Wetherby for a seven race card,it wasn’t as busy as it was two weeks ago on Charlie Hall day and the quality was a little bit down the scale but still competitive never the less.
A mixture of interesting looking handicaps and a few novice events made up the card,their was a couple of jockey changes with both Danny Cook and Peter Buchanan missing in action due to injuries.I wish them both a safe and speedy recovery.
12.25 Colin Baldwin 82nd Birthday Mares Novices Hurdle,Class 4,2m,9 flights,4yo+
Experience showed here as the favourite Run Ructions Run followed up her recent runner up spot here over 2m4f by duly obliging over the minimum trip with a comfortable and workmanlike performance from Born To Benefit.
The flat debutants Princess Caetani and Villa Royale ran ok and both will have learned from the experience but they were comfortably outclassed on the day.
12.55 racinguk.com/freetrial Novices Chase,Class 4,2m,13 fences,4yo+.
Only five went to post for what look a fairly useful and informative contest with four of the five all making debuts over the fences.
It was a hardworking win for favourite Mwaleshi a former Grade a Two winner over hurdles last season over 2m2f and off this performance will be even better when stepped up in trip,jumping well in the main he rounded off a better end to the week than the beginning of it for trainer Sue Smith,he could be a more than useful chaser this season.
Imjoeking and Supreme Asset both ran respectable races and should pick up a small race or two after learning what this steeplechasing lark is all about.
1.30 Dransfield CIU Charity Raceday Handicap Hurdle,Class 4,3m1f,13 flights,4yo+ (0-120)
It paid to be at the top of the handicap in this contest which brought up the hat trick for Flicka Williams who followed up his recent Uttoxeter win to land the spoils from the improving Lookout Mountain who was put up 15lb after a win at Huntingdon a fortnight ago.
Wayward Glance and Joseph Mercer ran nice races,Joseph Mercer was returning after 196 days off on his first start for Tina Jackson and needs a dropping a few pounds down but still retains enough ability to be more than useful.
Lookout Mountain ran a good race in defeat,it was odd seeing the Coolmore colours at Wetherby as opposed to York and a Doncaster but I could see him being entered in a Pertemps Qualifier as he looks the sort to do well in it while the winner Flicka Williams is tough and can find more improvement yet.
2.05 Bet totescoop6 At Totepool.com Handicap Chase,Class 3,3m1f,18 fences,4yo+ (0-130).
A very trappy looking staying steeplechase full of potential improvers from last season.
It was an impressive staying run by No Planning to keep the form of the Sue Smith yard going,runner up last time over 2m4f he seems to relish the staying trips and could turn out to be a very good stayer indeed,he only made one error at three out but he saw the trip out well enough and has plenty of ability,now his trip seems to have been found he could be back here on Boxing Day for the Rowland Meryck Chase over CD.
Second place went to Denal Highway who was trying this trip for the first time on his seasonal reappearance and he seemed to stay,he could be targeting the better class 3m handicap chases,ascot swell made most of the early pace and looks the type to always find a few better in his races while the biggest disappointment came from Grouse Lodge who was always up with the pace until turning for home when he began to weaken,he should benefit from the outing although he can do much better than this.
2.40 Rob Seldon Retirement Handicap Chase,Class 4,2m4f+,16 fences,4yo+ (0-105)
An average contest which gave the owners of Badger Foot some compensation after his previous run at Hexham when he sprawled at the second last,a much more polished performance here he jumped well and fought off a PB by runner up Goodtoknow while the hat trick seeking Midnight Charmer could not cope with his new rating of 89.
Badger Foot won here of 98 so will end up going over 100 unless he comes out again quickly and Goodtoknow should be suited by three miles in time but he’s only a 5yo and he can improve.
Tresor De L’isle could not do what he did last time at Ayr,he was always struggling before falling at the fourth last.
3.15 Your Favourite Pool Bets At totepool.com Handicap Hurdle,Class 3,2m,9 flights,4yo+ (0-129)
A competitive enough race on paper and real tight finish that just went the way of Zaplamation,fit from the flat the 8yo was facing a battle on the run in and just hung on by a short head from Zafrangar.
Both the first two struggled to settle in the race,indeed the winning time was just over eight seconds slower than standard.
Lifetime was the one who filled third sport,he is now 0-12 over hurdles but he does run to a consistent level as he has been placed in five of his races.
3.50 New Racing Uk Anywhere Available Now Novices Hurdle,Class 4,2m4f,11 flights.
A two horse race on paper and so it proved to be as 4/7 f Blakemount comfortably beat Sir Mangan by 7 lengths.
Both 5yo Irish point winners they are quite promising and will probably stay over timber this season between 2m4f and 3m before embarking on Chasing careers.
The eye-catcher for me was Light The City, trained by Ruth Carr he travelled well turning for home before weakening but this was his third start and will now be qualified for handicaps,I would keep an eye on him as their is a small race around the likes of Sedgefield or Catterick that should suit.
A nice enough afternoons racing,being one of the understudy meetings when Cheltenham is one does mean that you won’t really be getting the best of the best but the crowd were treated to some good racing with some very enjoyable finishes.
Next up for me is the two day Betfair Chase Festival at Haydock,the first day being more a case of a Future Champions Day with plenty novice events and a bumper then on Saturday the Grade One Betfair Chase over 3m with equine stars such as Bobs Worth,Silviniaco Conti and Tidal Bay hopefully all lining up to do battle.
Until then goodbye.