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Juvenile Hurdlers 2020/2021

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    Bachelors HallBachelors Hall
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    The fourth juvenile hurdle of the season took place yesterday at Market Rasen and the first sans Hiconic. In the end, it went to her Bangor victim who won the race very nicely. While by pure dint of flat form and connections the field seemed fairly strong beforehand, there were enough holes in the profiles to be sceptical about the overall quality of the field and this is emphasised by the sloppy jumping by many of the runners. Nevertheless it was still ran at a fair gallop and the two with the sturdiest biographies came to the fore which makes the form more reliable. Soldier On Parade was second favourite to Dutch Admiral in one tissue and the early exchanges saw the winner offered at 7/4 but his starting price was a much better reflection of his chances. Party Potential and Dutch Admiral’s opening shows were understandable from their basic profiles and their drifts sensible. Quite why Billy The Squid started the day in single digits was peculiar and may have hinged on the stable’s decent form but his price also went in the correct direction. Dorchester Dom drifted like a barge but his attitude cleared up that mystery. The going was good.

    Soldier On Parade did not win head on chest but it was a very comfortable success and was never asked to do more than stretch out. Leading from the start, he took a fairly keen hold early on and went left at the first two flights but apart from being guessy at the last was neat and tidy at the rest of his jumps. Similarly to Bangor, his pace around half a mile out had the rest of the field in trouble and without asked any serious questions was able to win quite cosily in the end. While he looked like a very nice horse, given the improvement anticipated from his Bangor effort, he was entitled to win this race as he did. There probably should not be too much read into the distance he put between himself and those behind as they all gave incorrect answers to the questions posed of them going into the race. Nevertheless, it was still a good performance for what it was and a rating in the mid 110s would be fair. Whether that is good enough to defy a penalty will depend on the competition.

    Prince Percy was representing a decent yard and pedigree for the discipline as well as a fair standard of form from the flat. He missed his intended jumps debut at Newton Abbot after reportedly being found cast in his box but showed no ill effects for that experience and made a pleasing introduction. Lit up a bit early on, he settled fairly quickly and apart from a couple of confused jumps at the end of the race, he went over his hurdles nicely. The standard of this performance would be broadly in keeping with the flat form shown by this consistent horse and he can certainly be competitive in this kind of race. If there is to be a note of caution, this was the seventh time in as many career starts that he was supported in the market without winning. Perhaps too much can be read into that but this capable and consistent animal still needs to prove that he can have his head in front at the finishing line.

    Mick finished ahead of the winner on the flat at Doncaster but the gap in hurdling experience accounted for many of the twenty-two lengths between the pair on this occasion. Slightly hampered at the first before being big and slow at several of his jumps, Mick was off the bridle and finding himself outpaced at the end of the back straight, but he did manage to rally into third place at the finish. This was a fair debut and he has given himself enough to work on but he would want to be a bit more confident in the future and his being inconsistent on the flat will also have to be taken into account for the time being.

    Party Potential was Alan King’s second juvenile hurdler of the season after his first, Kings Creek, was beaten into fourth at Stratford last Tuesday. On paper, Party Potential did not look as strong as the aforementioned beforehand and while he jumped better than a few of these, the fluency, attitude and ultimately his form was a level below Kings Creek. He would either have to improve or find a very weak contest to be competitive in the near future.

    Dutch Admiral ran a shocker on the basis of flat form and trainer but according to his sire, he did as well as can be expected. He has a nice enough size but showed no natural fluency over his obstacles here. Perhaps with sufficient time, schooling and experience he can improve on this but on this evidence, he needs to return to the flat if he is going to make use of his patent ability.

    Current put up a career best here after travelling slightly better than at Bangor and was still just about in touch leaving the back. However, she finished tired and lacks the stamina to be competitive over hurdles at this stage of her career.

    Billy The Squid was probably distracted when jumping wildly to the left at the first but there are no apparent excuses for his bunny hopping and other forms of non-hurdler hurdling. Was pushed along going past the stands and lost touch before leaving the back straight.

    Dragon Man improved on his Stratford outing and although he needed encouraging into most of his jumps, managed to get over them alright. He does not look a natural for this discipline.

    Dorchester Dom opened at a price of 8/1 in the morning, representing the strong Nigel Twiston-Davies yard. There were misgivings to be had over the quality of his form since his debut in last year’s Brocklesby but his drifting out to 66/1 was conspicuous. In the event, he barely consented to jump off and the quality of his hurdling was poor before he was pulled up with two left to jump.

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    Ireland’s first juvenile hurdle of the season takes place at Roscommon on Monday and is due to see several top yards in the division represented. Eleven races of its type have taken place at the course since 2011 with the average winning dosage index being 1.75 mean and 1.77 median. Roscommon being a sharp track with some of the lowest seconds-per-furlong average times would correspond with these relatively high DIs. The race, particularly with its large field size looks like a trappy affair and while a couple of nice horses might emerge, it should still be approached with caution as most of the contenders have quesions to answer.

