Out in the sticks
Jeremy Grayson with his jumpers to follow from the nation’s smaller tracks
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.