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Juvenile Hurdlers 2021/22


Bachelors Hall
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Hello all. Some of you may be familiar with my work as it was posted in various locations last season. Nevertheless, operating on the rightful premise that I am a complete stranger here, I am Bachelors Hall/Kotkijet and I write extensively on the matter of juvenile hurdlers. So much so that I have little time remaining to become confident and conversant in other aspects of the sport. I aim to write and present information with clarity, but if anything requires further explanation then please do not hesitate to request elucidation.

Juvenile hurdlers, and myself, are set to return to Hexham in ten days time. If the young horses are a fraction as excited as I am then we should be in for a treat. Though ten days before the first race of the season makes the posting of this thread somewhat early, there have already been enough noteworthy ex-French imports, plus the time affords others the opportunity for suggestions before the previews begin. Last season's thread rather evolved in tandem with the available data and resources along with the input of interested readers and I imagine the same will happen with this one. There have not been any sweeping changes since the last preview with the only discernible differences being that I have been closer following the French action, and extending my records to the 2004/05 season. I could have gone back to the start of the millennium but that would have taken several further months so rather than lamenting the inability to create time, we can fittingly call this period the 'Fred Winter Era'. I will attempt to work on a method of quantifying improvements between races by individual horses for individual trainers and so forth by RPR rather than just strike rate, although quite whether I have the time and capacity to pull this off remains to seen so no promises. Finally, it bears emphatically stating that I am not a tipster and nothing I write in this thread is a tip. If others do wish to help others make money then their tips and thoughts are more than welcome. Nevertheless, my own intention is to inform and entertain, and my motivation is a self-rewarding labour of love (which could possibly lead to a labour of employment in some convoluted fashion or another - ideal career would be 'kept man/househusband' but will also consider the fields of breeding, training, sales or research/writing). 

I look forward to this season's juvenile hurdlers and the thread that it will inspire. I hope that it is a worthy read and heartily encourage others to contribute by any means, particularly with suggestions and criticisms as they will undoubtedly enhance the quality of this project and my own contributions. 

To begin with, I will post a series of tables full of statistics of varying relevance and interest. For the sake of space and patience, these will be restricted to the top and bottom ten of each category, although if there are any bespoke requests then I will happily endeavour to fulfil same. Several of these tables will feature "improvement rates". This is calculated by taking the seasonal best RPRs of all juvenile hurdlers with two or more runs, and comparing them to their official ratings from the flat in order to ascertain whether or not they have improved for the switch to hurdles. The comparative benchmark figure is thirty-five pounds and while the majority in these tables will fall short, due to those with just two runs skewing the figures, thirty-five pounds is a broadly reliable measure once a juvenile has had the same amount of runs sufficient to earn a mark comparable to its flat rating. Where the results show a clean sweep of "0.00" or "100", the subjects are ranked by order of the amount of relevant opportunities. i.e;- where two sires are on "100" the sire with more runners is placed higher - conversely, where two are on "0.00", the one with more runners is placed lower. One might notice some charts including a "completion rate" and a "clear round rate". These are not one and the same. The former looks at how many horses complete a race from start to finish while the latter looks at those who fail to complete due to a jumping error (refusing, falling or unseating).

Many of the tables will likely be unreadable as they appear on this post. Nevertheless, when opened in a new tab, they can be magnified on their hosting site. 

Sires - For comparison, there are two charts with one taking in the past three seasons, and the other (containing many inactive sires) encompassing the entire period since 2004/05. The figures in the yellow boxes denote the mean averages of the pertinent category. 

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Trainers

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Jockeys

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Sources - These are the trainers under whom a juvenile hurdler was kept prior to making the switch to hurdles. Not included are those who kept the same trainer from the flat to their hurdling careers. As such, a horse who was trained under both codes by Brian Ellison, for example, will not be included. However, a horse initially trained by Brian Ellison prior to racing over hurdles for a new trainer will be counted.

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Grandsires - This looks at the sires of sires of juvenile hurdlers. While established sires can have their merits assessed on their own accords, the information for those having their first crop is less tangible. Nevertheless, according to statistics, some sires are more capable of producing winner producers than others. Looking at this season's crop, Galileo - for whom seventeen of his twenty-one sons to have tried have succeeded in getting winners - could be represented by The Gurkha who has already had scorers over ten furlongs and beyond. On the other hand, Exceed And Excel is not so prolific a grandsire and although Buratino's being a 3/1 to Danehill Dancer (Jeremy, Mastercraftsman, Choisir) might help his credentials, his offspring have been decidedly pacey.

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Thoroughbred families - For the uninitiated, thoroughbred families essentially denote a common maternal ancestor. A comprehensive summary can be found here on tbheritage.com. Given how these families were allocated at the turn of the twentieth century, they have largely become so diluted that the information is mostly white noise although I imagine that its architect Bruce Lowe will be pleased that variants of family 1 are still performing admirably. Of the families with more than hundred juveniles since 2004/05, 1-n, represented last season by six winners including Zoffanien and Hiconic, has a winner to runner rate of 23.30% whereas 14-f, without a winner since 2017, has one of just 8.82%. While the usefulness of this attribute is dubious, they are still a source of trivial amusement if nothing else. 

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Crosses - Continuing the theme of questionable usefulness, I have also had a look at sire/damsire crosses along with sire/family crosses. While these factors have more potential to carry weight, the lack of quantity largely restricts the usefulness of these findings as only four sire/damsire crosses appear more than ten times since 2004/05 with the highest number of sire/family crosses being eight. 

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Dosage Index - A less heralded breeding factor, but one with discernible statistical trends, is the dosage index. Though often limited and far from devoid of imperfections, these charts show a definite correlation between the dosage index, RPRs and strike rates. The short of it is low = better as it is designed to indicate a young horse's proclivity towards stamina.  Though this might become less critical as a horse is developed since stamina can be trained, it is crucial to the success of a young hurdler. I have also made my first attempts at a chart so apologies for any concerned with graphic design for my affront to same.

Dosages when grouped by DI

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Dosages when grouped by RPR

Racecourses

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Translation of flat ability - There is a myth that pervades according to which flat form can be defenestrated when it comes to juvenile hurdling. However, this chart demonstrates in no uncertain terms that not only is there a strong relationship between flat ability and hurdling success, but also one between flat ability and the ability to jump safely. 

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Source and experience - The combined figures of 1-61 and 62+ do not match the total flat as the numbers are official ratings.

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Triumph Hurdle - Since many people will only watch one juvenile hurdle per season, here is a chart for the trends of such race including the date the participants made their British/Irish hurdling debut, their source (numbers denote a horse who ran in Britain or Ireland on the flat with those above "0" showing their official rating) and the trial races they contested during the campaign. 

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Shifting attentions from the past and towards the future, here are six horses registered as exported on the France-Galop site who are likely to jump hurdles in Britain and Ireland this season. The ratings are ones which I have created for myself. As I have never previously done them for French hurdlers, they should be approached with caution. Similar to the ones I did for British and Irish races, I almost never amended them for collateral form and treated the performances "as is" on the day. As such, while subsequent collateral form would most likely place Matterhorn ahead of Porticello, regardless of theoretical potential for same, the former has not yet physically proven that his improvement followed that of Paradiso. Furthermore, the top four have had just the one race each so nothing ought to be taken as gospel.

The heading figures read as follows;-
Name, colour, sex, trainer, runs-wins-places on either code, official ratings and RPRs where applicable, my rating underlined, previous trainer, cost if known/sold in training.
Sire, (Damsire), {family number}, (Dosage Index), degree of relation (2/1 = second dam is first dam of = Matterhorn is Turgot's nephew), notable jumps relation, most notable performance.

Matterhorn bg Paul Nicholls j1-0-1 132 (Gabriel Leenders)
Martaline (Turgeon){1-x}(0.67) 2/1 Turgot 1st Prix La Haye Jousselin (G1), Auteuil 2004
https://www.equidia.fr/chevaux/matterhorn-3
By Martaline (We Have A Dream, Beaumec de Houelle, Kotkikova, Malaya) Matterhorn is a nephew of top staying chaser Turgot but is also related to useful juveniles. His dam won in the division, uncle Pontvallain finished third in the Prix Cambaceres (the championship contest for three-year-olds) while Sept Verites (2/2) and Dans La Foulee (2/3) made winning debuts in the Prix Wild Monarch. Recent graduates of the contest include Busselton, Footpad, Bivouac, Dolas and Botox Has while top-class animals such as Long Run, Golden Silver, Remember Rose, Hinterland and Le Grand Luce count themselves among the longer term introductions. During this season's renewal, Matterhorn was in the process of running a big race and certainly held a winning chance before going through the top of the last and dramatically losing his hind legs on landing. Conspicuously green on his racecourse debut, Matterhorn was keen early and making minor errors, but was able to settle better once getting a lead. He moved stylishly back into the lead turning for home and looked full of running approaching the final hurdle. The incident gave the initiative to Paradiso, who was representing a David Cottin yard which has been dominant in the division this season, while Matterhorn ran into third place after regaining his bearings. The form of the race is taking a solid shape as Paradiso posted the strongest performance of the season to date when running out a most decisive winner in Sunday's Prix Stanley. Sixth placed Gaelic Warrior finished third next time at the venue while eigth placed Issam subsequently won a Lyon contest by twelve lengths. Former trainer Gabriel Leenders was responsible for five juvenile recruits of which three were winners (Teahupoo, Paros, Samarrive) while Haut En Couleurs placed third in both the Triumph and at Punchestown. Matterhorn's new trainer Paul Nicholls, has taken thirteen juveniles out of the Prix Wild Monarch, twelve of them winning during their first term at Manor Farm stables including Dolos, Hinterland and San Benedeto. The unpolished Matterhorn has considerable scope and potential and is in the right hands to make a stong impact on the sphere in the upcoming season.

Porticello bg Gary Moore j1-1-0 132 (David Cottin)
Sholokhov (Chichicastenango){31}(0.87) 2/1 Worldbest 3rd Grand Prix d'Automne (G1), Auteuil 2009
https://www.equidia.fr/chevaux/porticello
Francois-Marie Cottin has sent the likes of Sanctuaire, Napolitain and Star de Mohaison across the channel over the years. Cousin David has yet to match those levels as an exporter although Busselton was a creditable sort last term and this season has seen Mr Cottin take the French three-year-old division by storm with a team including leading colt Paradiso, and leading filly Matilda du Berlais. He also saddled the first two home in the Prix Grandak prior to the pair crossing the channel for pastures new. The Prix Grandak is another debutant contest with a rich history, being the launchpad of domestic stars Saint des Saints, Bonito Du Berlais, Beaumec De Houelle, On The Go and Storm Of Saintly, as well as talented exports in Frodon, Far West, We Have A Dream and Quel Destin. This year's edition was taken by Porticello who having tracked the leaders throughout, made his challenge in a steady rather than explosive fashion and after taking the lead at the last, managed to pull a couple of lengths clear on the run-in. Apart from blundering at the fifth, he jumped well enough for a debutant and his style of racing was in keeping with his pedigree being a Sholokhov nephew of Grand Prix d'Automne third Worldbest. Notwithstanding, there is some precocity in his pedigree as his dam is a half-sister to graded placed juvenile Orcantara and the aunt of Prix Cambaceres runner-up Invicter. Furthermore, while Sholokhov is a Gold Cup winning sire, he is also responsible for Shishkin as well as classy youngsters Msassa, Esmondo and the aforementioned Invicter. The provisional Grandak form is looking reasonable with third placed Imprenable winning next time and fifth placed Coup de Coeur running respectably in decent company, although collateral form does place Porticello behind Matterhorn at this juncture. Notwithstanding, it should still be enough to make him competitive in good races and Gary Moore could have another useful recruit on his hands. 

Magistrato bg Paul Nicholls j1-0-1 129 (David Cottin)
Kapgarde (Poliglote){3-d}(1.00) 1/0 Franche Alliance 2nd Prix Beugnot (L,63.0), Enghien 2015
https://www.equidia.fr/chevaux/magistrato
Runner-up to Porticello in the Prix Grandak, Magistrato is another addition to the Paul Nicholls ranks and is following in the hoofprints of Far West, Frodon, Quel Destin, Qualando and Marracudja who all started in the same contest. Fresh on his racecourse debut, Magistrato soon established a clear lead which he would to the final flight where he was headed by Porticello. Jumping better overall than the winner, he done more by a lack of pace than fatigue and still managed to increase his advantage of the subsequent winner in third. A son of Kapgarde, his dam showed useful form over nineteen furlongs on heavy ground and is herself a half-sister to La Bague Au Roi and Kaysersberg. As such, the 3000 meters at Auteul was unlikely to suit and while it is to his credit that he performed satisfactorily, it perhaps indicates that he would be a more longer term prospect. Nevertheless, there ought to be races won during his first season in Great Britain and he could be of particular interest with give in the ground. 

Moulins Clermont bg Gary Moore j1-0-1 121 (Bertrand Lefevre) €70,000
Free Port Lux (Ungaro){3-o}(0.67) 0.5 Paris Clermont 1st 4300 Conditions Chase, Aix-les-Bains 2016
https://www.equidia.fr/chevaux/moulins-clermont
It is a sign of the times, probably compounded by events of the past year, that this next entry was purchased not privately or at a public auction, but on an online shop. For €70,000, Moulins Clermont left Bertrand Lefevre to become another recruit to the Gary Moore ranks. Continuing the prototype theme, Moulins Clermont represents the first crop of jumpers by Group Two winner Free Port Lux - a giant of a horse at 1.70m who despite being by Oasis Dream, has a stamina laden pedigree and has already produced an eighteen length winner at Auteuil. Moulins Clermont's sole start came in the Prix du Brevent at Compiègne which is a reaonable conditions race that has been contested by the likes of Adrien Du Pont, Ibis Du Rheu, Cristal Bonus. Held up in midfield, Moulins Clermont had a propensity to get tight at his hurdles but rarely caused alarm. However, despite the race being the slowest held at the venue this term, he still looked short of pace and was doing his best work towards the end of the contest. Though clearly not devoid of ability, Moulins Clermont would, for the immediate future, appear to be better suited to a slog around Fontwell as opposed to something like the Adonis.

Brainstorm bc Sophie Leech? j3-1-1 106 (Guillaume Macaire > Francois-Marie Cottin) €16,777
No Risk At All (Hawk Wing){12-g}(1.00) 2/1 Top Notch 1st 1965 Chase (G2), Ascot 2017
https://www.equidia.fr/chevaux/brainstorm-2
Guillaume Macaire has, this century, won the Prix Rush with Robin des Champs, Balko, Esmondo and Choeur du Nord, while Master Dino, Goliath du Berlais and Twist Magic are just a few of the talents also introduced in the contest. His sole representative this season was Brainstorm - a half-brother to Yes Indeed and Never Adapt, and a nephew of the sadly passed Top Notch. Sent off the third favourite, Brainstorm was fairly keen in the early stages, but soon settled into a nice rhythm in the front and jumped and travelled kindly. That is until he got to the seventh. The camera angle was not the best, but he appeared to hit it at an incorrect stride, reach for the hurdle and blunder terribly. This error cost him the lead and most likely any chance in the contest. Reaching again at the next, he faded through the field on the turn for home, jumped big at two out and steady at the last. Sensibly allowed to coast home in his own time from some way out, Brainstorm appeared to be the horse to take out of the contest. However, his next appearance came in a Compiègne claimer in which he was finished a six length third before being sold for €16,777. He was next seen in another claimer at Fontainebleau where, held up, he jumped safely but without any confidence. Nevertheless, he moved easily into the race approaching the last from where, he ran out a fairly comfortable two-and-a-half length winner. Afterwards, he was sold again for €16,777 of James Finch's money. Reportedly exported to Great Britain, it could be presumed that Brainstorm is now with Sophie Leech although this is speculation based on conjecture. Brainstorm's form is better than that of the standard juvenile hurdler and while he would have to improve considerably to match his initial reputation, he is capable of winning average races.

Koi Dodville bc David Pipe f7-1-3 (33.5/73.7) 74 (Ludovic Gadbin) €14,506
French Fifteen (Aussie Rules){5-h}(3.00) 3/2 Uriah Heep 1st 2m Novices' Handicap Chase (126), Ludlow 2014
https://www.equidia.fr/chevaux/koi-dodville
David Pipe did something quite remarkable last term by sourcing a leading juvenile from a flat claimer. Such types win a credible amount of races in the sphere, although rarely are they any better than average so Adagio is very much an exception in this regard. French Fifteen has produced three winning juveniles in France and was also responsible for the promising French Aseel. Furthermore, all three juveniles to have made the switch from Gadbin to Pipe (Night Edition, Paricolor, To Fly Free) have been winners. While it would be asking a lot of Koi Dodville to come close to matching Adagio's achievements (the latter being €10,000 more expensive and almost a stone superior), he would still be of interest in ordinary contests.

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On 5/27/2021 at 11:49 AM, Trotter said:

Wow, thanks Bachelors Hall .......... marvellous introduction to the forum !

I do recognise your name but not sure where from !

?

Thank you Trotter :)

Unless you're thinking of the good staying chaser from 1977/78, the more modest two mile chaser of the late 1930s/early 1940s, or the classy French steeplechaser of the early 2000s, I can only imagine your having seen my posts elsewhere :D

Anyways, time for the first preview of the season. Again, I am not a tipster and everything here is for information purposes only!

Personally, I think shouting the word "hype" over and over again in front of strobe lights to the sounds hardstyle techno and obnoxious siren effects would be an apt means of expressing the amount of excitement one ought to have for Saturday's three fifteen at Hexham. Nevertheless, some people prefer words so here are are some words. Two thousand, two hundred and seventy three of them in fact. Enjoy!

At the beginning of this century, the season's opening juvenile hurdle took place at Market Rasen during mid-late July. In 2004, Stratford supplanted Market Rasen by a week before the latter reclaimed its position in 2006 by hosting the first juvenile hurdle to be held in June since summer jumping became a whole thing. Not to be outdone, Stratford raised the curtain on the Tenth of June in 2007 before Hexham stepped in to give those competing in the 2008 Epsom Derby an insight into what awaited them if they did not fancy retiring to the breeding sheds.  The following year, Stratford hosted the first three-year-old hurdle to be held in May. Everybody agreed that this was silly and apart from Ffos Las going four days ahead of Hexham in 2012, and Newton Abbot getting things underway during "the uncertain times", British juvenile hurdlers have been making their first forays at the country's most beautiful racecourse. 

With an average winning DI of 0.99, 0.51 points below that of the average runner, Hexham is the most demanding racecourse of any British or Irish track with ten or more participants since 2004/05. The completion rate of 77.44% attests to this notion, although it is not so demanding insofar as jumping is concerned as its clear round rate of 97.64% is well above average. The going is currently good, good-to-soft in places, and will be watered to maintained as no significant rain is forecast in the interim. From a punting perspective, Hexham does get more than its fair share of beaten odds-on favourites (six from ten since 2004/05), although its winners' mean SP of 5.08, median 3.25, is much kinder by comparison. It will come as a surprise to nobody that the average winner of this contest has a very low seasonal best RPR with the mark of 108.47 bettered by all courses apart from Cartmel and Fakenham. This particular contest is no exception with its winners posting average seasonal bests of 103.59, although it is not without its occasional useful participants. City Dreamer, Come On Sunshine and Maria Magdalena went on to reach the frame in the Wensleydale Hurdle while 2008 winner Simarian won and placed in graded company at Cheltenham prior to finishing seventh in that season's Triumph. Saturday's edition looks an above average renewal with several respectable trainers and sires represented, three runners whose flat form exceeds the standard sufficient to win this race along with a Saint des Saints nephew of Sprinter Sacre. While somewhat trappy and not likely to provide any superstars, it would not be unreasonable to imagine it producing future winners during the early season. 

Family Time bg Alex Hales f1-0-0 (-) 0
Excelebration (Azamour){7}(2.00) 3/1 Architrave 1st Juvenile Hurdle, Market Rasen 2010
Alex Hales has a fairly ordinary record with juvenile hurdlers, although he enjoyed fruitful spells in the division during the past two summers courtesy of Hiconic and Maria Magdalena. His first representative this term is set to be Family Time who was tailed off on his sole start in a Newbury novice stakes last October. Family Time can be forgiven that outing as he did not emerge from the stalls until the rest of the field had completed a furlong. However, he was still an unfancied 200/1 chance that day and his subsequent absence will be a concern. Furthermore, while his granddam is a half-sister to 2010s prolific early season juvenile Architrave, the rest of the pedigree does not bode well as Excelebration has just one winner from sixteen in the division, damsire Azamour has just one from twelve, and though Windshear (2/1) was a good stayer on the flat, he failed to win from seven starts over hurdles. 

Inferno Sacree bg Nigel Hawke Unraced
Saint des Saints (Daramsar){u}(0.67) 2/1 Sprinter Sacre 1st Champion Chase (G1), Cheltenham 2013
Few early season juveniles will have as compelling a pedigree as the unraced Inferno Sacree. Costing €37,000 at Arqana as a yearling, Inferno Sacree is a son of Saint des Saints, an outsdtanding source of juveniles both domestically (Whetstone, Buddy Banks, Goliath du Berlais) and as exports (Monmiral, Fusil Raffles, Sametegal) with laudable figures across the board. The damline is also compelling as it includes half-brother Emir Sacree, useful sorts Flinteur Sacre (2/1), Gazump (3/1), Tiot Cas (3/2), Echo Sacre (3/2) and most notably, the outstanding champion Sprinter Sacre. Sending Inferno Sacree to an unusual location for his debut is Nigel Hawke who maintained his solid record in the division last season with three winners including Historic Heart. However, while three of his fourteen runners at Hexham have been winners, he is not generally given to sending juveniles to the venue and the eyecatching booking of Brian Hughes is not compelling from a statistical perspective as the pair have yet to have a winner from three. Furthermore, Hawke's first time out record in the sphere of two wins from fifty-four is a poor one which does not bode well considering that the overall strike rate for unraced newcomers is a miserly 2.04%. Notwithstanding, the trainer did infamously saddle the unraced Tiger Roll ahead of his racecourse debut at Market Rasen in 2013.

Koi Dodville bc David Pipe f7-1-3 (33.5/73.7) 74
French Fifteen (Aussie Rules){5-h}(3.00) 3/2 Uriah Heep 2m Novices' Handicap Chase (126), Ludlow 2014
https://www.equidia.fr/chevaux/koi-dodville
Since 2004/05, fifty horses have been claimed out of flat races on the continent prior to juvenile hurdling campaigns in Britain and Ireland. With eleven winners sharing nineteen successes, their record is a respectable one. David Pipe accounted for nine of these animals amongst whom four were winners - most notably Adagio who won three last term, including the Grade One at Chepstow, prior to twice placing at the festivals. However, Adagio was very much the exception in this regard as only he and Bocamix (123) achieved RPRs exceeding 120.despite sixteen such horses being rated 80 and above on the flat. The latest import is Koi Dodville who was claimed by David Pipe for €14,506 after finishing second in a good ground ten furlong contest at Saint Cloud last month. The third and fourth each finished runner-up next time, and Koi Dodville had been running respectably since his return in March, placing twice in handicap company at Pornichet before getting off the mark at Nancy over 1950 meters on his penultimate outing. Tracking the clear leader for much of the race, he went into the lead a with a furlong and a half left to run before holding on to an ever decreasing lead at the line. Last time at Saint-Cloud, Koi Dodville again went clear at the distance, but did not look entirely resolute in his failed attempt to fend off his challenger. The headgear worn in France has been left off for his hurdling debut. Insofar as his pedigree is concerned French Fifteen has made an encouraging start from limited opportunities with three winners from ten in France, and the promising French Aseel being one of the two to have raced in Britain or Ireland. However, the same can not yet be said for Aussie Rules as a damsire and the are few jumpers on the damline prior to Uriah Heep (3/2) and City Hall (5/2). David Pipe has saddled one winner from three in this contest, and his first time strike rate of 18.18% is very respectable. However, of the yard's claimer sourced flat imports, only Adagio won first time, while Nike Walker, Closer To Home and Paricolor (also bought out of the Ludovic Gadbin yard) would not score until entering handicap company. 

