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Stratford, 20/10/18

When setting off it was expected that the first race would be missed, but horrendous traffic meant getting there just as race three finished. So here is half of a review for those on an information diet. Some would argue that it means half the nonsense...

Going: Good

Race 1: Aye Aye Reggie Maiden Hurdle [2m 6f]

1: Dandolo Du Gite     2: Keel Over     3: Len Brennan

Winner owned: Equi Ex Incertis Partners, trained: Neil Mulholland, ridden: Sam Twiston-Davies

From previous interaction, Keel Over seemed like a decent enough horse in the making as a British pointer, so Dandolo Du Gite beating him by four lengths, apparently in comfort, is likely to prove to be solid staying stuff.

Race 2: Euan Robertson Memorial Novices' Handicap Hurdle [2m 2.5f]

1: Gaelic Flow     2: Head Lad     3: Never A Word

Winner owned: The Jack High Racing Partnership, trained: Chris Down, ridden: Bryony Frost

Race 3: Amadeus Catering Selling Hurdle [2m 0.5f]

1: Atlantic Storm     2: Excellent Team     3: Vocal Heir

Winner owned & trained: David Rees, ridden: Aidan Coleman

Despite this being Atlantic Storm's stable debut, he was allowed to leave for just £4,000 in the post-race auction. Irish visitor Vocal Heir, in third, was claimed for £7,000. As a note for comparison Vocal Heir has now won once in twenty-one races (and that was on the flat) whereas Atlantic Storm has nabbed once chase and two hurdles from only seventeen tries.

Race 4: William Hill Leading Racecourse Bookmaker Handicap Chase [2m 5f]

1: One Forty Seven     2: Opechee      3: Monsieur Arkadin

Winner owned: Graham and Alison Jelley, trained: Nigel Twiston-Davies, ridden: Sam Twiston-Davies

The bypassing of the final fence made for an exceptionally long run-in from the last on this occasion, and although the tight final turn was still tricky to take at full tilt, without the often awkward last obstacle there was no need for the secondary steadying it creates. One Forty Seven was left at the front when long time leader Return Flight blundered and unseated two from home. One Forty Seven went on very strongly all the way to the post, so it is easy to imagine him getting the win without the one in front departing. Opechee and Monsieur Arkin were scrapping hard for the places and that meant they went well clear of the other two finishers. Other than the important unseat it was all quite uneventful, although than Monsieur Arkadin having his first non-feeble chasing effort might look significant when we are ready to call in Captain Hindsight.

+  One Forty Seven (1st): This was his first win since his Irish pointing days and lack of success saw him sort of drift into three milers for want of a better idea. He had gone much better back at 2m 3f last time, but 2m 5f over fences proved to be a winning combo, and can be again.

x  Mont Royale (5th): Had just about the right race but ran very disappointingly. He was top weight here but has never excelled when carrying above 11-4, which is a trend that could very well continue.
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The horses decide check out what is going on by the usual final fence. One Forty Seven is in the middle of the front rank, with Monsieur Arkadin (nearest) and Return Flight either side. Moorlands Jack and Mont Royale (1) are behind that bunch, as per most of the race. Only Opechee has a nagging doubt that this is not adding anything to the raceday experience

Race 5: Watch Racing UK On Sky 426 Mares' Handicap Hurdle [2m 0.5f]

1: Solstalla     2: Shambra     3: Toboggan's Fire

Winner owned: Miss EJ Tanner, trained: David Weston, ridden: Page Fuller

In the past Solstalla failed to move on from her promising early wins (only one success in the previous sixteen races) thanks to wandering attention and/or commitment. This time there were no cheekpieces on, so the omens were worse than suggested at the point when the six horse race had four 7/2 co-favourites and one at 9/2. In the race itself, Solstalla was the one who knuckled down and won, despite blundering through the final hurdle. When that happened Shambra appeared to have seen a decisive opening, but Solstalla got herself going again and the gap stopped narrowing. Heading into the final turn Toboggan's Fire had all the aura of the winner to be, but she tied up quite sharply coming into the home straight and did not make life worrisome for the first pair.

+  Shambra (2nd): She had only hurdled on soft and heavy so far, and the way this panned it out she would probably need it to stop the oppo at the business end.

Undefined Beauty (6th): There is nothing shoddy about the wins that she has, but it seems to take only a tiny rise in class of opponent for her performances to fall to bits. First time cheekpieces were no aid today, so the disappointments will keep coming.

Race 6: Hammersly Lake Good Luck In America Tonight Handicap Chase [2m 1f]

1: Saffron Prince     2: Deise Vu     3: Stormbay Bomber

Winner owned: Mrs JA Chenery & RJ Chenery, trained: David Bridgwater, ridden: Daniel Hiskett

The marathon run-in had the potential to open up some extreme antics amongst a line-up that have a nice range of foibles. It did not happen because Saffron Prince was really on a going day and handled it all neatly. In the past he has got all his wins when carrying around 11 stone, and after Daniel Hiskett's claim, 11-5 today was moving the edge of his range up a notch. Getting into class 5 company, as he was here, cheered Saffron Prince up - he even looked perky in the paddock. Second place in this style was classic Deise Vu, plodding away but always looking held once Saffron Prince had moved to the front. The course record for Diese Vu is now 312PP22. Ditto for Stormbay Bomber, who was not near enough the first pair in the middle of the back straight to catch them, what with his limited pace and all. Anti Cool came into this looking to complete four straight wins, but the most recent was unfortunately twenty-six months back. He did not appear fit enough to keep the stretch going, but was quickly pulled up when he ran out of puff. Keep an eye on him being allowed a steady build up to being competitive - if he still can be.

x  Daylami Kirk (PU): An appealing giant of a horse, the pre-race note was "very nervy sort or not into racing." Having done a lap comfortably and then stoped dead, it looks like the latter.

x x  Yourholidayisover (5th): In the old days he used to go through low level handicaps quite well and then not bother in the crucial final furlong. Somewhere along the way he learned that if not interested right at the end, it is a waste of time trying hard earlier on.

Race 7: Kevin Watson Lady Riders' Handicap Hurdle [2m 0.5f]

1: Canford Thompson     2: So Sorry Sarah     3: Sadma

Winner owned & trained: Neil King, ridden: Bryony Frost

A fiercely competitive race was expected. Canford Thompson had not been informed of what was intended. In the past he has gone 0/17 on the flat and 1/10 hurdling and he had been a tamely beaten favourite at Plumpton last time. In that low win percentage he had sulked his way out of a couple of potential triumphs, but today he was the happiest camper around. So Sorry Sarah, Sadma and the disappointingly non-alliterative Chilli Romance were having a proper ding-dong for the places, yet they were unable to narrow the distance to the cruising leader. So Sorry Sarah nicked second, seeming to appreciate the shorter race distance. It did take her Rules score to played fifteen, won none, but she has an Irish point-to-point success (at the seventh try) so could one day remember how much everyone loved her on that day.

+  Sadma (3rd): A couple of years ago she was doing some appealing work at the lowest level, but she has been hard to keep on the racecourse lately and results have suffered. This was a step in the right direction.

Empire: Brother Bennett (5th): Did not get the race run to suit. The first lap was slow, so he pulled hard and then got caught out when the pace rose sharply earlier than usual. The run will have done him good anyway.
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