Description
Description
Description
Description
Description
Description
Description
Description
Description
Description
Description
Description
Huntingdon, 8/12/19

There was some splendid, probably unintentional, comedy in the Racing Post this Sunday. After her horse won on Saturday, the report described Dido Harding as a “high powered businesswoman” and an “accomplished amateur rider.” Presiding over Talk Talk, the absolute maestros of data breaches and poor IT security is not discounting the first part, but does rather stain the memory and in the bit on her riding career, it would be true if eliminating the word “accomplished.” Elite brown-nosing by the writer concerned.

Going: Good to Soft

Race 1: Fitzdares Cerebral Gym Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase [2m 4.5f]

1: Pagero     2: Twenty Twenty     3: Veiled Secret

Winner owned: JP McManus, trained: Jonjo O’Neill, ridden: Jonjo O’Neill jr

For obvious reasons, not all the horses that took part in this got the full UK-Jumping attention that they deserved. About a dozen of them really. Twenty Twenty was the first to make a serious attack for the line, and he soon shook off the most prominent opponents. But from the pack, a silent hunter was emerging. Pagero played his hand much later but picked off Twenty Twenty quite readily and ran on like a horse a bit better than 0-110 level. As for the runner-up, he has gone through autumn and into winter on an irritating stretch of placed efforts where he was not that close to the winner, but he was successful twice last season so it looks as if it is a sign of bumping into the wrong opponents rather than not bothering enough. Veiled Secret is more usually spotted in class 5 level, and has only found one winnable race there, so it was not shocking that he lacked the pace to worry anyone at the front here. Favourite Dan Gun, who had suddenly popped up and won his last two, including here in November, started slowly, as he tends to do, but came a cropper at the second hurdle.

Pagero (1st): The effort of Twenty Twenty forced him to go a bit further clear of the third and fourth than is preferable for defending against the handicapper’s response, but he did then surge on and win like a horse that can handle a step up in grade.

Empire: Pete’s Choice (PU): This race was one of a very tiny list that were realistic choices on a track with a good chance to avoid heavy ground. With the benefit of hindsight, a 0-110 with high prize money was likely to attract a big field and perhaps one or two whose destiny lies in higher grades. Pete’s Choice found himself unable to lay up with the pace on a speedy track. Next stop chasing.   
ere.
Description
Huntingdon, 8/12/19

There was some splendid, probably unintentional, comedy in the Racing Post this Sunday. After her horse won on Saturday, the report described Dido Harding as a “high powered businesswoman” and an “accomplished amateur rider.” Presiding over Talk Talk, the absolute maestros of data breaches and poor IT security is not discounting the first part, but does rather stain the memory and in the bit on her riding career, it would be true if eliminating the word “accomplished.” Elite brown-nosing by the writer concerned.

Going: Good to Soft

Race 1: Fitzdares Cerebral Gym Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Chase [2m 4.5f]

1: Pagero     2: Twenty Twenty     3: Veiled Secret

Winner owned: JP McManus, trained: Jonjo O’Neill, ridden: Jonjo O’Neill jr

For obvious reasons, not all the horses that took part in this got the full UK-Jumping attention that they deserved. About a dozen of them really. Twenty Twenty was the first to make a serious attack for the line, and he soon shook off the most prominent opponents. But from the pack, a silent hunter was emerging. Pagero played his hand much later but picked off Twenty Twenty quite readily and ran on like a horse a bit better than 0-110 level. As for the runner-up, he has gone through autumn and into winter on an irritating stretch of placed efforts where he was not that close to the winner, but he was successful twice last season so it looks as if it is a sign of bumping into the wrong opponents rather than not bothering enough. Veiled Secret is more usually spotted in class 5 level, and has only found one winnable race there, so it was not shocking that he lacked the pace to worry anyone at the front here. Favourite Dan Gun, who had suddenly popped up and won his last two, including here in November, started slowly, as he tends to do, but came a cropper at the second hurdle.

Pagero (1st): The effort of Twenty Twenty forced him to go a bit further clear of the third and fourth than is preferable for defending against the handicapper’s response, but he did then surge on and win like a horse that can handle a step up in grade.

Empire: Pete’s Choice (PU): This race was one of a very tiny list that were realistic choices on a track with a good chance to avoid heavy ground. With the benefit of hindsight, a 0-110 with high prize money was likely to attract a big field and perhaps one or two whose destiny lies in higher grades. Pete’s Choice found himself unable to lay up with the pace on a speedy track. Next stop chasing. 
Winding Roe unseated at the first hurdle but is a nice enough chap to make the running anyway, unless Fawsley Spirit and Tel'Art (9) were desperate to do that job. Lazarus, Twenty Twenty and Lady Cylla come next, with possibly Lord Sparky the last in shot.

