FORGET Sandown, Meydan or Naas – Plumpton was the place to be last weekend.
Local lad Gary Moore cut his teeth round this quirky circuit and was spot on when he christened the cracking novice chase run there on Sunday as “the Plumpton Arkle”.
French ace Master Dino (6-4 to 11-10) caught a ferry over for the afternoon and had a proper scrap with Gazza’s rock-hard front-runner Knocknanuss before putting the race to bed jumping the last.
The winner didn’t touch a twig, was cooler than Bond under pressure and is headed to Cheltenham for the JLT Chase after a pipe-opener at Sandown in February.
By the way, keep an eye on Alan King’s Good Man Pat who eased home in third. Wily Wayne Hutchinson didn’t spend long in the shower after a quiet old spin here and the horse will win races.
Bryony Frost was dynamite on Brandon Castle in the two mile novice hurdle.
She rocketed off the grid, was cute enough to take a breather at the top of the hill and kicked away after kidding the peloton they were reeling her in. Frosty gets better by the ride and I bet you couldn’t name ten jump jocks that are in better form.
There were fortunes for The Two Amigos (9-4 to 11-8) who ran away with the 3m4f Sussex National.
He’s knee-high to a grasshopper, but has the heart of a lion and is a massive credit to Nicky Martin who trains her small string in sub-zero temperatures on top of a hill in deepest Somerset.
Big Bill Turner is the West Country Del-Boy and was full of schemes after his Holdenhurst won the opener at Kempton on Friday.
Bill has been known to ride a zebra called Zebedee down to the boozer and loves a nice little earner.
He’s currently planning to open a cafe on the A303 to rival McDonalds, and if that doesn’t work there’s always a flying two-year-old filly by Dream Ahead who is being primed to land a punt at the start of the Flat season!
Every Billy Bunter on the track went schtoom when Jason Watson took a horror fall off Teresita Alvarez in the mile handicap.
Thank God he’d done no more than sustain hairline fractures to a couple of vertebrae, which should be mended by a couple of months sitting under the current bun on a comfy recliner.
The ground was stickier than a tube of Gorilla Glue at Sandown on Saturday and runners on the hurdles track needed ropes, pulleys and an aqualung to get across the line.
Trackman’s Monday Selection
GORING (6.45 Wolverhampton) has been knocking at the door in slightly better races and must go close.
Laurina didn’t have to take her jacket off to win a match for the mares’ Listed event, but it was still a bit strong of the bookies to chop her Champion Hurdle price.
The runner-up was going slower than a punctured hearse passing the post and this `race’ told us the square root of nothing.
There’s a decent little conditions event at Wolverhampton tonight where GORING (6.45) just gets the nod ahead of Hathal.
Eve Johnson Houghton’s veteran has run a couple of cracking races at Lingfield recently and will be hard to beat if cheerful Charlie Bishop gets the tactics right.