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Juvenile Hurdlers 2020/2021

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    It’s an excellent renewal of the Wensleydale coming up.

    The only two I am ruling out are Midnight’s Legacy and Hiconic. The former disappointed at Wetherby and I agree with you Bachelor’s about Hiconic having already peaked.

    Cabot Cliffs may well improve for his first run and the Elliott pair are difficult to split as the market suggests.

    First Impression ran a belter in his first hurdle and I think he has a serious chance.

    However I am sticking with Soldier On Parade who beat Hiconic fair and square last time out. Giving three pounds to most of his rivals shouldn’t he too big a burden. And I still think there is a bit more to come from him.

    We’re about to find out.

    Bachelors Hall
    • Total Posts 1419

    Hi Patriot

    You were certainly right about Cabot Cliffs but it was nice to see Hiconic eke out a few pounds of improvement. The winner definitely looks like a good horse though. If I recall correctly, apparently he doesn’t do much at home which might be why Johnson went for Longclaw…

    Not much to be written about today’s race at Down Royal but a long version of “Quilixios still has four legs and a tail” should be posted tomorrow. In the meantime, here is the review for yesterday’s Wensleydale hurdle and the preview for tomorrow’s race at Huntingdon.

    Preview review
    While Duffle Coat eventually started favourite, his opening price the prior evening was a huge 13/2. It is nice that the preview was able to see Duffle Coat’s potential ahead of the market and the race itself. Hiconic was another underestimated by the market, going off as outsider despite being generously weighted. The preview was not all one way traffic however as Cabot Cliffs found himself underestimated. Though he was not ruled out entirely, and credence was given to the yard, his attitude was not entirely endearing although this could simply be his nature. Soldier On Parade was disappointing but there was not much confidence in the ring which is usually a fair indicator of expectations for the yard’s horses.

    Race review
    This year’s renewal looked well up to scratch in terms of strength in depth as the horses had shown promise and none were there to make up the numbers. In 2010, 2011 and 2012, a participant of this contest went on to finish in the first three of that season’s Triumph. While March is still a long way away, bookmakers were sufficiently impressed with the winner to cut him into 20/1 second favourite. Quite whether Duffle Coat is at that level yet is debatable, but he beat a good field which jumped and travelled as well as can be expected for a group of promising juveniles. In a race without deadwood, most finishing orders would have been justifiable but there were no bad luck stories and only a couple appeared to run below par. The winning time was over three seconds faster than the Class 3 handicap on the card, although this would be a better indicator of pace than class as they went very slowly early on in that race.

    Duffle Coat only made his racecourse debut early in September but had yet to step out of second gear in winning a pair of races at Punchestown and Gowran Park. During those contests, he always travelled comfortably and his jumping had been slick when jumping at pace. While accurately gauging the quality of those performances had been difficult, the form was at least above average on both occasions. Yesterday, was the first time he had been asked serious questions and racing wide on the turn for home, briefly found himself slightly outpaced. However, he responded well to pressure and managed to get into the lead in the shadow of the last. Jumping quicker than the long time leader, he quickly established a definitive lead and ran on well to extend his advantage to eight lengths at the line. Now unbeaten in three starts, the extent of his potential still remains a mystery. Nevertheless, three things learned from this exhibition were that he can find plenty off the bridle, he is equally at ease going left or right handed, and that he has no trouble staying a truly ran race on winter ground over hurdles. His jumping was as good as ever and the only mistake he made came at the sixth where a simple lack of concentration saw him get too close to the hurdle. Duffle Coat still has the scope to improve both physically and mentally which, given that this was the best form performance of the season thus far, makes him a very exciting prospect for the months ahead. 137

    Hiconic won the season’s opening juvenile hurdle at Newton Abbot back in August before completing a four-timer to become the star of the summer. Her latest victory was not as convincing as her previous wins and following defeats on the flat at Lingfield and back over hurdles at Market Rasen, she appeared to have lost some of the zest and professionalism which characterised her achievements. However, sent straight into the lead and ridden into the first flight, she quickly settled into a rhythm reminiscent of her halcyon days. There were no traces of her waywardness and up to the final flight, put in her best round of jumping to date. The pace she set was enough to have the remainder of the field in trouble entering the straight and at one time, she traded as low as 1.37 in running. She was already headed when she clipped, and was slowly away from, the last, put she still had enough to fend off the third and it was a over four lengths further back to some useful types. A credit to connections, Hiconic has thoroughly earned her black type and if she is sent to the Fillies’ hurdle at Aintree, assuming she recovers from the reported heat stress, should be a very tough nut to crack in this kind of form. 124

    Cabot Cliffs was one from one over hurdles going into this race and was representing a yard with a fine record in juvenile hurdles at the venue. There were misgivings about his attitude when winning at Uttoxeter and though he was a comfortable winner there, it did not look the strongest contest. These misgivings persisted through the opening stages here as he pulled hard early on, was awkward at the first and close at the second. He was awkward again at the third but he was also quick and after being allowed to move forward to track the leaders, considerably improved his jumping. Keeping his prominent position, he stayed on well in the straight to remain within a couple of lengths of the leaders at the last. Though he missed the last, he looked held at the time and there were still signs of his ungainly method of travelling under pressure. Nevertheless, he ran a new career best in what was a good quality race and has scope for even further improvement as he matures. 129

    Longclaw won Ireland’s first juvenile hurdle of the season and maintained his perfect record in the division when following up at Down Royal and Listowel. Though he was left with little to beat at the former, his limitations were more apparent last time as he only narrowly prevailed to land short odds. Given to inconsistency during his flat career, he sweated somewhat prior to the off and got in uncharacteristically close to the second. Aside from clipping the fifth, his jumping was otherwise fine although he never moved into a threatening position and was in last place from turning for home up to the penultimate flight. He stayed on past beaten horses, won the battle for fourth place and was ultimately not far off his best form. Longclaw’s winning sequence has come to an inevitable conclusion but though he may struggle in the division’s top races, it will be interesting to see how he is assessed by the handicapper. 125

    First Impression made a very good first impression on his hurdling debut at the track a fortnight earlier and was able to build on that effort here. He lacked fluency early on first time out but while his jumping improved as that race progressed, it did not do so here as he was awkward over each hurdle in the straight. From a form perspective, this marks an improvement by dint of this being a much better contest although it is yet to match the best of his flat form. Versatile insofar as ground is concerned, there are races to be won by First Impression, although he looks unlikely to improve enough to trouble the better horses in the division. 124

    Soldier On Parade carried a small penalty into the race but strictly on what had hitherto been achieved, came into the race best at the weights. However, while he jumped and travelled well up to the end of the back straight, he quickly lost his position and faded to finish twenty-seven lengths behind the winner. His price doubled through the day and his performance was accordingly lacklustre. Soldier On Parade is much better than this and it emerged that he was showing signs of heat stress. Nevertheless, his penalties will force him to stay in pattern company and his handicap mark gives him little wriggle room. 103

    Midnights Legacy failed to justify joint-favouritism on his hurdles bow here a fortnight earlier although that run could largely be forgiven having suffered from quite drastic interference early on. However, he had no such excuses here and though he was baulked at the penultimate flight, was well held at the time and would ultimately finish tailed off. There is still time for him to improve and he has already shown enough to be competitive in ordinary company. However, his overall potential is beginning to look limited. 86

    Huntingdon hosts its second juvenile of the season tomorrow and it could be an interesting contest. The best hurdling form comes in the shape of the first two from a Ludlow maiden, but two of the newcomers were the top purchases at the Tattersalls August sale and the third is a Nick Williams racecourse debutant. Winners of juveniles at the racecourse have an average seasonal RPR of 116 which is roughly standard for the UK. Nevertheless, it has attracted good types over the years with the likes of Starluck (who won this race in 2008), Walkon and Nordano winning races held before December. Huntingdon is something of an anomaly in that while it is a fast and flat track with quick seconds per furlong figures, the winning DIs (1.00 median compared to 1.33 for the average runner) indicate that it still places demands on stamina. Notwithstanding, the likes of Compton Place, Invincible Spirit and Bushranger have all sired winning juveniles here suggesting that a blend of speed and stamina is a useful attribute. The track’s 96.97% clear round rate is fairer than average and the going is currently good with only light rain forecast overnight.

    Orchestral Rain bg Dr Richard Newland f1-0-0 (-) 69 j3-1-1 (113) 111 111
    Born To Sea (Val Royal){23}(2.43) 2/1 Crafty Codger 1st 3YO Hurdle, Punchestown 2014
    Following his racecourse debut on the flat at Killarney in July, Orchestral Rain made a promising start to his hurdling career when third at Roscommon behind Longclaw. Leaving Willie McCreery to join Dr Richard Newland, the form of that outing should have been enough to break his maiden at Fontwell in early September. However, while his jumping was fine, he failed to justify odds-on favouritism and rather blew up in the later stages of the race. Reverting to racing right handed, he made amends last time at Ludlow although his victory looked unlikely for much of the race. He was keen early, steadied into the first, got in close to the next three and was awkward at all of the hurdles in the straight. He never really travelled and drifted to 23/1 in running yet was able to prevail on the run-in and was ultimately a decisive winner. That form did not match his Roscommon performance but it was a step in the right direction and with better jumping and further improvement a possibility, Orchestral Rain is respected despite his penalty.

    Alberic bg Nick Williams Unraced
    Poliglote (Kahyasi){2-c}(0.89) 1/0 Khayance 1st 3YO Chase, Enghien 2011
    The George Nympton yards of Nick and Jane Williams have already sent out three racecourse debutants this year, with dual runner-up Balko Saint being the best of them. Since the 2008/09 season, twelve of the thirty-eight juveniles who fit the description have won during their first campaigns including three (Diable De Sivola, James De Vassy and Montestrel) who did so first time out. Poliglote’s record in the division is very strong with his progeny’s winner to runner rate at 58.33%, and a healthy overall strike rate of 27.66%. Even allowing for the exaggerated quality of imports, his winner to runner rate in France is still a solid 36.67%. Kahyasi’s record as a damsire in the sphere is the strongest in this race and as well as being out of a winning three-year-old chaser, there are other good jumpers on the damline including Chance Du Roy (3/1), Mater Matuta (4/2) and Taranis (4/3). Alberic is certainly bred to be a good jumper but he looks more a long term prospect who may find this race too sharp. Furthermore the yard is not currently in good form.

    Camouflaged grg Charlie Mann f12-2-5 (76) 80
    Dark Angel (Singspiel){6-b}(1.33) 2/2 Leoncavallo 1st Wensleydale Juvenile Hurdle (L), Wetherby 2015
    Leaving Mark Johnson for Charlie Mann for 90,000 guineas, Camouflaged fetched the highest price of those likelier than not to contest juvenile hurdles at the Tattersalls August sale. With twelve races already under his belt, including two victories in mile and a half handicaps, he will not lack for experience or stamina. Ex-Mark Johnson horses have enjoyed success in juvenile hurdles with Sadler’s Risk, Nordano, Commissioned, Stars Over The Sea, Duke Street and Broughton all achieving RPRs above 130. Those who started at Kingsley Park are 22.06% winner to runner and 26.47% have RPRs exceeding 107. However, many of the more successful horses stayed with the same owners or operations such as Bloomfields and Roger Brookhouse. When accounting for those sold at public auction, the winner to runner rate drops to 18.28%. These figures are still just above average although the improvement rate from flat to hurdles is just 25.8% which is decidedly below average. Charlie Mann’s record in the division is an above average one and the switch between the two yards has yielded winners Fin Vin De Leu and Greyfriars Drummer. Furthermore, Charlie Mann has paid in excess of £30,000 for four juveniles since 2008/09 and each of them won at least one race. Dark Angel does get winning juveniles and although his winner to runner rate is a fairly low 15.79%, Camouflaged is a cousin of the decent juvenile hurdler Leoncavallo. He appears genuine and should stay well although while the yard is without a winner in over a month, its first-time out rate with juveniles is a fair 9.7%.

    Fraterculus chg Oliver Greenall f3-0-1 (79) 76 j4-0-3 (105) 91 100
    Teofilo (Anabaa){5-f}(1.08) 6/7 Optimus Prime 2nd Novice Chase, Punchestown 2018
    Fraterculus was a fair thrice raced maiden on the flat for Jim Bolger but while there had been hints of ability on his first three outings over hurdles, his efforts had been compromised by immaturity. Nevertheless, following a month off the track, he returned to Ludlow and put up his most assured performance to date. While he was slightly awkward at the first, he settled into a good rhythm in the lead until pecking on landing three out. He composed himself at the penultimate flight but was untidy over the last and slipped slightly on landing. This error probably did not cost him the race as he had ample opportunity to seize the initiative approaching the last and the winner was pulling away even after he regained his stride on the run to the line. Fraterculus had been entered for the Doncaster sales but was withdrawn beforehand and has since been syndicated to remain in the yard. He is weighted to reverse placings with the reopposing winner and while both horses are open to further improvement, another bold showing can not be discounted.

    Jan Wellens chg Olly Murphy f6-1-0 (63) 67 j2-0-0 (-) 86 83
    Dutch Art (Pivotal){6-e}(1.80) 4/2 Elusive Dream 1st Mersey Novices’ Hurdle (G2), Aintree 2008
    Though a winner on the flat for Ger Lyons, Jan Wellens has not looked like translating his flat ability to his new discipline. He lacked flueny at both Perth and Uttoxeter and the cumulative mistakes ultimately saw him well beaten on each occasion. While he is entitled to improve for the experience, he has plenty of ground to make up with several of his rivals here.

    New Zealander bg Graeme McPherson f1-0-0 (-) 33 j1-0-0 (-) 64 79
    Australia (Marju){13-c}(0.54) 2/1 Dalaram 1st Free Handicap Hurdle (131), Chepstow 2004
    New Zealander ran only once for Charlie Hills on the flat and after fetching just 4,000 guineas at auction in July, was sent off at an unfancied 80/1 on his jumps debut at Wetherby. There is some encouragement on breeding as his sire Australia has done well with his early crops and the damline contains numerous good juveniles. His jumping was not fluent however and he finished a tired horse. While more will be learned of his abilities in due course, he demands little immediate interest

    Sefton Warrior bg Richard Spencer f8-1-0 (67) 72 j1-0-0 (-) 77 74
    Frankel (Danehill Dancer){21-a}(0.78) 2/1 Mastercraftsman leading sire of juvenile hurdlers
    A winner of a one mile six handicap at Yarmouth in early August Sefton Warrior was sent off favourite on his hurdles debut at this track late last month despite the form of that win not working out. He was sporting a first time hood and tongue-tie for his hurdling bow, neither of which are retained here. Settling in the rear, his jumping lacked fluency as he either got in close to, or dived right at, most of his hurdles. He was outpaced prior to turning into the straight and eventually finished well adrift. More will be needed before he provokes enthusiasm in this discipline.

