Good morning all,
I'd forgotten just how windy Towcester was when I stepped out of the car and almost had it snapped off in a gust yesterday. But it's good to have it back, although it wasn't all smooth sailing, as you'll see on the review.
Two jumps meetings to get stuck into today and as long as I get my writings done by lunchtime, that should give me time to hop over to Worcester for a decent little card.
On arriving at the course, I set out to find a Racing Post, as I'd not purchased one earlier and I hadn't had chance to print any cards off either. I was rather miffed to find out that none had arrived at the course – hopefully that's just a one-off, and not a new long-term policy. One of the bookmakers said to me “You've got in for nothing, what are you moaning about?” got a reply of “when I go to a shoe shop, I expect there to be some shoes.” Much mirth from the pitch next door.
Anyway, I purchased a racecard for three quid, only to bump into a friend who had a share in a runner at the track that day. “You should have said, I've got a spare racecard”, she said. That didn't improve my mood.
Anyway, they came out for the Mares Novice hurdle and there was a bit to like about a few of them. I did like Kim Bailey's Monrocco best, she's a lovely looker but like a few of Kim's at the moment, ran a little below par. But there's a race in her, and she's worth keeping an eye on.
Winner Fairy Pol was a good type as well, she'll stay further than this and basically outstayed a few hard-pullers here. But her performance shouldn't be crabbed too much, as she was very green herself in the prelims, shouting her head off at times and she'll improve plenty.
For the first time that I have seen, Oscar's Song didn't behave like a lunatic pre-race and was in the process of running a better race when falling three out. To be fair, she still had the hill to face and there's no guarantee she would have come up it, so she still needs treating with some caution.
The other Oscar, Oscar's Star, looked badly in need of a run beforehand and ran like it, getting tired late on. She will improve plenty for this and has scope about her.
Sprogzilla has again run well at a track she clearly likes, and has some ability. She's not a bad looker either, good shape and will do better as she learns. There could be a handicap to be won with her here.
I was pleased to see Chitu win the following novice chase – a proper chaser, and he was simply too good for the Flat-bred Gibson Park, despite the latter getting plenty of weight. Lined With Silver, in third, ran here rather than Worcester today (at the request of the owner, I was informed later) and they might regret it, as the handicapper may well nudge him up a few pounds for finishing a relatively close third here.
Not much to be said for the next other than a poor walk doesn't stop Cool Macavity. He walks like he's short on one side, most unflattering, but it's clearly no issue to him.
A couple of handicaps followed and it's fair to say that most of the combatants in them will struggle to win races. Legal OK is a cracking looker that should make a chaser but went out like a light in the handicap hurdle, and the least said about the chase that followed the better. Suffice to say Copperfacejack finally found his race, and broke his duck in convincing fashion.
And the bumper. Don't be worrying too much if you've not seen it yet, you haven't missed much. Favourite Celsiana was very small, no scope, keen to post and as one paddock judge remarked “that wouldn't win a Class 6 at Kempton, never mind a bumper.” She finished well beaten and is one to avoid on this.
The fact that Blackjacktennessee, who looked every inch a 3m chaser in the paddock, played up very badly, pulled hard, went off too quick and still only got beat six lengths tells you all you need to know. To be fair to winner Raving Bonkers, he was probably one of two that looked fine pre-race (the other being Pennant Legend) and took the preliminaries very professionally, so deserved to win. But in better company, he might struggle to give a penalty away.
On to today. There is one on the trackers list that goes at Chelmsford tonight, but on the face of it Image (6.15 Chelmsford) faces a stiff task trying to beat the odds-on Pretty Baby. However, her form entitles her to be in the frame if she runs her race and if the dead 8 line up, she's worth consideration for a place. Over at Worcester, Lambeau Field and Maximus Maridius, both horses I like, meet in the 2.20, so that looks like a no-bet race at this stage, but in the last at 5.30 Marlais makes a bit of appeal. He ran a bit better than the figures suggested at Uttoxeter last time, and that over a trip too short too. He'd have needed that after an absence, and if he can reproduce his second to Hey Bill over C&D here from last season, he'd have a decent chance here. Not a 25-1 poke in a weakish race and worth a try.
Today's selection – Marlais 5.30 Worcester
Good luck with all your bets today,