    A Mere Bagatelle bg John Joseph Hanlon (56) 50
    Born To Sea (Fasliyev){11}(4.00) 3/1 Kerawi 1st Christmas Hurdle (G1), Kempton 1997
    A Mere Bagatelle had three flat starts last season for Jonathan Fogarty and found himself well beaten on each occasion. There were some useful animals ahead of him in those races such as Innisfree, Shekhem and Mogul, but he was too far away from them to catch any kudos by proxy. On breeding, A Mere Bagatelle ticks several boxes as his sire has made a decent start in the discipline and his granddam was a sibling of good hurdler Kerawi. There would be nagging stamina doubts, particularly as the family sees a marked improvement with a lower dosage index, although Roscommon is one of the less demanding tracks in that regard.
    Belgoprince chg A J Martin (70.4) 48
    Prince Gibraltar (Bering){9-f}(0.82) 2/1 Golden Marvel Jumps winner in USA
    Belgoprince had nine starts in his native France with the last three coming in claimers at Marseille’s Pont-de-Vivaux. He won the first of those races before being beaten into third and second while coming ahead at the weights. He was claimed for €16,256 after the third of those outings where he showed a decent willingness to hit the front before possibly idling close to the line. The winner that day has since been finishing mid division in handicaps, the third places has been runner up in handicaps his last three starts and the fourth’s valeur has risen to 34 so Belgoprince’s official rating of 70 looks very fair on that basis. Following a three month absense, he made his Irish debut in a Ballinrobe apprentice handicap where he finished down the field after receiving little support in the market. Only Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins have sent out more juveniles than Tony Martin than 2011/12 although his winners to runners ratio is rather on the lower end of the scale and he has not recently been amongst the winners. Sire Prince Gibraltar has yet to have a hurdler in the UK or Ireland but has had four in France thus far including a winner and two placed horses – one of those being recent Arqana sales topper Prunay. His dam has a jumps winning sibling in America and is herself 3/2 with the decent French juveniles Houx Maqique and Hoc Volo. Belgoprince is certainly capable of making a useful juvenile hurdler although it remains to be seen if he is firing on all cylinders first time out.
    Calidus Mirabilis bg Joseph Patrick O’Brien (68) 75
    Hot Streak (Oasis Dream){4-j}(1.50) 4/5 La Limagne 1st Handicap Hurdle, Auteuil 2018
    Joseph O’Brien’s first juvenile runner of the season, Calidus Mirabilis was twice successful on the all weather at the beginning of the year when taking successive handicaps at Dundalk and then at Chelmsford. He showed a nice attitude in the process of winning at Chelmsford although he did drift to his right at Dundalk both when winning in January and when runner up in the middle of last month. The form is fair although his official flat rating of 70 may be the ceiling of his ability and a switch to hurdling at this stage may be done as an alternative to competing off his mark. Calidus Mirabilis will also be Hot Streak’s first offspring to go over jumps and while Iffraaj (also on the Zafonic sireline) produced last season’s good juvenile and stablemate Cerberus, the latter’s damsire Montjeu is a far more secure stamina influence than Oasis Dream.
    Dazzling Darren chg Gavin Cromwell (68) 70
    Dragon Pulse (Dark Angel){16-f}(1.67) no jumps relatives
    When looking at trainers whose charges improve for the switch between codes, of those with ten or more qualifiers, Gavin Cromwell sits atop the table with 80% of his juveniles improving on their equivalent flat ratings. He is due to saddle two in this field, the first being the mount of Conor McNamara. Dazzing Darren joined the Gavin Cromwell yard for £4,200 after a winless six race season as a two year old which saw him earn a rating of 49. Following a hat-trick of wins at Chelmsford, Lingfield and Wolverhampton that rating increased to 58 and a further increase to the current 68 followed three successive seconds at this track in handicaps ranging from ten furlongs on good-to-firm to twelve furlongs on heavy. This sequence of consistency came to an end last week at Galway where he was perhaps keener than usual in first time blinkers which are left off here. The form of these runs is reasonable without being remarkable but he does have the measure of several of these rivals. Dazzing Darren’s case does rather deteriorate when considering his pedigree as Dragon Pulse has a mere 3% strike rate with his juveniles and there are no jumpers to be found within recent generations on the damline.
    Differentiate bg Gavin Cromwell (55) 58
    Maxios (Kris S){2-d}(1.21) 2/2 Maxios 3/1 Exit To Nowhere
    The other Cromwell entry, Differentiate differentiates from stablemate Dazzling Darren in that while his flat form is weaker, his pedigree profile is stronger. Insofar as his flat form is concerned, he has improved recently and is showing consistency with two third place finishes over distances of thirteen and fourteen furlongs. However, his mark of 55 is the lowest of all those achieved by his rivals bar one and the subsequent form of his outings are in keeping with the low ratings involved. Nevertheless, Differentiate’s stallion Maxios is a force in this division with his winners to runners, wins to runs, 108+ RPRs and improvement rates all near or at the top. And although there are no jumpers on the immediate damline, Differentiate’s dam is a half sister to leading juvenile sire Maxios. Though one might ruminate on Maxios and the fondness he has for his auntie, a more interesting fact is that his uncle Exit To Nowhere was a very decent dual-purpose sire. Differentiate’s career began at the yard of Andrew Oliver under whose care Dodging Bullets, Mega Fortune and Gavin Cromwell’s winning juvenile Plain Talking also made their first steps onto the racecourse. It is difficult to get away from the low standard of Differentiate’s flat form, particularly as he is badly weighted against several of these, since his profile would otherwise make plenty of appeal.
    Jeff Kidder bg Noel Meade (64) 71
    Hallowed Crown (Rail Link){1-l}(0.71) no jumps relatives (2/2 Lady Kapalua)
    Well beaten on his three runs last year, Jeff Kidder slipped up in the early stages of a ten furlong handicap at this track in mid June. However, he showed no ill effects for that incident and has twice been a narrowly beaten runner up in a pair of 1m5f handicaps at Sligo and Ballinrobe. The front two pulled over six lengths clear in the latter race and while Jeff Kidder was a touch flattered to finish close to the well handicapped winner Shumaker, the form was boosted when that horse followed up again at Down Royal. Noel Meade has an excellent record with juvenile hurdlers and his winners to runners rate of 39% increases to 50% when accounting only for horses he trained on the flat himself. Winning juvenile hurdles with flat ratings lower than 65 is not a problem for the trainer either with both Bat Masterson and Dodgybingo successful in this sphere with a flat rating of 63. Sire Hallowed Crown has yet to sire any jumps runners but while his sire Street Sense managed to produce a winning juvenile, the Machiavellian line is not altogether encouraging in this sphere. Neither is there much encouragement to draw from Rail Link’s influence or that of the damline. Although the negativity surrounding this pedigree is based more on an absence of solid information rather than confirmation of underperformance, it is still detrimental to the horse’s overall profile.
    Little Brother bg J A Nash (57) 57
    Gale Force Ten (Thunder Gulch){5-h}(3.00) 4/1 Salamah 3rd Kennel Gate NvH, Ascot 1998
    Little Brother got off the mark on his eighth attempt when winning a Sligo handicap by a neck from Jeff Kidder and Differentiate and had twice placed in Roscommon handicaps leading up to that race.
    The win came after a step up of three furlongs in trip after shaping as though further would suit when twice placed over ten furlongs. The form of that win has stood up with the next three home each finishing placed in similar handicaps and while he was a beaten favourite last time at Killarney, it did not represent a major regression. Notwithstanding, the gap of seven pounds in the official ratings between himself and Jeff Kidder seems fair. The records of sire and trainer in this sphere are respectable without being prolific.
    Longclaw bc Gordon Elliott (84) 83
    Kitten’s Joy (Dixie Union){3-d}(2.38) american family
    After beginning at the Curragh in July and finishing third behind Group One winners Alpine Star and Santiago, Longclaw’s two year old career saw him contest a listed contest at Kentucky Downs where he was able to pick up nearly forty thousand pound’s worth of third place prize money. After another run at Churchill Downs in November, Longclaw crossed the Atlantic once again to resume his career in Ireland. His return came in less esteemed company in a Roscommon maiden but would finish down the field after drifting to 11/4 from a morning price of 11/10. He was then tried in cheekpieces for his next start but was beaten even further, albeit in slightly stronger company. Gordon Elliott is the leading trainer of juveniles in Ireland with fifty-five individual winners since 2011/12 and the best of Longclaw’s flat form is far superior to anything else produced by this field’s runners. However, his profile is a regressive one and there is no salvation to be found in either his pedigree or the fact that he is still an entire.
    Orchestral Rain bg W McCreery (-) 69
    Born To Sea (Val Royal){23 }(2.43) 2/1 Crafty Codger 1st 3YO Hurdle, Punchestown 2014
    With just the one start, Orchestral Rain is the least exposed of those with experience and that run came in a Killarney maiden where he finished a neck behind Longclaw. It was not a run without promise as after a slow start, he was pushed into a promising position where perhaps too much use was made of him. He lost his place turning in but kept on without being given too hard a time and shaped as though he would very much improve for the experience. Willie McCreery has not saddled a jumps winner in over five years but he can get improvement between codes out of his juveniles and has enjoyed three winners on the flat in the past fortnight including one at Galway. Born To Sea counts the classy A Wave Of The Sea and Aspire Tower along with triple winner Malangan among his early crops of juveniles – the latter two carrying DIs above 2.50. Orchestral Rain’s dam is a half sister to winning juvenile Crafty Codger from the family of Alflora, Ardross and Scorpion. His trainer’s recent record in jumps races is a concern and Orchestral Rain is mostly an unproven entity but an expectable improvement on his debut run would put his flat form close to the best available from this field and his pedigree has a very favourable feel.
    Strip Light chg M Halford (68) 67
    Outstrip (Dark Angel){1-p}(2.00) 3/1 Fine Lace 2nd Juvenile Hurdle, Chepstow 2010
    It has been a very long time since Michael Halford has sent out a juvenile hurdler but he was the handler of Triumph Hurdle third Golden Cross early on in his training career. However, while Golden Cross’s sire Goldmark was a stamina influence who stood as a jumping sire, the same may not ring true for Outstrip. Strip Light has yet to finish within seven lengths of the winner in his three starts on the flat although it would be inaccurate to say he has found himself particularly disgraced. Nevertheless, the official mark of 68 looks steep and while there are capable juveniles on the damline, others here have more solid profiles.
    Summit Rock bg T G McCourt (56) 69
    Exceed And Excel (Iceman){16-a}(1.00) 2/2 Quick Jack 1st Galway Hurdle (136), Galway 2015
    Summit Rock was initially handed a rating of 74 after three runs in Dundalk maidens for Dermot Weld last year. That rating was based on the sole occasion he was beaten less than four lengths and that came in a maiden that has produced only one subsequent winner. After selling at Goffs for €6000 in February, Summit Rock has been well beaten in four handicaps and his current rating of 56 is greater than the sum of those efforts. While he is related to winners on the dam’s side, including Galway Hurdle winner Quick Jack, his sire has a poor record in this sphere.
    Tipperary Moon bg Des Donovan (50) 40
    Sea Moon (Vale Of York){3-d}(1.29) 3/0 Celestial Choir 1st Dipper Novices’ Chase, Newcastle 1998
    Tipperary Moon will be the first jumps runner for his sire but his damsire produced two winning juveniles of his own and his great granddam was a useful chaser in the nineties. However, the standard of his three flat runs is poor and his trainer has yet to saddle a jumps winner.
    Lady Kapalua bf J P Dempsey Unraced
    Maxios (Champs Elysees){1-l}(0.76) no jumps relatives (2/2 Jeff Kidder)
    Lady Kapula is an unraced filly from a family with no close jumping relatives and from a yard for whom none of its six juveniles have won since 2011/12. The aforementioned Maxios is a stallion worthy of regard and while Champs Elysees mares have yet to produce any jumps runners in the UK or Ireland, he is an above average stallion in the division. It would be difficult to build a case on her sire and damsire alone but she would not be entirely dismissed.
    Merry Poppins grf J Motherway Unraced
    Authorized (Peintre Celebre){1-w}(0.68) 2/1 In On The Act 3rd Juvenile Maiden Hurdle, Plumpton 2006
    Another unraced filly representing another top class sire of juvenile hurdlers. Only Mastercraftsman (21) has sired more winning juveniles than Authorized (20) since 2011/12 and the latter has done so with fewer runners. Peintre Celebre is also an above average damsire whose statistics are only marginally inferior to those of Champs Elysees. Merry Poppins will be only the second juvenile hurdler from the yard since 2011/12 and once again, a strong argument for her can not be made based on decent sirelines alone.
    Runcible bf Miss Katy Brown (59) 61
    Ivawood (Tiger Hill){9-c}(1.67) 2/1 Cyborg 122 1st Maiden Hurdle, Ballinrobe 2010
    First Reserve. Was not disgraced in her defeats in maiden company over ten furlongs at Lingfield or Leopardstown but has since disappointed in two subsequent outings. Ivawood is zero from one with juvenile hurdlers and his sire Zebedee has a poor record in the division. Tiger Hill is respectable in the sphere but there is not much else on which to hinge her case.
    Hay Kimbello blg Denis Gerard Hogan (-) 24
    Alhebayeb (Key Of Luck){6-e}(2.00) 3/2 Midnight Legend 3rd Aintree Hurdle (G1), Aintree 1999
    Second reserve. Was beaten a combined forty-nine lengths in two maidens last year and was beaten twenty-three lengths when 150/1 for his reappearance at Gowran Park in June. Related to Midnight Legend and Key Of Luck is an able damsire but neither the records of her sire nor trainer in this division inspire enthusiasm.
    Voice Of Hope brg Andrew Slattery (63) 72
    Poet’s Voice (Montjeu){14-c}(0.82) 3/1 Pack The Punch 3rd Maiden Hurdle, Wexford 2015
    Third reserve. Has not raced this season and his form rather tailed off towards the backend of the last campaign. Should stay on breeding and his sire, trainer and damsire are not without their merits in the sphere. Damline also features good jumps stallions Sholokhov and Soldier Of Fortune. Perhaps worthier of a place in this field than a few of the declared runners but still has an absense and loss of form to overcome.