McGregors Charge bg Nigel Hawke Unraced
Recharge (Le Triton){36}(1.13) 2/2 Pafadas 1st Prix de Chambly (L,3yoH), Auteuil 2013
Nigel Hawke's second runner, and presumably his second string, is another unraced newcomer in McGregors Charge. Though not as immediately prestigious as his stablemate's, the homebred McGregors Charge's damline is not without its merits. The dam is a winning two mile chaser while the granddam presides over a family containing several useful French youngsters including listed placed Dans l'Espas (2/2) and listed winner Pafadas (2/2), herself a dam of black type earners Mauricius and Altus. Recharge is without any juveniles in France, Britain or Ireland, although three of his seven hurdlers have been winners and Cape Cross has produced a couple of winning sires in the sphere in Golden Horn and Sea The Stars. Le Triton has not been tested as a damire of juveniles on these shores, but he was responsible for the talented Grand Charly as a sire. McGregors Charge is entitled to respect on his pedigree, although his limitations being a debutant are addressed in Inferno Sacree's piece.

Percy Willis bg Jedd O'Keeffe f6-0-2 (71) 72 
Sir Percy (Dansili){16-a}(0.33) 3/1 Fire Top 1st Juvenile Hurdle, Kempton 1989
Sir Percy is one of several sires in this contest with above average credentials, and though he rather lacks in terms of star quality, his strike rate between the months of June and October stands at 40.63%. His first declared representative of the new season, Percy Willis. just about sets the standard on flat form according to Timeform. Though winless in four starts for Eve Johnson Houghton (whose graduates have a three wins from nineteen runners in juvenile hurdles), he managed to place twice at Lingfield prior to joining Jedd O'Keeffe for 28,000 guineas at the Tattersalls March sale. The Middleham trainer has been having something of a lean spell, although he did hit the crossbar at Ayr this afternoon, signalling a potential return to form. His overall record in the sphere is a respectable one with a 27.27% winner to runner rate, a 47.37% improvement rate, and a first time out record of 14.29% which increases to 28.57% with flat runners rated 62 and above. Percy Willis did not impress on his stable debut at Beverley, but he was better last time at Redcar where while he pulled in the early stages, was able to settle better ahead of getting outpaced to finish a three and a half length fourth. That these performances came on good to firm suggests he can improve with a bit more give in the ground. The damline is not massively encouraging as the first winner along the line, Reg Akehurst's Fire Top, comes at the third dam and Dansili has just five winners from thirty-nine as a damsire. Nevertheless, with stamina essentially assured, demonstrable flat form, and a trainer with solid credentials for this contest, the credentials of Percy Willis are worthy of respect.

Smart Boyo bg Philip Kirby f3-0-0 (54) 45
War Command (Kheleyf){13-a}(2.11) 3/1 Minnesota 1st 2m Novices' Selling Hurdle, Uttoxeter 2000
Trainer Philip Kirby's improvement rate of 65% is the strongest in this field and War Command was able to get off the mark in the sphere last season with Crassus and Battle of Benburb scoring in Ireland. However, Smart Boyo's switch to hurdles will need to bring about a significant amount of improvement as his three flat runs this spring, beaten almost eighty lengths combined, have offered very little promise. There is little encouragement to be drawn from the damline either as the nearest winning jumps relative was a modest one, and War Command's two winners each had lower dosage indexes.

Space Kid chg Adrian Paul Keatley f12-1-6 (64) 70
Tamayuz (Danehill Dancer){13-c}(2.11) 3/1 Cape Express 1st 2m1f Handicap Hurdle (125), Aintree 2012
Though better known for his sprinters and milers, Tamayuz is not above producing stayers like Desert Skyline. Furthermore, his daughter, Skylark Lady, won this race in 2016 and with four winning juveniles from thirteen, his overall record in the sphere is a solid one. Space Kid's damline is also respectable as Danehill Dancer's record is the best of a modest set represented in this field, and winning hurdlers Leo McGarry and Cape Express each appear at 3/1. A winner of a Wolverhampton nursery last November, Space Kid performed consistently on the all-weather during the winter before maintaining his form on the turf on his latest outings at Thirsk and Beverley. Like many tough, game, consistent and versatile sorts of his ilk, Space Kid appears to be a victim of his own success as his flat rating, which leaves him a good half stone off the top two here, is not relenting. Furthermore, his yard, which has had one winning juvenile from eight, has recently had few horses run to form. 

Saramenha chf Jamie Snowden f3-0-1 (59) 59
Mastercraftsman (Zamindar){1-e}(2.43) 3/3 Voix du Soir 1st 3800m Handicap Hurdle (58.0), Dieppe 2020
The prolific Mastercraftsman has twenty-three individual winning juvenile hurdlers to his name including several useful sorts such as Master Blueyes, Wolf Of Windlesham and Intense Tango. Though the damline is quiet on the first few rungs, Voix du Nord, a talented sire of juveniles, appears at 3/2 while Detroit City, Royal Shakespeare and Tower Bridge can all be found in the distance at 5/3. However, these factors will need to have a significant impact on the credentials of Saramenha. Her two runs last term for Ralph Beckett, whose graduates have a good winner to runner rate, but poor improvement rate, were fair at best and following a 15,000 guineas sale at Tattersalls last Autumn, she failed to show in a Nottingham maiden over an extended mile four weeks ago. Jamie Snowden has been among the winners recently, and he has saddled three to score in juvenile hurdles from eighteen, although his improvement rate of just 10% between codes is well below par. 

Strong prospects
1. Percy Willis
Reasonable prospects
2. Inferno Sacree
3. Koi Dodville
4. Space Kid
Feasible prospects
5. McGregors Charge
Moderate prospects
6. Saramenha
Negligible prospects
7. Smart Boyo
8. Family Time

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8 hours ago, Darran said:

There was me thinking I write a lot for my hunter chase previews! I know you are saying that you aren't tipping anything but do you actually back the horses you like?

Morning Darran

There is something quite beautiful about appreciating a less heralded area of the sport. 

The short answer to your question is no, I do not - which is why I would not compel others to risk any money based entirely on my writings. The "selections" did make a level stakes profit last season, although not to the extent that the grind would be worth the stress. Personally, I prefer to appreciate the sport as a purist/anorak which would invariably get compromised by thoughts of losing money I did not need to lose, or not winning as much as I could have won - I am not ashamed to say that I have neither the patience, discipline nor inclination to bet regularly for profit or pleasure. This is before addressing my lack of prowess when it comes to creating a book which is the only way one can hope to make a long-term profit - I can arrange the horses in vague orders and groups, but given that the percentages must be accurate to within half a point if that, anything but knowing precisely what a 63% chance, 20% chance or a 5% chance looks like is pure guesswork. And again, I do not have the patience to turn that guesswork into a rigid and confident process. Very occasionally (and we are talking a few times a year at most) if I see something at 2/1 or above that should be odds-on then I will make an arbitrary investment. But other than that, I am loathe to spoil a good race with a bad bet. 

To be clear though, I have nothing against gambling (at least not where the punter stands a chance of winning or is getting value experience from manageable losses) and would not begrudge anybody of partaking in a responsible manner. Nevertheless, I have learned over the years that given my characteristics and general disinterest in material pursuits, I get much more satisfaction from appreciating the sport than I do attempting to turn a profit.

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On 6/4/2021 at 11:11 AM, Darran said:

Wow I am amazed that anyone would put in so much work and not attempt to make a profit from it, but fair play you really have done plenty of work on everything.

Cheers Darran.

It would be nice if the study and posting of same somehow led to finding employment within the industry in some capacity, but in the meantime, it serve a very ample purpose as a labour of love :)

So as well as previews, I also like to review the race as well as the preview itself as an exercise in self reflection. As ever, if there are any comments or critiques then I welcome them with relish. I would like to have posted this review sooner but a combination of muggy weather, a roadside hotel in Newcastle overlooking a restaurant, and a train journey seated backwards without a table has meant that this is the earliest it could have been done without it degenerating into an incoherent diatribe against the sun...

Preview review
Forty-eight hour declarations are a wonderful initiative and long may they last. However, one drawback is that what may have been true forty-eight hours before the race may not be so twenty-four hours later. In this instance, there were two factors between the preview and the race which would probably have given the former a different shape. Firstly, the potential revival in form of Jedd O'Keeffe was anticipated prematurely as since hitting the crossbar, the yard had two flops including one which was well backed prior to an Epsom handicap. Secondly, on walking the course prior to the meeting, an element which will not be available for most races, I noticed two things. One - walking Hexham prior to a meeting is an exercise of sheer pleasure that reminds one of how truly beautiful it is to be alive. Two - while the official description was "good, good-to-soft in places", there was a total absence of "soft" save for a few strides where the ground was "a bit sticky". Neither of these factors will have helped Percy Willis and since the ground did Inferno Sacree no favours either, Koi Dodville would likely have been allotted the 'strong prospects' by default. In the event, the prospects list was not a faithful premonition of reality, although it was described as a trappy looking contest beforehand and Family Time's surpassing of expectations can in some small way be attributed to the trainer's record during the summer along with the fairly predictable underperformance of his rivals. Another reflection can be made on the weight given to Timeform's assessment of the winner's flat form compared to that of Percy Willis'. Even if the reduced price for the service is a very pleasant thing, one must always hold one's own assessment - and the processes used within same - above the observations of others.

Race review
Contrary to the RP report, two hurdles were omitted rather than just the one. Being an early season contest at Hexham, this contest had only low expectations and these were largely met. The overall quality of jumping was poor but there was an honest tempo set and most of the participants were able to settle early enough into the race. The winning time was not a favourable one compared to the earlier low-grade handicaps on the card, and the closing sectional indicated that most were spent by the race's end. Though the field finished well strung, most probably underperformed so little regard can be given to the overall quality solidity or depth of the contest. Notwithstanding, the front two both look likely to improve from here.

Koi Dodville extended the record of David Pipe purchases out of the Ludovic Gadbin yard to four winning juveniles from four with a clear success on his hurdling debut. Winning on his penultimate outing and getting to within a length of the winner on his other three starts since returning in March, Koi Dodville brought consistent form on good ground to his new yard. That David Pipe's ex-French claimers usually take a few runs to reach their potential was a matter of some concern, and though he looked fit and ready in the paddock, there is still work to be done in the jumping department. Giving the first plenty of air, he skewed over the second, steadied at the fourth, got in close to the fifth and was steady and tight at the last whereafter he slowed to a trot for a few strides. Nevertheless, there were few complaints about how he travelled as after initially tracking the leader, he went into the lead with a circuit to run, setting a pace which had all of his rivals off the bridle before the field left the back. Given a bit of a breather on the run to the straight, he was sent ahead turning for home and after the aforementioned error at the last, was ridden out to finish on top by five-and-a-half lengths. While he was green and perhaps idled in front, he still went about his business professionally enough. Koi Dodville is unlikely to emerge as a festival horse, but he should have learned plenty for the experience and though the bare form amounts to little, he has the class and fitness to collect more prizes over the coming months - potentially as soon as Friday where he is entered at Aintree. 97

Family Time's previous racecourse experience came last October where he got stuck in the stalls at the start of a Newbury Novice Stakes. His pedigree sent mixed signals as while his granddam was a half-sister to prolific early season juvenile, Architrave, sire Excelebration has a below par record in the sphere. Nevertheless, that trainer Alex Hales has enjoyed recent success in summer juveniles offers a plausible explanation for Family Time outrunning his odds. He was also the best overall jumper in this contest with only slight faults counting against him prior to a blunder at the last. Tucked in behind the leaders for much of the contest, he moved into second on the run to the straight. His mistake at the last was no worse than that of the winner, but while it can not be said that he may have finished closer, he was still upwards of fourteen lengths clear of the remainder. This is only an ordinary performance on form, with this being just his second outing, and his first in 225 days, Family Time can be competitive in moderate company. 91

McGregors Charge was the lesser fancied of Nigel Hawke's two runners, but able to perform the better of the pair. Held up in the rear, he was slightly steady at his early flights, and was rather slow two out, but he hurdled satisfactorily in the main. Some headway was made along the back, but he never threatened to get involved in the contest and was ultimately beaten by just under twenty lengths. Related to several useful sorts in France, McGregors Charge shaped with some promise on his debut and can improve sufficiently to have a career in this game. 77

Space Kid, with twelve runs on the flat to his name, was the most experienced horse coming into the contest. He had shown himself a tough, versatile and consistent sort at his own level. However, after travelling keen early, he got in very close to the third and fourth, and was untidy again at the next. While he was still in the leader's shadow at the end of the back straight, he soon lost his position before finishing tamely some twenty-four lengths behind the winner. There is time for him to match his flat ability, although he first needs to brush up his jumping. 72

Saramenha is by Mastercraftsman and Jamie Snowden can get winners in this division, but that was the extent of her prospects beforehand as her flat form was modest. Easy to back in the market, she lacked fluency and lost her position shortly after the long run to the first before finishing tailed off. 45

Percy Willis had the strongest overall profile coming into this contest, but like the author, he did not enjoy the muggy weather. A drifter before the off, Percy Willis was keen early and jumped the first three flights poorly. He was better at the fourth but was badly hampered on landing. After getting close to the next, Percy Willis weakened rapidly and was pulled up before the last. There was little encouragement on this hurdling debut, but he may remain of interest in more suitable conditions. 0

Inferno Sacree is regally bred, if not quite precociously so, and was backed into second favouritism before the off. However, he was steady and tight over the first two and tripped over the third. Never leaving the rear of the field, he was pulled up before the last by Brian Hughes who reported that his mount hung right throughout. 0

Smart Boyo had finished tailed off on all three flat outings and after being sent into the early lead, jumped without fluency apart from a passable leap at the third. He was struggling before the dip before pulling up before the last. 0
 

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Six days after the first juvenile hurdle of the season, the second is set to take place at Aintree this evening. Introduced in 2018, this race will be making its third appearance and while naturally a far cry from it's mid and late season, the first and second in 2018 - Cracker Factory and Chief Justice - would each win in pattern company during that season. This year's renewal looks unlikely to be so strong given that the flat and jumps standard is set by last weekend's Hexham winner. Aintree's average winning DI of 1.13 and completion rate of 81.48% each surprisingly indicate that Aintree is a demanding racecourse, although this can partially be explained by the competitive nature of its spring contest and the demanding conditions for its December race. Notwithstanding, two other factors indicating the tricky nature of the venue is its low clear round rate of 95.31%, and the below average record of odds-on favourites who have won on seven from fifteen attempts in juvenile hurdles since 2004/05. The going is currently good and has been watered to maintain.

Koi Dodville bc David Pipe f7-1-3 (33.5 - 73.7) 74 j1-1-0 (-) 93 97 
French Fifteen (Aussie Rules){5-h}(3.00) 3/2 Uriah Heep 1st 2m Novices' Handicap Chase (126), Ludlow 2014
Already a winner on the flat at a fair level, Koi Dodville was a decisive winner on his hurdling debut at Hexham last Saturday. Though David Pipe juveniles claimed from the flat in France generally take a few races to reach their stride, Koi Dodville was fit enough to do the job while still leaving room for improvement in the jumping department. He will have learned plenty from the experience, his flat form is already the strongest available as was his overall profile prior to his debut. He sets a clear standard here.

Boundsy Boy bg Oliver Greenall f3-0-0 (60) 62 
Awtaad (Diktat){21-a}(1.25) 2/1 Majestic Sun 6th 2m Novices' Handicap Hurdle (97), Plumpton 2015
Four of these were sold at last year's Tattersalls Autumn sale and three of this field are representing debutant sires. At just 1,500 guineas, Boundsy Boy was the cheapest to pass through the ring having shown form on just one of his three outings for Richard Fahey when just over three lengths fifth in a class 5 Newcastle Maiden Auction Stakes - former Fahey inmates having a record very close to standard in the sphere. Sire Awtaad perhaps has the most compelling profile of the debutant sires as he won an Irish 2,000 Guineas and Golden Horn and Sea The Stars are other sons of Cape Cross to have produced winners. However, he is not the biggest at 16.0 hands, was never tried beyond a mile and his own pedigree is not laden with stamina. Boundsy Boy's damline offers little respite and while Oliver Greenall is still to saddle a faller/unseat from 112 runners, his first time out strike rate is less compelling at 3.45%

Eagle's Realm bg Graeme McPherson f6-0-2 (65) 68 
Free Eagle (Medicean){20-a}(0.85) 4/1 Charger 1st 2m2f Handicap Hurdle (101), Downpatrick 2011
From the cheapest to the most expensive in the field, Eagle's Realm left Sir Mark Prescott for 20,000 guineas last Autumn. Though former residents of Heath House are not given to improvement (38.78%), their winner to runner rate of 32.31% is a healthy one. Winless in six outings, Eagle's Realm placed on his latest outing last October in a ten furlong Chelmsford nursery off a mark of 66. Stamina ought not to be an issue and Free Eagle's first crop of juveniles produced three winners last term including the useful Coltor. However, having been gelded after two starts, tried in headgear and generally looking a difficult ride, his temperament can not be assured on his first run in nearly nine months. Furthermore, Eagle's Realm was some ten pounds below his best on turf and the pedigree suggests he might be better on softer ground. The yard does not offer much encouragement either as it has produced just one winning juvenile from thirteen with Harry Hunt needing eight runs to get off the mark in 2011. 

Spanish Hustle bg Chris Gordon f6-0-3 (67) 71 
Pearl Secret (Galileo){3-d}(1.00) 0.5 First Man 1st 3m1½f Handicap Hurdle (99), Catterick 2021
Half the price of Eagle's Realm, Spanish Hustle is the highest rated newcomer to the tune of a couple of pounds. While his first three outings were not without promise, he had developed a poor reputation with his attitude although he was better on his final outing for Karl Burke which saw him finish third of nine in a Southwell nursery off 67. He is a first-crop representative of Pearl Secret who as well as essentially keeping the Byerley Turk line alive, was a fast type who is a 3/3 relative of Dutch Art. None of these factors are conducive to a career siring juvenile hurdlers and the son of Compton Place has yet to have a winner beyond seven furlongs. The damline offers a slither of encouragement as half-brother First Man won over three and a quarter miles. Chris Gordon gets his fair amount of winning juveniles (25.93% winner to runner) although just one did so first time. Furthermore, his improvement rate of 33.33%, similar to the 35.29% of Karl Burke's former inmates, is below par.

Pool Bar Lady chf Gary Moore f5-0-0 (42) 42
Proconsul (Polish Precedent){19-b}(0.73) 0.5 Red Hero 1st 3yo Hurdle, Hyeres 2016
While she is the only newcomer to have raced this year, Pool Bar Lady's flat form leaves her with plenty to find. Racing three times as a two-year-old, and twice this term under the care of Tom Dascombe, her best efforts came when beaten eight lengths then eleven lengths in a Kempton classified stakes and Windsor 0-55 handicap respectively. Sire Proconsul, a maiden brother to Frankel, has yet to produce a winner on the flat, although Pool Bar Lady is a half-sister to a winning juvenile at Hyeres out of a half-sister to winning hurdlers Alburquerque and Altitude Dancer. Gary Moore has a fine record in this division with a strong winner to runner rate of 33.83% and an 18.09 first time strike rate. Furthermore, of the yard's twelve juveniles rated 47 or below, four of these managed to win over hurdles - although each had achieved RPRs of at least 52 at some point. 

Saramenha chf Jamie Snowden f3-0-1 (59) 59 j1-0-0 (-) 0 45
Mastercraftsman (Zamindar){1-e}(2.43) 3/3 Voix du Soir 1st 3800m Handicap Hurdle (58.0), Dieppe 2020
The second of two runners to come out Hexham's contest last Saturday, Saramenha was unable to find the considerable improvement on her flat form required to be competitive in the sphere. Though being a daughter of Mastercraftsman would generally be a positive, the yard is below par when it comes to winners to runners and the improvement rate of just 10% is poor. Saramenha is entitled to have gained something for her experience, although given that she lacked fluency and was losing her position early on, her foundation is very low. 

Outstanding prospects
1. Koi Dodville
Feasible/Moderate prospects
2. Eagle's Realm
3. Spanish Hustle
4. Pool Bar Lady
Negligible prospects
5. Boundsy Boy
6. Saramenha
 

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AINTREE 11/6/2021
Preview review
The first horse of the season to be given "outstanding prospects", Koi Dodville was heavily backed throughout the day (4/6 in the morning, 2/5 at flagfall) and despite again making mistakes, won with absolute authority. The ease of his success was primarily down to the scarcity of credible opponents. While runner-up Boundsy Boy was given negligible prospects, trainer Oliver Greenall was noted as being good at saddling juveniles that do not fall - which was good enough to claim an eleven length second. The next best prospect filled third position, although the remaining performances were much of a muchness in any case. No real education was provided by this contest.

Race review
With the exception of the winner, this contest looked fairly dire beforehand with the newcomers' profiles consisting of moderate flat form and uninspiring pedigrees. This premise played out on the course. When looking for positives, one can note that the field settled decently and as the second and third were making their first appearances of the year, it is reasonable to expect improvement from this outing. Notwithstanding, the overall quality of jumping was poor and the winning time, despite the honest gallop, did not compare favourably to the handicap later on the card. While the form can reasonably be accepted "as is", it is neither deep nor solid.

Koi Dodville set a clear standard on his flat profile and his success at Hexham demonstrated he could perform over hurdles. However, his jumping did not improve by any discernible measure as he wandered into the first two, was close and untidy at the fifth, blundered at the sixth, was steady and close to the seventh, clipped two out and was slightly big over the last. With blinkers he wore in France reapplied, he initially contested the lead before allowing Saramenha to stride on. Left in front after the pacesetter faded towards the end of the back, he was pushed out after the penultimate flight and was kept up to his work to pass the line with an eleven length superiority. Given the sloppy round of jumping, quality of opposition and slow winning time, it would be difficult to justify an improved rating beyond a few arbitrary pounds. Koi Dodville still has plenty of potential and should continue to make light of modest opposition, but contrary to Timeform's assessment, he has yet to match his flat form. 100

Boundsy Boy had been off the track for the best part of eleven months, with a fifth in a Newcastle maiden being the only run worthy of a rating from three starts. Switching from Richard Fahey to Oliver Greenall for just 1,500 guineas, he joined a yard with an admirable clear round record. Untidy at the first after getting baulked on the approach, and slightly reaching at the fifth, Boundsy Boy jumped respectably prior to an understandable fatigue setting in along the straight. This being his first run after a break as well as operations to his wind and tackle, he is entitled to come on for the run - even if the bare form currently amounts to little. 83

Eagle's Realm was another making his first appearance in 2021 having finished second in a Chelmsford nursery for Mark Prescott last October. Settling behind the leaders, he put in the tidiest round of jumping as apart from wandering badly on the approach to the first, his only errors came at the last two flights when a tired horse. Comments similar to Boundsy Boy's also apply here with him potentially being better suited by a softer surface. 60

Pool Bar Lady achieved little in five flat outings for Tom Dascombe with her latest run seeing her well beaten at Windsor off just 45. The switch to hurdles/Gary Moore has not prompted any immediate improvement as she jumped in the rear without fluency or confidence before finishing tailed off. 43

Spanish Hustle thrice reached the first three on the flat as a two-year-old for Karl Burke, but he showed no aptitude for hurdling on his debut in the sphere. Jumping like a hippo on springs, he was big and clumsy from the outset and only passed the fading pacesetter prior to pulling up before three out. 0

Saramenha was the other horse with hurdling experience coming into the race. However, she shaped with little promise at Hexham and was no better here. Though she took up the lead early on, she once again lacked fluency and dropped away very sharply midway along the back stretch prior to pulling up before three out. 0

In French news, Saturday saw the de-facto early season championships for their three-year-old hurdlers in the Prix Sagan and Prix Aguado. Since 2008, only one winner of either race would compete in Britain or Ireland that season with Sway joining Jonjo O'Neill after winning the fillies' race (Sagan) in 2009. Runner-up Tarla would join Willie Mullins the same season, though the colts and geldings' contest (Aguado) has produced more graduates seen on these shores such as Twinlight (7th in 2010) and Fakir d'Oudairies (6th in 2018), with 2008 runner-up Long Run joining Nicky Henderson the following campaign. The Prix Sagan saw Matilda du Berlais maintain her position as leading filly as while she was beaten by her Prix d'Iena victim La Boetie, she still emerged best at the weights. In the Prix Aguado, Paradiso reaffirmed his status as the leading colt with an emphatic success over Impressive, with the pair finishing over a dozen lengths clear of the remainder. Paradiso, still being an entire, will most probably see the breeding sheds before he sees the Eurostar, but his success offers another boost to the profile of recent Ditcheat recruit Matterhorn who would have given Paradiso plenty to ponder but for a final flight howler. On the matter of recruits, France Galop reports another horse that has been sent across La Manche. 

