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Juvenile Hurdlers 2021/22

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    Bachelors Hall
    • Total Posts 1544

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

    Dosages when grouped by DI

    Dosages when grouped by RPR


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

    Source and experience – The combined figures of 0-61 and 62+ do not match the total flat as the numbers are official ratings.

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

    Bachelors Hall
    • Total Posts 1544

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Koi Dodville bc David Pipe f7-1-3 (33.5 – 73.7) 74 €14,506 (Ludovic Gadbin)
    French Fifteen (Aussie Rules){5-h}(3.00) 3/2 Uriah Heep 129 1st 2m Novices’ Handicap Chase (126), Ludlow 2014
    David Pipe did something quite remarkable last term by sourcing a leading juvenile from a flat claimer. Such types win a credible amount of races in the sphere, although rarely are they any better than average so Adagio is very much an exception in this regard. French Fifteen has produced three winning juveniles in France and was also responsible for the promising French Aseel. Furthermore, all three juveniles to have made the switch from Gadbin to Pipe (Night Edition, Paricolor, To Fly Free) have been winners. While it would be asking a lot of Koi Dodville to come close to matching Adagio’s achievements (the latter being €10,000 more expensive and almost a stone superior), he would still be of interest in ordinary contests.

    Bachelors Hall
    • Total Posts 1544

    It was all going so nicely until I noticed that I had not given information on Bertrand Lefevre’s exports to Britain and Ireland. He has supplied five juveniles with only Richard Hobson’s Fanzio either winning a race or achieving an RPR above 93. The win came in a minor contest at Newcastle in January 2019.

    • Total Posts 1311

    Always love this thread Bachelors; I have particular affection for the early season juvenile hurdlers. Perhaps the lowest rung of NH racing, and a sense of desperation from the connections, but they try just as hard as any and deserve their day in the sun. Who knows, there might be another Jeff Kidder next week.

    • Total Posts 1311

    BTW, hope you are keeping well

    • Total Posts 3215

    Welcome back BH, always a pleasure to find your posts.

    The mention of Gary Moore above prompts me to mention that he bought a 3yo off the flat from the Newmarket online sale yesterday – Tara Iti, previously trained by Ed Dunlop. My interest being that I was one of the underbidders, but 17,500 gns was too rich for me.

    Tara Iti is certainly bred to stay well, being a son of Sixties Icon, out of a Sir Percy mare who won over 12F. The dam side traces back to the Ascot Gold Cup winner, Indian Queen, so stamina in abundance. Which makes it harder to understand why Dunlop was running him over 1M. A likely candidate for an early juvenile appearance at Fontwell, who stage a maiden on Aug 19th.

    Colin Phillips
    • Total Posts 91

    AP, I’m fairly sure you know why Ed Dunlop may have been running the horse over the wrong trip.

    Colin Phillips
    • Total Posts 91

    Just a question about forum protocol.

    The Krypton Factor starts a thread on 2-y-os and it is hidden away on another thread. Yet this Juvenile Hurdlers thread is left on the main forum? seems rather inconsistent.

    I am a big fan of Bachelors Hall and I can only imagine the work and time he commits in posting his detailed posts and I do not want the thread moved of the main board but lets have some consistency.

    • Total Posts 1799

    Just two things to say here.

    1. Bachelors Hall was that rare thing – a chaser with a turn of foot. And in that golden autumn he had in, from memory, 1977 he won the Mackeson, the Hennessy and the King George.

    2. Juvenile Hurdlers is a fascinating niche subject.

    This forumite has an exceptional username and produces excellent contributions.

    Bachelors Hall
    • Total Posts 1544

    Hi befair, thanks as always for the kind words and the encouragement :) Whoever faces the starter at Hexham next week is already a superstar in my eyes. Though oddly enough, three horses have taken in that contest before participating in the Triumph with another two running in the Fred Winter so we may well be in one of the few dimensions where someone lands the Hexham/Triumph double!