    Strong prospects
    1. Orchestral Rain
    2. Jeff Kidder
    3. Belgoprince
    Reasonable prospects
    4. Dazzling Darren
    5. Calidus Mirabilis
    6. Longclaw
    Feasible prospects
    7. Differentiate
    8. Little Brother
    Moderate prospects
    9. Lady Kapalua
    10. Voice Of Hope (R)
    11. Merry Poppins
    12. Strip Light
    13. A Mere Bagatelle
    Negligible prospects
    14. Summit Rock
    15. Tipperary Moon
    16. Runcible
    17. Hay Kimbello

    Bachelors HallBachelors Hall
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    Not content with simply writing a 2844 word essay on a Monday afternoon Roscommon maiden hurdle, I dedicated a large portion of my bike ride this morning to thinking about the race. Perhaps the scenery of my Peak District route would have sufficed in keeping my attention were I not peddling into a driving headwind while getting pelted with thick rain but I did get to thinking about the success rates of juveniles purchased from French claimers.

    So according to my records, thirty juvenile hurdlers since the 2011/12 season were sourced in French claimers. Sixteen from flat claimers and fourteen from the hurdle races. Overall, seven of those horses won as juveniles, three bought from flat claimers and four from the jumps and the wins to runs rates are four from forty-nine flat (8.2%) and four from fifty-eight jumps (6.9%)

    The median jumps rating of those purchased from claiming hurdles was 111 while the median RPR achieved in the UK/IRE during the juvenile season was 108. This dip in standard was slight compared to the flat claimed counterparts who earned a median RPR of just 89.5 despite a median flat mark of 71.5. Only one horse of these thirty recouped their claiming price during their juvenile season and that was Chic Name who earned £20,668 in prize money during a ten race campaign after being claimed by Richard Hobson out of the Augustin Adeline De Boisbrunet yard for €13,000.

    Insofar as tomorrow’s race is concerned Tony Martin’s Belgoprince was claimed from Cedric Rossi for €16,256. Belgoprince is set to be the sixth horse claimed from French claimers (all flat races incidentally) to run over hurdles as a juvenile for the yard during this time period. None of them have won in fourteen starts between them and only Fullmoon In Paris collected any prize money courtesy of her thirty-seven length fourth in a Gowran maiden in 2017. Tropic Thunder would win two on the bounce after leaving the Martin yard and Mydor landed the odds for Tony Martin in a Fairyhouse Handicap as a five-year-old. Another who would enjoy success under the care of the Summerhill trainer was Heartbreak City. After changing hands for €23,006, Heartbreak City would not win his first race for his new handler until the summer as a five year old when taking a class 2 York handicap. He would go on to win another handicap at the venue in the shape of the 2016 Ebor before finishing runner up in the Melbourne Cup.

    Nevertheless, while Belgoprince might one day earn nearly three quarters of a million pounds, I am not quite as optimistic about his prospects in tomorrow’s race and will change the prospects list accordingly. Once again, this is only to contextualise the race in advance and should not be taken as a tip. I am not a tipster. Mercifully, the parasites have not priced this one up yet so the original prospects list will not have affected anybody’s financial wellbeing. I hope… If there ends up being an avalanche of money for Belgoprince then his prospects improve but otherwise, they lie somewhere between reasonable and feasible. I am not a tipster.

    Strong prospects
    1. Orchestral Rain
    2. Jeff Kidder
    Reasonable prospects
    3. Dazzling Darren
    4. Calidus Mirabilis
    5. Longclaw
    6. Belgoprince
    Feasible prospects
    7. Differentiate
    8. Little Brother
    Moderate prospects
    9. Lady Kapalua
    10. Voice Of Hope (R)
    11. Merry Poppins
    12. Strip Light
    13. A Mere Bagatelle
    Negligible prospects
    14. Summit Rock
    15. Tipperary Moon
    16. Runcible (R)
    17. Hay Kimbello (R)

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    My review of today’s race will have to wait until tomorrow but I can post the preview for Wednesday’s contest at Newton Abbot here;-

    Juvenile hurdling in the UK returns to the scene of the curtain raiser, Newton Abbot, for race five of the season. Hiconic began her winning streak that day and attempts to make it four from four on Wednesday. She has barely put a hoof wrong thus far and while she may have the measure of her reopposing rivals, a couple of the newcomers could present her with her toughest assignment to date. The race distance extends to seventeen furlongs but with an average winning DI exceeding 1.40 among its juveniles, Newton Abbot is one of the easiest courses insofar as stamina is concerned.

    Hiconic bf A Hales f7-0-2 (57) 57 j3-3-0 (119) 108
    Sixties Icon (Acclamation){1-n}(0.60) 1/0 Hi Note 2nd 4YO Hurdle, Cheltenham 2012
    Hiconic has done everything asked of her in three starts and has improved on each occasion. Despite picking up penalties and facing arguably sterner opposition on each occasion, her winning distances have done nothing but increase. She was asked to extend more than usual during her win at Stratford last time and while her official rating of 119 looks in keeping with her performances, she will be giving upwards of a stone to her rivals. It is possible she can improve further but unless one brings her rider’s claim into account, her winning is contingent on either her finding further improvement or none of her rivals running to a mark of 105. She could be as vulnerable as she has been thus far over hurdles against some respectable opponents. Nevertheless, she is still proven in this discipline and under these conditions.

    Balko Saint bg Mrs Jane Williams Unraced
    Balko (Saint Des Saints){5-i}(0.71) 2/1 Workbench 3rd Badger Ales Trophy (131), Wincanton 2014
    During the 2018/19 season, Jane Williams sent out the unraced Montestrel to win the traditionally well contested juvenile hurdle at Chepstow’s October meeting at 20/1, upsetting triple graded winner Quel Destin in the process. While it might be lazy to describe the George Nympton yard of Jane and Nick Williams as basically the same thing, it would also be accurate. Since 2011/12, twenty-five horses from the yard have made their racecourse debuts in juvenile hurdles with eight of them winning during their initial campaign. This gives the yard healthy 32% winner to runner ratio although only two of those horses were able to win first time of asking. Nevertheless, this type of horse would also earn a median peak RPR of 107 which would make them very competitive in this field. Having Balko as a stallion and Saint Des Saints a damsire is about as solid as it gets for good French jumping pedigrees and the two have combined to produce the useful Dinons. Although while both are well above average when it comes to their juvenile credentials, their progeny also improve with age and their stout influence may not lend itself to a debutant at Newton Abbot. The damline contains some good jumpers from the useful Workbench (2/1) to the 1976 Grand Steeplechase de Paris winner Piomares (5/1). For all that Balko Saint is an interesting newcomer to the sport, the yard’s record, the horse’s pedigree and the capable animals in opposition would suggest that there may be brighter opportunities in the future.

    Billy The Squid bg F O’Brien f3-0-0 (47) 34 j1-0-0 (-) 54
    Requinto (American Post){19}(0.43) 2/1 Edylan 1st 5YO Conditions Hurdle, Angers 2019
    Billy The Squid has good horses on the damline and his trainer is in flying form. However, both of these were true when he made a woeful hurdles debut last week at Market Rasen and while it would be difficult to not improve on his jumping, there is no reason to imagine that he can get involved in this field.

