Plumpton, 9/3/20

Finally, something accessible and actually not abandoned. It is not making for much variety in the reports so far this year, but some courses are clearly more heroic than others. The card served up would not score terribly highly in the eliteness offered on the Plumpton/Fontwell/Lingfield circuit, never mind racing as a whole, but at times like these we must all be thankful for what we get – or do not get.

Going: Heavy (Soft places on the chase course)

Race 1: Book For Easter Festival Now! Novices’ Hurdle [2m 4.5f]

1: Iconic Muddle     2: Le Tueur     3: Just In A Muddle

Winner owned: Saloop, trained: Gary Moore, ridden: Joshua Moore

A race that excluded flat horses – scheduled by someone who foresaw the state of the ground in early March. It also excluded Bobby Bow, who was a morning non-runner, and Annual Invictus, the second favourite, who arrived at the start with an average numbers of shoes per hoof of less than one, so was withdrawn. That left pretty plain sailing for Iconic Muddle, who was 1/3ish before his rival was given the heave-ho. Rounding the railway bend pointing convert Le Tueur was making a fair job of pressing the winner but once they turned for home, Iconic Muddle bounded clear. Some confusion was caused by having Iconic Flight, Iconic Muddle and Just In A Muddle all part of the same race.

+  Le Tueur (2nd): A Chipley Park maiden winner, this odd race will not be the be all and end all of his Rules career, it is just how far he can take it – and whether he is a short or longer term prospect.

Race 2: Strong Flavours Catering Novices’ Handicap Chase [2m 3.5f]

1: Hab Sab     2: Pottlereaghexpress     3: Impulsive Leader

Winner owned: Mrs P Reynolds, trained: Linda Jewell, ridden: Dave Crosse

Strong flavour maybe, strong standard? No. The topweight was the once decent Vicenzo Mio, who last won in December 2013 and is now on a mark of 98. He was rated ten pounds clear of the next best horse, Ted Bach, who was one of three chase debutants, along with Bridgets Cross and Pottlereagh Express. Maybe one could raise their quality level in a new job? Maybe. Dave Crosse took the bull by the horns on the bottom weight Hab Sab and said “We are in front, what are you going to do about it?” Answer came there none (although maybe Bridgets Cross replied “who are you and why should I care?” as she was never remotely interested in this race). Pottlereagh Express had a bit of a torrid passage early on (oo-er) getting roughed up as Westerberry began jumping right, but she was clear in second for long enough to try and recover but could not. In the end she was only beaten a length but Hab Sab was at least ten clear over the last, and however much he tied, he never remotely looked like being caught. On the run-in Vicenzo Mio lost third to Impulsive Leader, who jumped quite neatly in rear and looked less flustered than is usually her way.

+  Pottlereagh Express (2nd): She can go one better in this sort of poor race with a bit of luck in running.

x  Westerberry (PU): Lacks consistency but has a couple of chase runs which implied she could get involved in the finish. Her jumping was a big problem.

x x  Vicenzio Mio (4th): He started 5/2 favourite. What on earth is going through people’s minds?
The loneliness of the middle distance novice handicap chaser leads Hab Sab to be not terribly stylish over the last.

Race 3: SW Catering Handicap Hurdle [3m 1f]

1: Tambura     2: Puppet Warrior     3: Age Of Wisdom

Winner owned: Mrs A Maundrell, trained: Neil King, ridden: Bryony Frost

Time for a one of UK-Jumping’s intermittent rants, and in this case it concerns complete cobblers spoken about Bryony Frost. A couple of months ago there was some piece of PR guff circulating about her having signed a sponsorship deal with Jockey Club Racecourses that was a big new thing. Could have sworn on seeing her several times arriving at or leaving a racecourse in a Jockey Club racecourses sponsored Land Rover. A day earlier the Southwell commentator had said “Would you believe it, she’s only ridden a double on International Women’s Day” when the meeting was a card consisting of only lady riders’ races and the idea of the pre-eminent woman jump jockey in Britain riding more than one winner is really very likely. Today she had a complete steering job on Tambura, who has seven previous hurdle wins to her name, three on course and distance, and we are subject to Simon Holt making out that some miracle has occurred. What was new is that Tambura had been off for seven weeks and no past win occurred on a longer break than twenty-six days. However, she is a relative newcomer to Neil King’s team and it could easily be his standard method eliminated that chink in Tambura’s armour. Now we consider the opposition, in racecard order. Minella Daddy, off since summer and as popular in the betting as if he intended running with all four legs tied together, downed tools after a mile. Puppet Warrior ran quite well but in fifteen races he has no wins and seven second places… Finally Age Of Wisdom, described by his trainer Gary Moore as an unpredictable weirdo, was not on any sort of going day.

