CHANGE OF TRACK SHOULD PAY DIVIDENDS FOR JAMMY GEORGE
2nd - Ron Powell (Abercrave) 80th Birthday Maiden Hurdle, Chepstow, Tuesday 29th October
A bumper winner at the track on debut last season, Eason ran a remarkable race on his hurdling debut at Chepstow. Having travelled well, he was quickly left behind by the leaders at 3 out and appeared to be going nowhere. However, once Harry Cobden gave him a crack after 2 out he seemed to wake up and started to pick up on the long run between the last two hurdles. Jumping the last in fifth, he continued to run on strongly to grab second place on the line. Eason looked raw and short of a turn of foot in bumpers and he still looked mentally inexperienced on this hurdling debut. His talented half brother Tir Au But was at his best when the emphasis was on stamina and that looks likely to be the case with Eason too. I think he can progress well this season over 2m6f-3m before really making his mark in the long term over fences.
3rd - Floodlit Friday Nights At Dundalk Maiden, Dundalk, Wednesday 30th October
Denis Hogan has had notable success this season with bottom-end of the market purchases Make A Challenge and Hathiq and while Sceptical has a long way to go to match either of those, the £2,800 Godolphin cast-off made a promising start to his career on his belated debut at Dundalk. Having been slowly away, he soon latched on to the back of the pack and travelled strongly into the straight. He arguably looked to be going best one furlong out, tracking the leading pair, but once switched inside to deliver a challenge his inexperience showed a little and he finished third beaten ¾ length. This was a weak maiden but it was an encouraging start to his career and I think he could turn out to be easily the best of this field in the long term. Opportunities are thin on the ground for him for the remainder of this year but I’m hopeful that he can improve plenty in sprints next year.
3rd - Bet At totesport.com Classified Stakes, Chelmsford, Thursday 31st October
For some time Atwaar has looked a horse to follow and she left that impression again when finishing third at Chelmsford in a 0-50 classified stakes on Thursday. She travelled well a little back of mid division and then had to wait for a gap to appear turning the final bend. Switched inside to find room, she closed well to move into third about a furlong out but couldn’t sustain that run in the final furlong. She caught the eye on her previous run at the track over 6f and I think a drop back to that trip will suit, with Kempton possibly being the ideal track for her over the winter. She’s been raised 1lb to 45 for that Chelmsford run and with a strong pace and a bit of luck I think she can open her account off that mark on the all-weather this winter.
6th - Allianz Handicap Hurdle, Downpatrick, Friday 1st November
Drumconnor Girl’s handicap debut at Downpatrick didn’t go to plan with her being pulled up after one hurdle due to a slipped saddle. There was no such mishap on her second attempt in handicap company at Down Royal over 3m, although there was a scare right at the start when she momentarily looked reluctant to set off and lost a few lengths. She gradually crept through the field in the second half of the race and briefly moved into third on the long run between 3 and 2 out before she began to tire and came home in sixth beaten 17 lengths. She finished a close third in a maiden hurdle over 2m5½f in late September and on the evidence of this run, a drop back to around that trip would suit. Drumconnor Girl has been dropped 1lb to 86 and as long as she doesn’t repeat her slow starting antics again, I think she can pick up a race off that mark in the not too distant future.
5th - Enjoy The Jumps On Racing TV Novices’ Hurdle, Wetherby, Friday 1st November
Xcitations showed some ability on his debut in a bumper at Market Rasen in May before running a shocker at the same track the following month. Off the track since, he returned at Wetherby on Friday to make his hurdling debut and bounced back with a promising effort. Held up at the back of the field through the first half of the race, he made a big move to be only five lengths off the leader turning out of the back straight in a leading group of seven. Xcitations continued to travel well early in the straight before the exertions of making the big move in the back straight took their toll from 2 out. This was a promising hurdling debut from Xcitations that I’m hopeful he can build on, possibly dropped back in trip and ridden more prominently.
5th - Ascot Underwriting Chase, Ascot, Saturday 2nd November
Diego Du Charmil’s antics took much of the spotlight on Ascot’s card on Saturday but it was another horse jumping out to the left, albeit far less dramatically, who caught my eye in the novices’ handicap chase. Jammy George had shown a slight tendency to do this over hurdles at Sandown last season but it was far more marked on his chasing debut at Ascot. He gradually lost a bit of ground doing this until a mistake at the last fence before Swinley Bottom left him in last place. He was off the back of the main pack and nudged along after 3 out and he gradually started to respond. Pushed along more firmly after 2 out he continued to stay on well and finished fifth beaten 12 lengths. Given the ground and momentum lost due to mistakes and jumping out to the left and that this was a sharper than ideal test for him, this looked a promising return to action from Jammy George. The handicapper has generously dropped him 2lb to 129 and I think he can take advantage back up in trip on a left-handed track.
2nd - Daily Mirror Chase (Grade 2), Down Royal, Saturday 2nd November
Secret Investor had been taken out of races at Chepstow and Cheltenham last month due to soft and heavy ground respectively but was allowed to take his chance at Down Royal on soft ground on Saturday. Setting off at a good pace with Mengli Khan, he had seen off that rival by the time they turned towards 3 out but then had the looming presence of the patiently ridden Real Steel to deal with. Secret Investor was still upsides at 2 out but the combination of the earlier battle and much softer than ideal surface began to show and after a mistake at the last, finished 14 lengths behind Real Steel in second. Back on a much quicker surface, he can continue to build on the ability he showed last season.
2nd - Paddy Power Onside App Mares Maiden Hurdle, Cork, Sunday 3rd November
Third on her debut in a bumper behind Tintangle in March last year, Earthiest Words returned to the track after a 594-day absence with a fine run in defeat over hurdles at Cork. She raced just off the leaders for much of the race before moving into fourth turning the final bend. Pushed along entering the straight, she responded well and although she could never seriously challenge the classy Minella Melody she pulled 9½ lengths clear of Drury in third. This was a very promising return to action for Earthiest Words and hopefully she can progress well from it. Her future lies over fences but I’m hopeful that she can have a good season in staying novice hurdles before that.