    Edebez bg S Mullins f3-0-0 (53) 47 j1-0-0 (-) 90
    Zebedee (Barathea){4-r}(1.67) No immediate jumps relatives, 7/5 Le Breuil
    Finishing twenty-one lengths behind Hiconic at this venue last month, Edebez reopposes on twenty-one pounds better terms. Apart from a big jump at the first, he was fairly fluent throughout and while he did finish tired, that may well have been due to a long lay-off. If he is to be competitive at any course over hurdles then based on his breeding, it would probably be Newton Abbot. However, Hiconic has almost certainly improved since that encounter and there are a few other opponents here who would likely be too strong for him on this occasion.

    Fiach Stoney bg M Loughnane f3-0-0 (52) 48 j1-0-0 (-) 53
    Urban Poet (Excellent Art){9-c}(2.08) 2/0 Randall’s Diana 1st Handicap Hurdle (88), Listowel 2008
    That his granddam was a hurdles winner was the basis of his case before putting in a novicey round of jumping and finishing fifty-two lengths behind Hiconic at Stratford just over a fortnight ago.

    Highlander Madrik chg David Pipe f6-1-1 (72.6) 73
    Masterstroke (Redback){1-b}(0.33) 2/1 You’re The Top 1st Novices’ Chase, Kempton 2009
    Yesterday I wrote about how horses claimed out of French races since 2011/12 do not have a particularly strong record in juvenile hurdles with only three of those sixteen taken out of claimers winning in the sphere. There are exceptions to rules however and one exists in David Pipe who can take credit for two of those winners from three claims. The form of the Dieppe claimer where he may have won but for a slight stumble towards the line has a fair look to it with the winner finishing third in a similar event and the third placed horse – who was about ten pounds behind – winning an Argentan handicap off 28.5 (roughly 62.7 in the UK/Ireland). Furthermore, while the Mikaël Seror export juveniles came through means other than claiming races, they have included Fanfan Du Seuil and Call Me Lord. Masterstroke, who this year joined Yorton Farm Stud after standing in France, is a Monsun stallion out of a half sister to Galileo. He has yet to have a UK/IRE jumps winner from his first three crops but does have a 33% winners to runners rate with his French jumpers including the useful three-year-old of 2018, Floridee. Furthermore, Redback mares have produced three winning juveniles from five and Highlander Madrik’s dam, who is from the family of You’re The Top and Old March, won four times over jumps including a chase at three years old. However, if there are holes in his profile, he could be another who might find Newton Abbot too sharp as his win at Compiegne came on heavy and the race he was claimed from was over fifteen furlongs on soft ground. Furthermore, while David Pipe has won with two claimed horses, both were more expensive than Highlander Madrik by over eight and twenty-two thousand euros and neither won until competing in late season handicaps.

    Pink Jazz bg S Curran f10-1-1 (59) 62 j1-0-1 (-) 93
    Red Jazz (Captain Marvelous){2-f}(1.67) 2/1 Band Of Blood 4th Drinmore Novices Chase, Fairyhouse 2014
    Sean Curran has not sent out a winning juvenile hurdler since Prince Pippin in November 2009 and has only sent out five since 2011/12 including this one at Stratford. He is set to saddle two on Wednesday and Gavin Sheehan retains the mount on Pink Jazz. A winner on the flat for Gordon Elliott, Pink Jazz made a fair account of himself on his debut at Stratford. After pulling hard early, he would settle after getting a lead and put in a reasonable round of jumping before finishing eight and three quarter lengths behind Hiconic. With standard improvement from the debut run, he would be entitled to be competitive in this kind of company, particularly at a track which places less emphasis on stamina. However, there would be concerns with his attitude as although he is fairly honest and consistent, his resolve could be his undoing. He appeared to have any fight knocked out of him when slightly hampered at Windsor and probably failed to give best in the battle for second place at Stratford.

    Talking About You bf Sean Curran 6-0-1 (60) 60
    Sixties Icon (Mastercraftsman){9-h}(0.50) 3/1 Princess Caerani 2nd Mares’ Maiden Hurdle, Ludlow 2014
    The second half of the Sean Curran duo, Talking About You makes decent appeal on her pedigree. As well as being related to jumps winners, her sire Sixties Icon (also the sire of Hiconic) and damsire Mastercraftsman both have above average records in the discipline. Her flat form for Mick Channon has also seen some improvement to a fair level with her last being seen finishing runner up in a Windsor claimer. Although she wasn’t claimed out of that race, the juveniles who have been for the £8000 advertised have only one win from twenty four starts between them. Furthermore, while Mick Channon graduates have a healthy 22% winner to runner rate, that drops to 13.6% when you remove those trained by Sheena West or sold at public aution. Talking About You may have the ability to be competitive in a weaker race over hurdles – possibly over further – but will do well to in this company. Especially as she also appears to lack a combative attitude.

    Strong prospects
    1. Hiconic
    Reasonable prospects
    2. Pink Jazz
    3. Highlander Madrik
    4. Balko Saint
    Feasible – moderate prospects
    5. Ebedez
    6. Talking About You
    Negligible prospects
    7. Billy The Squid
    8. Fiach Stoney

    Bachelors HallBachelors Hall
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    Ireland’s juvenile hurdling season opened with a maiden hurdle at Roscommon, as is tradition. It featured representatives from several successful yards in the division including Gordon Elliott who saddled the winner Longclaw. It was ran at a good gallop on ground that was yielding, good in places, the likely horses finished at the front and while Calidus Mirabilis ran into the rail turning for home, it did not cost him any places and there was nothing else resembling harsh luck.

    Longclaw took a rather alarming drift in the market from the 11/8 available in the morning to touching 8/1 on the track. While there were reservations to be had over his seemingly regressive form, the drift looked like an over-correction as there was nothing wrong with his performance. Apart from a mistake at the second, his jumping was decent and he was a decisive winner in the end even if the runner up received no harsher a ride than he did. In winning this, he became the first juvenile winner for his sire and the only entire to win such a race apart from Sir Erec. While his flat form this season was not as strong as last year, it was still as good as anything else seen from this field and while this performance can be seen as something as a revival, it would not represent a huge leap forward. He certainly won this race nicely enough and a mark of around 120 would be reasonable but the conditions were ideal for him here and it is not a given that he will be able to meet sterner tasks in terms of competition and conditions.

    Jeff Kidder was the horse who countered Longclaws drift in the market when being backed into favouritism and it was a fair reflection of his chances. He has been improving on the flat recently for the step up in distance and this represents further improvement. He made a mistake at the third and rather misjudged the last before landing in the winners path but his jumping was fine otherwise and the incident at the last did not impact the finishing order. He was not given a hard time after it became apparent that he would not be winning here and was the more tenderly ridden of the front two between the last pair of flights. If he is to meet the winner again then the penalty could see him reverse placings – particularly if a greater test of stamina is required.

    Orchestral Rain was making only his second racecourse appearance of any nature but his flat run was full of promise, he was representing a solid pedigree and a capable yard and was very much underestimated in the market. As with his Killarney run where he was a neck behind the winner, he was rather green and somewhat lacking pace at stages but other than being slightly wary approaching the third put in a decent round of jumping and has scope for further improvement. Whether he stays at the yard or moves on remains to be seen but there was plenty of encouragement for the future taken from this run and ought to be very competitive in this kind of company.

    Calidus Mirabilis came in with a couple of flat wins under his belt and was representing a Joseph O’Brien yard which has a healthy but not outstanding record in this sphere for its numbers and strength. He was solid in the market and ran a respectable race but he was not the most fluent of jumpers and finished quite tired in the end. He can come on for this effort from a jumping perspective but he may struggle for stamina in the short term on this evidence.

    Dazzling Darren was another who tasted success on the flat on multiple occasions and was representing a yard which does very well with its juveniles pound for pound. There were reservations about his pedigree and while his jumping was fine apart from pecking on landing at the sixth, he did weaken quite badly in the end. A recent flat spin discounts any fitness theories although this was his ninth start of the year and fifth post-lockdown and his yard has had a leaner spell than usual so it is possible he could fare better if freshened up.

    Little Brother was the money horse having been backed from 14/1 in the morning into 7/2 but he was beaten in the end by almost thirty-five lengths. There were errors at the first and seventh but they were not really enough to end his chances. He did finish ahead of the runner up on a recent flat run which may explain the market support but he did not leave the impression that he was either a complete natural or something with a serious engine.

    Differentiate was the second of the Gavin Cromwell runners and was the least fancied of the pair on account of being nearly a stone inferior on the flat. Nevertheless, his jumping was fine and did keep on towards the end in his own time. While there is not much to this run at face value, it was not a bad introduction and a stiffer test could see him improve ahead of some of his rivals.

    Strip Light‘s fate was effectively sealed at the start where he made a terrible mistake at the first and was not much better at the second. He was never able to improve from midfield and would need to show more fluency before he can be considered with much enthusiasm.