Puppet Warrior (2nd): Appeared to do a very decent job, but history tells us that he probably has no plan at all to provide something fractionally better.

Race 4: Tie The Knot Catering Mares’ Handicap Hurdle [2m 4.5f]

1: Ruby Yeats     2: Sandymount Rose     3: Our Dot’s Baby

Winner owned: Heart Of The South Racing 122, trained: Gary Moore, ridden: Joshua Moore

After giving her return to hurdles from an accident prone spell chasing a big thumbs up with a comfortable win, the handicapper did not seem to have been terribly hard on Ruby Yeats with a six pounds rise, and she took this quite competitive race assertively. She may be up against an assessor having a notable rethink after this. Sandymount Rose looked a big danger all the way but she slipped going into the railway turn for the last time, recovered well and then thumped the last. She was almost down there, but already beaten at the time. Our Dot’s Baby has come down the weights a little and was bang in contention until the second last, from where she was a bit one paced. In the morning course regular Ding Ding was very popular with punters but by the time the market here opened the interest had all dried up and she was back put to 8/1. She went quite well until stopping quickly on the railway turn. River Arrow set a good pace but was suddenly swamped three out – it turned out that she had burst a blood vessel.

+ +   Sandymount Rose (2nd): An inexperienced mare in her first handicap, things went very much not to plan, and it is realistic to think much better is possible. She probably stays three miles too.

+  Ruby Yeats (1st): A hat trick is on the cards if the weights rise can be kept to seven pounds or less.
Even in a picture as bad as this we can all see Ruby Yeats in complete control, but it does remind us that Sandymount Rose opted for a bizarre scale the hurdle and climb down the other side method.

Race 5: Sky Sports Racing Handicap Chase [3m 1.5f]

1: Fizzlestix     2: Chivers     3: Burgess Dream

Winner owned: Mrs C New, trained: Chris Gordon, ridden: Joshua Moore

On his chase debut Fizzlestix had found trouble in running and then gone on to lose by rather more than that aggro seemed to merit. The one thing he was known not to have any concerns over was three miles on heavy ground. Therefore when he was been ridden along at fence four, the omens were bad. However, as soon as he was in the joint lead he looked considerably happier and from the middle of the back straight he converted a race into a rout. The chances of Chivers staying this far appeared to be notably remote, but there is not much he will not do to finish second if possible and this time that was a positive. Burgess Dream is another who is proven in mud and many miles but he is very much happier at Lingfield or Fontwell, and the tricky Plumpton fences often fox him, which meant better than third was not on the cards from the fifth last. Favourite Mount Oliver, who has relatively few competitive races to his name, clobbered fence five and was never travelling after.

Fizzlestix (1st): Did the last two and a half miles as if he has more success up his sleeve and the first time tongue tie clearly did no harm.

Race 6: New Plumpton History Book Available Now Handicap Hurdle [2m]

1: Riviere Argentee     2: Legal OK     3: O’Rahilly

Winner owned: Mrs Diane Dewbery, trained: Milton Harris, ridden: William Kennedy

The standout feature here was that Kenny George recently finished fourth in a 0-120 Newbury handicap hurdle. He was dropping down in distance there and unsurprisingly the better horses dashed away from him on the run-in, but at this level he had a fighting chance of getting away with it. The problem would be top weight on battered ground at the end of the card. It was an issue as he was third, not beaten but not the likeliest winner, when he came down at the last. That left Legal OK, the pacesetter, to try and hang on for success, but fail against a revitalised Riviere Argentee, who did not find as much as seemed likely before the second last, but did have enough up her sleeve to keep Legal OK at bay. O’Rahilly inherited third, got hampered by Kenny George and then did not finish too far off of the first pair. In an act of insanity, proven dodgepot Champion Chase was at one stage second favourite here. He was his usual self and the people that keep supporting him must the same dimwits who have bought stacks of toilet roll for absolutely no reason at all.

+  O’Rahilly (3rd): A handicap mark that has fallen helped, now he just needs the ground to dry put a bit.

+  Penney’s Hun (6th): A very rare three runs in not just one season, but less than three months. This did not go all that well, but it is possible to believe that he has a bit more somewhere.

x x  Champion Chase (4th): Nothing ever changes and presumably some people had him in a double with Vicenzo Mio. They should not be allowed to be in charge of money.
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