Autumnal Musings From Carlisle

October 27th, 2017 | Marten's Current Racing Diary

Hi there!

Things really move up a gear for lovers of jump racing this weekend, with high-class meetings at Cheltenham and Aintree.

My last two visits to the track have been up the road to Carlisle, a course that attracts a decent class of jumper and one that is well liked by professionals.

There did not seem to be anything of great merit on Thursday’s card but it was a truly beautiful autumnal day so I decided to head 50 miles north to make the best of it.

In the end there was plenty to learn, with Donna’s Delight impressing in the opening 2m 3f novices’ hurdle. Sandy Thomson’s imposing six-year-old stood out in the paddock, both in terms of condition and physique, and he responded well to a patient ride from Brian Hughes. Afterwards the trainer and owner stressed that the son of Portrait Gallery is only marking time over hurdles, with his future destined for fences.

By the way Sandy told me that stable-star Seeyouatmidnight would be back but not until the spring.

The 2m beginners’ chase saw Jonniesofa run out one of the gamest winners I’ve seen at Carlisle for a long while. The seven-year-old was having his first race since the 2016 Cheltenham Festival, after which he injured a suspensory ligament. Trainer Rose Dobbin told me afterwards that the horse could have returned last season but they wanted to give him more time to try and leave as little to chance as possible.

His rider Craig Nichol wisely made plenty of use of the horse’s stamina, having raced over three miles, and given that he ran in eight point-to-points the rider was fairly confident his experience of jumping would stand him in good stead.

Let’s hope that Jonniesofa comes out of this race in good order. His next target will be at Kelso.

Courtown Oscar was another gutsy winner of the 3m 2f 0-125 handicap chase, rallying to recover the lead after being headed halfway up the run-in by Presented. He will next be seen at Haydock on Betfair Chase day.

Keep an eye on Justatenner. The six-year-old caught my eye in the closing stages of the finale and appeals as the sort that may pop up at a big price in a poor handicap when the mud is flying.

These are exciting times. I hope to be at Aintree on Sunday.

Bye for now