    A Mere Bagatelle had plenty of use made of him and jumped well enough for the most part before losing his position and making some tired mistakes. Not a run devoid of promise considering it was his first outing for nearly eleven months and may do better if held up in the future.

    Belgoprince jumped off very slowly and made errors more in keeping with a horse without experience rather than one without the physical attributes. He had very little use made of him and is probably capable of much better in time.

    Runcible‘s profile did not really entitle her to make much of an impression beforehand and she ran accordingly.

    Lady Kapalua was the only unraced horse in the field and ran like it. Does not have the worst pedigree but probably needs a few more runs before her ability can be properly gauged.

    • Total Posts 3089

    B H,

    Just to add about Balko Saint, that he was bought as what the French call a ‘2-y-old store’ at Arqana sales by Nick Williams in July last year. Given the breeding, it’s surprising that the price was a modest 22,000 euros, which suggests he didn’t stand out on appearance.

    Enjoyable reading as always, thanks for the time and effort you put in.

    The Tatling Cheekily
    • Total Posts 325

    I love this thread.

    Bachelors HallBachelors Hall
    • Total Posts 1349


    Thank you for the kind words. I did glimpse at his price tag and thought it rather par for the course. Having a look at what the Williams clan pay for their better French imports, Balko Saint’s price is quite tepid. Particularly as the following were all sold as yearlings apart from Siruh Du Lac;-

    €38,000 Flying Tiger (Autumn)
    €32,000 Siruh Du Lac (Autumn)
    €30,000 Mercenaire (Autumn)
    €27,000 Montestrel (Autumn)
    €26,000 Espirit De Somoza (Autumn)
    €26,000 Le Rocher (Autumn)
    €22,000 Balko Saint (Summer)
    €20,000 Fox Norton (Autumn)
    €12,000 Dolores Delightful (Autumn)

    The average prices for stores from that particular sale of €29,618 (mean) and €24,500 (median) further bolster your observation.

    As it happens, he has also taken a walk in the market despite the withdrawal of the Pipe horse.


    I am glad you are enjoying the thread and am happy to say that the thread loves you too :)

    Venture to CognacVenture to Cognac
    • Total Posts 17535

    Completely agree with the other comments, some piece of work this.

    Bachelors HallBachelors Hall
    • Total Posts 1349

    Nice one VTC

    I would like to have been able to do the review of today’s race but have been strapped for time today so am afraid it will have to wait until tomorrow. Still, there is another race to look forward to…

    Cartmel, which is usually a village fair with a racecourse built around it, will this Friday simply be a racecourse as it hosts the sixth juvenile hurdle of the season. Although such races at the track have been by useful types such as Burnt Imp, Vosne Romanee and most notably Countrywide Flame, the quality of the fields is usually below average. However, this year could be an exception with three newcomers carrying flat ratings exceeding 75, making it perhaps the strongest race on paper. The race also draws together three horses with jumping experience who have all won prize money without looking especially threatening. Cartmel is one of the easier tracks in the country although this is rather contradicted by the average winning DI since 2011/12 being 1.21 mean and 1.14 median. However, taking the records back to 1990 brings the mean up to a ludicrous 2.48 although this is largely due to some wild outliers. The figures can be manipulated in any given way but in general terms, the stamina required to win a juvenile, particularly on the predicted soft ground, is still relevant albeit not as pronounced as at most other venues.

    Debt Of Honour bg N Mulholland f5-0-0 (52) 51 j2-0-0 (-) 84
    Kyllachy (Nayef){7}(1.91) 3/1 Architrave 1st Market Rasen Juvenile Hurdle 2010
    Debt Of Honour brings with him the most hurdling experience in the shape of two outings. His first outing at Newton Abbot saw him make several shapes over his hurdles, few of them conducive to negotiating them efficiently. The jumping did improve when he was next seen at Bangor which may have been due to the blinkers which he retains for this race. Neil Mulholland is a trainer worthy of respect in this discipline but his pedigree less so with Kyllachy still winless from his progeny’s forty-six outings. There are also stamina concerns and even if they are mitigated by Cartmel’s characteristics, there still remains the issue of his overall standard of form both on the flat and the jumps.

    Fraterculus chg Oliver Greenall f3-0-1 (79) 76
    Teofilo (Anabaa){5-f}(1.08) 6/7 Optimus Prime 2nd Novice Chase, Punchestown 2018
    Unraced as a two year old, Fraterculus had three starts on the flat in Ireland for Jim Bolger in June. The level of form across all three outings, which came over ten furlongs, was of a broadly similar standard and would justify a rating in the seventies without quite reaching his official mark of 79. His efforts include a Leopardstown maiden where he plugged on to finish just over five lengths behind subsequent listed race runner up Numen and was not enjoying the kickback when finishing last at the Curragh last time. He has worn cheekpieces on his last two outings which have now been left off following a gelding operation. Teofilo horses have a good record in juvenile hurdles and are above average by all metrics and similar sentiments apply to Anabaa as a damsire. Oliver Greenall also has a fine record in these events and has had a couple of winners recently. There can be reservations over his predominantly American oriented flat pedigree (his third dam won the 1993 Kentucky Oaks) and his greenness, previous use of headgear, freshly gelded state and unfamiliarity with soft ground are not easy to ignore but he otherwise has a respectable profile.

    Global Agreement chg Milton Harris f11-0-2 (56) 64
    Mayson (Royal Applause){10-a}(2.33) 2/1 Daring Bid 1st Novices’ Hurdle, Bangor 1999
    With eleven starts to his name, Global Agreement is the most experienced of this and with his peak efforts being largely consistent throughout would, by that token, also be the most exposed. While he was initially rated 66, his most recent mark of 58 is more accurate and a little kinder. He is versatile in terms of ground conditions and has shaped as though he should get this trip. Mayson has only had the one juvenile this far and the Invincible Spirit can be hit and miss however Royal Applause does not have a positive bearing in this division. Milton Harris has one winner from three but that is a small sample size and he has not had a winner since coming out of lockdown.

    Lairig Ghru bg Micky Hammond 3-0-2 (69) 70 Pon 6gs Mdn 26/9/19
    Canford Cliffs (Diktat){21-a}(1.00) 3/1 Whitby Jet 1st Novices Hurdle, Southwell 1980
    Micky Hammond runs two here and although the more experienced Jonjo O’Neill Jr takes the mount on Lairig Ghru, this will be the first instance of a partnership between the jocket and trainer and the stablemate retains his rider from last time. Lairig Ghru has yet to race in 2020 but had three runs over six furlongs last autumn and was placed on his first two outings at Pontefract and Newcastle. He came up against some reasonable sorts but the overall quality of his form could not be rated far beyond the mid sixties. The record of his sire is respectable in this division but while the trip here could be within his compass, he has a sprinter heavy damline. Furthermore, he would still have some ground to find with a few of these on form, his yard is not in the best form and he also has an absence to overcome.

    Mick bg M Hammond f6-0-1 (59) 63 j1-0-0 (-) 85
    Makfi (Pivotal){6-d}(1.40) 2/1 Sayar 1st Joe Mac Novice Hurdle (G3), Tipperary 2017
    An inconsistent maiden on the flat, Mick made a respectable debut effort at Market Rasen where after finding himself outpaced, was able to plug on for a distant third. His jumping could have been better but he would be entitled to improve with experience in that regard. Nevertheless, like his stablemate, he is still some way behind these on form and it is not guaranteed that he will even match that effort, particularly at a track like Cartmel.

    Naizagai bg Fergal O’Brien f5-0-4 (76) 78
    Dark Angel (Galileo){9-b}(0.90) 3/1 Oxymeron 1st Handicap Hurdle, Lingfield 1990
    Since the 2011/12 season, Fergal O’Brien has had just one win with juvenile hurdlers from forty-two attempts. However, his spell of tremendous recent form continued today at Newton Abbot with two winners, a runner up, and most importantly, his juvenile hurdler completely exceeding expectations held for him. In Naizagai, he has a juvenile with much more compelling flat form than Billy The Squid. While still a maiden after five starts for Roger Varian, he was placed on all bar one of those runs with the disappointment coming on his return after a layoff and a gelding operation. His best run came in a Newmarket novice stakes last November where he finished second among three future winners in good company. His latest run was slightly less encouraging where he lost his lead in the straight and finished third behind two who were beaten on their next outings. Nevertheless, that form would still entitle him to a mark in the mid seventies and although his wearing cheekpieces and hanging slightly are not ideal, he does not appear to be ungenuine. He was sold out of Roger Varian’s yard for 40,000 guineas at the Tattersalls July sale and graduates of the Varian yard have a healthy winner to runner strike rate with half of those winners selling for less than Naizagai’s price. Dark Angel’s record with juveniles is no better than average although he has produced Silver Streak and Guitar Pete and Galileo has a fine record as a damsire in this division.

