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Juvenile Hurdlers 2021/22

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  • #1561416
    • Total Posts 1799

    I am not quite sure what to make of the Irish raider, but I have Caramelised miles clear of the UK runners and, though he’s not really my price, I think he will take plenty of beating.

    sporting sam
    • Total Posts 6395

    Hello BH,
    There is a formline through Fred Bear to whom Scots Gold ran to within 3.25 lengths of. He had the soon to be runaway winner Aliomaana 10 lengths back. Obviously Caramelised put 7 lengths on Fred Bear.
    That snippet of form may put him on a trajectory of improvement which could put him to within ten lengths of the clear favourite and after that as we saw in Ireland anything can happen.
    Sacre Pierre has defected which alters the pecking order.
    I can see
    Scots Gold
    Whyzzat and Addosh filling the places behind Caramelised. Were I to select a forecast it would be a banker trifecta Caramelised to beat those three. Because of the odds on of Caramelised, the dividend will be at best about £12 so not much of a bet considering the outlay would need to be six units.

    It would be brilliant if somehow all the good folk perusing your labour of love were to bring it to the attention of the racing press.
    You are worthy of a paid outlet at a racing publication. Surely your work cannot have gone unnoticed by these racing journalists.

    Bachelors Hall
    • Total Posts 1540

    Hi Ian

    Whyzzat is a funny one. My best guess is that since there’s only a winner-of-one race every month in Ireland, and last Sunday’s race at Listowel was utterly stacked, he may feel this is the best opportunity for reasonable prize money. Particularly as his charge is almost certainly better over hurdles. The yard has sent four juveniles to Britain without any reaching a place; although Zoffanien’s eighth in the Fred Winter wasn’t too bad.

    Cheers Sam

    Such is Caramelised’s superiority, the only way I see him getting beaten is if a rival has improved over the past month and Caramelised runs a little flat; which is exactly what happened in the race last year with Soldier On Parade and Hiconic. Addosh is probably the most interesting at a price but the place terms are grim.

    As for your second point, maybe the press have seen me and are terrified that I would upstage each and every one of them :yes:

    sporting sam
    • Total Posts 6395

    Well, that was a truly enjoyable race.
    You have bought an understanding to this aspect of NH racing that I never had. The winner was well backed and the trainer’s record here with his hurdlers that you mentioned was bourne out. The weights were significant and the bare form was too. The winner was stepped up on previous efforts and the weight differential was over a stone, not the couple of pounds different that the racing press alluded to.
    Excellent analysis as always.

    Bachelors Hall
    • Total Posts 1540

    Appreciate it Sam :) There was much more good about that preview than bad, but I do have a habit of taking the short view rather than the long one… Particularly when I put myself under pressure! Should probably handle myself more like Paul Carberry and less like AP :D

    Good circulation for the Market Rasen preview so many thanks to all who helped that to happen :) Thanks also to those who simply read the essay. Its creation is always a rewarding process in its own right and that anybody would take the time to observe same is always humbling. Now being a neurotic perfectionist who can never be pleased, I was actually quite disgusted with myself for how I presented the preview in relation to how it worked out. Always better to learn from the past rather than carry it and with the future in mind, there is a preview due for tomorrow’s race at Sedgefield which should be up before supper :)

    Preview review
    Easily the most frustrating preview written this season. Much as I like to imagine that I am detached from my own ego, I must admit that I still enjoy being “right” on the rare occasions that it happens. Notwithstanding, I also appreciate being “wrong” as it provides me with an opportunity to learn about myself along with my processes. Indeed, a single, clear instance of having a blind spot revealed is more valuable than a hundred instances of being “right”. However, it can not be understated how much I fear and detest being misconstrued, which itself is often a result of my misrepresenting myself. Which brings me to the preview written on a race that has likely already faded from the memories of those who watched it. The preview, as it existed in my own mind as an informative rather than advisory entity, was a resounding success. Regarding the underperformance of Caramelised, the records of the course’s (and in particular, the race’s) odds-on shots was highlighted as was the potential for others to improve during the month that most of the field had been absent. Winner Addosh, who had actually been given the ‘strong prospects’ ahead of Caramelised at Stratford, was noted to have the best chance on flat ratings and also came with the statement that “a good showing can not be discounted”. However, due to the rigid fashion of the ‘prospects list’, the interpretation would be Caramelised, two horses, Addosh. Annoyingly, I was tempted to be clever and make Addosh the ‘strong prospect’ as while direct evidence placed her behind Caramelised, the distinction between the pair in the opening shows was wider than it should have been. It could also be emphasised that regardless of the quantity or order of horses in the various categories, their being placed in a category is a more explicit descriptor of their chances than their position within same which oft times comes down to the splitting of hairs. However, any rumination on these qualifiers puts risk on my veering towards “tipster” territory which I am decidedly against. I do not write the previews in order to answer a question or solve a puzzle. I write the previews so that the race can be given its greatest degree of context. After all, the horses are dramatis personae and the race is just one act. In this regard, my preview is not to guess what the playwright has in store. Rather, it is to surmise what has come before this particular act and how the characters arrived to this point in order to better appreciate the scene as it plays out before its audience.

