Kelso Race Preview, 16/09/2020

Wednesday September 16th

Kelso 5:10
Great Racing Welfare Auction Handicap Hurdle Class 2 0-150
2m4f189y – Going: Good – 12 runners

Progressive in Autumn of 2019 with three wins at Fontwell. After modest reappearance post-suspension when well behind Hunters Call at Southwell, returned to Fontwell and resumed winning ways, midfield to rear, jumped 7th in 5 or 6 lengths 7th and a bit to do, very good ground travelling comfortably a good few horsewidths wide of the main body and jumped 3 out upsides leaders, led approaching turn out of back straight, soon clear and travelling much the best, niggled along in a 10-length lead approaching 2 out, was closed on approaching last but didn’t look in danger, pushed out run-in, always in control, readily and unchallenged from Percy Street. The form’s had its knocks – Percy Street beaten in a seller and the third Gateway To Europe beaten over fences last Saturday – but this one’s progressive; needs a career-best to take this but can’t be ruled out
Westland Row
On last start for Gordon Elliott ran a good race when 2nd to Peregrine Run in conditions hurdle at Thurles in October 2019, held up last, good headway going comfortably and was 4 lengths 3rd and closing 3 out, ridden along, stayed on, closed up to within 2 lengths home turn, hard ridden and kept on one pace between last 2, was held last, ridden and sustained effort run-in, no impression on winner but stuck to task. Not out since. Joined James Ewart; trainer hasn’t had a winner with a horse making its stable debut since November 2018 and hasn’t managed one with an Irish import in the last three years
Jacks Last Hope
Good return to action post-resumption when good 2nd to Rhythm Is A Dancer over 3m at Southwell, ridden and stayed on from 2 out, chased winner between last 2, outpaced, no extra run-in, but pulled up next time and was some way below his reappearance effort back at Southwell last time, bustled along to make a start, jumped left and collided with rival 1st, prominent to midfield, ridden into 6th, tracked leaders 7th, chased leader from 8th, in close to 9th and niggled along, ridden into 3 out, hard ridden home turn, faded nearing 2 out, hard driven, continued to lost ground on those ahead approaching last, well back jumping,  eased run-in behind Yes No Maybe So. Is back to his winning mark, but hasn’t won over around 2m4f since May 2017 and was tailed off on his only course visit to date
Weather Front
Improving hurdler posted best effort last season when going down narrowly at Wetherby on soft in February, prominent, raced wide, shuffled back and midfield approaching 6th, niggled along and a little headway approaching 7th, prominent again when not fluent 9th, niggled along approaching turn out of back straight, pushed along home turn, a length and a bit beind 3 out, hard ridden, took off too early 2 out but stayed on under pressure, closed on them approaching last, effort and every chance early on run-in, went with winner 100 yards out under pressure, pair pulled clear, could have gone either way but just headed by Secrete Stream post. Fit from the Flat, could perhaps do with ground a bit softer (there’s no rain forecast), but is unexposed
At this meeting last year, was a well-beaten 6th behind One Night In Milan (think it was the corresponding race – Class 3 last year). Won yet again at Cartmel on August 23rd, led, headed approaching 6th, in close to it, niggled along approaching 2 out, vigorously pushed along approaching fairground bend, stayed on under a ride, led last, hard ridden home turn, stayed on well, pulled clear last 200 yards. Real genuine effort there when beating Altruism just over 2 lengths, but Sticky Toffee Pudding-land is the only place he’s won at – to further enhance a compelling case-against, he’s 0 from 7 at Kelso, and 0 from 8 over 2m2f or further
Newtown Boy*
On this card a year ago won a 2m1f novices’ chase, led, occasionally jumped right, a little keen and raced enthusiastically, wandered approaching 4th where in close, not so far ahead at that point, jumped soundly 6th to 8th, moved best when joined 2 out, the better jump, pushed along, hard driven approaching last, in close, stayed on well under pressure, perhaps going away from An Fear Ciuin last few yards; reverted to hurdles and took a 0-135 handicap over 2m3f at Haydock in December.  First start since resumption, didn’t do badly in Class 2 handicap hurdle at Perth on August 30th, midfield, firmly pushed along after 3 out, some 4 lengths to find home turn under a push, was a length down 2 out, put under strong pressure, kept on at the one pace approaching last, was 2 or 3 lengths down when mistake, hard driven, no impression run-in, well held last 150 yards, eased last couple of strides when 5 1/2 lengths 5th to Native Fighter. Not out of this, but has given the impression before that this is a maximum trip