    Peat Moss bg N Hawke f4-0-1 (50) 50
    Fracas (Dalakhani){14-c}(0.71) 4/1 Direct Lady 3rd Festival Hurdle Leopardstown 1992
    Peat Moss did not start any shorter than 200/1 on his first three flat starts but a better effort could be expected and was delivered on his hurdling debut at Newton Abbot. He suffered interference at a couple of jumps there and missed out a flight after which he became outpaced but his jumping was mostly acceptable. He gave the impression that a stiffer task would suit and this sentiment was reiterated on a recent flat run where he stayed on too late in a low grade Chepstow handicap over a mile and a half. Peat Moss does have a future over jumps at his own level but will come into his own under more suitable conditions.

    To Fly Free bf David Pipe f6-1-1 (72.6) 79
    Soldier Hollow (Canford Cliffs){19-b}{0.57) 3/1 Video Tape 2nd Grand Course de Haies d’Auteuil 1985
    To Fly Free had six runs on the flat in France including finishing last of six in a listed race at Bordeaux where the front two would contest Group One contests next time. Her next two runs were not as good, her latest coming when beaten over seven lengths in a Clairefontaine claimer. She was not claimed out of that race, rather she was sold at Arqana for just €6,000. Notwithstanding, David Pipe has bought two other juveniles from the Ludovic Gadbin yard in recent years and both of them – Paricolor and last season’s Fred Winter runner up Night Edition – were winners. The pedigree is also encouraging with Soldier Hollow capable of producing juveniles and the damline being inundated with classy French jumpers including Video Tape (3/1), Villez (4/3) and We Have A Dream (4/5). To Fly Free could prove an astute purchase although like others at her yard with similar profiles, she may be better with a run or two under her belt.

    Strong prospects
    1. Naizagai
    Reasonable prospects
    2. Fraterculus
    3. To Fly Free
    Feasible/Moderate prospects
    4. Lairig Ghru
    5. Mick
    6. Peat Moss
    7. Debt Of Honour
    8. Global Agreement

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    • Total Posts 1349

    Hiconic made it four on the bounce at Newton Abbot yesterday in a race where there were several reasons to question the form. While there were no bad luck stories, a couple of these got very worked up, some of the jumping was poor and the first five, which contained a couple of outsiders, were covered by less than nine lengths. The field also lost some of its strength in depth when Highlander Madrik was taken out in the morning. There were no real market moves of note and the winning time was almost identical to that posted by the winner on her debut a month earlier.

    Hiconic is nothing but admirable and apart from being a bit distracted at the fourth and at two out, her jumping here was as polished as ever. However, this was the hardest she had to work for a win and while the penalties obviously added to the difficulties, it was not her best performance when accounting for the fact that the third and fourth were able to finish as close as they did despite error strewn rounds. She also showed greenness and a hint of temperament when momentarily trying to run out at the paddock bend. Hiconic is still the leading juvenile seen out this season but this was around half a stone below her best. It is possible that she is not especially suited by Newton Abbot but the penalties are mounting up and she could be vulnerable when she is next seen.

    Balko Saint was making his debut for the Williams yard who have a good record with unraced horses, even if they tend to improve with experience. Being a Balko gelding out of a Saint Des Saints mare, he can be considered more a prospect for the future than for sharp juvenile hurdles and that is what played out here. His jumping was very good for the first part of the race although when the tempo increased, he began to make mistakes as he found himself outpaced. Nevertheless, he still acquitted himself well in the circumstances and should have a future in the game.

    Talking About You has a decent pedigree for juvenile hurdling and had been improving on the flat albeit at a modest level. However, she was giving all manner of grief at the start and look for a moment as though she would be withdrawn. She did consent to set off but took a keen hold, wandered into most of her jumps before negotiating them awkwardly. That she would still manage to plug on for third brings the form into disrepute but it also shows her potential if she can learn how to settle and jump.

    Billy The Squid was woeful on his debut and his jumping was not substantially better here. He looked as though he was treading water towards the end of the back straight and that another tailed off finish was on the cards. Nevertheless, he also kept on to finish just six and a half lengths behind the winner. This represents a career best effort by a considerable margin and while the blinkers may have worked the oracle, the form can only be treated with suspicion until he can confirm that this performance was not a fluke.

    Pink Jazz, the stablemate of Talking About You, was utterly drenched in sweat and was keen in the early stages. He made mistakes which were less prevalent on his debut and while he showed pace in the early stages would eventually fade into fifth. He is capable of better than this but there is no assurance that he might deliver next time out.

    Edebez did not jump badly but was beaten further by the winner on this occasion than when they met at the track a month earlier. He almost certainly does not have the stamina for hurdling if he can not see out the distance at Newton Abbot.

    Fiach Stoney was beaten fifty-two lengths at Stratford on his debut and put in another keen and error strewn round before pulling up here.

    • Total Posts 339

    The lovely old sires are so sought after – certainly Balko – the degree of difficulty to get mares in foal to the older stallions (talking from experience!), takes breeders into the new younger stallions. There are several which will be significant in the next few years standing in France. Goliath du Berlais (Saint des Saints) and Kings Theatre on the mares line. Nirvana du Berlais (Martaline), Karaktar (High Chaparral), Beaumec de Houelles (Martaline). Very interesting site called France Sire covers all the stallions standing in France – well worth a look at.

    Bachelors HallBachelors Hall
    • Total Posts 1349

    Today’s juvenile hurdle at Cartmel looked like a potentially useful contest beforehand with three newcomers bringing ratings exceeding 75. While the runner up was not one of them, he was a well backed outsider who was obviously well schooled and the pair pulled nicely clear of the rest. With the first flight coming soon after the start and a couple of staying types attempting to force a strong pace, there was no hanging around in the early stages. Apart from some minor distractions and obstructions, there were no hard luck stories and while a couple of horses were backed, neither looked like plot horses. The ground dried to Good to Soft and the winning time was nearly five seconds quicker than the 0-120 handicap later on the card.

    Naizagai was sent straight into the lead and while he faced a strong challenge early on from a pair of staying types, he was able to burn them off with his superior pace. He was certainly enthusiastic but not alarmingly keen since his jockey was able to get a breather into him before half way without any fuss. His jumping was good without being perfect as he made a few slight errors going round. Nevertheless, there was still encouragement to be found here as while he was not particularly polished going over the fourth, he still got over it very quickly without losing any momentum and was adept at correcting himself when he misjudged his approaches. He was still travelling easily of the field after the penultimate flight and was only starting to tire slightly towards the end. He probably won’t want a much sterner stamina test than this on today’s showing and the runner up may have finished closer had his rider not dropped the whip. Nevertheless, he appears to have a real zest for this discipline and even if one suspects that perhaps the race fell perfectly for him, it was still a highly pleasing debut. With some very attainable improvement in his jumping, he sets a very tough challenge for any juvenile this time of year.

    Global Agreement was seemingly exposed coming into this race even if his official mark of 56 is fairly generous. Nevertheless, he attracted plenty of each way support in the morning and his being backed from 28/1 to as low as 8/1 hinted at his being well schooled and that transpired to be the case. He found himself struggling to keep up with the field for much of the race but made steady headway along the woodside to the point that he looked rather threatening approaching the last. It was unfortunate that his rider dropped his whip turning in to the straight and while it probably did not cost him the race, it is likely that he could have finished closer. This marked an improvement on his flat form and can be competitive in ordinary contests, particularly on stiffer tracks. Incidentally, he would make some appeal if he is presented with soft ground should he return to the flat as he is better on that ground than his official rating suggests.

    To Fly Free won on the flat in France as a two year old and was allowed to compete in a listed race earlier this year but became rather disappointing and was allowed to leave the Arqana ring for just €6,000. She joined a yard which does very well with her type and looked like a sufficiently natural jumper of her hurdles. She was still travelling well with two left to jump but would begin to fade shortly afterwards. There is certainly enough there to suggest that she can be competitive in this discipline as she settles into her new surroundings.

    Fraterculus came into the race with a compelling profile as his sire, damsire and trainer are more than capable at producing competitive juveniles and his flat form was as good as anything seen from this field. However, there were some concerns about his maturity and resolve and these forebodings manifested themselves this afternoon. He made a most peculiar shape over the first and was slow getting away from the second and while he was better at a few of his other jumps, his mind was not completely dedicated to the task in hand and would finish quite well beaten in the end. He has a very nice size about him, was still looking competitive woodside and it was only his first run since a gelding operation so it would be very premature to write him off at this phase. Nevertheless, he still needs to develop a better aptitude before he can be competitive at any reasonable standard.

    Mick ran a fair race on his debut to finish third at Market Rasen but after attempting to race prominently here, he found himself quite easily outpaced and his jumping suffered as a result. He was inconsistent on the flat and this track will not have suited so he is capable of better than this. Notwithstanding, he has yet to look a natural and needs to improve his jumping and pacing before he can really be competitive at any track.

