Out in the sticks

Jeremy Grayson with his jumpers to fol­low from the na­tion’s smaller tracks

Racing Ahead - - CONTENTS -

Jeremy Grayson with his jumpers to fol­low from the smaller tracks

CARLISLE, 13 NOVEM­BER (SOFT) 1m7f207yds Grad­u­a­tion Chase (class 2)

Grad­u­a­tion chases weren’t nec­es­sar­ily cre­ated a decade or so ago with the in­ten­tion that horses would break their chas­ing ducks in them, much less en­ter them hav­ing only tried fences once pre­vi­ously. Ann and Ian Hamil­ton are fear­less believ­ers in the abil­ity of their horses, how­ever, and NUTS WELL duly proved up to the task of trouser­ing a good win purse so early in his chas­ing ca­reer with a su­pe­rior dis­play of late tac­ti­cal speed at the end of a cagey af­fair.A half-brother to this ex­cel­lent long­stand­ing per­mit-hold­ing op­er­a­tion’s cur­rent sta­ble star Runswick Royal, the six-year-old son of Dy­lan Thomas is a bona fide 2m per­former, this suc­cess following four pre­vi­ously at the min­i­mum trip over hur­dles, all around equally gal­lop­ing venues.There is plenty of time for his jump­ing to gain the nec­es­sary greater pol­ish, but stronger-run events than today’s can help there, and proven ef­fec­tive­ness on ground from good to heavy will keep op­tions open.The Hamil­tons have now sad­dled win­ners in ev­ery jumps sea­son since 2001-2, and it will sur­prise some­what if Nuts Well doesn’t man­age to in­crease this term’s tally.

TAUN­TON, 16 NOVEM­BER (GOOD, GOOD TO FIRM IN PLACES) 2m3f1yd 0-120 Mares’Hand­i­cap Hur­dle (class 4)

It has made sense up to a point to keep MAC BELLA cam­paigned over no fur­ther than 2m4f so far this sea­son, con­sid­er­ing the win­ning pro­file of three other sib­lings and her dam.The pres­ence of that splen- did old stay­ing favourite Mac­ge­orge else­where in the im­me­di­ate fam­ily ar­gues a case for ef­fec­tive­ness up in trip, how­ever, and with a stay­ing-on but well-held 10l fourth here the lat­est in­di­ca­tion that her pro­gres­sion is start­ing to flat­line a lit­tle (even though she’s not pulling half as hard as ear­lier in the year now), the time looks right for EvanWil­liams’daugh­ter of Black Sam Bel­lamy to take in a 3m con­test. In­deed,only a self-cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pre­vented her from do­ing so at this same venue’s pre­vi­ous meet­ing. A num­ber of op­tions re­main un­tried with her,such as ex­tremes of go­ing, un­du­lat­ing tracks (she fell at the first on one visit to Towces­ter) and all head­gear, and she re­mains worth keep­ing faith in at a lowly level for now un­til be­com­ing more ob­vi­ously ex­posed.

UT­TOX­ETER, 18 NOVEM­BER (GOOD TO SOFT, SOFT IN PLACES ON CHASE COURSE) 2m3f207yds Maiden Hur­dle (class 5)

The win­ners aren’t flow­ing yet for Lucy Wad­ham,with Mys­tic Sky’s June South­well score the New­mar­ket han­dler’s only suc­cess this cam­paign at the time of writ­ing. Re­cent per­for­mances in de­feat aren’t those of in­mates from an ail­ing yard,how­ever, and GAME ON’s 2l fourth in what looked a maiden hur­dle loaded with fu­ture win­ners might have been bet­ter still had an er­ror two out not snuffed out the ma­jor chal­lenge he was wind­ing up. Leighton Aspell wasn’t un­duly harsh on him late on, pos­si­bly not want­ing to leave the Gamut geld­ing’s sea­son be­hind there and then in still po­ten­tially fin­ish­ing no bet­ter than fourth, and the rider’s kind­ness can go re­warded.A nephew of De­bra Hamer’s 2016-17 hand­i­cap suc­cess story Tobe­fair with fur­ther win­ning prow­ess in 2m3f-3m hur­dles in the im­me­di­ate fam­ily, it wouldn’t take much to imag­ine Game On find­ing an open­ing at today’s trip or fur­ther next time; Wad­ham’s lo­cal and hap­pi­est hunt­ing ground of Fak­en­ham, at which a 25% strike-rate has been main­tained over the past five sea­sons, is as likely a venue as any.

