Haydock Park,Saturday 21st November 2015

Betfair Chase Day on day two of the festival was met with glorious winter sunshine in conditions that were so much nicer and certainly a reward for those who braved Friday’s very testing conditions. 

This afternoon saw the eleventh running of the Betfair Lancashire Chase with a small but select field of top class staying chasers. 

Also on the card was some competitive handicaps and the Price Rush Hurdle for horses with Champion Hurdle aims. 

Much nicer today than Friday

12.10 Read Paul Nicholls Exclusivley On Betfair Handicap Hurdle,Class 3,2m,9 flights,3yo (0-135)

A fair looking race which Baby King finally began to repay the £130,000 shelled out on him as he got favourite backers off to a good start,despite having to fight off the attentions of Zaidiyn up the run in he kept on under Paddy Brennan to take the race by 0.75 lengths,the pair were seven ahead of De Boitron back in third. 

Baby King is finally going the right way over hurdles although depending on what the reaction is off his mark of 123 here he should offer more,Zaidiyn ran much better than his previous two runs which included a fall over fences and a spin at Chelmsford on the sand. 


Baby King

12.40 Betfair Home Of Price Rush Handicap Chase,Class 3,3m4f,22 fences,4yo+ (0-135)

This was a real stamina test and Venetia Williams will have an excellent chance of recording back to back Welsh Nationals as last years victor Emperor’s Choice who was runner up in this last season went one better as he battled on under Aidan Coleman on this triple National winning horse (Welsh,West Wales and Surrey) 

The early pace was set solid by Harry The Viking and King Of The Wolds with the former jumping for fun, coming to three out though fatigue set in for Wolds and he got headed and found no extra,Emperor’s Choice lead with two to jump and had to work hard and fought off the attentions of Lackamon to score by 1.75 lengths  

Emperor’s Choice will next be Chepstow bound,he won that off 131 and went in here off 135,he loves the mud and could come back here in February for the National Trial,wether he goes to Aintree is another thing though, Lackamon gave his all and ran with credit. 

1.15 Better Odds With Betfair Exchange Handicap Hurdle,Class 2,2m3f,10 flights,4yo+

Rock The Kasbah followed up from his recent runner up spot at Chepstow last month as he hacked up under Tom O’Brien and won looking like a horse possibly a little bit ahead of the handicapper. 

Vendor from Sue Smith’s cut the early running out but faded after being passed by the peloton at the last flight and faded down the field, Rock The Kasbah led over the last and drew away well, Aerlite Supreme stayed on into second spot with Stilletto boxing on into third  

Rock The Kasbah is a horse on the up,expect races like the Relkeel or the Lanzarotte to feature,he should be even better when he goes chasing. 

Rock The Kasbah

1.50 Betfair Price Rush Hurdle,Class 2,2m,8 flights,4yo+

Only the four which saw Irving follow up his recent Wincanton win but it wasn’t easy as he had to fight off the attentions of last seasons Triumph runner up and Victor Ludorum winner Top Notch. 

Irving has plenty of talent but struggled in the second half of last season,it’s possible the Fighting Fifth next weekend could be next unless the Bula or Christmas Hurdle are on the radar, Top Notch ran a credible race in his first race in open company. 


Passing the stands

2.25 Betfair ‘Tap Tap Boom’ “Fixed Brush” Handicap Hurdle,Grade 3,2m7f,12 flights,4yo+

A competitive renewal of this unique race which was run at a solid gallop from the outset. 

Baradari opened his account for the Skelton team here,always travelling well he  and runner up Definitly Red went past long time leaders Closing Ceremony and Yala Enki as they came to the third last,over two out Baradari began to pull away and had the race firmly in the bag from Definitly Red who heat on but could not bridge the gap,Batavir and Alcala were behind in third and fourth place. 

Baradari had won a valuable Ascot race in January over 2m3f and he stayed the extra trip really well,only a 5yo he will be having more good days and was only 2lb higher than his Ascot win,he may go for a Pertemps qualifier unless he has a go at the big staying races such as the Rendlesham here in February. 