    Tamaris brc Gary Moore f4-1-0 (72) 79
    Dansili (Montjeu){5-h}(0.79) 3/1 Praxiteles 2nd Handicap Hurdle (125), Cheltenham 2010
    Making his debut at Kempton at the start of June for Roger Charlton, Tamaris has ran four times on the flat and won last time out in a one mile six furlong handicap at Wolverhampton back in August. While he was only running off a mark of 64, he took that race by over six lengths and the third placed horse was recently third in a fillies’ juvenile for the yard. Gary Moore is behind only Alan King, Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson for winning juveniles in the UK since 2008/09 and his winners to runners rate is a healthy 33.61%. That rate is still a respectable 29.54% with those bought at public auction although of the ten that cost more than £50,000, only First Avenue was able to win as a juvenile. Those formerly trained by Roger Charlton have a 23.68% winners to runners rate, including Old Guard, though the improvement rate of 25% is below average. Incidentally, last season’s Winning Fair runner-up Great Bear was also trained by Roger Charlton, and his stallion Dansili has above average statistics in the division. Montjeu is a more than capable damsire of juveniles and the granddam, out of Hellenic (Greek Dance, Islington), is a sister to two winning hurdlers and to the dam of another. Though he cost a third less than Camouflaged at the same auction, there are more ticks than blanks in his profile and the yard has a respectable first time out strike rate of 19%.

    Strong prospects
    1. Orchestral Rain
    Reasonable prospects
    2. Tamaris
    3. Fraterculus
    4. Camouflaged
    Feasible prospects
    5. Alberic
    Moderate prospects
    6. Jan Wellens
    7. Sefton Warrior
    Negligible prospects
    8. New Zealander

    Bachelors Hall
    • Total Posts 1419

    Here are the reviews for the weekend’s action, plus one that I missed out from Friday’s all-aged mares’ hurdle at Uttoxeter.

    30th October 2020 Uttoxeter 1m7f168y Mares’ Maiden Hurdle
    Flat White had twice placed third in a five race flat career in France for Eoghan O’Neill, but the form was not of a high standard and was last seen finishing twelfth in a Deauville handicap off a mark of 60.5 back in August. Nevertheless, she joined a yard with a respectable record in the division with five of the her fourteen juvenile hurdlers since 2008/09 being winners. Sire Olympic Glory has made a fine start in the sphere, the record of damsire Monsun is also respectable, and Flat White is related to several useful hurdlers including Hipsters and Please God who are both 3/2 on the damline. She pulled in the early stages and was awkward at the first two flights but better over the third, fourth and sixth. Slightly hampered at the penultimate flight, she landed awkwardly at the last which cost her some momentum. Nevertheless, she was unlikely to catch the useful looking winner in the best of circumstances but ran well to finish clear of the remainder. Not being a juvenile hurdle, gauging the standard of this form requires a venture into largely unknown territory. The winning time was the fastest of four races held at the distance on the card and though there was plenty of deadwood in the race and Flat White was in receipt of seventeen pounds from her rivals, she split a mare who participated in the Champion Bumper, and another rated 121. While the process of estimating the winner’s performance while offsetting the allowance against a weight for age scale is a convoluted one, Flat White appears to have developed from her French form and should be competitive in ordinary contests against her own age group. As such, a rating in the early 100s would probably be appropriate. 105

    Preview review
    It would have been very difficult to get this one wrong.

    Race review
    The withdrawal of Glorious Zoff deprived the race of any competitive element to the point that the whip was only used once on Varna Gold during his vain chase between the final two flights. The gallop was fair an honest as while the winning time was slower than the handicap on the card, it was still over two and a half seconds quicker than the eighteen runner maiden. There were no hard luck stories and the field finished in accordance to expectations.

    Qulixios won his first race on heavy ground in France by twelve lengths and his Irish debut two weeks ago by thirteen lengths. Sent off at odds of 1/16, only two juveniles since 2008/09 have started shorter with Friend Or Foe winning a match at Chepstow last year, and David Pipe’s Great Tempo landing a three runner contest at Hexham in 2016. Quilixios had been slightly suspect in his early jumping at Punchestown, but he became much more fluent when picking up the pace. Setting a fair tempo here, he jumped well throughout and the only flaws one could pick were that he got in slightly close to the sixth and seventh flights. However, he readjusted himself very well so as to not lose any momentum and this is a trait which will serve him well. From a form perspective, nothing new was revealed. Particularly as his main rival was not as fluent as he had been when winning last time. Notwithstanding, he did everything very comfortably and even if he may be better in the long term, he is a most exciting prospect for the current season. The Grade Three at Fairyhouse next month was offered as a possible target, although Gordon Elliott suggested that he might go straight to Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting. 132

    Varna Gold broke his maiden at the fifteenth time of asking when last seen over hurdles, and it was a victory earned through a clean round of jumping. While he did not make any bad mistakes here, he was slightly awkward, slow or skewed at almost every flight which made him even less competitive than his best form allowed. His superiority over the third was expected given his form and experience but similar to the winner, little new was learned of him. 108

    Na Caith Tobac won twice on the flat in low level handicaps and only had a fair profile coming into the race. His jumping was very novicey at times but he got around well enough to finish within a few lengths of the runner-up. He should improve for the experience and may be competitive in an ordinary contest. 99

    Anjician was making his racecourse debut but while damsire Galileo has a fair record in the division, his overall profile was very patchy. He gave all of his hurdles way too much air and never landed with a great deal of momentum. He was detached with a third of the race left to run and was pulled up before the third last. 0

    Preview review
    The strong prospect won and the next two positions were filled by the top reasonable prospects. Camouflaged ran below expectations though his yard’s recent form and fairly moderate first time out rate was noted. New Zealander exceeded expectations but he was an inexperienced sort by a good sire and had potential for improvement.

    Race review
    The field assembled for the race was not of the highest calibre but a couple of the experienced horses brought reasonable form and the newcomers had the potential to be fairly useful. The gallop was a solid one and the winning time was reasonable in comparison to the claimer that opened the card. There were no hard luck stories and there were only four probable winners on leaving the back straight. While a couple of beaten horses have the capacity to improve their positions in the future, there is no reason to question the integrity of the form as it stands.

    Orchestral Rain made a promising hurdling debut at Roscommon but his UK debut was fairly disappointing and though he would make amends by scoring next time at Ludlow, he still looked some way short of his potential. A change of tactics were employed here and they had a telling impact on his performance. Leading from flag fall, he set a solid tempo and though briefly headed entering the back straight, his relentless gallop soon saw him retain a clear lead. His advantage extended to some ten lengths turning for home and though he began to tire late on, his rivals were unable to make any real inroads. He has not the most fluent jumper last time out and his round was even more sloppy here. At several of the hurdles, he had a tendency to be low and awkward and his clearance of the penultimate obstacle was a textbook bunny-hop. He was better at the hurdles where he was ridden on the approach although more often than not, he was allowed to set his own stride which rarely came off gracefully. Nevertheless, his enthusiasm could not be faulted on this occasion and the performance ranks as a new career high. Life will be more difficult under a double penalty and while his current mark of 113 looks very fair, it probably won’t last too much longer. Nevertheless, he still has scope for further improvement and could emerge as fairly useful if he tidies up his jumping. 117

    Fraterculus showed flashes of ability on his first forays over hurdles but it was only after a month off that he was able to turn those flashes into substance when runner-up last time at Ludlow. Strictly on that performance behind Orchestral Rain, he was weighted to reverse the placings although that horse still had scope. Fraterculus had raced from the front on that occasion but was ridden more patiently here. This did not appear to aversely affect his performance however as he still travelled better than on his earlier outings and save for being awkward at the sixth and clipping the top of two out, his jumping was also fine. He was outpaced leaving the back but was able to stay on during the straight to take second place approaching the last. Fraterculus roughly matched his Ludlow effort here and while he is looking rather exposed after five runs, he can remain competitive at this level. 101

    Tamaris had been off the track since winning a Wolverhampton handicap on his final start for Roger Charlton in late July. Nevertheless, he was subject to steady market support throughout the day and opened as favourite in the ring. His jumping left something to be desired however as he was awkward at the first and third, trailed his legs at the second, took off too early two out and was slow getting away from the last. Nevertheless, this was still a perfectly credible debut effort and but for blowing up late on, looked likely to take second. He should improve for fitness and experience and while he is unlikely to be high class, it will be interesting to see how he progresses. 100

    New Zealander was an inexpensive purchase out of the Charlie Hills yard in July and was having his first run for eight and a half months when tailed off at Wetherby last time out. His jumping was not fluent there but other than being awkward at the fourth and slow over the next, his round was much cleaner on this occasion. He was always in the rear and leaving the back straight, was in seventh place and seemingly treading water. However, he was able to regain contact with the remaining stragglers turning for home and stayed on past beaten horses to finish less than three lengths behind the third. By Australia and out of a half-sister to a Free Handicap Hurdle winner, New Zealander has the pedigree to be competitive in an ordinary race and he may fulfil his genetic destiny should he continue his trajectory. 97

    Jan Wellens won on the flat for Ger Lyons but jumped poorly on his first two starts over hurdles. He was still far from fluent here as he had a tendency to get in close and land rather sharply. Nevertheless, it was still his best round to date and though he never threatened to run into a place, was able to post an improved effort. He has the engine to be a feasible proposition in this discipline but more assured jumping would be a prerequisite. 95

    Camouflaged was the most expensive juvenile hurdling prospect purchased at the Tattersalls August sale having earned a flat rating of 76 for Mark Johnston. However, his yard had not been in the greatest form recently and he was attempting to overcome a break of over two months. Running in first time cheekpieces, his jumping was not terrible but its lack of fluency was befitting of one without much experience. He was still in contention leaving the back straight but his in-running low of 2.8 was not justifiable and after knuckling on landing three from home, he quickly lost his position. There should be better to come. 79

    Sefton Warrior won a weak Yarmouth handicap in August and was sent off favourite on his hurdles debut at Huntingdon in late September. However, he lacked fluency there and never left the rear of the field. His jumping was poor again as he was low when diving at the first, slightly skewed over the second, trailed his hind legs through the fourth and was tired by the fifth. He did lead briefly entering the back but that did not last long as he soon weakened rapidly with half of the race left to be run. 0

    Alberic has a classic French jumping pedigree and represented a yard which can do well with racecourse debutants. However, he jumped awkwardly in the rear and was pulled up before the home straight. 0

    And here is the preview for tomorrow’s race at Fairyhouse.

    Juvenile hurdling returns to Fairyhouse tomorrow in the form of a maiden hurdle. One of the strongest racecourses in the division, this particular contest has been held for the last four years and has a reasonable history. Often used as a launchpad for the Grade Three at the Hatton’s Grace meeting, the double was completed in 2016 by Landofhopeandglory, and last season by Cerberus with both horse finishing runner-up in Grade Ones later in the season. Tomorrow’s edition of the race appears to lack some of that quality as none of the runners have yet to show enough to suggest they can be pattern class. Nevertheless, there have been worse fields assembled so an impressive winner could still become fairly useful. Fairyhouse would be one of the least demanding tracks in the country and the average winning DIs for juveniles of 1.22 median, 1.28 mean would attest to this premise. The clear round rate of 97.87% is the second highest in Ireland, making it more forgiving than most other courses. The going is currently forecast to be soft.

    Alexei Vronsky bg Padraig Roche f6-1-0 (68) 71 j1-0-0 (-) 103 102
    Power (Fasliyev){11-d}(3.00) 0.5 Maria Padilla 7th 3YO Maiden Hurdle, Thurles 2013
    Christy Roche won Grade One juveniles with Lethal Weapon and Grimes and his son Padraig won a Grade 3 with the ill-fated Way Back Home in his first season taking over the family business. The stable generally fared better with hometrained horses than those purchased at the sales although they will be bidding for better fortunes with Alexei Vronsky who was by the same sire as the aforementioned Way Back When. Bought for 15,000gns at the Tattersalls August sale, Alexei Vronsky ran six times on the flat for Michael O’Callaghan which included a win in a ten furlong Roscommon handicap on his return in mid June. Running off a mark of 62, he beat Dazzling Darren by a nose with subsequent hurdle winners Little Brother and See The Eagle Fly further behind. While he did not look particularly recalcitrant, he did make a meal of winning the race and was beaten in two subsequent handicaps over the same trip. He was also withdrawn from two engagements on account of soft ground. Three of Power’s ten juveniles have been winners thus far, including Our Power and the aforementioned Way back Home. Fasliyev gets winners as a damsire but his record is below average and while Bindaree (5/3), Torpichen (5/4) and Thomas Hobson (5/5) are distant relatives, there are no notable jumps relatives on the immediate damline. Alexei Vronsky’s hurdling debut came at Galway ten days ago and apart from skewing at the third and getting close to the last, his jumping was perfectly acceptable and he made decent headway leaving the back straight. He was unable to sustain his effort and finished fairly tired on his first start for seventy-two days. There can be better to come but he would likely be happier on a sounder surface.

    Bigz Belief bg Matthew J Smith f9-0-0 (53) 61 j3-0-2 (-) 107 107
    Make Believe (Falco){3-d}(2.00) 2/1 Camouflage 4th Maiden Hurdle, Navan 2007
    Bigz Belief was unable to trouble the judge in nine runs on the flat but he has already proven himself to be better over hurdles. His first two outings in the sphere came at Punchestown in September. He showed up for a long way first time before tiring late on, and improved on the second outing while being rather let down by his jumping. It was a similar story last time at Galway as he was slow and untidy at most of the hurdles, a trait pronounced over the final two obstacles. His form is improving with experience and the hood he wore ten days ago is retained. Furthermore, the yard has had three winners in the interim and Keith Donoghue takes the mount here. His jumping would still need to improve but he would not be readily ruled out in this company.

    Complete Fantasy bg Peter Fahey f5-0-0 (57) 70 j2-0-0 (-) 84 91
    Make Believe (Night Shift){42}(1.67) 0.5 Monkeylou 3rd 3-y-o Maiden Hurdle, Ballinrobe 2018
    Initially rated 65 on the flat due to an anomalous debut outing as a two year old, his mark has since slipped to a more realistic 57. Making his hurdling debut at Punchestown, he only made it to the first where a mistake saw his saddle slip and he was pulled up shortly afterwards. He was next seen in a Sligo maiden where he was able to complete the course, albeit some thirty-seven lengths behind Glorious Zoff. Held up in mid division, he was steady going into most of his hurdles and never progressed into a threatening position. There was something for him to build upon but he would need to show a fair deal more before getting competitive at this level.