    Still, if there is anything I can pinpoint from a strictly informative standpoint, it would probably be that while Caramelised was more sensible on his latest Stratford win, it should not automatically eliminate all prior instances of him being a rather boisterous creature.

    Race review
    Invariably the strongest juvenile hurdle held in Britain before October. Previous participants including the likes of Katchit, Franchoek, Barizan and Fox Norton, and the subsequent strike rates of 23.53% for winners and 14.10% for all runners each being four points above average. This year’s edition looked up to standard, although it was diminished by the absence of Sacre Pierre. Furthermore, the clear standard setter was disappointing and while there was nine lengths back to the third, the front five were covered by less than fourteen lengths. The early pace was modest and the winning time was just under four and eight seconds slower than the other races at the card over the same distance. Nevertheless, the front two jumped well enough and were the clear best on the day. While the form is unlikely to emerge as pattern class, it is still above average for the division and probably reliable save for the favourite’s underperformance.

    Addosh won on the flat for Hugo Palmer and her rating of 71 made her strong at the weights here. Joining a vastly underrated trainer in the sphere, she made a satisfactory introduction to the sphere at Stratford and her chances were much stronger than the 14/1 offered overnight. She was even available at 9/1 in the ring and while her being backed into 5/1 by flagfall may have been stable confidence, it would very feasibly have been an appropriate self-adjustment of the market. Just as she had been on her debut at Stratford, she was held up in the rear once again; albeit off a much slower pace. Though rather hopping over the first, she jumped well in this contest and travelled powerfully to get within striking distance as the pace increased around the home turn. She was slightly tight at the penultimate flight but this did not cost her any momentum and needed only to be nudged on the approach to the last to get to the front. Popping over the flight neatly, she was pushed out to score by a comfortable five and a half lengths. Reversing Stratford placings in no uncertain terms with Caramelised, this was a big step up on her debut performance. Addosh is still a little off her flat best but the way she travelled and jumped here is indicative of her fulfilling the promise shown first time round. She is also the first winner over jumps for her sire The Gurkha. She was very well suited by the speedy nature of this contest and while she may not appreciate more testing conditions, she has the scope to develop into quite the weapon under similar circumstances. 108

    Scots Gold had fair form on the flat for Tom Dascombe without reaching the frame, and his promising hurdles debut at Stratford has since been boosted by Aliomaana, who finished one place behind him on that occasion. His trainer has a strong record in the division and while he had gone three weeks without any runner, his mare ran to form in the novice hurdle half an hour earlier. Clipped in two points to start the race as clear 3/1 second favourite, Scots Gold was initially held up in touch and made headway along the back to move into second turning for home. While briefly relegated to third between the final two flights, and rather steep on landing at the last, he jumped back into second at the last. Scots Gold was readily outpaced by the winner on the run-in, but was still able to pull three lengths clear of the remainder. Other than being tight and untidy at the third, Scots Gold posted a respectable round of jumping in keeping with what he had shown first time. His performance was a step up on his debut outing and surpassed what he had achieved on the flat. Dan Skelton will likely have much stronger juveniles in his team for the coming season, but the limits of Scots Gold’s potential have not yet been fully realised and a win in an ordinary contest ought to be well within his scope. 108

    Caramelised would not be the strongest flat recruit at Barbury Castle, but despite having headstrong tendencies, made a fine start to his hurdling career and was particularly impressive last time when winning by nineteen lengths from Addosh at Stratford. The withdrawal of Sacre Pierre made his task easier on paper and while he was slightly weak in the market, he was still sent off the 5/6 favourite. Very keen going to post, Caramelised also struggled to settle in the race itself and was taking a keen hold behind the slow pace set by the leaders. He found himself left in the lead at the fourth and while he did not go tearing off in front, he was never travelling with any particular ease. His hurdling was also much below the standard of what he posted last time as he made errors at every flight; big at the first, close at the second, tight into the third, big again at the fourth, right at the fifth, clipped the sixth, untidy at two out and tight over the last. Though he traded at 1.60 in-running, a fraction lower than his starting price, he was never able to put his mark on the race and had little answer once he forfeited his lead shortly after the penultimate flight. It was not a disgraceful performance as he was still better than all of his other outings apart from his impressive win last time. It is more likely he was hampered by the sense of occasion on this particular day than his being exposed as no better than this. He could possibly benefit from a gelding operation, but while he is perhaps not the most secure conveyance and his Triumph aspirations are probably lofty, he should not be generally written off on the basis of this outing. 113