Definitly Red took the big Grade 2 Novice race here in February,he has a big race in him,Batavir may do better down in trip,Alcala will have learnt plenty here but a less competitive race will suit him better. 

3.00 Betfair Chase,Grade 1,3m,18 fences,5yo+

Cue Card was the ace here in the first Grade One of the season as he made Silviniaco Conti look very one paced in a high quality renewal and a crack at the £1,000,000 bonus. 

Only five may have gone to post,sadly with no horses from Ireland but it was an enthralling race from flag fall  

Conti went to the front under Noel Fehily and was very economical with his jumping,Cue Card and Dynaste kept each other company in behind while Holywell and Ballynagour were always behind. 

With 9f left Cue Card began to put it up to Conti and these two very much had the race to themselves,Conti began to try and move on around the final turn but was starting to be niggled on after jumping four out then Cue Card went up his inner at the final ditch and was in cruise control as Paddy Brennan had an easy stroll home to get a second Betfair Chase. 

Cue Card is back with a bang this season and now heads off to Kempton on Boxing Day,despite being a course he has never really acted on he will have a lot of followers. 

Silviniaco Conti was well and truly stuffed here,Paul Nicholls did say that he could sport some headgear next,it could be that maybe he has peaked as a chaser,Kempton will be the real telling point as to wether that is true or not, Dynaste simply has never really stayed 3m at this level,he would be ideal for the Peterborough Chase next month. 

Holywell is a spring horse but ran with credit,Ballynagour never figured 

Cue Card

3.35 Cash Out In Running With Betfair Handciap Chase,Class 2,3m 18 fences,4yo+ (0-145)

David Pipe looks to have a good one here as 6yo Vieux Lion Rouge stayed the extra trip here on his handicap debut after winning a couple of novice chases in the summer and made a mockery of his mark of 139 finishing four lengths ahead of Sun Cloud and No Planning. 

The winner was held up early doors and got the lead with three to jump,from then he just had to keep up to his work,Sun Cloud who got hampered after Straidnahan fallen at the final ditch stayed on well but could not bridge the gap,No Planning and Indian Castle came third and fourth 

Vieux Lion Rouge could return to Haydock for the Tommy Whittle and Peter Marsh,he is a horse on the up and loves heavy,Sun Cloud needs dropping a few pounds but ran well here. 


Going out into the country

Two days of top class racing all done here and we have seen some fine horses in very tough conditions. 

Next racing review may be the Becher Chase but with the weather you can never be sure. 


Stilletto,3rd in the third race should offer more soon 

Straidnahanna,fell when going well in the last 

Until the next review,goodbye

Haydock Park,Friday 20th November 2015

Day one of the Betfair Chase Festival and the current band of bad weather  was still in resedency here as rain fell on Haydock with the occasional stop for a tea break. 

Six races on the card with the emphasis based on the future seasons ahead of some potentially quality horses. 

Some of the field sizes may not have been big but it did not detract from having exciting finishes that wetted the appetite for Saturday’s action  

12.50 Money Advice Group Handicap Hurdle,Class 3,2m7f,12 flights,4yo+ (0-130)

First blood to Scotland for the Lucinda Russell trained 6yo Island Heights who stayed on dourly here after sharing pace setting duties with Oscar Blue, despite a blunder two from home he kept Major Ivan held in second by two lengths,Shades Of Midnight and Oscar Blue filled up the minor places. 

Plenty to like from this winner who was following up a recent win at Ayr,a return to fences looks likely soon and can improve,Major Ivan on his handicap debut ran with credit and should find something soon. 


Island Heights comes back in

1.20 Money Advice Group Graduation Chase,Class 2,2m,13 fences,4yo+

Just the three in this but a smooth win for recent Lingfield scorer Doctor Phoenix under Brian Hughes,taking over from two our odd long time leader Kings Lad he had this in the bag,he jumped very well and getting 7lb and 4lb off the other two he used this to his advantage,the drop down to two miles has helped him a lot and he could be a bit better. 

Kings Lad ran with credit while Solar Impulse looks to have his own ideas about the game and nearly sent his jockey into orbit at the first fence. 