Illico des Places bg Unknown j1-1-0 119 (Francois Nicolle)
Jeu St Eloi (Anabaa Blue){6-e}(2.00) 0.5 Gatsby des Places 1st 3yo Hurdle, Royan 2019
https://www.equidia.fr/chevaux/illico-des-places
With his sole start coming in a debutants contest at Châteaubriant, on a sleepy Sunday provincial meeting last month, Illico des Places does not yet have a profile page on the racing post site. Nevertheless, despite his rustic introduction to the sport, he could potentially be a useful sort. The field barely came out of a canter during the opening stages during which Illico des Places pulled extremely hard. Jumping himself into the lead at the fourth, he was still fairly headstrong but was not allowed to run away under Gaëtan Masure. Though he went through the top of the seventh, was flat footed at the eighth and got in close to the tenth, his jumping was neat overall and at times, quite taking. Holding a dozen length advantage turning into the straight, one might assume that there was another circuit to be completed, given the lack of urgency displayed by the other riders. Nevertheless, this advantage was increased to eighteen lengths at the line which was achieved with the utmost ease. A race of its nature would take little winning, but the form is taking a reasonable shape with the second and the third each finishing runner-up next time in similar company. Former trainer Francois Nicolle has a strong record of producing talented juveniles with last season's Quilixios and Monmiral enhancing the standards previously set by the likes of Botox Has, Allblak des Places and Coko Beach. Sire Jeu St Eloi has yet to have a runner in Britain or Ireland, but his first two crops in France have resulted in seven winners from twenty-one foals thus far. Half-brother Gatsby des Places has won on three of his four completed starts while winners Kentucky Star (2/1), Double Double (3/1) and Happy Reunion (3/1) appear nearby on the damline. The current location of Illico des Places is currently narrowed down to Britain. Given that the last Lejeune bred horse sent to the UK ended up with Paul Nicholls, as is also fairly common with ex-Nicolle horses, one might speculate that he is currently summering at Ditcheat. Wherever he is, though he was thrown into fairly shallow waters for his debut, Illico des Places will warrant some intrigue wherever he next appears. 
 

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Apologies for not posting a preview for the Market Rasen race. While I would rather my mental health be completely absent from these posts, there is value in disclosing same for the general sake of making the topic less taboo among people - especially men who probably make up the majority of readers. Essentially, it was a combination of ADD paralysis in being unable to split Knotty Ash and Family Time, and the effects of this new medication (Mirtazapine) which is currently turning me into a zombie. The solution to the former is to remember that I am not a tipster, that my priority is information above opinion, and if my analysis concludes that two horses can not be split on balance (which was also the conclusion reached by the market) then that is what I will post. A possible solution to the latter is taking these things earlier in the evening. With that out of the way, here is the preview for tomorrow's race.

The fourth juvenile of the season is set to be hosted at Newton Abbot tomorrow afternoon and it comes in the form of a maiden hurdle. There have been no previous corresponding runnings of this race, and the only juvenile to have been contested at Newton Abbot in June was won by the classy Barizan in 2009. Useful sorts such as Leoncavallo, Doubly Clever and Cracker Factory have also trod around the most Westerly racecourse in Britain, although with the average winner's seasonal best being a below average 111, races here tend not to take much winning. Essentially a newcomers race, the field is trappy in its composition as while several of the runners bring flat form sufficient to win a race of this nature, none are arriving at the peak of their powers or with conspicuously improving profiles. With average winning DIs of 1.40 median, 1.52 mean, Newton Abbot is one of the least demanding circuits in the country insofar as stamina is concerned. Jumping is a slightly different matter as its clear round rate of 93.99% is lower than average, and this drops to 90.83% for newcomers which ranks it the ninth lowest in Britain and Ireland. The going is currently good, good to soft in places with showers forecast before flagfall.

Burristo chg Fergal O'Brien f7-0-2 (66) 68
Buratino (Invincible Spirit){23}(1.15) 2/1 Twisted 2nd 2m1f Sedgefield Novices' Hurdle, Sedgefield 2011
Not seen since last September, Burristo raced seven times for Richard Hannon, twice finishing runner-up in a pair of August nurseries at Thirsk and Salisbury prior to disappointing in two subsequent outings. He has since been gelded and will make his hurdles debut under the care of Fergal O'Brien - a trainer who had a decent summer campaign with his juveniles last term, and one who had recently been in good form, although that form is beginning to taper off. Burristo brings the highest flat rating into this contest, though whether he has trained on from two to three remains to be seen. He will be the first representative over hurdles for sire Buratino. Winner of the 2015 Coventry Stakes, Buratino never won beyond six furlongs and failed to place in five outings as a three-year-old. Standing at 1.63m, he is not particularly tall and Exceed and Excel ranks lowly among grandsires of juvenile hurdlers with just a 4.07% overall strike rate. The distaff side of the pedigree offers little encouragement as the dam only found success at sprint distances with the only jumps relative placing second in a moderate Sedgefield novices' hurdle. Though it has been some time since he was saddled by Richard Hannon, former inmates at Herridge Racing Stables have a moderate 14.58% winner to runner rate in juvenile hurdles with 34.38% of them improving for the switch between codes. 

Langafel bg Gary Moore f5-0-0 (59) 55
Fast Company (Theatrical){9-g}(1.29) 1/0 Miracle Steps 7th 2m2f Mares Maiden Hurdle, Cork 2010
Costing €13,000 as a yearling, Langafel has spent his entire career under the care of Gary Moore. Starting no shorter than 66/1, and beaten no less than eleven lengths on three outings last term, a switch to handicap company has provoked no change in fortune for Langafel as he was well held at Bath and Lingfield over ten and twelve furlongs respectively. Though he comes into this race in poor form, there are a couple of elements in Langafel's profile that merit attention. Sire Fast Company has a good record in the division with a 31.82% winner to runner rate, a 63.16% improvement rate, and high calibre representatives such as Band Of Outlaws, Veneer Of Charm and Christopher Wood. Trainer Gary Moore is also a positive in this sphere as his attributes are best across the board among the represented trainers which include a 33.66% winner to runner rate, a first time out strike rate of 18% and a record of three wins from eight runners at Newton Abbot. However, the trainer has gone twenty-seven race without success since landing a double on the First of June, and there is nothing compelling on the damline insofar as hurdling is concerned.

Rwanda Mist bg Chris Gordon f7-0-2 (57) 62 
Maxios (Dai Jin){19-c}(0.76) 1/0 Nyanza 1st Fillies' Juvenile Hurdle (L), Aintree 2014
Few early season juveniles will be better bred for the game than Rwanda Mist. His dam Nyanza won twice during her juvenile campaign, including the listed contest at Aintree, and is herself is a half-sister to dual novice winner Neff, and a niece of Nobilita (a listed winner at four and fourth in the Grade 2 Prix Leon Rambaud), and Nouveau Roi who won the Grand Steeple Chase de Bordeaux. Sire Maxios has a 40% winner to runner rate which places him fifth among all sires with twenty or more juveniles, an overall strike rate of 19.7% (26.67% in France) which places him third, and he enjoyed his first Triumph success last season with Quilixios who also won France's curtain raiser in the March of his three-year-old campaign. Rwanda Mist has not covered himself in glory during his seven race flat career, but there was a degree of promise in his finishing midfield in twelve furlong handicaps at Salisbury. He looked fairly one paced which might be an issue at Newton Abbot, although he is certain to stay the trip and any rain will boost his prospects. Formerly trained by George Scott, whose graduates are zero from five runners in juveniles, he joined Chris Gordon for his latest start and the new yard has a solid seven winners from twenty-eight juveniles since 2004/05 - three of whom were rated 52 or lower on the flat. However, only one of those scored at the first time of asking and none of his seventeen juveniles to have competed prior to November has won. Given the propensity of both yard and sire to operate with less vigour during the summer months (Quilixios is zero from nine prior to October), Rwanda Mist may find better openings without the word 'good' dominating the going description. 

Scrappy Jack bg Bill Turner f1-0-0 (-) 0
Epaulette (Compton Place){11}(2.00) 2/1 The Final Whistle 7th 2m Handicap Hurdle (100), Ludlow 2018
Seeing the racecourse for the first time early this month, Scrappy Jack first foray saw him run very green and finish tailed off in a seven furlong novice median auction stakes at Chepstow. Though distantly related to Cape Tribulation (4/1) and Charbel (5/4), little else in the pedigree suggests that considerable improvement is imminent. Bill Turner can get winning juveniles and sent two to win at Newton Abbot in 2007 and 2008, although each of these had considerably more experience than Scrappy Jack. 

Thistleton bg Seamus Mullins f6-0-1 (64) 68
Battle Of Marengo (Lujain){9-h}(1.00) 2/1 Anna Montana 10th 2m Conditions Hurdle, Fairyhouse 2012
Having improved from two to three, and finishing just over two lengths second off 60 in a Brighton handicap on his penultimate start, Thistleton brings the strongest recent flat form into the contest. He was unable to build on that form on his return to the venue at the beginning of the month, although that run can be excused with the drop in trip and his losing a shoe being plausible excuses. Battle Of Marengo has made a promising start to his career as a sire in the division with three winner from eight thus far including dual August scorer Maria Magdalena. There is little of note on the damline, although Lujain's three winners from six is much the strongest of the damsires represented here. Seamus Mullins has a fairly modest winner to runner rate of 12.96% in the division. Nevertheless, his horses have been running to form and he generally does most of his winning during the summer months, including when saddling The Pink'n to win first time out at this venue in July 2019.

Friendly Princess chf J S Moore f6-0-0 (53) 58
Prince Of Lir (Teofilo){1-c}(0.50) 2/1 Painted Tail 2nd 2m Mares' Novices' Hurdle, Kelso 2012
Another sire set to have his first runner over hurdles is Prince Of Lir. Retired at two having failed to supplement his success in the Norfolk Stakes, the son of Kodiac (no jumps sires to date) is a diminutive 15.3 hands and has a predominantly pacey pedigree. His offspring have mostly been pacey early types thus far and though Friendly Princess has shown the best of her moderate form over ten furlongs, those contests were falsely run. The damline is a little more solid, albeit with little to excite insofar as jumping concerned with the nearest winner being Minneapolis at 3/2. Trainer Stan Moore has gone over fifteen and a half years without saddling a jumps winner of any description, although none of his thirty-six juveniles since 2004/05 have fallen or unseated.

Sentilly bf Alexandra Dunn f2-0-0 (-) 6
Air Chief Marshal (Elusive City){16-g}(1.40) 1/1 Saint Contest 3rd Juvenile Hurdle, Newbury 2016
Having failed to make the racecourse for Fabrice Chappet, Sentilly fetched €4,500 at Arqana last Autumn. A full sister to Alan King's fair maiden hurdler Saint Contest, Sentilly is also a half-sister to stablemate Sarceaux who having begun her juvenile campaign in modest fashion, has since reached the frame in handicap company. The stable is in decent enough form, although only one of its twenty juveniles has won in the division. Furthermore, Sentilly herself achieved the sum total of nothing in two modest stakes races at Wolverhampton during the winter.

Strong/Reasonable prospects*
1. Thistleton
2. Rwanda Mist
Feasible prospects
3. Burristo
4. Langafel
Moderate prospects
5. Friendly Princess
6. Sentilly
Negligible prospects
7. Scrappy Jack

*Good to Soft, Good in places;- 1. Thistleton
*Good to Soft;- =1. Thistleton/Rwanda Mist
*Good to Soft, Soft in places;- 1. Rwanda Mist

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  • 2 weeks later...

Appreciated Mclarke :)

With the reviews from Market Rasen and Newton Abbot, and the preview for tomorrow's contest at the latter track, we should be up to date. I might do a piece on the recent sales as there are a couple of three-year-old winning hurdlers on offer at Arqana as I type - although depending if nothing of note happens it might just be a quick evaluation of Zinc White...

MARKET RASEN 18th JUNE
Preview review
No preview was written prior to this contest. The broad impression was that the first two would have been difficult to split and this was reflected in the market. In terms of overall profile, Knotty Ash had fine credentials as both trainer and sire have strong records in the division. However, hurdling experience counts for a great deal in the division and a lack of any racecourse is a major detriment as unraced horses had a mere 2.04% strike rate cominginto the contest. Notwithstanding, Dan Skelton does have a respectable record as not only did he introduce Langer Dan to make a winning debut, he did the same thing in France when saddling Mont Lachaux in the 2016 Prix d'Essai des Poulains. Whether these factors would have tipped the balance in the preview would be mere speculation without the benefit of hindsight.

Race review
Juvenile hurdles held in June at Market Rasen have seen the likes of Orsippus, Royal Bonsai, City Dreamer and Chic Name collect black type during their first campaigns, although they weakly contested for the most part. Just three runners had any real chance on paper and with the unfancied Andonno, who brought the only discernible flat form, running no kind of race, the joint favourites had the race between them. Rank outsider Rakish Paddy set a strong pace which led to a winning time 2.6 second quicker than the handicap hurdle on the card. However, that was a moderate contest ran at a sedate tempo so direct comparisons can not be substantiated. The standard of form is fairly average for a race of its type, but with the front pair having just two races between them coming into the contest, they should each build on their efforts. 

Knotty Ash, in making a winning racecourse debut in a juvenile hurdle, joins a band which includes the likes of Duffle Coat, Langer Dan and Tiger Roll. Fetching £45,000 at the Goresbridge Breeze Up at Newmarket last July, he was the first representative in over twenty months for Most Improved - a sire whose first crop in the division counted five winners from eleven horses. His granddam, Mail The Desert, won the Moyglare Stud stakes as a two-year-old and was also a half-sister to Adonis Hurdle runner-up Amarula Ridge. Steady in the market and sent off the 11/10 joint favourite, Knotty Ash was slightly fresh but settled nicely enough in the contest. Initially held up off the strong pace, he moved to track the leaders along the back stretch. He was slighly outpaced on the turn for home, but was able find his rhythm entering the straight and moved alongside his main rival between the final two flights. Jumping the last with a slight advantage, he was pushed out to pass the line four lengths ahead of the rest. He hurdled well for a newcomer with his only errors coming when going through the top of the fifth, and getting close to two out. The bare form is little to shout about, but he did everything professionally and should at least be a decent early season type. 103

Family Time brought the only hurdles form into the race which came courtesy of a promising second at Hexham a fortnight earlier. Though his jumping was not as clean overall, and was close to the two in the straight here, he was still able to step up on his debut effort. Initially sent to the front, he was headed by the tearaway leader before regaining his lead when leaving the turn for home. Family Time jumped the penultimate flight with a length advantage, but was a sitting duck between the final two and his being slow away from the last sealed his fate. He was not disgraced and while his jumping under pressure is a concern, there is still scope for improvement and he should remain competitive in moderate company. 99

Rakish Paddy ran three times for Andrew Slattery as a two-year-old, beaten no less than eleven lengths and starting at triple digit odds on each occasion. He did not fare much better in handicap company for new connections, with his best effort seeing him beaten six lengths off 46 at Windsor prior to tailing off last time out. Representing a yard without a winning juvenile from twenty-one, Rakish Paddy was sent off the rank outsider. He went into a clear lead although his round was littered by slight errors before deteriorating in the latter stages. To his credit, he only lost his lead on the turn for home and had the remainder of the field detached behind, although this says more against his beaten rivals than it does for him. Subsequently finishing last of nine at Chepstow on the flat, Rakish Paddy looks unlikely to be competitive in the near future. 80

Andonno won twice on the flat for Mark Johnston including on his latest outing when landing the odds in a twelve furlong Lingfield seller on his latest outing. He has joined a yard with a respectable record in the sphere, albeit one whose juveniles improve with a run. Drifting from 10/3 in the morning to 17/2 at the off, Andonno never looked like getting involved in the contest. Keen early and held up in the rear, he skewed badly over the first and was steady and untidy at the second. Though slightly better at the next, he was still skewing while being slow away from his hurdles. He became detached after flattening three out and finished tailed off. Andonno's profile befits a horse capable of better, but it would be difficult to have much confidence in him in the immediate future. 6

Gurkha's Surprise was Donald McCain's first juvenile of the season, and the first hurdles runner of The Gurkha. Both ought to be better represented this campaign than this thrice raced animal who was tailed off on each of his four flat outings. His initial jumps were steep ones and they became worse as the race progressed. Losing his midfield position with a circuit left to run, Gurkha's Surprise was ultimately beaten by over a hundred lengths. 0

NEWTON ABBOT 21st JUNE
Preview review
The upside is that despite a different morning shape, the prospects list ended up precisely matching the BSP. The downside is that the market turned out to be quite wrong in its assessment of the race. Positives in the winner's profile were noted including the prowess of the sire and trainer. However, the trainer's recent winless streak (which was resumed after the race) was off-putting. The top prospect ran well to a point, and traded as low as 1.61 in-running, but his effort flattened out. Ultimately, this was not a high quality contest and as races at this level tend to be unreliable, the result may not warrant too much scrutiny.

Race review
A trappy and moderate looking contest beforehand, the winner, despite an unconvincing aptitude - was essentially the only horse to perform on the day. The pace was respectable and the field settled well enough by and large. However, the standard of jumping was below par and most of these youngsters finished the race without any zest. While the field finished strung out, the form might not be particularly reliable given the quality of the contest. 

Langafel represented a sire and trainer pairing with strong records in the sphere. However, the Gary Moore yard came into this race on a losing streak and Langafel's own form was not compelling. His best run came on his penultimate outing at Bath where he had two of the outsiders here behind him when an eleven length sixth off a mark of 60. Despite this, his connections enabled him to remain steady in the market as he was sent off at 4/1. Taking up the running from flagfall, he ran keenly and wandered into his hurdles, hopping over the first two flights. After settling passing the judge first time, seeing the next set of flights lit him up again, causing him to wander, hop and clip his way over those hurdles. Langafel was joined by the favourite along the cross section, but despite getting close to the fifth and skewing over the seventh, his rival faded and left him to enter the straight with a clear lead. Ponderous and untidy leaps were not enough to stall his momentum, and Langafel passed the winning post with a comfortable nine length advantage. This performance probably marks a career best and there is a lot of scope for improvement in both his jumping and his attitude. Notwithstanding, the overall impression is that he probably won the race by default and it remains to be seen if he can confirm the promise shown here. 94

Burristo was reappearing after an eleven month absence after a seven race flat career which saw him twice place second in nurseries for Richard Hannon. Drifting from 13/8 in the morning to 7/2 at the off, he finished clear second best despite running one paced throughout without ever threatening to get involved. He tended to hop rather than hurdle his obstacles, although these flaws - along with his going through the last in a similar fashion -  were not massively detrimental to his performance or momentum. Burristo is entitled to come on for his first outing after a long break, even if the level of form is an ordinary one. 85

Rwanda Mist, by the same sire as Quilixios and out of a listed winning juvenile hurdler, was the subject of enough market support to send him off as the 6/4 favourite. Though he had finished no closer than five lengths to the winner in seven flat outings, the persistent rain appeared to boost his chances. Racing prominently from the outset, he was steady and close at the first two, but his jumping was neater from thereon and he moved menacingly alongside the winner on leaving the back. However, though he went as low as 1.61 in-running, he failed to show much resolution as he faded quickly and tamely. It would be too soon to write off Rwanda Mist at this juncture, although he will need to better demonstrate his resolve. 80

Scrappy Jack's prior racecourse experience consisted of a forty-four length defeat in a Chepstow Novice Auction stakes earlier in the month. Though starting the race at 66/1, he arguably outran those odds by finishing a twenty length fourth. Especially given that he enjoyed no luck over the first five hurdles as he was baulked, squeezed, impeded and hampered to varying degrees. From here, he was briefly detached before plugging on for his distant fourth. While it would be generous to call Scrappy Jack a winner in waiting, he did enough to suggest that he can build on this effort. 74

Thistleton brought the best recent flat form into the contest and was supported in the market beforehand. However, his first time performance over hurdles can only be considered to be disappointing. Held up in midfield and initially racing keenly, he also had a propensity, often markedly, to jump too his left. He was soon travelling without any purpose and after being outpaced along the back, he came home slowly and was relegated to fifth on the run-in. While probably too bad to be true, Thistleton was hardly a model of consistency to begin with and his future prospects over hurdles are questionable. 72

Sentilly was twice beaten by long margins in a pair of Wolverhampton contests in the winter. Despite a reasonable pedigree, she was not fancied to make a show here. Racing in the rear throughout, she mixed slight errors with reasonable jumping. Sentilly was in trouble leaving the back and finished tailed off. 18

Friendly Princess opened at 16/1 and was sent off at 25/1 for her hurdling debut. While the best of her moderate flat form came over ten furlongs, those were in slowly run contests and her breeding indicated she would struggle to see out the trip. She was steady and close at the first, and reached at the fifth, but was sound enough in between. However, she was tired at the sixth and pulled up before the next. It was reported that Friendly Princess made a noise and did not handle the ground. Nevertheless, she would not be a compelling prospect regardless of this report. 0

NEWTON ABBOT PREVIEW - 2nd JULY
Juvenile Hurdling returns to Newton Abbot for the second time in succession this season, following the maiden eleven days prior. The previous two contests held at the venue in early July were each taken by multiple winners with subsequent Fred Winter fifth Doubly Clever winning in 2015, and early-season marvel Hiconic taking last year's season opener. Tomorrow's contest is split between three with experience, led by dual-winner Koi Dodville, and three debutants including two that changed hands at the Tattersalls Online Sale in May. While Newton Abbot's summer contests can throw up capable sorts, they are generally moderate affairs. Nevertheless, tomorrow's race is at least up to standards and the two sales graduates also come with winning form which should give Koi Dodville a fair challenge under a double penalty. With average winning DIs of 1.35 median, 1.52 mean, Newton Abbot is one of the least demanding circuits in the country insofar as stamina is concerned. Jumping is a slightly different matter as its clear round rate of 94.06% is lower than average, and this drops to 91.10% for newcomers which ranks it the ninth lowest in Britain and Ireland. The going is currently good to soft, although this could firm up before flagfall with sunny intervals and no rain forecast in the interim.

Koi Dodville bc David Pipe f7-1-3 (33.5 - 73.7) 74 j2-2-0 (-) 99 100
French Fifteen (Aussie Rules){5-h}(3.00) 3/2 Uriah Heep 1st 2m Novices' Handicap Chase (126), Ludlow 2014
After winning the curtain raiser at Hexham and following up at Aintree, Koi Dodville bids to maintain his unbeaten record over hurdles under a double penalty of ten pounds. In his native France, Koi Dodville ammassed a win and three places from ten furlong contests on ground good, soft and artificial. Since being brought out of a Saint-Cloud claimer for €14,506 on his final start for Ludovic Gadbin, he has not been unduly troubled in winning his two hurdles races by five and a half, and eleven lengths. However, neither success was earned on the bridle and though he was never in danger of falling, there was still ample room for improvement in his hurdling. David Pipe's ex-French claimers habitually improve with experience and the in-form yard has a solid 14.81% strike-rate with its juveniles at the venue. Notwithstanding, Koi Dodville looks to face his strongest test to date and on a course where odds-on juveniles have a 53.57% success rate, it may come down to whether his hurdling improves sufficiently to offset his penalty.

Eagle's Realm bg Graeme McPherson f6-0-2 (65) 68 j1-0-1 (-) 61 60
Free Eagle (Medicean){20-a}(0.85) 4/1 Charger 1st 2m2f Handicap Hurdle (101), Downpatrick 2011
Previously under the care of Mark Prescott, for whom his best effort in six outings was a second in a Chelmsford nursery off 66, Eagle's Realm made his seasonal reappearance three weeks ago when a thirty-four length third to Koi Dodville at Aintree. Though comprehensively beaten, he put up the tidiest round of jumping in the field - making his only real errors when tiring in the closing stages. With his yard among the recent winners and the possibility of softer conditions, a fitter Eagle's Realm could bridge the deficit with his penalised rival without being an obvious candidate to surpass same. 

