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Lingfield, 10/11/20

A partial review because in an act of jobsworth boneheadedness, Lingfield are insisting that people attending with more than one horse leave the track and come back in when the later horse(s) run. The total number of owners attending this meeting was apparently 28, half of whom spent much of the time loitering around in the car park. Is that another trend of the virus - repulsed by parked vehicles? Anyway, only races witnessed will be commented on. Apologies for the lack of pictures of the local funghi, instead there is a picture of the sun setting on the runners in race seven and possibly the functional life of the big screen too.

Going: Soft, Heavy in places
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Race 1: Visit attheraces.com Intermediate Open National Hunt Flat Race [2m]

1: Raiff     2: Restandbethankful     3: What A Glance

Winner owned: David Platt, trained: Phil KIrby, ridden: Joe WIlliamson

Race 2: Chris Young Memorial EBF Novices' Hurdle [2m 3.5f]

1: Take Your Time     2: Straight Swap     3: Delgany Monarch

Winner owned: Owners Group 060, trained: Paul Nicholls, ridden: Bryony Frost

Quick observation on this race - it did appear to confirm that the event won here by Bear Ghylls recently was rather decent, as Take Your Time was dismissed into third that day.

Race 3: Free Tips Daily On attheraces.com Novices' Handicap Chase [2m 7.5f]

1: Hang Tough     2: Don Herbager     3: Silent Encore

Winner owned: Tough Troop Partnership, trained: Jonjo O'Neill, ridden: Jonjo O'Neill jr

As a 0-105 bunch they may not have been the most talented line up of all time, but there was a lot of good attitude about for this as Hang Tough and Silent Encore enforced a strong pace and went at it face-to-face until the third last. Don Herbager had been stalking the leaders confidently and would have been expected to pick off Hang Tough at will. However, he really did have a tough customer to deal with and just failed - it is also noteworthy that Don Herbager had not raced since April 2019 and never beyond two and a half miles before. The remainder were out of the race climbing the hill and Tractor Fred disappointed in that he was under pressure before halfway - before lack of a recent run should have become a factor.

Hang Tough (1st): Chase debut and a very game effort, jumping capably bar the third last. More races over fences can be won.

+  Don Herbager (2nd): Chase debut and a brave try given the longer absence than normal for horses returning this time of year. The step up to three miles was right up his street.

Race 4: Sky Sports Racing Sky 415 Novices' Handicap Hurdle [2m]

1: Mount Windsor     2: Rufio     3: Samtara

Winner owned: Party People, trained: Chris Gordon, ridden: Tom Cannon

A 1-2 for site previewer Erik Bloodaxe but he could have done with the finishing order being reversed. However, the peak success for Mount Windsor had been looming since his excellent comeback run and was easy enough to be value for much more than the official six length margin. Rufio lumbered on into second during a slow motion finish and Samtara confirmed the notion that returning to two miles was not a long term grand plan. Imphal nicked fifth from stablemate Darkest Day (ironically it was quite bright for Lingfield in November) on the run-in without convincing that this going was what he is looking for.

x  Rufio (2nd): It did look as if wind surgery and a hood might combine to bring him back to his bumper form. Perhaps it did but it was not the revelation that may have been expected and this was not an exciting second place.
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The field steadfastly refuse to offer a sneak preview of the finish. Darkest Day, Finisher, O'Rahilly (hiding Mount WIndsor), Imphal, Samtara, Highway One, Rufio.

Race 5: attheraces.com Handicap Chase [2m 4f]

1: Avoir De Soins     2: Colonel Keating     3: Muilean Na Madog

Winner owned: Richard And Shirl Smith, trained: Anthony Honeyball, ridden: Rex Dingle

Ejected for this race, the view of the race was limited from a secret cubbyhole. All that can be said is that the turn out of the home straight was out of view, and the runners took so long out of sight there that the thought occurred that the race had been stopped for no obvious reason. Anyway, they eventually reappeared and we got quite a good finish. On his comeback here Colonel Keating pulled up but he was much better here. Clobbered by Muilean Na Madog two out (that horse had gone right throughout, so he should have been ready for it), the Colonel led on the run-in, only for Avoir Des Soins to scrape past in the final hundred metres.

+  Avoir De Soins (1st): From a yard in super form, his past chase results were to pull up with a burst blood vessel and a fall. This showed that he can do the job when things fit his desires better.

x  Muilean Na Madog (3rd): Started favourite based on hardly any worthy form but debuting for Dan Skelton. His jumping was wayward but having led three from the finish, he stopped quickly after the next fence. Obvious verdict would be a wind op is on the cards but this was the first run since having one.

x  Timcoda (5th): Yet to win a chase, he had been placed twice and was a definite contender in this company after a completion at Hexham recently to fine tune fitness. His early jumping was dismal and it was hardly surprising that he ended up looking very tired.

Race 6: Weatherbys Racing Diaries [2m 7f]

1: Storm Arising     2: Potters Hedger     3: Robin Gold

Winner owned: Barry Fulton & Mrs Angela Hart, trained: Paul Nicholls, ridden: Bryony Frost

This was a cracking race for those present to watch it (Sid & Doris Bonkers). A few strides after the last it looked obvious that the finishing order would be Robin Gold, Potters Hedger, Getaround, Storm Arising. Then Potters Hedger began to chip away at Robin Gold's lead, just fast enough to concern the leader's supporters. Whilst they were worrying each other, Storm Arising surged up the far rail and pinched the race in the shadow of the post. Anyone else who had noticed Bryony Frost looking very weak in a finish since Friday before last (30th Oct at Uttoxeter), and not stretching out comfortably, can rest assured that whatever knock was a problem seems to have been fixed, as if she was not back to normal here, Storm Arising would not have won. Potters Hedger continued his trend of running well fresh without ever grabbing a win from it. He will not get much closer than this but has time to annoy a lot more people.

+  Storm Arising (1st): Apparently a non-stayer at this sort of distance before, he is only six and has now grown the stamina.

+  Getaround (4th): Stepping into handicaps and cirsed with top weight after showing a bit too much ability in novice races, this was a decent try. He seems insistent on front running so may get better outcomes on a sharp, level track where that gives a distinct advantage.

x  As I See It (PU): Usually saves his best for his first race back from a break, and had been beaten only a length last time. Even with regression expected, this was a pretty disinterested showing.

Race 7: Follow At The Races On Twitter Handicap Chase [2m]

1: Desque De L'Isle     2: Away For Slates     3: Clondaw Robin

Winner owned: Lady Heber-Percy, trained: Venetia Williams, ridden: Charlie Deutsch

Desque De L'Isle repeated the forcing tactics that paid off over this course and distance last time out. He delivered again but Away For Slates, back in his favoured small field, gave him a proper race and had he jumped the final fence better, might just have got close enough to worry the winner into doom, of a relative kind. Descending the hill, Clondaw Robin seemed to be the biggest danger but lack of a run since pulling up twice in the early spring found him out once they turned for home.

Clondaw Robin (3rd): Better for the run and capable of winning chases in the mud, but in his mind consistency is am Estonian word that he cannot get the meaning of, so follow him with a forgiving mind.

UK-Jumping selections - Away For Slates (2nd): A race that fitted his small field demands and he ran well. Sometimes you just meet a rival that is too well treated to be overcome.

Away For Slates (left) battles on but it is Desque De L'Isle's victory.
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