    Craic Eile bg David Kenneth Budds f7-0-1 (55) 50 j2-0-0 (-) 92 93
    Palavicini (Invincible Spirit){1-k}(0.63) 0.5 Elysian Plains 1st 3-Y-O Hurdle, Killarney 2018
    Achieving nothing in all but one of his seven flat outings, Craic Eile was comfortably beaten on his hurdling debut at Punchestown although he did impress in his jumping. Returning in the same Galway contest as Sideshift, Bigz Belief and Alexei Vronsky, It was not a bad round on that occasion although he rather reached at the third and was very close to the fourth. His stamina had not been assured beforehand and from being in contention at two out, was rapidly losing touch by the last. There may be better to come on this easier track but it is possible that there are no suitable conditions in the sphere and his better form has been on better ground.

    Finsceal Blue bg W J Austin j2-0-0 (-) 43 49
    Finsceal Fior (Azamour){3-l}(1.09) 6/5 Sadler’s Risk 1st Star Chase (G3), Punchestown 2016
    Making his racecourse debut in a hurdle race at Listowel in September, Finsceal Blue did not have the most compelling profile save for his sire’s useful record in the sphere from limited opportunities. He jumped poorly in the rear on that occasion and repeated the dose next time at Punchestown prior to unseating two out. He has plenty to prove at this juncture.

    Flylikeaneagle bg Eamonn O’Connell f9-2-2 (70) 86 j1-0-0 (-) 84 85
    Free Eagle (Shamardal){6-f}(1.20) 2/1 Harp Player 7th Juvenile Hurdle, Market Rasen 1999
    Twice a winner on the flat as a two-year-old for Mark Johnston, he did not show anything in a couple of handicaps on his return and was sold out of that yard for 4,000 guineas at the Tattersalls July sale. Well beaten on his first outing for the new yard in a ten furlong Cork handicap, his hurdling debut came in a Ballinrobe maiden which featured Zanahiyr, Dark Voyager and Crassus. He was unsurprisingly outclassed and was green and steady over most of his hurdles before finishing last of the four finishers. Free Eagle has made a fine start to his career as a sire in the division and this race may tell us more about his abilities. However, he still has some way to go before he rekindles his two-year-old form.

    Jeff Kidder bg Noel Meade f8-1-2 (68) 73 j2-0-2 (-) 115 114
    Hallowed Crown (Rail Link){1-l}(0.71) no jumps relatives
    Jeff Kidder was a fair maiden prior to making his hurdles bow in the season’s curtain raiser at Roscommon, and was able to get off the mark next time on the flat in a soft/heavy ground Bellewstown handicap in late August. After a fair return to hurdles at Punchestown, he was last seen finishing a staying on fifth in a yielding to soft ground Leopardstown handicap seventeen days ago. He had failed to justify favourtism on each of his hurdles outings but while he was not an entirely justifiable favourite on either occasion, they were each very creditable efforts. At Roscommon, he was able to split a pair of multiple winners in Longclaw and Orchestral Rain, then at Punchestown, he found only Scholastic (receiving seven pounds) too good while finishing eight lengths clear of Bigz Belief with comprehensive Tipperary winner Rock Chica a further length back in fourth. The going on each occasion was no softer than yielding and Jeff Kidder’s flat form suggests that he will appreciate the softer conditions here. There are concerns about his jumping, especially as he put in a quite lamentable round on his latest start. Nevertheless, of Noel Meade’s sixteen winners in the division since the 2008/09 season, five got off the mark at the third time of asking and Jeff Kidder’s experience could see him improve in that department – particularly if he jumps better in the softer ground.

    Sideshift bg Gordon Elliott f8-1-1 (66) 73 j1-0-1 (-) 111 111
    Sidestep (Makfi){16-c}(1.22) 3/1 Purchasing Power 2nd Peter O’Sullevan Juvenile Hurdle (G3), Fairyhouse 1997
    Sideshift ran eight times on the flat for Michael O’Callaghan, winning an extended ten furlong handicap at Dundalk in July off a mark of 60. He changed hands for 27,000 guineas in August to join a yard which can do little wrong in the division. Like several from his new stable this season, he was a big drifter before the off first time out at Galway, and running in a first time hood, tended to wander and be hesitant on his approach to the early hurdles. Nevertheless, he travelled well enough to the point that he traded as low as 1.23 in-running. However, after a sixty-six day break he just failed to last out the trip on that occasion. He will have stripped fitter for the outing and his jumping should improve for the experience so a big run would be no surprise. Incidentally, while Sideshift has very few jumpers on the immediate damline, his seventh dam was a half-sister to Farmer’s Boy who was third behind Eborneezer in the 1961 Champion Hurdle.

    Sweet Will bg Gavin Cromwell f3-0-0 (66) 65 j1-0-0 (-) 46 53
    Dragon Pulse (One Cool Cat){3-d}(2.43) 2/1 Tapimix 8th Novices’ Hurdle, Newton Abbott 2008
    Gavin Cromwell has won races at Fairyhouse with the likes of Espoir d’Allen, Wolf Prince and Jer’s Girl, although his record in this particular contest is less exciting and Sweet Will looks unlikely to break the mould. Though he finished three lengths behind Longclaw and Orchestral Rain on his racecourse debut at Killarney in July, he was unable to match that form in two subsequent outings and was a tailed off last of eight finishers on his hurdling debut at Sligo eleven days ago.

    Toughari bg Thomas Mullins f7-1-0 (63) 66 j1-0-0 (-) 82 87
    Tough As Nails (Imperial Ballet){14-e}(1.00) 2/2 Golden Sage 1st Grande Course de Haies des 4 Ans (L), Cagnes Sur Mer 2018
    After achieving little in his first six starts on the flat, Toughari lacked fluency during an uninspired debut outing over hurdles at Killarney early last month. However, with the application of first time blinkers, he ran away with a handicap at this venue over an extended thirteen furlongs in the mud off a mark of 53. He was still green on that occasion but stayed on very strongly. Representing a yard with a solid record in the division, indeed one whose six winning juveniles all failed to win first time, Toughari can leave his Killarney effort behind on a track and surface which are likely to suit.

    Urban Boom grg Des Donovan f11-0-0 (37) 59 j1-0-0 (-) 62 69
    Gregorian (Equiano){7-e}(0.50) no jumps relatives
    Leaving Johnny Murthagh as a two year old with a rating of 52, that mark dropped to 37 after five successive duck eggs from distances of five furlongs to a mile and a half. Always in the rear on his jumps debut at Sligo, his slow hurding included a couple of blunders and he eventually finished tailed off.

    Yulong Voice bbg Shane Nolan f9-1-1 (71) 78 j3-0-1 (-) 99 106
    Poet’s Voice (Refuse To Bend){1-e}(1.00) 2/1 Dariak 4th Galway Hurdle (122), Galway 2008
    Rated 79 after winning a Bellewstown maiden for Jessica Harrington last August, his mark dropped to 71 after a series of lesser efforts without being entirely disgraced. A half-brother to a winning hurdler with a damline which includes Dariak (2/1), Forth Bridge (3/3), Shaneshill (4/2) and Darlan (4/2), Yulong Voice has the pedigree to make a hurdler and was going in the right direction on his first two starts in the discipline. While last of three finishers at Down Royal, he built on that effort next time at Punchestown when fifth behind Duffle Coat but a long way ahead of a beaten Bogz Belief. He attempted to make the running when last seen back at Punchestown five weeks ago but his jumping did not justify those tactics and after getting headed two out, would eventually finish tailed off. His yard was back among the winners recently and it is reasonable to ignore his latest run.

    Saga Malta bf Barry J Fitzgerald Unraced
    War Command (Exceed And Excel){22-b}(2.11) 2/1 Juno The Muffinman 1st Juvenile Hurdle, Warwick 2012
    The only newcomer in the field, from the family of Always Friendly and Desert Encounter, Saga Malta is out of a half-sister to winning novice Know The Law, and winning juvenile Juno The Muffinman. The granddam is also a half-sister to the fair Warsaw Pact. War Command is still without a winner in this discipline but some have shown promise, and damsire Exceed And Excel has a fair 16.67% strike rate with his broodmares’ juveniles. However, this will be Barry Fitzgerald’s first juvenile hurdler and he has yet to saddle a placed hurdler from five outings. Saga Malta’s pedigree is fair, but it is nowhere near enough to command significant interest.

    Waterville Lady bf Mrs John Harrington f15-0-4 (68) 68 j2-0-0 (-) 83 90
    Starspangledbanner (Marju){1-k}(0.71) 2/1 Gladiator King 1st Maiden Hurdle, Leopardstown 2015
    Jessica Harrington has a fine record with juvenile hurdlers over the years, but her recent attentions have lay elsewhere as she has only trained two winning juveniles since the 2017/18 season. Waterville Lady ended her first spell on the flat with a reduced rating of 65 and following two outings over hurdles, a pair of placed efforts saw her regained her mark of 68. Her jumping during those two hurdles spins was poor both at the flights she unseated and fell, and the ones where she remained upright. Encouragement may be drawn from the fact that the yard is now in better form, and there may be improvement for the switch to softer ground. There is still plenty of improvement required but a better performance, particularly in receipt of a sex allowance, can not be dismissed outright.

    Strong prospects
    1. Jeff Kidder
    Reasonable prospects
    2. Sideshift
    3. Bigz Belief
    4. Toughari
    Feasible prospects
    5. Yulong Voice
    6. Waterville Lady
    7. Alexei Vronsky
    Moderate prospects
    8. Craic Eile
    9. Flylikeaneagle
    10. Complete Fantasy
    Negligible prospects
    11. Saga Malta
    12. Sweet Will
    13. Urban Boom
    14. Finsceal Blue

    Bachelors Hall
    • Total Posts 1419

    Scotland’s second juvenile hurdle of the season, and the first to be held near the capital, is due to take place tomorrow. Becoming a maiden contest last season, a juvenile hurdle has been held at this meeting seven times since 2012 without making an impact on future races with only Big McIntosh, second in 2015, going on to contest the Triumph where he finished last at 150/1. Tomorrow’s edition looks fairly ordinary from a class perspective but it does feature four winners from the flat and a 76 rated maiden so it is at least up to standard. Bordering Midlothian, Musselburgh is very much a middling track when it comes to average winning DIs, seasonal RPRs and clear round rates. A flat track with sharp bends, there is a demonstrable advantage to racing handy which especially the case on the sound surface which is currently forecast.

    Breguet Boy brg Keith Dalgleish f15-3-3 (77) 81
    Requinto (Dubai Destination){12-c}(0.38) 2/1 Russian Tsar 1st 4yo Maiden Hurdle, Ballinrobe 2005
    A three time winner on the flat, Breguet Boy comes into the race with the second highest flat rating in the field. The first of those two wins came before February with success in a Redcar nursery back in September supplemented with another handicap victory at Wolverhampton in mid January. He then went five races without success but was never beaten further than five lengths and he added a third win to his tally in a Hamilton handicap off 74 on his penultimate start. No winners have come out of that race and he was last seen finishing fourth of nine in a ten furlong Ayr handicap four weeks ago. Though he has a dosage index of just 0.38, his is a good example of their occasional limitations as neither his sires nor grandsires are stamina influences and Breguet Boy himself only raced beyond nine furlongs for the first time on his latest start. Requinto has yet to have a winning juvenile hurdler but Billy The Squid has acquitted himself well this season and Cool Colonnade (out of a Montjeu mare) did win as a four-year-old. Dubai Destination has three winning juveniles from nine and the dam is a half sister to another four-year-old winner in Russian Tsar. Further back on the damline are the top class French jumpers Karly Flight (4/2), Sunny Flight (4/3) and Golden Flight (4/3). Keith Dalgleigh has four wins and six places from the twenty juveniles he has sent to Musselburgh and his first time strike rate is a respectable 15.38% which reads favourably compared to his still decent overall strike rate of 13.16%. However, though Billy Garritty recently rode a winner for the yard at Hexham, Breguet Boy would appear to be the second string. Furthermore, while he appears honest enough, there are concerns that Breguet Boy has a tendency to look around during his races which is a trait fraught with hazard when hurdles are involved.

    Castel Gandolfo grg Fergal O’Brien 3-0-2 (76) 76
    Dark Angel (Camacho){21-a}(3.00) 1/1 Teqany 1st Handicap Hurdle (135), Bangor 2020
    Fergal O’Brien has done well this season and while he recently went into a but of a lull, the drought was ended with a cross country double on Sunday. He has also fared well with his juveniles with creditable sorts Naizagai and Billy The Squid and he spoke highly of new recruit Castel Gandolfo in a recent stable tour. A full-brother to the yard’s useful hurdler Teqany, Castel Gandolfo raced three times on the flat for Jessica Harrington during the summer, reaching the first four on each occasion. His first outing was in a Gowran Park maiden over an extended nine furlongs where he led from the start before being headed at the distance but keeping on for a clear second. The field was comprised of newcomers and has yet to produce any subsequent wins with the winner currently rated 75. He was then fourth at Roscommon behind three subsequent winners and followed that up with a third at Galway in the beginning of August. Once again, the form of that race is only fair but he did finish ahead of Crassus who has become a fair hurdler in Ireland. Dark Angel gets winners in the sphere and while he is not the most prolific, that negative is rendered moot by the aforementioned Teqany who won on his hurdling debut as a four-year-old. Capable on a range of surfaces, Castel Gandolfo’s ability to front run will be a useful asset and though he still looked fairly green when last seen, this may have been mitigated by a subsequent gelding operation and three months to mature.

    Castle View chg Jim Goldie unraced
    Casamento (Invincible Spirit){1-w}(2.20) 2/1 Book Of Invasions 1st Novices’ Hurdle, Huntingdon 2019
    Jim Goldie won this race with Sir Chauvelin in 2015 and sent Silver Duke to finish third in the previous year’s renewal. His representative tomorrow will be Castle View who comes into the contest without any racing experience. This was not by design however, as the already gelded Castle View twice visited racecourses during the summer. First time at Ayr, he unseated his rider and ran loose before the start before a trip to Musselburgh saw him refuse to enter the stalls. There is encouragement on the sirelines as Casamento is an above average stallion in the division and Invincible Spirit is a much better damsire than he is a sire. However, while the profile is fairly reasonable for a newcomer, that is only in isolation from his public shenanigans.

