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North On The Level

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    MUSSELBURGH – Friday May 3rd

    Going – Good To Soft
    Weather – light rain

    2.00 5f Brewin Dolphin 3yo Handicap (Class 6)

    ANTONI GRAMSCI, a big strong gelding who looked rather green, hit the front over a furlong out and pulled away from SOMEONE’S DARLING. The runner-up is well exposed, not progressing as a two-year-old after a fair start, but there looks to be more to come from the winner in a slightly better race.
    ICHIMOKU stayed on for third, a not dissimilar effort to his Catterick seasonal debut. This one has prospects over a stiff five furlongs or perhaps stepped up in trip.
    CRACKING CHOICE broke fast and led from a wide draw but was well outpaced in the final two furlongs. He has been thereabouts on most runs but regularly finds one or two too good.

    2.30 5f Baillie Gifford EBF 2yo Maiden Stakes (Class 5)

    WITHERNSEA built on a fair debut at Ripon to take this contest. He was bustled to go about his business over a furlong out and gradually asserted.
    Debutant TANSEEB was taken off his feet early on, but responded well to pressure from halfway and was a clear second. He should improve for the experience.
    MUSPELHEIM was second in front of Withernsea last time, but was outpaced from the start here. He made up significant ground to two furlongs, but the effort probably used up his reserves and he faded again. If breaking on level terms he should prove a bit better than this form.

    3.00 1m 1f Weatherby’s Bank Handicap (Class 4)

    A slog in the softening ground and NEXT EDITION outstayed the opposition from two out, a not unusual occurrence when the ground softens at Musselburgh. He’ll go up a few pounds for this and the margin may prove flattering.
    FRONTIER FIGHTER ran a sound enough race under a penalty for a Pontefract win, sticking to his task but held from the furlong pole. Given that he’s won at Pontefract and Southwell of late then I would imagine he will improve again over a stiffer track.
    NIMIETY, off the track for 587 days, and annual debutant ACT YOUR SHOE SIZE set the pace until three out but had insufficient in the tank from then on. Both should come on for the outing and look reasonably rated on balance of form.

    3.30 1m 1f Weatherby’s Private Banking 3yo Handicap (Class 3)

    This contest yielded a few winners from last year’s renewal.
    ROMANTIC SETTINGS challenged the pacemaker three out and gradually got on top inside the final furlong, the pair well clear of the remainder. This filly can progress to better things and she will stay further.
    KING OF THE DANES set the pace and found more when asked in the straight. He couldn’t hold an improved winner, but he stuck to his task very well and won’t always meet one as good as the winner. This one is lightly raced and even with a rise in the weights Mark Johnston should have room to manoeuvre.
    The remainder ended in a heap but there are races to be won with most, LADY ARTISTE running an encouraging third on only her second racetrack appearance.
    MARHABA MALAYEEN looked less than ken in the first half of the race. In touch by half way he kept on under pressure but seems quirky.

    4.00 7f Core (Oil and Gas) Ltd Handicap (Class 3)

    GANDALAK upped in trip, raced keenly but none of the other four got near him and he won comfortably. The others were exposed but you could ask no more of one who has progressed since showing promise over five furlongs on Musselburgh’s opening day in March. He is likely to go up by 7 or 8 pounds on top of the 6lb penalty , but he does seem to have the speed to take on better opponents.
    DISCRESSION kept on to ho0ld second place from OUR BOY JACK, though both seem weighted to their form. Twice a winner over seven furlongs at Newcastle, I wonder whether that stiff seven may be ideal.

    4.30 1m 6f Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers Handicap (Class 5)

    Another race favouring those racing near the front, not an unusual event at Musselburgh so far this season. Brasingaman Eric took the field along at a decent clip and he pulled clear with KINGARRICK from two furlongs out. Kingarrick looked likely to be a clear winner but BRASINGAMAN ERIC battled back most determinedly and was gaining again at the line. He’s not been particularly heavily races for a six-year-old, and this evidence suggests he’s better than the 57 he ran off here. Recovering his form after having 2012 off the track, he’s worth noting for a staying event in this sort of class.
    KINGARRICK was recording a first win since his two-year-old days. This is the first time he’s tried this trip and given that he was not stopping, despite being hauled back by the second, staying could prove to be his forte now.
    Last year’s winner LA BACOUETTEUSE had no chance when well in rear before the home turn. He stayed on relentlessly from that point and took third close home. He’s 5 from 22 on the flat and, if the race falls his way, he can win in this class before long.

    5.05 7f Oak Handicap (Division 1) (Class 6)

    Part one of the ‘whose turn is it today?’ handicap!
    CARA’s REQUEST got an easy lead, Tom Eaves kicked on early in the straight and nothing got near him from that point. She ran off a very generous mark of 52 here, given that her last win was off 80 back in 2010. Everything went her way here, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a follow up.
    TONY HOLLIS kept on honestly enough up the straight if making no impression. He’s a career 1 from 22 which tells a story.

    5.35 7f Oak Handicap(Division 21) (Class 6)

    Front runner DHHAMAAN would have been considered for this , but he needs things his own way and folded over two furlongs out. JEBEL TARA raced in touch with the leaders and stuck on from two out. He doesn’t win very often and couldn’t be backed with confidence to follow up. JUST THE TONIC and GONINODAETHAT who followed the winner are much of a muchness and don’t win any more than in their turn.
    JUPITER FIDIUS made up ground from the rear late on, but that’s not untypical and he wins no more often than the front three.

    • Total Posts 5934

    HAMILTON – Sunday May 5th
    Going – Soft

    1.40 6f totepool Handicap (Division 1) (Class 5)

    NASHARRA travelled well to two out and stayed on under driving, having the race under control in the closing stages. His four wins have come at tracks with stiff finishes.
    MANDALAY KING generally goes well early season and kept on for second after his challenge was rebuffed. Back in third was PELMANISM who has dropped down the weights to his lowest mark for a couple of seasons.

    2.15 6f totepool Handicap (Division 2) (Class 5)

    A more competitive looking contest than the first heat.
    ECONOMIC CRISIS has done a fair bit of racing for a four-year-old, most of her recent runs being in similar class to this. However, her record here now reads 421131, with the three wins being in soft or heavy ground. Given that she won this comfortably then she must be of interest if pulled out here again on Friday, particularly if the rain falls again.
    GREENHEAD HIGH ran creditably in second, leading until headed over a furlong out and holding the rest with a bit to spare. Kept on the go over the winter he has been performing consistently.
    CELESTIAL DAWN was well outpaced early on but stayed up the hill to take third on the line. She has run well over course and distance in the past.
    NANT SAESON was just tapped for speed in the final two furlongs and has done most of his racing and winning over 7 furlongs and a mile.

    2.45 6f Cancer Research UK Claiming Stakes (Class 6)

    A weak contest.

    Not much to choose between the main protagonists. PARADISE SPECTRE looked the likely winner when going on over a furlong out, but TAKEALOOKATMENOW hauled him back to sneak it on the line.
    The pair were well clear of SPREAD BOY, who isn’t very good, and PITT RIVERS who needed the race on first run for Linda Perratt after a long lay-off.

    3.25 5f totepool Tangerine Trees 3yo Conditions Stakes (Class 3)

    A race named after the Prix De L’Abbaye winner who ran up a number of wins here early in his career and proved he holds his ability when a decent third in the Palace House Stakes on Saturday.

    POLSKI MAX looked well enough grown as a two-year-old, but early 2013 results suggest the winter has done him some good. He came with a run approaching the final furlong and was on top in the last 100 yards. He was whacked up to 97 in the handicap weights after winning at Pontefract, so Richard Fahey would have welcomed this opportunity. He stays six furlongs and has shown his best with cut in the ground. The second showed up well in Listed class last time so the form should carry to that level.
    LUCKY BEGGAR has been highly tried but found one too good dropped down in class having been third in the Free Handicap at Newmarket. He ran with credit in Listed company as a two-year-old and has clearly trained on, keeping on well to the post.
    SMOOTHTALKINRASCAL made good progress from halfway and looked to going best approaching the final furlong. He didn’t find quite as much as might have seemed, but on bare figures this was a creditable effort at least up to previous best,
    LADY IBROX put in sound work to the line, running particularly well at these weights. She’s not entered at Chester this week but keep in mind for future reference that he record at that very tight track is 211.

    4.00 1m 5f Buttonhook Handicap (Class 3)

    A well contested event with no shortage of early pace. Three pulled clear in the final three furlongs, with O MA LAD stayed on determinedly to hold two challenges. He’s clearly well forward and pushed on to follow up a Catterick win.
    THE TIGER made an effort over two furlongs away and chipped at the winner to the line without ever quite looking like getting there. He won twice last autumn and is favoured by cut in the ground, though has run creditably on Polytrack.
    MICA MIKA battled on having looked held when passed two out.
    BOLIVIA wasn’t totally disgraced in fourth as she set sail for home early in the straight off the strong pace. She kept on well enough to hold the pack. She’s not been heavily raced for a seven-year-old and Lucy Wadham may be able to find a race for her.

    4.35 1m Casino Royal Night Maiden Stakes (Class 5)

    MAPUTO showed promise on his only effort as a two-year-old last May. He set the pace here and kept finding extra up the straight to win with a bit in hand.
    PACIFIC HEIGHTS kept on if making no impression from two out. He should find in handicaps and there may be a maiden contest for him.
    The favourite was FRASERS HILL who travelled well until two furlongs out but faded very tamely. He’s a four-year-old who has only raced twice and I wonder if he has a physical problem.

    5.10 1m FX Signs Handicap (Class 5)

    CORAL SANDS caused a surprise at 25/1, his previous form being much of a muchness. This was a stop-start race from which it’s difficult to draw too many firm conclusions. He stuck on well enough and the track seems to suit given that he previous best had been over course and distance.
    PRAVDA STREET went on two furlongs out but was run out of it in the final 100 yards, though rallied sufficiently to hold second place. All bar one of his wins have come at 7 furlongs.
    EUTROPIUS, stablemate of the winner, made an effort from two out but couldn’t match the winner in the last half furlong. This was only his fourth race and he can improve further.
    KOO AND THE GANG set the pace but was held once passed two out. He had a purple patch in May/June 2011, but hasn’t won since.