Fred Bear bg Sheena West f4-0-0 (53) 52
Kodi Bear (Barathea){16-c}(0.68) 2/1 Silk Affair 1st Fred Winter Juv HcH (G3,125), Cheltenham 2009
Celebration Mile winner Kodi Bear collected black type with his first crop of flat runners including Go Bears Go who took the Railway Stakes. His profile as a stallion of juvenile hurdlers is not an unfeasible one. He stands at an acceptable 1.65m and is by Kodiac who has a respectable winner/runner rate of 39.29% in the sphere. Kodi Bear was never tried beyond a mile, and his DI of 1.91 is fairly high, but he has already produced a twelve furlong winner and an Oaks runner-up. His first runner over hurdles is set to be Fred Bear - a nephew of six  winners over jumps including staying chaser Arthur's Gift, Galway Plate fourth Direct Bearing, and Silk Affair - also by Barathea - who landed the 2009 Fred Winter Hurdle. However, for all the feasible potential in his pedigree, Fred Bear's flat exploits do not give rise to optimism as he was well beaten on all four runs for Mick Channon, including last time when tailed off on his handicap debut off 57. Sheena West does have a fine record in the division with a winner to runner rate of 28.33%. Eleven of her seventeen winners had flat ratings lower than 60 which is in keeping with the yard's remarkable improvement rate of 72.22%. However, enthusiasm is tempered by Fred Bear's moderate flat form, especially as he has been difficult to settle in that discipline. 

Moneykenny grg Olly Murphy f5-1-1 (65) 68
Kendargent (Kheleyf){14-c}(1.22) 2/1 Blinka Me 1st 2m3f Handicap Hurdle (82), Sedgefield 2012
Two graduates of May's Tattersalls Online Sale are set to make their hurdles debut here. Though both bring official flat ratings of 65, Moneykenny, who fetched 26,000 guineas, was the more expensive of the pair. A son of Kendargent formerly trained by Andrew Balding before joining Olly Murphy, these factors are more solid than positive or negative as all three have winner/runner rates around the 20% standard. Finishing midfield on both his outings last term, Moneykenny got off the mark at the fourth time of asking in an eleven furlong Median Auction Stakes at Southwell towards the end of April. He failed to handle the treacherous conditions on his handicap debut last time at Wetherby but he should appreciate the dryer ground here. Though none of his attributes are outstanding, Moneykenny's overall profile is a solid one and he ought to give an honest account of himself here.

Scrappy Jack bg Bill Turner f1-0-0 (-) 0 j1-0-0 (-) 73 74
Epaulette (Compton Place){11}(2.00) 2/1 The Final Whistle 7th 2m Handicap Hurdle (100), Ludlow 2018
Going into his hurdles debut on the back of a negligible sole flat outing, Scrappy Jack was not disgraced over course and distance eleven days ago. While he was beaten twenty lengths in a moderate affair, he endured multiple instances of interference in the early stages before plugging on in the races conclusion. Nevertheless, although improvement is anticipated, Scrappy Jack has yet to demonstrate that he is capable of being a major player even at this level.

Tara Iti chg Gary Moore f6-1-0 (65) 66
Sixties Icon (Sir Percy){9-c}(0.78) 3/1 Prince Of India 1st 2m½f Maiden Hurdle, Taunton 1998
Despite being the cheaper of the pair sold at the aforementioned online sale, fetching 17,500 guineas, Tara Iti has arguably the more compelling profile. His sire, Sixties Icon, has a solid winners to runners rate of 20%, with 55.56% of his juveniles improving for the switch in codes, and his progeny having a healthy strike rate of 16.44% between June and December. Gary Moore also has a compelling record in the sphere with a winner/runner rate of 33.99%, a first time strike rate of 18.41%, and a very healthy four winning juveniles from nine at this venue (all of whom scored at the first time of asking). While not in the richest vein of form at the moment, those aforementioned factors were boosted by his sole recent winner Langadel, who took the Maiden Juvenile Hurdle at the track eleven days ago. Tara Iti's sole win came in a heavy ground mile nursery at Leicester, and he has not quite built on that performance on two outings this term. Beating just one home on his reappearance at Newcastle, he showed up for a long way next time at Windsor before getting outpaced in the later stages. His awkward head-carriage on that occasion can not be easily ignored. Nevertheless, his ability to make the running will stand him in good stead here and he could be a real danger if taking to hurdles. 


Strong prospects
1. Tara Iti
Reasonable prospects
2. Koi Dodville
3. Moneykenny
Feasible prospects
4. Fred Bear
Moderate prospects
5. Eagle's Realm
Negligible prospects
6. Scrappy Jack

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  • 4 weeks later...

Uttoxeter hosts its first juvenile hurdle of the season and it could well be the most intriguing contest held to date this term. Winners at Uttoxeter have an average seasonal best RPR of around 109 which is the fourth lowest in the country - with only Diable de Sivola, Doubly Clever and Padleyourowncanoe emerging from contests held this month to appear at the festival. Nevertheless, tomorrow's edition has the potential to be comparatively decent as the field is headed by two previous winners, and bolstered by a pair of well bred debutants representing good yards. The course is close to standard insofar as stamina demands are concerned, with the winning DIs of 1.29 median, 1.38 mean being just lower than average. Similar comments apply to other characteristics as its clear round rate of 95.48% (96.08% for all courses) and odds-on strike rate of 62.5% (60.77% all) are also consistent with the norm. The going is currently described as good with the possibility of light showers in the morning.  

Burristo chg Fergal O'Brien f7-0-2 (66) 68 j2-1-1 (107) 89 94
Buratino (Invincible Spirit){23}(1.15) 2/1 Twisted 2nd 2m1f Sedgefield Novices' Hurdle, Sedgefield 2011
Runner-up on his hurdling debut at Newton Abbot on his return from a nine month absence, Burristo scored at the second time of asking when taking a Stratford juvenile a fortnight ago. Backed into 3/1 from a morning show of 5/1, Burristo was keen in the early stages, but settled better when tucked in behind the leader and was able to get into a decent rhythm in midfield. He repeated his tendency to hop rather than hurdle his obstacles, although he was slightly more fluent at Stratford and his only real error was an untidy leap at the fifth. While he was slightly outpaced when the race split along the back stretch, he was able to keep tabs on the leaders and moved comfortably into contention approaching the last. Burristo clipped the final flight but landed with more momentum than his rival and despite running fairly green in first time cheekpieces, stayed on powerfully to pass the line with an advantage of just under three lengths. The standard of that form leaves him with a good nine pounds to find with Knotty Ash and the penalty may also leave him vulnerable to a newcomer. Nevertheless, he still has scope for further improvement and with stamina assured, and his yard in fantastic form, Burristo should give an honest account of himself. 

Knotty Ash bg Dan Skelton j1-1-0 (-) 99 103
Most Improved (Danehill Dancer){11-d}(1.00) 3/1 Amarula Ridge 2nd Adonis Juvenile Hurdle (G2), Kempton 2005
Fetching £45,000 at the Goresbridge Breeze Up last year, Knotty Ash joined a fairly select band when making a winning racecourse debut in a juvenile hurdle. Sent off as joint favourite at Market Rasen, he was understandably fresh in the initial stages, but settled nicely enough in the contest. Held up off the strong pace, he moved to track the leaders along the back stretch. Though slightly outpaced on the turn for home, he was able find his rhythm entering the straight and moved alongside his main rival between the final two flights. Jumping the last with a slight advantage, he was pushed out to pass the line four lengths ahead of the rest. He hurdled well for a newcomer with his only errors coming when going through the top of the fifth, and getting close to two out. The bare form is little to shout about, but he did everything professionally and gave the impression that he could be a decent early season type. Dan Skelton has had two winners and a runner-up from five juveniles at Uttoxeter, and his charge sets the standard here. 

Andonno bg Oliver Greenall f7-2-1 (67) 71 j2-0-0 (-) 18 18
Dansili (Barathea){8-c}(0.91) 3/1 Golden Heritage 3rd 2m Novices' Hurdle, Ludlow 2015
A dual winner on the flat for Mark Johnston, trained by Oliver Greenall and sired by Dansili, Andonno has the credentials to at least be competitive in this sphere. However, he was tailed off when a drifter at Market Rasen behind Knotty Ash, and fared little better at Stratford behind Burristo a fortnight ago. 

Keepyourdreamsbig bg Olly Murphy Unraced
Vision d'Etat (Enrique){4-r}(0.78) 1/0 Take This Waltz 1st Prix d'Essai des Pouliches, Enghien 2011
Four of Vision d'Etat's five juvenile hurdlers to have raced in Britain and Ireland have been winners, and his three-year-olds in France have a very respectable winners to runners rate of 30.65%. Unfortunately, having passed away in 2018, this season will see his last crop in the division. One member of this crop, Keepyourdreamsbig, also has a compelling damline for the sphere as he is out of Take This Waltz, who took the 2011 curtain raising Prix d'Essai des Pouliches, and is herself a sister to Prix Aguado fifth Great Shudder, and a half-sister to three other winners. Passing the Tattersalls Ireland ring for €25,000 as a yearling, Keepyourdreamsbig will be the first unraced newcomer to represent Olly Murphy - a trainer with a fair 17.39% winner to runner rate in the sphere. His first time strike rate of 8.70% is similarly fair and all sixty-five of his juveniles posted a clear round first time out. The yard's current form is not at its peak and though he had a winner on Friday, that was a 1/12 shot. While the pedigree is enticing, debutants still have an overall strike rate of 2.14% and Keepyourdreamsbig will have to be a good sort to score first time.

Sacre Pierre bg Donald McCain Unraced
On Est Bien (Goldneyev){8-a}(1.22) 1/1 Gold Tweet 1st Prix Hopper (G3 4yC), Compiegne 2021
Another unraced horse with a good French pedigree, Sacre Pierre is a full brother to the good young jumper Gold Tweet along with two others who have shown respectable form in Apollo Creed and Chuck Bass. Granddam Jance was a good three-year-old hurdler in 1996 while the 1999 Prix Alain du Breil third Kidder appears at 3/1 on the damline. While fetching a fraction of the price, €8,000 at the Osarus two-year-old breeze up, trainer Donald McCain has a stronger record in the sphere with a 28.70% winners to runners rate, and a first time out strike rate of 12.26%. The McCain yard has also been in decent form overall although in keeping with the statistical challenge for debutants, none of his three unraced juveniles have been able to score. Sacre Pierre is another interesting recruit but he will be up against a couple of rivals with proven hurdling form.

Free Degrees rof Sarah-Jayne Davies f3-0-0 (37) 39
Free Eagle (Verglas){5-g}(0.65) 4/1 Englishtown 1st 2m5½f Handicap Hurdle (120), Southwell 2009
Sire Free Eagle has had three winning juveniles from ten thus far. However, that would be the extent of Free Degrees prospects in this contest as his official rating of 37 is a fair reflection of his flat exploits, and his yard has a strike rate in the division of just 5.26%.

Strong prospects
1. Knotty Ash
Reasonable prospects
2. Burristo
Feasible prospects
3. Keepyourdreamsbig
4. Sacre Pierre
Moderate prospects
5. Andonno
Negligible prospects
6. Free Degrees
 

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So yeah, apologies for the absence this month. Life being the gift that keeps on giving, I learned this month that I would begin next month finding out whether I will be moving to a hostel or taking up urban camping. As such, my time was mostly spent attempting to philosophise my way into accepting my current lot while volunteering as a van lad to prevent my fitness and engagement with humanity from completely deteriorating. Consequently, I have been unable to give much of a shit about anything - let alone juvenile hurdlers. Fortunately, I have decided that whatever happens next week, I am capable of handling the worst cases and will even be presented with opportunities to learn a great deal about myself and the people I may encounter. With this spirit of stoicism came the impetus to catch up on the reviews that I have missed which, on posting, will have me completely up to date. There are several profiles of possible newcomers from the sales and abroad that want doing, but they will get done when they get done - which is the best time that anything gets done really...

NEWTON ABBOT 2nd July
Preview review
Very little went according to the preview with the negligible prospect winning and the strong prospect pulling up. The latter's chance appeared to be gone before the start as he looked set to be held up despite his prospects being contingent on featuring more prominently. In any case, it transpired that he burst a blood vessel. It was suggested that the winner ran with promise on his hurdling debut, although the extent of his improvement was not obviously apparent. Ultimately, his victory boiled down to the combined reticence and underperformances of his rivals. 

Race review
Though threatening to be stronger than the previous two races contested by odds-on favourite Koi Dodville, very little appeared to run their race which resulted in the prize being something of a hot potato. The pace and winning time were not atrocious, but the quality of jumping and the finishing conviction in the field left plenty to be desired. As such, the form looked unreliable at the time and though the winner was able to follow up over course and distance a fortnight later, the reopposing first five finished 1st, 5th, 4th, 2nd and 8th. 

Scrappy Jack began his hurdling career over this course and distance on the back of an uninspired sole flat outing at Chepstow in early June. He finished a twenty length fourth in a below average looking contest but it was not a run without promise as he suffered sustained interference over the initial sets of hurdles prior to staying on late in the day. This did not go unnoticed in the market as he started the day at 66/1, opened at 40/1 and was sent off at 22/1. Though held up once again, he enjoyed a much clearer passage this time around with his hurdling mishaps (skewing at the third, steady at the fourth, slow away from two out and clambering over the last) being his own doing. While he was off the bridle midway down the back straight, he never got detached and was still in touch, albeit in fourth position, turning into the home stretch. He got to within a length of the leader at the last and though he lacked fluency and was still green on the short run-in, his aversion to winning was the least conspicuous in the field. Scrappy Jack looked to have been gifted this weak contest, although his following up a fortnight later gives his profile stronger substance. 91

Moneykenny came into the contest with a solid looking profile with his pedigree and connections all having respectable records in the sphere. With this profile along with his flat form being as strong as anything brought to this race from the flat, Moneykenny had a respectable chance on paper. Slightly uneasy in the market, starting at 13/2 from an opening 5/1, he was very keen in the early stages and jumped the first with little fluency - wandering on the approach and jumping big and markedly to his right. Though his jumping would settle down over the next couple, he was still more than a handful for Aidan Coleman, keeping a keen grip passing the stands. Nevertheless, he still had enough energy to move into the lead turning for home and traded as low as 1.1 in-running. However, he landed steeply at the penultimate flight and got in very tight at the last before relinquishing the lead near the finish. While keen going on the flat, his resolution did not look especially questionable. However, while Moneykenny possesses discernible ability, his reliability is debatable on this showing. 90

Koi Dodville had not been unduly challenged in winning both of his hurdles starts beforehand, although he had not been entirely convincing either. He drifed from a morning price of 2/7, and took a slight walk in the market on course before going back in to 8/15 at the off. Starting prominently before tracking the leader for most of the contest, Koi Dodville made mistakes at every flight - steady on most approaches and either getting too close or jumping too big. Distress signals were out down the back stretch and though he briefly led on the turn for home, he was one paced going up the straight before finishing a length and a half behind the winner. While any beaten odds-on shot is a disappointment, Koi Dodville still broadly matched his previous best under a double penalty. 100

Fred Bear was modest on the flat for Mick Channon and was sent off the 40/1 outsider of the field. The first representative over hurdles for Kodi Bear, he was representing a Sheena West yard which often brings out improvement in the sphere from limited sorts. Fred Bear's foray did not get off to a promising start however as he stumbled badly at the first, was very steady and skewed at the second, hampered on landing at the third before missing the fourth. His hurdling did improve during the second half of the race and he was still travelling reasonably well on the turn for home. While he was outpaced in the closing stages, Fred Bear was not beaten out of sight and he largely met his best flat form on his first attempt over hurdles. 87

Eagle's Realm ran a couple of fair races during an inconsistent two-year-old campaign for Mark Prescott, and jumped reasonably on his hurdles debut at Aintree behind Koi Dodville. Nevertheless, he was still well beaten there and it was a similar story here. Taking the lead in the opening stages, Eagle's Realm hurdled acceptably in the front and was still on the bridle leaving the back. However, he faltered badly once headed and though beaten just under twelve lengths, he finished a tired horse. Despite being a son of Free Eagle, he has yet to show he can see out a trip over hurdles. 80

Tara Iti had plenty going for him entering this contest including solid flat form, a stout pedigree and a highly successful trainer in the sphere. However, while he was well supported in the market throughout the day, he was already agitated prior to the off and his being held up from the start further compounded his fate. Refusing to settle and further lit up in the early stages, Tara Iti was badly baulked at the first and almost unseated at the second. From there, he was never travelling with any ease or jumping with any fluency. Getting detached after the first in the back, he was pulled up before the straight. It later emerged that he burst a blood vessel, although Tara Iti looked destined for a poor performance from the outset. His profile suggests better can be expected if he recovers from this experience, although that will surely be questionable until he can prove otherwise. 

STRATFORD 11th July
Preview review
No preview had been written for the race, although the front three finished in accordance with the ratings allotted to them during previously posted reviews. 

Race review
The finish was dominated by those who had previously shown form over hurdles. Said form was not of the highest standard, although the sole newcomer with a compelling profile hailed from a yard whose charges improve with experience. Those who have contested Stratford juveniles held during July include useful types in Barizan, Leoncavallo, Fair Along, Hiconic and Simarian. Nevertheless, the median winner's seasonal best RPR of 110 traditionally make these contests easy enough to win and this year's renewal looks no exception. Notwithstanding, while the winning time was nothing special, it was ran at a fair tempo and the protagonists jumped and travelled respectably. The form will likely have little impact beyond this sphere but it looks reasonably solid for what it is. 

Burristo returned from an eleven month absence to run second to Langafel on his hurdling debut at Newton Abbot three weeks prior. Previously a fair maiden for Richard Hannon, Burristo was easy to back first time, but though he was one paced and never posing a threat, he got around efficiently enough to finish a nine length second while demonstrating scope for improvement. Backed into 3/1 from 5/1 in the morning, there was more optimism in the market this time around and this confidence was rewarded with a decisive success. Keen in the early stages, Burristo settled better when tucked in behind the leader and was able to get into a decent rhythm in midfield. He repeated his tendency to hop rather than hurdle his obstacles, although he was slightly more fluent on this occasion and his only real error was an untidy leap at the fifth. While he was slightly outpaced when the race split along the back stretch, he was able to keep tabs on the leaders and moved comfortably into contention approaching the last. Burristo clipped the final flight but landed with more momentum than his rival and despite running fairly green in first time cheekpieces, stayed on powerfully to pass the line with an advantage of just under three lengths. Stamina would appear to be Burristo's strong suit at this juncture and while he will find things tougher when the better juveniles emerge, he should be able to carry himself with credit over the coming weeks. 94

Boundsy Boy fetched just 1,500 guineas when leaving Richard Fahey for Oliver Greenall last Autumn, but he ran with credit when an eleven length second to Koi Dodville at Aintree a month prior. His jumping had been acceptable and though the form was moderate, he was entitled to improve for his first outing after a long absense and surgeries to his wind and tackle. Sent straight into the lead from flagfall, Boundsy Boy got in quite close to the first, but though by no means slick, he was competent enough from there until the penultimate flight where he was low and untidy. Joined at the top of the straight, he was unable to regain the lead despite having the rail to help. Nevertheless, he did not capitulate without a fight and while his official rating of 103 looks harsh, he would not be written off in modest company. 91

Rwanda Mist finished third when a well backed favourite on his hurdling debut at Newton Abbot before doing the very same here. Available at 7/1 during the morning, he was backed into 5/2 at the off. Though Stratford offers a fairly stern test for juvenile hurdlers, the good ground would not have obviously played to the strengths of this son of Maxios and Nyanza. Tracking the leaders from the start, Rwanda Mist posted the neatest round of jumping of the protagonists with his only flaws coming when going through the top of the third and getting slightly close to the last when ran off his feet. He was travelling well within himself when hampered at the penultimate flight, but though it was still some way from home, he was never moving with the same zest from thereon. This represents a step up on his debut outing and while it is still possible to question his resolve, Rwanda Mist would remain of interest - particularly when encountering softer ground. 87

Oneonechop won six of his eighteen starts in France and left Frederic Rossi with an equivalent rating of 79.2 when claimed out of a Marseille claimer for €16,136. Sire Kheleyf has a fairly moderate winner to runner rate of 14.29% although the dam is a half-sister to a couple of winning jumpers. While Oneonechop opened on course as the favourite, he drifted out a point to 3/1 at the off. David Pipe's ex-French flat recruits typically need a run or two to reach their form and this was the impression given here. Held up in touch, Oneonechop put in a clean round of jumping save for steadying and getting close to the second. However, while still in touch leaving the back, he soon got detached on entering the straight and would fold tamely to finish sixteen lengths behind the winner. Having never raced beyond an extended mile on the flat, his stamina would not be assured under testing circumstances. Nevertheless, there was enough here to suggest he could do himself justice around a sharper track when stripping fitter. 78

Andonno, the unfancied stablemate of Boundsy Boy, had ran no sort of race at Market Rasen on his first outing since leaving Mark Johnston. Andonno's round began with a blunder at the first and an untidy jump at the second. Though his jumping improved from there, he never left the rear of the field and ultimately finished tailed off. While better might have been expected from this dual flat winner, he has yet to show any real promise at this juncture. 18

Risky Business, though a son of the prolific Mastercraftsman, had little else going for him coming into his jumps bow. Representing a trainer without a winner in this sphere, his best effort on the flat was a five length fifth off 46 in a Yarmouth handicap. Though he briefly showed in a prominent position in the early stages, Risky Business soon lost his position after a series of cautious jumps and was struggling from the fourth. He completed in his own time and it was reported that he lost a shoe. 9

Vamoos, the first representative over hurdles for sire Vadamos, showed promise when third on his debut for Mick Channon last June. However, he failed to build on that effort in four subsequent outings and was not fancied to belie a ten month absence on his hurdles bow. After tracking the leaders and jumping reasonably in the opening stages, his position and jumping deteriorated concurrently at the half way stage and he was ultimately pulled up before the last. 0

Gone Mod, a daughter of Sixties Icon, twice finished runner-up on modest handicaps in recent months prior to joining Donald McCain. Her prospects were compromised before the start by her running loose and she was not especially confident in her hurdling. Never leaving the rear, she was pulled up before the last. The vet reported that she sustained a wound to her off-hind which could feasibly excuse this outing. Nevertheless, her profile suggested that she would be suited by moderate company and this experience may have been a setback to those aspirations. 0

NEWTON ABBOT 18th July
Preview review
No preview was written and as several of these contested an unreviewed race beforehand, it could not be speculated in hindsight as to how the preview may have looked.

Race review
Five of these met over course and distance sixteen days prior and only one runner was making her hurdles debut. The overall quality of hurdling was no better than moderate but while a few keen early, the field settled before too long. The pace set was a fair one but the winning time compared to the handicap taken by an 82 rated animal was not strong. Jumping the penultimate flight, the front five were separated by less than half-a-dozen lengths and the winner aside, the five who reopposed finished in a different order to their previous encounter. As such, the form is unlikely to prove especially strong or reliable.