    Clay Regazzoni bg Keith Dalgleish f19-1-6 (70) 79 j1-0-0 (-) 68 81
    Due Diligence (Kheleyf){6-b}(3.00) 2/1 Age Of Glory 1st 4yo Maiden Hurdle, Killarney 2013
    Clay Regazzoni ran nineteen times on the flat and while his run in a Chesham Stakes was never vindicated, he was consistent in that sphere and his rating of 70 is a fair reflection of his ability. However, while related to the likes of French Holly and Deano’s Beeno (both 4/2), his hurdling debut at Wetherby was fairly lamentable. After blundering at the second, he jumped slowly, awkwardly and/or to the right at most of his other jumps. In fairness, he was unfancied beforehand and his yard was out of form at the time. The latter factor is no longer the case and with Brian Hughes taking the ride, a better performance would not be unexpected.

    Jack Ryan bg John Ryan f10-1-1 (64) 64
    Harbour Watch (Rock Of Gibraltar){19-c}(3.00) 3/1 Cuban Piece 1st Juvenile Maiden Hurdle, Bangor 2011
    John Ryan has has three runners in this race resulting in a third, a second and 2018 winner Needs To Be Seen. A veteran of ten races on the flat, Jack Ryan’s sixth outing saw him finish second in a seven furlong Wolverhampton handicap and his duck was broken on his penultimate start in a heavy ground Yarmouth contest over the same distance. Running in first time blinkers off a mark of 59, he made steady progress at the distance and took the lead half a furlong out to beat his thirteen rivals by a length and a quarter. He was last seen six days ago running on to finish fourth in a seven furlong Lingfield handicap, although he was overtaken in the process suggesting he was not an unlucky fast finisher. Though he has yet to tackled any distance beyond a mile, he should not want for stamina at this trip but there is a discernible preference for softer ground on form. Harbour Watch (Act Of Valour, Overpriced Mixer) is a solid sire in the division, albeit with a below average improvement rate. The granddam is a half-sister to winning juvenile Cuban Piece and useful chasers Bun Doran and Shantou Village appear further back at 4/3. Jack Ryan’s profile is a credible one for the discipline but he has ground to make up on a few of these rivals and he would prefer that ground to tenderise.

    Nuriel bg Oliver Greenall j1-0-0 (-) 60 73
    Nutan (Lavirco){8-f}(0.67) 2/1 Noble Hawk 1st 4yo Hurdle, Strasbourg 2006
    Nuriel’s wind had already been done prior to his racecourse debut at Ludlow four weeks ago. Wearing a tongue tie first time out, the unfancied Nuriel was very cautious over his hurdles and was never able to get into the contest. He can improve for the experience but though a clear round looks assured, his Germanic pedigree suggests that his abilities may be better assessed in more testing conditions.

    Park Lane Dancer brg John Quinn f6-0-0 (52) 57 j1-0-1 (-) 82 90
    Elzaam (Iffraaj){8-f}(1.18) 3/1 Wise Words 2nd 4yo Hurdle, Roscommon 2003
    John Quinn has five wins from sixteen runs in Musselburgh juvenile hurdles since 2008/09 and while he has yet to have a winner in the sphere this season, three have been placed including Park Lane Dancer who finished third at Sedgefield seventeen days ago. Although he was the lesser fancied of the stable’s two runners in the race, he essentially halved in price during the day and was the more fluent of the pair. Apart from going slightly left at the fifth and being somewhat awkward at the last, his jumping was very reasonable and though he was outpaced at stages, he made steady progress to finish a never nearer three length third. Rated only 52 after six runs on the flat, his Sedgefield performance likely marked a career best and he is entitled to improve for the experience. However, while that form has yet to be tested, it looked like a very moderate race and would probably be the worst held thus far this season.

    Red Missile bg Lucinda Russell f6-1-1 (80) 89 j1-0-1 (-) 91 94
    Battle Of Marengo (Notnowcato){4-m}(0.76) 2/1 Carry On Sydney 1st Juvenile Maiden Hurdle, Market Rasen 2014
    Behind First Impression and Midnights Legacy, Red Missile has the highest flat RPR seen in this season’s UK juvenile hurdlers. This was achieved on his last start for William Haggas when running away with a twelve furlong Lingfield maiden by five lengths. The next four to be seen since have all been subsequent winners including third placed Ocean Wind who is now rated 104. Sold for 38,000 guineas at Tattersalls, he joined Lucinda Russell and made his hurdling debut at Perth towards the end of September. He was quoted for the Triumph Hurdle beforehand but he he failed to live up to those expectations. While he jumped the first two fine, he developed a tendency to wander towards and get in close to his hurdles and was already being niggled along in the back straight. He did plug on again after the last but although his being pulled wide may have cost him ground, he never looked like winning. Based on his latest flat run, that could only be regarded as a disappointment though taken in isolation, it was not a bad introduction to his hurdles career. There have been mixed signals emanating from that race as while the runner-up was a creditable third at Chepstow next time, the winner fetched only £2,000 at the recent Doncaster sales. The cheekpieces he wore at Lingfield will be reapplied tomorrow and with his good flat form and benefit of experience, he comes into this race with strong credentials.

    Brodick bf Lucinda Russell f8-0-1 (55) 62
    Teofilo (Holy Roman Emperor){4-m}(0.83) 4/1 Danticat 1st Handicap Hurdle (97), Naas 2006
    Postmodern ideas of gender as an abstract construct have fomented a new environment of liberation and self-actualisation for many people. Unfortunately, what many see as a great stride within the philosophical discourse of the human condition has been met with resistance and even scathing vitriol from certain quarters. As such, it is heartening to know that within a sport often reputed to be traditional and even reactionary, this season’s juvenile hurdler with the most masculine name is not only trained by a woman, but indeed is biologically female herself. The filly Brodick raced eight times on the flat for Karl Burke without running into an each-way place. The bulk of these outings took place on the all-weather and her tendency to wander was pronounced when last seen on the turf at Ripon. Teofilo has the best record in the division of the sires represented in this race and Holy Roman Emperor broodmares have produced two winners from their first three. Brodick’s granddam is a half-sister to Dawn Approach but he has thus far been unsuccessful as a sire in the division and the closest winning jumper on the damline is Danticat at 4/1. There are positive elements through the sirelines but Brodick’s overall form and profile are patchy. Incidentally, she is a distant relative of her stable mate as her eighth dam is the fifth dam of Red Missile.

    Strong prospects
    1. Red Missile
    Reasonable prospects
    2. Castel Gandolfo
    3. Clay Regazzoni
    Feasible prospects
    4. Breguet Boy
    5. Park Lane Dancer
    6. Jack Ryan
    Moderate prospects
    7. Brodick
    8. Nuriel
    Negligible prospects
    9. Castle View

    Bachelors Hall
    • Total Posts 1419

    The reviews of yesterday’s race at Fairyhouse, and today’s at Musselburgh have not been forgotten. However, I had very little sleep last night so those reviews won’t be coming immediately. Also, the preview for tomorrow’s race at Sedgefield has been written in a sleep deprived state so make of if what you will…

    Suggesting that there might be fireworks on the Fifth of November is not a particularly novel hypothesis. However, tomorrow’s fireworks at County Durham might not necessarily be in the form of a philistine’s cheap thrill, but instead, a racehorse. Sedgefield does not have a reputation for producing champions nor does it play host to any significant races. The average winner’s seasonal RPR of 111 is one of the lowest in the country and only two juvenile hurdles have been hosted on this comparable card since 2008/09. Nevertheless, horses who have competed in juvenile hurdles at Sedgefield before Christmas include Triumph winner Countrywide Flame, Anniversary winner Orsippus, Finale winner Marsh Warbler and Fred Winter winner Hawk High. With the latter’s half-brother due to line up tomorrow alongside three undefeated winners – two of them being course winners – declared, the 14:15 at Sedgefield looks as likely as any held at the venue this season to produce another good horse. With average winning DIs of 1.39 median, 1.46 mean, Sedgefield does not place a great emphasis on stamina demands. Its clear round rate of 95.56% however ranks the course 42nd of the 62 used in the division since 2008/09 and only three courses have a completion rate lower than Sedgefield’s 79.26%. With soft ground forecast, there will be an additional benefit to staying in contention with good jumping.

    Genever Dragon bg Donald McCain f10-0-2 (62) 71 j1-1-0 (-) 104 109
    Dragon Pulse (Red Clubs){1-w}(1.29) 3/1 Staunch Rival 2nd Handicap Chase (124), Sandown 1995
    The first of the two course and distance winners, Genever Dragon landed his race just over five weeks ago. A ten race maiden on the flat, his rating dropped by half a stone as he failed to match his two-year-old form in a trio of summer handicaps for Tom Dascombe. Though he joined a yard with a respectable record in the sphere, he had a lower flat rating than four of his rivals and representing a sire whose strike rate in the division was just 2.86% going into the race, was sent off an unfancied 16/1. Nevertheless, he turned out to be quite the little revelation. While he was hampered at the second, he jumped well on his hurdling debut and travelled strongly behind the leaders. He began to be ridden between the final two flights and looked a little green under pressure. But a quick jump at the last gave him a clear advantage and he stayed on strongly to the line, always repelling the challenge of the runner-up. It was a pleasing performance first time out and represented a career best effort. The form did not look great at the time but the runner-up since filled the same position next time at Uttoxeter behind Wensleydale Hurdle third Cabot Cliffs. There is scope for further improvement although while he is capable of defying a penalty in similar company, Glorious Zoff looks like a leap in class.

    Glorious Zoff bg Gordon Elliott f6-0-1 (72) 74 j1-1-0 (-) 126 134
    Zoffany (Overbury){4-r}(1.40) 3/1 Spate River 1st Handicap Hurdle (94), Southwell 2012
    Glorious Zoff left Charlie Hills for 26,000 guineas after a six race flat career which saw him earn a rating of 72 without any wins. Though he never raced beyond a mile, he shaped as though the stamina demands for his new vocation would be well within his scope and following a sixty day lay-off, he made a winning hurdles debut in a Sligo maiden a fortnight ago. Always close to the leaders, his jumping was not perfectly fluent. But while the errors he made were minor, he impressed in the way he readjusted himself to mitigate against any loss of momentum and was very nimble over the last when the race was already in safe keeping. Travelling well in himself throughout, he cruised upsides the leader approaching the second last before jumping into the lead at that flight. Never so much as shaken up, he eased his way into a handy lead on the run to the last and increased his superiority in a nonchalant fashion. Though his pedigree and flat profile are fairly unremarkable, the manner of his victory over several opponents who have every right to win races of their own, the useful winning time, and the further improvement due from his imperfect yet intelligent jumping all combine to make Glorious Zoff an exciting recruit to the division. He was withdrawn from an intended clash with Qulixios on Saturday on account of soft ground but as the yard has another runner in the card’s opener, they will not be shy about withdrawing him again should it be deemed appropriate. The yard’s first juvenile runner at Sedgefield since Al Dafa was second at 13/2 in 2010, Glorious Zoff has upwards of twenty pounds in hand over his rivals and his only concern would be that he has yet to prove he goes on soft ground – although his Sligo win did come on yielding. Should the ground not radically affect his abilities then to justify his Triumph Hurdle odds of 33/1, he should be able to win this race quite comfortably.

    Gold Desert chg Oliver Greenall f4-0-0 (71) 74 j1-1-0 (-) 85 93
    Mastercraftsman (Galileo){9-f}(0.76) 3/1 Triple Sharp 1st Mares’ Handicap Hurdle (81), Fakenham 2001
    Fetching 23,000 guineas at the July sale after earning a rating of 71 in four winless starts for Richard Hannon, Gold Desert’s course and distance success came in the middle of last month. His jumping was sound at times but he wandered and was hesitant at the first, steadied into the fifth, and skewed before landing awkwardly two out. He was also shaken up briefly after the fifth but he travelled reasonably well at the business end of the race and though he was ridden for much of straight, had enough in reserve to grind down the leader on the run-in. Along with the relatively decent flat form, the strength of his case came in his being by Mastercraftsman who is one of the leading sires in the division. However, what he achieved eighteen days ago probably amounts to very little as it looked the worst race to date in the division this season. Furthermore, third placed Park Lane Dancer, the only runner to be seen since, was well beaten at Musselburgh this afternoon. He is entitled to improve for the experience, as is the often case with those from his stable, and should emerge as a fair sort. However, the yard is currently out of form which adds to the already huge task at hand.

    Camahawk brg Tim Easterby f6-0-1 (69) 75 j1-0-0 (-) 60 73
    Camelot (Machiavellian){25}(1.00) 0.5 Hawk High 1st Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle (G3,130) Cheltenham 2014
    Hawk High finished second at this venue before winning the 2014 Fred Winter hurdle and his half-brother Camahawk will be bidding to go one better. A fair maiden on the flat, he put in a reasonable round on his hurdling debut at Wetherby but never travelled with any purpose and ultimately finished well beaten. He is capable of leaving that performance behind but he has enough to find with those possessing winning form.

    Douglas Fir bg Russell Ross f1-0-0 (-) 44 j2-0-0 (-) 38 37
    Australia (Danehill Dancer){14-c}(0.75) 2/1 Rocky Wednesday 3rd Winning Fair Juvenile Hurdle (G2), Fairyhouse 2011
    Though he left Mark Johnson after one race for just £1,800, Douglas Fir is bred to make a juvenile hurdler. However, both of his runs over hurdles have seen him beaten by over seventy lengths.

    Fast Deal chg Tim Easterby f10-0-2 (57) 71 j1-0-0 (-) 57 70
    Fast Company (Doyen){4-d}(1.15) 4/2 Go Tech 2nd Novice Hurdle, Wetherby 2007
    A stablemate of Camahawk, Fast Deal is another who emerges from the same Wetherby contest. However, he was much the lesser fancied of the pair and would finish three lengths further behind his tailed off teammate.

    Le Magnifique chg Keith Dalgleish f3-0-1 (DeF) 50 j1-0-0 (-) 0 0
    Kamsin (Pentire){5-h}(0.54) 2/1 Loup de Mer 4th Grande Course de Haies de Pau (L), Pau 2010
    Le Magnifique’s only run on the flat this year came when down the field in a Hoppegarten maiden for Andreas Wohler. While an accurate measure of his form is difficult, it is likely closer to the mid-sixties than his RPR of 50. Sire Kamsin has a respectable record as a sire of juveniles with a third of his runners, including the useful Adjali, winning on both sides of the channel. Le Magnifique’s dam is a half-sister to a pair of useful jumpers in Loup de Mer and La Coquette along with 2007 Prix du Cadran winner Le Mirable. His pedigree is enough that he should at least match his flat form over hurdles. However, while he was backed into joint-favouritism on his hurdling debut at Perth, his behaviour, hurdling and performance were those of a very inexperienced horse. Though he moved up from midfield to lead at halfway, he was dropped quickly after three out and soon pulled up. Le Magnifique comes into a difficult race with plenty to prove, although the trainer and jockey did team up to win a juvenile hurdle at Musselburgh on the eve of this contest.

