He probably sets the standard off a mark which looks to reflect his Catterick maiden win reasonably accurately.
    RED KYTE stayed on up the hill for third and may benefit from a move up in trip.

    7.30 1m 3f 41yds Glasgow Stakes (Listed) 3yo only

    The Hamilton Executive must have been very pleased with the quality of this field, with Aidan O’Brien and Saeed bin Suroor both putting forward runners. In the event though it was Mark Johnston, often a visitor to Hamilton Park, who took this race with the promising PARTHENON. He set the pace and gradually wound things up once turned for home. He simply galloped the remainder into submission, staying on relentlessly up the hill. His attitude looks very good and he should be capable of making the move up to Group level. I would imagine the King Edward VII Stakes at Ascot might be a target.
    Aidan O’Brien’s STATELY HOME was the only one to challenge Parthenon, but his head carriage didn’t impress once the pressure was applied. He has a load of decent entries, including a Derby place, but he has a bit to prove after this performance.
    HOLBERG kept on for third without threatening the winner. He looks pretty decent and should rate higher than his current level of 90.
    POPMURPHY was outpaced up the straight. He is one who may improve for a bit more experience.
    EMIRATES CHAMPION was well held from the junction of the loop. This was only his second run after a maiden win first time out and he’s another who should improve with racing.
    BOTHY was left behind in the straight, but not punished once his chance had gone. He was aimed high here after a win last time and will benefit from a drop back in class.

    8.05 1m 1f 61yds Class 5 Maiden

    Last seen out running in bumpers, and a winner at Musselburgh in December, HILLVIEW BOY made a pleasing Flat debut here. He finished with a fair rattle and won the race with a bit to spare. He’s shown enough ability to suggest he can make a mark at handicap level and his bumper experience may give help.
    MATRAASH looked to have the race won two out but was caught close home. Bearing in mind this was a maiden, he was unlucky to come up against a previous winner and saw off the remainder well enough to suggest his place in the winner’s slot is only delayed.
    HIGH SEVERA stayed on for third and may benefit from a step back up in trip.
    DUBAI ECHO ran well below the level of his Windsor form here. That was on good to firm ground and it could be that the rain here didn’t help.

    8.35 1m 4f 42yds Listed Handicap

    My impression was that this was a decent field, but ALLIED POWERS put them to the sword comfortably. He challenged two furlongs out and then went clear. The problem for his trainer is that he is now going to be right at the top of the weights in handicaps and will have to tackle non-handicap Listed or Group company. He has to continue improving to make a mark at a higher level.
    LADY JANE DIGBY was the only one to chase the winner seriously in the final two furlongs. She saw out the trip well enough and shouldn’t be hampered by a weight rise given the distance beaten by the winner.
    DRILL SERGEANT was comfortably held in third and may be a little high in the weights currently.
    The remainder were strung out, but it may be worth noting AMANDA CARTER, running from 4lbs out of the handicap, who got to a challenging position three out before giving way. The task was well beyond her in this company, but she would be worth a glance at a lower level.

    9.05 5f 0-75 Handicap

    The card finished with a ‘whose turn is it tonight?’ sprint handicap, and the form book went out of the window as the Alan Berry trained 50/1 chance ANDRASTA won from 5lbs out of the handicap. The drop back to 5 furlongs may well have helped since her recent record at the minimum trip seems a bit better than at 6 furlongs. Not one I would trust to repeat the win in the near future.
    Those following finished in a heap and it’s difficult to pick up any particular pointers for future winners. They are exposed and the handicapper has a pretty good handle on them.

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