Market Rasen Races,Saturday 30th August 2014

The return of Jumps racing made a slightly early but a very welcome return at Market Rasen in Lincolnshire for a six race evening meeting.

It was also the last of the “Rasen Rocks” meetings as somebody called James Arthur who won an overrated tv talent show that apparently helps raise funds for a media mogul whilst dumbing down music at the same time.

Jumps racing though is what the evening was all about and it was good to see the horse box park full of lorries from old familiar stables.

Below,The warriors arrive.

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4.55 The Watch RacingUK on Sky Channel 432 Novices Hurdle,Class 4,2m1f,8 flights,4yo+

An easy enough win here for the 5yo Satanic Beat who jumped out and made all to hold off fellow rival Chesterfield the ex Godolphin horse who is being reinvented as a jumper.

The start seemed a bit untidy as the they were thirty lengths front to back after the first flight and some of the jumping was a bit untidy by a few of these.

Satanic Beat did what he had to do,Chesterfield ran a sound race getting best only by 1.25 lengths but can win again soon, one who caught the eye was the Charlie Pogson trained Countersign, an ex bumper horse he will be suited by further in time and when he gets a handicap rating.

5.25 The New RacingUK Anywhere Available Now Novices Hurdle,Class 4,2m5f,10 flight,4yo+

Only six in this with a couple coming back off long layoffs.

This was a simple job done by Factor Fifty under Adam Nicol (5) who followed joint favourite The Nephew and Richie McLernon before taking over at the second last flight in the straight and after that it was just a case of keep him up to his work to win his first hurdle at the third attempt, he enjoyed the step up in trip and could follow up in a similar contest around the north.

The Nephew will be better back over fences while Brave Spartacus back in third should come on for the run as will Awbeg Massini even though he was pulled up.

6.00 The Watch On 3 Devices racinguk.com/anywhere Handicap Chase,Class 4,3m1f,17 fences,4yo+ (0-115)

Quite a fairly competitive race for the grade with a few last time out winners and some on tumbling marks.

Old Pals Act from Jonjo O’Neill and under the command of jockey Richie McLernon took the spoils under a nice patient ride,tracking the lead throughout he was in command after two out and despite going out to his right at the last fence he stuck on right upto the line to record his second win over fences, this was his second win at the course so seems to like the Lincolnshire air, he could be a type for those Satellite Nationals later on.

Strumble Head made most of the running until headed three out,he has been paying his way since 2010 and always runs an honest race, Quinsman was third, he won at Worcester in July off 103 and looks to struggling off this mark of 112.

The rest of the field were stretched out across the county.

Below,Old Pals Act has a well earned drink

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6.30 Rum ‘N’ Rasen Handicap Chase,Class 4,2m4f,17 fences,4yo+ (0-120)

Just four in this race and all eyes were on the Emma Lavelle trained The Last Night who won his two starts over fences last season at Leicester and Kempton.

To be fair he started off ok and was leading over the first four fences with Quobilai keeping him company,however coming into the straight for the first time he made mistakes at the three fences which cost him dear as he lost his position which prompted him to drop the bit and sulk before getting pulled up by Richie McLernon at the end of the back straight.

At the business end Qoubilai was still infront but bottom weight Tregaro under Brian Hughes followed his every hoof until leading over the last and despite idling on the run in he had enough in hand.

7.00 Rasen The Roof Handicap Hurdle,Class 4,2m1f,8 flights,4yo+ (0-120)

The result to this race should be treated with caution.

A real calamitous finish to this race, the pace was steady to begin the going down the back jockey Andrew Tinkler on the favourite and Nicky Henderson trained mare Springinherstep moved her from the back to be the leader and turning for home she was still on the bridle and going like the winner.

However this is jumps racing and nothing is ever guaranteed as she came down the the second last flight while being five lengths ahead and she in turn meant Tiradia and Dealing River also came to grief and also Travis County got hampered which ended up with him being pulled up.

All this carnage led to Minella Definitely being gifted the lead under Daryl Jacob who had plenty in hand over the only other finisher My Guardian Angel.

I am happy to say that all horses and jockeys got up safely after the race finished.

7.30 The James Arthur On Next Mares’ Intermediate Open National Hunt Flat Race,Class 6,2m1f,4-6yo Fillies and Mares.

A very likeable debut win for the Peter Niven trained and Daryl Jacob ridden Pixiepot who was always well to the fore and took over the lead with two furlongs to go and got the better of the previously raced favourite Ethelwyn who made good headway during the race but could not make up the two and a quarter lengths difference between them.