    Stittenham Wood brg Michael Easterby f11-1-1 (62) 69
    Garswood (Halling){4-m}(3.00) 3/1 Elaando 1st Handicap Hurdle (102), Towcester 2000
    Following seven flat races without a win, Stittenham Wood got off the mark at the eighth time of asking in a Newcastle handicap towards the end of September off a mark of 55. However, he has since finished well beaten in three subsequent outings and now tries his hand at hurdling. While his flat mark of 62 is fair for the discipline, it does not command automatic respect in this field. Neither of Garswood’s two juveniles have been winners and the trainer’s record in the division, including an improvement rate of 22.22%, are way below average. Halling is one of the better damsires represented in this race and good horses Dodging Bullets (4/2) and Elgin (4/4) appear on the damline. However, those factors alone would not offset the poor recent form and patchy profile.

    Outstanding prospects
    1. Glorious Zoff
    Reasonable prospects
    2. Genever Dragon
    3. Gold Desert
    Feasible prospects
    4. Camahawk
    5. Le Magnifique
    Moderate prospects
    6. Stittenham Wood
    Negligible prospects
    7. Fast Deal
    8. Douglas Fir

    Bachelors Hall
    • Total Posts 1419

    WARWICK – note – videos to the addressed French races can be found in the links.
    As far as quality of juvenile hurdles are concerned, Warwick is in the top third of racecourses in the UK and Ireland. In the shadows of one of the nicest castles in the country, Warwick hosts its first such contest tomorrow morning. A regular fixture at the meeting, this race has been won by some fine sorts over the years including We Have A Dream in 2017, who would win Grade Ones at Chepstow and Aintree, and last year’s winner Allmankind who was third in the Triumph and incidentally, makes his chase debut later on the card. Of the eight declarations for tomorrow, only one has hurdling experience which is an increasingly rare composition now that the season is in full flow. Several good yards in the division will be represented and some fair flat form is bought to proceedings so it might produce a fairly useful sort or two. With average winning DIs of 1.40 median, 1.58 mean, Warwick’s juvenile hurdles place much more of an emphasis on speed rather than stamina. The clear round rate of 94.94% is one of the lowest in the country suggesting that such speed makes for a more exacting test of jumping.

    Adagio bg David Pipe f3-1-2 GAG 39.5 (BHA 87) RPR 81
    Wiener Walzer (Hernando){9-e}(0.73) 3/3 Labaik 1st Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (G1), Cheltenham 2017
    Much has been written within these pages on the matter of juvenile hurdlers who were bought out of French claimers on the flat. Four winners from twenty-two such types since 2008/09 is not a bad record. However, while it would be reasonable to expect roughly half of them to match or improve on their flat ratings between the codes, only 18.18% have actually done so. Furthermore, of the four who have won, only Edward O’Gradys’s Humaniste won first time out and there is a tendency for such horses to come on for a few runs. Particularly those trained by David Pipe who is responsible for the more expensive of two ex-French claimers due to line up tomorrow. Adagio began his career with a pair of placed efforts for Jean-Pierre Carvalho towards the backend of last year. After finishing second in a six-and-a-half furlong maiden at Krefeld, he was then third, a month later over a furlong longer, at Deauville behind a pair currently rated 92.4 and 101.2. Switching to the Pavel Vovcenko stable, he returned in the middle of August to run out a convincing eight length winner of a twelve furlong Clairefontaine claimer under Christophe Soumillon. Behind him that day were four previous winners who each had official equivalent ratings exceeding 70, although the form has not worked out well since, producing only one subsequent winner who scored in a weak Claimer at Nimes. Nevertheless, such was his superiority, a rating in the early-mid nineties would seem appropriate and be the highest flat mark in this field. Sire Wiener Walzer, the 2009 German Derby winner, had his first jumps winner on at the end of August when Adagio’s full-sister Ad Acta won a weak maiden at Vertou. Damsire Hernando is the strongest represented in this race and Adagio’s third dam produced Arcadio and is the great-granddam of the mercurial Supreme Novice winner Labaik. The yard does well in the division and has been in decent form as of late. Adagio’s form and pedigree entitles him to respect, although given his background, it is possible that he may be seen to better effect with experience.

    Camacho Man chc Jennie Candlish f10-0-1 (54) 54
    Camacho (Lawman){13-c}(0.71) 3/1 Erzadjan 1st Juvenile Hurdle, Newcastle 1993
    Camacho Man has ten runs under his name to date, but he has not been seen since the Tenth of December last year.On this day, he finished three-and-a-half lengths fifth of eleven in a Wolverhampton Handicap off 55. While he finished second at Newcastle three starts earlier, this was still close enough to his best achievements during the campaign. Best known for winning the 2010 Wensleydale with Maoi Chinn Tire, Jennie Candlish’s winner to runner record in the sphere is an average 20%. Camacho has had some fair winners in Mr Adjudicator, El Beau and Cafe Con Leche although his overall record is just below par. Though Camacho Man is related to winners further back on the damline, including Ebaziyan at 3/3, his overall profile is patchy and his flat form is quite poor in the context of this field. As much as Camacho Man likely enjoys the status, that he remains an entireis also a negative for his prospects.

    Duke Of Condicote bg Alan King 8-1-2 (79) 85
    No Nay Never (Halling){A16}(3.00) 3/2 Pateese 3rd Imperial Cup (L,125), Sandown 2011
    Since 2008/09, Alan King has saddled more winning juvenile hurdlers than any other trainer in the UK or Ireland. Furthermore, of all trainers with twenty of more winners in the division, only John Quinn and Willie Mullins have superior improvement rates. Yet no resident of Barbury Castle has won a juvenile hurdle since January and four have tried this season without success. Some horse will inevitably end this drought and n terms of flat form, Duke Of Condicote’s exploits well in the context of this field. Following four races as a two-year-old, including finishing within four lengths of subsequent Derby runner-up Khalifa Sat, Duke Of Condicote was able to break his maiden on his seasonal return when sharing a Haydock Handicap in early June. Ran over an extended eleven furlongs on good to soft, the contest ended in a dead-heat with Bharani Star, fourth next time in the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot, splitting first place off a mark of 71. The fourth and fifth have been subsequent winners, the latter being Soldier On Parade who will be no stranger to those who follow the division. Duke Of Condicote was runner-up again next time at Windsor behind dual subsequent winner Grand Bazaar, before posting a lacklustre performance back at Haydock a fortnight later. Following a 99 day break, he returned to the track to finish second behind cosy winner Opera Gift at Yarmouth twenty-five days ago. Another race over eleven-and-a-half soft furlongs, the two with subsequent outings each finished second next time. Though No Nay Never is an influence for speed and precocity, he does not appear to have trouble producing horses who stay which is a quality that can be safely ascribed to Duke Of Condicote. However, he is still without a winning hurdler from five and grandsire Scat Daddy is also lacking in this department. Though related to a jumps winner in Switzerland at 2/1 and Patesse can be found at 3/2 on the damline, the entirety of thoroughbred family A16 is without any representatives in juvenile hurdling. Halling does get winners in the division as a damsire, including recent Wensleydale third Cabot Cliffs, and Duke Of Condicote’s flat form is sufficiently strong to Alan King’s drought in the sphere. However, while breeding is not the ultimate qualifier in terms of a horse’s potential aptitude, the pedigree is still decidedly patchy.

    Fact Or Fable grg J S Moore f25-0-2 (48) 64
    Alhebayeb (Dansili){9}(3.00) 0.5 Uther Pendragon 3rd Novices’ Hurdle, Kempton 2019
    Fact Or Fable has already amassed twenty-five career starts to date, but has yet to place in the first two and is currently rated just 48. Only three of those runs were beyond seven furlongs and he was well beaten on each occasion. The fifth dam Fantan produced the brilliant Ragusa and is the matriarch of a family which includes the likes of Nietzche (5/4), Battle Group, Self Defence and Upgrade (5/5), Simply Ned and Degas Art (5/6) and Wicklow Brave (5/7). Closer on the damline are winners Bold Statement (3/1) and Tarski (2/1) while half-brother Uther Pendragon was placed in a Kempton Novices’ Hurdle for the yard last year. Alhebayeb is only on his second crop of juveniles but he can already count Duffle Coat amongst his progeny. This is where the encouragement ends however as Fact Or Fable’s overall form is poor and the yard is winless in the division since 2008/09.

    Fiscal Prudence bg Harry Whittington f2-0-0 (-) 70
    Fracas (Leroidesanimaux){8-i}(0.86) 2/2 Morga 2nd Handicap Hurdle (A,130), Fairyhouse 2016
    Making his debut at The Curragh last August over seven furlongs, Fiscal Prudence returned to the venue later that month to compete in another maiden over a mile. He was beaten thirteen lengths in the first race but was just over nine lengths fifth next time behind Mogul, finishing ahead of two horses rated over 100. Gelded in March, he was withdrawn from the Tattersalls July sale to go directly from the Jim Bolger yard to join Harry Whittington. A trainer with a solid 42.86% winners to runners rate in the sphere, his improvement rate of 66.67% is very healthy and he has already had a winner this season with another Irish import See The Eagle Fly. Though Fiscal Prudence has been off the track for over a year, his trainer is no slouch when it comes to readying horses after such an absence. Since the start of 2013, Harry Whittington has sent out twelve horses returning after a break of over twelve months with five of them being winners. His clear round rate of 98.18% with juveniles is also one of the best in this field. Half of Fracas’s four juveniles have been winners and Fiscal Prudence is a cousin of Morga out of a half-sister to jumps winners Via Archimede and Ard San Aer, herself out of a half-sister to another winner South Leinster. On bare flat form, Fiscal Prudence has ground to find on a couple of these. However, his pedigree is respectable and he is in the right hands if he is to overcome his absence in a creditable fashion.

    Galidermes bg Charlie Mann f13-3-3 FrF (66) 38
    Hunter’s Light (Galileo){6-a}(0.58) 2/1 Theos Quercus 1st 4yo Hurdle, Dieppe 2001
    The second horse in the field to emerge from a French claimer, Galidermes was a winner of three of his thirteen starts on the flat for Joël Boisnard – the source of one winning juvenile from four since 2008/09 (all ran over hurdles prior to their import). Two of his wins came on his last two starts with his latest win coming in a 2,100 metre claimer at Montignac – a course so provincial that it does not even appear on Zone-Turf, and looks like it is hosted in someone’s back garden. This win came five days after he scored over 1,700 metres at the similarly quaint Granville. Neither of those races have produced subsequent winners but the equivalent rating of 66 looks feasible. Hunter’s Light has yet to score in the discipline but Galileo is a useful damsire and Galidermes is out of a sister to four-year-old hurdle winner Theos Quercus. Dual winner Herleva (2/2) and the useful Verasi (5/4) also appear on the damline. Charlie Mann has a solid 28.13 winners to runners rate in the sphere and has won with French flat imports including Fixed Rate and Superb Story. However, those both had ratings exceeding 85 and neither came out of claiming company. Certainly not for the €6,001 paid for Galidermes.

    Grouseman bg Pam Sly f7-0-0 (50) 56
    Kyllachy (Danehill Dancer){8-d}(1.91) 2/1 Pivot Bridge 1st Handicap Hurdle (B,110), Killarney 2014
    Fifth on his latest two outings on the flat, Grouseman embarks on his hurdling career with a mark of 50. Though he is out of a half-sister to winner Pivot Bridge, and his third-dam produced winners Right Stuff and Noble Calling, his sire’s record in the division is ominous. Since 2008/09, Kyllachy has had twenty-three horses run in sixty races as juvenile hurdlers without registering a single victory. A record unmatched by any other stallion. Pam Sly does get winners in the sphere but her winners to runners rate of 17.65% is not likely enough to disrupt Kyllachy’s impressive flow.

    Lustleigh bc Dan Skelton j1-0-0 (-) 88 91
    Kayf Tara (Midnight Legend){11-d}(0.89) 1/0 My Petra 1st 1965 Chase (G2,136), Ascot 2008
    Kayf Tara is without a winning juvenile since Katies Tutor scored in 2006 and his tally of sixteen individual campaigns since 2008/09 has Kyllachy looking over his shoulder. There is no doubting his credentials as a jumps stallion however and Lustleigh, a son of the very useful My Petra, herself a full-sister to the equally talented duo of Midnight Appeal and Lake Legend, is better bred than most failures in the division. He was well supported ahead of his racecourse debut at Wetherby just over three weeks ago and though he would fall at the last when beaten, made a good showing. Leading from the outset, he jumped slightly right at the first, got close to the second, slightly close to the third and sixth before getting too low at his final two jumps. He was only headed on the approach to the last but was a tired horse by that stage. Despite his imperfect jumping, it was still reasonable enough to set a searching gallop and if he shows no ill-effect for the experience, there should be more to come. Particularly as he represents a yard with above average figures across all metrics, which also won this race last season with Allmankind.

    Strong prospects
    1. Fiscal Prudence
    Reasonable prospects
    2. Lustleigh
    3. Duke Of Condicote
    Feasible prospects
    4. Adagio
    Moderate prospects
    5. Galidermes
    Negligible prospects
    6. Camacho Man
    7. Grouseman
    8. Fact Or Fable

    Bachelors Hall
    • Total Posts 1419

    An exciting week ahead in store for juvenile hurdling with Cheltenham hosting the Grade 2 Prestbury Juvenile Hurdle on Saturday. Entries at this stage include Duffle Coat, Hell Red, Overpriced Mixer, Adagio, Cabot Cliffs and a Dan Skelton newcomer who won at Auteuil back in September. Ludlow hosts a race on Thursday which could also be useful with five winners, two winning French bumper horses and a handful of interesting flat recruits still in the race. Wednesday’s race at Bangor looks a little less exhilarating… As an aside, Poker Master makes his handicap debut at Huntingdon tomorrow afternoon and he currently heads the market at the time of writing. While I can not make an assessment of the quality of his rivals, his mark does not look favourable (despite Gold Desert running a fair race last week), his yard has no record of three-year-olds in handicaps, and I am not convinced that the trip will suit. A big run would come as a surprise but weirder things happen in racing on a regular basis.

    The previews for the aforementioned races should be up as and when, but in the meantime, here are the reviews for last week’s races.

    Preview review
    I failed to do a preview for the reserve as for some reason, she was not listed as such when I initially drew up my spreadsheet for the race. She would likely have been quite readily dismissed and she ran no sort of race in the event. The strong prospect won and the second and third were the top reasonable prospects. Craic Eile was still near the front when unseating and while he would likely have faded, he put in some very decent jumps along the way. Apart from missing the reserve, there were no major oversights in the preview that warrant addressing.