Scrappy Jack did not show on his flat debut in early June and was beaten twenty lengths on his hurdling bow later that month. However, that was not a run without promise and he was able to get off the mark over this course and distance at the start of this month. That race appeared to fall apart for him and he opened at 12/1 in the ring, although he was half that price at flagfall. He had hurdled adequately on that occasion with his round blemished only by sporadic skewing and steadying and it was much the same here with a slow jump at the fourth briefly relegating him to last position. Though never travelling with great zest, he made steady progress through the field and jumped the last within a length of the leader. Similar to his previous win, he did not hit the front until near the finish before passing the line with a half-length lead. While this was a Class 3, it was a weak event for its type and the form is not much stronger than his previous win. Though he can hold his own at this level, the penalties should have a telling effect sooner rather than later. 94

Fred Bear finished fourth to Scrappy Jack a fortnight earlier where he overcame poor early jumping to travel well into the race before getting outpaced late on. He was low and skewed at the first but showed better aptitude before getting close to the first two in the back second time round. Once again, after tracking the leader from flagfall, he moved nicely into the race and took up the lead approaching two out. However, while he traded as low as 1.2 in-running, he was unable to repel the winner's late challenge. This was a marginal step up on his debut form and though he may struggle outside of this company, Fred Bear should at least better his flat form over hurdles. 88

Oneonechop was more expensive than stablemate Koi Dodville to the tune of €1,630, but was the lesser fancied of the David Pipe pair. Nevertheless, he jumped much more fluently on his British debut at Stratford where he was beaten by lack of fitness more than lack of talent. Settled in the rear of midfield, he was slightly hampered at the first and the fifth, but apart from getting close to the third, he put in another neat round of jumping. His progress through the field was not rapid and he was still a couple of lengths in arrears jumping the last. He briefly looked threatening on the run-in but was worried out of it when attempting to find a gap between the front two. A six time winner on the flat in France, Oneonechop does not warrant undue caution on this evidence and a possible reapplication of blinkers would possibly see him emerge as the one to take out of this field. 87

Koi Dodville landed the odds at Hexham and Aintree on his first two starts over hurdles, but the form of neither performance was outstanding and his lack of fluency made him vulnerable under a double penalty. He was beaten at odds-on over course and distance and was not unfancied here - albeit at a longer price. Adopting his usual front-running tactics, he probably posted his best round to date even if it was littered by minor errors. However, he was under pressure entering the home turn and never looked like putting his stamp on the race - ultimately finishing just under five lengths behind the winner. His double penalty will continue to make life difficult and his official mark of 113 is decidedly harsh. It is possible he might find a little extra when encountering a softer surface. 94

Moneykenny has the flat form and the overall profile to do better in this sphere and following a reasonable debut second behind Scrappy Jack, was weighted to come out on top here. However, despite opening in the ring at 11/10, he drifted out to 5/2 and ran accordingly. Racing in touch on the inside, he was cautious over the first two and never really settled into a solid rhythm. While he was slightly baulked on landing at the penultimate flight, his race was already run by that stage. There was no explanation offered for this performance and while Moneykenny is not devoid of ability, he looks given to inconsistency. 76

McGregors Charge is a homebred related to decent sorts in France and though beaten nearly twenty lengths by Koi Dodville, he was not disgraced on his racecourse debut at Hexham in early June. Sent off the rank outsider, he was held up in the rear and was still stone last leaving the back. He passed three of his rivals and was nearest at the finish, beaten just over fourteen lengths. McGregors Charge jumped reasonably save for being big at the first and steady and close to the fourth. Though he has not shown enough ability to get competitive in the near future, he could develop when racing over further in time. 74

Baby Sham was the sole newcomer to hurdles in this contest and received some support at longer odds before the off. Being a daughter of Sir Percy and a winner on the flat for Stuart Williams, her prospects were not unfeasible. She skewed over the first and went through the top of the second, but jumped better in midfield prior to blundering at three out. Still in third place rounding the home turn, she had little else to give from thereon and was beaten fifteen lengths in the end. The trip ought not to have been an issue and a more reasonable explanation for her poor finishing would likely be her five month absence. Baby Sham would not have any grand aspirations but she should be able to leave this form behind. 66

Eagle's Realm started second favourite behind Koi Dodville at Aintree but while he jumped well enough, was beaten by thirty-four lengths. He beat just one home next time at Newton Abbot and it was the same case here as he never left the midfield group and was beaten some way from home. The good to firm ground may well have gone against him as his jumping was not poor. However, his patience for this game may well be wearing thin. 67

Thistleton brought decent recent flat form into his hurdling debut over course and distance a month prior, but ran a race which looked too bad to be true. In the interim, he was beaten seventeen lengths in a Newbury handicap and though not unsupported in the market, he ran another poor race here. Never settling in the rear, he jumped clumsily and ultimately finished tailed off. 21

UTTOXETER 25th July
Preview review
While it was true that this race could emerge as the best contested to date, the field did not finish in accordance with the prospects list. Nevertheless, there are two strands of thought which might help elucidate such oversights. Firstly, regarding the overestimation of Knotty Ash, there is a folly in estimating a horse's ability on a sole performance - particularly when the race in question contained no solid benchmarks as was the case in his Market Rasen showing. Secondly, on the underestimation of the two newcomers - while it is true that experience is valuable and unraced horses have a poor strike rate in the division, the overall figure of 2.14% increased to 3.97% when taking French breds in isolation. A figure that after yesterday's race reads at 4.58%. Furthermore, of the six previous winning French bred debutants (Goodbye Stranger, Montestrel, Diable de Sivola, Tiptronic, James de Vassy and New Entic), five were either out of, or a sibling to, a horse that placed either first or second over obstacles at three or four years old. The exception was from a family of cross country chasers whose dam still had experience in the sphere. That Sacre Pierre was a full-brother to three such horses gave him much better prospects on breeding than the typical newcomer.

Race review
With two previous winners taking on two well bred newcomers, this contest had the potential to be the strongest held to date this term. That this quartet very much had the race between them gives credence to this notion. Most of the field settled well enough and with the quality of jumping being of a reasonable level, there was little cause for complaint on a visual level. The winning time was the slowest of the three races held over the distance although the time taken to complete the run from the final flight was still fasted by over a second. Knotty Ash was unable to match his Market Rasen effort and may not have given his truest running. Notwithstanding, while it is difficult to predict the relative developments of the protagonists, the quality and integrity of the form looks solid enough for the time of year. 

Sacre Pierre is a well bred juvenile hurdler for the time of year being a full-brother to three with form in France including the pattern class Gold Tweet who also made a winning debut at Vichy last June. There was not a great deal of confidence in the market as he drifted from a morning show of 11/2, starting the race at twice that price. Settled nicely in the rear, he was not asked to make his move until three furlongs from home. Though his response to being shaken up was not immediate, he got to within a length of the leaders at the last and showed very good acceleration once given the office by Brian Hughes to win by six lengths. Irishracing reports that Sacre Pierre was "not that fluent", but this does him a disservice. While he was sticky at the second, was a bit late at the fifth and got close to the last, his better jumps outweighed his flawed ones and he was actually quite neat by and large. It would be premature to speculate on Sacre Pierre's ceiling and this performance alone offers no promise of greatness. Nevertheless, it was still the best effort seen to date and with a solid foundation and scope for further improvement, he will be of interest over the coming months. 104

Keepyourdreamsbig was another newcomer bred to do himself justice at an early stage as his sire has a strong record in the sphere, his dam won in the spring at three and his uncle competed in pattern company at this age. More expensive and better supported than his compatriot (10/1 > 6/1), Keepyourdreamsbig also made a promising debut. Held up in touch, he made his move on the turn for home and appeared to be travelling the strongest at the distance - trading at 1.2 in-running. However, while he loomed alongside Burristo, it took him most of the run-in to finally get his measure by which time the winner had already flown. Though his jumping was safe, it did lack the winner's neatness as he was prone to giving his flights more air than necessary. Nevertheless, this is an issue which ought to resolve itself with experience and having shown enough tenacity to win the battle for second, a race of this nature should be well within his scope. 97

Burristo placed second and first on his hurdles outings to date and was a solid second favourite in the market here. Ridden with more impetus than previous, Burristo posted his cleanest round of jumping to date making his only errors when close at three out, and going through the top of the last. Nudged along turning for home and coming off the bridle at the distance, he lost his lead just before the last and while he rallied to regain second afterwards, he would ultimately come out second best of this protracted battle. This was a game showing and his best performance to date - matching what he had shown on the flat as a two-year-old. His official rating of 107 is not especially generous, but he can still hold his own under a penalty for the time being and may be capable of further improvement for his talented trainer. 103

Knotty Ash made a highly promising debut when taking a poorly contested juvenile at Market Rasen on his racecourse debut five weeks earlier. Starting the day at 4/5, he received sustained support throughout the morning before coming back out to 4/6 from an opening 1/2. However, his race began with a bad mistake at the first where he did not get far off the ground and stumbled on landing. He was slightly steady at the second and though cleaner over the next two, he wandered quite erratically after the turn on the approach to the first in the back. Never travelling with any real relish, he was off the bridle four furlongs out. While he was also briefly outpaced when winning at Market Rasen, he did not regain the bit here and after clipping the first two in the straight, he had already lost ground on his rivals approaching the last. Without disgracing himself, this was still a step down on his debut effort. No inquiry was made into this performance so it remains to be seen whether Knotty Ash can bounce back from a run spoiled by a first flight error, is given to inconsistency, shows better going right handed or is simply limited in his abilities. 97

Free Degrees had little going for her on paper other than being a daughter of Free Eagle and this was reflected in her starting price of 200/1. Though late and big at the first, she jumped reasonably while tracking the leaders from the outset. She was slightly baulked on landing at the sixth but was still within a couple of lengths of the lead turning from home. However, she had been relegated to fifth place at three out and had nothing else to give from thereon. Free Degrees travelled and jumped nicely enough, but would probably need to get in off a very low mark in order to be competitive in this sphere. 67

Andonno is capable, on paper at least, of showing a great deal more than he has over hurdles. However, this performance marks the third time in as many starts that he finished a tailed off last. He sweated badly beforehand but while he never left the rear of the field, he at least hurdled competently prior to a tired leap two out. This was his best showing over hurdles to date - all things relative - and although he has yet to show any promise from a form perspective, he could feasibly find himself well handicapped if eventually running to within a stone of his two-year-old form. 59
 

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Nice one Yossa :) Obviously things are pretty grim at the moment but I am sure most people reading this will also have stuff going on in their lives which would make me wince. Life isn't a cakewalk for most people but I think it is always important to be grateful for and take advantage of one's passions whenever able as they truly make our time here well worth the effort. For example, I have taken great pleasure in finally getting around to doing some profiles for some more potential juveniles for the upcoming season and even if everything here proves to be utterly useless, the exercise was its own reward.

Firstly an update on Illico des Places - he has joined Tom Symonds since the preview posted earlier in this thread. I have also noticed some support in the Triumph markets for Gentleman Joe, although beyond seeing that he is no longer registered with Joseph "cute with a t" Tuite, I have no idea where he is or what he is doing. If anybody knows then I would love to know as while he isn't tip top class, his being an Authorized cousin of a winning hurdler would make him a fairly interesting recruit...

Benaud brg Joseph Patrick O'Brien f7-2-0 (103) 105
Australia (Danehill Dancer){1-e}(0.76) 4/1 General Cloney 3rd Triumph Hurdle (G1), Cheltenham 2000
At an opening price of 25/1, Bernaud is the first ante-post favourite for this season's Triumph Hurdle. This is presumably down to his connections and his official rating of 103 which he earned by finishing fourth in the Queen's Vase at Royal Ascot. Since the 2004/05 season, 125 horses have competed in juvenile hurdles having ran to marks of at least 100 on the flat - including two Triumph winners (Celestial Halo and Ivanovich Gorbatov), two Anniversary Hurdle victors (Faasel and Binocular), and a pair of Irish Grade One winners in Saldier and Sir Erec. Two of the aforementioned carried the McManus colours out of O'Brien yards as did Punchestown second Landofhopeandglory. However, while strong flat form can indicate success, it does not guarantee same as five of the nine triple-digit rated O'Brien juveniles failed to win during their juvenile campaigns. Looking at Benaud himself, he raced five times at two, getting off the mark at the fifth time of asking in a Leopardstown nursery off 79. He stepped up considerably on his seasonal reappearance when taking a twelve furlong rated race at Naas, and made further progress when fourth in the Queen's Vase. Doing his best work late on, he was in last position turning for home before making steady progress on the outside to ultimately finish within four lengths of the winner. While the form has yet to be tested extensively, runner-up Wordsworth has twice reached the frame behind Hurricane Lane in Group One company so Benaud's rating of 103 is justifiable. Australia made a promising start to his career as a sire of juveniles getting three winners from nine with his first crop, although none of his five last term were able to win and only one achieved an RPR exceeding 100. Danehill Dancer has a solid record as a damsire in the sphere and although Benaud's half-brother Eighteenhundred achieved little under either code, Italian winner Jar (3/1) and Triumph Hurdle third General Cloney (4/1) do appear further back on the damline. Stamina would appear to be absolutely assured for Benaud and while he still holds plenty of fancy entries on the flat, his being a gelding with Joseph O'Brien makes it likely that he will be seen over hurdles this term. Overall, Benaud certainly has the potential to be a useful addition to the sphere, although if the Triumph was held tomorrow, a couple of the French recruits would have more appealing prospects.

Zinc White grg Oliver Greenall f5-2-0 (87) 92
Vadamos (Dalakhani){7-a}(0.37) 3/1 Master Wells 1st 2m1f Novices' Selling Hurdle, Exeter 2009
The highest sum of money paid at public auction for a juvenile hurdler was 440,000 guineas for Purple Moon at the Tattersalls Autumn Horses-In-Training Sale in 2006. Ten have commanded figures exceeding £300,000, six of whom won during their first campaigns over hurdles with €380,000 Arqana purchase Zubayr being the most successful when winning the Adonis in 2016. Lethal Steps, whose first win came at his eighth attempt - just shy of the end of season cut-off - was the latest when fetching 300,000 guineas at the 2018 July Sale. This was until the recent Goffs London Sale at Royal Ascot when Ralph Beckett's Zinc White was knocked down for £310,000. Starting his racing career last September, Zinc White failed to reach the frame on his first three outings at Salisbury, Newmarket and Wolverhampton, showing only fair form in the process. Nevertheless, a gelding operation, winter break and considerable step up in trip brought about immediate improvement. Making his first venture into handicap company, his reappearance came at Wetherby off 69 in a five runner contest on the Eleventh of May. Ground conditions were such that the meeting was abandoned afterwards, but Zinc White took to them like a duck to standing water as he belied his keen running nature to keep on strongly, having taken the lead just before the distance to win by the best part of four lengths. Nine days later, he defied a six pound penalty to complete his brace at Sandown by seven and a half lengths where he was ridden into the lead within the distance and eased in the final half-furlong. Though the form of neither race has worked out at this juncture, the winning time at Sandown was respectable on a seconds per furlong basis and his topspeed was the highest registered on that card. Furthermore, while he has pulled hard and been incline to edge during his races, these factors are more in keeping with inexperience than any alarming temperament issues. Though there are no immediate pointers to a hurdling career in his pedigree, there are clues which suggest solid potential. Out of the Pretty Polly winner Chinese White, nothing on the damline attempted this discipline until the third dam Eljazzi who along with producing black type fillies Rafha and Chiang Mai, is also the matriarch of a line which includes capable hurdlers Master Wells (3/1), Fnan (3/2), Everything Zain (3/2) and Elysian Flame (3/3). Vadamos has his first crop of jumpers this season and his sole French runner to date, Javado, has shown respectable placed form without winning as of yet. Standing at an acceptable 1.65 meters, Vadamos won the Prix du Moulin over a mile but was also able to score over twelve furlongs and is the nephew of handicap hurdler Vadnagar. More pertinently, he is also a son of Monsun which puts him in the company of Maxios, Manduro, Gentlewave and the likes. Fifty horses formerly trained by Ralph Beckett have gone juvenile hurdling, fourteen of whom have been winners giving a respectable rate of 28%. Though the improvement rate 27.5% is less encouraging, four of his six former inmates rated 80 and above on the flat were able to win during their initial campaigns. In Oliver Greenall, he joins a trainer going from strength to strength whose latest campaign was his most successful in the division to date with six wins split between three laudable types including Herbiers who capped his season with Class 2 handicap wins at Ascot and Sandown. Zinc White will have to do something quite exceptional to justify the fee paid for him, particularly as he has yet to demonstrate he can perform on anything firmer than a ploughed field. Nevertheless, a solid overall profile and discernible scope and class would still make him an interesting recruit to the division. 

Parmenion bg Willie Mullins f1-1-0 (-)
Soldier Hollow (Monsun){6-e}(0.41) 2/1 Ayrton Banks 1st 3YO Conditions Hurdle, Lyon-Parilly 2019
https://www.equidia.fr/chevaux/parmenion
During the past ten years, Willie Mullis has sourced seven juvenile hurdlers from the Arqana Summer Sale. Six of these would win during their juvenile campaigns including Adriana des Mottes, Petite Parisienne and Diakali. The last named, costing €160,000 in 2012, was the most expensive graduate of the sale until this year when Parmenion was knocked down for €230,000. Parmenion's sole flat outing came on the 17th of June in a 2,200 meter, fourteen runner maiden contest at Craon. Settled behind the leaders, Parmenion hit the from 300 meters from home, needing only to be pushed out to win by three lengths. Runner-up Laishann, who finished fourth on his debut, has joined Gordon Elliott after fetching €82,000 at the same sale while third placed Ker Welen is a 33 (72.6) rated horse who placed second on his two prior outings, and again subsequently off the same mark at Chateaubriant. By Soldier Hollow and out of a Monsun mare, Parmenion is from the same cross as Saldier who was a useful juvenile for the Mullins yard in the 2017/18 campaign. The damline is also conducive to a successful campaign in the sphere as uncle Ayrton Banks won a three-year-old hurdle at Lyon and cousin Swnymor fell in the rescheduled Finale Hurdle when holding every chance. Evening Hush and Wolf Prince, both placed in Grade One juvenile hurdles, also appear on the distaff side at 3/2. Though only so much can be inferred from a sole flat start, Parmenion shaped with plenty of promise and his joining a leading yard along with a likeable pedigree bodes well for the upcoming season. 

Laishann chg Gordon Elliott f2-0-1 (-)
Footstepsinthesand (Teofilo){6-e}(0.57) 3/3 Kyalco 3rd Prix du President de la Republique (G3,62), Auteull 2017
https://www.equidia.fr/chevaux/laishann
Another graduate of the Arqana Summer sale, Laishaan was picked up by Gordon Elliott for €82,000. However, in contrast to the Mullins roll call, the master of Cullentra has not been so successful with his Arqana recruits as with the exception of Vercingetorix (who was bought privately), his three purchases failed to win in fourteen attempts as juveniles (although Cause Of Causes would eventually go on to finish second in the Grand National). Notwithstanding, the yard's overall record with French flat recruits does make for better reading with half of the fourteen said horses winning as juveniles including Farclas, Clarcam and Mitchouka. A twice raced maiden on the flat for Francis-Henri Graffard (whose sole export Farout won a Cork four-year-old maiden for Willie Mullins in May), Laishann finished a staying on fourth at Granville in May prior to finishing second behind Parmenion at Craon. Ridden more prominently on that occasion, he proved no match for the Mullins bound gelding but showed a good deal of tenacity to hold on for second. The form of the race is touched upon in Parmenion's profile and through Ker Welen, a rating in the mid seventies seems appropriate for Laishann. The Footstepsinthesand x Teofilo cross is not without promise as while neither have produced any top class juveniles, both produce more than their fair share of individual winners as sire and damsire respectively. Rather unusually for an Aga Khan bred, Laishann's pedigree is not teeming with jumpers as the closest notable relative is the good handicap chaser Kyalco at 3/3. Laishann (for the time being at least) is set to represent a leading yard and has the attitude and potential to be useful, but he would not be an obvious sort for top honours at this juncture.

Ebasari bg Willie Mullins f6-0-1 (72) 77
Lope de Vega (Azamour){13-c}(1.77) 3/1 Ebaziyan 1st Supreme Novices' Hurdle (G1), Cheltenham 2007
In 2005, the Aga Khan bred Ebaziyan left John Oxx's yard for €150,000 as a three-year-old. While he would not see a hurdle in public until he was six, he made up for lost time by landing the Supreme Novices' Hurdle for Willie Mullins. Sixteen years later, Ebaziyan's sister's grandson made the move to Closutton after leaving Michael Halford and the Aga Khan colours for €47,000 at the Goffs Online summer sale. Though he has yet to reach the frame in six outings, Ebasari has made progress this term and carries a rating of 72 which would be a fair reflection of his abilities. His best effort came last time out in a ten furlong Roscommon handicap when third of six off the same mark. He came into the race with every chance, although he has given the impression that he is either green or reluctant to put his best foot forward. Apart from the aforementioned Ebaziyan, Ebasari's pedigree is not massively encouraging as both sire Lope de Vega and damsire Azamour have below average winner to runner rates of 13.64% and 7.69% respectively. Both juveniles to have made the switch from Halford to Mullins were able to win during their initial campaigns so an average race could be within Ebasari's scope. Nevertheless, the yard will likely have stronger hands to play during the season. 

Foxy Girl bf Henry de Bromhead j1-0-1 (-) 132
Saint des Saints (Sageburg){9-f}(0.50) 2/1 Far West 2nd Triumph Hurdle (G1), Cheltenham 2013
https://www.equidia.fr/chevaux/foxy-girl-1
The Prix Wild Monarch is an early season listed hurdle for three-year-old debutants held during Auteuil's spring season and is split into divisions according to the horse's sex. The edition for colts and geldings has a richer history of producing horses who fare well in Britain and Ireland while the best graduates of the fillies' contest (Roll On Has, Nikita du Berlais, Whetstone) did their best work in their native France. Since 2008, just eight have come out of the race to contest juvenile hurdles across La Manche and only three of those were able to win during their initial campaigns - the most successful being 2010 eighth Tatispout who won a couple of late season handicaps for Charlie Longsdon, although Salsaretta went on to become a useful chaser for Willie Mullins. This season's renewal saw David Cottin saddle the first three home and the runner-up, Foxy Girl, has since joined Henry de Bromhead to run in the Robcour colours. Foxy Girl, the shortest price of the Cottin troupe, was initially held up in the rear of the field and while she jumped neatly herself, was slightly impeded over the first three flights. Making smooth headway after passing the stands, she was hampered jumping the last in the back but maintained her progress on the turn for home to get within a length of the lead jumping two out. Though she did nothing wrong in her jumping or effort, she was unable to match the winner as she went down by a length and a quarter while putting six lengths between herself and the rest of the field. The winner, Matilda du Berlais, won the Prix d'Iena next time by ten lengths and while she had to settle for second in the Grade Three Prix Sagan, she still stands as France's leading filly of her age group. The form of those who followed Foxy Girl has also stood up thus far, with third placed Saintamarin filling the same position in the d'Iena, and fourth placed La Cheneviere finishing second then first in a pair of useful conditions events at the same track. Along with very credible form, there is also plenty to like about Foxy Girl's pedigree as she is a daughter of Saint des Saints out of a mare who won over hurdles and fences at four. The dam is also a half-sister to three talented young hurdlers in Far West, second in the 2013 Triumph, Fabulously, third in the 2006 Prix Aguado, and Firmini who was third in the 2007 Prix d'Iena. Harry Whittington's useful Fou Et Sage (2/2) and champion four-year-old come top class chaser Feu Follet (2/3) also descend from Foxy Girl's granddam. Though not as prolific as their male counterparts, imported fillies have a respectable 35.42% winners to runners rate and count the likes of Apple's Jade, L'Unique and Gaspara amongst their numbers. While Aspire Tower finished second in the 2020 Triumph Hurdle, Henry de Bromhead's overall record in the sphere is not the best as his winner to runner rate of 10.81% attests. Nevertheless, there will be few fillies this season with stronger profiles than Foxy Girl and it is not unfeasible that she could develop into a threat against the boys come the Spring festivals.

Gaelic Warrior bg Willie Mullins j3-0-2 (-) 122
Maxios (Hernando){1-l}(0.58) 3/1 Bagan 1st 2m4½f Handicap Chase (128), Warwick 2008
https://www.equidia.fr/chevaux/gaelic-warrior
The first direct Macaire export, known Rich Ricci recruit, and Willie Mullins' first import with jumps experience, made his debut in the colts and geldings edition of the Prix Wild Monarch where he finished sixth behind Paradiso and the exciting Paul Nicholls signing Matterhorn. Held up in the rear, Gaelic Warrior made some headway along the back but never had the pace to land a blow, finishing seventeen lengths behind the winner. Apart from missing the last, he put in a clean round of jumping, albeit one possibly more befitting a future chaser than a quick hurdler. Three weeks later, Gaelic Warrior returned to Auteuil for a conditions race where, ridden more prominently, he put up another decent round of hurdling with his only errors coming when getting close to the fourth and taking off too early at the last. Neither of these errors had any real impact on his performance and he finished a length behind the winner in third. After another three weeks, Gaelic Warrior returned to Auteuil for a similar conditions event where his performance was in keeping with his previous efforts. Jumping cleanly for the most part and making headway through the race without threatening a win, this time finishing just over six lengths behind in third. Gaelic Warrior has produced comparable form on each outing, probably warranting a mark in the early 120s. This would be enough to win ordinary races and while further improvement under Willie Mullins is a reasonable assumption, Gaelic Warrior has been brought with chasing in mind. Maxios already has winning chasers in France and Ireland and along with Bagan appearing at 3/1 on the damline, Gaelic Warrior also has a cousin with wins in cross country events.