    Peat Moss was backed in from 13/2 to 7/2 second favourite but neither his hurdles debut at Newton Abbot or recent flat run in a poor Chepstow handicap entitled him to such support under these conditions. He jumped fine for the most part but was another who tried to take on the leader and failed miserably before soon finding himself completely ran off his feet. His jumping does not give any cause for concern but he would need a longer trip in a poor race before he can be considered a particular threat over hurdles.

    Lairig Ghru was having his first run since last autumn and while he showed enough pace to go second at around the half way mark, he would eventually weaken quite badly. He was slightly hesitant at the first but his jumping was otherwise fine. However, there were stamina concerns beforehand and even if this was his first run of the year, it is still going to be a concern in the near future.

    Debt Of Honour was having his third run over hurdles and although there were a couple of slow jumps, he has improved massively in that department since his hurdling debut in early July. Unfortunately, this leaves little explanation for his poor level of form beyond a general lack of class and stamina. Kyllachy is not a good stallion of juvenile hurdlers so he may be better served by a return to the level.

    Hi obiwankenobi

    Thank you for the suggestion. I have happened upon that site a couple of times while looking for something else but have not been able to quite grasp or navigate it as of yet. Are there any particular areas or sections that you would recommend?

    The talk of future stallions has given me food for thought. Particularly as I am quite excited to see what Kingston Mill can do given that he represents the Danehill Dancer line yet has a DI of just 0.90 which makes him more suited to the sphere than Mastercraftsman (1.82), Jeremy (1.82) and Fast Company (2.06) who all did well with juveniles. Free Eagle is another High Chaparral who will be having his first jumpers this season which is also interesting.

    Gemix is another young stallion if I recall correctly. Have any of his foals hit the ground yet?

    All Jeff
    • Total Posts 241

    Well done Bachelors Hall, although I spend most of my time on the big races board of the forum, this is definitely the best thread on here. Please keep it up, it is a great piece of work.

    Bachelors HallBachelors Hall
    • Total Posts 1349

    Nice one All Jeff. It takes up a fair amount of time but it is something I thoroughly enjoy working on so unless life gets in the way then I would love to maintain these efforts for as long as possible!

    Ireland’s second juvenile hurdle of the season takes place this coming Monday at Ballinrobe and the yards of Gordon Elliott and Noel Meade, who sent out the winner and runner up in last week’s curtain raiser, are represented by another pair of newcomers. The fourth, sixth and ninth are also set to make a swift return to the fray. While the decent juvenile Clarcam started his hurdling career at this venue, Ballinrobe is not renowned for being the launchpad of future stars and Monday’s race probably won’t take too much winning. There is not a great deal of data from which to draw dosage information but the course’s characteristics and average times, it would be one of the speedier racecourses and its sharp bends and downhill finish would not lend itself to big chasing types.

    A Mere Bagatelle bg John Joseph Hanlon f3-0-0 (56) 50 j1-0-0 (-) 89
    Born To Sea (Fasliyev){11}(4.00) 3/1 Kerawi 1st Christmas Hurdle (G1), Kempton 1997
    A Mere Bagatelle is one of four in this field with hurdles experience which he gained when beaten by forty lengths last week at Roscommon. He was 66/1 that day which on the basis of moderate flat form and a lengthy lay off seemed fair enough and the bare result also justifies the price. Nevertheless, he led for much of the way jumping well in the process and was entitled to fade given his absence. It would be peculiar to suggest that a horse whose is flattered by a flat rating of 56 comes here with a great chance but his case would not be a miserable one. Born To Sea is a good sire of juveniles, the cross with Fasliyev has created triple juvenile winner Malangen and trainer Shark Hanlon has won prize money with lower rated horses and enjoyed a double at Wexford earlier this week. There are still lingering stamina doubts but Ballinrobe is not a track which would exacerbate such fears. A Mere Bagatelle has already shown that he can jump and will strip fitter for last week’s effort and while he would not have a favourite’s chance, he should not be 66/1 again.

    Bass Reeves bg Noel Meade f6-0-0 (49) 59
    Es Que Love (Diesis){11-a}(1.00) 5/1 Old Vic leading National Hunt stallion
    One of two Noel Meade newcomers, Bass Reeves is the lower rated of the two with an official rating of 49. He started off with a mark of 58 which was earned when he finished last of eight in a Leopardstown maiden last July and he followed that by finishing well beaten in a pair of Curragh nurseries in the Autumn. His seasonal reappearance came in June when beating only two of seventeen home in a Leopardstown handicap and he has not been seen since. Es Que Love has only had the one juvenile this far (a maiden from four starts) and the Clodovil line has not really been tested although Diesis has a reasonable level success as a damsire. Noel Meade is always worthy of respect in the division and has won juveniles with lesser rated hometrained horses than Bass Reeves. However, the yard is not going through its brightest spell at the moment and the lack of jumping relatives on the damline offers no respite to this one’s sallow profile.

    Belgoprince chg A J Martin f10-1-2 (70.4) 48 j1-0-0 (-) 79
    Prince Gibraltar (Bering){9-f}(0.82) 2/1 Golden Marvel jumps winner in US
    He is under the care of a tremendously experienced trainer in this sphere, brings the best flat form into the race, represents an interesting new stallion and has classy french juveniles on his damline, yet Belgoprince’s return to the track is not eagerly anticipated. Drifting from 12/1 in the morning to 25/1 at the off, Belgoprince missed the start, made little effort to join the pack and jumped as though he was having his first ever schooling session. He has the profile, attributes and build to be useful at this game but most people in the general public can only guess as to when that could be. The track may well be too sharp in any case and the yard is not currently among the winners so it might be inferred that he won’t be winning on Monday. Nevertheless, if there is an avalanche of money for the horse then his prospects increase exponentially.

    Blue Sky Thinker bg Ross O’Sullivan f6-0-0 (40) 44
    French Navy (Giant’s Causeway) {1-a}(1.60) no jumps relatives
    Finishing last or thereabouts in a trio of maidens last autumn, Blue Sky Thinker picked up where he left off, finishing close to the rear in three handicaps this summer. His rating of 40 is not an unfair one and his usual hold up tactics and lack of trackcraft will not suit him here. Ross O’Sullivan can train winning juveniles but is not especially prolific. French Navy is a first season juvenile sire but he is a half brother to decent hurdler Sea Lord and the Shamardal line is not bad for this division. Nevertheless he is still unproven and it would be quite the statement if his career as a jumps sire got off to a winning start.

    Calidus Mirabilis bg Joseph Patrick O’Brien f12-2-1 (68) 75 j1-0-0 (-) 108
    Hot Streak (Oasis Dream){4-j}(1.50) 4/5 La Limagne 1st Prix Tanerko Handicap Hurdle, Auteuil 2018
    Calidus Mirabilis brings the best jumps form into the race in the shape of his eighteen length fourth at Roscommon last week and his flat form is also near enough the best on offer in his field. He is respected almost by default for representing the Joseph O’Brien yard which while above average by class and success metrics, does not have an outstanding record given its ammunition. Calidus Mirabilis’s jumping at Roscommon lacked fluency but not irredeemably so and can improve on the bare form at such a venue which does not demand a great deal of stamina. It is most unlikely that he will be a contender for any of the better races later on in the season but in a race which lacks strength in depth, he would be one of the likelier types.

    Cobb And Co grg M C Grassick f12-0-3 (64) 66
    Camacho (Verglas){8-h}(1.12) 2/1 Whiskey Sour 3rd/4th County Hurdle, Cheltenham 2018/19
    Initially a stablemate of Calidus Mirabilis, Cobb And Co left Owning Hill after four defeats in races no longer than six furlongs. His initial rating of 75 was stiff but after five more runs for his new yard had fallen by eleven pounds by the end of the year. Cobb And Co’s return came in a seventeen runner Naas handicap over a mile where he made every yard up to final furlong before finishing a three and a half length second to a horse who was not disgraced in three subsequent handicaps off ten pounds higher. While Cobb And Co looked as though he would be swallowed by the field turning for home, he did not give up his lead without a fight and had enough to keep the rest of the field, including subsequent winners, at bay. Using the same forcing tactics next time at Fairyhouse over an extra two furlongs, he was once again headed within the final furlong by an easy winner who came out of nowhere but was again able to fend off the rest. The form of that race has not worked out particularly well and he was beaten into fifth at Galway last time out when stepping back down to a mile and half a furlong. The pace he set was a strong one, it was not until late on that he was headed and the impression was that he was outpaced at the finish rather than being particularly tired. Camacho has just fourteen juvenile hurdlers to his name but they include three useful winners in Mr Adjudicator, El Beau and Cafe Con Leche and the dam is a half sister to the very talented Whiskey Sour (Ambobo also appears at 5/4). If there is to be a concern, it is that the stable has not saddled a winner for over a year and is predominantly a flat yard although it does historically have a fair strike rate with its hurdlers. The pedigree makes plenty of appeal and while overall standard of form is sound in the context of this race, the attitude he demonstrated in those races was most striking and his ability to front run could serve him very well at this venue.