    Crane won as a two-year-old for Michael Bell, but while he has joined a leading trainer in Nicky Henderson, his breeding and overall profile are not particularly strong for this endeavour. Twice beaten a distance by Caramelised on his two previous hurdles runs, his starting at 11/1 could only be attributed to his yard rather than his own performances. Going into the lead from flagfall, Crane was at least travelling with vigour but was still steady when approaching his hurdles which briefly cost him his position at the second. He moved into a clear lead passing the stands but was so hesitant and slow over the fourth that he lost at least twenty lengths and was shuffled back into last. Crane jumped acceptably over the next and while he still made errors from there, he was less apprehensive when he saw others jump before him. Crane ultimately kept on to finish fourth and got within two lengths of Caramelised at the line. However, as well as getting a very conspicuous breather, he was also suited by stamina being rendered a non-issue. As such, while this marks an improvement of over two stones on paper, it is not one guaranteed to be repeated and unless he is very generously treated by the handicapper, Crane will be better suited by a return to the flat. 103

    Von Melas came into this contest with little flat form and lacked fluency on his sole hurdles outing two starts prior. There are strands of optimism within his profile although his 125/1 starting price here was a fair reflection of his chances. He was ridden more prominently here than on previous occasions and his hurdling was considerably better than first time round. Though he lost positions along the back and as well as some distance on the straight, his finishing just under fourteen lengths fifth was much his strongest performance to date. His placing rather anchors the form and he may be flattered by the result due to the race’s complexion. Notwithstanding, Von Melas was still unexposed coming into this contest and if he can show that this effort was not an anomaly, he can be competitive in moderate company going forward. 100

    Stigwood was the sole hurdling debutant in this field and while the yard is capable in this sphere, his modest flat form and inexperience left him plenty to find here. Always towards the rear, Stigwood was big and untidy over several of his obstacles and was never in a position to get involved in the race before finishing a distance behind the winner. A better evaluation of his ability might me made in calmer waters, but he offers no strong promise going forward. 83

    Whyzzat won Ireland’s curtain raiser at Roscommon in early August and was not disgraced when seventh in stronger company at Down Royal last time. He had bypassed a Dundalk handicap to race here and Paddy Brennan was an interesting booking. However, the yard is not in good form at the moment and it is likely that Whyzzat, who is better over hurdles, eschewed domestic targets given the general strength of the winners races that are outnumbered by maiden contests. Though going as low as 4/1 during the morning, Whyzzat opened at 6/1 in the ring before drifting to twice that price by post time. Racing in midfield, Whyzzat hurdled soundly but the distress signals were out leaving the back. He was tired over the penultimate flight and weakened from there before being left with the wooden spoon on the run-in. Whyzzat is almost certainly better than this, but even if the yard was in better form, he may struggle to defy a penalty unless finding an especially weak contest or a favourable handicap mark. 88

    Bachelors Hall
    • Total Posts 1540

    Sedgefield is set to host its first juvenile hurdle of the campaign on Tuesday. While the County Durham venue has been graced by the likes of Countrywide Flame, Orsippus and Marsh Warbler during the autumn, the two previous runnings of this particular contest were less prestigious with 2008 winner placing fifth in that season’s Wensleydale, and last year’s third, Kings Creek, also finishing fifth in the Scottish Triumph. By and large, Sedgefield’s juvenile hurdles take little winning as their winners’ seasonal RPR of 109.91, and average flat rating of 63.8 attest. Nevertheless, this year’s edition should at least be up to standard as while it is a maiden, a couple bring respectable placed form over hurdles and two of the newcomers have shown enough on the flat to win a race of this nature. Although left handed and undulating with an uphill finish, Sedgefield’s winning DIs of 1.40 median, 1.53 mean, are higher than average and these figures are not significantly lower than those of the average participant. However, the clear round rate of 95.32% still makes it a tricky circuit and its completion rate of 79.10% is one of the lowest in the country. Though newcomers are not aversely affected by the jumping test, their strike rate at the venue of 8.37% is lower than the 11.64% of experienced runners. The going is currently described as good although while it is forecast to be dry overnight, showers are expected just before post time.

