Plumpton, 19/10/20

It was a shame that this was behind closed doors as it must have hit the Bob Champion Cancer Trust fund raising initiative. People mourning that funding loss got an uplifting result in the final race. As for the racing, a rare Plumpton occurence - no two and a half mile hurdle on the card. We need not lose any sleep over a temporary anomaly.

Going: Good, Good to Firm places

Race 1: Follow Plumpton Racecourse On Instagram Novices’ Hurdle (2m)

1: Pisgah Pike     2: Peace Prevails     3: Cherry Cola

Winner owned:, trained: Jamie Snowden, ridden: Jonathan Burke

Quite an interesting novice hurdle for those of simple ambitions. Pisgah Pike was odds-on, following an easy Hexham success and a close second in a Listed handicap hurdle – notably from a small weight and a non-Listed level handicap mark, which remained just in the 120s. He hit the front in plenty of time but had to put in a bit of work to keep Peace Prevails at arm’s length. She had won five flat races without setting an exceptional standard. Her hurdles bow had been a defeat in which she was unable to get in the midst of the action at Fontwell, but did finish ahead of a recent winner, and this ended up being much more manageable. Cherry Cola again shaped as if further would suit and her attempt to counteract lack of furlongs with front running effort was doomed from the third last, when Pisgah Pike poked a nostril in front then decided to be patient and let her get on with it. Atomic Jack was a bit short of jumping skills but still was in the bundle for a place at the final hurdle.

+ + Peace Prevails (2nd): She will not have done her handicap mark much help here, although she was receiving fourteen pounds from Pisgah Pike to ease the danger. On this showing she can win at mares’ novice level.

+  Atomic Jack (4th): Jumping skills let him down on his first bash (literally) at the hurdles game. That can be fixed.

Race 2: Nick Embiricos Memorial 2020 Handicap Chase (2m 3.5f)

1: Hab Sab     2: Magic River     3: Kapsize

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

One of those marvellous races where the flaws of the contenders made it impossible to fancy any of them, and it there to be watched and savoured. Especially by Dalkadam, who was withdrawn at the start after extended and indecisive debate. He longingly monitored the others potter around, and whatever the problem, it did not stop him being declared for Lingfield on Thursday as of the next morning. Although the going was very different, Hab Sab got a first career success here in the Spring by daring moderate oppo to take him on up front. He did the same, despite seven months off, and it worked again. Turning for home Hab Sab's lead had been whittled away and Magic River was a massive danger. His challenge petered out and Hab Sab kept trying, opening up four lengths at the line. To sum up the race, Kapsize started favourite, despite no UK defeats of less than ten lengths.

x  Magic River, Kapsize, Simon The Great, Battleofthesomme, Pierlow: This is not a race that anyone wants to be losing, although some had to. To be forgiven would need being pipped in a titanic tussle to the line (no qualifiers) or an early stumble and fall (Gustav).   here.
They may not make much impact on the pantheon of racing legends, but the bottom tier bunch are at least keen to get on with it. The front rank, from the far side, is River Magic, Hab Sab, Battleofthesomme and Gustav (5) with the hooped jacket of Kapsize nosing into it. Simon The Great (2) and Pierlow (9) let the others get silly.

Race 3: Bob Champion Cancer Trust Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (2m)

1: Global Wonder     2: Plenty Of Butty     3: Furia D'Oudairies

Winner owned: The Global Wonder Partnership, trained: Suzi Best, ridden: Jack Tudor

The numbers were good for this race, which made it a guessing game of the first order, although with one who had won last time (Plenty Of Butty), two who had been second (Amelia’s Dance and Angel’s Whisper) plus Global Wonder having had a third place this summer, it was not quite the mystery parade that some novices’ handicaps become. The prize was pinched with a late run from the held up Global Wonder, who left himself a lot of horses to pass in the straight and did so dextrously when he found daylight on the stands' side. Plenty Of Butty, who won in Devon last time, appeared to have done the job when getting the best of long time leader Duria D'Oudairies, so must have been demoralised to see Global Wonder come from out of the clouds. Top weight Angel's Whisper attracted market support but could only manage sixth - a place looked possible with two to jump but she was bit sluggish when it mattered most.

+  Global Wonder (1st): Could have won by further had the tactics not be ultra patient and is likely to be ahead of the handicapper for a while.