Race 2: Fitzdares Crosseys Jockey Coaching Novices’ Chase [2m 7.5f]

1: Slate House     2: Tarada     3: Sizing Cusimano

Winner owned: Eric Jones, Geoff Nicholas, John Romans, trained: Colin Tizzard, ridden: Harry Cobden

An odds-on favourite that fell in his last chase and was up at an unproven distance (thus with more fences to jump) was prime upset territory but Slate House got away with it. For a while it seemed as if the very lightly raced Tarara, who had not been devoid of market support, would succeed in a mass popular uprising against the tyranny of Slate House, who almost found himself having to resort to hiding in a ditch from angry odds-on punters. As the result tells, the jolly did get away with it, and jumped soundly for the most part. What would be worrying is that he struggled to sprint away from Tarada on the run-in, which is where his 153 rating should have been being demonstrated. There is the possibility that Tarada is a really good horse in the making… Encounter A Giant was having his first run out of point-to-points and did pretty well setting the pace but then unseated two out when headed but still looking good for third. Keep an eye out for when he is handicap qualified as he will also have proven by then if the jumping is reliable or not.

+ Tarada (2nd): Even allowing for the concerns over Slate House’s performance, this was a cracking effort. Alas, it will do his handicap mark not a jot of good.

x x Breaking Waves (PU): Having looked less than enthused about racing during his most recent hurdle, it was a bit of a surprise that he went off as joint second in the betting. The lack of interest was repeated.

Race 3: Fitzdares Racing Welfare Handicap Hurdle [1m 7.5f]

1: Tea Clipper     2: Magic Dancer     3: Diamond Gait

Winner owned: Jerry Hinds & Ashely Head, trained: Tom Lacey, ridden: Richard Johnson

Tea Clipper is now unbeaten in a British point (debuted directly into a Restricted at Larkhill) and three hurdles, but he had a close call here. Before the final hurdle it seemed as if Magic Dancer was just travelling with a bit more up his sleeve, but Tea Clipper picked up the swiftest of the prevailing trade winds and they brought him home just in front. Diamond Gait finished best of all and in real time, without any geometric equipment or digital photography, she seemed to have nicked second in the last ten centimetres of the race, but technology showed otherwise. “We’ll soon stage an attack on technology worthy of being chronicled in an anthem by Rush!” (Bender B Rodriguez). The final margins were a neck and a head, with less than four lengths back to Worcester specialist Hallings Comet, who debuted on a racecourse in 2011 and had never previously raced in December. He must have been terribly confused by it all.

+ Diamond Gait (3rd): Despite having her wins at Ludlow and Doncaster she ran like a mare who might appreciate a slightly longer race or a bit of a climbing finish. Either way, she is ready to strike but getting this near will take away any fancy prices, and ground worse than good to soft is a doubt.

+ Great Hall (5th): Followed on from his claiming second here last month with a six lengths loss in much deeper company. He should be able to find a small and winnable race, quite feasibly back on this track, which seems to suit.

x Magic Dancer (2nd): On the upside – four career wins. On the realistic side – eleven career seconds. No shortage of dancing around, but little of it magical.

x Fransham (10th): Since being hampered and running out here in March he had posted form of 21101. However, he must have really enjoyed the mess created in Spring because he virtually refused to race, conceding a good thirty lengths. Worse, he took out Farmer Boy (who had ironically avoided stress by going to the start early). One to be wary of, even though at this stage it is a one off disruption.

x Farmer Boy (PU): Perhaps the incident was misread and Farmer Boy took out Fransham at the off. Anyway, someone is the guilty party.

Race 4: Fitzdares Peterborough Chase, Grade 2 [2m 4f]

1: Top Notch     2: Kauto Riko     3: La Bague Au Roi

Winner owned: Simon Munir & Isaac Souede, trained: Nicky Henderson, ridden: Daryl Jacob

Regular readers will know that UK-Jumping has adopted many a cult hero over the years, even ones where nobody else is in the cult and the horse goes on to do nothing to deserve the adulation. And at the other end of the scale is Top Notch. When he seems to have an outstanding opportunity (from our perspective) he loses. When he looks very beatable, he wins. And when actually betting against him he wins very convincingly. Due to a short price, Aso was shunned as a wager so we did not fall foul of the latter option, but once again Top Notch popped up to proverbially knee us in the knackers. There was a brief spell between the last two when Kauto Riko threatened an almighty upset, but once the fences were done and it was all about speed, he was condemned to heroic defeat by a mere half a length. Where is the official cult heroes list again?

x La Bague Au Roi (3rd): As the field approached the third fence from home, her front running tactics had got everyone else in some degree of discomfort, but on the long run around the final bend, she ran out of steam and Top Notch and Kauto Riko were suddenly travelling better. She weakened quite sharply from the second last. Her best chase form stands up very well, but it is time to wonder if her late 2018 highlights were simply a case of being quicker to adapt to big fences than some of her opponents – e.g. Lostintranslation.