One to note from this was the Donal McCain trained Carrigeen Lantana who cost £45,000 after winning her Mares Maiden Point in Ireland back in May,she traveled well but will come into her own when being sent up in trip and over timber in mares races.

Pixiepot is nicely bred and it would be no shock to see her on the flat next year after a winter over hurdles,another bumper will no doubt be the next target after this.

Below,Pixiepot and connections.

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A lovely easing back into the world of NH racing then,obviously it’s still a while before the really big races arrive but it’s always good to get the eye in early.

This Saturday coming it’s possibly my last flat meeting of the season with the Group One Haydock Sprint Cup bringing some of the countries speedster to the fore.

Till then thanks for reading and keep Retweeting and spreading the word.

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Abbey Hey v Alsager Town,North West Counties Premier Division,Saturday 23rd August 2014

With the shops slowly getting ready to stock the shelves with Christmas presents it’s fair to say that for Abbey Hey manager Luke Gibson he will happily settle for just three points of Santa.

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Both teams came into this game in what on paper was a six pointer,an early battle against the drop, Abbey Hey hadn’t won a single game all season and sat at the bottom on 22nd with 0 points while Alsager Town where in 15th with four points to there name.

It was however the away side who took the three points back with them to Alsager which if you travel inbetween Crewe and Stoke a lot you will know it’s the last stop before Crewe with a resounding 4-2 victory.

Both teams began fairly equally with Abbey Hey’s forward Wesley Harney getting an early shot in, however on eight minutes Towns Peter Heler easily converted a simple cross to put the visitors ahead.

Hey came right back and were duly rewarded on 18m when Brandon Zibaka like the first goal easily popped in a cross from the right to draw it level to 1-1,after this plenty chances were had by all but most went over the sticks with the occasional effort going wide and in one case an Abbey Hey shot went over and onto the railway line, fortunately the Manchester to Sheffield line which goes through places like Ryder Brow and Gorton only has an hourly service so no delays were called for,Phew!!!

Second half came and went which in turn brought open the floodgates to plenty more goal action.

Ryan Wintle put Town back ahead with an easy goal after Hey keeper Jon McIlwaine missed a catch which left Wintle with a near enough open goal then six minutes later Michael Blundell made 3-1 to Alsager after a lovely display of passing led to him ably doing round the keeper to slot it home.

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Abbey Hey continued the fight with their skipper Daniel Hewitt covering more blades of grass than the groundsman to keep them in it, this was rewarded when sub Max Pouncey did just what his surname said on the tin gate he got the ball in the back of the net from a free kick near to the clubhouse side of the touch line to bring it to 3-2 in Alsager’s favour.

However any chance of levelling were dealt a cruel blow just five minutes later when on 84 minutes Ryan Wintle got his second and Alsager’s fourth to make it 4-2 to the visitors.

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It’s going to be a tough and long season for Abbey Hey here, They do have some good players, Brandon Zibaka will be a handful for plenty defences that is unless any other club try to snap him up, He has pace and holds up the ball very well indeed, For Alsager one who caught my eye was their defender Reiss Lee who is a very tall and imposing figure, He can play a few levels higher without a doubt.

Alsager move to 14th after this win,they can kick on and put some more points on the board.

Abbey Hey XI

McIlwaine,Samms,Moss,Burywood,Flanagan,Hewitt (C),Murray,Zibaka,Harney,Hardy.

Subs,Lawrence,Varela,Gilgour,Jones,Pouncey.

Alsager Town XI

Drydin,Evans,Chadwick,Taylor,Lee,Prince,Heler (C),Wintle,Smith,Blundell,Reaney.

Subs,Cox,Elcock,Haddrell,Twigg

Ref,Daniel Issawi

Assistants,Owen Williams,Clive Brown.

Atherton LR v Eccleshall, NWCL First Division,Saturday 16th August 2014

So as the rich and much more bigger clubs of what is basically the tv owned and run Premiership with it’s mix of foreign owners,ridiculous kick off times,obscene wages for underachieving players and stupid ticket prices it was off to Step 7 of the football pyramid to the North West Counties League which was already three weeks into the 2014-15 season.

After a Monday night 4-0 drubbing down the road by local rivals Daisy Hill it was the visit from Eccleshall in Staffordshire, LR were second going into this afternoons game although bizarrely they had a goal difference of -1 whereas Eccleshall lay midtable albeit having only played two games compared to LR having played four.

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A 2-2 draw was the final result in what was a tight,tough and at sometimes quite a dirty encounter on the Costa del Crilly lawn.

