OUT IN THE STICKS

Jeremy Grayson with his lat­est se­lec­tion of horses to fol­low from off the beaten track

Racing Ahead - - CONTENTS -

Jeremy Grayson with an­other se­lec­tion of horses to fol­low

HUNT­ING­DON, 5 OC­TO­BER (GOOD) 1m7f171yds Novices’ Hur­dle (class 4)

A few could have been nom­i­nated to fol­low next time from a rea­son­ably use­ful novice hur­dle for the time of year ,but one taken to fol­low in hand­i­caps with im­me­di­ate ef­fect from here on is PIV­OTAL FLAME, ap­pre­cia­bly bet­ter than the bare form of her 19l fourth con­sid­er­ing the wait­ing tac­tics weren’t got en­tirely right and a last-flight blun­der made a hard task im­pos­si­ble. All set to hold on for a de­served place at gi­gan­tic odds when un­seat­ing at the last at Kemp­ton in April, Pat Phe­lan’s filly clearly needs to de­velop a bit more alacrity at her flights to re­alise more of her hur­dling po­ten­tial ,but the good news in that re­gard is that she has pre­vi­ous from the Flat where re­spond­ing to winning ef­fect to the ap­pli­ca­tion of a con­cen­tra­tion aid is con­cerned. As­sum­ing her ini­tial mark isn’t pitched too far into tre­ble fig­ures, she’d need a good look­ing at in a rou­tine 2m hand­i­cap hur­dle next time up if head­gear of some de­scrip­tion is en­listed. Good and good to soft ground both ap­pear suit­able.

HEXHAM, 6 OC­TO­BER (SOFT) 2m4f15yds 0-120 Novices’ Lim­ited Hand­i­cap Chase (class 4)

There aren’t many race­courses at which the fences come at horses at such a gen­tle, oblig­ing pace as they do at Hexham, so it could be taken as a bit of a worry that CHAM­PAGNE CHASER made quite so many er­rors here as he did. The son of Tobougg never gave up, how­ever, and it took un­til the run-in for the cu­mu­la­tive ef­fect of those mis­takes to con­demn him at last to a near-4l re­verse on his chas­ing de­but. Head­gear re­mains an un­tried op­tion, and time may yet prove that Tim Vaughan’s seven-year-old, mem­ber of an im­me­di­ate fam­ily rife with 2m-3m3f hur­dles and chase-winning tal­ent ,just needs his mind mak­ing up at his ob­sta­cles by such an aid in the short term. A re­turn to slightly sounder go­ing than ex­pe­ri­enced here wouldn’t in­con­ve­nience, judged on the hur­dles suc­cess at the same course on good to soft which pre­ceded this ef­fort.

2m4f15yds 0-120 Hand­i­cap Chase (class 4)

Just 3lb higher than when run­ning away with a 2m1f event at Kelso six months and two starts ago, FOR­EST DES AIGLES once more proved him­self a geld­ing that the hand­i­cap­per hasn’t got close to nail­ing with a pow­er­ful dis­play here, his strong fin­ish­ing ef­fort all the more im­pres­sive con­sid­er­ing a re­fusal to set­tle when de­nied the early lead. The six-year-old son of Balko, by no means the only Ray­mond An­der­son Green horse in train­ing at present to have started his ca­reer for that owner in France be­fore be­ing moved closer to home, looks to have got his jump­ing in bet­ter or­der the more fa­mil­iar he has be­come with Bri­tish ob­sta­cles, and this looked at least as ac­com­plished a round as any he has posted to date. The step back up to 2m4f for the first time since last sea­son’s reap­pear­ance was taken en­tirely in his stride ,too ,and so long as con­di­tions re­main suit­ably deep un­der­foot, find­ing a suit­able fol­low-up op­por­tu­nity at any trip up to to­day’s (if not fur­ther, con­sid­er­ing his half-brother Orki Des Aigle’s ex­ploits be­yond even 3m) shouldn’t prove dif­fi­cult.

KELSO, 8 OC­TO­BER (GOOD, GOOD TO SOFT IN PLACES) 2m51yds 0-120 Hand­i­cap Hur­dle (di­vi­sion one) (class 4)

The feel­ing en­dures that there is a per­fectly de­cent 2m4f-2m5f chaser in SU­PE­RIOR COM­MAND just wait­ing to get out, if only his jump­ing could some­how

gain suf­fi­cient flu­ency on a more reg­u­lar ba­sis; per­haps this will be the sea­son he proves as much. Although reap­pear­ing over hur­dles rather than fences on this first out­ing for six months ,the Lahib eightyear-old took his ob­sta­cles far more cleanly than is of­ten the case, and a stay­ing-on 1.25l fourth af­ter con­sid­er­ate han­dling over this sub-par trip has to rate as an en­cour­ag­ing re­turn. A 2m1f win­ner (de­spite er­rors) around this track in March 2016 on one of just four chase starts to date ,Lucinda Rus­sell’s geld­ing re­mains less ex­posed over the longer trips which should, in the­ory at least, give him more time to or­gan­ise his jump­ing, and proven ef­fec­tive­ness on both good and soft ground should help keep his op­tions open in the com­ing weeks.

2m51yds 0-120 Hand­i­cap Hur­dle (di­vi­sion two) (class 4)

It can’t be ar­gued that AL­PHA­BET­I­CAL OR­DER hadn’t been given a chance by the as­ses­sor on his first hur­dles out­ing for over three years de­spite it con­sti­tut­ing a be­lated hand­i­cap de­but, as the perch of 115 he’s been dropped to is all of a stone lower than the BHA peak he’d been awarded (but never asked to race off) when rat­tling off three novice suc­cesses dur­ing sum­mer 2014.