    Babajan bg Amy Murphy f13-2-3 (68) 76 j1-0-1 (-) 95 100
    Acclamation (First Defence){1-l}(3.57) 2/1 Safari Journey 1st 2m1f Handicap Chase (L,130), Ascot 2010
    Amy Murphy enjoyed her most successful season in the division last term and while Sabre Jet disappointed at Stratford, Babajan made a much better showing at Plumpton nine days ago. Formerly with Richard Hannon prior to a 12,000 guineas sale at Tattersalls in July, Babajan won two of his thirteen starts on the flat with both wins coming within a fortnight of each other in January. After scoring in a five-runner Kempton handicap off 69, he followed up in a four-runner contest at Newcastle off three pounds higher. Babajan’s latest flat efforts had been subpar and his tendency to pull, along with a lack of experience beyond an extended mile, gave cause to stamina concerns ahead of his Plumpton bow. He was easy to back in the market as he drifted from 12/1 to 20/1 during the day’s trading, and doubled in price to 40/1 in the ring. Presumably in an effort to conserve energy, he was held up from the outset off a sensible early gallop. The blinkers he had worn on his last six flat outings were removed, yet Babajan settled without any fuss and although he was off the bridle midway down the back, he stayed on to jump the penultimate flight in third position where he would remain to the winning post. This is more to his credit considering that his hurdling was not fantastic as he was close and untidy at four flights during the race. While Babajan did not match his flat form, this performance was a step in the right direction and having settled nicely for his new handler, there is ample potential for him to return to something like his best in this sphere. Babajan will want to hurdle better than first time and may have to reaffirm his ability to settle in a race without an obvious frontrunner. Nevertheless, he comes into this contest as a lively contender on known form.

    Knight Salute bg Milton Harris f7-1-1 (75) 85
    Sir Percy (Unfuwain){11-c}(0.50) 2/1 Kalko 1st Juvenile Hurdle, Kelso 1993
    Costing 14,000 guineas at the Tattersalls July Sale, Knight Salute would not have caught many an eye with his purchase fee. Nevertheless, he is still within the 82nd percentile of rated flat recruits and could be one to outrun his price tag. Starting his career with Andrew Balding, he followed up a debut second at Wolverhampton with a win at Sandown before being allowed to take his chance in the listed Stonehenge Stakes at Salisbury. Not disgraced in finishing fifth of seven, he shaped as though he would be suited by further; as per his pedigree. He subsequently finished last on his final outing at two and on all three starts at three, but ran closer to form when last seen in a Bath handicap over a mile on good to firm. Sire Sir Percy has a good winner to runner rate of 26.83% in the sphere while damsire Unfuwain has a similarly strong rate of 28.57% with his broodmares along with a solid improvement rate of 52% from fifty qualifiers. Knight Salute is also a nephew of three winning hurdlers while Long Walk third Top Spin appears on the next row with Winning Fair runner-up Loch Long also on the damline at 3/2. Although Knight Salute has, on the face of it, been disappointing this season, his pedigree indicates that he has not been campaigned to best effect. Given his inherent ability, Knight Salute looks the type to relish his new vocation and with trainer Milton Harris having the strongest clear round rate of any British trainer with more than 120 runs at 98.40%, he should be in the right hands to better realise his potential. Furthermore, the yard is currently in strong form with the likeable juvenile filly Aliomaana among the yard’s recent winners. There may be qualms insofar as fitness is concerned as Knight Salute will be returning from a three month absence, and the yard’s juveniles typically improve from their debut outings; although Pyramid Place (who was also in a first time hood) came within a short head of making a winning debut for the yard last October after an even longer break.

    Wee Dracula brg Iain Jardine f5-0-0 (40) 40
    Awtaad (Manduro){4-r}(1.11) 3/1 North Lodge 1st 2m Novices’ Handicap Hurdle (88), Hereford 2005
    Starting his career with Katie Scott, Wee Dracula beat just one of his fifteen rivals home in a couple of minor events last year before returning in mid-August for Iain Jardine. Wee Dracula’s outings for his new trainer, who’s record with juveniles is a fair one, have resulted in him finishing down the field on three occasions including in a Hamilton seller last time out. Sire Awtaad is having his first crop but though not short on class, is fairly short in stature and is not laden with stamina. The presence of Manduro is a boost, and the distant damline includes Notre Jury (3/2) Nurmi (3/4) and Network (4/1). However, these positives would not be sufficient in giving Wee Dracula an interesting profile first time out.

