Haydock Park,Wednesday 30th December 2015,Last Fling Chase Day

Haydock passed the early morning inspection and managed to withstand the overnight battering that Storm Frank Spencer had given it over the past couple of days, I’m sure many out their have wondered if it’s no coincidence that we have had more storms since the Met office decided to take responsibility to name them !

Seven races graced the Merseyside venue for the final meeting of 2015 and while it wasn’t a top class card here it was still competitive none the less. 

Crowd wise it wasn’t as big as it normally has been here for this meeting but with a planned morning inspection and tricky weather probably made some people decided to ga and have an indoor picnic on the M60 while Quentin for the Trafford Centre!

12.20 Free Bet At 188Bet Conditional Jockeys’ Handciap Hurdle,Class 4,2m7f,12 flights,4yo+ (0-120)

Not a competitive staying test but American Life bounced back to form here under Killian Moore (3),taking over from long time leader Ballywilliam who was had to be chased into a lot of his hurdles after three out he bounded clear to win thirteen lengths from Rock Relief in second, Ballywilliam came third some nine lengths back. 

American Life won three on the bounce in November last year and was off his hat trick mark of 105 here,connections will be hopeful he can do the same.  

12.50 188bet.co.uk Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase,Class 3,2m3f,15 fences,4yo+ (0-125)

Throthethatch bounced back from his Musselburgh flop to record his third win over the big obstacles for the Lucinda Russell team although he had to work for it to fight off the attentions of Morning Royalty by five lengths not to mention the loose Another Journey who did his best Racing Demon impression up the straight 

The winner was back to his best here,he knows a battle and found extra when needed,he likes to bowl along and will be better when the ground is easier,Morning Royalty came with every chance but will be much better back over three miles. 

1.25 EBF Stallions 188Bet ‘National Hunt’ Novices’ Hurdle (Qualifier),Class 4,2m,9 flights,4-6yo

Ten went to post but only the three with previous winning form mattered as Nico De Boinville capped off a fine 2015 with an all the way win on the 4yo Bigmartre who made all but had to shake off the attentions of last months impressive course winner Vintage Clouds which he did by 1.25 lengths with recent Leicester scorer Flashjack 10 length back in third. 

Bigmartre has improved a lot since joining Harry Whittington and looks to have a lot more left in him,he prefers to be up with the pace and bowl along,Vintage Clouds ran a fine race in defeat but is much better over further and will be an even better chaser. 

2.00 Last Fling Chase,Class 2,3m3f,22 fences,4yo+ (0-145) (Handicap sponsored by Classic Lodges Ltd)

This was a real slog in the Merseyside mud which saw the 10yo Rigadin De Beauchene regain the winning thread with a masterclass in staying chasing as  he was reunited with old sparring partner Robbie Dunne to make all the running and despite making an error at the final ditch easily held off Harry The Viking by three lengths, twelve lengths back in third was Listen Boy and the 4yo Cyclop back in fourth. 

Rigadin De Beauchenne hasn’t won since landing the 2014 National trial here,he reportedly may head to Chepstow for the Welsh National but the Classic Chase at Warwick may be a better and slightly easier race, Harry The Viking ran his usual honest race,Listen Boy didn’t quite stay the extra as didn’t Cyclop. 

 

Rigadin De Beauchene beats Harry The Viking

  

Rigadin De Beauchene

 
2.30 Live Casino At 188bet.co.uk Handicap Chase,Class 3,2m4f135yds,17 fences,4yo+ (0-130)

A useful enough contest and trainer Charlie Mann and jockey Denis O’Regan got bottom weight Morney Wing to win his first chase on his third start since leaving Sandra Hughes’ stable, making all his win was helped by the nice travelling Minella Reception who was going well and has a nice race in him until he fell at the final ditch, Morney Wing had to shrug off the favourite Friendly Royal who gave him a fight but he could not get past. 

Morney Wing looks to be going the right way,he should stay three miles in time and he could be a Topham type but possibly a better choice would be to get him qualified for a Challenger race, Friendly Royal is still improving and looks like he has more winning races in him still. 