    Race review
    While the race did not look to match the potential of previous renewals, all but two of the thirteen starters had hurdling experience and several had either performed respectably or had pretentions of doing so. The quality of jumping was largely acceptable and an honest pace was set. While the winning time was considerably slower than that of the useful looking maiden which followed, it was still better than the low grade handicaps later on the card. There were reasons for the runners finishing where they did and the form looks reliable.

    Jeff Kidder had shown solid form on his first two outings over hurdles, splitting Longclaw and Orchestral Rain at Roscommon before finding only Scholastic too good at Punchestown next time. He had won on the flat between those efforts and returned to that sphere without disgrace ahead of this outing. His jumping had been a cause for some trepidation at Punchestown but was much more fluent on the softer ground here. It was not a perfect round as he rather steadied at the first, clipped the top of the second and was slightly awkward at the seventh. Nevertheless, it was a clean round overall and travelled kindly throughout. Always racing prominently while tracking the frontrunners, he found himself boxed in when attempting to challenge turning for home. Nevertheless, he was able to get a clear run approaching the last where a good jump gave him momentum which he carried strongly to the line. The bare form is merely above average but it was still a career best performance and with a discernible improvement in his attitude and aptitude, there is no reason why he can not progress further. 117

    Bigz Belief was only moderate on the flat but had already shown enough in two runs at Punchestown and a recent outing at Galway that he is a better horse over hurdles. He had previously been let down by his jumping, particularly in the latter stages of a race. However, while there were still slight errors throughout this race, there was nothing too alarming and his round was completed with neat and quick jumps over the final two obstacles. Tracking the leader from flag fall, he edged into a narrow lead approaching the penultimate flight and after repelling the challenge of Sideshift, was only headed after the half-furlong marker. Another posting a career best effort, Bigz Belief was suited by the fair nature of the track. Nevertheless, he is capable of getting off the mark in an ordinary contest provided there is not too much emphasis placed on stamina. 114

    Sideshift won a handicap off 60 on the flat for Michael O’Callaghan ahead of a respectable hurdling debut at Galway. There was room for improvement in the jumping department there of which he found a fair amount on this occasion. While he got in close to the fifth, dived slightly at two out and trailed his front legs through the last, he was much more assured here. Although he was fitter and cleaner for the experience, he did not appear to improve from a form perspective, owing largely to the fact that he faded in the closing stages. He has the ability to win an ordinary contest but his stamina is not completely assured and would not be one of the leading lights in his yard. 111

    Complete Fantasy had ran to only a moderate level on the flat in June and his hurdling debut ended quickly after his saddle slipped at Punchestown. He put in a clear round next time at Sligo, but was steady going into most of his hurdles and finished tailed off. Nevertheless, though he was slow at the second and third here, he put up a much more fluent round of jumping and was still in contention approaching the last. However, he got the final flight completely wrong and lost a great deal of momentum which ended his chances of finishing closer. Much his best performance in over a year, Complete Fantasy should be competitive at this level provided that this was not a fluke. 109

    Toughari achieved little in his first six starts on the flat and a lack of fluency contributed to an insipid hurdling debut at Killarney. The application of blinkers on a return to the flat saw him run away with a handicap in the mud at Fairyhouse and he was backed from 16/1 in the morning to 6/1 at the off here. However, he was either close or steady at half of his jumps here and while he was in contention in the straight, could not find enough to make an impact on the finish. Nevertheless, this was an improved showing and with more assured jumping, he can get involved in a weaker contest. 108

    Alexei Vronsky was another winner on the flat for Michael O’Callaghan and ran a fair race in fourth on his jumps debut at Galway. His jumping was respectable first time and apart from getting slightly close at the penultimate flight, put in a decent round here. Racing in mid-division, he attempted to make ground turning for home but was unable to reach a challenging position and would finish a fairly tired eighteen lengths behind the winner. While he clearly jumps well enough to be competitive in an ordinary race, he may well find his stride on better ground. 98

    Flylikeaneagle won twice on the flat for Mark Johnston as a two year old, but was let go quite cheaply at the Tattersalls July sale and has yet to show a great deal for his new yard. He was green and steady at most of his hurdles when outclassed at Ballinrobe on his hurdling bow and was steady and slow over most of the obstacles on this occasion. He improved slightly for the experience but would still have a fair way to go before he can be effective in this discipline. In a subsequent stewards inquiry, Flylikeaneagle reportedly hung left. 89

    Saga Malta is related to a few fair hurdlers and was making her racecourse debut here. Always off the pace, she was awkward over the first few obstacles and got in close to the sixth before finishing well beaten. She can improve for the experience but there is nothing to get too excited about at this juncture. In a subsequent stewards report, she was said to have ran very green. 82

    Ahaziah went into the race a maiden after ten starts, representing a yard without a winner from three horses in the sphere. An Alhebayeb x Owington cross, he is not related to any jumpers with discernible form. Racing in the rear, Ahaziah skewed over the first and third, steadied when getting in close to the fourth and was steady again at the penultimate flight in the process of finishing well beaten. There is little enthusiasm to be had over his immediate prospects. 88

    Sweet Will represented a good stable in the sphere but was tailed off on his hurdling debut at Sligo and it was the same case here. Though untidy at the first, he put in a decent round thereafter but he never left the rear of the field. He was the subject of a stewards report after the race where it was revealed by the veterinary officer that he had an overreach on his left fore and was found clinically abnormal. 84

    Urban Boom came into his hurdling debut at Sligo on the back of a sequence of duck eggs before jumping poorly in the rear and tailing off. Slightly more use of him was made in midfield on this occasion but after being badly hampered at the first, his round was littered with mistakes and he once again finished tailed off. 73

    Finsceal Blue has now had three runs over hurdles, jumping poorly in the rear before tailing off on each occasion. This was perhaps his best round, but it still included three notable errors. 17

    Craic Eile achieved nothing in all but one of his seven starts on the flat, but while he was well beaten on his hurdling debut at Punchestown, his jumping was fairly impressive. His jumping was not quite as good next time at Galway where he tired late on, but apart from diving at the first, he did jump quite spectacularly from the front here. There was some air between himself and his hurdles through the first half of the race, but he was also quick in the process and he got neater as the race progressed. He kept his lead until the approach to the penultimate flight where he did not take off quickly enough, tripping over the hurdle and leaving his jockey with no chance of retaining the partnership. He looked vulnerable at the time and lost five positions while galloping loose suggesting he would most likely have been ran out of the finish in any case. Talk of a chasing career is premature and whimsical, but if he can develop his stamina then it is not too difficult to envisage him faring respectably in that discipline should the opportunity present itself. 105

    Preview review
    The first three places were filled by those in the top four prospects, although there were a couple of cases of over and underestimation. Red Missile ran a fine enough race and improved a fair deal on his debut, although he has yet to match his outstanding piece of flat form which itself was a fair deal better than anything he had previously achieved. Breguet Boy had fine credentials going into the contest but too much emphasis was put on jockey bookings, especially as he was much the best backed of the stable’s runners.

    Race review
    The race looked fairly ordinary beforehand and while the front two are not outstanding sorts, they pulled clear of a strung out field and had every reason to do so. The pace was a sound one without being too searching as the front three raced prominently throughout and the winning time was the slowest of four races at the distance on the card. Nevertheless, the finish was fought out between two newcomers rated in the mid-high seventies on the flat and there is no reason why neither can progress from here.

    Breguet Boy won three races on the flat at distances around a mile, and came into this contest with rating of 77. He had a tendency to look around on the flat which was repeated here, but it had no ill effect on his hurdling as he put up a tidy round. Tracking the leader throughout, he went into the lead at the penultimate flight. He wandered on the approach to the last where he made his only real mistake of the race, going through the top of the flight. Though he was slow in getting away, he soon regained his stride and knuckled down the better of the front pair in a battle to the line. Though he may be fairly exposed after fifteen races on the flat, he is nothing if not consistent and ran close to his best flat mark here. He may lack the scope of the runner-up, but he is a game and likable horse who also provided his sire with his first winner in the sphere. 113

    Castel Gandolfo saw the racecourse three times during the summer for Jessica Harrington before joining his full-brother, Elite Hurdle runner-up, Teqany at the Fergal O’Brien yard. Though still a maiden, he achieved a fair level of form on all surfaces and appears to have developed further following a three month break. His jumping was not flawless as he was slow at the second, dived at the fifth, got in close to the sixth and skewed over the penultimate flight. He was also slightly hampered by the winner after the last but this did not affect the result. He was involved in a protracted race to the line but did not have enough to pass his more battle-hardened rival. It would be fair at this stage to excuse the defeat on the basis of his inexperience and he could be a nice recruit to the jumping game. 112

    Red Missile‘s last flat run for William Haggas saw him earn an RPR of 89, which looks fully justified in retrospect. However, some greenness on his hurdling debut at Perth saw him nowhere near to that level, even if it was not a bad outing in isolation. With the cheekpieces reapplied from his Lingfield win, Red Missile jumped much better from the front and he kept his lead up to the penultimate flight where he made his first slight error of the race. He was also low going through a couple of panels at the last but was a beaten horse by that stage. This was an improvement on his Perth outing and he is capable of being competitive at this level. However, his best flat form is looking like an anomaly and he did sweat up before racing quite keen here so he does have questions to answer. 105

    Jack Ryan won on his penultimate flat outing over seven furlongs on heavy ground, and made a respectable hurdling debut here. Apart from clipping the top of the sixth, he put in a clean round and was the best of those who were held up. He made some headway turning in but was never able to reach the leaders. Beaten nearly twelve lengths in the end, his performance was about as good as anything he achieved on the flat and he could be seen to better effect on softer ground. 101

    Brodick was rated just 55 after eight runs on the flat for Karl Burke and while her sirelines are conducive to some success in the sphere, she did not particularly well first time over hurdles. After she skewed at the second, dived at the third and was big over the fourth, her jumping was fine up to two out where she landed steeply. Beaten just over twenty lengths, she can build on the effort but is not of obvious interest in the near future. 85

    Nuriel was having his second racecourse appearance following a lacklustre effort at Ludlow four weeks earlier. His jumping was better on this occasion but was still awkward at a few of his hurdles. He is moving in the right direction but needs to find more before he becomes competitive. 90

    Park Lane Dancer finished third on his hurdles debut at Sedgefield in what was a poor looking race at the time. He did not jump quite as well here but though he was well beaten in the end, it was not a drastic regression. There is no reason why he can not make an impact in lesser company but he may be better served with a handicap mark. 89

    Clay Regazzoni opened in the ring at the same price as his winning stablemate but was over four points adrift at the off. The worst of those who raced prominently, he was keen early and his round was marked by awkward jumping and a tendency to wander into the approaches before culminating with a blunder at the last. He finished closer to the winner than he had on his debut but was still comprehensively beaten and unless he is given an especially generous mark, may find more success returning to the flat. 88

    Castle View never made it past the starting stalls on two previous racecourse visits and made mistakes at all of his hurdle here before finishing tailed off. 1

    Preview review
    Prior to the running of this race, Sedgefield had seen the defeat of three juveniles who started at odds shorter than 1/2 while also being the site of Geyser’s 80/1 success last season. Nevertheless, while Glorious Zoff gained membership to a dubious club, Sedgefield is not a notorious graveyard of odds-on favourites as it ranks in the middle of courses by percentage of beaten odds-on shots. Nevertheless, Glorious Zoff had every right to win this race based on his Sligo performance and went 1.01 in-running to do so. His underperformance can be explained by much poorer jumping and a possible overestimation of his Sligo form. The ground was also a potential factor as while it was yielding at Sligo, the good to soft, soft in places may not have suited him. Conversely, it will have suited the stoutly bred winner who had disappointed on his debut at Perth.

    Race review
    Despite having two previous course and distance winners in the line-up, the race looked like a formality for Irish raider Glorious Zoff. However, a series of jumping errors took their toll and while he looked like he had the race sewn up for much of the straight, he was clawed back by a winner who had been pulled up on his only previous start in the UK. The pace was not particularly strong and none of the runners put in a particularly fluent round. The first four were clearly better than the remainder but half of them underperforming, and the other half posting efforts that were a career best by some margin, the form does not have the most reliable appearance.

    Le Magnifique ran three times on the flat for Andreas Wohler, finishing down the field in a German maiden behind a couple of participants in their version of the Derby on his latest start in the sphere. He was backed into joint-favouritism ahead of his UK/hurdles debut at Perth but though he moved from midfield to lead at halfway, he soon tired before being pulled up. He ran and jumped green on that occasion but he travelled better here in a first time hood and was clearly fitter for the outing. There was no improvement in his hurdling however as apart from jumping the first fine, he made mistakes at the rest of his obstacles. These errors generally came through getting too close to his hurdles, including at the last where he pecked on landing and appeared to lose any chance of springing an upset. Nevertheless, he was able to straighten himself out and stayed on stoutly to grind out a win close to the line. A turnover of this nature should be treated with scepticism and it is fair to assume that the favourite was not at his best here. Notwithstanding, Le Magnifique did demonstrate a willing attitude, went through the ground well enough, and the remaining rivals have less in the way of excuses so it would be unwise to be too dismissive of this performance. An unexposed sort who is bred to do better over further, he ought to have a nice future over jumps. 114

    Glorious Zoff was not much better than a fairly useful maiden on the flat for Charlie Hills, but he looked to have a touch of class about him when making a winning hurdling debut at Sligo. While it was only a maiden contest, a few of his rivals had reasonable form to their names and Glorious Zoff dispatched of them with impetuous ease. His jumping was not always perfect but in the absence of fluency was intelligence. However, his round here was a shadow of its Sligo glory and the mistakes he made were exacerbated either by an unfortunate occurrence of slipping or stumbling on landing, or by having his path blocked by other rivals. It would not be accurate to describe him as wholly unlucky however as he also showed signs of greenness, particularly on the run between the final two flights. Furthermore, he also failed to completely see out the trip which is a factor which will be a problem in the future if he expends more energy than necessary at his hurdles. Ultimately, this performance does smudge the veneer of his reputation and while he is clearly much better than this, a top class horse should be overcome the pitfalls offered by Sedgefield. 120

    Gold Desert won over course and distance on his hurdles debut and though he won a poor race by just a length, the 71 rated ex-Richard Hannon inmate looked sure to improve for the experience. Racing prominently throughout, he took up the running midway down the back and while he was outpaced turning for home, he was still able to stay on in the straight. As with his debut, his jumping was largely fine but for slightly skewing at the first, getting low at the third, being awkward at the sixth and hopping over two out. His sirelines suggest he can do better in this discipline and this performance marks a new career best for the son of Mastercraftsman. While he looks not much better than average, he should continue to progress. 118

    Genever Dragon was another who won his hurdling debut over course and distance, and while the race he won was no better than average, it still looked much better than the one taken by Gold Desert. However, while he jumped and travelled well on his debut, he was pulling hard early on and got in close to a few hurdles before clipping the top of the last. Though still in tough with the leaders at three out, he soon lost touch with them turning for home and would eventually finish twenty lengths behind the third. Given to inconsistency on the flat, he was a stone below his best on this showing and while he is capable of better, he is not a safe conveyance to reproduce same. 96

    Fast Deal finished just behind stablemate Camahawk when last on his hurdles debut at Wetherby, but was able to reverse placings here. Nevertheless, while he jumped the first few obstacles fine from the rear, he was slow and awkward in the middle stages and would lose touch before finishing tailed off. While this is an improvement on bare form, it still leaves plenty to be desired. 80

    Camahawk put in a reasonable round at Wetherby but after a blunder at the second, he was big over the third and got in close to the next. From there, he lost his position in midfield and weakened to finish tailed off. 78

    Douglas Fir‘s three hurdles outings have all come at this venue, and has improved on each occasion. Sent into the lead from the outset, he steadied going into the first despite his rider’s urgings and did so again approaching the third. He lost his position halfway through the race and eventually finished seventy-four lengths behind the winner. 40

    Preview review
    A couple of items warrant addressing after this race, namely the overestimation of Fiscal Prudence and the underestimation of Adagio. Fiscal Prudence underachieved primarily because he was ridiculously fresh on his first outing in over a year. This might not be as much of a problem for a more experienced horse, and indeed, the trainer had a good record with this type. However, no juvenile hurdler has won after an absence of more than a year since the 2012/13 season. This is not from a shallow pool either as 39 three-year-olds and 30 four-year-olds have attempted to overcome this absence during this time. In the case of Adagio, his prospects were shirked largely due to his being bought out of a French claimer. Research has demonstrated that such horses have shown a propensity to improve considerably for experience – particularly when handicap marks enter the equation. Nevertheless, the sample size is still relatively small and French imports from the flat have won first time, albeit not those out of claimers. It was pointed out prior to the race on RTV that Adagio’s new owners were some of the bigger names associated with the yard, although given that ownership of the horse was publicly offered after he joined the stable, the relevance of this information is flimsy as he was not a bought to order type.

