Sunday, October 31, 2010

Thoughts on Halloween

Quick notes from Wetherby yesterday... Deep Purple ran a fine race in the Charlie Hall - Evan Williams' charge was fairly eating up the ground at the finish, much as he did in the race last year. The Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon on December 9th is the next stop. Interviewed on Channel 4 by Derek 'Tommo' Thompson, owner Graham Wylie put up three to keep an eye out for - Tidal Bay (finished third behind Fair Along in the John Smith's Hurdle), Presenting Forever and On His Own; the last named has a five day entry in the 3.10 at Hexham on Friday. Coastley was going well enough for a 28/1 shot in Fair Along's race but put in a howler at the ninth flight that practically stopped him in his tracks. He was pulled up shortly afterwards but could be of interest in the future, a comment that also applies to Gary Moore's Bogside Theatre who ran well for a long way at the head of affairs before taking a crashing fall three from home - the obvious concern is the mare's confidence will have been affected. Calgary Bay, a big-looking beast, appeared to be travelling sweetly and set for a place at least as the principals came to the top of the final bend but the gelding found disappointingly little when asked a question. Perhaps Martin Todhunter's outsider That's Rhythm (finished fifth) will be worth a second look when dropped a little in class. Gilbarry went into many notebooks when taking the opening novice chase by beating 6/5 favourite Osric, the pair 30 lengths clear of Knockavilla in third.

This season Paul Nicholls has moved stables and now writes a column for Betfair. The Racing Post, not to be outdone, hit back by announcing on Saturday they had signed up Nicky Henderson. In his first piece for the trade paper the Lambourn trainer kept punters in the picture by indicating many of his string were two weeks away from where he wanted them to be.

Weird Al returned to the track at Carlisle earlier today; Ian Williams' charge got up on the line to dead -heat with Little Josh over a trip that is probably short of his best. I was surprised to see Cape Tribulation sent off favourite for this intermediate chase; the bay didn't jump all that well at Hexham the last time veering left on occasions - that trait was evident again. He lost his position from the eleventh and was soon pulled up.

With Cheltenham's Open meeting less than a fortnight away, a quick reminder that Cheltenham Racecourse station is currently closed due to a landslip south of Gotherington Halt. Repair work has started - the latest estimate I have is that services are unlikely to be restored before mid summer; further details on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway website.

Finally, as highlighted on The Morning Line, Donald McCain's Drill Sergeant (formerly with Mark Johnson on the Flat) is blessed with ability but comes with quirks. Holding a fifteen length advantage in a Haydock novice hurdle, the Rock Of Gibraltar gelding pulled himself up at the the exit to the stables, going from first to last in a matter of strides. McCoy worked the magic though and the 11/10 favourite still ran out the winner, beating Brother Bob a length. In a recent stable tour article Donald McCain had said, 'It is possible we will ride him more positively in the future over 2m...' My guess is connections will be reviewing that approach. Incidentally, the form appears to pay a compliment to Kilcrea Kim who beat Drill Sergeant over two and half miles at Bangor. That one has a five day entry in the 1.35 at Exeter on Tuesday.

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