3.05 Premier League Betting At 188bet.co.uk “Fixed Brush” Novices’ Hurdle,Class 4,2m3f,10 flights,4-7yo

Bridget Andrews (5) got her first win since coming back from injury as she had an easy win on the 5yo Its’afreebee as horse and rider made all,jumped well and breezed home by 24 lengths from Robinshill back in second who in turn was 4.5 lengths ahead of I Just Know back in third spot, Favourite Nansaroy was in second and held when he stumbled on landing at the last and unseated Adam Wedge

Its’afreebee cost £55,000 to buy from Mark Fahey’s yard after his recent Bangor win and looks a useful type,the extra trip helped and wether Dan Skelton chooses another novice race or a step in grade for something like the Leamington is another thing but he is a progressive type. 

 

Its’afreebee

 
3.35 Asian Handicaps At 188bet.co.uk “Fixed Brush” Handicap Hurdle,Class 4,2m3f,10 flights,3yo+ (0-120)

Just the six here with the unusual oddity that all were trained by women,I can’t remember any race in the UK in which the whole field were female trained,If this isn’t the case then please let me know 

After the recent bad weather it was good to see a trainer from York get a winner as Tomkevi won on his third start for Rebecca Menzies and jockey Tony Kelly (3), three lengths in front after the last he just clung on from the staying on Hainan by a neck, the pair were five lengths ahead of favourite Octagon who couldn’t find any extra on the run in. 

A winner over hurdles and fences in France,Tomkevi looked to appreciate these hurdles and now he has found his winning thread again could build on this,Hainan was tough in defeat and a step up in trip may help. 
A fair days racing then 

The next planned race meeting will be Warwick in three Saturday’s time,hopefully next Saturday we will be at some local football,all weather dependant of course

I would like to wish all of you a Happy 2016 and thank you for reading. 

Until the next review,Goodbye and keep enjoying the magic that is live sport. 

Wattspots

Sean Ban,5yo,D McCain,4th in the 2m Novice Hurdle,will be better upped in trip and in a handicap

Droylsden v Mossley,Evo Stick 1st Div North,Monday 28th December 2015

A few days ago Three Wise Men came baring gifts and if those gifts were three points then Droylsden manager Dave Pace would have probably been fighting Louis Van Gaal over the streets of Manchester for them as only one point was taken in this tasty derby match at The Butchers Arms this afternoon. 

Both teams came into this game fresh after Saturday’s horrific weather which as decimated many communities in the north meant that Droylsden’s away game to Radcliffe Borough and Mossley’s home tie against Glossop were both called off. 

  
Droylsden came out of the traps pretty well and looked set to make their mark early, Billy Cregg had a good effort parried in the opening exchanges before captain James Hampson missed the gift of an open net which went wide. 

The home side finally broke the deadlock when Hampson easily slotted in on twenty five minutes from a long pass to make it 1-0 to the Bloods. 

Mossley had limited attacks on goal with Godwin Abadaki having had a saved effort just seconds after the restart. 

The Bloods almost doubled up before the half time oranges and bollockings when Cregg just let his lack of height let him down as he just missed a good heading opportunity from a cross from Daniel Grimshaw. 

  
In the second half both teams were throwing caution to the wind as it got a bit chilly in this side of East Manchester, Mossley were doing their best to draw level while the home team wanted to get the game finished off. 

Things took a different turn on the hour or so when referee Alan Clayton got injured and went to ground,as he did Mossley went upfield and scored but this was cancelled out,The excellent St Johns assisted him and while this was occurring an announcement went out for any qualified officials,brining Droylsden it’s own Jimmy Hill moment, thankfully the ref was fine to continue. 

    
Mossley finally made it 1-1 on 73 minutes when Abadaki scored from inside the box,Droylsden tried to clear it but nothing could be done. 

From here both teams tried to get the winning goal but even with eight minutes of added time no goal could be found despite many chances coming close to the net

Full Time,Droylsden 1 Mossley 1

  
A fair game in which a draw was probably unfair as both teams set out to get the points,Mossley were very physical with some of their defenders getting some very hard tackles in,Droylsden played their usual style of passing football and were unlucky not to be at least three up before the interval

All being well weather wise we shall be at Haydock on Wednesday for the Last Fling Chase

Haydock Park,Saturday 19th December,Tommy Whittle Chase Day

Ho Ho Ho and for those who didn’t fancy spending the last Saturday before Chrsitmas being stuck and annoyed in a shopping centre had the joys of a seven race card at Haydock with the Tommy Whittle Chase being the feature of the day. 

