Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

No Chances Taken as Going Gets Soft

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

No Chances Taken as Going Gets Soft

Article excerpt

IT DOESN'T seem to matter what time of year, soft ground is creeping more into our going descriptions in an ever-changing climate.

I got caught out the other day when Crowning Jewel reigned supreme at Haydock. I thought the ground would be too testing for the hurdler, who had carried the nap into second place at Market Rasen 10 days earlier.

That was an encouraging performance considering he was returning from a lengthy winter break and the ground had eased even more due to overnight rain.

For that reason only, I passed him over for nap purposes at Haydock, only to discover the next day that the ground had dried out and it was on the soft side of good, which he can handle.

Two of the four runners in this valuable four-horse field had set up a sequence of victories which had not gone unnoticed, and it was sooner rather than later before the handicapper caught up with them.

On the other hand, Crowning Jewel was a fresh horse and ahead of the game as he was able to race off his old mark before his new 4lb higher rating kicked in. The rest is history. He duly obliged and I was left cursing my luck.

To rub further salt into the wound, Waltz Darling, a stablemate of Crowning Jewel, was fancied to win the amateur rider's handicap at Doncaster yesterday. He was dangerously well handicapped on his two-year-old form before losing his way.

But a change of scenery saw him win a hurdle race at Musselburgh for Keith Reveley and he was fresh and ready for a run back on the level.

The booking of a talented amateur strengthened his case and the only negative was the ground.

He likes a quicker surface - good to soft would have been better for him - but the snow and rain came and made it a lot more testing. In the circumstances he ran very well to take second. With that off my chest, I am taking no chances with the conditions at Doncaster today by taking sides with the mud-loving Captain Bertie in the William Hill Lincoln. …

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