1.55 Betfair Tap Tap Boom Boom Novices’ Hurdle,Listed,2m,9 flights,4yo+

A bloodless victory for the favourite Welsh Shadow from the Skelton team who was always travelling well and easily went past long time leader Viens Chercher approaching the final flight of hurdles to go on and score by 2.5 lengths with the mare Mardale behind them in third. 

Welsh Shadow came into this race off the back of a defeat at Exeter on his hurdling debut,wether he can improve and take a hand in the big events is another thing,Viens Chercher ran much better than at Cheltenham last Sunday when he folded tamely,Mardale gained some black type and could come back here next month for a mares hurdle. 

2.30 Betfair Home Of Price Rush Novices’ Chase,Class 2,2m5f127y,17 fences,4yo+

Silsol made it two from two but only just in this very informative contest as he just got up by a nose to get the better of Private Malone in a thrilling finish  

The two of them shared the front two positions from flag fall and Private Malone jumped very well on debut then coming to the final open ditch Silsol took over before going a length down at the last before rallying under Sam Twiston Davies to just get the job done, back in third was the well touted Minella Rocco but he could never land a blow. 

Silsol might have found this race a bit to quick after last Monday’s run at Carlisle,he isn’t the finished article over fences but he will get there,his owner comes from Scotland so expect his main targets to be either the Manifesto at Aintree or the Future Champions at Ayr. 

Private Malone loves to bowl along and is no slouch and can be a stable star for Emma Lavelle. 


3.05 Wingate Signs Supports & Superjosh Charity “Fixed Brush” ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle,Class 3,2m3f,10 flights,4-7yo

Vintage Clouds took full advantage of the fall at three out of Wade Harper as he hacked up here,truth be told he was going the best when approaching it and he stayed on well to record a nine length win over Baratineur who looked to benefit the extra trip and Celldomfed who was twenty seven lengths back in third. 

Vintage Clouds carries the Trevor Hemmings colours so expect him to be back here soon,he should jump a fence and get further, Baratineur will do better handicapping,Celldomfed will have learnt from this. 


Vintage Clouds

3.40 Racing Welfare “Junior” Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race,Class 4,2m,3yo

An easy win in a very ordinary bumper for the Venetia Williams trained Du Soleil under Callum Whillans here,taking over the lead from Sir Albie passing the 3f pole he readily put daylight between the rest of them,former French bumper winner Crackdeloust from the Brian Ellison stable plugged on for second but could not keep up with the winner and went down by six lengths   

Plenty to like from Du Soleil,he had big hooves which were vital in the testing conditions,whatever he does in bumpers will be good but he should be even better over hurdles,Crackdeloust could well mix it on the flat and jumps,he looks a reliable type and it would be no shock to see him in a 1m4f maiden on the sand too


Du Soleil

A nice albeit wet afternoon at Haydock,plenty of nice horses on display but tomorrow it’s all about the Betfair Chase, Ground wise it could be Heavy tomorrow which will make for an attritional contest. 

Today’s Wattspots

Charlie Cook,5th in the 3m hurdle he looked to stay ok and with better ground should be capable of a nice win 

Private Malone,unlucky loser in the 2m5f novice chase,looks to have lots of ability

Renaissance Red,3rd in the bumper,ran green but will have learned plenty from this race. 

Until next time,Thank you for reading 

Carlisle Races,Monday 9th November 2015

Cumbria on a very wet,windy and sometimes very chilly afternoon was the location for a six race card as Carlisle held a fairly useful looking Monday afternoon jumps meeting which included the feature Graduation Chase. 

After much rain over the weekend it left the ground Heavy but amazingly no obstacles were bypassed.  


1.15 Free Spins At 188Bet Casino Novices’ Handicap Hurdle,Class 4,2m4f,11 flights,3yo+ (0-110)

An easy success here for Evens favourite Baywing,travelling well up the straight he had to be kept up to his work and did the job effiently to hold the mare Pixiepot by ten lengths, Baywing should be able to add to this and move up from his winning mark here over hurdles of 89 and will improve even more when sent chasing 

1.45 188Bet Novices’ Chase,Class 4,2m4f,16 fences,4yo+

A quality novice chase on paper and it turned out into a debut victory over birch for the Paul Nicholls trained Silsol under Sam Twiston-Davies as he battled against the grey Maximiser up the run in and just hung on by half a length. 