    5.45 5f Red Hot Chilli Pipers on Braveheart Handicap (Class 6)

    A throw ‘em in the air and see what comes down first sprint handicap. TWO TURTLE DOVES led in the final furlong to hold CODE SIX. Between them the two have had 74 runs and mustered 6 wins; they only win in their turn. HERE NOW AND WHY back in third has a slightly better overall record, but at the age of six his place in the hierarchy has now been established.

    • Total Posts 5934

    HAMILTON – Friday May 10th

    Going – Good to Soft, Good in places

    6.05 5f Follow At HamiltonParkRC On Twitter Apprentice Handicap (Round One Of The Hamilton Park Apprentice Series) (Class 6)

    If anything in this field had a chance of progressing it would probably be DARTRIX who led inside the final furlong and won with a little to spare. A stiff five furlongs makes all the difference to this filly.
    MANDALAY KING ran another decent race but once again found one too good.
    WICKED WILMA broke well and showed up for a long way, keeping on into third. She’s never won before late June, so it’s encouraging that she ran well this early and she’s on a decent mark at the moment.
    ROCK CANYON went well until the final furlong and is twice a winner here. He’s nothing special but might find a weak contest here in the coming months.

    6.40 6f Thomson Open Maiden Stakes (Class 5)

    Five in with a chance entering the final furlong and not a great event. SCRIPT ran on well enough to record a first win in 25 events. She’s only rated 48 but held off a 65 rated animal in A J COOK who was put in his place in a 5 furlong handicap at Beverley on Monday.

    7.15 1m Alex Fergusson Memorial Handicap (Class 6) (Qualifier for the Betfair Scottish Mile Series)

    After a successful series in 2011, Betfair have returned after a year break to sponsor the series once again. The Sprint, Mile and Stayers Finals will be split between Hamilton, Ayr and Musselburgh in the autumn.
    Three broke clear in the final two furlongs. TED’S BROTHER, who has dropped steadily in the handicap of late, came to take up the running inside the final furlong and stuck on gamely. A stiff or galloping suits and he might be handicapped to go on from here.
    TECTONIC’s form had been moderate bar a decent Kempton effort early last year. He was going well over two furlongs out and looked ready to go clear, but didn’t find quite enough in the final furlong and was headed.
    RAAMZ came down the stands’ side in the closing stages and was making ground in the final two furlongs, just failing to gain second place. She showed some promise in bumpers, and has not been disgraced in maidens before this. She seems to have enough ability to find a handicap, particularly if upped in trip.

    7.50 1m 1f Handicap (Class 4)

    Most hand a chance two furlongs out but two broke away from the remainder in the final furlong. This was the first time KARAKA JACK has won over further than seven furlongs, and he saw out the trip with no apparent problem, digging deep to hold off his nearest challenger.
    SPES NOSTRA came here off a 499-day break and put up an excellent performance in second.
    A winner at Ayr and Wolverhampton in 2011, he has clearly retained his ability and may well prove a bit better than his current mark.
    BROWN PETE came from the pack to take third. He ran up a quick fire hat-trick last December and his two turf wins were recorded no slightly quicker ground than this at Yarmouth.
    LE CHAT D’OR led two out but couldn’t muster an extra effort once headed. He goes well with cut in the ground.

    8.25 1m 3f Thomson Claiming Stakes (Class 6)

    JORDAURA made steady progress to take it up approaching the final furlong and burst clear from front runner ACTIVATE to land Paddy Aspell’s third winner of the evening.. The latter pulled hard early on and had nothing left when challenged two furlongs out, missing a decent opportunity as he seems quite high in handicaps off a mark of 74.
    BOLD MARC made an effort two furlongs but ran out of stamina in the closing stages.

    8.55 6f Ginger Grouse Braveheart Night Handicap(Qualifier For The 15000 Betfair Scottish Sprint Series Final) (Class 5)

    A winner here a few days ago, NASHARRA came away from five opponents in the final furlong here to record a third win in three visits to this course.
    GREENHEAD HIGH went for home two furlongs out, was passed in the final furlong but kept on and is running creditably. FAIRY WING filled third and her recent wins have come off a significantly lower mark, while ECONOMIC CRISIS couldn’t repeat the effort from the last meeting.

    Meanwhile at Ascot, KING OF THE DANES confirmed the form of his Musselburgh second with an all the way win in the closing 3yo mile handicap. I’ve got his Musselburgh conqueror ROMANTIC SETTINGS on my list of horses to follow and she will be well worth noting in upcoming engagements. She has an entry in the Musidora Stakes at York, which is a tough ask but does suggest she is very well regarded.

    • Total Posts 5934

    MUSSELBURGH – Monday May 13th

    Going – Good (Good to Soft in places)

    2.00 2m 32Red Handicap (Amateur Riders)(Class 6)

    This was a moderate handicap to start off a low key card at Musselburgh.
    JAN SMUTS won here last season and seems to stay all day. He was ridden early in the straight but kept finding more and got on top in the final furlong. He can continue to be competitive in low level staying contests.
    BRASINGAMAN ERIC, second here recently, led briefly over a furlong out but couldn’t match the winner. He’s got a decent record for one operating at this level and should be in the mix in staying amateur contests in coming months.
    TALK OF SAAFEND was tapped for speed in the last 300 yards. He has won a similar event here, but needs things to fall his way and is generally one to oppose.
    SUMMERLEA ran a decent race for one off the track for the best part of two years. He pulled hard early on, but wasn’t getting an awful lot of assistance from his inexperienced rider in the latter stages. His rider will presumably benefit from the outing, as should Summerlea who has shown bits and pieces of form from 12 furlongs upwards in the past.

    2.30 5f EBF 2yo Maiden Stakes (Class 5)

    SUZI’S CONNOISSEUR showed signs of greenness both before and during the race. He jumped off well enough and picked up nicely when asked from two furlongs out, though drifting about a bit in the closing stages. This may not prove the strongest contest, but he should produce better in time.
    MEADWAY was outpaced early on and driven at halfway. The winner got a run on him but he stuck to his guns well enough in the closing stages. The experience will serve him well.
    ALASKAN NIGHT broke well but was found wanting when headed two furlongs out and LENDAL BRIDGE, the only one to see a racecourse previous to this, was similarly put in his place.

    3.05 1m 32Red Casino Handicap (Class 5)

    The race was won by virtue of well-judged ride from the front by Graham Lee on STAFF SERGEANT. The winner has dropped significantly in the handicap and this was the easiest task he has had for some time. A Class 4 level performer running at Class 5 here, it would be hoped this will be a confidence booster for an attempt in the higher class.
    EASTWARD HO kept on for second, but none got in a serious blow to the leader in the final two furlongs.
    Linda Perratt’s stable is way off its game at moment and her pair of ROYAL STRAIGHT and SILVER RIME struggled from a long way out.

    3.40 1m 4f 100yds Turcan Connell Handicap (Class 5)

    MOHAWK RIDGE made all and stayed on well, not in danger from the furlong pole. He won in a similar fashion at Newcastle recently.
    HAWDYERWHEESHT was the only one to challenge the winner in the final two furlongs, but he was held from the furlong pole.
    MADRASA came out of the pack for third, but was never better placed and is 1 win from 21. CAPELLANUS stayed on from well back for fourth. The latter is on long losing run and basically frustrating.

    4.15 5f Racing UK Maiden Stakes (Class 5)

    A race won by a newcomer in the form of Jim Goldie’s ALGAR LAD. He was in rear early on but stayed on well in the final two furlongs to win a bit cosily. Once he got going he showed some fair speed and should go on from this encouraging debut.
    RED BARON joined issue two out and stuck well enough if comfortably held by one more speedy.
    WOTALAD kept on for third and might benefit from a step up to six furlongs.
    ANDERTON was made favourite but appears regressive even at this early stage in his career. He found woefully little in the last furlong and a half.

    4.50 7f 3yo Handicap (Class 5)

    SKYTRAIN’s persistence paid dividends in the final furlongs, the bias towards those at the front once again showing as the first two were always thereabouts. The winner is progressing steadily and seems suited by a sharpish track.
    MOWHOOB, a maiden runner-up at Thirsk on Saturday, made the pace and stuck to his task well for two furlongs out. He was just held in the final furlong but went down fighting and looks good enough to pick up a similar event.
    LA LUZ DEL SOL was the meat in the sandwich from two furlongs out until inside the final furlong, eventually giving way in the final 150 yards. He won nicely in a lower class at Catterick and would have every chance dropped back to a 0-60 or 0-65 event.

    5.20 7f 32RedPoker Handicap (Class 6)

    JEBEL TARA is clearly flying at the moment and, having been denied a run more than once, he came clear impressively in the final furlong. The fast pace set probably played into his hands, and he’ll go up a fair way in the ratings, but he is going well at the age of eight.
    The whole field spent the length of the straight impeding each other, PTOLEMY coming through to take second. HAB REEH arguably had the clearest run of all but his effort over one out came to little in the closing stages.
    GONINAODAETHAT went too fast for his own good, but is one who picks up lots of excuses and few wins.
    NORTH CENTRAL went too quick early on. If he has a trip this may be it, but I gave up trying to fathom him a couple of seasons back!
    PULL THE PIN disputed with Goninodaethat and weakened over a furlong out. His best form is over sprint distances and he is 211 over 6 furlongs at Southwell.

    • Total Posts 5934

    ROMANTIC SETTINGS ran a decent second in York’s Group 3Musidora Stakes, having been given a favourable mention on this blog following here Musselburgh handicap win. She stayed on as well as anything at the finish and looks capable of picking up a Pattern race or two in the coming months. Richard Fahey has decided against supplementing the filly for the Oaks.

    Looking at back at the Musselburgh handicap that Romantic Settings won, the second KING OF THE DANES came out next time to make all in a competitive looking handicap at Ascot over the straight mile at 6/1. Sixth placed MAHABA MALAYEEN won at Beverley next time at 9/2 and shouldn’t go up a huge amount for that win. The only other runner from the race is LAZARUS BELL who was second at 25/1 in a handicap at York yesterday over seven furlongs.

    On the basis of the above take note of LADY ARTISTE, LONDON CITIZEN and APACHE RISING. The latter could be particularly good value when reappearing as he was last but only a length behind the third in what is working out as a very strong contest.