The first half was cagey to begin but the visitors soon got their heads in front on Four minutes after a poor back pass from LR debutant Jamie Forbes let Eccleshall in on goal but a bad reach by goalie Marcus Burgess led to him being sent off by referee Conor Brown and with no substitute goalie on the bench it meant Thomas Halligan the right back going between the sticks but could not stop the penalty from James Gartside to make it 0-1.

With the advantage in their favour Eccleshall could not capitalise and LR slowly grew into themselves which was rewarded on Twenty three minutes when a silly tackle from the away sides number five Mark Mapperson led to him getting a red card and giving away a penalty that Jon Stephenson easily converted to make it 1-1.

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After the half time break we had a second half which was very eventful and full of hard tackles,many expletives amongst the players and a few fans who had various opinions of what was going on as the match progressed!

Eccleshall after much hard work took the lead on Fifty eight minutes as Matt Louns-Johnson struck a beautiful shot from around Thirty five yards out which the keeper could not stop even he had been born an Octopus!

After that the game picked up a bit more, Eccleshall’s number eight Ryan Greene was very vocal throughout and looks a more than useful midfielder,the sort of player who galvanises a team when they need a kick up the backside but he is also from what I saw a bit temperamental and got booked after a nasty challenge on an LR player,in fairness he should have been grateful to get a yellow as it looked a lot harder than the first sending off for the LR keeper.

LR never gave up despite being on the receiving end of some tough tackles from the away side who apart from playing in what looked like a rejected Stoke City kit seemed to have taken influence from them under the Tony Pulis days, LR to be fair were no pushovers and were rewarded for their persistence and hard work when Ashley Farlow went round Eccleshall keeper Chris Middleton-Hill on the Sixty fifth minute.

After that both teams seemed content for the draw, Eccleshall did try to get a winner, winger Jordan Flattley tried to dance around the opposition a few times but he didn’t have the time of his life.

Eccleshall nearly won with the last kick of the game but some good defending just kept the honours even.

Full time Atherton LR 2 Eccleshall 2

Att 60

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So an intriguing encounter, This was a bruising counter for both clubs and the draw was about fair.

Neither team could really get the better of the other but it’s early days of the season and it will be very interesting to keep an eye on what happens.

Atherton LR

Burgess,Halligan,Thomas,Booth,Darby (C),Forbes,Farlow,Melling,Stephenson,Adams,Burke.

Subs Duckworth,McNair,Hatton,Berry,Boothby.

Eccleshall

Middleton-Hill,Elkin,Counter,Warren,Mapperson,Spooner,Flattley,Greene,King,Llouns-Johnson,Gartside

Subs Lee,Cooper,Burrows,Ratcliffe.

Haydock Park,Saturday 9th August 2014,Betfred Rose Of Lancaster Day

With a slightly dodgy weather forecast and some hurricane called Bertha about give the UK it’s leftovers it was a shock to have glorious sunshine over this part of the Lancashire/Merseyside border for a seven race card.

Quality wise it’s the traditional post Goodwood pre York time of year so while some good horses turned out they might not have been the real stable stars but it was still good quality never the less.

Also it was a concert raceday too with Tom Jones doing his stuff after racing,oddly I was one of a few in the minority of just being there for the racing!

So a seven race card lets take a look at what happened.

1.55 Betfred “Play Today’s £1 1/2 Million Scoop6” Nursery Handicap,Class 2,5f,2yo

A tight race despite only four runners and it was Squats who just got the better of long time leader Profitable by a neck, The pace was steady and these two were always the first two from the gates opening and both didn’t see another rival.

Squats was the oldest horse in the race from foaling dates and wasn’t inconvenienced dropping to 5f but he has some useful form,notably first time out at Sandown when fourth of seven behind Ivawood, he’s on the upgrade and a more than useful developing sprinter.

2.20 Betfred Goals Galore Handicap,Class 2,1m2f 95yds,3yo+ (0-105)

This was a wide open looking handicap with plenty having one eye on next months Cambridgeshire at Newmarket.

Their must be something about the North West that ex Brazilian racer Energia Davos likes as he improved from his Chester fourth back in June to win this with a good deal in hand, last coming down the straight with 3f to go this spare ride for Ryan Tate (3) was angled to the outside and began to pick up and was certainly not stopping at the end, It’s taken a while for trainer Marco Botti to get the best from him,this ex Group One winner in Brazil has finally got a big win under his belt.

Llanarmon Lad came second,he ran his usual sound race and lost nothing in defeat, Elhamme looks held by the handicapper,Fattsota in fourth is also tricky to place and Rye House the Michael Stoute trained 5yo gelding ran a sound race but needs soft ground.

2.55 Betfred Rose Of Lancaster Stakes,Group Three,1m2f 95yds,3yo+

A useful looking Group Race although only one 3yo took part.