Get Out The Gate
Useful when with Jim Goldie, but form has tailed off since resumption; on debut for Gordon Elliott, modest 6th to Sweet Home Chicago in handicap hurdle at Roscommon, than dreadfully tailed off behind Mind’s Eye in handicap chase at Tipperary and, after another stable-switch – this time to Sandy Thomson – again hopeless behind Cracking Destiny at Perth on September 7th, lost place and rear when niggled along 6th, detached last from 7th, mistake 8th, struggling under a ride approaching 11th, tailed off 3 out, trailed in. Now wears blinkers first time; a tactic this yard uses sparingly, trainer’s record with runners on first run in the headgear is 0 from 4 since 2014. Best watched
Push The Tempo*
Absent a good while: was mid- to high-120s with me in March 2019 when good 3rd to Myplaceatmidnight at Plumpton,  tracked leaders from 3rd, in close to 6th, mistake 7th, niggled along after 3 out, more firmly pushed along home turn, stayed on approaching 2 out, was 2 lengths down jumping, looked held last, hard driven, no extra run-in, lost 2nd close home; made several blunders when 46 lengths 11th in the 2m4f handicap hurdle at Aintree that April, better run when 5th to Colonial Dreams at Sandown, but tailed off at Newton Abbot that July when last seen. Has run well when fresh and has been dropped to a good mark; tends to wander under pressure but hard to rule out
Rock On Fruity
After a massive loss of form, bounced back from the proverbial nowhere when winning a 3m2f handicap chase at Sedgefield in March, held up, mistake 4th, a little ground 5th, blundered 6th, midfield 7th, not fluent 10th, made ground and tracked leaders 11th, mistake 14th, further ground to chase leader approaching 3 out, challenged on the bit home turn, ridden into and led 2 out, hard ridden and stayed on between last 2, reminders approaching last as idled in front, ridden out from last, unchallenged from Justforjames. After a 199-day break and in a much better race over shorter, and with a poor record when he runs more than 49 days after his previous outing, this won’t be happening
Tight Call
Had looked exposed, but there are some fairly useful efforts in his record and on his first run since resumption, took advantage of a drop in class to win at Southwell on August 24th, was taking a bit of a grip halfway, pulled off inner and was in the middle of the track 8th, ended up wide (not widest) jumping 9th, a little outpaced and niggled along turning out of back straight, was also manoeuvred back to the inside rail, good headway home turn still niggled and tracked leaders home turn, pushed along and switched wide, challenged 2 out, hard ridden, stayed on and led approaching last, in close to it, ridden out, drew clear, stayed on well, workmanlike and decisive from reopposing Skiddaw Valleys. Chance again, although the runner-up’s chance was affected by taking a wide trip (see below), and I fancy it’ll be closer between the pair this time
Skiddaw Valleys*
Won his maiden hurdle at Perth in May 2019. Was runner-up to Tight Call at Southwell on August 24th, but was possibly unlucky; held up, jumped slightly right 3rd, edged closer wide and headway into midfield 8th, moved comfortably, shuffled back home turn (was widest of all), niggled along, more firmly pushed along approaching 2 out, some 7 lengths down jumping, put under pressure, strong effort to pass several approaching last, jumped it in 6 lengths 4th, continued to run on and took 2nd 150 yards out, nearest finish and beaten 3 lengths. Forced wide on the turn and set back a few lengths and a couple of positions as a result, he very much looked the one to take out of the Southwell race, and a turnaround with his rival would be no surprise
Looked promising when winning his first two hurdles, particularly when defying a penalty at Kelso last October over 2m, chased leader 4th, moved upsides leader home turn and moved comfortably, travelled best approaching 2 out, ridden into it and led, stayed on and drew well clear, some 10 lengths up last, not hard ridden to maintain run-in, readily from Wax And Wane. Didn’t build on it and best subsequent run when 3rd to Elvis Mail at Kelso in January this year, disputed lead approaching 6th, moved largely comfortably home turn, led and niggled along off the bend, soon more firmly ridden along, hung right approaching 2 out, headed, put under pressure, faded approaching last, well held when mistake, kept on a bit last 100 yards.Fit from a couple of outings on the Flat and proven over 2m on the level – suggesting that he should stay this 2m4f over hurdles – he could do with the going softening a little, but respected

Shortlist: Newtown Boy, Push The Tempo, Skiddaw Valleys

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