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Busy day tomorrow so I will post the preview for Thursday's race earlier than usual. Additional emphasis on the "I am not a tipster" disclaimer as I have essentially written this on auto pilot. I've also had Dark Entries by Bauhaus playing on a loop in my head thanks to Dark Motive's entry here so we'll see what impact that has...

Since the 2004/05 season, no trainer has saddled more winning juvenile hurdlers than Alan King whose tally stands at 104. Nicky Henderson lies third for individual winners and tops the table for prize money per race. Both trainers are set to send out their first juveniles of the season at Stratford on Thursday. While neither horse would have pretentions to becoming Triumph contenders, they are each rated in the 70s on the flat which poses a serious challenge to those with experience in this maiden contest. Experience is always handy in this sphere and those with same are headed by Fred Bear and Oneonechop who were second and third respectively at Newton Abbot eleven days ago. Juvenile hurdles held at Stratford during June are typically of a modest quality with the median winner's seasonal RPR being 110 and their flat rating being 65. The newcomers are a notch above this standard on paper, although neither has the most solid profile. Stratford's winning DIs of 1.00 median and 1.22 mean are among the lowest in the country and the clear round rate of 95.27% places the venue in the bottom third. The going is currently good to firm although some showers are forecast for tomorrow. 

Caramelised bc Alan King f4-0-0 (73) 75
Dansili (Cozzene){9-e}(1.67) 2/2 Lord Condi 1st 2m1½f Novices' Hurdle, Plumpton 2018
As well as being the winningmost trainer of juvenile hurdlers since 2004/05, Alan King has a winner to runner rate of 48.37%, an overall strike rate of 23.20% and a first time out rate of 26.29%. His first runner in the sphere this term is set to be Caramelised who is a four race maiden who earned a rating of 73 for Richard Hannon. Nine horses have left the Hannons for Alan King ahead of a juvenile campaign, although despite all of them achieving RPRs of 72 and above on the flat, only Who Dares Wins was able to find the winners' enclosure. Making his debut at Newmarket in April, Caramelised has finished nearer last than first on all four outings. The company he kept went some way to justifying his mark, although he was beaten by over six lengths on his handicap debut off 75 back at Newmarket last month. His cause was not helped by his sweating beforehand and pulling hard in the race itself. There is some encouragement in the pedigree as Dansili has a healthy winners to runners rate of 32.73% and his granddam, the talented Only Royale, is the matriarch of three winning jumpers in Lord Condi, Faith Jicaro and Mollasses (all 2/2). Caramelised is entitled to respect on the basis of his adequate mark and his representing an Alan King yard with a 20.41% strike rate during the summer months. However, enthusiasm is tempered by his free running style and the possibility that this switch in codes has been brought about by a stiff handicap mark.  

Crane bg Nicky Henderson f6-1-1 (72) 77
Oasis Dream (Pivotal){6-e}(1.82) 3/2 Little Green 1st Winning Fair Juvenile Hurdle (G2), Fairyhouse 2011
Similar to Caramelised, Crane is another switching to a top jumps yard without changing ownership. Winning at the third time of asking in a Lingfield nursery on New Year's Eve, Crane has failed to progress in three handicaps at Redcar, Yarmouth and Beverley. A beaten favourite on his return in late April, he was subsequently beaten by ten and seven lengths within the space of a fortnight last month, drifting markedly under pressure last time out. Michael Bell is one of the better sources of juvenile hurdlers with former inmates having a winner to runner rate of 30.26%. Cunning Pursuit, the only other juvenile to move between the two yards, managed to win over hurdles despite a flat rating of just 50. However, Crane's pedigree does not offer much encouragement as sire Oasis Dream has a modest record in the sphere with a strike rate of 2.53% and just two of his twenty-nine juveniles able to score. Pivotal's record as a damsire is also below average and while Crane is out of a sister to Oaks winner Sariska, the closest useful jumper appears at 3/2 on the damline. Crane is entitled to respect by virtue of his best form and his trainer, whose record with juveniles at Stratford stands at two wins from six. However, there are enough holes in his profile to prevent exalted expectations. 

Fred Bear bg Sheena West f4-0-0 (53) 52 j2-0-1 (105) 90 88
Kodi Bear (Barathea){16-c}(0.68) 2/1 Silk Affair 1st Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (G3,125), Cheltenham 2009
While no better than modest on the flat, Fred Bear's pedigree and his joining a yard with a fantastic improvement rate gave him the potential to do better over hurdles. In two outings at Newton Abbot, he has gone some way to fulfilling same as he followed a promising hurdling debut with a second on his return to the venue eleven days ago. His jumping, while not perfect, had improved between races and he moved nicely turning for home trading at 1.2 in running. He was unable to repel the winner's late challenge and while it marked a new career best, the performance was not of a high standard. Sheena West has had a winner and three placings from six juvenile runners at Stratford and Fred Bear is still capable of further improvement, although it is far from assured that he can confirm placings with Oneonechop who finished just behind him last time out. 

McGregors Charge bg Nigel Hawke j2-0-1 (-) 77 77
Recharge (Le Triton){36}(1.13) 2/2 Pafadas 1st Prix de Chambly (L,3yH), Auteuil 2013
The homebred McGregors Charge is related to some useful types in France and though beaten a combined thirty-four lengths on his two starts thus far, he was not entirely disgraced on either occasion. His jumping is decent enough for this level but while his stamina would be assured, Stratford looks unlikely to offer a sufficient test at this juncture. Furthermore, there is little obvious reason why he would bridge the thirteen length gap between himself at his two rivals from Newton Abbot. 

Nazwa bg Oliver Sherwood f1-0-0 (-) 60
Sepoy (Authorized){9-e}(0.63) 2/1 Nisaal 1st 2m3f Handicap Hurdle (80), Sedgefield 2012
Oliver Sherwood is not reknowned for his juvenile hurdlers, although he is perfectly capable of training them as his 40.63% winner to runner rate attests. Nazwa, set to be his first runner in the sphere since February 2020, has made just the one trip to the racecourse for David Simcock. This came in a Wolverhampton novice stakes over an extended nine furlongs back in February. Held up in the rear, he was still in last place turning for home before passing eight of his rivals to finish just over six lengths behind the winner in fifth place. All those who finished ahead of him have been subsequent winners and the RPR of 60 could well underestimate him by a good half stone. Damsire Authorized is one of the leading sires in the sphere and while uncle Nisaal was only a modest winner over hurdles, the damline includes decent sorts in Mutakarrim at 3/1, and Power Elite and Waaheb at 3/2. However, sire Sepoy has had eight juvenile hurdlers thus far, none of whom winning a race or recording an RPR exceeding 83 in fifteen runs between them. Furthermore, the yard is generally quiet at this time of year and none of his juveniles have won prior to October. 

Oneonechop bc David Pipe f18-6-5 (36.0 - 79.2) 79 j2-0-1 (104) 87
Kheleyf (Captain Chop){16-c}(3.00) 2/1 Kheliana Chope 1st 3550m 4YO Conditions Hurdle, Fontainebleau 2020
A veteran of eighteen races on the flat in France, Oneonechop not only brings the highest official rating in this field, but that rating is also based on his latest efforts under that code. Since leaving the Frederic Rossi yard for €16,136 after a claimer in mid-June, Oneonechop has taken in two hurdles races for his new trainer. A slight drifter ahead of his British debut at Stratford on the eleventh, he put in a decent round of jumping before folding during the closing stages as if in need of the run. Oneonechop reappeared a week later at Newton Abbot where he put up another neat round of jumping and finished with better purpose before being squeezed out on the run-in to finish third behind Scrappy Jack and Fred Bear. The jury would still be out as to whether Oneonechop has the stamina for the game as while there are several winning jumpers on the damline, he never raced beyond an extended mile on the flat and the Kheleyf x Captain Chop cross is very pace oriented. Furthermore, while the yard has a 25% strike rate with juveniles at Stratford, it has gone over a month without a winner. Notwithstanding, Oneonechop has shown he can jump, has the ability to better his hurdles performances to date, should not want for fitness and will likely benefit from the application of headgear. 

Vamoos bgg Lawney Hill f5-0-1 (57) 63 j1-0-0 (-) 0 0
Vadamos (Zebedee){11}(0.40) 3/1 Ainama 3rd Mersey Novices' Hurdle (G2), Aintree 2009
Though he showed promise when third on his debut for Mick Channon last June, Vamoos failed to build on that effort in four subsequent outings. He was not fancied to belie a ten month absence on his hurdles bow at Stratford earlier this month, drifting from 25/1 to 40/1 on course. After tracking the leaders and jumping reasonably in the opening stages, his position and jumping deteriorated concurrently at the half way stage and he was ultimately pulled up before the last. Though his pedigree is not without merit, there is little reason to expect any immediate redemption. 

Dark Motive bf Jamie Snowden f6-0-1 (58) 66
Motivator (Zamindar){16-c}(1.07) 3/1 Prospect Wells 1st National Spirit Hurdle (G2), Fontwell 2013
Like Caramelised and Crane, Dark Motive is another to make the switch to a jumps yard without changing ownership. Previously with Ralph Beckett, former residents of Kimpton Down Stables have a respectable winners to runners rate of 28%, although neither of the pair who ended up with Jamie Snowden managed to win as juveniles. Dark Motive's career began with a third at Newbury in a mile maiden before failing to show on her next two starts. In three outings this term, she has finished midfield in middle distance handicaps, dropping from 63 to 58 in the process. Temperamentally, there do not appear to be many issues and her pedigree warrants some attention. A daughter of Motivator, whose juveniles count twelve winners from thirty-six, her third dam produced three useful sorts in Prospect Wells, Brooklyn's Gold and Old Way. However, the trainer's record in the sphere is less compelling as only three of his nineteen juveniles have been winners, with none of them scoring first time out or even prior to January. 

Sentilly bf Alexandra Dunn f2-0-0 (-) 6 j1-0-0 (-) 19 18
Air Chief Marshal (Elusive City){16-g}(1.40) 1/1 Saint Contest 3rd Juvenile Hurdle, Newbury 2016
Fetching just €4,500 at Arqana last autumn, Sentilly failed to show in a couple of outings at Wolverhampton during the winter. While her pedigree is not unreasonable, she was unfancied to fare much better on her hurdles debut at Newton Abbot last month. Her round was a mixed bag and having never left the rear, she was in trouble leaving the back and ultimately finished tailed off. 

Strong prospects
1.Oneonechop
Reasonable prospects
2. Caramelised
3. Crane
Feasible prospects
4. Fred Bear
5. Nazwa
6. Dark Motive
Moderate prospects
7. McGregors Charge
Negligible prospects
8. Vamoos
9. Sentilly

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  • 2 weeks later...

Alrighty. Last week was a bit of a clusterfunk, but by the grace of dog, I have would up in a homeless shelter which is, frankly, a fantastic relief. In one of life's ironies, despite being technically homeless, this place with a roof, door and relative stability already feels more like a home than anywhere else I have stayed for the past few years. In another one of life's ironies, while at Durham I was very much "ghetto as f***" on account of my upbringing and past, it tickles me that I am now in danger of being a conspicuously "Durham twat". Still, with this sense of grounding comes a foundation on which to build other areas of my life and most importantly, the ability to put more concentration into this absurd little project. Hurrah! So yeah, let's get right back up to date with the reviews and preview. 

STRATFORD 29th July
Preview review
The first three came from the first four in the prospects lists. The winner was second on the list and while his tendency to pull hard was not enough to prevent success, it noted in the preview. The underperformance of Crane was also highlighted in the preview. The gap between Fred Bear and Oneonechop was wider than it should have been - particularly as the latter's stamina was still an unresolved concern. Given that Stratford's more testing nature was also mentioned, this matter should have been given more weight. Notwithstanding, worse previews have been written. 

Race review
The hurdles form brought into this contest was nothing out of the ordinary. Nevertheless, there were two decently rated recruits from the flat, albeit with patchy profiles,  representing top yards that had the potential to be comparatively useful types if making the switch to their new vocation. In the event, one of these ran out a comfortable winner despite struggling to settle for much of the contest. According to RP, the winning time was said to be 5.71 seconds slower than that recorded in the mares' handicap hurdle on the same card. However, as the early pace was comparable and the run-in was nearly a second quicker in the juvenile hurdle, this provoked an independent assessment using the pause key and a stopwatch. As it transpires, Timeform's time  - which had the handicap ran in a time 1.20 seconds quicker - is much more likely to be accurate. Consequently, taking into account the weights carried along with WFA, the pace set was a reasonable one and the winning time one of the more respectable ones seen to date this term. The overall quality of jumping was not great, and the first two each raced freely. Nevertheless, they had every right to fill those positions on paper and with distances of seven and nineteen lengths splitting the first three, the form would still have a solid shape.

Caramelised was the first juvenile hurdler of the season for Alan King and, on BHA figures, the highest rated recruit seen to date. There was a concern about an inability to settle which manifested in the contest itself as he pulled hard up to the point he was sent for home. Held up in touch from the outset, he moved to track the leaders going out onto the second circuit and travelled nicely to challenge for the lead entering the straight. Shaken up to take a length advantage on the approach to the last, it took no more than a hands and heels drive to quickly extend his lead and cross the line seven lengths to the good. Caramelised posted a safe round of jumping without being consistently fluent as he was slightly skewed at the first, big over the second, steep at the third, reached at the sixth and, while it did not cost him momentum, rather hopped over the final flight. Caramelised will need to settle better if he is to go up in grade, and Alan King will almost certainly have stronger types in any case. Nevertheless, this was a pleasing debut performance overall and is probably the strongest seen to date. Should his jumping improve with experience, he can collect a few more prizes while the pool is still shallow. 105

Fred Bear had failed to get within ten lengths of the winner in four flat outings. Nevertheless, his pedigree and connections suggested better could come over hurdles and with two promising efforts at Newton Abbot under his belt, he began the race as 9/4 favourite from a morning show of 7/2. Sent straight into the lead from flagfall, Fred Bear raced freely for much of the contest, and while his hurdling improved between his first two outings, he was not quite so clean here. Along with steadying at a few hurdles, he also got in close to the first, fourth and sixth as well as having a slight tendency to wander on the approach. These flaws were not massively detrimental to his performance and though he conceded the lead shortly after the turn for home, proving no match for the winner, he still had upwards of nineteen lengths in hand over the remainder. This marks a new career best and although his official mark of 105 is harsh based on his actual accomplishments, he can continue to hold his own at this level. 96

Oneonechop was a six time winner in France and his equivalent rating of 79 puts him well above the typical recruit for the time of year (although it is roughly par for French imports). He had faded tamely on his British/hurdling debut at this venue eighteen days earlier. However, he finished with much more purpose and was arguably worried out of a better position when third at Newton Abbot just behind Fred Bear. Cheekpieces were applied for his return to Stratford and he was steady in the market throughout the day. His previous efforts over hurdles have been marked by respectable jumping and apart from hopping over the first and getting steady and somewhat close at the third and fourth, his round was solid enough once again. Tracking the leader from the outset, he was fairly free in the early stages but not enough to warrant concern. However, he began to come under pressure going over the hill before the home turn and had lost his position by the time he reached the straight. Oneonechop was able to hold on for third, but it can be said with confidence that his stamina limitations were exposed here. While he has the ability to win a race over hurdles, it would have to come in the sharpest of circumstances. 77

Dark Motive finished her stint with Ralph Beckett a 58 rated six race maiden. Being a daughter of Motivator from the family of Prospect Wells, her pedigree warranted some respect and on the evidence of her flat career, stamina was assured. Racing in midfield, she made numerous errors during the contest and did not have the pace to get involved. Ultimately beaten twenty-seven lengths, if Dark Motive is to become competitive in the sphere, it is more likely to be further down the road than any time soon. 69

Nazwa shaped with promise on his sole flat outing for David Simcock back in February. However, while there are decent sorts on the damline, the sire has yet to taste success in the sphere and his capable trainer is usually quiet around this time of year. Easy to back in the market, Nazwa raced mostly in the rear making only minor headway on the approach to the home turn. He made several novicey errors and while he is entitled to come on for the outing, more will be needed in the short term. 68

Crane was a winner on the flat as a two-year-old and joined a leading trainer in Nicky Henderson for his new hurdling career. After drifting from 9/4 to 3/1 in the morning, Crane was trimmed back into 11/4 to start the race as second favourite. However, while he was settled reasonably well and was in a good position behind the leaders, he was let down quite considerably by his jumping. Big and slow to get away from the first, he was slightly close to the second, steady and close at the third, and tight over the next three - the sixth he rather hopped over. Under pressure and losing ground from thereon, he was slow over the last and finished the race nearly forty lengths behind the winner. Poor jumping contributed to his undoing, although his stamina is also up for question and his pedigree did not give great cause for optimism beforehand in any case. His representing Nicky Henderson will keep him of interest over the coming weeks and months. However, it can be noted that none of the trainer's eight juveniles who finished outside of the front five first time out was able to score at the second time of asking. 66

Sentilly was twice beaten by over thirty lengths on the flat during the winter and her hurdles campaign has started no better. Always towards the rear, her jumping was novicey throughout and she jumped the last tired as she was beaten by fifty-one lengths. 46

Vamoos pulled up on his debut over this course and distance eighteen days earlier. Keen from the outset, he jumped poorly before veering left and unshipping Tom Bellamy at the third. He continued to jump in such a fashion while running loose and has thus far, shown no aptitude for the discipline. 0

MARKET RASEN 1st August
Preview review
I was in the process of doing the preview, had the spreadsheet and pedigrees ready and was about to write out the profiles when I was abruptly evicted. The winner would most probably have been given the strong prospects as his hurdles form was the strongest and the expected improvement left him with something in hand over the newcomers. A market check would have been suggested for the McCain debutant as the yard has already sent out a winning unraced juvenile this term. The Bravest had chances on his two-year-old form but had beaten just one of his twelve rivals this year. The ratings given in previous previews would have gained another one for the win column and incidentally, going by the amount of above average figures for trainers, sires, damsires, families and the damsires' records as sires, the field finished in the precise order - although the clues for the £46.20 trifecta would not have mentioned which makes it a moot point. Notwithstanding, the processes used throughout the ongoing assessments would not have warranted any revisiting on the basis this result.

Race review
Evaluating this race is not an entirely straightforward as the times on the card throw a spanner in the works. Going off a strict and rigid comparison with the maiden hurdle held half an hour later, Langafel's winning time was almost three seconds quicker which roughly equates to fifteen lengths. The runner-up in the maiden was beaten a length and a half, carried a pound less than Langafel and was rated 110. 110 + 15 + 1 + 15 (weight for age) gives Langafel a performance rating of 141. This is patently ludicrous and along with the early pace being quicker in the juvenile hurdle, the standard time was also the second slowest over obstacles on the card. Going by visual indicators, most of the field settled quite well although the overall quality of jumping left plenty to be desired - particularly from the 80/1 shot who was beaten less than nine lengths in third. In all, the race was probably not of a high standard and while the front two are respectable sorts, the form may not be especially strong or reliable.

Langafel failed to reach the frame in five attempts on the flat and ended his initial spell under that code with a rating of 55. Nevertheless, this son of Fast Company is with a trainer who does well with juveniles and Langafel made a winning debut over hurdles at Newton Abbot forty-one days earlier. He had been taken out of a race at that venue two weeks prior to this race on account of the good-to-firm ground, but while 'firm' appeared in the description here, he was still allowed to take his chance. Starting the day at 4/7, he drifted out to evens before being clipped in to 10/11 at the off. In contrast to Newton Abbot where he raced keenly and made errors at each flight, Langafel settled much better here, tracking the free-running leader while maintaining his own sensible tempo. His hurdling was also much neater by comparison, his flaws being getting tight and skewing over the first, giving a bit of air at the third, going through the top of the fifth and hitting the penultimate flight. Langafel challenged the leader at the three furlong marker and as his rival faded, he carried a two length lead along the straight which was only marginally eroded by the green runner-up. Langafel did not achieve anything out of the ordinary here, but he continues to improve and in the right race and potentially with softer ground, he could be up to defying a double penalty. 99

Corporal Jones, a £23,000 purchase at last year's Tattersalls Ireland Breeze Up, came into this race without any racecourse experience. His profile was not without substance as War Command has a couple of winners in the sphere, his dam was a winning hurdler, his half-brother won a juvenile hurdle and useful sorts Four Sox (3/1), Joke Dancer (3/1) and Singapore Belle (4/1) appear on the damline (as does Asterion Forlonge at 5/4).  His trainer has already sent out a winning debutant juvenile and while not a plunge exactly , Corporal Jones was backed from a morning 7/2 to a steady in-ring 11/4. Understandably, for a debutant, Corporal Jones showed signs of greenness, although it was more conspicuous than alarming. He raced keenly while tracking the leaders in the early stages, but had managed to settle better along the back stretch. His jumping was novicey and he made errors of one minor fashion or another at most flights. He was able to follow the winner when he made his move at the distance, but did not have enough to make any real inroads until the final fifty yards where the race was already put to bed. All told, it was a respectable debut effort and though the performance merely places him in the top third of juveniles seen this far, the expected improvement would make him a threat in ordinary company. 91

Subtle Innuendo achieved very little in two starts over seven furlongs at Ayr and Newcastle last year, and was making his return after a near three hundred day layoff. There was no confidence behind him in the markets, although there were hints of promise in his pedigree as he is bred to get the trip, his sire and damsire have solid records in the sphere, and the damline contains winning handicapper War Party (2/1) and 1982 French Champion Hurdler World Citizen (4/1). Held up towards the rear, Subtle Innuendo was somewhat fresh in the early stages, although his jumping gave cause for greater concern. After being baulked on landing at the first, he was steady before hitting the second, slow over the next two, was untidy when hitting the penultimate flight and not much cleaner over the last. While he did not look like posing a threat, he was still in there pitching in the straight, but his errors allowed the front pair to leave him behind. Subtle Innuendo's profile suggests he should be suited by the discipline and although he has no designs on greatness, he could be competitive in moderate company should he learn from this experience. 85

The Bravest began the year with a rating of 71 which came courtesy of a narrow second in a Pontefract nursery during the Autumn. He failed to show on his reappearance but his sixth of seven three weeks earlier was at least a step in the right direction. A son of Jukebox Jury (four winning juveniles from nine prior to this race) and a nephew of the useful Townshend, The Bravest represented a yard with a solid record in the sphere and was the best backed horse in the race - starting at 16/5 having been available at 7/1 during the morning. However, his jumping was very poor in the early stages as he skewed quite erratically over the first four flights. His jumping marginally improved from there and after leaving the back in last position, he made some headway on the home turn. However, was unable to maintain his progress and was never dangerous. Beaten thirteen lengths in the end, The Bravest is probably capable of showing more - possibly when his yard is in better form - although he may benefit from a sterner test of stamina. 79

Rakish Paddy tore away on his hurdles debut over this course and distance in mid-June, and after finishing last at Chepstow in the interim, did the same again here. Similar to first time out, his jumping was less than fluent. While he was sound enough over the first two, he skewed and stumbled at the third, hit the fourth, was untidy at the fifth, hit the sixth, and having lost his position turning for home, was steady before hopping through the last. If nothing else, Rakish Paddy does have a measure of pace, but while there are stayers on the distaff side of his pedigree, his sire is not a stamina influence. In any event, he will need to jump and settle better before he threatens at any trip. 77

No Escape was beaten ten lengths at Kempton last September on her only previous racecourse appearance. Though her trainer has had a winner in the sphere, there was little enthusiasm to be had about the pedigree. Racing in a first time hood, No Escape jumped poorly in the rear and was receiving reminders as early as the second. While she was still just about in touch turning for home, she eventually finished nearly fifty lengths behind the winner. 37

ROSCOMMON 3rd August
Preview review
No preview was written and I did not really get a chance to look at the race beforehand. Eternal Presence probably had the most solid profile on paper. The case for Whyzzat largely revolved around his trainer's decent clear round rate and his consistent jumping had a significant part to play in his victory. Nevertheless, hindsight without foresight with which to compare is a fairly empty endeavour and the way the race unfolded further compounds the futility.

