Friday, October 27, 2023

Brief notes from Ludlow's second October meet 2023

Having just returned from the annual pilgrimage to Ludlow, I'm not tempted to get involved at Cheltenham tomorrow.

Chase experience was at a premium at the Shropshire track yesterday with Neon Moon and La Renommee helping to ensure a tidy profit for participating pilgrims.

There was plenty of incident in the Vera Davies Mares' Novices' Hurdle (4.05). 

Alan King trained favourite Baby Sage made a bad mistake and unseated Tom Cannon at the first before conditional rider Daire Davis caused mayhem on the home turn by appearing to take the chase course on Faha Belle before attempting to correct the error and clipping heels with Van Hallers. 

In the ensuing melee Daire Davis, David Bass (Van Hallers) and Tom Bellamy (Kit's Coty) all unseated. Davis, found guilty of improper riding, has been banned for 21 days; the spoils went to 28/1 shot Victoria Milano trained by Alastair Ralph.

Henry Daly's runners are always worth a second look here. 

Four-year-old filly Wyenot ran out a comfortable winner of the first division of the Tom Calvert Memorial Novices' Hurdle. Recoup's winning time for the second division was over three and a half seconds quicker. 

Part-owned by Harry Redknapp, Recoup showed real determination to deny Choccabloc a head on the line. The Henry Daly trained Jour D'Evasion, noted giving his saddling box a damned good kicking beforehand, claimed third after Adjuvant sprawled on landing at the final flight.15/8 favourite Ittack Blue, part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson, jumped his hurdles far too big from the off and was soon beaten after appearing to suffer some interference on the home bend.

In the opening amateur jockeys' handicap chase Dan's Chosen held on gamely to deny Striking Out who didn't help his cause by jumping out to the left on numerous occasions. Family Pot along with Dindin did not impress in the paddock.

I'm monitoring the Philip Hobbs & Johnson White stable at the moment. In the past Hobbs would have had a few runners at Chepstow's October meeting but this year there wasn't a single one - possibly on account of the soft ground. 

Friday, October 13, 2023

Frankie, Lucinda, Caroline, Michael - and the longest impending retirement I've ever known

Many years ago, at a time when I had to work for a living, one of my workplace managers - I occupied a humble, lowly position within a vast organisational hierarchy - announced, with some degree of relish, his impending retirement, having recently celebrated his 50th birthday.

You may have encountered a similar type.

At subsequent fortnightly catch-up meetings he'd invariably reference at some point his previous 'announcement' with the result that, within the matter of a few short weeks, we'd all grown fed up to the back teeth hearing about 'the retirement'.

The individual concerned eventually took the plunge at the age of 59 and, to this day, it remains the longest impending retirement I've ever had the misfortune to bear witness to.

However it would appear Lanfranco Dettori seems intent on giving my colleague a bit of a run for his money.

Having spent this, his 'final' season, telling anyone and everyone that he's about to hang up his riding boots after Qipco Champions Day at Ascot, Frankie has suddenly changed his mind and is now off to ride full-time in the States.

"I could be there three months or three years, I don't know," he said.

Well, bless my old boots.

Over the summer months Michael Scudamore has moved his operation north of the border to join forces with Lucinda Russell (and partner Peter Scudamore) while his brother Tom has taken over the reins at the Herefordshire base he vacated which will be used as a pre-training / satellite yard. 

The Russell-trained Lebowski ran without the declared tongue-tie in the Professor Caroline Tisdall Supports Heroic Jumpers Seniors' Handicap Hurdle at Chepstow earlier this afternoon. Sent off the 2/1 favourite, the bay raced from the front but was headed three out and weakened to eventually finish fifth.

Professor Tisdall is on record saying she wants to win two races above all others - the Grand National and the Cesarewitch.

Wordsworth carries her colours in the latter race tomorrow but wasn't quite poetry in motion when winning the first division of a Bangor maiden hurdle on his first run for David Pipe 10 days ago - Act Of Authority won the second division in a faster time.

Pied Piper, rated 157 over hurdles yet 96 on the Flat, heads the betting for the Ces but I'm going to take a small each-way interest in an old friend / adversary, Zoffee

This one finished fourth off the same mark in last year's renewal and looks to have had a similar prep - at the time of writing he's 20/1 with Sky who are paying eight places.

To finish, I note that Lucinda popped up on Desert Island Discs last month and included Wandrin' Star (Lee Marvin) in her list of eight tracks. 

Hmmm... Put me in mind of the time when I thought Walk In The Park would win the 2019 Becher Chase but I backed Wandrin Star (David Bass) instead. 

I don't need to tell you what happened.