    We Still Believe bbg Ben Haslam f10-2-2 (66) 72
    Lawman (Footstepsinthesand){13-d}(1.13) 3/1 Luxi River 1st 2m6f Beginners Chase, Thurles 2007
    Making his racecourse bow last September and having his first four starts at Newcastle, We Still Believe got off the mark at the fourth time of asking on his handicap debut back in January off 57. Though he failed to show on his first turf outing, he doubled his tally in a nine furlong Hamilton handicap towards the end of May off a perch of 62. Shaping like he would be suited by further, he led from just over a furlong out to win by a couple of lengths in a contest that worked out well for the level. Though he did not add to that victory, he was beaten a length and three quarters and a neck when third at Haydock and Redcar off 67 before running quite flat when last seen at Ripon six weeks ago. Sire Lawman wins his fair share in the division and while Footstepsinthesand has yet to win as a damsire, the granddam is a half-sister to a winning chaser while other winners Blacktofy and L S Lowry also appear on the damline at 3/2. Ben Haslam has a solid 24.00% winner to runner rate in the sphere and his first time strike rate of 12.5% is above average, although the yard could be in stronger form. We Still Believe would certainly be up to this type of standard, but there are a couple here with more substantial profiles.

    Williewinamillion bg Michael Easterby f5-0-0 (48) 57
    Charm Spirit (Mr Greeley){4-h}(1.29) 3/1 Mayfield Prince 23rd 2m Maiden Hurdle, Naas 1994
    Michael Easterby is the only trainer represented here to have won with a juvenile at Sedgefield, coming when City Ground won a novice in 2011, although this comes from fourteen attempts since 2004/05. The yard’s overall winner to runner rate of 10.96% is below average and their runner here, Williewinamillion, has shown next to nothing in three outings since returning in mid-August. Neither of Charm Spirit’s juveniles achieved anything, nor have his older runners over hurdles. Mr Greeley has a fair record as a damsire, but while the dam is a half-sister to Jack Hobbs, the distaff side has little in the way of jumping credentials until Katie T and Due Reward are found at 5/4.

    Alice Kitty chf Gordon Elliott f6-1-2 (72) 77 j3-0-0 (-) 89 84
    Bobby’s Kitten (Galileo){1-n}(0.82) 2/1 Kilburn 1st 2m Maiden Hurdle, Plumpton 2011
    Initially with Jessica Harrington, for whom she would win a Ballinrobe claimer before a €5,000 switch to Denise Foster/Gordon Elliotts, Alice Kitty was well fancied ahead of her hurdling debut at Roscommon at the start of August. However, she took a real clattering when falling at the first and paying homage to the “allez opi-omi lady” from the Tour de France. She would make it no further at the second time of asking when (softly) unseating at Killarney and these experiences saw her sent off at 22/1 for her latest outing at Down Royal. Racing in the rear, she was steady at the first and slow jumping would repeat itself on numerous occasions. While she passed a few beaten horses in the straight, she never threatened to make an impression. Alice Kitty was an unused reserve at Punchestown a fortnight ago and unless she has gained confidence over hurdles, she may be better served by a return to the flat. Gordon Elliott’s record in the sphere is an outstanding one, but his two forays to Sedgefield have not resulted in success, despite Al Dafa and Glorious Zoff bringing winning hurdles form. While Alice Kitty has the flat form to do better, it is likely that her primary function of travelling to Sedgefield is to keep stablemate Mr Caplan company during the journey from County Meath.

    No Escape bf Richard Spencer f1-0-0 (-) 41 j1-0-0 (-) 36 37
    Cityscape (Lawman){13-c}(3.00) 4/1 Breidin 1st 2m2½f Handicap Hurdle (82), Downpatrick 2006
    Beaten ten lengths at Kempton last September on her only previous racecourse appearance, No Escape fared little better on her hurdles debut at Market Rasen at the beginning of last month. Though her trainer has had a winner in the sphere, there is little enthusiasm to be had about the pedigree with Cityscape without a winning juvenile from six. Racing in a first time hood, No Escape jumped poorly in the rear and was receiving reminders as early as the second. While she was still just about in touch turning for home, she eventually finished nearly fifty lengths behind the winner.