Suc­cess­ful back then at up to an ex­tended 2m4f, it’s no sur­prise that the min­i­mum trip proved too sharp re­gard­less of his match-fit­ness from the Flat, but a tidy round of jump­ing and ul­ti­mate 6l third ought to give Mike Smith con­fi­dence that his re­cently-ar­rived nine-year-old son of Alflora still has plenty to of­fer in this dis­ci­pline.

There is surely some­thing sim­i­lar for him, al­beit back over fur­ther, for him in the North this au­tumn, ir­re­spec­tive of ground con­di­tions (win­ner on good to firm and heavy).

2m4f189yds Novices’ Hur­dle (class 4)

Sandy and Quona Thom­son’s home­bred WIDE AWAKE is ar­guably a sur­pris­ing sight in hur­dles races, con­sid­er­ing their daugh­ter of And Be­yond is al­ready ris­ing nine, didn’t see a race­course un­til July 2016 and has both a dam and grand­dam who raced ex­clu­sively (and spar­ingly) in points.

Abil­ity def­i­nitely lurks,how­ever, and a 14l fourth here be­hind a cou­ple of po­ten­tially very use­ful North­ern hur­dling re­cruits rep­re­sented an­other good step in the right di­rec­tion, the slightly longer trip ap­pear­ing to be ap­pre­ci­ated.

Hand­i­caps are now an op­tion, and con­sid­er­ing her mother Quonarose pro­duced by far her best ef­fort be­tween the flags over the gal­lop­ing Bal­cormo Mains cir­cuit in Fife ,it would be in­ter­est­ing to see whether Wide Awake sim­i­larly proves able to raise her game if tak­ing in a less sharp Rules track.

LUD­LOW, 11 OC­TO­BER (GOOD TO FIRM, GOOD IN PLACES) 1m7f169yds 0-110 CJ Hand­i­cap Hur­dle (class 4)

This big-field event was farmed by those to have come a long way down the hand­i­cap and. Although some ret­ri­bu­tion may fol­low from the hand­i­cap­per af­ter a 1.25l sec­ond, it’s highly likely that FROZEN OVER will still re­main com­pet­i­tively enough treated to go one bet­ter next time up, es­pe­cially if the pre­dom­i­nately dry au­tumn pre­vail­ing at the time of writ­ing this con­tin­ues. Chris Down’s Ice­man geld­ing en­tered the con­test 7lb higher than for his Taun­ton suc­cess of the spring but still over a stone bet­ter off than when scor­ing over to­day’s C&D two years be­fore that, and there was noth­ing about this game chas­ing home of a no less well-hand­i­capped Skelton in­mate to sug­gest that a flat, righthanded 2m track is any less his op­ti­mum than pre­vi­ously. Note also Down’s rel­a­tively strong start to the sea­son; the Mut­ter­ton han­dler is al­ready within one of his 2016-17 tally of eight suc­cesses, with six of his seven suc­cesses re­turn­ing at prices of be­tween 3-1 and 20-1.

1m7f212yds 0-135 Novices’ Lim­ited Hand­i­cap Chase (class 3)

DARE­BIN wouldn’t be an es­pe­cially strong can­di­date for chas­ing on pa­per, be­ing an It’s Gino geld­ing out of a dam placed in a 10.5f Group 3,but then not ter­ri­bly many wholly Ger­man-bred an­i­mals are; and the ev­i­dence of this ini­tial foray over fences sug­gests Gary Moore’s fiveyear-old al­ready pos­sesses suf­fi­cient ap­ti­tude and tech­nique for chas­ing to find op­por­tu­ni­ties in this new vo­ca­tion. A sharp 2m on fast ground wouldn’t have rep­re­sented op­ti­mum con­di­tions for one suc­cess­ful only on soft ground over hur­dles (to say noth­ing of plac­ing in last March’s Im­pe­rial Cup on equally deep ground), and a markup on even this fair sec­ond to a ha­bit­ual first-time win­ner isn’t at all hard to en­vis­age granted more give un­der­foot. A last-gasp suc­cess on Polytrack as re­cently as Fe­bru­ary served as a timely re­minder than suf­fi­cient Flat-race speed re­mains, should it need to be de­ployed in tac­ti­cal af­fairs back over jumps.

WORCES­TER, 12 OC­TO­BER (GOOD, GOOD TO FIRM IN PLACES) 2m4f Mares’ Novices’ Chase (class 4)

Non-run­ners at­trib­uted to the quick (and, ac­cord­ing to at least one trainer can­vassed, rough) ground ul­ti­mately ru­ined this meet­ing on the Pitchcroft, but be­fore that even­tu­al­ity a su­perb line-up con­tested this mares’ event and a hat­ful of fu­ture chase win­ners should come from it.

Third home here, CASABLANCA MINX would have been one of sev­eral for whom the pre­vail­ing con­di­tions were sim­ply an in­cre­ment or two too lively, but un­like a cou­ple of her fel­low beaten ri­vals the Shi­rocco mare’s jump­ing held in­tact, sug­gest­ing that fences com­ing at her quickly isn’t an is­sue – scope there, per­haps, for han­dling sharper tracks than this one.

A hur­dles win­ner at up to 2m2f for Em­manuel Clayeux in France pre­vi­ously, the ex­tra 2f of both starts since join­ing Nicky Hen­der­son hasn’t ap­peared as com­fort­able a fit (pos­si­bly sur­pris­ingly ,con­sid­er­ing the wealth of winning tal­ent at up to 3m4f in the fam­ily) ,but for the time be­ing she can surely be pro­duc­tively placed in this sphere back down in trip.

it’s highly likely that FROZEN OVER will re­main com­pet­i­tively enough treated to go one bet­ter next time up

Frozen Over (near)

Dare­bin

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