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Juvenile Hurdlers 2021/22

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    Bachelors Hall
    • Total Posts 1544

    The time for answers has arrived.

    In order, the five more successful/prudent* purchases were 5,4,10,3,9, making 1,2,8,6 then 7 the remainder.

    *these definitions are admittedly clinically vague and lack nuance

    5. Houx Gris – €200,000 – won at Auteuil – third in Finale and fourth in Fred Winter before being fatally injured at Aintree.

    4. Feldspar – 6,000gns – winless for Amanda Perrett – managed a win on the AW before posting improved efforts over hurdles at Musselburgh including a third in the Scottish Triumph.

    10. Pyramid Place – 27,000gns – 69 rated four race maiden for John Gosden – scored in a maiden and two handicaps over hurdles while being outclassed in graded company.

    3. Caldwell – 28,000gns – 75 rated three race maiden for Dermot Weld – two seconds and a fourth before getting off the mark in a fairly valuable juvenile handicap at Musselburgh.

    9. Progressive – 55,000gns – 77 rated winner for Roger Varian – made winning debut ahead of finishing second to Caldwell in aforementioned handicap. On reflection, this was not a broad spectrum of prospects…

    1. African Sun – 1,000gns – modest for Ed Dunlop and fared no better over hurdles

    2. Asharann – €9,000 – winner on flat but went off boil and did not regain thread during six hurdles runs

    8. Presgrave – 11,000gns – placed at Dundalk for Joseph O’Brien – beaten 65 and 37 lengths on two hurdles starts while pulled up on other two.

    6. Kimberley – 10,500gns – placed at Windsor for James Fanshawe – placed twice over hurdles, albeit in handicaps off 75 and 80.

    7. Numberoneson – 22,000gns – best looker of the bunch – son of Camelot – won Leopardstown handicap off 79 on final start for Joseph O’Brien – did not take at all to hurdling beaten 44 and 70 lengths before pulling up.

    gamble – 3/5
    seaing stars – 3/5
    greenasgrass – 2/5
    AP – 1/5

    To be honest, I really don’t think I would have fared any better. Indeed, having brought together portraits from a bunch of Triumph winners of bygone eras, I am not really seeing anything which jumps out and screams “juvenile hurdler” as this lot are a mixed bag. 

    Detroit City was big, long and strong

    Scolardy was the sparely made and close coupled archetype (slightly exaggerated by curvature of page but not by a great deal)

    Solar Cloud was another

    Spectroscope was a more leggy looking type

    Saxon Farm was “good quartered” (build like a sodding tank)

    For good measure, here are a couple who went on to become two very different sorts
    See You Then 4yo

    See You Then 7yo

    Commanche Court 4yo

    Commanche Court 9yo

    In conclusion, I don’t have one and will have to concede that using my eye to gauge a horse’s propensity for hurdling is a skill I do not possess. Perhaps it is one which comes with time and experience although if anybody has any shortcuts, I am happy to be enlightened :D

    • Total Posts 347

    Okay – here’s what I think:- based solely on conformation and no movement.

    1. Straight in the shoulder, downhill in front, overall – slightly weak.

    2. Much larger more athletic looking horse, short in the back, weak behind.

    3.Long front, short in the quarters. Question as a buyer, would he be quick
    through his shoulders as a hurdler.

    4.Well balanced, slightly back at the knee -lovely quality.

    5.Tough strong, great limbs – stands over the ground (good length of back). Looks athletic

    6.Looks what I would call ‘base narrow’ would he or she have the scope for hurdles?? But has a good
    back end – which looks powerful.

    7. Nice uphill horse, well balanced – slightly straight in front. Overall has a good outlook and would
    be of interest.

    8. Nice tough strong horse. Would like to think that he would do well.

    9. Generally a weak looking horse.

    10. Quite difficult to access – slightly weak behind. Lovely limbs.

    On balance.

    I’d probably on conformation only look at number 5.

    Looking forward to your big reveal!!

    • Total Posts 347

    Sorry – I have just put my answer’s in and not noticed your reveal.

    • Total Posts 347

    Looking at your last horses, they all have the same thing in common, they stand over the ground,have good limbs and are very well balanced. Number 5 now I know is Houx Gris, has great limbs and stands over the ground – a similar horse to Detroit City. Thank you for your posts – it is exceptionally interesting to see conformation to performance photographs. “In conclusion, I don’t have one and will have to concede that using my eye to gauge a horse’s propensity for hurdling is a skill I do not possess. Perhaps it is one which comes with time and experience although if anybody has any shortcuts, I am happy to be enlightened :D” I think if you look back at the first lot of horses you have posted and look carefully at the 2nd lot – you will see that it is the overall balance of the horses – the length they stand over the ground and the limbs which they have in common. Number 5 – sits well with the 2nd batch you have posted with the exception of Scolardy who is exceptionally short through his back. But we cannot see them walk and move – and that really adds 100% insight into the conformation and gives the buyer another large clue as to how that horse will gallop.

    Bachelors Hall
    • Total Posts 1544

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    obiwankenobi – those might be the most informative posts I have seen anywhere for a very long time. Thank you very much! Sorry the timing was a bit off but it was pretty much the last chance I had before a bunch of obligations got in the way. Though I am glad that you were able to get your comments in!

    Bachelors Hall
    • Total Posts 1544

    Would like to have posted the review sooner but a combination of muggy weather, a roadside hotel in Newcastle overlooking a restaurant, and a train journey seated backwards without a table has meant that this is the earliest it could have been done without it degenerating into an incoherent diatribe against the sun…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Bachelors Hall
    • Total Posts 1544

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    sporting sam
    • Total Posts 6435

    Informative and thorough as always and much appreciated.
    Thank you.
    I agree that the Gary Moore horse has a great chance here given the stables strike rate. The favourite has a big penalty giving away 12lbs.

    Bachelors Hall
    • Total Posts 1544

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Bachelors Hall
    • Total Posts 1544

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Total Posts 1637

    Sorry to hear that you’re going through a tough time, BH. Best of luck for the future. :good:

    Bachelors Hall
    • Total Posts 1544

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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