Race 5: Fitzdares Lord Jim Culloty Novices’ Hurdle [1m 7.5f]

1: West Cork     2: Marlborough Sounds     3: Twin Star

Winner owned: Mike & Eileen Newbould, trained: Dan Skelton, ridden: Harry Skelton

After suffering defeat in his last two runs, this race did not look like an easy option for West Cork, but he comprehensively stoppered nearly all opposing dangers in the bottle and then used incredible mind powers to force Marlborough Sounds into a final hurdle error when he threatened to be the genie that escaped that bottle. Twin Star was beaten but still relatively close to them when he too got the last hurdle wrong, and from there he was eased due to having third place in the bag anyway.

+ +  Perfect City (8th): Won three French flat races and was given a rating in the 90s when coming to Britain. He was involved but not dominating when a late faller in his first hurdle run and next time his third place was by a wide margin. This was a quiet educational run round in midfield to get handicapped and much more should be on offer when graduating from novice company.

Marlborough Sounds (2nd): On the flat in Ireland he was rated 80, so the 25/1 SP reflected absence of hurdling experience rather than absence of talent. It looks like he can do this job.

Race 6: Fitzdares Henrietta Knight Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race [1m 7.5f]

1: Vegas Blue     2: Wynn House     3: Marada

Winner owned: Crimbourne Bloodstock, trained: Nicky Henderson, ridden: Nico de Boinville

In advance this was set to be quite a competitive race but halfway down the far side only Vegas Blue and Marada were not being heartily rushed along. The field began to scatter on the home turn, and at that stage it was apparent that we needed to start preparing for an impressive wide margin Vegas Blue victory. It came but thanks to being allowed to take it easy, the distance was reduced a fair bit. Marada did not quite see out the race and with half a furlong to go she was nudged back into third by Wynn House, who kept on stoutly without giving hints of a champion’s pace.

+ +  Vegas Blue (1st): A form line through Urban Artist at Cheltenham said that she should be there or thereabouts, but not necessarily obliterate the challengers in the style that she managed. She might be very hard to beat in mares’ hurdles.

+  Wynn House (2nd): She had been first and second in visibly likeable performances but against possibly weaker oppo than some of her rivals had faced. She ran well and should cut the staying hurdler mustard.

Marada (3rd): The form of her previous run at Market Rasen, in which she was fourth but very close to the winner, had been working out well and she had been for a wind op since. Therefore it was a surprise to see her start at 66/1, but she ran as formbook indicated was possible and bumper success is viable. Hurdles too.

x  White Hart Lady (9th): Started favourite and she sat quietly in midfield for half the race before she nosed her way into prominence, looking quite a threat for the oppo. Unfortunately her sudden exit from the danger area was rather less subtle than the arrival.

Race 7: Fitzdares Award Ben Stokes SPOTY Now Handicap Chase [2m 7.5f]

1: Thomas Shelby     2: Stonebrigg Legend     3: Brigadier Bob

Winner owned: Mrs Alice Vaughan-Jones, trained: Caroline Bailey, ridden: James Bowen

Played out in strong winds and to the backdrop of a looming downpour this was another race in which the first two left the rest behind. Brigadier Bob had forced the pace but a bad blunder at the tenth knocked his equilibrium for a little while. In that context it was surprising that he was only headed as late as the second last, and only pushed into third at the final fence, but the first two were striding on aggressively and left him ten lengths back. Thomas Shelby had not won when with Alan King, but run some decent races in defeat before a fifteen months absence stalled his career. He had three pointing runs at the start of the year, including a maiden win, but on the return to Rules he had made a pig’s ear of front running. Patience paid off here and he had the race won once over the last. Stonebrigg Legend finished well but was slow to respond when the race quickened at the end of back straight. His two wins were at Fakenham and whilst he has been second twice here in the space of two weeks, the unrelenting gallop at Huntingdon may just be enough of a negative difference maker to condemn him to nothing better than a place.

Thomas Shelby (1st): Let the race play out to his strengths and is probably well enough handicapped to add to the score.

Oscar Ceremony (PU): Had results of third, first and second in his last three races, although the latest, on heavy ground was not close. It was enough for him to go off as joint second favourite but this time he made it clear early on that he was not terribly interested.
$SIGNUP$
$VALIDATION$
Working... Please wait