2m3f207yds 0-100 Mares’Hand­i­cap Hur­dle (class 5)

A gap of two and a half years be­tween her first and sec­ond runs in bumpers sug­gests ar­tic hasn’t al­ways been at all straight­for­ward to train, and while she

stood her races bet­ter last win­ter and spring the bare form of a cou­ple of place fin­ishes hide the finer detail of some com­pre­hen­sive de­feats and the odd jump­ing is­sue.In all those re­spects,plus that of her do­ing her best work at the end, her per­for­mance in record­ing a 5l sec­ond on this first out­ing since May was more en­cour­ag­ing and po­ten­tially raises the pos­si­bil­ity of the Os­car seven-year-old hav­ing the stamina for a lit­tle fur­ther still. Hail­ing from a yard in Richard Phillips find­ing win­ners even harder to come by than LucyWad­ham so far this term (0-28 at the time of writ­ing), this run would be as af­fir­ma­tive a sign as any of late that his string might be about to find some form, and there ought not be any un­help­ful hike in the weights in the off­ing following a loss here to one rated 19lb in­fe­rior.

1m7f168yds NH Flat Race (class 6)

The un­char­i­ta­ble view to have taken about AR­TI­CLE FIFTY’s 2m4f point-to­point win in May was that he beat just four ri­vals in a late-sea­son con­test, but it was ac­tu­ally a very tak­ing per­for­mance around one of the top tracks in Chad­des­ley Cor­bett for one of the lead­ing train­ers in the sphere in Phil Row­ley. It was an im­pres­sive enough per­for­mance for War­ren Greatrex to opt to go to £115,000 to pur­chase the four-year-old Doyen geld­ing at the Goffs Sales three weeks later, money al­ready look­ing well spent following an ex­tremely com­fort­able dis­patch of thir­teen ri­vals on this Rules bow. A son of another bumper win­ner out of a half-sis­ter to An­nie Edge (the dam of Selkirk, Seebe and Rim­rod), Ar­ti­cle Fifty looks a young­ster of suf­fi­cient size and sub­stance to at least cope with and po­ten­tially im­prove fur­ther around a big­ger,longer track,and de­fy­ing a penalty in another rou­tine event of this na­ture should prove a for­mal­ity en route to bet­ter things.

FONTWELL, 19 NOVEM­BER (GOOD TO SOFT) 2m5f164yds 0-100 Hand­i­cap Hur­dle (class 5)

Off­loaded by Godol­phin af­ter a cou­ple of Tapeta mile maiden out­ings in the dy­ing em­bers of 2015, CRY WOLF hasn’t man­aged to make too many dents in his price-tag for cur­rent con­nec­tions in ei­ther code since then but abil­ity def­i­nitely lurks. In­deed, James Evans’ four-year-old son of Street Cry still led en­ter­ing the straight on this lat­est sight­ing be­fore the ef­fect of a mis­take two flights pre­vi­ously, and more ter­mi­nally another one at the last, ex­tin­guished his chal­lenge.

Jump­ing un­der pres­sure re­mains an is­sue de­spite the en­list­ing of cheek­pieces, but a swap of head­gear might help in that re­gard,and any drop from his cur­rent rat­ing for this 10l de­feat is go­ing to give his mark a long-over­due more re­al­is­tic sheen.

Trips of be­low 2m3f haven’t been en­ter­tained at all over hur­dles since his ju­ve­nile out­ings but also look worth re­vis­it­ing, as stamina hasn’t quite held out even with a clear round; see what he’s ca­pa­ble over a sharp 2m-2m2f when getting all the ba­sics right.

