GOING: GOOD TO SOFT (Good in places; GoingStick 6.9) (Mostly cloudy)
Sky Bet Supreme Novices´ Hurdle Grade 1
Vautour made virtually all the running. Jumping well he quickened before the second last, putting in a huge jump at the final flight to surge clear up the run-in. Whilst visually impressive, it should be noted his RPR was 4lb below that of Champagne Fever the previous year. He possesses the size and scope to jump a fence and looks a realistic contender for the 2015 Arkle at this stage. Considering Josses Hill is an embryo chaser, he ran a fine race finishing well into second having been thereabouts from the start. Stablechum Vaniteux ran well considering he looks to need further. Yet another fron the Pointing field, he looks a two and a half-miles horse if his breeding is anything to go by. Sgt Reckless is a useful horse on good ground. However, this was his first attempt over hurdles on an undulating track having disappointed in the 2013 Festival Bumper. Anchored at the back of the field, he made a mistake at the third hurdle. Going down the hill, he jumped the third last well still under restraint from Mr Elsworth. Having jumped the second last, he made relentless progress to finish a highly creditable fourth. One has to suggest, a less conservative ride would have seen him taking second place. Wilde Blue Yonder returned a good run in fifth. One hopes that this will have boosted his confidence with a view to the future. Wicklow Brave did well to finish sixth given he was on his toes and raced with the choke out for some way. Speed tracks look likely to suit him best. Irving was never in the race. It appeared a combination of the undulating track, in a fast run race, with less emphasis of speed, counted against him. Valseur Lido ran well despite losing his place at the top of the hill. Running on well, he will come on for the race and stay further. Un Ace was not disgraced and should be winning again at a lower level.
Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase Grade 1 Cl1 2m
Western Warhorse created a huge shock when getting up in the final strides to touch-off Champagne Fever. Unbelievably, the horse improved 24lb on RPR’s. In fairness, he was an expensive purchase at £130,000 . However, Tom Scudamore remarks from previous races, including fruit-loop, hardly inspired confidence.. He has always jumped well. Having raced prominently, he lost his place at the top of the hill, he ran a strongly from the turn for home to gain a memorable victory. Champagne Fever ran within 2lb of his Supreme Hurdle RPR. Having jumped well he stayed on courageously only to be denied close home. One suspects lack of a recent run may have cost him the win. Trifolium jumped well apart from a mistake at the third fence. He produced his best RPR of the season suggesting he is just short of Grade One ability. Rock On Ruby hit the second fence and found the whole experience too much for a horse that was brought late to chasing. Dodging Bullets ran his usual sound race if a bit below his best. He has had a busy season. Valdez is another short of Grade One level and may prove at his very best on a flat track. Grandouet schools brilliantly at home but cannot reproduce it under Mr Geraghty on the track.
Baylis & Harding Affordable Luxury Handicap Chase Grade 3 Cl1 3m110y
Holywell travelled like a dream, jumping soundly apart from a mistake three out. Produced at the last, he showed a fine turn of foot to pass the gallant runner-up. He has been brilliantly placed to win another handicap at the Festival. Ma Filleule ran a blinder jumping well until a mistake at the third last caused her ride to lose his irons. Recovering their composure both mare and her excellent claiming rider jumped ahead at the second last. Keeping on well she lacked the winner speed on the run-in. The Package made ground in the final mile and ran on strongly in the closing stages to take third place. Approaching the veteran stage, he could nevertheless, run well in the Grand National. Green Flag and Tour Des Champs both ran well being outpaced at a vital stage before staying on well. Both look worthy of consideration if heading for the Scottish Grand National. The former has a good record at Ayr while the latter is currently 5lb lower than his fourth place last year. Standing Ovation showed enough to suggest he can win a slightly lower grade on a right-handed track. Alfie Sherrin ran a promising race in midfield. Unlikely to make the National cut, he has a good staying handicap in him. Hadrian’s Approach jumped soundly but failed to fire from four out.