Race review
With the exception of 2006 when Naas took the honours, Roscommon has been the first port of call for Ireland's juvenile hurdlers this century. Last year's runner-up Jeff Kidder was probably the most accomplished participant, with Won In The Dark and Rashaan also acquitting themselves well. The aforementioned are, by and large, the exceptions and the contests impact on the future is broadly scant with the average winner's median seasonal best RPR being just 113. This year's sixteen runner line up had a similar composition to previous renewals. However, paying homage to the Tour de France's "allez opi-omi lady", Alice Kitty radically changed the complexion of the race by taking out half of the field at the first - including two of the four who started at less than 10/1. Mercifully and rather surprisingly, it appears that the horses emerged without any serious damage, with Stand Staunch getting a bloody nose, and the culprit Alice Kitty being in receipt of various bumps and bruises for her troubles. Those who remained went a decent gallop and while a few were lit up by the carnage, most settled quite well. However, the quality of jumping was not of a good standard and there was further drama when the third favourite, yet to be asked a question, was knocked off her feet at the turn for home by a loose horse, impeding the third placed finisher in the process. The winner jumped well and likely had the measure of the runner-up who made a tremendous blunder on the first circuit. Beyond this however, it is difficult to afford much substance or stability to the overall standard of form.

Whyzzat cost 160,000 guineas as a yearling, but having failed to face the starter for George Scott, was sold to current connections for 9,000 guineas at last year's Tattersalls July Sale. While he reached the frame on three occasions, he failed to win during his sixteen race flat career, including in claiming company. Though initially rated 75 after his first three outings as a two-year-old, he went into this contest with a rating of 58. Damsire Desert Prince has a credible record in the sphere, but while Dark Angel does get his winners, his overall record is below average and there is little on Whyzzat's damline beyond being a nephew of maiden hurdle winner Under Oath. Denis Gerard Hogan has a modest winner to runner rate of 11.11%, and only one first time scorer to his name. Nevertheless, he has a strong clear round rate of 98.36% and none of his juveniles have fallen or unseated first time out. Accordingly, Whyzzat posted a good and consistent round of jumping with his only flaw coming at the last where he was very slightly steady and clipped the top of the flight. Prominent from the outset, he tucked in behind the leaders and travelling strongly, jumped into a share of the lead at three out. Ridden into a lead of a length after the penultimate flight, he opened the gap to the best part of four lengths which he would maintain to the line. Whyzzat was seemingly exposed on the flat, but he clearly has the aptitude for this game and probably ran close to his flat best first time out. His stamina has not always looked assured and it remains to be seen if he can stand up to sterner challenges. Nevertheless, there were more positives than negatives to take from this performance and it will be interesting to see if he can confirm this form against a more substantial field. 105

Eternal Presence never bettered his debut third at Killarney last August in five subsequent outings, but shaped better than his form figures suggested in a series of handicaps this term. While the only pedigree clue on the damline is the presence of fair French chaser Grapelli at 3/1, Mastercraftsman and Montjeu are both positive influences as sire and damsire respectively. Eternal Presence was not subject to the same degree of support as his stablemate, but was still sent off a steady 10/3 favourite. Left disputing the lead in the early stages, he took up the initiative after the last in the back and travelled strongly into the straight, trading as low as 1.31 in-running. However, he was unable to resist the winner's challenge and he eventually split first and third by similar margins of just under four lengths. Though he was close to the first and was steady when clipping the second, Eternal Presence jumped reasonably well save for an almighty blunder at the fifth where JJ Slevin did well to maintain the partnership. Establishing the impact of this error on his ultimate performance would be guesswork at this juncture. The form did not quite match what he has shown on the flat, but there was enough in this effort to suggest he can go on from here. 101

Project Two showed a modicum of promise on his two starts at Dundalk last year, but was completely tailed off on his first couple of outings this term and subsequently only hinted at form in a pair of modest handicaps. Breeding clues were threadbare as he was the first juvenile hurdler for sire Belardo, himself the first son of Lope de Vega to have such a runner, and the closest reasonable hurdling relative was Paseo at 3/2. Edward Harty has had his fair share of winners in the sphere, although the yard has not been firing on all cylinders as of late. Project Two, held up in touch for most of the race, began to get outpaced leaving the back and was further impeded by the hapless Helvic Princess. Nevertheless, while he never looked dangerous, he was able to plug on for third, finishing fifteen lengths clear of the remainder. This unexpected performance can not be rationalised by exceptional jumping either as although his hurdling was not terrible, he skewed when hopping over the second, got in close to the fourth, again at four our, hopped the next and got in tight when hopping through the last. Given his questionable overall profile, time will have to be the judge whether this performance was an anomaly. 98

Television only made her racecourse debut at the end of May and she finished closer to last than first in a trio of maiden contests. Her official mark of 60, while open for debate, was the fourth highest brought into this contest. The second juvenile hurdler for her trainer, and first for sire Estidhkaar (Dark Angel), Televisions only pedigree clue, apart from being 5/4 with Berjou, is that her fourth dam finished fifth in an Auteuil claimer in 1990. Starting in the rear, Television moved quickly through the field but was still caught up in the first flight drama. Though emerging relatively unscathed, her confidence was affected as she was steady at most of her remaining flights. Televison never made any further progress in the race, and passed only the fading Whipsaw on the run-in to finish twenty-two lengths behind the winner. 76 

Whipsaw's best flat effort was a fifth placed finish in a seven furlong Cork handicap off 65 back in April. While he is a cousin of Calidus Mirabilis, who was fourth in this race last year, the Camacho x Oasis Dream cross is not conducive to stamina. Racing prominently from the outset, Whipsaw was lit up in the early stages and also had a habit of wandering into his flights. He lost his lead going out onto the second circuit and faded badly after losing his position on the home turn. Even without the jumping errors, any optimism for the future would be tempered by his apparent lack of stamina. 81

Grey Angel was one of two runners for Noel Meade, and an unfancied, longer priced of the pair. Three outings as a two-year-old saw her allotted a rating of 51 and she was last seen refusing to enter the stalls ahead of her intended reappearance at Cork back in May. Suffering considerable inconvenience at the first flight melee, Grey Angel spent the race bringing up the rear. She skewed over the second and third, wandered at the fourth and was slow over the fifth. Though she jumped better from there, she made no impression on the contest. She can largely be forgiven this outing, although there is still little in her profile that would make her of particular interest going forward. 53

Wicklow Silver capped six consecutive duck eggs with a twenty-one length eighth of eight on his latest outing in a twelve furlong Down Royal handicap. An Estidhkaar x Johannesburg cross with no jumpers on the damline, the only saving grace in his profile is that one of his trainer's six juveniles was a winner. Opening at 40/1 and drifting to 200/1 before halving in price at the off, Wicklow Silver rather missed the first flight of his own volition, but somehow managed to keep upright while scuttering over the bodies. Having jumped left at the second, he hurdled well enough before getting close to the seventh. While not looking an obvious danger, Wicklow Silver had yet to be asked a real question or lose any ground when very badly hampered by the slip of Helvic Princess. This is not to say that he would have gone on to accomplish anything in the race, but it is at least feasible that he can achieve more hurdles than on the flat - little though that might be. 24

Helvic Princess came into this as a nine race maiden on the flat, but she had thrice reached the frame in that sphere. Finishing third at this venue on her debut last June, she also ran creditably in a pair of ten furlong handicaps in the Spring - at Navan on heavy off 55, and at Cork on good off 57. However, Helvic Princess has been anything but model of consistency and she finished twelfth on each of her latest two outings. Nevertheless, she was much the stronger fancy of Noel Meade's two runners, shortening from 8/1 to 9/2 in the morning, and again to 18/5 in the ring. Furthermore, while she is the first runner over hurdles for Marcel, and daughters of Iffraaj have yet to produce a winning juvenile, Helvic Princess is a niece of top chaser Kempes, and a distant relative of the brilliant Our Conor at 4/2. Narrowly avoiding the drama at the first, she travelled nicely in midfield and made her only error when trailing her hind legs through the fifth. She had yet to be asked a question and was in a decent position leaving the back, but after getting impeded by a loose horse, she lost her back legs and slipped on the bend. This mishap happened too far from the finish to confidently judge how she may have otherwise fared, and her lack of consistency on the flat would warrant a degree of caution when she reappears. Notwithstanding, it would be fair to describe her as unlucky on this occasion and it is hoped she will get the opportunity to demonstrate her ability over hurdles before too long. 0

Admiral Brown was unable to better seventh position, or finish closer than seven lengths to the winner in six flat outings, and he arrived here with a rating of just 48. Though a nephew of fairly useful chaser Pure Science and out of a Dalakhani mare, his pedigree is noting out of the ordinary. He started the shorter of the Henry De Bromhead pair, but his profile did not really warrant the 10/1 starting price. Setting off just behind the leaders, he was brought down at the first. 0

Bullock Park was making his first appearance of the year having achieved little in three outings as a two-year-old. Anjaal has managed a winner from five in the sphere and half-brother Saint Jerome was a useful juvenile hurdler in 2014. Ross O'Sullivan has had one winner from nine and Bullock Park was completely unfancied drifting from 40/1 to 100/1 at the off. He was pulling in the rear when brought down at the first. 0

Dies Its Eine failed to show on his sole flat outing in June, but while he is a nephew of the highly talented juvenile filly, Unaccompanied, he was friendless in the ring going from 40/1 to 150/1. Setting off in a prominent position, he blundered at the first before getting brought down a split second later. He continued to gallop loose although while not averse to jumping more hurdles, he wasn't particularly fluent without his rider. 0

Guest was tailed off on his sole start as a two-year-old, and since left Ken Condon to join a yard that is yet to have a winner in the sphere from two. Acclamation and Montjeu are just on the lower side of average for sires and damsires, and modest handicap winner Beaumont's Party appears at 3/1 on the damline. Avalable at 25/1 in the morning, but starting at 150/1, Guest was in the rear when steady at the first and having to take evasive action to avoid the fallers. He was very slow at the next and was detached from there before pulling up at halfway. 0

Stand Staunch, unraced stablemate of the runner-up, went out to 12/1 in the morning. Opening in the ring at 15/2, he was backed down to 4/1 at the off. Sire Camelot enjoyed a fine first season in the sphere, but while his numbers were down the past two seasons, his overall figures are still healthy. The damline is less compelling as it largely consists of sprinters with the nearest winning jumper being the selling class Amazing Sail at 3/1. Just about in mid division, Stand Staunch was subject to a dramatic hampering which saw him emerge with a broken nose. While the money beforehand may have suggested a good performance was anticipated, it remains to be seen if his first racecourse outing leaves an impression on his psyche. 0

Alice Kitty was the first hurdles runner for Bobby's Kitten, but is a niece of winning hurdler Kilburn and the hurdles placed Popmurphy. One of two flat winners in the field, she broke her duck at the fifth time of asking in a modest Ballinrobe over an extended nine furlongs back in June. Claimed afterwards for €5,000, she was initially set to join Philip Makin in Yorkshire but instead made her hurdling for Denise Foster. Her new handler has yet to saddle a winner in the sphere from thirteen horses, and those who leave Jessica Harrington tend not to improve for the switch in codes. This did not prevent her from starting the day as 5/2 favourite and while she opened at 4/1 in the ring, she was clipped in half a point by flagfall. Sent off in a prominent position, she hesitated on the approach to the first where failed to get high enough and took a crashing fall, bringing down much of the field in the process. Among the injuries she reportedly sustained were an overreach on the right pastern, a right shoulder contusion, a skin wound and blood at the left nostril. Naturally it is hoped that she is able to recover from this baptism of floor and hooves. Insofar as her prospects in the division are concerned, there is little optimism to be drawn from this outing. 0

Annwyl Angharad finished last on all four flat outings, never finishing nearer than nineteen lengths to the winner, and starting at upwards of 250/1 on her three starts this term. Sire Dylan Thomas has a 21.21% winners to runners rate, but her trainer has yet to taste success in the sphere from his three runners. Drifting from 80/1 to 200/1 here, he  was in mid-division when getting too close to the first and unshipping Simon Torrens independently of the surrounding carnage. Annwyl Angharad ran out at the next when running loose. 0

Mystery Show, previously with Archie Watson, was the other participant with winning flat form and had the highest official rating in that sphere at 81. She landed a ten furlong Ascot handicap off 80 back in May on soft ground and while she ran flat on two of her three subsequent outings, her penultimate performance still looked good in the context of this field. Signs of poor temperament were beginning to emerge however, and she left the Watson yard for 12,000 guineas at the Tattersalls July sale. Her pedigree is not without merit as sire Showcasing has a healthy 27.27% winner to runner rate, and the dam is a half-sister to four winning jumpers including Dilshaan's Prize. John Joseph Hanlon does get winners, although his winner to runner rate of 13.04% is below average. Mystery Show went into 5/1 at one point in the morning, but was friendless in the ring, going from 15/2 to 16/1 at the off. Already showing some recalcitrance after the off, she drifted back through the field before getting very badly hampered at the first. She was pulled up shortly thereafter. 0

Preview - BALLINROBE 9th August
Following Roscommon's curtain raiser last Tuesday, Ballinrobe is set to host Ireland's second juvenile contest of the season at Monday's twilight meeting. Said to be a racecourse of amazing beauty (although having not seen it myself, I am obliged to say it has nothing on Hexham), Ballinrobe is a right handed track which climbs up the back with the closing stages going downhill. With average winning DIs of 1.12 median, 1.44 mean, it is not a particularly testing circuit although its clear round rate of 94.67% is one of the lower ones in Ireland. Good sorts Zanahiyr and Zoffanien trod its turf last term, while Clarcam finished second here on his debut in September 2013. The overall quality of juvenile hurdles at this venue is on the higher side of average, although those hosted during August (of which there have been three starting in 2017) have taken little winning with the average winner's seasonal RPR being 114.67, and average flat rating being 56.17. Tomorrow's contest looks rather par for the course with the experienced runners headed by Roscommon runner-up Eternal Presence, and the highest rated newcomer being a questionable stayer with a mark of 74. The going is currently described as good to yielding with some light showers forecast between now and post time. 

Drogheda Dave bg Henry De Bromhead f7-0-0 (48) 59
Pearl Secret (Desert King){4-n}(1.80) 2/1 Mezzanisi 2nd 2m1f Handicap Hurdle (100), Exeter 2013
Making his debut in mid May, Drogeheda Dave has had six starts on the flat without breaching the first five. His first five attempts came at a mile or shorter, with his latest two coming over nine and eleven furlongs - finishing weakly on each occasion. Henry De Bromhead's credentials as a jumps trainer are not for debate, although his record with juveniles does fall below his usual standards with a winner to runner rate of 10.26%, and overall strike rate of 6.82%. The pedigree offers little respite as rookie sire Pearl Secret does not have the profile to succeed in the sphere, and a fair hurdler at 2/1 is the extent of jumpers on the damline before one reaches Young Poli at 5/2.

Eternal Presence grc Joseph Patrick O'Brien f6-0-1 (72) 75 j1-0-1 (-) 106 101
Mastercraftsman (Montjeu){8-c}(0.74) 3/1 Grapelli 4th 3800m 4yo Listed Chase, Cagnes-Sur-Mer 2003
Though he never bettered his debut third at Killarney last August in five subsequent flat outings, Eternal Presence shaped better than his form figures suggested in a series of handicaps this year. While the only pedigree clue on the damline is the presence of fair French chaser Grapelli at 3/1, Mastercraftsman and Montjeu are both positive influences as sire and damsire respectively. Making his hurdling debut at Roscommon six days ago, Eternal Presence was not subject to the same degree of support as his stablemate, but was still sent off a steady 10/3 favourite. Left disputing the lead in the early stages, he took up the initiative after the last in the back and travelled strongly into the straight, trading as low as 1.31 in-running. However, he was unable to resist the winner's challenge and he eventually split first and third by similar margins of just under four lengths. Though he was close to the first and was steady when clipping the second, Eternal Presence jumped reasonably well save for an almighty blunder at the fifth where JJ Slevin did well to maintain the partnership. Establishing the impact of this error on his ultimate performance would be guesswork at this juncture. The form did not quite match what he has shown on the flat, but there was enough in that effort to suggest he can improve. Joseph O'Brien has a record of two wins and four placings from nine runners at the venue, and he also saddled the first two in the 2017 renewal of this contest. Furthermore, the yard has been in good form recently and his strike rate with juveniles goes from 10.29% first time out to 19.15% at the second time of asking. Setting the standard on form and having a substantial overall profile, the only real concern would be that he has yet to actually win a race. 

Fake Plastic Trees bg A Oliver f4-0-0 (53) 52
Camacho (Street Sense){A29}(2.11) 0.5 Born To Ride 6th 3400m 3yo Hurdle, Clairefontaine 2020
Since starting his career in April, Fake Plastic Trees has demonstrated no better than moderate form on the flat, including last time when finishing eleventh of thirteen off 52 on his handicap debut over a mile on soft ground at Listowel. Trainer Andrew Oliver is winless from twenty-four attempts in the sphere and while Camacho has had winning juveniles, his winner runner rate of 13.64% is lower than average. 

Grand Revival bg Denis Gerard Hogan f4-1-0 (62) 65
American Pharoah (Galileo){8-f}(1.00) 3/1 Arco Felice 4th 3m Handicap Hurdle (89), Ffos Las 2011
Formerly a resident at Ballydoyle, Grand Revival is bred to contest American classics as his sire won the Triple Crown and Classic, while his granddam won the Kentucky Oaks and the Belmont in 2007. This was not to be his destiny however and beginning his career with Denis Gerard Hogan in March, his first two outings saw him fail to best a single one of his thirty-two rivals, beaten a combined sixty-six lengths in the process. Fortunes would change however when stepping up to ten furlongs for a soft ground Fairyhouse claimer towards the end of May. Though he was off the bridle from an early stage, his jockey persevered and despite trading at 1000 in running, he took the lead inside the final furlong to win by two lengths. Though the form is modest and the favourites underperformed, he did had Roscommon winner Whyzzat over three lengths behind him in fourth. Normal services were resumed for his handicap debut four weeks ago as he beat only one home finishing  over twenty lengths behind the winner. Impressive though the pedigree may be, it is not particularly conducive to a hurdling career. Nevertheless, the trainer did saddle the aforementioned Whyzzat last week and Grand Revival would not be completely without chance if running to his Fairyhouse form. 

Li Mu Bai bg Gavin Cromwell f8-1-1 (74) 83
Sir Prancealot (Invincible Spirit){3-e}(1.67) 3/1 Plague O' Rats 1st 2m1f Novices' Hurdle, Exeter 1990
The highest rated newcomer in the field, Li Mu Bai comes with a mark of 74 courtesy of a win in a Fairyhouse handicap in early July, and a neck second at Galway later that month. Both of those efforts came over seven furlongs however, and he was slightly below form on his return to Galway eight days ago. A son of Sir Prancealot out of an Invincible Spirit mare, Li Mu Bai is not especially bred for a hurdles trip. Incidentally, he comes from thoroughbred family 3-e which is one of the more successful in the division, although the most accomplished recent juvenile in that family, Romain de Senam appears at 10/9 on the damline. Trainer Gavin Cromwell has been in decent form recently and his winner to runner rate of 21.82% is solid enough, although his first time out rate stands at just 5.66%. Li Mu Bai is far from a forlorn hope, although his stamina and specifics in his profile do dampen enthusiasm.

Luz Long bg J G Coogan f4-0-0 (45) 41
Elzaam (Rail Link){1-l}(0.71) 0.5 Jeff Kidder 1st Champion 4yo Hurdle (G1), Punchestown 2021
Another who only made his racecourse debut this spring, Luz Long has been beaten at long odds on all four outings and his official mark of 45 exceeds his accomplishments. Notwithstanding, while sire Elzaam was a precocious and speedily bred sprinter, two of his eight juveniles have been winners and his progeny has a 57.14% improvement rate between codes. Furthermore, his half-brother Jeff Kidder was one of the leading juvenile hurdlers of last season and the useful Hills Of Aran also appears on the damline at 3/2. Just one of James Coogan's thirteen juveniles have been winners, but his charge's improvement rate of 71.43% is laudable and his sole winner did score first time out. The individual accomplishments of Luz Long afford him scant prospects here, but there is enough in his profile to suggest that he can at least make a better hurdler. 

Project Two brg Edward P Harty f6-0-0 (54) 64 j1-0-1 (-) 102 98
Belardo (Mizzen Mast){8-h}(1.46) 3/2 Paseo 3rd Summit Juvenile Hurdle (G2), Doncaster 2019
Though he showed a modicum of promise on his two starts at Dundalk last year, Project Two was completely tailed off on his first couple of outings this term and subsequently only hinted at form in a pair of modest handicaps. Ahead of his hurdling debut at Roscommon last week, breeding clues were threadbare as he was the first juvenile hurdler for sire Belardo, himself the first son of Lope de Vega to have such a runner, and the closest reasonable hurdling relative was Paseo at 3/2. Edward Harty has had his fair share of winners in the sphere, although the yard has not been firing on all cylinders as of late. In the contest itself, Project Two was held up in touch for most of the race and began to get outpaced leaving the back, further impeded by the hapless slip of Helvic Princess. Nevertheless, while he never looked dangerous, he was able to plug on for third, finishing fifteen lengths clear of the remainder. This unexpected performance can not be rationalised by exceptional jumping as although his hurdling was not terrible, he skewed when hopping over the second, got in close to the fourth, again at four our, hopped the next and got in tight when hopping through the last. Given his questionable overall profile, time will have to be the judge whether this performance was an anomaly and there is no reason why he would reverse placings with Eternal Presence. 

Rich Law No Law bg M Keane f8-0-2 (45) 52
Lawman (Singspiel){2-f}(0.78) 2/2 Percy Street 6th Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (G3,124), Cheltenham 2017
Starting his career with Kevin Prendergast, Rich Law No Law collected a couple of placings in a pair of nurseries last autumn. However, his final two starts of last year were below par and he joined Maurice Keane after fetching €5,500 at the Goffs February sale. He was well beaten off 46 on his first start for his new handler - who himself is without any jumps winner since September 2012. Lawman has a fairly solid record as a sire of juveniles and cousin Percy Street finished sixth in the 2017 Fred Winter. However, there are enough holes in Rich Law No Law's form and profile to temper any real enthusiasm here. 

Virtual Hug bg Conor O'Dwyer f11-0-2 (65) 76
Buratino (Lilbourne Lad){3-o}(0.56) 4/1 Inchacooley 5th 4yo Maiden Hurdle, Leopardstown 1996
The second highest rated newcomer in the field is Virtual Hug who arrives here after eleven flat outings with a mark of 65. His best efforts came over a mile at Gowran last August, Naas the following month, and at Dundalk in January. He ran below par on his return from a three month break in May but shaped better when last seen at Leopardstown eighteen days ago. He has yet to race beyond a mile and his free running style may be more pronounced in this type of contest. Despite a low dosage index, his pedigree is not given to stamina although sire Buratino's sole juvenile to date has been a winner. Conor O'Dwyer has had a winner this month, but is yet to taste success in this discipline from fifteen individual juveniles. Virtual Hugs holds some chance on form, but he will absolutely need to settle if he is to have an impact in this sphere.

Whipsaw bg Henry De Bromhead f6-0-0 (59) 65 j1-0-0 (-) 87 81
Camacho (Oasis Dream){4-j}(2.11) 2/2 Calidus Mirabilis 2nd 3yo Maiden Hurdle, Ballinrobe 2020
One of two runners for Henry De Bromhead, Whipsaw is another veteran of last week's Roscommon contest. A maiden on the flat, his best effort was a fifth placed finish in a seven furlong Cork handicap off 65 back in April. While he is a cousin of Calidus Mirabilis, who was second in this race last year, the Camacho x Oasis Dream cross is not conducive to stamina and it played out last week. Racing prominently from the outset, Whipsaw was lit up in the early stages and also had a habit of wandering into his flights. He lost his lead going out onto the second circuit and faded badly after losing his position on the home turn. Even without the jumping errors, any optimism for the future would be tempered by his apparent lack of stamina.

