Aintree Races,Sunday 28th October 2018, Countryside Day

B.F. And F were most certainly BFF’s at Aintree on Sunday as the jockey who lit up the racecourse wherever she went last season,Bryony Frost, teamed up with the Paul Nicholls trained Frodon to put in a bold display of front running to land the seasons first big race of the core National Hunt season the Grade 2 Monet’s Garden Old Roan Chase. 

Run on good ground in beautiful autumnal sunshine, the Mildmay course at Aintree is always a course to produce thrills and spills and this was no exception as the main market protagonists all came to the fore at the business end but Frodon had runner up Javert and the third placed Cloudy Dream both held in behind and neither could get past on the run in. 

This was Frodon’s fifth win in Graded company and he’s an absolute model of consistency at this level, a next possible race could come in the Bet Victor at Cheltenham unless a crack at bigger company at Ascot the week after, 2m5f is his best trip at the moment but it’s not to say a step up to three miles will occur at some point as he’s only a 6yo. 

Javert ran a fine race in behind for second and this lightly raced sort will be placed to good effect while Cloudy Dream continues to frustrate on his first start for Donald McCain, he jumped a bit in and out at times but finished ok and could be better upped in trip with a return back here in December for the Many Clouds Chase an almost cast iron possibility but for now he remains one to back with caution.  

Frodon

Elsewhere on a decent looking card Henry Daly and Richard Johnson gave Trevor Hemmings the opening winner of the day with Stoney Mountain opening his account in the 2m4f Maiden Hurdle, in a race which may well work out nicely he managed to fend off Aye Aye Charlie who started odds on but is still awaiting that elusive first win over hurdles, Stoney Mountain is a progressive type who should scale bigger heights. 

Stoney Mountain

Emma Lavelle had a nice winner on the day with Paisley Park who came back from his summer break and routed a decent looking field in the feature 2m4f Hurdle race, keeping good novice form last season he made good use of his mark of 140, it is worth nothing the two flights up the straight were bypassed here but that’s not to say he wouldn’t have won anyway, a step in grade looks likely now and maybe a pop at the Ascot Hurdle may be the answer but there is a conditions hurdle back here in a fortnight over the same course and distance that may be the next race for him.  

In the 3m1f Handicap Chase for the senior citizens, Exitas came home pretty easily to continue his good form that has kept him in good stead this season, having his third start in October he landed this very readily like he was a horse half his age, trainer Phil Middleton might just be eyeing up a crack at the Badger Ales after this and it wouldn’t be a bad idea as he’d be a more than lovely chance in that. 

Lastly in the 3m1f Novices’ Handicap Chase we had a very appropriate winner on Lamb National as the mare Molly The Dolly made a winning debut over fences as she scooted home in impressive style holding off the attentions of Traditional Dancer towards the end, rated 127 she looks a step ahead of her mark and can improve throughout the season over staying trips. 

So the jumps season is now up and running properly and Aintree as per usual put on a good show on its annual Countryside Day with a good heart crown in attendance. 

This upcoming weekend the roadshow moves from Merseyside and heads across the M62 and up the A1 to Wetherby for the two day Charlie Hall Chase meeting. 

Till then,Goodbye. 

Carlisle Races,Thursday 18th October 2018, Smarkers Grand Jumps Season Opener. 

Main Stand

Morrissey from The Smiths may well have sung about panic being on the streets of Carlisle followed by Dublin,Dundee and Humberside but the bookmakers who decided to ply their trade at Carlisle racecourse today were definitely panicking when the the third Nigel Twiston-Davies trained winner of the afternoon went in to give him and his son Sam, three winners in a row as the popular course near the Durdar are of the city flung its gates open in beautiful autumnal weather to kick off the 2018-19 jumps season. 

Two of those three came on both divisions of the 2m1f Novice Hurdle, first up the very useful bumper horse Good Boy Bobby took division one and won with plenty in hand than the two lengths would suggest, he will shape up even more when upped in trip and is one for future reference, this was quickly followed up in the second division with Al Dancer waltzing to victory as he put in a very good performance beating a very good sort in Windsor Avenue trained by Brian Ellison. 

Good Boy Bobby

Al Dancer

Al Dancer looked like an easier course would suit but going around the stiff undulations of Carlisle will certainly have made him learn plenty about jumping. 

Before taking these two races the stable scored in a decent quality Novice Handicap Chase over 2m which had plenty of nice looking types in it and it was Luckofthedraw who sat back from off the pace to land the spoils to kick start the three timer, this 5yo like most of the field was a bit novicey but he will make a nice chaser and looked very much as if further will suit him as the season goes on and should hold his own against better company. 

Out into the country

The finish of the afternoon came in the longest race of the day, a 3m Chase which also acted as a qualifier for the Challenger Staying Chase final and champion jockey Richard Johnston showed the hunger was still as strong as ever as he delivered a power packed finish on the Tim Vaughan trained Looksnowtlikebrian to come from another county to land the contest, fresh from his summer break he shapes every inch like a stayer and this 7yo could be aimed at a satellite national before too long. 

Looksnowtlikebrian

Ruth Jefferson unveiled a nice type in the concluding bumper as the mare Mega Yates romped home on debut with some style, costing £60,000 this Irish point winner should have a good future when switched back to obstacles. 

Fine weather and some decent early season types all made for a splendid afternoon for those who made the trek far and wide up to Carlisle then, chucked in with the added bonus of the Lamb National albeit no bookies prices up on that race meant that the crowd got plenty of excitement on the day. 

Next up on here will definitely be the two Charlie Hall Chase festival with a comprehensive review of both days in two weeks time. 

Till then Goodbye.