Good morning all,
We drove to Lingfield full of high expectation and hope yesterday but the drive back, which seemingly took forever, was one long post-mortem as to what had gone wrong with Coole Charmer.
A dreadful effort, which none of us expected after Bangor, can only be explained away by saying it was something physical, which we will know about later on today. Because if it wasn't that, we could be left scratching our heads a bit. He was beaten after two fences, one of which he jumped so badly out to his left he was almost on the hurdles course. Hopefully something will show up this morning to explain such a poor effort.
Naranja ran well enough considering Nick Schofield got off after and said how she absolutely hated the ground, so connections won't be running her on what was really holding, tacky ground again. She's capable of better and I'll still be following her this season.
Today, two more races reviewed – one from Doncaster Monday, one from Lingfield yesterday, plus today's selection.
2.40 2m Novice Hurdle
Not many of these made much appeal. On looks, that would include winner Stowaway Magic, who has no back end to speak of (his hind quarters seem to just slope off) but it doesn’t seem to stop him and he took this with the minimum of fuss. What he beat here though, is open to debate.
The only other pair to make any appeal were second home American Gigolo, who is a good size and might well jump a fence in time (looked fit here) and Majestic Touch, having his first run for Philip Hobbs, and looked plenty fit enough for his debut for the yard. He didn’t give his running here, but shouldn’t be discounted just yet.
Boudry is a strange one. His neck seems totally out of proportion with the rest of him – “a giraffe” as one wag put it – and worse, he carries his head high. He was also wearing earplugs in the paddock and is clearly a nervy sort. Beaten by halfway here too, and one to be very wary of at present.
The money for Yorgonnahearmeroar was unexpected, given the trainer’s modus operandi – first time up in handicaps is the time to catch a Henry Oliver horse – and although he paid for the solid gallop he set in the straight, he was sticking to it again after the last and almost nabbed third. I still say handicaps will be his thing and he’ll get a mark after this. One for trackers.
It wasn’t the worst effort from the huge Mustang On back in fifth, as he clearly needs time and a fence. He’s worth keeping an eye on, as he should progress.
1.00 3m Novices Chase
Favourite for this was Alan King’s Label Des Obeaux, taking a drop in grade after two solid efforts over fences and bumping into the potentially very useful Singlefarmpayment at Cheltenham last time out. You wouldn’t have said he was the paddock pick, his coat looking a little dull and he started grinding his teeth after a while as well, but he looked well enough and there can be few excuses for his defeat here. Maybe the ground (described after the first as “tacky” and “hard work” by the two jocks I spoke to) can be a mitigating factor but he was in his place by the winner easily enough after the last.
Missed Approach looked very fit and every inch a chaser, and turned around earlier form with the favourite to the tune of some 25 lengths. His one bad run to date has come right handed, and he seemed very happy to bowl along in front here, jumping well. Staying looks his game and a good prize next Winter should be the aim.
Casse Tete ran exactly as he looked in the paddock – well, but big and in need of a run. He travelled up fine but got tired very quickly when asked for effort and took a fall three from home. He was down and winded for a while but recovered, much to the relief of the crowd as the screens went up for a while. He will be much fitter for this and a run-of-the-mill Novice shouldn’t pose him too many problems.
His fall meant that third place was inherited by Have A Go Hero, who despite a big price in the ring, did not look out of place here and may even have got back up for third if Casse Tete had stood up, as he was just starting to get his second wind at the time. He was the only one to go with the principals from some way out and may well be underestimated when going into handicaps. Definitely one to keep an eye on.
For the selection today, I was looking at the Juvenile Hurdle at Hereford (1.50) as I wanted to take on likely favourite Buckle Street. His form to date has come on good and good to soft, and he will find this heavy ground a whole different kettle of fish. Trainer Martin Keighley is hardly in the best of form either, possibly with one eye on other pressing matters he needs to be dealing with.
The chance of Long Call is obvious enough, and Tony Martin wouldn't be coming here for the fresh air, but I just prefer the chance of Bishop Of Bling, who would need to win this if he's to get a high enough handicap mark for the likes of the Fred Winter come Festival time. He seemed to handle heavy going well enough on his two Flat efforts, and looks more about stamina than speed. With that, this slog ought to suit (and don't forget, there's an extra half furlong to cover as rails have been moved out – every yard helps!) and he'll find it much easier than tacking Cliffs Of Dover in a Class 1 at Doncaster last time.
Good luck with all your bets today,