Good morning all,
Some good news, for me anyway. After a few years trying I’ve finally been given press status, which means I can go racing again, even during COVID, as long as I follow all the relevant guidelines and procedures. That’s great news, as it means I can finally start getting close up to the horses again, so you’ll finally get some proper notes from the track, rather than what I can gather from the telly.
Anyway, I have wasted little time in putting it to good use – I went to Southwell on Tuesday, and will be at Doncaster on Saturday. My thoughts on Tuesday’s card are on the main piece.
12.37 – 2m4f Handicap Chase
By far the best looking of these was favourite Eau Top, who looks better than a 0-110 chaser but again, was found lacking at the business end of the race, finding little from three out and merely staying on at one pace. The tongue tie isn’t making a lot of difference, it appears, and he is one to now be a little wary of.
The other to look well in the paddock was third home Master Burbidge, who has run pretty much to form in finishing third. There’s probably another race like this for him sooner rather than later.
It was pleasing to see Shady Oaks run much better in the first-time visor, finishing second. I was worried he’d simply become a bit soft, and the way he folded at Fakenham last time (after I’d put him up) was worrying. But an easy lead did the trick, he jumped and travelled a lot better and on this showing, there’s definitely a race in him. But make sure it’s not one where he’ll get taken on up front.
1.37 – 2m Bumper
The bumper is back in the middle of the card. Not sure how I feel about that, for those playing placepots and Colossus bets it’s a nightmare.
This, on paddock looks, was better than your average Southwell bumper and I will be following it closely. Paddock best for me was Jonjo’s Steady The Ship, a gorgeous chestnut that has plenty of size and will continue to grow into his frame over the next year. He drifted like a barge in the market but ran well to finish third, still showing signs of greenness late on and he will progress.
Favourite Firestep, trained by Nicky Henderson, wasn’t far behind in the looks stakes, a lengthy sort that is quite athletic looking, and he too showed the odd sign of being a bit green pre-race. He hung left in the closing stages but had the race in safe keeping and again, will progress.
Splitting the pair was Midnight Centurion, who I thought would come on plenty for a run, so this rates an excellent effort.
Neon Moon, long term, might be the best chaser out of this lot. Green pre-race, he got loose at one point in the paddock but didn’t get very far. The whole experience looked a bit too much for him and he was niggled along some way out, but he kept responding and finished a close fourth. The dam is a sister to thorough stayer Perfect Candidate, so it perhaps wasn’t the biggest surprise a bumper hasn’t played to his strengths.
Ben Pauling’s Curio Bay looks a long term project, and although there was plenty of money around for Imperial Storm, he looked like the one that would benefit most from an outing. He ran that way too, and you can expect better next time. As I say, a race that it might pay to follow.
2.07 – 2m Maiden Hurdle
All shapes and sizes here.
The chaser in the field on looks (if not pedigree) is, without doubt, David Bridgewater’s Picturesque View, who already has some size about him and looked to need this run quite badly. In the circumstances, finishing sixth (at a totally unfancied 200-1) rates a decent effort and he’s the one that’s gone to the top of the tracker from this event. Worth noting he was blowing plenty afterwards, as was Tom Lacey’s Pounding Poet, who needed this.
Nicky Henderson’s Whitlock, given how fit he looked pre-race, was a big disappointment. Just about the pick on looks once the rugs came off, he’s not shown anywhere near enough and can only be watched next time.
Tremwedge has become a disappointment too, and isn’t the horse I thought he might be at one stage last year. He’s nothing out of the ordinary on looks either, and simply looks tripless now. Not one to be backing at short prices, for sure.
Guetapan Collonges will do better now handicapped and you can expect him to be stepped up in trip next time (plenty of stamina in the family, not least the fact the dam is a sister to Neptune Collonges).
Get Your Own was a bit green pre-race but that didn’t stop him from winning. It might not have been the strongest event but he could do no more than win, and he’d clearly learnt plenty from his Lingfield run where the soft ground may well have been against him.
Good card at Newbury today, but maybe not many bets to be had. Instead, try Ah Well, stepping up to 3m in the 12.55 at Doncaster. He's crying out for it, both on the visuals and on pedigree, and good ground looks a necessity for him, which he'll get here. I expect another big step forward today, and in a race that's more quantity than quality, he must go close.
Today's selection – Ah Well (e.w) 12.55 Doncaster
Good luck with all your bets today,