Calvados bf John C McConnell f6-0-0 (55) 66
Vadamos (Nathaniel){5-h}(0.38) 3/1 Madrasa 1st 2m3½f Novices' Handicap Hurdle (95), Wetherby 2015
Though still without a win in six starts since her debut last November, Calvados ran her best race to date last time out at Killarney four weeks ago. Stepping up in trip to eleven furlongs and racing off 56, she travelled sensibly behind the leaders and though she did not have the pace to pose any real threat, she kept on well enough. Denied second place by just a head, she also had several of today's rivals behind her and comes out best at the weights. Sire Vadamos has had just the one juvenile to date, but the son of Monsun has the potential to be a useful weapon in the sphere. Calvados will be the first representative of Nathaniel as a damsire, but his record as a sire is very strong in terms of class and winners. John McConnell has a healthy record in the division with a 25% winner to runner rate, and comes here on the back of landing a treble at Downpatrick on Sunday. The yard's runners tend to improve for the run, and Calvados still has a bit to find on bare form, but she would still have the potential to do well in this company.

Mystery Show bf John Joseph Hanlon f8-2-1 (81) 85 j1-0-0 (-) 0 0 
Showcasing (Kheleyf){9-h}(1.55) 2/1 Dilshaan's Prize 1st 2m Novice Hurdle, Naas 2011
Previously with Archie Watson, Mystery Show, holds winning flat form and has the highest official rating in that sphere at 81. She landed a ten furlong Ascot handicap off 80 back in May on soft ground and while she ran flat on two of her three subsequent outings, her penultimate performance still looked good in the context of this field. Signs of poor temperament were beginning to emerge however, and she left the Watson yard for 12,000 guineas at the Tattersalls July sale. Her pedigree is not without merit as sire Showcasing has a healthy 27.27% winner to runner rate, and the dam is a half-sister to four winning jumpers including Dilshaan's Prize. John Joseph Hanlon does get winners, although his winner to runner rate of 13.04% is below average. Making her hurdling debut at Roscommon last week, Mystery Show went into 5/1 at one point in the morning, but was friendless in the ring, going from 15/2 to 16/1 at the off. Already showing some recalcitrance after the off, she drifted back through the field before getting very badly hampered at the first, and was pulled up shortly thereafter. While she would still be entitled to some respect on her flat form and breeding, her questionable temperament and dubious hurdles debut would make her a risky proposition.

Television bf Hugh Paul Finegan f3-0-0 (60) 62 j1-0-0 (-) 80 76
Estidhkaar (Footstepsinthesand){12-g}(0.71) 4/0 Marienthal 5th 3yo Claiming Hurdle, Auteuil 1990
Making her racecourse debut at the end of May, Television finished closer to last than first in a trio of maiden contests. Her official mark of 60, while open for debate, was the fourth highest brought into Roscommon's curtain raiser last week. The second juvenile hurdler for her trainer, and first for sire Estidhkaar (Dark Angel), Televisions only pedigree clue, apart from being 5/4 with Berjou, is that her fourth dam finished fifth in an Auteuil claimer in 1990. Starting in the rear, Television moved quickly through the field but was still caught up in the first flight drama. Though emerging relatively unscathed, her confidence was affected as she was steady at most of her remaining flights. Televison never made any further progress in the race, and passed only the fading Whipsaw on the run-in to finish twenty-two lengths behind the winner. While she would be entitled to run a little better with a clearer run, her confidence would not yet be assured and there is still plenty of ground to be made up on Eternal Presence and Project Two.

RESERVES
Gervada bg Ciaran Murphy Unraced
Vadamos (Deposit Ticket){2-n}(0.80) 0.5 Free Code 5th 2m3f Maiden Hurdle, Limerick 2018
Going unsold for €17,000 as a yearling at the Goffs Sportsman's sale in 2019, Gervada could make his racecourse debut here if getting in the race. Another son of Vadamos, Gervada is a half-brother two three flat winners at up to a mile including Free Code who also finished fifth in a maiden hurdle at Limerick. The great Sea Bird also appears on the damline at 5/3 with top French chaser Aveu de Kervero a further step away at 5/4. He could be the first runner in a juvenile hurdle for Ciaran Murphy, whose overall strike rate with jumpers stands at 3%. Though not entirely without potential, Gervada does not quite have enough in his profile to offset the poor record of unraced debutants in the division. 

Feigh chf W P Mullins Unraced
Well Chosen (Great Palm){14-a}(0.80) 2/1 Belmount 1st 3m1f Handicap Chase (127), Hereford 2016
Willie Mullins has a record with juvenile hurdlers which is basically the envy of everybody in the business. However, Feigh, his possible first runner of the campaign, failed to sell as a foal at the Tattersalls Ireland sale, passing through the ring with a bid of just €1,800. Bred to be a chaser for the long term, Feigh is by a Well Chosen whose sole juvenile failed to score. Her uncle Belmount was a fairly useful staying chaser and the likes of Afistfullofdollars (3/2) Gaye Brief, Gaye Chance and Black Humour (each at 4/1) also appear on the damline. While any Mullins representative would be entitled to some respect, it is worth nothing that he has yet to score with a racecourse debutant in the sphere. 

Grey Angel cgf Noel Meade f3-0-0 (51) 55 j1-0-0 (-) 59 53
Lethal Force (Three Valleys){A29}(1.40) 3/1 Magnitude 3rd 2m Selling Hurdle, Leicester 2009
Three outings as a two-year-old saw Grey Angel allotted a rating of 51 and she was last seen on the flat refusing to enter the stalls ahead of her intended reappearance at Cork back in May. Making her hurdling debut last week, she suffered considerable inconvenience at the first flight melee and spent the race bringing up the rear. She skewed over the second and third, wandered at the fourth and was slow over the fifth. Though she jumped better from there, she made no impression on the contest. She can largely be forgiven that outing, although there is still little in her profile that would make her of particular interest going forward.

Strong prospects
1. Eternal Presence
Reasonable prospects
2. Calvados
3. Project Two
Feasible prospects
4. Grand Revival
5. Luz Long
6. Li Mu Bai
7. Mystery Show
Moderate prospects
8. Virtual Hug
9. Television
10. Gervada (R)
11. Feigh (R)
Negligible prospects
12. Whipsaw
13. Grey Angel (R)
14. Rich Law No Law
15. Drogheda Dave
16. Fake Plastic Trees
 

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Wow ,what  incredible time & effort you've put into this thread .

I quite like bumpers & maiden races on the flat despite lots of people turning their noses up to them .

The French breeding angle for younger horses seem to have an edge over UK & Irish as they start them earlier .

Can't see past J.O'Briens charge in today's race where Whipshaw & Television were a long way behind in race when the 3 met on debut albeit I do like horses that aren't given a hard time yet finish 4th on debut , TELEVISION fits that bill , has the fillies allowance & claimers allowance , could make the frame ?

Keep up the good work & good luck in life , in every negative they're several positives .

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Hi calva decoy. Thanks for your kind words :) I agree that while there is not a huge amount of glory in bumpers, maidens and so forth, I do get a greater sense of appreciation for the sport at its core by attempting to fill the gaps of the sport's very foundations. 

French breds do in indeed have better records than their counterparts of domestic origin. This plays out in the 'source and experience' table in the opening post as well as in this table below. French breds do have certain advantages due to many being specifically bred for jumping and, as you mention, their season starts earlier than ours. That being said, there is probably an in-built bias that skews the statistics being that in order for someone to invest the time, effort and money to import a French horse, that horse will have at least shown something in its country of origin, After all, though the British and Irish breeding industries have their flaws and inefficiencies, it would be unfair to state that the French, Germans, Spanish, Japanese and Czechs are inherently better at breeding horses. 

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Insofar as horses who finish fourth on their debuts are concerned, I have thrown together this rudimentary chart showing how juvenile hurdlers fare from first to second time out. It doesn't take into account how tenderly a horse may have been ridden or the confidence going into its first outing, but it might be of some interest all the same. Indeed, if you have any ideas for areas of research then I am more than happy to consider same.

atxJSY9.png

As for Television in today's race, I think my primary concern would be that while there were traces of promise in her debut performance, she did not show a great deal of assurance over her hurdles after the first flight melee. I am not sure if six days would be enough time to rebuild her confidence and, putting my tinfoil hat on, am wondering whether today's outing might be a schooling exercise? 

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In both bumpers & maiden novice flat races I'll back a horse carrying a penalty even more so with a claimer on it next time round but I won't back it 2nd time after a win . 

W.Greatrex used to do very well with his bumper runners in the Midlands at Stratford & Uttoxeter & on the flat Martyn Meade's 2yr olds especially over 5 - 7f I always follow , he had CRESTA win at Leicester yesterday at 12/1 was 16's night before.

I have shares in 4 horses with the Owners Group & Calva D'auge learned his trade as a juvenile hurdler in France before joining P.Nicholls yard & has been a superstar as so far has First Folio who also learned his trade on the other side of the pond .

If OG source another French horse be it either National Hunt or Flat I won't hesitate to get involved in .

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8 hours ago, calva decoy said:

Wow ,what  incredible time & effort you've put into this thread .

I quite like bumpers & maiden races on the flat despite lots of people turning their noses up to them .

The French breeding angle for younger horses seem to have an edge over UK & Irish as they start them earlier .

Can't see past J.O'Briens charge in today's race where Whipshaw & Television were a long way behind in race when the 3 met on debut albeit I do like horses that aren't given a hard time yet finish 4th on debut , TELEVISION fits that bill , has the fillies allowance & claimers allowance , could make the frame ?

Keep up the good work & good luck in life , in every negative they're several positives .

TELEVISION ran a good race finishing 4th at 20/1 behind the top 3 in the market just pipped for a place by the favourite & gaining about 30 Lengths from race 6 days ago , if she is upped another 2F she'll be gracing the winners enclosure sooner rather than later 

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I just realise I've been sitting on the Ballinrobe review for a couple of days... Will post after this PSA...

It will be a while before the next juvenile hurdle so I am hoping to get some profiles done for possible recruits to the division. If there are any suggestions that are not listed below then I am more than happy to have a look. 

These are on my to-do list.
Tashkhan
Too Friendly
Champion Green
Champagne Piaff
Impulsive One
Brunello

These are on the maybe pile.
Knight Salute
Sonning
Genuflex
Book Of Secrets

These are listed for the Triumph but am unsure how likely they are to jump a hurdle in Britain or Ireland this term. 
Altesse du Berlais
Mojo Star
Earlswood

I like a crack at these but I am unsure as to who they are with. If anybody can enlighten us then that would be most appreciated!
Message Personnel
Ramure
Tanganyika
Kotmask
In Excess
Il Etait Temps
Gentleman Joe

BALLINROBE - 9th August
Preview review
The winner, whose tissue price was 14/1 in the RP and 25/1 on ATR, placed second on the prospects list and received sustained market support throughout the day before being sent off the 10/3 second favourite. For a moment leaving the back, the first three on the prospects list looked set to match their positions on the course before Eternal Presence faded into third. While having the most solid profile, that the favourite had yet to actually win was raised as a concern, although whether by design or resignation, his going for home a long way out was probably a greater factor in his lacklustre finish. Li Mu Bai, the only runner starting shorter than 10/1 who failed to run a race, was flagged as a doubtful stayer and this played out in the race. The pulled-up 80/1 shot, Luz Long, was given a relatively positive assessment, though while he ran according to his price, he reportedly made respiratory noises in running. Overall, though a beaten strong prospect will always have a sting, when accounting for the fact that the preview is meant to be informative rather than advisory, it is difficult to be too disappointed. 

Race review
This term's second juvenile hurdle to take place in Ireland looked fairly ordinary beforehand and the form of the race is unlikely to have any great relevance once the season goes into full swing. Nevertheless, the standard of jumping was better than in the Roscommon curtain raiser and the pace and winning time were very respectful compared to the other races at the distance on the card - with Calvados passing the post in a time 2.1 seconds quicker than the maiden, and 5.4 seconds faster than the handicap hurdle. The first three, who were entitled to be in the frame, were separated by over eleven lengths with wide intervals splitting the field from fourth place onwards. First and second are unexposed, improving sorts and while the third was probably denied a better position by ambitious tactics, he still stepped up on his debut effort by dint of a cleaner round. While the third placed horse could feasibly better his rivals in the future, the form still has a solid enough shape. 

Calvados failed to reach the frame in six outings on the flat, but her latest effort in that sphere was her strongest to date. Stepped up to eleven furlongs for a Killarney handicap, she travelled sensibly and kept on to the finish, being denied a second place finish by a head. Trainer John McConnell has a healthy record in this discipline and the yard was in good form going into this contest. Furthermore, while sire Vadamos had hitherto been untested in the sphere, he has the attributes to be a useful source of juveniles and Calvados became his first winner over jumps with a convincing display. Overlooked in the tissue prices, she started the day at 6/1 which was also her opening show in the ring. However, she was the subject of sustained support in the lead up to the off and started the race as 10/3 clear second favourite. Sent off in a prominent position, she moved to track the leaders, travelling comfortably along the way. Nudged along to make headway from the top of the hill, she was ridden with more impetus approaching the distance and reached the leader jumping the last. Landing alongside, she noticeably more full of running than her rival and moved into a clear lead in a matter of strides before extending her advantage to half-a-dozen lengths and running out a fairly cosy winner. Calvados jumped nicely for a debutant with her only errors being a slight clip of the third and giving the fourth a bit of air. The form does not amount to a great deal but the winning time was decent and she did everything very professionally. Already an improver on the flat, Calvados has maintained her progress over hurdles and there should be more to come going forward. 108

Project Two did not show much in two runs last year, and fared little better following his winter break. However, he overcame some sloppy jumping along with interference in-running to surpass expectations and finish third on his hurdling debut at Roscommon. Available at 7/1 during the morning, he opened on course at 7/2 and while he drifted back out to 13/2 at the off, he was still considerably shorter than he had been at Roscommon. Settled just behind the leaders, he set off in pursuit of Eternal Presence along the back and had bridged the gap to a couple of lengths when blundering at the penultimate flight. He did not have the pace to immediately renew his challenge and while he was eventually able to overhaul the long time leader, the winner had already flown. Project Two proved that his hurdling debut was not a fluke and a better overall round of jumping brought about further improvement in form. While this performance would not amount to a great deal, it would still be one of the strongest seen to date in the division and a win would not be beyond Project Two's scope over the coming weeks. 108

Eternal Presence, by Mastercraftsman, out of a Montjeu mare and trained by Joseph O'Brien, has as very solid profile for a prospective hurdler. While he was a maiden after six runs on the flat, his official rating of 72 is well up to scratch for the time of year and his debut second at Roscommon was not without promise. Jumping well for the most part, save for a blunder on the first circuit, he found only one too good. Returning here six days later and starting a solid 6/4 favourite, Eternal Presence started prominently and made the lead his own after the third. Without pulling hard, he was fairly free up front and going along the back, he went into a clear lead. He still held a good advantage half a mile from home but initial signs of his faltering began to show at two out where he got close to the flight making his first real error of the contest. His advantage had been reduced almost to nil by the last and forfeiting the lead shortly after. he was soon treading water and lost third in the final two hundred yards. Though his cleaner round marks a slight step up on his debut outing, this marks the second occasion in as many runs where he was beaten after trading at long odds-on in running. Eternal Presence clearly has the ability to win a race of this nature, and the most feasible explanation for this defeat would be his being sent for home too early. Whether this was by design or whether Eternal Presence ran out of his rider's hands is not patently obvious. His stamina, while not bottomless, should still be sufficient to see out the minimum trip over hurdles. While he does not look particularly wayward, it is possible that he may benefit from a date with a pair of scissors. However, the fact remains that he has yet to deliver on his potential and until he gets his head in front where it matters, there will be a question mark hanging over his profile. 103

Television finished nearer last than first on her three flat outings since her debut in late May, but her rating of 60 does not make her a forlorn prospect for hurdling. She was the subject of light support ahead of her hurdles bow at Roscommon and ran on into fourth after getting caught up in the first flight drama. Available at 10/1 in the morning, she opening in the ring at 20/1 which would remain stagnant up to the off. Held up in touch, Television was big over the second and hopped over the third, but was more assured overall than she had been the previous week. Looking one paced as the race unfolded, she stayed on late to challenge for third and had upwards of eleven lengths in hand over the remainder of the field. This was more in keeping with her best flat form and while there were no excuses on this occasion, Television can still improve to be competitive in moderate company. 95

Whipsaw was the shorter priced of the two Henry De Bromhead runners although his flat form is no better than moderate. Another veteran of the Roscommon contest, his debut saw him race too freely to do himself justice and it started in a similar fashion here. Briefly leading in the early stages, he fought for his head before being pulled back behind the leaders. His hurdling benefited as a result and his only error was getting slightly big at the fifth. However, the greater restraint did not translate into a more purposeful finish and he lost touch leaving the back stretch. While Whipsaw put up a better performance than at Roscommon, stamina concerns still linger and he does not look an obvious winner in the making. 91

Grand Revival used to reside at Ballydoyle and parents have five American triple-crown races between them. However, he would not race in Coolmore colours and three of his four flat outings resulted in very little. He did, however, win a Fairyhouse claimer on his penultimate start, the form of which did not read badly in the context of this field. Grand Revival raced very lazily at Fairyhouse and he managed to get himself detached in the early stages here, jumping slowly and untidily in the process. Tailed off leaving the back, Grand Revival was able to pass a few beaten horses in the closing stages, although he still finished forty-one lengths behind the winner. Grand Revival is seemingly a horse capable of better than he shows, and while his unreliability would make him of little interest in the short term, he could potentially be competitive should he develop such a mentality. 73

Fake Plastic Trees collected four duck eggs from as many outings on the flat and his profile did not suggest that a change of fortunes was forthcoming over hurdles. Jumping big and slowly, Fake Plastic Trees was held up towards the rear and though he made some headway around the half-way stage, he soon lost his position with a tired jump two out. 72

Gervada, making his racecourse debut here, is by the same sire as the winner but that was essentially the extent of positives in his profile. Largely anonymous in the markets, he set off prominently, raced keenly, but did not make any real hurdling errors. He lost places along the back and after clinging on to the main body up to two out, would then weaken markedly and finish tailed off. His clean round of jumping is a positive, but there is little else to draw from this performance. 37

Mystery Show had the highest flat rating in this line up and had managed to win at Ascot for Archie Watson back in May. However, her temperament has begun to look suspect and was showing signs of recalcitrance on her hurdling debut before pulling up early on having been severely hampered. She opened at 18/1 in the ring, but most faith had dissipated as she drifted out to 50/1 by the off. Racing towards the rear, her hurdling lacked fluency or assurance and was losing ground on the leaders as the race progressed before finishing tailed off. 17

Rich Law No Law placed third in a pair of low grade nurseries last Autumn for Kevin Prendergast, but had failed to match that standard in two subsequent outings for the yard. Beaten by nearly twenty lengths off 46 on his reappearance under his new trainer, he was completely unfancied for this and started at 250/1. Always in the rear division, he was steady at his hurdles (reported by his rider to have jumped green) and finished the race tailed off and tired. 24

Drogheda Dave was the second string for Henry De Bromhead and his career highlights on the flat came by way of finishing midfield in a pair of seven furlong handicaps off marks in the fifties. Doubling in price to 66/1 at the off, Drogheda Dave lacked fluency at his hurdles, never left the rear and finished tired and detached. 7

Luz Long showed very modest form on the flat, failing to get within twenty lengths of the winner in four outings. There were glimmers of hope in his profile, however, as his sire has had winners from his few representatives in the sphere, half-brother Jeff Kidder was one of the leading juveniles of last season and his trainer's horses often improve for the switch in codes. Opening at 80/1 in the ring, he went out to 150/1 at one point before returning to his original price. Though he set off just behind the leaders, any optimism was short lived as he was hesitant at the first and would be slow and novicey from there, losing ground and pulling up before two out. Nevertheless, the embers are not completely extinguished as he reportedly made a noise during the race. 0

Li Mu Bai brought a rating of 74 from the flat which came courtesy of a first, then a second, in a pair of seven furlong handicaps at Fairyhouse and Galway the previous month. Though there were stamina concerns both on form and on breeding, he represented a Gavin Cromwell yard with a good record in the sphere and was sent off a steady third favourite at 5/1. Tucked in behind the leaders, he jumped the first couple reasonably before getting tight at the third and skewing over the next. Unable to keep up along the back, he faltered as the race reached the closing stages and was on course to finish towards the rear when making errors at the final two flights, unshipping his rider at the last. With his last outing coming eight days prior and the yard being in form, there are no obvious excuses beyond a lack of stamina and aptitude. 0

 

On 8/9/2021 at 1:44 PM, calva decoy said:

In both bumpers & maiden novice flat races I'll back a horse carrying a penalty even more so with a claimer on it next time round but I won't back it 2nd time after a win . 

W.Greatrex used to do very well with his bumper runners in the Midlands at Stratford & Uttoxeter & on the flat Martyn Meade's 2yr olds especially over 5 - 7f I always follow , he had CRESTA win at Leicester yesterday at 12/1 was 16's night before.

I have shares in 4 horses with the Owners Group & Calva D'auge learned his trade as a juvenile hurdler in France before joining P.Nicholls yard & has been a superstar as so far has First Folio who also learned his trade on the other side of the pond .

If OG source another French horse be it either National Hunt or Flat I won't hesitate to get involved in .

At the very least, you can expect their juvenile hurdlers to be competitive. Have already had a winner this term with Knotty Ash so will be interesting to see if they add any more to their ranks over the coming weeks...

On 8/9/2021 at 4:56 PM, calva decoy said:

TELEVISION ran a good race finishing 4th at 20/1 behind the top 3 in the market just pipped for a place by the favourite & gaining about 30 Lengths from race 6 days ago , if she is upped another 2F she'll be gracing the winners enclosure sooner rather than later 

A trip and time will definitely work in her favour. She won't be getting either any time soon however... She could get her trip in a handicap if connections fancy sending her across the water, but the Irish handicaps won't open to juveniles before Christmas and apart from Ballinrobe (IIRC), none of their 3-y-o hurdles exceed seventeen furlongs.

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On 8/9/2021 at 12:36 PM, MCLARKE said:

In terms of breeding I favour Irish bred horses in maidens, the AE is 1.02 compared to 0.97 for UK and 0.95 for France.

 

Are those figures your own work or do you get your AE stats from somewhere? 

Also, silly question but is AE essentially calculated by comparing the expected finishing position to the one achieved? i.e;- Horse who's generally fifth in the betting, finishes fourth and third in a few races gets an AE exceeding 1.00... one that more often finishes worse than fifth gets one below 1.00... averaged over so many races... somehow... 

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I calculate them myself. The AE compares actual winners to expected winners.

So as an example if you had 10 horses at odds of 1/1 you would expect 5 winners.

If you had 5 winners then the AE would be 5/5 = 1.0, if 6 winners it would be 6/5 = 1.2, 4 winners would be 4/5 = 0.8.

Basically anything above 1 is good, below 1 is bad.

I prefer it to ROI as it is not distorted by long priced winners.

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Cheers Mclarke

I am having a crack although it is odd that an entity with an A/E above 1 could still be showing an overall loss per level stake... Unless I've made an error in arriving at my A/E... Although I imagine it's still possible if all the winners have shorter odds than the average runner...

An example I'll use is Oliver Greenall.

15 winners from 117 runners = 12.82% strike rate
Sum total of his SP% is 1214 leaving an average SP% of 10.38%
12.82/10.38 = 1.24

He is showing a level stakes loss of £25.57 in juvenile hurdles, but as imagined that can be accounted for his average winner having an SP of 6.10 (5.50 median), while his average runner has an SP of 36.38 (13.00 median). I see your point with ROI as using the case of Jennie Candlish, her A/E is 0.72 yet thanks to Maoi Chinn Tire winning the Wensleydale at 200/1, she is still showing a level stakes profit of £129.25

Am I doing the math correctly at least?

I vaguely remember James Willoughby talking about eliminating really long priced runners although I may have just made that memory up... Also, do you account for overrounds by using BSP/rounding the SPs of a particular race to total 100%? Or do you stick with SP as is since the skews will even out over enough time?

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As you suggest I use BSP in my calculations as this takes out any bookies overround. With BSP the favourite / longshot bias doesn't really apply, the returns from longshots are the same as from shorter prices horses.

I think it is extremely difficult to make a profit at SP.

My bets are a combination of BSP and bookmakers BOG. On average my ROI is about 5%.

In reality you need an AE of 1.02 to cover the 2% commision. I would also recommend proportional staking.

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