This was a front running performance from the Mick Channon trained Amralah who bounce out under Joe Fanning and was never passed by another horse as he recorded a 1.25 length win over Hillstar and the Godolphin trained 3yo True Story back in third only beaten two lengths though.

Amralah was no fluke here as he came in off the back of a win in a Listed contest at Newbury, apparently he could be off to Leopardstown next month for the Champion Stakes although it could be wiser to pop over to France maybe and pick some Euro’s up over there, this was much deserved for Mick Channon,his jumpers have done will in the north west picking money up here and at Aintree with the likes of Loch Ba and Sgt Reckless.

Hillstar won at Royal Ascot and has been placed in top class events this season,he is consistent and always gives his running.

The Godolphin trained True Story was dropping down in Grade,he ran ok back in third but I think he will be better at Four after a bit of Dubai winter sun on his back.

3.25 Betfred TV/EBF Stallions Dick Hern Fillies Stakes,Listed,1m,3yo+

All eyes were on English and Irish 1000 Guineas runner up Lightning Strike as what on paper looked a formality but a race is won on grass and Lightning Strike could only finish fourth as the spoils went to Token Of Love,a 3yo trained by William Haggas she came here off the back of a recent second spot in a handicap at Newbury and was a couple of lengths comfortably in front of Lady Lara who earned a bit of good Black Type here, Manderley was back in third and this is about her level.

Token Of Love is improving and will be upped to Group class after this and Lightning Strike has probably peaked for the season and is worth avoiding after this run.

4.00 Betfred Double Delight Handicap,Class 3,1m,3yo (0-95)

A fair race with a few of the seven runners looking to be in the grip of the handicapper at present.

Indeed it proved to be a case of stick with a potential improver as Ryan Moore finally got on the scoreboard with the Sir Michael Stoute trained Provenance in the colour of the Cheveley Park Stud, the filly ran on well after being moved to the outside and made it three wins from four starts this term, 1m looks to be her best trip and it’s no doubt expected that a Black Type race will be looked for to enhance her value.

Lesha from Kevin Ryan’s yard bounced back from a poor run at Goodwood to be runner up and could follow up soon, top weight Championship was third,he needs relenting a bit from the handicapper as does fourth horse Provident Spirit.

4.35 Betfred Duke Of Lancaster’s Own Yeomanry Handicap,Class 3,1m.3yo+ (0-95)

After 320 days it was business as usual for the John Gosden trained Cornrow who made his belated seasonal debut a winning one, always to the fore he is much better than a handicapper and gave the disqualified second placed horse Yourartisonfire who hampered Multi Bene who was third but after an inquiry the placing got reversed.

Plenty to like from Cornrow here as he went in off 87, he remains a fascinating prospect, He could go for a race like the Cambridgeshire which would suit him and should get in unless he gets fast tracked to Group company on his next start.

5.05 Betfred “Goals Galore Extra” Levy Board Handicap,Class 2,1m4f,3yo,(0-105)

A break since Royal Ascot did Montally the world of good as he recorded his second win of the season, a runner up here in May on Temple Stakes day he then went to the Royal meeting where he was fifth in the Queen’s Vase over 2m, he ran on well in the last furlong and it’s possible he will be Melrose bound after this unless he comes back here next month for the Old Borough Cup over 1m6f, this colt by Yeats has the look of a good stayer in the making.

Runner up Gwafa has plenty of ability and I think he is one of those whose best days are still to come as a 4yo, Mount Logan in third was having only is sixth start and will be another one better up in trip.

The big flop in the race came from Satellite who probably didn’t get the trip but is slowly becoming a member of the “expensive to follow” club.

A very pleasant afternoon then under glorious sunshine,not quite the same today as a write this with the heavens having a grand clear out of water!

Racing wise my next trip will be the Equinox meeting at Market Rasen as we get a chance to get our eye in over the sticks for some “proper racing”.

Hopefully in the meantime I shall try to cover a couple of local football matches either from the North West Counties or the Evo Stik but it will be non league never the less.

Till then thanks for reading and pleas try to RT as often as possible.

Thirsk Races,Thirsk Summer Cup Day,Saturday 2nd August 2014.

After last weekends hustle and bustle in Glasgow it was a return to the equine world in “Herriot County” and a visit for a few years to Thirsk.

A seven race card with the feature race being the 1m Summer Cup was the order of the day in which the weather also had a say in the matter.

After the second race the ground which was originally Good to Soft became Soft (Heavy in Places) then the last race was officially Heavy.

Below,Looking down the course.