    • Total Posts 5934

    MUSSELBURGH – Saturday June 1st

    Going – Good To Firm (Good in places)

    This meeting has proved a decent pointer to Royal Ascot and beyond in recent seasons with the feature race and the two-year-old contest very reliable pointers.

    1.50 1m toteplacepot Handicap (3yo) (Class 4)

    The first two look a bit better than Class 4 standard. LLAGERYB raced towards the rear, made steady progress up the straight and soon put the race to bed after leading one furlong out. He looked to have a fair bit in hand and can advance on this.
    CORN SNOW took it up two out having raced prominently. The first two were clear of most of the runners and the form should prove strong. Corn Snow can be placed to win in similar company.
    GREY STREET came from well back to take third place, closing fast on the first two in the closing stages. He’s going the right way, seemingly stepping up on last year’s efforts, and there should be race for him in the near future.

    2.20 5f ToteScoop6 Edinburgh Castle 2yo Stakes (Class 2)

    Regularly a decent contest which yields contenders capable of making their mark in Pattern company.
    The first two broke well and were pretty much neck and neck over the final two furlongs. SLEEPER KING, a close fourth in maiden at York first time up, travelled well for much of the way and dug deep to hold on in the closing stages. He showed plenty of pace over this sharp five and will presumably be aimed at Ascot.
    JUSTICE DAY came under pressure from two out but dug deep and was only run out of it close home. His previous efforts suggested this sharp five wouldn’t bring out the best in him at this stage, and a switch to a stiffer five or back to six furlongs would do no harm.
    JACQUOTTE DELAHAYE picked up from two furlongs out and finished a close third. She looks to have plenty of ability and will find easier tasks.
    SUZI’S CONNOISSEUR, a winner here on debut was by no means disgraced in fourth and will find easier opportunities.
    On evidence of previous renewals all entries here are worth keeping an eye on so make a note of WITHERNSEA, VINE DE NADA and PIGEON PIE once they are dropped down to less exacting company.

    2.55 1m 4f 100yds Tradesman’s Derby (3yo) Handicap (Class 4)

    A £20,000 added contest which gives a good incentive for trainers with horses rated 80 or less.

    EMERGING raced prominently and took up the running three out. He was headed two out but had battled back to lead by the furlong pole and asserted in the final furlong. This was a taking performance by David Elsworth’s colt who won over a mile on the all weather in the winter. He was stepping up significantly in trip here and looks well capable of seeing out a bit further.
    ROYAL SKIES put in to the winner two out and led for a while but was collared in the final furlong. This was arguably his best effort this term.
    HASHEEM stayed on well in the closing stages to finish close up to the second. He won nicely at Newcastle over ten furlongs and this trip didn’t seem a problem on handicap debut. The experience will help and he looks a decent prospect.

    3.30 1m 4f 100yds totepool Edinburgh Cup Handicap (3yo) (Class 2)

    A catching performance by the winner of one of Musselburgh’s biggest prizes of the season. DASHING STAR came from off the post to lead inside the final furlong and to win a shade cosily. He competed in the Dante at York, finishing eighth to Derby second Libertarian on that occasion and the company was less taxing here. That being said he looks a nice sort at this level and it seems unlikely that he has finished winning. The step up in trip seemed beneficial.
    NARU made a brave attempt to make all, sticking to his task grittily under pressure but mastered in the closing stages. He’s more exposed than some here, indeed won three times on the all-weather, but seems an honest sort with plenty of ability.
    Last week’s Haydock winner VAN PERCY had every chance but couldn’t get to the first two. He raced keenly early on which may not have helped his cause and retrospect the traffic problems he encountered at Haydock may have helped rather than hindered his cause.
    ESTEAMING won a Class 4 event at York but this move up in class proved just too much. To his credit he was not far away in the closing stages and will have chances at a slightly lower level.
    BLUE WAVE, twice a winner this season and busily campaigned, chased the leader in the alst two furlongs but lost a couple of places close home.
    The five were clear and will be worth monitoring for future engagements.
    ALLNECESSARYFORCE had severe steering problems, losing all chance when going very wide on the final bend. He ran second to Blue Wave at Kempton earlier which suggests something other than direction of the track is bothering him.

    4.30 5f totepool Mobile Handicap (Class 4)

    A cracking finish to this six runner race. ROTHESAY CHANCER was slow away, which is not untypical, but produced a fine burst of speed to wrest the race near the line under an all action ride from Graham Lee. This one has a fair amount of speed but probably hasn’t won as much as might be expected, though this was his fourth victory at Musselburgh.
    FLASH CITY led and rallied when challenged, only just being pipped in a tight finish. He has only won once in 22 efforts.
    BOSUN BREEZE led inside the final furlong but was run out of it in the last few yards. He hit form to win this race last year then followed up twice, so might be worth a glance if turning out in the next couple of weeks.
    TAX FREE could have picked these up and carried them at one time, but he’s not a sharp as he once was and indeed this was his first foray in a Class 4 handicap since his three-year-old days. He made an effort form over a furlong out but could make no impression in the final furlong. A fair effort, but what you see is what you are likely to get nowadays.

    5.05 1m 1f toteexacta Handicap (Class 4)

    CLASSIC COLORI made up for an unfortunate defeat when his rider mistook the winning post at Haydock last week. He just held on after a sustained battle with /assizes, though Karaka Jack was closing fast. The winner is in good heart and on a reasonable mark which isn’t likely to alter much for this tight win.
    KARAKA JACK was held up going well for Adrian Nicholls but the gap narrowed as he went for it, the gelding just hanging fire as he was asked to go through. He fairly rattled home once in the clear and would have been in front in another 20 yards. He remains in decent form and there should be another race for him if things fall better.
    ASSIZES led two out and stuck to his task all the way to the line. This was a good deal more encouraging than recent efforts.
    SPES NOSTRA set the pace but raced much too keenly. He should produce better than the last of six he managed here.

    5.35 7f totetrifecta Handicap (Class 4)

    Muredach Kelly reported that REPOSER, a double winner previously, was unsuited by the fast ground. He does have a round action and this may be true, so sixth place may not have been a bad effort. It’s also worth bearing in mind that he helped set a very strong pace with another in-form contender in SNOW BAY, the latter also finishing well beaten.
    POWERFUL PRESENCE just held on from Alenjandro. He’s a well exposed sort and ALENJANDRO has proved nothing special previously so it’s not a race I would get over excited about if carrying the form forward.
    KALK BAY finished with a rattle and needs further, his proximity to the winner presumably being aided by coming off a strong pace. He looks to be dropping back to a manageable mark.

    • Total Posts 5934

    HAMILTON – Wednesday June 19th

    Going – Good to Firm

    Just for once we are having a very pleasant summer north of the border and the ground came up on the fast side for this fixture.

    House move out of the way and boxes mostly unpacked I’m now able to put my mind back to the local horse racing circuit. Racing books and my rapidly increasing racecard collection remain boxed up, substantial shelving requiring installation!

    2.20 6f 2yo Maiden (Class 5)
    CENTRE HAAFHD got on top in the final furlong having raced prominently. This was a step up on Beverley form and the result here suggested experience counted with the prinicipals having had a run.
    STONET QUINE showed plenty of pace and was going best two furlongs out. She kept on but was held in the final furlong and, over this stiff track, a drop back to five might be to her advantage.
    BROWNSVILLE was best of the newcomers, keeping on for fourth and might be expected to progress with the experience.

    2.55 6f Handicap (Class 5)

    SUNRAIDER burst between two in the closing stages to take this 7 runner event contested by exposed animals. The three-year-old FINDOG might conceivably have more to come and could be viewed as unlucky having been denied a run on a more than one occasion. However, the problem came because he didn’t have the speed to put himself in the right place when it counted.

    3.30 1m 3yo Handicap (Class 6)

    This was a very messy low class race, with plenty of bumping and barging going on from two furlongs out until inside the final furlong. ROCKET RONNIE did well having suffering in the shoving match and finished well to snatch the contest on the line. It remains to be seen if he’s better than this class, but there is a hint of better to come.
    ISLE OF BEAUTY avoided the worst of the trouble and may be a trifle flattered by a close second place. That said, she’s lightly raced and at least showed a decent attitude.
    MULTILICIOUS kept on for third without looking a likely winner in the final furlong. A fair race on huis fourth outing but no more.
    4.10 1m Handicap (Class 4)

    Carlisle claimer winner SPRINGHEEL JAKE showed plenty of determination to take this five-runner race. The stiff track seems to suit him. Leading early, he was headed three out but picked up again once he hit the final hill. His attitude looks sound and he’s going the right way. I wonder if his trainer might consider a go in the Carlisle Bell next week as he’s qualified off his current rating.
    Three-year-old PARTY ROYAL took over inside three out but was outpointed in the closing stages. He was clear of stable mate Declamation and the form should prove sound.

    4.45 1m 1f Maiden (Class 6)

    WALL OF SOUND stayed on well to win the race at 1-4 favourite. She had every right to win this on previous form but did nothing wrong despite hanging a little as if the track wasn’t entirely suiting her.
    ARGAKI kept on for second but was held. He may find a weak maiden though handicaps are likely to be his area.
    PRIMARY ROUTE was a shade disappointing and well held in the final furlong.
    I had word that AMISFIELD LAD would be tried on the flat after he disappointed over hurdles at Kelso. He was very green in the stalls and lost a few lengths, then outpaced from three out. He won a bumper and has some ability so may be competitive in handicaps in time.

    5.20 1m 1f Handicap (Class 5)

    TECTONIC just held off fast finishing ROYAL STRAIGHT with three others in close attention. The runner-up returned to form on his favoured fast ground while the winner was rewarded for consistency, but these are an exposed bunch and what you see is what you get.
    Mark Johnston’s three-year-old WELLINGROVE set the pace and kept on once headed. He looks on his mark at the moment.
    5.55 1m 4f Apprentice Handicap (Class 6)

    SCHMOOZE came from off the pace to hold EL BRAVO, the pair clear of the remainder. Linda Perratt’s stable has started to hit form after a struggle through April and May and the winner may be able to repeat.
    GOODLUKIN LUCY needs things to fall for her and couldn’t respond sufficiently when taken on. She’s probably better when bowling along in front at Musselburgh.