The horses and jockeys had Heavy ground which got a little bit more testing during the afternoon as the heavens opened up. 

Quality wise the racing was competitive with some fiendishly tricky handicaps so for those who wanted to use today to pay for the festivities were in for a tough old afternoon. 

 

Seen better bands on a pack of cigars!

 
11.55 Download Your Racing UK App Handicap Hurdle,Class 3,2m,9 flights,3yo+ (0-125)
After Hours made a successful handicap debut here for James Davies and trainer Henry Oliver as he wore down Baratineur in the last furlong to just get up by a short head who was all making his debut in handicap company. 

The winner was very tough here and knew how to battle,he looks likely to be kept over hurdles and possibly stepped back up to 2m4f soon, Baratineur was an unlucky loser and it’s a case of how the handicapper reacts, these two were twelve lengths ahead of Captain Redbeard. 

 

Out into the country

 
12.25 Racing Uk Anywhere Novices’ Chase,Class 2,2m,13 fences,4yo+

A five runner event but only two mattered here as the inform Skelton team landed a nice win. 

Pain Au Chocolat had Aso for breakfast here as he got the better by a length and a quarter,taking over down the back he jumped better Aso who was a bit slow and novicey over the fences, Aso did rally but he was never going to bridge the gap.  

Plenty to like from Pain Au Chocolat who had clearly learned from his Market Rasen win,this 4yo may not be Arkle material but he could end up having a crack at the Kingmaker in February, Aso was quite buzzy in the parade ring,maybe some headgear and more schooling will help. 

12.55 Watch Racing UK on Three Devices Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle,Listed,2m3f,10 flights,4yo+

Some good types in this chasing black type and the Brian Ellison trained and Paddy Brennan ridden Smart Talk strolled to victory here as she made all and never saw another rival as the mare ground the field into sumission, already a winner at Worcester and Sedgefield this term she looks to be improving, There are a couple of mares’ hurdles at Sandown and Warwick in January and February which may be options before the big one at Cheltenham. 

Eight lengths back in second was Sunshine Corner,the 4yo filly ran a credible race and a drop back to two miles may help, one who ran flat was Mardale,she was pulled up after a circuit but is clearly better than this. 

1.30 DH Welton 40th Anniversary Handicap Chase,Class 3,2m,13 fences,4yo+ (0-135)

A fair few of these came into this race out of form so it paid to find something in form and so it proved with Arthur’s Oak who began his campaign in effortless style here as he made all and came home 17 lengths clear of top weight Back To Bracka and Abigail Lynch. 

Arthur’s Oak finished off the season at Huntingdon over 2m4f and looks to have plenty of improvement in him,going in off 124 he should end up in the mid 130s and could have a big race in him, Back To Bracka ran a solid race but will be better back over further. 

Sadly Clan William was fatally injured,Condolences to all involved. 

2.05 Nationwidevehiclecontracts.co.uk Handicap Hurdle,Class 2,2m3f,10 flights,3yo+

Montdragon looks a nice type here for Jonjo O’Neill and dare it be said might even be a live wire for the World Hurdle as he put in a gutsy display under Josh Moore to beat Bally Bach by just over two lengths. 

The early pace was set by Three Faces West and he set good fractions despite hitting the fourth hurdle and trying to go back in at the stable bend,he got swallowed up at the last but will come on a ton for the race as he did last year. 

Lots to like about Montdragon,he will clearly be suited by further as the season goes on and is one for the notebooks. 

 

Montdragon

 
2.40 Tommy Whittle Handicap Chase (Sponsored by Nationwide Vehicle Contracts) Class 2,2m7f,18 fences,4yo+ (0-145)

No hiding place in this race which didn’t take any prisoners from flag fall in a very competitive renewal of this famous Haydock chase. 