Stan James Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy Grade 1 Cl1 2m110y
Predictably,MTOYpulled like a train. At this level, a combination of expended energy and not landing running after the last, contributed to a narrow defeat. Unless connections can somehow harness his natural exuberance he will always be vulnerable at the end of his races. He is unbeaten going right-handed and would be of considerable interest if sent to Punchestown where the track should suit.The New One lost several lengths and valuable momentum when hampered by the stricken Our Conor. Despite making his ground steadily, he was unable to land a serious challenge. Nevertheless, he reduced the margin between himself and Jezki by five-to six-lengths on the run-in.All things considered, he has to be counted an unlucky loser.Hurricane Fly made a gallant attempt to land his third Champion Hurdle. Well placed turning for home he was unable to sustain the effort weakening into fourth. Interesting to hear Ruby Walsh suggesting, “Hurricane Fly did something he has never done in the past, which was stop. If he had kept going off the bend and gone to the last with Jezki, only to be run out of it in third, you would say age has caught up with him. However, he stopped, which is so uncharacteristic of him. For whatever reason, I don’t know, but he did stop.”Captain Cee Bee was not disgraced nor was P’Tit Zig who should make a fine chaser next season.
OLBG Mares´ Hurdle (Registered As The David Nicholson Mares´ Hurdle Race) Grade 2 Cl1 2m4f
Quevega earned a place in history winning a sixth successive race at the Festival. Travelled well until outpaced coming down the hill. Quevega began to close on the leaders approaching the last flight and gamely wore down the second and third on the run to the line. This looks a minimum trip for her nowadays. Glens Melody has done nothing but improve this season. Leading over the last, she found Quevega’s irresistible surge too much on the run-in. L’Unique ran a blinder in third, returning a career best RPR. Worth noting, she is unbeaten at Aintree. Cockney Sparrow was hampered by Sire D’Ainay’s fall two from home. Regaining her momentum, she ran on well to finish an honourable fifth. I feel she is at her best on a flat track. Sirene D’Ainay made most before clipping the top the second last, taking a heavy tumble. She looked to have more to offer.
Terry Biddlecombe National Hunt Chase Amateur Riders´ Novices´ Chase (Listed Race) Cl1 4m
Midnight Prayer is a likable sort that jumps well. He handles the ground and answered all his riders’ calls in a tight finish. If sent for the Scottish Grand National he would be worthy of consideration. Shotgun Paddy produced an excellent effort to finish second. However, mistakes at three fences on the final circuit probably have cost him the race. In addition, the ground would not have been his favoured surface. RPR’s suggest he was below his best. The trainer suggests he looks an ideal Welsh National horse, which is hard to argue against. Suntiep looked to be given an awful lot to do being, last going away from the stands for the final time. A mistake at the third last probably cost him his winning chance. Despite rallying he was unable to close the gap on the leaders. Lightly raced, he could be one for the Irish National. Adrenalin Flight ran a sound race in fourth, finishing to good effect from the home turn. Shutthefrontdoor jumping was less than fluent at times. Until that is sorted out, he is not going to fulfil his undoubted potential. Ground and jumping cost Foxrock any chance of victory.
Rewards4Racing Novices´ Handicap Chase (Listed Race) Cl1 2m4f110y
Present View jumped well throughout the race. Taking a definite advantage at the third last, he jumped the final fence in good style and lengthened all the way to the line. Considering Mr Powell had the whip in his right hand, one has to question why Attaglance was switched to the inside on the run-in. Whilst hecan be considered unlucky, looking at the head-on it appears Mr Hughes could as easily have challenged the winner on the outside, rather than switching to a tight gap on the rails. A true spring Festival horse, he will no doubt bid for compensation at Aintree. Pendra made several mistakes on the way round. A final mistake at the last cost him any chance of victory, though he kept on gamely to the line. With further improvement likely, he looks an ideal type for the Paddy Power Gold Cup in November. Mistakes at the fifth, third, and second fences cost Buywise any chance of victory. This was his first attempt on an undulating track on goodish ground. Taking into account both factors he looks the one to take from the race. Ahyaknowyerself run well in fourth continuing his consistent and improving time over fences. Manyriverstocross ran well until finding the trip catching him out before the second last. He may be happiest on a conventional track.
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