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1.55 EBF Stallions Maiden Stakes (BOBIS) Class 4,5f,2yo

An ok maiden which was won quite easily by favourite Chances Are, runner up at Carlisle on her debut she put in a professional front running performance to beat Thorkhill Star by two lengths with Pacngo 4.25 lengths in third.

Chances Are looks a more than decent sprinter,could be a trip to Ripon next for the Two Year Old Trophy or a little novice event somewhere.

2.30 Thirsk Ladies Day Saturday 6th September Nursery Handicap,Class 3,5f,2yo,(0-95)

A wide open looking Nursery and a race had a finish which the handicapper would have been proud to see.

It was a three way photo and the judge gave the nod to Miss Mulberry who just clung on from the fast finishing Shamrock Sheila who would have won given an extra few yards or so, Shes A Worldie who made most began to wander in the last furlong.

This will be a race worth keeping an eye on for future winners I think.

3.05 Jayne And Joe Parker’s Birthday Handicap,Class 4,1m4f,3yo+ (0-80)

This was run in an absolute monsoon of a downpour so the form of the race might not be worth much.

As expected the Mark Johnstone trained Leaderne bowled along,she pulled very hard and paid for it when getting headed in the last three furlongs.

At the business end the one who saw it out the best was Epsom Hill who was a maiden but relished the step up to 1m4f,he dug deep and was ten lengths ahead from Next Edition with an eyecatching run by the Ruth Carr debutant Rochambeau who will be a lot better with nicer conditions and maybe a step to 1m6f or even hurdling will suit.

Epsom Hill was a good winner here, going in off 75 hopefully the handicapper won’t overreact given the conditions of the race.

Below.A little bit damp near the pre parade

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3.40 Totepool Thirsk Summer Cup (Handicap) Class 3,1m,3yo+ (0-90)

The rain had really affected the ground and the field of 17 runners came down the centre of the course after they turned for home.

It was the old wise hooves of Osteopathic Remedy who just got his head on the line at the grand old age of 10 to just defeat 9yo Kiwi Bay by a neck.

In truth while Osteopathic Remedy was quite well in here his main target is the Ripon Rowels at the end of the month where he will be going for a fifth win but this was a nice pot to pick up en route.

The field was 28l front to back at the end, plenty didn’t show their true form.

4.15 Peter Bell Memorial Stakes (Handicap),Class 3,7f,3yo+ (0-90)

Another close finish to this race and ground experience helped as the 3yo Wilde Inspiration trained by Julie Camacho stayed on in the last furlong and was a head in front of the Richard Fahey runner Our Boy Jack.

Wilde Inspiration won on soft at Newcastle over 7f and was given a good ride under quality apprentice Connor Beasley (3), He could be better on race over a straight seven than a turning one but he is in good heart and going in off 80 is still improving and could be a stable star for Julie Camacho as he progresses.

4.50 Totepool Supporting The Sport You Love Maiden Stakes,Class 4,1m,3yo+

Run in another heavy downpour this didn’t make for pleasant viewing but finally at the fifth time of asking the three year old Ed Dunlop trained Taqneen duly went in.

Making all the running he had to urged along with a furlong to go so he wouldn’t slow down, Millkwood a twenty two raced maiden at the start of the race made his usual challenge but could not close the gap.

This was about as bad a maiden that Taqneen could not lose,the blinkers helped and now he has tasted victory it may be that more is to come,possibly over a bit further maybe 1m2f in the future.

Millkwood is a horse who gives his all but always will find one to good,he’s worth sticking in the forecast whenever he turns out.

5.20 Collect Totepool Winnings At Betfred Shops Handicap,Class 4,6f,3yo+ (0-85)

A chance ride for Barry McHugh as Paddy Aspell wasn’t available became a winning one for Yorkshires unofficial Head Of State the wily old Mick Easterby as We’ll Deal Again splashed through the puddles and in another tight finish clung on by a neck from long time pace setter Half A Billion.

As like a lot of the races the change in going and appalling weather means the form must be treated with caution.

Well an interesting afternoon here on Summer Cup Day, As usual the weather didn’t put a dampner on the afternoon for the crowds who turned up wanting a good day out.

The monsoon meant the crowd could indulge things such as idiots diving into the puddles on the lawn to raucous cheers, No doubt when they got back on the coaches the drivers were happy to see their passengers in damp,wet and no doubt smelly clothing mixed in with a few beers consumed!

It wasn’t just the course that was heavy, the car parks suffered a bit too, Don’t know how the driver got into this car below!

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Anyway Saturday coming I shall be at Haydock for Rose Of Lancaster Day, till then thank you for your continued reading and RT of the site.