Seventh Sky continued his well being back in handicap company as he made all under Gavin Sheehan to follow up his recent Aintree second to take the 2015 Tommy Whittle from Spookydooky and Cloudy Too. 

This slightly easier company plus the step back up in trip helped Seventh Sky here,his jumping was accurate here and his big target will be 2016 Topham, Spookydooky came here on an 8lb rise for winning a Newbury race last month but he was never going to land a blow,Cloudy Too ran very well back in third and a few more pounds down will get him winning again. 

3.15 Bet With Your Racing UK App Handicap Hurdle,Class 3,2m7f,12 flights,4yo+ (0-135)

Isaccstown Lad made up for last weeks blip when he fell at Carlisle as he duly obliged here despite having a battle as he had to get past Oscar Blue inside the last half furlong which he did very well and is clearly still on the up. 

This was a quick reappearance and he looks likely to be heading for a Pertemps race to get him in the final, Oscar Blue is in good order burn could do with dropping back a couple of furlongs. 

The ride of the day without doubt came from Jamie Bragary (5) on Sybarite here as he worked the double overtime who unlike his ex stablemate Mad Moose does jump off but he needs cajoling all the way and stayed on to be third. 

Coming through at halfway

So some fair racing to send us into the Christmas period. 

Over the festivities I am hoping to bring you a football review followed by racing here on the 30th subject to the weather. 

May I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and that you have a great time. 

Today’s Wattspots

Cloudy Too,slowly coming down to a feasible mark

Three Faces West,will come on a ton for the run 

Aintree Races,Saturday 5th December 2015,Becher Chase Day

Aintree’s final meeting of 2015 which included two races over the famous Grand National spruce on a competitive seven race card. 

Weather wise this neck of the woods had took a real battering with wind and rain but a dry Thursday helped to mop up the heavy patches and racing went ahead on ground that was soft. 

The feature race was the Grade Three Becher Chase over the big greens with a couple of nice listed races mixed in with some nice but tricky handicaps. 

  

12.00 Betfred Remembers Howard Kendall Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle,Listed,2m1f,9 flights,3yo Fillies 

A useful looking contest that went to the Irish trained filly Jer’s Girl who made all and was never headed,despite hitting the last she was always in command and looks to be a fairly useful hurdler in the making, Ten lengths back in second was Forgiving Glance who kept on through beaten horses and just headed stable companion Mystery Code. 

Trainer Gavin Cromwell has a nice type here who should gain more black type during the season,she may head of to Leopardstown over the festive period. 

 

After the first

 
12.30 Betfred Goals Galore Handicap Chase,Class 3,2m4f,16 fences,4yo+ (0-135)

A competitive little chase albeit one with a sad outcome to it. 

Benefit Cut had made most until heading towards the final ditch when he  fell at the second last fence,this left last months course victor Bally Beaufort in front after Ryan Hatch had been pushing him along when getting outpaced,he used his stamina to good effect and kept on well to finish nicely ahead of Great Link who was returning from his summer break. 

Bally Beaufort had won a novice chase here last month over 3m1f and is clearly better over further,he has potential to be even better, Great Link ran with credit and should win something sooner. 

Sadly Benefit Cut paid the ultimate price for his tumble, My condolences to all the connections 

1.05 Betfred ‘Scoop6soccer’ Novices’ Hurdle,Class 3,2m1f,9 flights,4yo+

An easy stroll in the Merseyside rain for the Lizzie Kelly ridden Agrapat as he led from pillar to post and left the rest of the fairly useful looking field all appearing to be a little one paced as they tired in the ground  

Agrapat has been learning the jumping game well since moving from the flat,his recent second at Ffos Las was a marked improvement and this 4yo looks to have a fair future,a step up in Grade looks likely,maybe Sandown,Warwick or Haydock next month look plausible. 

Braavos was tired back in second and over twenty lengths behind,favourite Flying Angel was keen early and couldn’t pick up,a step back up in trip will see him in a better light. 

  
1.40 Betfred Becher Handicap Chase,Grade 3,3m2f,21 fences,6yo+ (National Course)

Nobody would have begrudged young Henry Brooke a famous win over the big green monsters here as he steered the Jimmy Moffatt trained 9yo Highland Lodge to victory in a real stamina test,Henry in previous Nationals had been hampered by loose horses when riding Across The Bay a couple of times.  