    Hi Colin, likewise I am a big fan of yours :D

    Hi Ian, in trying to figure out whether or not Bachelor’s Hall ran in juvenile hurdles, (Timeform annuals started when he was 6 but his “Baring Bingham” card indicates he finished unplaced on his sole start during said campaign), I discovered there was another Bachelor’s Hall who plied his trade largely in two mile selling handicap chases during the late 1930s and early 1940s. He was even down as a probable in one such contest on the undercard of the 1941 Champion Hurdle wherein a pair of juveniles – Seneca and Anarchist – filled the first two places. However, it appears that he was withdrawn before the start.

    Cheers AP. I did spot Tara Iti when looking through the results as the pairing of Sixties Icon and Sir Percy certainly caught the eye. Ed Dunlop isn’t the most prolific supplier of talented juveniles but it will still be interesting to see how Tara Iti fares should that be the direction in which he heads…

    Inspired by this post and another from Archie on FJ, I have been thinking about how useful visual clues might be for ascertaining a horse’s potential for juvenile hurdling. As a result, I amassed a bunch of conformation shots from horses sold at public auction last season. Annoyingly, such photos are not a standard issue in catalogues and Goffs have made it a faff to directly copy their images, but there were enough to collate a gallery of at least ten horses who ran three times or more last season – five of whom showed decent or improved form, and five of whom who did otherwise. 

    As a fun(?) exercise open to all, can anybody venture a guess as to which five of these horses turned out to be comparatively decent purchases, and which ones would make lovely pets? These horses have been put in random order…











    • Total Posts 3494

    I would take a chance that 1,3,5,8,9 would turn out. decent.

    Sorrry I was reading numbers wrong ( have corrected)

    • Total Posts 3215

    Interesting puzzle BH. Personally, purely on conformation, I wouldn’t buy any of 3,5,8,9 or 10, as being either too tall or to long in the back. My own preference is for medium to small horses that are also what the bloodstock agents call close coupled.

    Different if you were buying with long term hopes of getting a chaser, and the juvenile hurdling was just a step along the way. But I’m pretty sure that if you produced a picture gallery of Triumph Hurdle winners, tall, lengthy, good looking horses would be few in number.

    • Total Posts 4460

    I’ll go with 2,3,5,7+8.

    • Total Posts 3494

    Good luck Green and also Alan.
    Interesting thoughts Alan and obviously one cannot possibly draw deductive comparisons with human hurdlers, however I remember my father telling me he was the fastest boy in his school over hurdles and he put that down to his unusual conformation.I was going to write he was born with three legs, but the truth of the matter was he had daddylonglegs ( his words ) and a very short body. When he drove a car he would always sit on a cushion, which always worried me. I have a different composition to him with short legs ( 29.5 in old money) and a torso to gawk at.

    Come to think of it Colin Jackson was also shortish with long legs like Paw.

    Roger Bannister went to my school and the teachers described him as a very lazy runner. I never got to meet him but had I done so would have proudly told him my Grandfather was the first to run a four minute mile. Unfortunately for him it was properly timed but there was no official there to verify. My grandmother was present and swears by its veracity, and is very religious.
    As you will know certain tracks suit certain confirmations. I knew Frankfurt very well which was circle like. What you needed there was a horse with short legs and a big bum. I remember once advising Brent Thompson how to ride his mount before the race. I told him to keep up with the pace on the inside and wait for a gap. He laughed when I told him, and I don’t think he took notice. He finished way down the field and this was an international race – If memory serves his horse was called Arc ( so long ago may have that wrong). I had also told him that a horse had broken a leg on the course last week and that the rumour going round the track was that horsemeat traders located near the track had sneaked in at night and dug a few holes and covered them. I possibly spooked him, however he acknowledged me at Sandown Park about six weeks later ( he tipped his hat and smiled) but didn’t come running for any sage advice.

    seaing stars
    • Total Posts 120

    Interesting challenge, my picks would be 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8 although I suspect I’m probably picking them for the wrong reasons as I’ve never had to put my own cash on the table.

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