Silsol jumped pretty well on his first run over fences and will have learnt a lot from this,twice a winner last season on soft and heavy which he relishes with aplomb Silsol is part of a crack team of chasers from this stable,it’s possible races like the Altcar at Haydock and the Scilly Isles could suit him 

Maximiser was unfortunate in defeat but looks a quality chaser in the making,he can take a novice chase soon, Seeyouatmidnight came third,he jumped well but slipped after the fifth last and will be even better when upped to three miles


Silsol comes back in

2.15 Premier League Betting At 188Bet Novices’ Hurdle,Class 4,2m1f,9 flights,4yo+

Fitness counted here for hurdling debutant Virnon from Alan Swinbank’s stable,already a winner of two junior bumpers last season he came into this race off the back of a couple of pipe openers on the level and stayed on under Leighton Aspell after responding to pressure and was driven out to record this first win over timber, the 4yo ended up six lengths ahead from the Donald McCain trained ex pointer Freddie’s Portrait. 

Virnon found extra when needed,he should be better when upped in trip and looks a useful type, Freddie’s Portrait ran well in defeat,the one dissapointed to was the well touted Grey Storm who was pulled up but he can be forgiven 


Virnon passes in front

2.50 Weatherbys Bank Graduation Chase,Class 2,3m110yds,18 fences,4yo+

A very intriguing staying chase here and a nice piece of hold up riding by Sam Twiston-Davies on Salubrious who gave Paul Nicholls his second winner of the day in his northern raid here,held up from the tape he picked the field off one by one but had a real battle on his hands as Masters Hill made him fight after the last and just went down by a neck,the pair were over thirty lengths ahead of Blakemount who was the only other finisher. 

Formerly a winner of the Martin Pipe Hurdle in 2013 Salubrious was only having his second start over fences,gong in here off 148 he could be tricky to place but looks like he will get further, Masters Hill is a useful type and could be suited to the 3m handicap chase at Haydock on Betfair day


Salubrious comes back in

3.25 188Bet.co.uk Handicap Chase,Class 4,2m4f,16 fences,4yo+ (0-120)

A bloodless victory here for the Colin Tizzard trained and Noel Fehily ridden 6yo 4-1 joint favourite Fourth Act who took this chase on what was only his second start over fences with ease, given a nice ride he took over the lead from long time leader Rocking Blues after the second last and moved away very nicely, he looks to be a lot better than this winning mark of 114 and looks a horse on the up and could offer more

Rocking Blues had not been sighted since March 2014 but has a couple of wins at Kelso to his name, other 4-1jf was Retrieve The Stick who was well behind in third,he ran with credit but looks held st the moment

4.00 Grand Slam Of Darts At 188Bet Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race,Class 6,2m1f,4-6yo

A fair bumper taken by the 4yo debutant Three Ways for County Clare based trainer Ronald O’Leary with Dougie Costello in the plate,always to the fore Three Ways came to lead with three furlongs left an despite having to fend off fellow debutant Carole’s Vigilante he got this by two lengths, previous bumper winner Dante’s Way couldn’t hold off his 7lb penalty and was fourteen lengths back in third. 


Getting gloomy during the day

Quality racing then at Carlisle which a hardy and loyal crowd enjoyed despite the weather not being the best. 

Arguably the best performance of the day for me was from Silsol in the novice chase,a few of the Nicholls horses have just needed the run but he could be a top draw in this division. 

Now for today’s Wattspots

Freddie’s Portrait 6yo,ran well to be second in this 2m1f hurdle,will be better over further when sent chasing. 

Maximiser,Found one to good in Silsol but can take a hand in the novice chase and should stay 3m. 

Next racing on here will be both days of the Betfair Chase meeting at Haydock next weekend,till then goodbye.