    Ramure bf Stuart Edmunds j4-0-0 (112) 99 97
    Maresca Sorrento (Blue Bresil){9-c}(0.33) 2/1 Ocean’s Wind 1st 3900m 4yH Saint Malo 2016
    The first of this season’s juvenile hurdlers imported from France to see a hurdle in Britain or Ireland was the hitherto thrice raced maiden Ramure. Formerly with Patrice Lenogue, she made her racecourse bow on the first of June in Compiegne’s Prix du Grand Maitre – a debutant contest won in the past by the likes of Analifet, Triana du Berlais and Cicalina. Sent off the outsider of the field, Ramure jumped reasonably well, but was firmly beaten when getting brought down at the penultimate flight. Nine days later, she reappeared at Dieppe where she jumped well enough in a prominent position, but weakened tamely on leaving the back stretch and ultimately finished tailed off. Taking a step up in class on her return to Compiegne, she put up another mostly sound round of hurdling and was still in a fighting position entering the straight before losing touch on the approach to the last, finishing just over eighteen lengths behind the winner. Patrice Lenogue has been responsible for three juveniles in the UK thus far with a winner coming in the form of David Pipe’s €140,000 Hexham hero Great Tempo. Sire Maresca Sorrento has yet to have a winner from six juveniles outside of France, but he has gotten his fair share of winning juveniles in his native country. The dam failed to win over jumps, but is a sibling of a Saint Malo winner, and top class sorts in Tamarindo (3/1), Sun Storm (3/1) and Djakadam (3/2) descend from the third dam. The most intriguing part of Ramure’s profile was her joining Stuart Edmunds, whose winner to runner rate in the division now stands at 52.94% after Addosh won the valuable Market Rasen contest on Saturday. Ahead of her stable/British introduction at Fontwell just over three weeks ago, Ramure was a drifter during the day, but steady enough in the market and sent off the 2/1 second favourite. She was ridden with more patience than she had been in France, but made smooth headway along the back and travelled well into a challenging position entering the straight where she traded at 1.54 in-running. Managing to get within a length of the lead jumping the penultimate flight, she was keeping tabs on the winner all the way to the last before said horse jumped in front of her on landing. This forced Ramure to reorganise herself and her inexperience showed when coming under pressure as she wandered, giving the impetus to the winner. Sensibly, she was not given a hard time from there by Ciaran Gethings. Mostly fluent over hurdles in France, she was not quite so smooth over Fontwell’s hurdles as she made a mistake at the second, wandered approaching the third and seventh and got very close to the sixth due largely to a lapse in concentration. Nevertheless, Ramure will have learned plenty from this outing and the winner that day, The Yellow Mini, ran well when second at Plumpton next time; a literal interpretation of which gives Ramure an edge over Babajan. Ramure sets the standard on hurdles form, particularly on these terms, and looks likely to leave her Fontwell form behind given acclimatisation and experience over British hurdles; particularly with the yard in strong form.

    Babajan – Dual winner on flat for Richard Hannon. Concerns over stamina and ability to settle were unfounded on hurdling debut and though he could have jumped better, a repeat performance would give him a chance.

    Knight Salute – Winner at two for Andrew Balding and tried at listed class where not disgraced. Last on all three starts this term but perhaps was not campaigned to best effect. Interesting recruit to hurdles for in-form and capable yard.

    Wee Dracula – Poor on flat and while trainer and pedigree not without promise, faces stiff task first time.

    We Still Believe – Won twice on flat this season and pedigree not without its positives. Trainer does get first time winners in sphere but a couple have more substantial profiles.

    Williewinamillion – Modest five race maiden and sire not adept in the division.

    Alice Kitty – Won a flat claimer on final start for Jessica Harrington but hurdles runs have seen calamity followed by caution. Represents interesting raiding stable but much to prove at this juncture.

    No Escape – Poor on sole flat outing last term and poor on sole hurdles outing this term.

    Ramure – Well beaten on three starts over hurdles in France but still ran to good level of form in context of this race. Promising British/stable debut at Fontwell and likely to improve further for in-form yard.

    Strong prospects
    1. Knight Salute
    Reasonable prospects
    2. Ramure
    Feasible prospects
    3. Babajan
    4. We Still Believe
    Moderate prospects
    5. Alice Kitty
    Negligible prospects
    6. Wee Dracula
    7. Williewinamillion
    8. No Escape

    sporting sam
    • Total Posts 6395

    Hello BH,
    Alice Kitty is the fly in the ointment.
    Gordon Elliott must have lots of options and has elected to bring her over for this contest. She sports first time blinkers.
    At least three here will be schooling, so hopefully the selection encapsulates the first four.
    Ramure is my first choice to land the race.
    Babajan can follow her home. Alice Kitty and Knight Salute can fight it out for third place.
    It isn’t a handicap but that is how I look at races and Ramure carries joint bottom weight here with AK.
    Working well at home with Addosh
    (check trainer’s Twitter)
    2nd Babajan
    3rd# knight Salute/Alice Kitty
    Knights Salute and Alice kitty hopefully provide a strong barrier/bridge between the top horses and the rest of the field.
    Win. Ramure
    Straight forecast Ramure to beat Babajan

    I don’t want to infest your excellent thread with tips and selections..

    Bachelors Hall
    • Total Posts 1540

    Hi Sam

    Please continue to bounce your ideas around with us. There were times last season where you were much closer to the mark than I was and it is much the best way for us to learn when there are multiple opinions on any matter.