Race 4: William Hill Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase (2m 3.5f)

1: Dr Sanderson     2: Enrichissant     3: Gateway To Europe

Winner owned: JP McManus, trained: Paul Nicholls, ridden: Harry Cobden

Although the winning SP was only 5/2, there was an element of surprise about the result as Dr Sanderson had done a good impression of a clueless oaf in three of his past four chases. There had been an exception at unPlumptonesque Ludlow, but there was no obvious reason to expect a success. The depature of Mason Jar when starting to be niggled at the eleventh helped, and favourite Gateway To Europe ran a very feeble race on supposeldy ideal going. Both of those helped, but Dr Sanderson still managed to avoid being his own worst enemy. What next? Enrichissant gave it a game shot from the front but he has been put up fourteen pounds for a spell with only one win and the handicapper is his arch nemesis at the moment.

+  Gateway To Europe (3rd): Only had two rivals on his chase debut but they both won next time, and he is surely better than he showed here.

x  Eragon De Chanay (Fell): Has been less convincing over fences than even the winner in the past and dropping the visor was no help at all. He fell two out when in a battle to avoid fourth.
All the functional pics are at the two and a half mile start. Enrichissant (blue cap) and Mason Jar (red cap) are slightly sharper away than Gateway To Europe and Eragon De Chanay (5) nearer the crowd. Dr Sanderson tries a bit of patience and common sense.

Race 5: Bob Champion Raceday October 18th 2021 Handicap Hurdle (2m)

1: Constancio     2: Jackson Hill     3: Zamani

Winner owned: Elite Racing Club, trained: Donald McCain, ridden: Brian Hughes

A sneak preview of the 2021 Plumpton fixture list! The champion jockey turned up for only his second Plumpton ride in five years and turned a competitive handicap hurdle into a lap of honour. Or rather two laps. Constancio was happy to do the donkey work in front and whilst Jackson Hill tried to duplicate the extremely patient tactics that delivered in race three, he was not so clever at it. It was only a couple of lengths in it at the line, yet at no stage did he convince that he would catch Constancio, who saw out the rise to the line better than he has done elsewhere. Zamani had been off nine months since a burst blood vessel, for which a hood was added to defend against. He ran solidly and might come on for the run.

+  Jackson Hill (2nd): Lost but in the past he had only run well on soft or heavy, so maybe he has let loose a glimpse of more going based flexibility than seen before. The yard is not in tip top form either.

x  Itsonlyrocknroll (4th): Pulled far to hard. Yet again. He never learns.

Race 6: Sky Sports Racing Channel 415 Novices’ Handicap Chase (3m 1.5f)

1: Speedy Cargo     2: Hidden Cargo     3: Commit Or Quit

Winner owned: NWA Bannister & MJR Bannister, trained: Warren Greatrex, ridden: Harry Bannister

This was quite a barnstorming win for Speedy Cargo, although no actual aerobatics were needed. He was initially in a duel with Moans Cross, who was a bit inclined to go right at his fences and seemed to be feeling the pinch a little when falling at the fourteenth fence. Then favourite Commit Or Quit loomed up around the railway turn, although it was a threat that he could not see through. Then finally Hidden Cargo, who had jumped right with more gusto than Moans Cross during the race, moved into second, but Speedy Cargo knew that that was nothing to be afraid of. Win done, making it two in a row.

+  Commit Or Quit (3rd): Had never raced on faster than good to soft, and by the end of the afternoon this was quicker than the official good. He is worth another chance with some mud around.

Race 7: Josh Gifford Memorial Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (3m1f)

1: Rose Of Aghaboe     2: Get An Oscar     3: Viking Ruby

Winner owned: The Rose Tinted Partnership, trained: Nick Gifford, ridden: Tabitha Worsley

Putting on the two staying races as the last two events is an interesting scheduling wrinkle but the hurdling mares had arrived en masse to support it. And everyone went home happy as Nick Gifford won the race named in honour of his dad. He used to have a few shots in vain at the one Huntingdon named after his uncle, so it is probably not a sound betting strategy to back his horses in every form of Gifford memorial event. Rose Of Aghaboe was up a lot in trip and on going avoided in the past, but it was not enough to stop her once she hit the front soon after the final hurdle. Get An Oscar sort of got towed along in the wake of the rose, and as she stays and wins on good, she sort of proved that the winner did not do it by default.

+  Viking Ruby (3rd): She seems best at the vare 3m or slightly less. Getting headed on the run-in perhaps hints that she should stick to those distances, although a length and a half defeat is far from a disaster.

Our Rockstar (6th): Could be deemed to have been a non-stayer but in the meat of the race she did not seem to be appreciating the first time cheekpieces. Different headgear next time anyone?
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