Can one desire too much of a good thing?
Words written by Stratford’s most famous person William Shakespeare,I think if he asked that to fans of jump racing they would quickly say “No” I imagine.
It’s that period of the season which is post Cheltenham and pre Aintree which means the quality of this afternoons seven race card was a bit low but winners were still their to be found on a slightly chilly day at Stratford.
The turf flat is slowly creeping up on us but for lovers of the winter game their is plenty of action left with big festivals at Aintree,Ayr,Fairyhouse,Punchestown,Perth and Sandown still to come.
Below,Stratford’s Waterless Water Jump.
1.55 Stratford Bookmakers Day Mares Handicap Chase,Class 4,2m4f,14 fences,5yo+ (0-120)
Only four in what looked a trappy contest that was won easily by favourite My Flora for the Dan and Harry Skelton partnership,always going well she jumped nicely and can build from this,Carhue Princess who made most of the running stayed on for second place.
2.25 Bet With Rails Bookmakers Selling Handicap Hurdle,Class 5,2m110yds,8 flights,4-7yo,(0-100)
A poor race which was run at a good clip by early pace setter Douchkirk who set the fractions until getting headed between the final two flights by eventual winner Osgood and runner up Echoes Of Joy with just three quarters of a length separating them at the end.
Osgood used to be with Mick Channon on the flat and spent last year in the pointing field albeit being pulled on all of his four starts,this will boost his confidence although it’s doubtful his trainer Gary Moore thinks he may have a new Sire De Grugy on his hands.
3.00 Bet With The Tattersalls Bookmakers Handicap Chase,Class 4,3m4f,20 fences,5yo+,0-120)
A bold front running display here from Talkonthestreet under Tom O’Brien who put them to the sword from the off and hung on by a neck from Royal Knight who won the Borders National back in December and found the heavy going in the Eider to much for him to handle.
A lot to like from Talkonthestreet here,he relished the step up in trip and could end up at Haydock on Easter Saturday in the Tim Molony and possibly go for the decent staying chases next term.
Royale Knight is probably better getting weight than giving it,I would think the Scottish National could be for him after this.
3.35 Bet With Course Bookmakers Handicap Hurdle,Class 4,2m6f110yds,11 flights,4yo+ (0-120)
A back to form win for Decimus who stayed on strongly to get the better from Halifax who was always in the van guard,he made a couple of mistakes but rallied well when asked,he could be turned out again soon possibly.
Halifax was formerly trained by John Ferguson and in his old flat days was fifth in a Queens Vase at Royal Ascot when Mark Johnston used to have him,he will pick a race up soon.
4.10,Support Your On Course Bookmakers Novices’ Handicap Chase,Class 4,2m5f110yds,15 fences,5yo+(0-110)
A fair if modest contest here which resulted in a second win of the day for the Skelton’s as Ballincurrig who took over at the last fence from long time leader Sure Thing who was making his chasing debut,these in turn where 15 lengths clear from the rest of the field.
This was a much better performance by the winner who will be better when upped to 3m in time,Sure Thing jumped well and ran ok,he will strip fitter for this and can be found a small opening somewhere in time.
4.45 Stratford Bookmakers Day Maiden Hurdle,Class 5,2m3f,9 flights,4yo+
A truly poor contest here with not one of the seven runners offering any semblance of worthwhile form to suggest they had a chance.
No matter how bad a race looks something has to win and it was a front running display from Gaye Memories who was turned out quickly after only beating one home at Warwick on Wednesday,despite being a bit green she clattered the last but had plenty in hand to score here.
Willow Island was well fancied due to his flat form in staying events,he will learn a lot from this but isn’t one to trust.
Sadly their was a fatality in Sammyman who hit the third last and was quickly pulled up.
After the race the stewards called trainer Dan Skelton in who had his third winner of the day here,no doubt to ask the improvement in form,this was a bit odd given as none of the field had any divine right to win at all! Sometimes you wonder if they actually studied this race before the off.
5.30 Get Value On Course At Stratford Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle,Class 5,2m3f,9 flights,4yo+,(0-100)
No doubt they were dancing on the streets of Alvechurch here as local trainer Ian Williams saddled the most facile winner of the day in Watt Broderick who came into this race fit from the flat and has been running credibly over hurdles,travelling sweetly he was held up early and was cruising on the steel over the last flight to win with his head in his chest under Michael Byrne to defeat Polo Springs by five lengths.
He has three entries next week and could be turned out for one of them,worth backing him should the conditions be the same
A nice afternoons sport then and a nice return after a break of a few weeks,I have a busy period coming up with racing at Aintree,Ayr,Haydock and Thirsk coming up as the transition from jumps to flat slowly takes shape.
Today’s card had some good finished with the best race being the long distance steeplechase,Talkonthestreet is a nice looking stayer for next season indeed.
Next up I shall be at the first two days of the Grand National meeting which is always a highlight of my year.
Below,Talkonthestreet posing after his win.
Below,The Horse and Hound Cup winners wall of fame.
Below,Horses after the last race.