    I’ll be at Ayr on Saturday for the Land O’ Burns Stakes meeting. Meeting report to follow and, phone technology permitting, I’m hoping to put up some paddock picks on Twitter.

    • Total Posts 5934

    AYR – Saturday June 22hd

    Going – Good to firm (Good in places)

    This is a distinctly decent meeting with £135,000 up for grabs, but a little eclipsed by the last day of Royal Ascot. However, with a Listed contest and three Class 2 handicaps on the card this could prove one that goes under the radar. It’s worth carrying a few forward from contests here.

    Rain was in the air, but the course missed the worst of the showers and the ground remained on the fast side. Given the preparation troubles Ayr have had this year, and bearing in mind the flat course looked in poor condition in March, the surface was in very good condition.

    2.25 5f Scottish Sun Miss Scotland Handicap (73-86)

    A very open contest to start the card with most having some sort of chance on recent form.

    JEDWARD looked the likely winner when bursting into the lead at the furlong pole but she was headed in the final 100 yards and run out of it. She’s in good form and should be capable of winning a race before long.
    MIDNIGHT DYNAMO finished with a flourish to take the contest at what appeared generous odds of 16/1. She had a few of these behind when third at Musselburgh and gained the upper hand here close home.
    CRIMSON KNOT, like many from Alan Berry, races often but wins only in her turn. She made it first three homes for the fair sex by staying on through the field to take third. She probably needs just to be eased a little in grade if she is to score.
    ARCTIC FEELING raced prominently but was held from the furlong pole. He won a better event than this at Epsom last time, but that was over six furlongs and he made need that extra distance to be seen at his best.
    BOSUN BREEZE showed good early pace but was beaten two out.
    ROTHESAY CHANCER couldn’t follow up a decent effort in the Scottish sprint Cup and trailed in last.

    3.00 5f Scottish Sun Land O’ Burns Fillies’ Stakes (Listed)

    The Land O’ Burns Stakes has varied in conditions over the years but has now settled as competitive fillies’ sprint race at this meeting. The first two are decent Listed class animals.

    MY PROPEELER thrives on the fast ground and asserted well after challenging for the lead at the furlong pole. Kept to the right sort of event she should continue to thrive while the sun shines.
    JWALA took it up two out and briefly looked the likely winner, but was passed in the final furlong by My Propeller. She emerged from handicaps to give sole power a decent race at Doncaster at September. She is decent at this level and capable of winning a Listed sprint.
    Dropped to five furlongs for the first time, I’M SO GLAD ran to her best in third place. She made progress two out but was never in a position to trouble the first two. All her wins have come in fields of 9 or less and it could be the hurly burly of big field sprints isn’t for her.
    EXCELETTE ran pretty much to Haydock form with the first two. Leading early, she was held from the furlong pole.
    JILLNEXTDOOR ran as well as one could expect from a filly held in Class 3 handicaps. She raced prominently and kept on sufficient well for fifth place. She might well be seen to better effect with some cut in the ground.
    JADANNA looked as good as any in the paddock. She made progress through the field late on despite being denied a clear run. Now on a mark of 90 she may have chances in a handicap.

    3.35 1m Scottish Sun on Sunday 3yo Handicap (81-95)

    A decent looking bunch of three-year-olds were on show for this contest which might prove to have been an above average event.

    The winner OFF ART is a catching type, though he’s still on the leggy side and looks likely to strengthen further. On that basis it is encouraging that his sustained run allowed him to lead on the line and record his third win. I believe he can turn into at least a Listed class performer in time.
    PARTY ROYAL ran into a progressive sort in Springheel Jake at Hamilton last time, having made almost all at Haydock before that and was desperately unlucky to be pipped by another good ‘un here. He’s done nothing wrong and must surely win a handicap soon.
    HAY DUDE chased the first two honestly enough from two out but was always held. This was a sound enough effort and may prove decent form.
    COUNTRY WESTERN was very awkward in preliminaries and took a keen hold in the race. He did well enough under the circumstances to hold fourth and can do better if he calms down a bit.
    ROYAL PRIZE didn’t have the pace to go with the first two but was fifth, in amongst a group of closely matched animals.
    SUBLIMATION made an effort two out but could make no impression on the leaders. It took him a while to break his maiden and this was a tough ask on handicap debut, but he did enough to suggest he can make the grade in handicaps with experience.
    FLYMAN had plasters on the inside of his hocks which might suggest an action problem. He raced in touch until weakening quickly from before the furlong pole.

    4.15 1m People’s Postcode Lottery Handicap (81-99)

    Looks won out over recent form here as my two paddock picks on behalf of The Racing Forum provided a forecast at 22/1 and 4/1. CAPAILL LIATH has shown nothing form wise this season, but he looked an absolute picture in the paddock and really ready for this run. He’s a nice looking well balanced grey and taking to the eye. He made smooth progress up the straight and led inside the final furlong to take the contest. If you are able then a look in the paddock would probably help if this one is running in the future.
    DUBAI DYNAMO was another who looked in excellent condition. He recently notched up a century of runs, but clearly maintains enthusiasm and ability. Clearly a hardy soul, he had 22 runs last season and this was his twelfth run of 2013. He only wins in his turn, but is seldom out of the first four or five.
    BEACON LODGE looked in good nick but gave his stable girl a lot of trouble in the paddock. He chased the leaders from two out without looking like winning. He has been on marks up to 113 and contested last year’s Ayr Gold Cup off 110, but has been eased significantly of late and might now be back in with a chance of winning handicaps.
    TRAIL BLAZE won six times last year but is still on manageable mark, only 2lbs greater than his win at Thirsk last September, a win which should his battling qualities. Beaten two lengths here was no disgrace and this run might bring him on sufficiently to be at the head of affairs next time.

    4.50 6f Sunsport 2yo Maiden (Class 4)

    This was decent contest last season and may have yielded a decent winner on this occasion. Stepping up from an encouraging third on Newmarket debut, QUEEN CATRINE quickly put distance between herself and her opponents after leading at the furlong pole. It was an impressive run from one who looks well capable of cutting it in much better company, particularly if taking on fillies.
    TANSEEB had shown some form but was found out in a decent contest at York. He battled well enough to hold second place but was well held by the winner. This was a fair enough effort and he should be capable of taking a maiden or perhaps a nursery in the coming weeks.
    STATE ANTHEM kept on encouragingly in the closing stages to take third place. She’s a half-sister to a 1m 2f winner and looks sure to be suited by seven furlongs when given the chance.
    DONNY ROVER was off the bridle and behind early on but staying on through the field to take fourth place. Likely to find one or two too good in maidens, he looks one whose place is in nursery handicaps.
    JACQOUTTE DELAHAYE looked well enough but suffered interference early on and never looked happy. She faded from two out and is much better than the form suggests.
    The two newcomers STRAITS OF MALACCA and TWO SHADES OF GREY were both very green and spooky in the preliminaries. They both showed good early pace, Straits Of Malacca proving best and only just run out of the places close home. Both of these should offer better for the experience.
    HANDWOVEN looked plenty fit enough but was comfortably put in his places and isn’t offering immediate prospects of success.

    5.25 6f Lidl Surprises 3yo Handicap (59-78)

    I was stood by the paddock entrance here and saw Ian Semple taken to task because VANESSA was being led down to the start without her jockey Royston fFrench who seem a bit mystified by proceedings. The racecourse official present seemed to think it was against the rules, though the absence of an enquiry report suggests otherwise. The filly has shown plenty of temperament before and made no show.

    SAND BOY provided Charles hills with a quick-fire double, quickening in decent style within the final furlong. A winner on the all-weather, he appears to be an improver and the ease of win suggests follow up is possible.
    SOMEONE’S DARLING set the standard here following a Redcar win. She kept on well enough to fill second place, remains in good form and still looks weighted to win a race.
    REPITITION kept on for third and is a lightly raced runner who should be in the mix in future contests in this class.
    OPT OUT won twice last season, but struggled recently and has now moved to Alistair Whillans. He raced up with the pace and was just dipped out of the places close home. This was encouraging and there may be opportunities around the local circuit.

    6.00 1m 2f Arnold Clark Fillies’ Handicap (72-87)

    Five competitive fillies here and all in with a chance entering the final furlong.

    MAVEN is going well on fast ground and was brought to take up the running at the furlong pole, staying on and holding her main challenger to the line.
    STAR OF LAHIB’s jockey was collared by a spectator to have a photo taken with the man’s two sons before the race. Asked if he thought he would win he said "I wish this rain had come an hour ago". His mount ran well enough to chase up the leader and it might be worth taking the hint if the going eases a little.
    ACT YOUR SHOE SIZE raced prominently, was tapped for speed three out and kept on without threatening after. A sound enough race but the handicapper has her in his grip.
    Hat-trick seeker CHRISTMAS LIGHT made an effort two out but could make no impression. She is another that goes well on fast ground but a six pound rise may have done for her here.
    LADY MACDUFF led until over one out and was then beaten. She’s on a good mark but might need a drop down a grade.

    • Total Posts 5934

    AYR – Sunday July 7th

    Going – Good To Firm (Good in places)

    2.00 7f totejackpot 2yo Maiden Stakes (Class 5)

    Three non-runners cut this event to a three-runner race. It turned into a head-to-head battle over the last three furlongs between SIR JACK LAYDEN and Lyn Valley, the former asserting in the final half furlong. The winner ran creditably in finishing seventh in the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot.
    LYN VALLEY stepped up significantly on a debut fourth at Musselburgh. He showed a good attitude and can win a race before long.
    LONGTON made a fair debut, a little outpaced from two out off a steady early pace, but keeping on honestly enough. He’s with the right trainer and will come on for this.

    2.30 7f Fillies’ Handicap (73-83)

    MAGIC DESTINY was very impressive in winning this. The other three were hard pressed from three out but Danny Tudhope allowed the winner to cruise home with any amount in hand. She can trouble better opponents.
    JEANNIE GALLOWAY was very keen early on, but she kept on to hold second. She’s exposed which suggests that both ALICE’S DANCER, who closed gradually on the second in the final furlong, and SHESASTAR seem pretty much on their mark at this time.