    Race review
    All bar one of the eight runners were making their hurdling debuts but a couple of the newcomers had the potential to be fairly useful recruits. In keeping with the lack of experience, a lot of the jumping on display was very erratic which would put a dent in the overall quality of form. The slow early tempo caused several runners to take a keen hold in the early stages and the winning time was an understandable seven seconds slower then the Class 4 handicap later on the card – although it was still quicker than the concluding bumper. The front three finishing as they did looks fairly reliable but the composition of a slowly run race at Warwick on good ground is not readily replicated on other courses during the winter.

    Adagio came into the race on the back of an eight length win in a Clairefontaine claimer in the middle of August, following which he was claimed for €25,555. While it was not a polished round of hurdling first time out, he ran out a comfortable winner by a similar margin. Jumping right at the first, he was far from fluent at the second where he also found himself hampered by the faller. Nevertheless, he improved over the next few hurdles and though he was big over the fifth, he was also quick getting from one side to the other. While he took a narrow lead approaching the penultimate flight, his hurdling did deteriorate in the straight as he did not get high two out and made an almighty blunder at the last which also saw him slip on landing and lose momentum. Nevertheless, the runner-up was also untidy at the same flight and Adagio was soon able to establish an ever widening gap to the line. The negatives of the performance lie primarily in the jumping department but given that he also put in a few good jumps, this should not be a long term issue. In terms of positives, he won well from a couple of potentially useful sorts and while his pedigree is not inundated with plodders, it is stout enough to suggest that he may be seen to even better effect with more cut. Especially given that his Clairefontaine win came on heavy ground. The 50/1 available for the Triumph Hurdle makes little appeal at this juncture as the best RPR achieved by an ex-French claimer since 2008/09 was Bocamix’s 123 during the 2009/10 campaign. Nevertheless, there was plenty of encouragement to be drawn from this outing and Adagio could make up into a fairly useful prospect. 117

    Duke Of Condicote brought a flat rating of 79 into this contest which was the highest in the field earned in the UK. Since winning a Haydock handicap on his seasonal reappearance, he twice finished runner-up during his next three outings and it was that position which he filled again on his hurdling debut. Though he is by No Nay Never, his ability to stay the minimum trip over hurdles was not a concern beforehand and he has performed on both good and soft ground. His round got off to the most inauspicious start however as he veered very badly right at the first, during which Tom Cannon displayed a remarkable feat of strength to retain the partnership. He was then slow at the second there was some improvement thereafter as he went into the lead. This lead was lost approaching two out and though his errors in the straight were not catastrophic, they did not do his cause any favours. Nevertheless, the winner’s errors were much worse and he was unable to match his victor for pace at the business end of the contest. Alan King is one of the preeminent trainers in the division but he has been slow to get off the mark during this campaign. Duke Of Condicote has provided the stable’s best result in the division thus far and given that he is able to make his own running, he should be capable of collecting an ordinary prize. 110

    Lustleigh was the only horse with hurdling experience coming into the race, although as this was only his second racecourse appearance, he was still the least experienced runner in this line-up. Another who took a keen hold, he was ridden more patiently than at Wetherby, tucking in behind the leaders. There was improvement in his jumping as the only flaws were that he was slow getting away from two out and just clipped the top of the final flight. However, he was readily outpaced by the two principles and almost lost third on the line. Bred to make a proper jumper, Lustleigh is more a long term prospect than a juvenile hurdler and though he is capable of being competitive in ordinary company, he might make more of an impact with a season under his belt. 93

    Grouseman achieved a rating of just 50 after seven runs on the flat and being by Kyllachy offers little encouragement for his new vocation. He suffered interference at the second and third but apart from getting close to the first and fourth flights of hurdles, his jumping was not too bad. Staying on from a long way behind, he failed by only a neck in his attempt to grab third on the line. This performance matches the best of his flat form and was not entirely without merit, although he would still have enough to find in anything but moderate company. 92

    Fact Or Fable failed to win in twenty-five starts on the flat and made several mistakes on his hurdling debut. Never progressing from the rear of the field, he was beaten by over thirty-four lengths and does not look an obvious improver. 82

    Galidermes won three times on the flat in the French provinces but was claimed last time for just €6,001. Making errors at most of his hurdles, he was another who was never able to get on terms and he makes little appeal for the immediate future. 72

    Fiscal Prudence ran with some promise in two maidens at the Curragh as a two-year-old, and joined a yard with a very good record in the sphere. However, he was remarkably fresh in the early stages and was lit up further by the drama over the first two hurdles. Pulling harder than any juvenile seen this season, he began to lose touch with the leaders after the fourth before being allowed to come home in his own time. His jumping was compromised by his freshness but he was not completely novicey. He has a respectable profile overall, but a better assessment of his prospects can only be made if he settles better next time. 60

    Camacho Man has some useful relatives in his pedigree but his flat form is modest and his hurdling debut was not an encouraging one. Going big, slow and to the right over the first, his race ended at the second where he steadied into the flight, clipped the top and knuckled on landing before falling. His jumping was no better without the burden of a jockey as he was big, hesitant and awkward while running loose. 0

    Peat Moss 6/11/2020 Warwick 2m Handicap Hurdle
    Third in the season’s curtain raiser behind Hiconic, Peat Moss would win on the third time of asking at Plumpton and was vying for favouritism on his handicap debut at Ludlow last time. However, he disappointed there and was sent off an unfancied 20/1 on this occasion in first time blinkers. Sweating before the off and keen early on, he jumped well for the most part with his only real mistake coming at the last where he was unable to get his feet far off the ground. He was rousted along midway through the back straight and drifted to the back of the main bunch. Nevertheless, he was able to stay on for a one paced fourth, beaten by just over sixteen lengths. Strictly on times, he would have won the opening juvenile hurdle but that race was not run at a true gallop. It was not a poor performance, particularly as his yard has been out of form recently. However, his mark of 105 is too high for the minimum trip and he may fare better going up in distance. 95

    Bachelors Hall
    • Total Posts 1419

    Bangor hosts its second juvenile of the season on Wednesday and while the venue does not have a grandstand, this race does have a pretty decent history. The last two winners, Nelson River in 2018 and Navajo Pass in 2019, each placed fourth in their Triumph hurdles while 2010 winner March Warbler followed up in the Finale Hurdle the next month at Chepstow. This year’s renewal looks unlikely to produce any Grade 1 horses and while the Williams newcomer could be something, it looks like the proverbial penalty kick for Pyramid Place on all known form. Last week’s turnover of Glorious Zoff reminded us that there are no certainties in the division and Bangor has seen ten beaten odds on favourites since 2008/09 including Sirop de Menthe at 2/5 in 2013 and Black Jacari in the 2008 renewal of this race at 1/2. A sharp track with only minor undulations, Bangor’s average winning DIs of 1.29 median and 1.48 mean are on the high side of average. However, with the going currently forecast as soft, heavy in places, Wednesday’s race could take more getting than usual. The completion rate of 94.85% is the fourth lowest in the UK, placing just ahead of Lingfield.

    Admiral Balko bbg Mrs Jane Williams Unraced
    Balko (Davidoff){5-e}(0.50) 1/0 Singaminnie 6th Prix de Beaune (Listed), Enghien 2015
    The George Nympton yard has a long history of introducing juvenile hurdlers without racecourse experience including Reve de Sivola, Me Voici and Pistolet Noir. Three such horses also won first time out in Diable de Sivola, Montestrel and James de Vassy. This season, four of these have been introduced, but only the twice placed Balko Saint has cut much French mustard. Admiral Balko is the latest release and his pedigree is fairly standard for his type. Sire Balko has produced winning juveniles in the UK and Ireland such as Blacko, Gitane du Berlais and Ubaltique but while his figures are very respectable, his progeny generally progress with age. Admiral Balko’s dam did run as a three-year-old, but would gain her only win as an Autumn four-year-old. Nevertheless, her full-sister Singaprima achieved her best as in a four-year-old handicap during the Spring. The Williams yard has a fair record with juveniles at Bangor with two wins and two seconds from six runners and Admiral Balko will be the stable’s sole representative so he could pose a tangible threat to the favourite. Incidentally, this will be Ciaran Gethings’ first ride in the division this season and he is a genuinely nice lad so may he have a safe and enjoyable ride.

    Badreputation bg Dave Roberts 4-0-0 (51) 52
    Iffraaj (Echo Of Light){4-k}(1.67) 2/1 Caracal 2nd Juvenile Maiden Hurdle, Ludlow 2010
    One of two newcomers from the flat, Badreputation ran twice at Kempton for Marco Botti before fetching 2,000 guineas at the Tattersalls July Sale. From there, he joined Dave Roberts to finish over fourteen lengths ninth in a Chepstow maiden before finishing completely tailed off at Southwell on his handicap debut. Iffraaj has had four winning juveniles from twenty-eight and Badreputation’s dam is a half-sister to Caracal who finished runner up in a poor juvenile maiden back in 2010.

    Nuriel bg Oliver Greenall j2-0-0 (-) 82 90
    Nutan (Lavirco){8-f}(0.67) 2/1 Noble Hawk 1st 4yo Hurdle, Strasbourg 2006
    Nuriel made his racecourse debut at Ludlow but was unfancied before a lacklustre effort. He returned last week to finish a twenty-three length sixth of nine at Musselburgh where his jumping was sometimes awkward but better than at Ludlow. It was a move in the right direction and while he still needs to find further improvement, he is bred to enjoy the softer ground here and should not be starting at 150/1 as he did last time out.

    Pyramid Place bg Milton Harris f4-0-0 (69) 66 j1-0-1 (-) 97 107
    Authorized (Zafonic){20-a}(0.81) 0.5 Jukebox Blues Pulled up sole hurdles run.
    Pyramid Place did not reach the frame in four starts for John Gosden during the winter, but he was a consistent animal who ran to a fair level and subsequently sold for 27,000 guineas at the Tattersalls August sale. Horses who leave the Gosden yard rarely do well in juvenile hurdles, but he with seven months to physically develop, he made a fine start in his new vocation at Lingfield last time. Keen early and held up in the rear, he had a tendency to jump to his left and like the winner, was none too fluent in the straight. He made slow and steady headway along the back and got to within five lengths of the winner at the last. He did not get away from it quickly and took time to find his stride on the run-in. Ultimately, he only failed by a short head, but given his freshness and lack of fitness or experience, he has every chance of improving considerably on that performance. Even though his yard is not in the best of form at the moment, the son of Authorized should still be difficult to beat given his superiority on both codes.

    Sure I’m Your Man bg Jennie Candlish f6-0-0 (55) 64
    Sea The Moon (Dalakhani){9-c}(0.33) 2/1 Tugboat 1st Novice Hurdle, Galway 2012
    A five race maiden on the flat for Roger Charlton, Sure I’m Your Man had his wind done ahead of his first run for Jennie Candlish where he beat just one home in a Newcastle handicap after attempting to make all. Former Beckhampton residents have a reasonable winners to runners rate of 23.08% but only five of eighteen qualifiers improved for the switch between codes. Sea The Moon had a fine first season in the sphere with three winners (Allmankind, Must See The Doc and Gealach) from seven runners, although they were all rated upwards of a stone higher than Sure I’m Your Man on the flat. Dalakhani is a respectable damsire in the division and as well as being a half-brother to two winning hurdlers, the damline also features Tugboat (2/1), Rigidity (3/3) and underrated juvenile stallion Dragon Dancer (3/3). The trainer has an average record in the discipline although her latest runner, Camacho Man, did not jump well on his hurdling debut at Warwick last week. While there are questions to answer insofar as flat form is concerned, Sure I’m Your Man’s profile is one of the more substantial overall in this field.

    The Imposter bg Nigel Hawke f1-0-0 (-) 51 j1-0-0 (-) 44 57
    Authorized (Bertolini){20-a}(0.88) 2/1 Currahee 1st Handicap Hurdle (104), Cartmel 2009
    The Imposter represents a top sire in Authorized and a yard which has done well in the sphere this season. However, he has shown little on his two outings to date which both occurred at Chepstow. Firstly on the flat in September when beaten fifteen lengths in a maiden, and again a month later where he was completely tailed off behind Hell Red. His jumping was not too bad and he may improve for the cut in the ground so while he has plenty to find, some improvement is feasible.

    Strong prospects
    1. Pyramid Place
    Reasonable prospects
    2. Admiral Balko
    Feasible prospects
    3. Nuriel
    Moderate prospects
    4. The Imposter
    5. Sure I’m Your Man
    Negligible prospects
    6. Badreputation

    • Total Posts 1139

    Seriously Bachelors, I am quite awestruck by the depth of your analysis; my favourite thread ever

    The Tatling Cheekily
    • Total Posts 367

    The Post should be retaining BH as a juvenile hurdle analyst. Undoubtedly.

