Good morning all,
The racing for the next few days doesn't look the most exciting and I can't see me going anywhere for a day or two, so as promised, it gives me chance to start catching up on the Eyecatchers from the last few weeks. It's Newton Abbot and Uttoxeter today, and tomorrow I'll do a couple of Flat meetings from Pontefract and Doncaster, before a round-up of any others on Wednesday. I hope you enjoy reading them and there should be a winner or two for the future in amongst them.
Newton Abbot, 25th July
2.15 Maiden Hurdle (2m)
Probably weak form and with so many in with a chance on the home turn, not a race to go overboard on regarding the form.
Having said that, winner Mr Mountain, despite a big price, was one of the better types in the paddock. Tall and leggy, with scope to make a chaser, he looked well in his coat and was produced with a good run by Aidan Coleman at the last to win from the frustrating Princess Roania, who added another second to her collection. It’s possible she was asked to make up too much ground too quickly (and wide on the track) but she’s clearly beatable in this sort of company and needs treating with a bit of care.
Mollylikestoboogie isn’t the worst looker – she’s got some size about her and although her Stratford second came in an incident-packed race, it was a good time figure. She wasn’t out of place in the paddock here and might be able to pick up a handicap at a price somewhere down the line, especially when she learns to settle.
Zephyr looked like he badly needed a run and will do better, and Tango Unchained's 4th in a good race at Huntingdon last year is now looking more and more like a fluke.
3.55 Hcp Chase (2m)
Jarlath was the interesting one beforehand and looked the best of these in the paddock, but the drop back to 2m on such a tight track was against him and his jumping seemed to suffer for it. To his credit, he kept battling back between fences and was still in with a chance between the last two but didn’t have the pace of the winner. He’s clearly in good heart and is in again at Worcester on Thursday, a track that should suit him better.
4.25 Hcp Hurdle (2m
Peruvien Bleu was a paddock standout here, looking as fit as a flea with not a scrap of fat on him. Well backed, he again travelled well but rather takes the mickey out of his young pilot (Charlie Williams) and you get the feeling he’ll be winning once Lizzie Kelly takes over again. Definitely one to keep a close eye on.
5.30 NH Flat Race (2m)
Machiato is a really lovely horse to watch in the paddock, there’s a swing and a bit of swagger in his walk that’s very enduring and it was pleasing to see him win, despite obvious greenness (often niggled along, off the bridle and changing legs). There’s so much more to come from him and he could be a seriously good horse for the Tizzards this season.
The rest weren’t much to write home about. Lady Robyn was facing a totally different test that the ones she faced in points (3m on heavy on almost all her starts) and simply didn’t have the speed. She may do better when faced with more of a test, and it’s again worth pointing out the poor July that Peter Bowen had, with just the one winner from 27 runners.
The biggest mystery was how Whereyabin was only a 7-1 chance – he was weak and backward in the paddock, and duly finished well beaten.
Uttoxeter 13th July
2.15 Novices Hurdle (2m)
A mixed bag in the paddock. Grivelin is a good looking horse and will improve from this debut. He was on his toes and got a bit warm (forgivable as it was a hot day) and simply pulled too hard in the race, but he will have learnt plenty and should win a race or two in the Autumn.
Sand Blast was fit and well, as to be expected from one that had won his previous start, but again showed his lazy tendencies in the race, coming off the bridle down the hill and having to be driven to the front, only to be worn down at the last by All For The Best (leggy, has scope). You feel bad about crabbing a horse that was 29l clear of the third, but he’s one to be waty of at short prices.
And back in third was Rizal Park, showing a glimmer of promise for the second time. He was on his toes in the paddock (as he was at Stratford) but stayed on pleasingly enough to grab the bronze. Handicaps over another 2f should see him in a better light and he might be able to pick a little race up when conditions are right.
5.35 – NH Flat Race (2m)
Not a great bunch on paddock inspection. Golden Banner was keen/green, Matt’s Legacy looked poor in his coat, Sbarrizina was fit but on toes and had two handlers, and will need to learn to settle better. Wizard’s Sliabh (how have they got that name past Wetherby’s?) looked the most professional of these, taking the preliminaries well, and he clearly learnt from this as he’s since won a small race at Perth and may progress again, although he will have to once he comes up against better horses in a few weeks time.
Winner Chato wasn’t a paddock standout by any means, and you felt he would improve for a run. He spooked when the bell for the jocks to mount went and was pretty clueless, but he did the job well in the end, coming clear, and should progress again. What he’s beaten here is open to debate, though.
For a selection today I'm going to take an absolute flyer on Ready Steady in the 2.30 at Ayr. It's mainly on the trainer change to Ken Slack, who has had 3 winners and 3 places from 13 runners in the past year on horses having their first run for the yard. He goes for a pair of blinkers too, and the booking of Andrew Mullen (has ridden a winner from 2 starts for the yard) looks an interesting one. Speculative, but the horse is only 3, and may yet do better for a change of regime.
Good luck with all your bets today,