    3.00 1m 2f totequadpot Handicap (65-82)

    Improving three-year-old ARGAKI tracked the leaders and took over two out, after which he was in clear control in the final furlong. He won a small field maiden at Hamilton and it could just be that form was under-rated. He relishes the fast ground and can follow up.
    The remainder were in a heap, headed by RESET CITY and EUTROPIUS. NOW MY SUN pulled hard in the first half mile and never got in a blow, needing to settle better to make a mark.
    FULL TOSS went well for the first mile on seasonal debut but faded quickly approaching the final furlong. He can improve on this with a run behind him.

    3.30 1m 2f totetrifecta Handicap (39-60)

    Not a great event, but won by BARTON BOUNTY who had scored previously over course and distance this season. He pulled clear in the final two furlongs in a duel with MEGLIO ANCORA. Nothing else got near the two and the fact that they are six-year-olds doesn’t bode particularly well for immediate prospects.
    AMAZING BLUE SKY set the pace but folded tamely once headed over three out.
    Handicap debutant CAPTAIN RHYRIC kept on steadily to finish fourth. He started handicaps off a lowly mark of 50, but there was a hint that he can get involved at the sharp end of contests in this class.

    4.00 Graham Piatczanyn 50th Birthday Handicap (61-70)

    JEBEL TARA picked up the winning thread once again, well ridden by Paul Pickard who is a useful if perhaps slightly under-rated 3lb claimer. His mount doesn’t do an awful lot in front, which may have helped him get on a sequence. He hit the front one out and was stopping close home but the race was in the bag. He’ll be in a higher grade now as he ran off 70 here, but only just does enough and probably hasn’t finished winning for the year.
    CORTON LAD and NIMIETY closed to the line but in truth the winner was a bit better. Both are worth noting in similar company as they have gone the right way this season.
    WELLINGROVE briefly threatened two out but has lacked the final blow in his races to date.

    4.30 1m Collect totepool winnings at Betfred shops (76-90)

    ABLE MASTER is a seven-year-old, but was recording a first ever win over a mile. He set the pace, Danny Tudhope gradually winding things up and his mount staying on most willingly.
    OSTEOPATHIC REMEDY closed steadily in the latter stages but ran out of ground when half a length short. He runs honest races but is well exposed, though he may be best giving weight to inferiors.
    ANOTHER FOR JOE had every chance but was held from the furlong pole.
    LIMIT UP was made favourite and had every chance but weakened quickly in the final furlong. He raced a bit keenly which may not have helped.

    ACT YOUR SHOE SIZE couldn’t repeat her recent winning effort and was well held in the final two furlongs.

    5.00 5f Western House Hotel Amateur Riders’ Handicap (44-64)

    A ‘whose turn is it today?’ event with amateur riders doesn’t rate as the best material either for betting or future reference. The leaders went tanking off and 12 lengths separated the field after two furlongs.
    FOREIGN RHYTHM was brought from midfield by Vicky Davies and just held a fast finishing second. The winner is well exposed but often thereabouts in lowly sprints.
    RYEDANE was well off the pace until halfway but rattled home in the final furlong and only just failed. He generally comes from off the pace and just couldn’t go with the others early on.
    SAXONETTE was closer to the pace than the other two and kept on willingly to fill third, while WICKED WILMA ran a fair race but was held in fourth and I suspect she would welcome a bit of cut these days.

    • Total Posts 5934

    QUEEN CATRINE is entered in the 2.10 at Newmarket on Friday, the Group 2 Duchess Of Cambridge Fillies’ Stakes over 6f. It’s likely to be a competitive heat, but the impressive Ayr winner might just fly in under the radar here and might well be a decent price.

    • Total Posts 5934

    HAMILTON PARK – Saturday July 13th

    Going – Good to Firm (Good in places)

    It’s not a phrase that’s used to often in Scotland, but we could do with a bit of rain. The going remains on the fast side with the majority with the sun continuing to shine over the past week, and promising much of the same in the coming days. The course had been watered in preparation for this meeting. It’s ironic that significant drainage work was carried out before the season after the course suffered during last year’s wet summer.

    A low key card but a pre-cursor to the Fair Friday meeting to come next week. As I have done before, I’ve abbreviated some of the ridiculously long race names. While sponsorship is welcomed I do wish they would go easy on the wording! That being said I’m quite happy to add a tag against the Betfair Series races as these are a fine initiative by Scottish Racing and the betting exchange.

    6.40 5f Racing UK 2yo Maiden (Class 5)

    MEMORY STYX has had plenty of goes and has been pretty consistent, but finally broke her duck in this contest. She broke well, was then held up in behind the leaders and came through to take the lead inside the final furlong. Nurseries presumably beckon.
    SIMPLY BLACK went clear with the leader and put in a decent effort considering she made a hash of the start. She now qualifies for nurseries and should acquit herself well enough.
    INSTANT ATTRACTION was held by the first two in the final furlong and this wasn’t as good as his previous effort at Newcastle.
    Richard Fahey’s newcomer GYM SHOES ran a solid race in fourth. He’s sprint bred and can improve for the experience.
    Mark Johnston’s ABSCONDER was well outpaced from two out while Ann Duffield’s BOY RANGER couldn’t keep up with the others.

    7.15 5f Bill and David McHarg Memorial 3yo Handicap (46-70)

    This appeared a fair contest for its level with three recent winners at the top end of the weights.

    LEXINGTON PLACE apparently spent three and a half hours in a traffic jam before reaching the course. Considering that then a small margin win was possibly a good deal better than it seems. He can win again, is 3 from 3 since joining David O’Meara, and certainly cope with a step back up in grade.
    SALVATORE FURY had every chance in the final furlong but was outbattled in the closing stages. He wasn’t beaten far and is sure to be in the mix in similar races.
    CHLOE’S DREAM took it up two out but was run out of the race in the final furlong. She won on firm last year, but has regularly found one or two too good this term.
    PASTROAL PREY flattered briefly a furlong out but could make no further impact from that point.
    ICHIMOKU led early but raced too keenly and didn’t see it out. Make note though that his best from to date has been with cut in the ground.

    7.50 6f Handicap (51-69) – Betfair Scottish Series Qualifier

    There was a messy start and four of the six runners got involved in a bit of barging.

    GRAN CANARIA QUEEN won with a bit in hand on seasonal debut and debut for Tim Easterby. She took charge over oen out and didn’t look like being caught afterwards. She may be well handicapped if she can continue the apparent improvement.
    FEEL THE HEAT kept on well enough in the closing stages without threatening the winner and ran to his level.
    FINDOG looked most inconvenienced by the argy-bargy at the start and stayed on in the closing stages. However, he doesn’t look straightforward and seems one to be a bit wary of until proving otherwise.

    8.20 6f Book Now for Mid-Fair Friday Night Selling Handicap (45-60)

    Selling handicaps used to be a stapled of these sorts of meetings in the north, but there aren’t nearly so many in evidence as there used to be. I doubt we will see too many winners come out of this one in the near future.
    SAXONETTE doesn’t win very often but this was a very soft opportunity and she’d shown enough to take this, asserting in the last furlong.
    LOTHAIR kept on for second but doesn’t look particularly co=operative and wont’ find many easier opportunities.
    BUSY BIMBO, a 45-rated 29 race maiden, was outpaced to halfway but stayed on up the hill to take third. She’s likely to remain a maiden and the fact that she comfortably held BALTIC BOMBER, LOTHIAN COUNTESS, ROCK CANYON and LADY DEL SOL doesn’t bode well for their future prospects.

    Given the above narrative it doesn’t come as an earth-shattering surprise to find that there was no bid for the winner!

    8.50 1m 3f Follow HamiltonParkRC on Twitter Handicap (67-72)

    A closely matched field on official ratings but a progressive three-year-old made a nonsense of the figures.

    Franny Norton travelled for one ride and made it pay with a win on SPECIAL MEANING. Setting the pace in typical style for a Mark Johnston runner, Norton pressed the button two out and his mounted picked up in impressive style to win going away. This one is certainly going the right way, stays further and she should win again, quite possibly against better company.
    ARGAKI travelled well but couldn’t cope with the winner’s speed and eventually just held on for second. A creditable effort against a decent winner.
    ERIC THE GREY kept on well to challenge Argaki close home and there should be a handicap to be won with him sometime.
    ROYAL STRAIGHT had conditions right but was up against it with improving three-year-olds in attendance. He can be considered if taking on exposed opponents on a similar surface.

    9.20 1m 65yds Racing UK App Handicap (56-69) – Betfair Scottish Series Qualifier

    SILVER RIME wore down pacesetting Corton Lad in the closing stages, the pair clear. The winner has now won two on the trot having gone three years without a win previously.
    CORTON LAD missed the start but was rushed up to lead after a furlong or so. He was sent on three out and battled well before being worn down in the closing stages. Having been bumped up to a mark of 70 from a previous 60 he has run two creditable races and does not appear handicapped out of things yet. This pair were well clear though and I’m not sure he would want to be raised for a second place.
    RALPHY BOY was third and has not shown much since winning his first two races back in 2011. He could be returning to some form but I’d need more proof than this run.

    • Total Posts 5934

    HAMILTON – Thursday July 18th
    Going – Good to Firm, Good in places

    The weather remained warm and sunny, with Hamilton Park looking in magnificent condition. The North sun hat once again got an outing, having seen more action this season than the previous five years put together. The public speaking also got an outing on the day, but more of that later.

    2.00 6f Irish Stallion Farms EBF 2yo Maiden (Class 5)

    With Foxy Clarets pulled out on a vet’s certificate this looked a straight forward job for BOOGANGOO, the filly obliging with a degree of comfort. She showed decent speed early on and, once given the signal, pulled clear in the final furlong. She will presumably now go on to nurseries.
    SOUL INSTINCT is a strong looking animal who should make his mark in time. He broke well and shared the lead for three furlongs. He couldn’t match the winner once she took over, but kept on honestly enough. He may struggle to win a maiden but there will be chances in nursery handicaps.
    IBECKE didn’t step up on her debut run and was firmly put in her place from two out, while UNDER APPROVAL was readily left behind, appearing one of the lesser lights from an O’Meara stable that has been sweeping all before them recently.