    Some piece of work this thread. :good:

    Ex RubyLight
    • Total Posts 1627

    Easily the best thread of the year, imo.

    • Total Posts 10840

    This is an amazing Thread the work and information you have put in on each horse BH is phenomenal.

    I wonder if you could recommend a good research book for 2yo’s for next flat season. Steve Taplin’s book was unpublished this year I believe because of ill health..wish him well. :rose:

    Things turn out best for those who make the best of how things turn out...
    Bachelors Hall
    • Total Posts 1419

    Cheers befair, TTC and Ruby for those compliments. These previews, reviews and other bits and pieces are their own reward but I am delighted that others are also able to enjoy the fruits of my labour :) Perhaps one day, I might be in a position where my passion can become a career be that as a writer or as a consultant/assistant in the realms of training, buying or breeding thoroughbreds. Bit of a message in a bottle, and a reticent one at that for the time being as I would rather use the entire season to develop skills and understanding before considering if it is worth a crack. But if Anthony Bromley, or anybody else who might be reading this thread, has any ideas, suggestions or potential opportunities then feel free to send a message.

    Indeed, I am always open to any critiques on my work because there are always way on which it can be improved!

    Thanks also to Triptych for your kind words. Unfortunately, most of my attention has been geared towards this particular niche so even if there was a good resource for next season’s 2yos, I would be blissfully unaware.

    Speaking of this particular niche, there is a nice looking race in Shropshire tomorrow…

    There have been seventy winning juvenile hurdlers at Ludlow since 2008/09, and their median seasonal RPR of 118 is almost precisely average in the UK and Ireland. Thursday’s contest, which will be the second of the season, has been held every year since 2012 and with the RPR being 125, it is generally one of the stronger contests held at the venue. The 2014 renewal produced the first and fourth of that season’s Anniversary Hurdle, although they would be the only Grade 1 horses to emerge from the race. Thursday’s race could be quite useful however as it is set to feature three hurdles winners and a pair of flat recruits rated around the eighty mark. While the contest has increased class demands, the course’s stamina and jumping requirements are a little less demanding as Ludlow is in the top third of racecourses for average winning DIs and clear round rates.

    Naizagai bg Fergal O’Brien 5-0-4 (76) 78 j2-1-1 (117) 114 120
    Dark Angel (Galileo){9-b}(0.90) 3/1 Oxymeron 1st Handicap Hurdle, Lingfield 1990
    Placed in the first three on all bar one of his flat starts for Roger Varian, Naizagai sold for 40,000 guineas at the Tattersalls July sale. A few weeks later, he made a good impression when winning on his hurdling debut at Cartmel, making all and winning by upwards of five lengths. There were two subsequent winners in behind although there were reasons for their underperformances on the day. Following wind surgery and a break of seventy days, Naizagai returned at Uttoxeter where he once again attempted to make all. However, he made errors at most of his hurdles and was headed approaching the penultimate flight before being beaten by almost fifteen lengths. The winner of the race was since third in the Wensleydale so the form has some credence. However, although he may improve for the run after a wind operation, he also hung and jumped right which was not prevalent at Cartmel. While this quirk might not be a hindrance at Ludlow, that it is a new trait is still a concern. His best form gives him a every chance in this field and if he is unable to get an uncontested lead, he has shown on the flat that he is adept at sitting behind the pace. However, there are a couple of physiological fragilities which temper confidence.

    Overpriced Mixer bg Nicky Henderson f6-2-2 (78) 78 j1-1-0 (-) 110 111
    Harbour Watch (Daylami){21-a}(1.40) 4/2 Mike Quercus 1st Claiming Hurdle, Cagnes-Sur-Mer 2014
    Nicky Henderson is one of the outstanding trainers in the division, and his winners to runners rate of 60.92% along with 74.71% of his juveniles achieving RPRs exceeding 107 are figures of the highest calibre. He does not usually send out his better juveniles before Christmas and over the previous twelve seasons, the master of Seven Barrows only twice had his first winning juvenile before October. Indeed, during that period, three of his first winners came in November, five in December and in 2009/10, Nicky Henderson had to wait until the 27th of February. Overpriced Mixer went against the grain somewhat when making a winning hurdling debut at Kempton twenty-five days ago. This can be construed as a positive due to his exceeding expectations, or a negative due to his being sent out so early. While a win of any nature will be a positive to some degree, it might be telling that the trainer has chosen to run his charge at Ludlow instead of Saturday’s Grade 2 at Cheltenham which he won with Royal Irish Hussar in 2013, and Apple’s Shakira three years later. Selling for £90,000 after two wins for Jamie Osborne last year, Overpriced Mixer was poor on his sole flat run for his new yard at the end of August, but was fairly impressive at Kempton where he was the best jumper in the field. His round was not error free as he made slight mistakes along the way before veering so badly left at the last that Nico de Boinville had to finish the race without stirrups. It did not look like a strong renewal and with his main market rival (a next time out winner at Wincanton) badly underperforming, the race took little winning. Nevertheless, while Overpriced Mixer looks unlikely to be top-class, he won his Kempton race better than the margin suggests and with scope for further improvement, is entitled to respect under a penalty.

    Asharann bg Oliver Greenall f6-1-1 FrF (80.3) 73 j1-0-0 (-) 73 70
    Zoffany (Linamix){16-a}(0.87) 0.5 Ashutor 1st Handicap Chase (132), Fontwell 2020
    Asharann went into his Huntingdon debut with the strongest flat form in the field, although that form had begun to regress and he had a tendency to pull hard in his races ,and he left Jean-Claude Rouget for €9,000. Drifting in the market prior to the off, he pulled hard once again and while he was badly hampered at the fourth, that incident would not have been the decicive factor in his finishing tailed off. His jumping was reasonable save for a couple of minor errors and he was not given a harsh ride once it was clear he was not on a going day. Furthermore, the yard’s juveniles typically improve from their debuts, sire Zoffany has had two winning juveniles this term and Asharann’s damline includes fair jumpers Ahutor (0.5), Chaptal (2/2) and Kazlian (5/3). As such, while there are still questions to answer, his profile is a decent one and if some freshness was ran out of him last time, his is not a hopeless case.

    Can’t Stop Now chg Chris Gordon f6-0-2 (73) 74 j1-0-1 (-) 94 96
    Starspangledbanner (Ivan Denisovich){1-n}(7.00) 2/1 Aviatorilor 3rd 3YO Hurdle, Argentan 2015
    Twice placed from six flat outings for Clive Cox, Can’t Stop Now sold for 7,000 guineas at the Tattersalls July Sale to join a yard with a solid record in the lower grades. His hurdling debut came at Kempton behind Overpriced Mixer and while he began with a succession of novicey errors, his jumping improved as the race progressed. He was still in touch with the winner turning for home but he did finish tired and while this could be mitigated by settling better (the hood is reapplied), there could be a strong pace here and his stamina is not assured either on breeding or on his flat form.

    Carlofantastico bg Steph Hollinshead f1-0-0 (-) 40
    Roderic O’Connor (Henrythenavigator){4-g}(3.57) 2/1 Eight And Bob 1st Handicap Hurdle (B,127), Gowran Park 2019
    Costing 800 guineas as a yearling and gelded soon after turning two-years-old, Carlofantastico did not see a racecourse until the middle of September where he was a twenty-one length last of seven in a Chester novice stakes over an extended ten furlongs. Speaking of twenty-one, that is also the number of national hunt runners the trainer has saddled during her career without any of them reaching the first three. Roderic O’Connor has had a couple of winners in the sphere but his improvement rate is just 14.29%. The damline includes useful sorts Eight And Bob (2/1) and Nando (2/2) although members of family 4-g tend to perform better with a lower dosage index.

    Lord P bg Fergal O’Brien f7-2-0 (66) 69
    Brazen Beau (Barathea){13-c}(1.67) 2/1 Pepperwood 1st Conditions Hurdle, Down Royal 2005
    A stablemate of Naizagai, Lord P won twice in the space of a week during the winter for Richard Hannon, with both wins coming over six furlongs in Class 6 handicaps. Fergal O’Brien’s overall record in the division has improved with this season’s exploits although only a sixth of former inmates of the Hannon yard make winning juveniles. Neither sire Brazen Beau, or his sire I Am Invincible, have had any runners in the sphere although the line is not a good source of stamina on the flat. Barathea is a fairly prolific damsire but his overall figures are below average and the damline is short on jumpers apart from the dam being a half-sister to a winning hurdler. Lord P’s flat form would be reasonable in a more ordinary affair, but in conjunction with his patchy profile, he is left with something to find in this company.

    Mr Shady grg J S Moore f18-1-5 (63) 72
    Elzaam (Definite Article){4-i}(2.00) 3/1 Fontaine Fables 1st Novice Hurdle, Fairyhouse 1996
    Though Mr Shady has spent his entire career under the care of Stan Moore, fourteen of his eighteen flat starts were either at Deauville or Lingfield. He collected a ten furlong handicap at the latter venue in January off 66 and finished in the third three on half of his next six outings. However, in four runs since mid July (three of which were in France), he has finished towards the back of the field and his mark has dropped to 63. Two of Elzaam’s seven juveniles have been winners and both the dam and granddam are half-sisters to winners over jumps. However, it has been fifteen years since the stable has sent out any winner when obstacles are involved and even the most optimistic appraisal of Mr Shady’s profile leave him short against these rivals.

    Numberoneson bc Harry Whittington f5-1-1 (81) 78
    Camelot (Gone West){4-j}(1.38) 3/4 La Limagne 1st Prix Tanerko (HcH), Auteuil 2018
    Numberoneson ran five times on the flat for Joseph O’Brien, winning a good ground ten furlong Leopardstown handicap on his final outing. Travelling best turning into the straight, he took a while to go through a gap, but while his head carriage was fairy high, he was able to grind down the leader to get his head in front in the final strides. The runner-up justified favouritism next time in a maiden, but while Gordon Elliott’s twice placed hurdler Sideshift was further down the field, most of the subsequent form has been substandard. Good ground and a tongue strap were attributed to the improved showing, but while the former will be in place tomorrow, the latter has been removed. Numberoneson fetched 22,000 guineas when passing the Tattersalls ring in August, and has joined a yard with a fine record in the discipline. Harry Whittington has a decent 40% winners to runners ratio, and his 66.67% improvement rate is in the top ten for trainers with ten or more qualifiers. Behind Zanzi Win, a winner last April, Numberoneson will be the yard’s highest rated juvenile recruit and Camelot’s first two crops included Sir Erec and Gardens Of Babylon. The immediate damline is without notable hurdlers but La Limange (3/4) and Flaxen Flare (5/4) do appear on the extended branch. The yard has already had a first time out winner this season in See The Eagle Fly and one of its two Ludlow winners, Bishop Wulstan, was also a winning hurdles debutant. Numberoneson’s being an entire is not optimal and neither was his high head carriage when winning last time. But there are still enough positives sufficient to make him an interesting contender here.

    State Crown chg Evan Williams f3-0-2 (78) 79
    New Approach (Dubawi){10-a}(0.75) No jumps relatives
    The second flat recruit with a decent rating, State Crown was slightly more expensive than Numberoneson as he sold for £24,000 at the Goffs September sale. Running three times without winning on the flat for Charlie Appleby, he achieved a similar standard of form on each occasion. Habitually a front-runner, he was too free for his own good on his latest outing at Windsor in a Class 4 handicap over a trip just short of twelve furlongs. The form has effectively been sustained by the first placed horse, while State Crown split a pair of subsequent winners – albeit one springing a 50/1 upset and another taking a seller. Evan Williams historically has a decent record in the sphere, although having switched his focus from the summer game to the winter campaign, he has had only one winning juvenile in forty-five runs since Silver Streak scored in March 2017. Furthermore, his improvement rate stands at just 37.84% and while he has saddled four winning juveniles at Ludlow since 2008/09, this has been from thirty-four attempts. New Approach is a respectable stallion in the discipline with a winners to runners rate of 35.29%, but again the improvement rate is less impressive at 28.57% and there are no notable jumpers to be found on the damline. There are plenty of positives in State Crown’s profile, although they are all tempered one way or another.

    Theocrat bg Nigel Hawke f4-0-0 (65) 64 j1-0-0 (-) 87 100
    Teofilo (New Approach){8-f}(0.52) 1/1 Novus Aditus 5th Juvenile Hurdle, Taunton 2019
    Theocrat’s flat form had been fair at best in four outings during July and August, but his hurdles debut at this venue five weeks ago was not without promise. He was keen early on, was big at the third and slow at the sixth. Nevertheless, while he was a one paced fourth, he was not beaten far and the front two upheld the form next time at Huntingdon. Theocrat’s prospects are not negligible, but he has a fair amount to find in this company and may be better served with more time to develop.

    Talking About You bf Sean Curran f6-0-1 (60) 60 j6-1-3 (100) 95 105
    Sixties Icon (Mastercraftsman){9-h}(0.50) 3/1 Princess Caerani 2nd Mares’ Maiden Hurdle, Ludlow 2014
    The most experienced hurdler in this field by far, Talking About You has been a consistent, if not entirely straightforward sort since starting her new career. She disappointed on her penultimate outing at Fontwell, where she gained her only victory back in September, but given a wind operation and a short break before her return at Fakenham a fortnight ago. Going into her preferred uncontested lead, which she is unlikely to enjoy here, she got close to the first but was good over the next few which is a definite sign of encouragement. However, she would flatten a few hurdles on the final circuit and though she led up to the home turn, faded into fourth by the line. Talking About You still ran reasonably well under her penalty but unless she can learn to settle better, there appear to be few feasible options for her to double her tally.

    Strong prospects
    1. Numberoneson
    Reasonable prospects
    2. Overpriced Mixer
    3. Naizagai
    Feasible prospects
    4. Asharann
    5. State Crown
    6. Theocrat
    Moderate prospects
    7. Talking About You
    8. Can’t Stop Now
    9. Lord P
    Negligible prospects
    10. Mr Shady
    11. Carlofantastico

    • Total Posts 10840

    Thanks for your reply BH and again best of luck with your Thread. :good: Jac

    Things turn out best for those who make the best of how things turn out...
    • Total Posts 1139

    Bachelors, I’ve been a columnist (not racing!) for many years, and I assure you your contributions are well up to the highest professional standard; not just a comprehensive analysis, but always coherent and concise. I’d suggest that you submit samples of your work to every racing paper, the Racing Post being the most obvious. Your skill and expertise deserves the widest audience.

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