    Little Brother bg J A Nash f9-1-2 (57) 57 j1-0-0 (-) 87
    Gale Force Ten (Thunder Gulch){5-h}(3.00) 4/1 Salamah 3rd Kennel Gate Novices’ Hurdle, Ascot 1998
    Little Brother finished second best of those who ran at Roscommon last week although he was thirty-five lengths behind the winner and seventeen behind Calidus Mirabilis. He was backed into second favouritism from the 16/1 available in the morning but while he finished ahead of the eventual favourite and runner up in a handicap on the flat (and worse off at the weights), he did not give the impression that he had schooled particularly well or had a newly upgraded engine. It was not a bad debut outing but there was nothing to justify the gamble or, standard improvement notwithstanding, any particular excitement about his future prospects.

    Money Mike bg D Fitzgerald Unraced
    French Navy (Ivan Denisovich){1-a}(2.67) 3/2 Oscar Magic 1st Novice Handicap Hurdle (122), Haydock 2013
    Another son of French Navy, the unraced Money Mike is from a yard with no winning juveniles from five horses since 2011/12 and has an overall strike rate of 5% in hurdles. Ivan Denisovich’s mares have not yet had competitors in juvenile hurdles but he did sire a couple of winners himself and Money Mike is distantly related to the likes of Black Jack Ketchum, Apache Jack and Fota Island (all 6/5). Overall, this is not a compelling profile for a racecourse debutant.

    Perry Owens bg Noel Meade f5-0-1 (70) 74
    Free Eagle (Time For A Change){9}(1.53) 2/1 Parker Ridge 1st Claiming Chase, Cagnes Sur Mer 2019
    The other Noel Meade runner, Perry Owens is rated a stone and a half superior to his stablemate although one would have to go back thirteen months to see any justification for such a rating. That career highlight came last July when he was third behind an 18/1 winning debutant in a seven furlong Roscommon maiden that has produced not one subsequent winner. In his next race, he was only three lengths behind a Cormorant that would eventually improve to win a Group 3 but taken as a whole, there is very little to get excited about during his two year old campaign. Following a gelding operation, Perry Owens returned in the middle of June in a fourteen runner ten furlong Leopardstown handicap but was always towards the rear when beating just the two home. Free Eagle is another sire having his first crop over hurdles but is an interesting prospect in the sphere being a son of High Chaparral from the family of Archive Footage, Unaccompanied and Plinth so his being unproven is not yet a negative. Furthermore, Perry Owens has good jumpers on his damline including Pythagore (3/3), Special Envoy (4/3), and Zapato (2/3) so on breeding, Perry Owens has a healthy pedigree. However, while it should be reiterated that Noel Meade commands respect in this division, both the form of his yard and of this charge are currently lacking.

    Thekeyisnottopanic bg C W J Farrell f3-0-0 (55) 49
    Rock Of Gibraltar (Areion){16-c}(2.43) 3/1 Salden Licht 3rd Aintree Hurdle (G1), Aintree 2011
    If carrying an amusing name was a key attribute in horse racing then this one would be among the favourites. However, the object is to get from one place to another quicker than the other horses which is something that Thekeyisnottopanic has struggled with thus far in his three attempts in maiden company this year. There have been good horses finishing a long way ahead of him such as Russian Emperor, Tiger Moth, Dawn Patrol and Amhran Na Bhfiann and Thekeyisnottopanic actually led the first named on his debut at Naas but his rating of 55 is harsh based on what he has produced up to this point. Rock Of Gibraltar is capable of siring juveniles and has a roughly average winners to runners rate but his overall strike rate of 6.77% and improvement rate of just 25% will not be of much use here. There are very good jumpers of German stock on the damline such as Saltas (3/1), Serienschock (3/2) and Sternrubin (4/3) but at this stage, his rivals won’t have much reason to panic.

    Tommy The Hat chg D Broad f8-0-0 (57) 59
    Camacho (Pivotal){4-g}(2.38) .5 Blue Havana 9th Juvenile Hurdle, Market Rasen 2018
    Tommy The Hat is still a maiden after eight starts and has an official rating of just 57 but he has finished within five lengths of the winner on three occasions so is not always out with the washing. None of those races have been beyond a mile but on breeding there is reason to imagine him getting the trip here. Apart from disappointing last time, he is generally consistent but he would still be a fair way behind some of these on form and others have more compelling profiles.

    Voice Of Hope brg Andrew Slattery f7-0-0 (63) 72
    Poet’s Voice (Montjeu){14-c}(0.82) 3/1 Pack The Punch 3rd Maiden Hurdle, Wexford 2015
    An unused reserve at Roscommon last week, Voice Of Hope was perhaps more entitled to run than a few of those who faced the starter that day. Voice Of Hope has Sholokhov (4/1) and Soldier Of Fortune (4/2) on his damline and sire Poet’s Voice has produced handy juveniles such as Nietzsche and Cracker Factory. Unraced so far this season, he raced seven times last year although the best he managed was a fourth on his debut and his harsh looking initial mark of 74 dropped to 63 in the process. However, given the influence of damsire Montjeu, he can be expected to develop as a three year old and his trainer’s few runners in this division have usually improved for the switch in code. Nevertheless, there is still an absence to overcome and his form has to be taken on trust.

    Sister Eliza bf Gordon Elliott f4-0-0 (67) 61
    Footstepsinthesand (Imperial Dancer){2-f}(0.82) 2/1 Holy Show 6th Maiden Hurdle, Listowel 2009
    Gordon Elliott won last week’s opener at Roscommon with Longclaw and Sister Eliza is set to be his second entry of the season. However, Longclaw was officially rated over a stone superior to Sister Eliza who has yet to justify her rating on bare form alone. Making her debut in late June this year, her first two outings came in mile maidens at the Curragh where she finished midfield while looking like further would suit. After disappointing on her third run at Limerick, she was an eyecatching third on her handicap debut at Galway over seven furlongs where she made up a tremendous amount of ground in the closing stages to snatch a seven and a quarter length third on the line. Paradoxically, while the official mark of 67 which she competed from at Galway exceeds the sum of what she has actually achieved, there is reason to suspect that she is better than the mark implies. Even if we are to assume that 67 is the ceiling of her capacity, Gordon Elliott has still won with eight of the twenty-nine horses who carried lower flat rating into their juvenile career. Footstepsinthesand has an above average winner to runner rate of 28% and though he does not get especially high class juveniles, that will not be an issue at this level. There is less encouragement on the damline as one has to go back 5/4 to Carilo (3rd in the 2012 Prix Camberceres) to find any useful hurdlers and there is also a concern that she could leave herself with too much to do if retaining her waiting tactics here. Nevertheless, she still warrants plenty of respect in a field lacking strength in depth.

    Varna Gold chg Paul John Gilligan f11-0-3 (69) 72
    Shooting To Win (Efisio){5-e}(1.67) 3/2 Najaf 2nd Spa Novices’ Hurdle (G1), Cheltenham 2010
    Varna Gold is down as a reserve but his case were he to line up would be more credible than several of these. Starting his career with Dermot McLoughlin, the first six races saw him compete exclusively at Dundalk where after qualifying for a mark of 73, he would finish within six lengths of the winner before a winter break. After interrupting his break with a midfield placing in a Naas handicap in March, he joined his new yard and ran in four handicaps over distances ranging from an extended mile to an extended mile and a half. His best showing was a rather one paced two and a half length third at Fairyhouse off 69. The form of that race has held up reasonably well but it would be the best of his efforts this year as he has become rather inconsistent. He has some useful horses on his damline such as Najaf (3/2) Decoy (3/2) and Bleu Azur (5/4) and from a sample of fourteen descendents, Efisio is an above average damsire of juvenile hurdlers by all metrics. Shooting To Win has yet to have any juvenile runners and evidence of the sireline’s competence in the sphere is sparse before arriving at Fairy King. Varna Gold is not without merit in this type of field and would not be written off if lining up on Monday. He also holds a couple of these rivals on previous form but he is inconsistent and he may be too one paced at this type of track.

    Strong prospects
    1. Cobb And Co
    Reasonable prospects
    2. Sister Eliza
    3. Calidus Mirabilis
    Feasible prospects
    4. A Mere Bagatelle
    5. Voice Of Hope
    6. Perry Owens
    7. Varna Gold (R)
    Moderate prospects
    8. Little Brother
    9. Tommy The Hat
    10. Bass Reeves
    11. Belgoprince*
    12. Thekeyisnottopanic
    13. Blue Sky Thinker
    14. Money Mike

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