    2.30 6f Robert McKellar – A Lifetime in Racing Claiming Stakes (Class 6)

    HOPES N DREAMS made it four course and distances wins with a very comfortable victory. She set the pace, racing keenly at first, and then turned up the heat once the runners hit the rising ground. Course and the small field play to her strengths.
    SUNRAIDER was comfortably second best but had no chance with the winner. He’s on a high mark in handicaps but may find opportunities in similar contests to this.
    OOR JOCK has been highly tried in Ireland but has disappointed of late and a drop in level brought no improvement. His one win was at Naas back in 2010, race from which 6 runners raised only one subsequent win between them.
    SPREAD BOY was totally outclassed and there was no fourth prize here to make turning up worthwhile.

    There is a point about the disparity between prize money and claiming prices in this contest. The take home owner’s prize money was £1,686, yet the claiming price of the main three contenders ranged from £20,000 to £13,000. On that basis Oor Jock would have to win about twelve contests to recover his ‘value’.

    3.00 1m 3f Neilsland and Earnock Maiden Stakes (Class 5)

    This ended up as a match between the two principal contenders.
    STATUTORY tracked the pace and then stretched on nicely from three out. He looked to have the race in safe keeping entering the final furlong but the runner-up was closing fast at the line. Not that Statutory did much wrong and he is progressing.
    BOMBER THORN looked an awkward ride for much of the race. He was niggled early and hung in behind the winner down the straight. One the runners hit the last furlong he really picked up and would have won within another 50 yards. It could be that the course didn’t suit, but I wonder if he might just prove a decent stayer who is best when allowed to do his own thing. A step up in trip will certainly do no harm.
    WEE WILLY WILFORDS field an expected third place without having a prayer of matching the first two. He will need to be handicapped before he becomes competitive.
    YOURHOLIDAYISOVER has the build of a jumper, and was seen out in a Clonmel bumper last year. For whatever reason he’s been aimed at the flat since, but was left behind from three out.
    EILA WHEELER is an elongated mare who has achieved very little in contesting a bumper and four flat races. Tongue-tied here, she shows no sign of making a racehorse.

    3.30 1m 1f 61-76 Handicap

    A competitive little contest with a few competitors who have progressed or are progressing, though it was a more exposed types that prevailed.
    One of a team brought over by Irish trainer John Patrick Shanahan, PRINCE JOCK scored at Wexford last year though has struggled to make a mark since. His wins have come conceding weight to inferiors and he was doing that here. Racing handily, he took the lead three furlongs out and stayed on well under driving to hold challenges. He gives the impression that he hasn’t got a huge amount in hand off his current rating and might struggle if forced up a few pounds.
    ARGAKI put in another solid performance to follow up a succession of decent runs. He kept on but couldn’t make an impact on the winner close home. He continues in decent form.
    The eleven-year-old DHAULAR DAR has slipped well down the ratings now but showed there is still life left. Running off a career low mark of 61 he stayed on through the last two furlongs and showed enough to suggest there’s one last hurrah left before retirement.
    LORD FRANKLIN was held from the furlong pole and the handicapper might just have covered now.
    CORTON LAD couldn’t raise his game in the last two furlongs. He looked well enough but it’s possible this came a shade too soon after his last race here.
    HIGH RESOLUTION is in need on softer ground while RALPHY BOY doesn’t look to have retained the ability he showed as a two-year-old.

    4.00 1m 5f Racing UK This way That Way Handicap 66-82

    HAWDYERWHEESHT is in fine form, and I suspect the peculiarly Scottish name pointed a fair few course punters in this one’s direction. Sent about his work from two out, he gradually picked off those in front and got on top in the last hundred yards. He’s in good form and defied a 6lb penalty here, though the handicapper will presumably let him know that he has noticed.
    The one to take from this contest is INTERIOR MINISTER who made a determined effort to lead all the way. He quickened off the front four out but was worn down in the final furlong. This was a darned good effort form a relatively lightly raced colt from whom I would imagine there is better to come. He didn’t fire on softer ground at Chester and it seems likely he needs the fast ground.
    TENHOO is well exposed but ran a sound race in third, keeping on to the line having been held up early. His five wins have all come a grade below this in Class 5.
    SCHMOOZE ran into all sorts of problems between the two pole and the furlong marker and was finishing as fast as anything. The problem is that she is always held up and at the mercy of any scrimmaging that might go on as she works her way through the field. She regularly gives her running though and is not often beaten very far.
    TETBURY was re-fitted with a hood but it didn’t work as it had at Ripon two outings ago. He had conditions right so there would appear no excuses.
    Hat-trick seeker CHANT couldn’t get in a blow raised in class.
    STREET ARTIST, blinkered on this occasion, is a strong sort but gives the impression he may still benefit from another winter behind him. He chased the leader but dropped away quickly in the final furlong.
    QUEEN OF ALBA was the first to come under pressure and was not dangerous in the last two furlongs. She was a winner in Abu Dhabi but has cut no ice on two outings for her Irish based trainer.

    4.30 5f Download The Free Racing UK App Handicap 47-60

    A typical ‘whose turn is it today ‘ sprint in which the North money went west on Tuesday’s Beverley scorer CHOC’A’MOCA. He was run off his feet going downhill and could not get into the race. Fifty lines for North, ‘I should not bet in Class 6 sprints’. On the face of it, Choc’A’Moca is probably just a ‘win in his turn’ low-class sprinter.
    INGENTI had been knocking on the door of late and got a break on the others over a furlong out to win with a bit to spare. She generally runs her race and was well ridden by apprentice Kevin Stott, freed for this one after the trainer’s Niceonemyson was declared a non-runner.
    CHLOE’S DREAM has form 01323 at tracks with a stiff finish. She kept on for second and looks worth keeping in mind at stiff tracks on a sound surface. Her attitude looks good and there should be a race for her soon.
    SCRIPT ran a decent race in third. He was shunted up after winning here and may be just a pound or two too high now.
    AMENABLE finished fastest of all in fourth but has gone a long time since winning. He should be capable of victory of his current mark but I’m not sure he’s one to rely on.
    There was a gap of nearly three lengths to the rest who were all well held. CAYMAN FOX showed customary early pace but she hasn’t won for ages and generally folds once headed. Now if they held Class 6 four furlong contests…

    5.00 1m 65yds Racing UK Sky Channel 432 Handicap 45-61

    RED CHARMER is a strong sort who rather took the eye in the paddock. He hadn’t shown much before this race but might just be coming to himself, forging on from two out and taking the race going away. He looks as if he will be suited by further, and indeed his previous best effort was over Beverley stiff ten furlongs. A follow up wouldn’t be a surprise.
    MINOT STREET was a clear second. He doesn’t look the most straight forward sort, particularly since he was equipped with blinkers, tongue-tie and a cross-noseband none of which are positives for me.
    He chased the leader honestly enough but in vain from two out.
    The one to take from this for future is definitely DIDDY ERIC. He was ridden along early in rear, and only picked up seriously one the runners hit the hill. His jockey Tom Eaves reported that he was on the stretch for much of the way. In Eaves’s opinion he needs cut in the ground and ideally ten furlongs. Keep this one in mind once the rains come.
    HELLO GORGEOUS is inconsistent and was held here, LEXINGTON BLUE’s good run looks in the past and POLAR FOREST led but was put in his place once taken on.

    • Total Posts 5934

    HAMILTON PARK – Friday July 19th (Mid-Fair Friday Meeting)

    Going – Good to Firm
    Hamilton’s big meeting of the season and very well attended as ever with the glorious summer weather continuing.

    6.10 1m Book Now For Ladies Night (Hamilton Park Apprentice Series) Handicap (43-57)

    IDYLLIC STAR got off the mark with a comfortable victory from some very moderate opposition. She’s dropped steadily in the handicap and stayed on far too well for the others off a mark of 57. Now she’s got the winning bug she may well be capable of kicking on from here.
    Eight years ago this weekend I was on course at Newbury to see TRISKAIDEKAPHOBIA come sixteenth in the Weatherby’s supper sprint. Four employers and four houses later for me, and 79 runs and 10 wins for the gelding, he is now with Wilf Storey and at least competitive even if at a lowly level. He helped set the pace, tried to match the winner but ran out of puff in the final furlong. He did though deservedly hold on to second place.
    REMEMBER ROCKY stayed on late but was probably flattered by third.
    LIL SOPHELLA chased the first two vainly from three out until weakening in the final furlong.

    6.40 6f British Stallion Studs EBF 2yo Maiden (Class 5)

    A determined winner in the most experienced runner of the contest DISCLOSURE. He made all the running and kept responding to his rider’s urgings when challenged in the final furlong. He didn’t have all that much to spare, but he certainly shows the right attitude. He may well win again.
    OMANOME came clear with the winner, pushing him all the way. She lost her place at the bottom of the hill, but rallied past two others to challenge and looked to have stepped up on previous efforts.
    EMAAD was held from two out and didn’t appear to achieve much more than on debut.
    CHOOKIE’S LASS went well until weakening a furlong out on her debut. She can step up on this form.
    TOOGOODTOBEGOOD was outpaced from halfway.

    7.15 6f John Smith’s Extra Smooth Handicap (67-48)

    SALVATORE FURY probably isn’t the easiest ride, but he found a straight forward opportunity here. He was held up behind others and squeezed for room two furlongs out, but I suspect the problems helped him and meant his run could be timed conveniently. Once in the clear he picked up nicely and was going away at the post.
    TONGALOOMA is well exposed but ran her best race for some while in second.
    SAXONETTE won a poor seller here last time, but proved competitive before giving way in the final furlong.
    DANCING COSMOS, well held here the previous day, DARK LANE and CARRIE’s MAGIC didn’t provide much encouragement for the near future.

    7.45 6f John Smith’s Scottish Stewards’ Cup Handicap (78-93)

    This year’s renewal of the feature handicap didn’t have the same strength as previous years, but it was a cracking contest with four short heads separating four runners with the fifth not far away.
    RODRIGO DE TORRES set the pace on the near side and kept find more as he was challenged in the final two furlongs. He’s not quite been good enough at the top level of handicaps, but this one rung down seems to suit him nicely. He had been campaigned mainly at seven furlongs of late, but his last two races have resulted in fine efforts dropped back to six furlongs.
    FAST SHOT gave it his best in the final two furlongs between the winner and Mississippi but was just held.
    RASAMAN didn’t look an obvious choice for me toward the bottom of the handicap, but he came with every chance inside the final furlong and just failed. A good effort from one of the senior campaigners in the contest.
    AL’S MEMORY raced down the centre and was arguably unlucky since he wouldn’t have seen much of his main opponents. He has been hitting form as the ground has firmed up and may prove one to take forward from this contest given that his placing doesn’t really tell the story.
    MISSISSIPPI was run out of it close home having looked sure to be in the first three 50 yards out. He ran a sound race and can gain compensation.
    Ten-year-old JOHANNES filled sixth place, held from the furlong pole, while another experienced campaigner MISPLACED FORTUNE was just behind in seventh.
    SCOTLAND FOREVER set the early pace on the far side, but weaved about all over the place once the pressure was applied and dropped out form the two furlong pole.