2m1f162yds Ju­ve­nile Hur­dle (class 4)

In Juke­box Jive the rest of the field in this con­test were fac­ing a ri­val with an all-the­way Flat win over even fur­ther still un­der his belt this sum­mer, and he duly pro­duced so highly pol­ished and pro­fes­sional a dis­play of at­tack­ing fron­trun­ning and jump­ing on this hur­dling de­but that it wouldn’t have made any dif­fer­ence to the out­come had run­ner-up LISP not taken such a fierce hold early on or clat­tered the last.

How­ever, all hope is any­thing but lost with Alan King’s in­mate, him­self try­ing hur­dles for the first time here and well over 15l clear of the re­main­der de­spite do­ing lit­tle to help his cause.

En­ti­tled to have needed this sec­ond out­ing in the past thir­teen months and just a fourth all told, the ex­ploits of half-broth­ers Coeur De Lion (for this yard), Magna Car­tor and in par­tic­u­lar Thomas Camp­bell mark this son of Poet’s Voice out as one for whom the prospects of mak­ing an ul­ti­mately suc­cess­ful switch to jump­ing must rate high.

A bare 2m may prove per­fectly ad­e­quate in the im­me­di­ate term, and although still un­raced on gen­uinely soft go­ing so far there are enough in­di­ca­tions in the im­me­di­ately fam­ily that it should prove within his ground com­pass.

2m5f135yds 0-135 Novices’Lim­ited Hand­i­cap Chase (class 3)

It’s only in the past few weeks that Emma Lavelle’s string have started to hit the tar­get again with any sort of reg­u­lar­ity, Wool­stone One’s Ffos Las suc­cess on Oc­to­ber 21st con­sti­tut­ing the Og­bourne Maizey han­dler’s first win since mid-June.

Un­sur­pris­ingly, PRI­VATE MALONE’s sea­sonal reap­pear­ance run dur­ing the fal­low pe­riod was com­pre­hen­sively built upon here, and but for a lit­tle bit of crowd­ing up the run-in a bet­ter out­come than a 1.5l sec­ond would have been achieved if not nec­es­sar­ily a win.

The son of Darsi, a nose sec­ond at Haydock on his chas­ing de­but two years ago, ap­pears gen­uine enough de­spite a re­turn of 0-8 over fences now,and a cur­rent mid120s mark looks very ac­com­mo­dat­ing next to his best form ef­forts such as that very near miss. Gal­lop­ing tracks,sub-3m trips and a bit less com­pany up front than he got here all look like op­ti­mum re­quire­ments, and a re­turn to ground rather worse than he en­coun­tered here would hold zero ter­rors.

LE­ICES­TER, 20 NOVEM­BER( GOOD TO SOFT, GOOD PLACES) 1m7f113yds 0-125 Hand­i­cap Hur­dle (class 3)

What tough luck to line up for one of the bet­ter hur­dles in Le­ices­ter’s jumps cal­en­dar, only to find your­selves tak­ing on an ir­re­sistibly hand­i­capped op­po­nent in the shape of High Expectations, Gor­don El­liott’s first run­ner at the course for at least five years, if not ever. Even with­out that one present a vic­tory for even­tual fourth SNEAK­ING BUDGE wouldn’t have been easy to pre­dict con­sid­er­ing the year-long ab­sence which pre­ceded this out­ing,but there was eas­ily enough about this stay­ing-on ef­fort to sug­gest that the son of Nayef’s abil­ity re­mains com­pletely in­tact and may yet be built on fur­ther following just the five hur­dles out­ings so far.

A size­able unit who’s es­pe­cially well suited by a test­ing 2m on des­per­ate ground if a Sandown ju­ve­nile hur­dle vic­tory in Jan­uary 2006 is any guide,he ought to find open­ings back there, at Towces­ter (closer to home than most places for trainer Stu­art Ed­munds, of course) or here at Le­ices­ter as the win­ter en­sues, all the more so if en­coun­ter­ing worse ground than today’s once more.

Cry Wolf

Mac Bella


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