    I am sorry I was unable to respond to your thoughts in time as it has been a very hectic few days. Indeed, as I have not had a chance to even properly re-watch the race, I can’t even assess your initial opinion with any degree of confidence :D

    This thread would be much poorer without your contributions and while it is entirely your decision, I would be happier if you stuck around this thread :)

    So yeah, apologies for not getting the Sedgefield review out yet. Has been a very busy couple of days with the volunteering as well as some very promising movements that might lead to my being less homeless. Review will have to be done when it done, but since tomorrow’s tidy looking contest at Fontwell has a deadline, here is the preview. Enjoy :)

    Fontwell is set to host its second juvenile hurdle of the season and while only five have have taken up their entry, it is not without its quality. Historically, this contest was a maiden hurdle until it was opened up to winners in 2017. Though not without its useful sorts dropping their maiden tags, including Personal Column, Tyrrells Wood and Oceane, the overall quality of the race has increased in recent years with Sussex Ranger, Botox Has and Balko Saint among the contest’s capable graduates. This season’s renewal looks up to standard as winning hurdling form is brought by two participants, while a pair of newcomers bring intriguing profiles. Three of the four latest runnings of this race were taken by newcomers and their strike rate in corresponding contests of 13.79% since 2004/05 surpasses the 8.33% of experienced runners. Fillies also have a stronger record than usual at this time of year with their strike rate during late September and early October being 13.64% compared to the overall rate at the course being 7.69%. A flat, left handed circuit with sharp turns, Fontwell’s winning DIs of 1.14 median, 1.40 mean, are just on the lower side of average. However, the course’s completion rate of 83.75%, and clear round rate of 94.92%, are in the lower quarter. As the ground is currently described as good to soft, plenty of rain is forecast overnight, the race is the third hurdle race on the card and a few of these are known to make the running, the trip could take more getting than usual.

    Keepyourdreamsbig bg Olly Murphy j2-1-1 (106) 90 103
    Vision d’Etat (Enrique){4-r}(0.78) 1/0 Take This Waltz 1st Prix d’Essai des Pouliches, Enghien 2011
    Though the French three-year-old hurdling scene is replete with newcomer contests akin to two-year-old maidens on the flat, such as the Prix d’Essai des Pouliches/Poulains for example, Britain and Ireland have no such contests and young jumps breds are a rare sight before their fourth birthdays. However, Keepyourdreamsbig, whose dam won the 2011 running of the Prix d’Essai des Pouliches, was one such oddity when he made his debut at Uttoxeter in late July. A representative of Vision d’Etat’s final crop, a sire with a very good record in the sphere, Keepyourdreamsbig is also a nephew of Prix Aguado fifth Great Shudder along with three other winners. Passing the Tattersalls Ireland ring for €25,000 as a yearling, Keepyourdreamsbig was the first unraced newcomer to represent Olly Murphy – a trainer with a solid 20.83% winner to runner rate in the sphere. Despite taking on two previous winners, he was not without support at Uttoxeter, starting at 6/1 having opened at 10/1. 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 subsequent Cartmel winner Sacre Pierre 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 was an issue that ought to resolve itself with experience and having shown enough tenacity to win the battle for second, a race of such nature looked well within his scope. Such a race occurred thirty days ago at Worcester where he was backed into favouritism prior to the off. Taking the lead early, albeit at a sedate tempo, he jumped more neatly than on his debut with the only criticisms being that he was somewhat big and skewed over the third and slightly tight at the fourth, two out and the last where he was bumped on the approach. Injecting more pace turning for home, he was challenged up the straight by Corporal Jones (who would return slightly lame) and after leaving him behind on the run-in, had built up enough of a lead to fend off the fast finishing Boulette by half a length. With more assured hurdling than first time, this marked an improvement of roughly half a dozen pounds and there should be further to come with experience. Keepyourdreamsbig’s attitude, ability and aptitude are enough to suggest that he is is capable of defying a penalty. However, this contest does not look a straightforward assignment and while he is bred to go on the ground, he has yet to prove it himself. Furthermore, trainer form is once again a concern with the yard without a winner for over three weeks and most of its recent participants running below form.