    8.15 1m 3f EBF Glasgow Stakes 3yo (Listed)

    A rather disappointing turn out of five here from what looked a decent original entry.

    MAPUTO justified long odds o by, wearing down stable companion Alta Lilea in the final furlong, the pair clear. An impressive winner of a handicap at Newmarket last week, he is a progressive sort who seems to have enough about him to step up to Group 3. The step up to eleven furlongs was no problem and it wouldn’t surprise me if could make his mark in the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood.
    ALTA LILEA set a sensible pace and wound things up in the straight. She responded well once challenged, not going down without a fight. She was second best on the evening but has a likeable attitude and will surely gain compensation. Much depends how the handicapper looks at this race, but she should be capable of winning a decent middle distance handicap in the near future.
    MISTER IMPATIENCE, the third of Mark Johnston’s runners, was outpointed from the two furlong marker but kept on well enough to complete the 1-2-3. He’s been knocking on the door in Group 3 and listed events, but might be suited by having a go at a handicap. If it rains in the coming weeks note that his wins have come on soft ground.
    CRUCK REALTA was a 20/1 winner of a Listed fillies’ race at Newbury a while back, then outclassed in the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh. She was comfortably held here in the final two furlongs and on the face of it was below her best.
    HOLD THE LINE made some progress three out but couldn’t get in a blow and faded to fifth. He had a tough task here and may be better aimed at handicaps.

    8.45 1m 3f John Smith’s 3yo Handicap (30-63)

    BEE JAY KAY got the best of a duel in the final two furlongs, with the pair well clear of the remainder. This race didn’t have any great strength in depth but he came away in decent style and might step up to the plate in the next grade up.
    RED CHARMER made a fair attempt to follow up the previous day’s win. I thought at first that he may have slightly ducked the issue once challenged, but he was well clear of the third and in retrospect that might be a fairer measure of the form. He’s a nice type and going the right way at his current modest level.
    WHITEFALL was readily outpaced in the final two furlongs.
    SPATS COLOMBO seemed all at sea on the track down the straight and may be given another chance after this disappointing effort.

    9.15 1m 1f Download The Free Racing UK App Handicap (57-72)

    WELLINGROVE won this in typical front running Johnston-Fanning style. It’s taken this one a long time to win a race, but put in the right place at the right pace he proved up to the job. He may win again but I’m not sure he will be much value in future as this race was spot on for him.
    JANNA’S JINGLE was held up and denied in clear run for some way. Once in the clear two out she picked up nicely but didn’t get to the winner. One of a string brought to the meeting by John Patrick Shanahan; one would think the Irish based trainer should be able to find a race for this one.
    TECTONIC chased the winner from three out but was held in the final furlong. He has been steadily progressive this season and should find other opportunities.
    EUSTON SQUARE couldn’t make any impact on the leaders in the closing stages. This was his best effort for some time though and he is slipping down the ratings. He may have a chance if dropped to the bottom grade.

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    Charlie Johnston, Mark’s son said that MAPUTO may be aimed at the Rose Of Lancaster stakes at Haydock in three weeks time. It would give him an extra bit of rest following the Hamilton win rather than going to Goodwood. Whatever the chosen engagement he’ll be well worth a look in a Group 3.

    • Total Posts 5934

    AYR – Monday July 22nd

    Going – Good To Firm

    Still bright and sunny in Scotland, but with a potential break in the weather for fast ground performers this could be a last chance to shine for a while. Field sizes are diminishing and from that point of view some rain would be welcomed

    2.00 7f EBF 2yo Maiden (Class 4)

    LONGTON stretched on from the start but found STARS OVER THE SEA too good in the latter stages. The result was pretty much as expected if you ignore the winner’s misfortune at the start at Haydock.
    Newcomer BEAUTIFUL STRANGER was tapped for pace in the straight but should learn from the experience.

    2.30 7f Racing UK App Handicap (Class 5)

    Even at the age of 10 BARNEY McGREW is perfectly capable in this class. He showed real determination to hold off the in-form WEST LEAKE HARE as the pair came went from off the pace but clear in the final furlong. A solid enough effort from both.
    CHOOKIE AVON ran on but was well held while old campaigner BECKEERMET led three out but was held in the final two furlongs and beaten into fourth. Like Triskaidekaphobia mentioned from Hamilton, I saw Beckermet run at Newbury in 2005 when he won the Hackwood Stakes. He’s lost that sharpness but still tries hard enough.

    And a chance to be frivolous on two fronts:
    It wasn’t that long ago that ‘App’ in a race title meant it was for apprentices, a sure measure of my entry into old fogey-dom.
    Did you know that the Trumpton Fire Station role call was complete in all but one episode, that being when Cuthbert was omitted as it was his day off? Remember when it comes up in quizzes that there were seven firemen, Pugh, Pugh, Barney McGrew, Cuthbert, Dibble, Grubb and the one easily forgotten, and calling the role, Captain Flack! I think Barney McGrew was the be-whiskered driver, but don’t take my word for it.

    3.05 1m 5f Watch Racing UK on Sky 432 Handicap (Class 5)

    A decent pace set by FORREST FLYER suited the other pair here as they are both hold up horses.
    GRAND DIAMOND had more to give than SCHMOOZE once the leader gave way and the second is better in a bigger field with more cover, though she does need the race to fall for her.

    3.40 5f Racing UK Handicap (Class 4)

    FITZ FLYER pulled hard early under restraint from Joe Fanning. However, he took it up a furlong out and was able to win quite decisively. This was the easiest opportunity he has had for some while and he proved it even though wasting some of his energy. He runs consistently in big fields where it’s easier to keep him covered up.
    ECONOMIC CRISIS runs regularly, and often passably well without being a prolific winner. She ran well enough in second but remains one to avoid for win betting purposes.
    DIMAN WATERS was bandaged and didn’t appear at ease on the ground. He has won on good to firm, so perhaps that’s not the whole story, but I’m not sure he was happy here.
    MIDNIGHT DYNAMO had every chance and wasn’t quick enough in the final furlong.
    BRTONZE BEAU was the first to give way and well held.

    4.15 6f Racing Replay Sky 432 Fillies’ Handicap (Class 4)

    A cracking battle between two determined fillies drawing clear in the final furlong. SOMEONE’s DARLING, who has proved before that she is a tenacious sort, battled hard to lead in the last 50 yards having been pegged back after leading over one out. She did enough to win and might still have some more improvement in her.
    DANCHEUR battled back determinedly and only gave way close home. A decent effort and provided the ground remains on the quick side then she can score again.
    SUNNY SIDE UP was readily cast aside over a furlong out and PERFECT BLOSSOM couldn’t match the leaders from the furlong pole. Both act in the conditions and it seems they just weren’t good enough here.

    4.45 1m Luke Currie Memorial Handicap (Class 3)

    BOLD PREDICTION and AERONWYN BRYN battled neck and neck from three out. The former just held sway though tightening up the second a couple of times Bold Prediction asserted in the final hundred yards and looked the winner on merit, though I didn’t get a chance to see the head-on shot of this contest.
    PARTY ROYAL was quickly outpaced over two out.

    5.15 6f Racing UK App Handicap (Class 6)

    Not a strong contest, but DARTRIX is lightly raced for a four-year-old sprinter and could prove a bit better than a Class 6 animal. He made headway from halfway, led a furlong out and gradually forged away from that point.
    SAXONETTE is in decent form, is currently a good yardstick and lost nothing in taking second. SCRIPT looks just a little high in the weights, but he’s running consistently and probably won’t get any respite. He led over one out and kept on once headed.

    • Total Posts 5934

    MUSSELBURGH – Tuesday July 23rd

    Going – Good

    A busy holiday time in Scotland with the meetings coming thick and fast at the moment. The threatened rain arrived during the morning causing the going to ease to good.

    2.00 1m 1f 32red Handicap (59-67)

    A competitive contest with most have shown good or promising form of late.
    CONO ZUR raced keen early on and made the pace. He settled down the far side and kicked on off the bend, sticking to his guns and in the end winning with a bit to spare. A good effort and he’s in good heart at the moment though he’ ll go up now for a double win.
    ROYAL STRAIGHT is well exposed but running solidly at the moment, staying on well enough and just holding second. He may win a race while the going remains fast, but will need to avoid anything progressive.
    TECTONIC has been consistent of late but is an awkward ride and needs kidding home. He ducked in behind the winner and never looked like challenging in the final two furlongs once he had done that.
    TRUE PLEASURE raced keenly early on and never got to the winner.
    JORDAURA and QUEEN’S REVENGE were beaten from two out.

    2.30 7f 30yds British Stallion Studs EBF 2yo Maiden – (Class 4)

    A strong rather taking sort, BROWN EYED HONEY had to pull out the stops to win this. Stepping up on a promising Newmarket debut she worked hard down the straight and got on top inside the final furlong to win by half a length. She still looked a bit green and there may still be a bit more to ocme.
    GALLIC BREEZE, a €75,000 purchase from France, joined battle early in the straight and pushed the winner all the way. This was a very encouraging debut and he should be capable of winning a race at this distance or maybe a mile.
    DONNY ROVER mixed in with the front two until fading approaching the final furlong. He seems honest enough but is finding some too good in this type of race and was put in his place in a nursery last time.
    DAMAAH looks a bit on the leg at the moment, but there’s enough about her to suggest she will grow into a decent looking filly. She lost all chance when failing to handle the bend and could never get back to the first three after forfeiting 7 or 8 lengths. She will be better on a straight track or one with a less sharp bend and can step up on the bare form.
    OFELIA was well held at Newcastle last time and readily cast aside from three out here.