In a high quality renewal this horse off bottom weight was always up there with Saint Are,Dare To Endeavour and Soll in the early stages, After crossing the Melling Road with two to jump Highland Lodge and Vics Canvas began to pour it on as they turned in,over the last Highland Lodge had a two length lead and began to pull away but coming through the elbow he began to have a touch of the Crisp effect,thankfully Dare To Endeavour could not bridge the gap and held on by 2.25 lengths. 

We had drama at the elbow as Soll and Financial Climate had a coming together which the stewards had a look at. 

Highland Lodge won this off 132 but will need to go up a lot to guarantee a run in the National,he should be allowed to after winning this,we could see him at Haydock for the National Trial in February, Dare To Endeavour ran on and should be back here in April. 

A few did disappoint,Unioniste was held up but never featured,he will come on for this, Favourite Algernon Pazham never jumped fluently and unseated at Foinavon,Pineau De Re fell at the second fence and Thunder And Roses made a real hash of the 9th which dented his confidence

 

Becher field over the water

 
2.15 Betfred Lotto “£100k Cash Giveaway” Chase,Listed,3m1f,19 fences,4yo+

Just the four in a tight little race which brought together the 2015 Grand National winner and the 2015 RSA winner. 

In truth this four runner field only concerned the two aforementioned winners of Many Clouds and Don Poli. 

During the first part of the race Southfield Theatre and Many Clouds cut the early running with Don Poli and Menorah happy to keep behind, down the back on the last circuit Many Clouds began to open a small lead as Southfield Theatre made a few errors, coming to the cross fence Many Clouds had Don Poli behind him with Menorah. 

Down to the last and Many Clouds just held sway but on the run in Bryan Cooper galvanised Don Poli and he forged ahead in the last furlong to win by four lengths. 

Don Poli looks to be another Gold Cup type and will probably head to Leopardstown over Christmas, Many Clouds ran a fine race in defeat but for him it’s all about the National. 

Don Poli

2.45 Betfred “Be Part Of The Action” Handicap Hurdle,Class 2,2m4f,11 flights,4yo+

Virgilio came back from his summer break and took this very easily,twice a winner in the spring here and at Warwick he made a mockery of his mark of 138,he is still ahead of the handicapper and going places, the rest were struggling behind to land a blow, Un Ace ran a solid race in second,Fort Smith kept on in third and should be kept over timber for the  time being. 

Lots to like about the winner,he may head to the Lanzarotte at Kempton and will easily jump a fence next season. 

3.20 Betfred Grand Sefton Handicap Chase,Class 2,2m 5f,18 fences,6yo+

Run in the gathering gloom they went a good clip,no doubt to get back in before the light went. 

The field were stretched out over Merseyside here here of the eight who completed the course who led home by Benny’s Mist under Liam Treadwell for trainer Venetia Williams,  Right up with the speed from the outset he came here with decent course form over these fences and used that to his advantage 

Benny’s Mist had October Fontwell scorer Top Cat Henry for company as they took The Chair, going into the country Benny’s Mist was thriving over the fences as he was joined again by Top Cat Henry over Bechers, from there the pair opened up a healthy lead. 

Coming into the straight the duo were ahead of Seventh Sky,Fago and Rathlin, after two out Benny’s Mist easily had the race won,Top Cat Henry began to tire and was overtaken for second by Seventh Sky and the staying on Distime back in third. 

Benny’s Mist had shown nothing in two runs over conventional fences,he loves the big greens here and will take his chance once again come April, Seventh Sky will no doubt follow him here too. 

 

Benny’s Mist

 
An intriguing afternoon to say the least,Aintree always brings interesting results and today was no exception. 

Christmas is slowly approaching and with that funny weather,hopefully over the festive period we will try to be at a mix of racing and local football. 

Wattspots

Fort Smith,a fair third for trainer Sam Thomas in the 2m4f hurdle,he has a nice look about him

Great Link,travelled OK in the 2m4f chase,a drop down to 2m or 2m2f looks likely. 

Until next time,Goodbye and keep reading