    3.00 5f Rotech Handicap (3yo) (45-70)

    Steadily progressive this season, SECRET ADVICE asserted approaching the final furlong and was going away at the line. She’s a versatile sort having handled the uphill finishes at Carlisle and Hamilton in her previous wins. An uncomplicated filly in decent form.
    Stablemate of the winner SALVATORE FURY was off 8lbs higher and the 9-12 impost might well have made the difference here. He had every chance approaching the furlong pole but could make no impression on the winner.
    MEGALEKA broke well but was held from the furlong pole. She’s not the most consistent filly.
    First time blinkers failed to work the oracle for SHOWTIME GIRL who was under the pump and making no impression from two out.
    LADY CALANTHA was outpaced from the start.

    3.30 1m 4f 100yds Paul Merritt’s 60th British Racecourse Handicap (50-69)

    Well done to Paul Merritt. I’m 17 behind him at the moment and adding an average of 2 a year so it will be a while before I get to 60 tracks. I missed out on Folkestone which was galling as I can’t see the Kent track returning now racing has stopped.

    BRIGADOON has dropped down to a manageable mark and made it pay in decent style. He moved smoothly up to challenge from four out, took over two out and forged clear from that point. He was held off a strong pace and that will have suited.
    RAWAAFED came from the rear and chased the winner from two out without making any serious impact. A claimer winner at Hamilton in May he was flattered by the way the race was run and doesn’t look particularly well in at this time.
    ST IGNATIUS has been performing well, but paid the price for chasing the strong pace.
    SLIDE SHOW had every chance and wasn’t good enough on this occasion. She has run better at Catterick.
    TALK OF SAAFEND was the first beaten, while KING OF PARADISE was soon in a clear lead and set off much too fast for his own good.

    4.00 5f Racing UK on Sky 432 Handicap (66-83)

    RED BARON looks a real speedster. He broke well, was clear at halfway and had more than enough in hand to hold the field in the final furlong. He blew out at Haydock but came back to form here and confirmed he is progressive.
    FINDOG made progress two out and stayed on in the final furlong without threatening the winner. A stiffer five might just suit him best.
    IMPERIAL LEGEND kept on for third and is another that may be better with a stiffer finish though like many of these he has won here.
    GOTTCHER showed early pace and kept on well enough for fourth. He would have every chance dropped down a grade or two.
    Veteran THE NIFTY FOX didn’t make any serious impact.
    CRIMSON KNOT’s jockey was looking down in the closing stages possibly indicating that the mare had a problem.

    4.30 2m 32red Casino Handicap (46-65)

    LA BACCOUETTEUSE stays well and goes well here. He stayed on relentlessly up the straight to record a first win in 2013. He’s capable of winning again but does need some stoking up and I fancy this trip is required now.
    GOLDAN JESS ran a sound enough race from up with the pace, keeping on once passed. She’s consistent and generally in the mix in this class.
    LADY GARGOYLE helped set the pace and plugged on into third. She’s basically just one paced if honest enough hand will struggle to find a race to win.
    VITTACHI kept on from the rear to fill fourth. This was his best effort this season, but he needs to find a bit more.

    5.00 7f 30yds Handicap (45-64)

    IDYLLIC STAR, winner of an ordinary race at Hamilton on Friday, but was far too good for a slightly better field here and in no trouble by the furlong pole. Keith Dalgleish might still get another race or two out of this one while she’s in this mood even with a weight rise.
    BURNWYND BOY is good enough hto win a race at this level but was well held though keeping on for second with the well exposed BERBICE staying into third for a Scottish 1-2-3.
    Generally an exposed bunch and three-year-old ROYAL CAPER made no impact against his elders.

    • Total Posts 5934

    NEWCASTLE – Saturday July 27th

    Going- Good To Firm

    1.55 7f Collingwood Insurance Maiden Auction Stakes 2yo (Class 4)

    XANTHOS built on an encouraging Windsor debut, quickening away in the final furlong to win in decent style. The stiffer test did him no harm and he should build on this given a similar trip or perhaps even up at a mile.
    MISS ACCLAIMED travelled well and kept on to finish a clear second. This was significantly better than her first effort at Wolverhampton, though that outing over a sharp five furlongs on Polytrack was distinctly different from this stiff seven. She looks capable of picking up a minor event in the north.
    EL BEAU stayed on steadily in the last two furlongs. Green on his debut over five, this longer trip allowed him time to get into the race. He will be an interesting sort once gaining a handicap mark.
    MAXIE T travelled well for a long way but was outpaced in the final furlong or so. An easing in the going may assist her.

    2.30 6f Collingwood Fleet Insurance 3yo Handicap (80-88)

    A gelding racing against three fillies, NOBLE DEED had to be rousted from two out but gradually asserted from his main challenger in the closing stages. He failed in this class over seven furlongs last time but the drop back to six will have helped.
    NARDIN laid it down to the winner from two out but was held in the final half furlong. She’s been running consistently and could be a sound bet if her trainer finds a similar contest for fillies only.
    Dropped in class having contested Group 3 and Listed events, DREAM MAKER didn’t settle early and was held from over a furlong out. Her previous outings looked optimistic, perhaps chasing black type. On this evidence, given that conditions suited, she looks a bit high in the handicap on a mark of 88.
    BONDESIRE led early but was put in her place from two out. She may just be suited by a little cut in the ground.

    3.05 7f Collingwood Learner Driver Insurance Beeswing Handicap (78-95)

    The Beeswing Stakes used to be a pattern race, and one that was one of the better contests in Newcastle’s flat calendar. It’s not a bad handicap, the top rated here being 95, but it’s sad that the race is not what it was.
    PACIFIC HEIGHTS has been a consistent performer this season and added to earlier his Carlisle victory, pulling clear in the final furlong. He stays a mile very well but the drop back to seven was well within his compass. He dealt with a step up in class here and is a progressive sort.
    ABLE MASTER set the pace and responded well enough once challenged if unable to hold the winner. He ran well behind the progressive Sennockian Star (a winner at Ascot on the Friday) and remains very much competitive in decent seven furlong and mile handicaps.
    LAFFAN was outpaced two out but stayed on again in the latter stages to take third. A bit of rain would help as he seems to find himself stretched for pace on fast ground, though this effort does offer encouragement should the promised precipitation arrive.
    ORTAC ROCK ran creditably, raised in class after winning an Epsom claimer, keeping on in the final furlong if just pipped for third close home.
    VICTOIRE DE LYPHAR couldn’t follow up his Doncaster effort and folded disappointingly once asked for extra two out.

    3.40 2m 19yds Collingwood Annual Learner Driver Handicap (58-75)

    A field full of exposed plodders here, with MAJOR DOMO just outstaying PETELLA in a battle to the line. Both can get competitive in similar events but wouldn’t necessarily appeal as future betting material.
    Stepped up significantly in trip, MOHEEBB kept on into third without ever getting to the leaders. He was kidded into the race by Jack Garrity and didn’t look totally co-operative when asked for an effort though gaining at the line. He’s got a lot of miles on the clock but has never won beyond ten furlongs.
    KEEP IT COOL raced prominently but weakened a furlong out.

    4.15 Collingwood Taxi Insurance EBF Fillies’ Handicap (51-82)

    LIVIA’S DREAM stretched on over two out having tracked the leader. She was in no danger afterwards but won’t find many easier opportunities at this level.
    BYGONES FOR COINS set the pace and kept on honestly enough for second. She had a tough task here from 13lbs out of the handicap and her presence in second sums up the lack of quality.
    MAYBEAGREY made and effort three out but never got near the winner and was comfortably held for second in the final furlong.
    ACT YOUR SHOE SIZE looked to have a decent opportunity based on class here but she was beaten two out and very disappointing. However, her wins have been up to 1m 1f and it’s likely she didn’t see out thee trip.

    4.50 5f Collingwood Short Term Learner Driver Insurance Handicap (Division 1) (46-62)

    This was arguably the weaker of the two heats of this contest.

    CAPTAIN ROYALE, a win in his turn eight-year-old, did enough to hold last itme out winner INGENTI who is running most consistently. The latter might take another contest despite having been bumped up a few pounds.
    BUSY BIMBO is a maiden after thirty-odd starts but has at least started getting the hang of things recently. She stayed on in the closing stages and might find a poor contest before long.
    ARCH WALKER is a frustrating sort who is more than capable but wins seldom. It was intimated to me last season that he’d be laid out for a gamble, but I wouldn’t risk more than loose change on this one who regularly finds ways of getting beaten. More fool me for including him in my tipping competition selections… The more I learn the more I forget apparently!
    There’s a sprinkling of past wins amongst the remainder, but I suspect most of them resulted from ‘someone has to win’ syndrome.

    5.25 Collingwood Short Term Learner Driver Insurance Handicap (Division 2) (28-60)

    A novelty at this level on first analysis here that a couple of these might be progressive. Unfortunately analysis proved wrong as NICEONEMYSON and GRAND CANARIA QUEEN were held in the closing stages.
    TUIBAMA ( 2 from 23 previously) challenged from two out and got his head in front close home.
    SEE VERMONT, still a maiden though less previous than some, stuck to his guns to finish second and isn’t a total lost cause at this stage. He’s been in the mix in four out of five efforts this season and seems committed enough to suggest a race will fall his way.
    WICKED WILMA had every chance inside the final furlong but was held close home. She runs some good races but it’s August 2011 since she won and there have been a large number of races since.
    NICEONEMYSON west the pace until inside the final furlong but could find no more once driven.
    GRAN CANARIA QUEEN missed the break and was struggling early she stayed on late and might conceivably do better if breaking with the rest. Her current mark doesn’t look over harsh if she puts her best hoof forward.

    6.00 1m 2f 32yds Apprentice Handicap (46-60)

    OUTLAW TORN is a fair performer at this level on his day. He stretched no in front entering the straight and nothing got near him after that. It should be noted that he had a class edge on the ratings and was allowed to dictate.
    DEAN IARRACHT chased vainly in the final two furlongs, staying on after the winner. He was dropped down in trip here, though recent form hasn’t been inspiring.
    MADAME BLAVATSKY is a maiden from 14 starts and was never looking like dropping the tag. She was held from three out if well clear of the remaining three runners MA KELLYS, JOE LUKE and MANY LEVELS who have mustered but one place between them in a total of 23 attempts.

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