    George Bancroft chg Charlie Longsdon f6-2-0 (68) 70
    Australia (Cacique){8-h}(0.87) 2/2 Paseo 3rd Summit Juvenile Hurdle (G2), Doncaster 2019
    Rated 61 when joining Charlie Longsdon for 28,000 guineas at the Tattersalls July sale, George Bancroft would have been a reasonably interesting recruit to the game without drawing a huge amount of attention. By Australia, whose juveniles have a 21.43% winner to runner rate with two thirds of his progeny improving for the switch in codes, George Bancroft is also a cousin of Paseo who finished third in the 2019 Summit Juvenile Hurdle. Former inmates of Roger Varian’s have a healthy 31.03% winner to runner rate and George Bancroft’s last effort as a resident at Carlburg Stables was a gallant all-the-way success in a twelve furlong Chepstow handicap. Charlie Longsdon, himself boasting a sound 27.03% winner to runner rate that includes the likes of Songe, Forth Bridge and Harristown, took the unusual step of giving his new recruit another spin on the flat. In another twelve furlong handicap, this time at Ripon, George Bancroft made light of his four pound rise in the weights, making all once again to win by three lengths in first-time cheekpieces. Though still off a mark of 61, this effort was sufficient in compelling JP McManus to add him to his team of juvenile hurdlers. George Bancroft has a nice profile in all regards and as his flat rating is already the highest in this contest, it will be interesting to see how far he can carry his improvement over hurdles. However, while the yard is currently in decent form which includes a double at Warwick on Thursday, his juveniles tend to improve with experience as the first time out strike rate stands at 5.88% with no such wins coming from flat recruits. Moreover, George Bancroft is unlikely to enjoy the easy lead which has served him in recent starts and while the ground should not be a concern on breeding, his two flat wins came on firm and good to firm.

    The Yellow Mini bf Michael Wigham f14-0-1 (45) 53 j2-1-1 (113) 100 104
    Cannock Chase (Primo Valentino){22-d}(1.00) 2/2 Arakhan 1st 2m4f Novices’ Hurdle, Aintree 2019
    Without a win to her name in fourteen starts on the flat, The Yellow Mini raced under the care of Polly Gundry until late July. Her best outing in that sphere came at the end of June when finishing three quarters of a length second in a Bath handicap off 45, though no effort either side matched that performance. Making her hurdling debut at Fontwell early in September, she was the first runner over hurdles for sire Cannock Chase, a stallion with feasible credentials given his sireline, DI and height. She is also a cousin of a winning novice hurdler and while trainer Michael Wigham had not had a runner in the sphere since November 2016, he had previously sent out two to win first time. Not completely unfancied at 16/1, she was ridden with confidence, disputing the lead from the outset. With the front two racing alongside each other for most of the contest, it was only when her rival, Sir Taweel, began to fade leaving the back that she moved into a clear advantage. French import Ramure managed to get within a length after jumping quicker at two out, but The Yellow Mini kept on doggedly to keep her rival at bay. She also ran with more purpose on the run-in to cross the line with just over three lengths in hand. While she clearly relished this new discipline, her hurdling was not without its blemishes. Distracted by her rival when making minor errors over the first two, she was slightly big over the third and sixth, steady when clipping the next, outjumped at two out and went right at the last. Notwithstanding, these errors were not especially to her detriment and it is an area where she can improve with experience. She came out again a fortnight later at Plumpton where she was steady in the market at 9/2. The front running tactics from Fontwell were employed again here and setting a sensible gallop, The Yellow Mini put in a good round of jumping with only minor errors and her wandering occasionally counting against her. She had all but one of her rivals in trouble on leaving the back and while Impulsive One was in a different league, the remainder of the field were held by the best part of four lengths and upwards in the end. She Yellow Mini posted a new career best effort and is clearly enjoying her new vocation. Being an honest sort, she may lack the scope for much more improvement. Nevertheless, her winning form over this course and distance sets the standard here and the retained services of Gavin Sheehan give her a respectable chance despite a likely challenge for the lead.

    Vunipola bg Emma Lavelle f2-0-0 (-) 68 j1-0-0 (-) 33 40
    Vadamos (Marju){1-n}(0.50) 2/1 Vorashann 1st 2m1½f Handicap Hurdle (116), Fontwell 2020
    Though more noted for her exploits outside of the division, Emma Lavelle has gotten her fair share of winners and she enjoyed particular success in the 2000s with Bouggler and Crack Away Jack. However, juvenile hurdling has taken a backseat at Bonita Racing Stables and the last time one of hers found the winner’s enclosure was in April 2017. Her first runner this term was Vunipola who ran twice for Brian Meehan at the backend of last year. Having already had a wind operation prior to his debut, Vunipola ran with credit in finishing just over three lengths fifth at Kempton over a mile, but would not build on that effort at Lingfield on New Year’s Eve and was absent until his hurdling debut at Worcester a month ago. His pedigree is not unfeasible, being a Vadamos gelding from the family of Vazirabad (2/1), Vorashann (2/1) and Visibility (3/1), and while he went out to 12/1 from an opening morning show of 6/1, he was steady in the ring and sent off at 17/2. However, he was very fresh on his first outing in eight months and along with making errors at the third, fifth and sixth, would never leave the rear of the field. Vunipola has the potential to do much better on paper, but there is little encouragement to be drawn his finishing tailed off behind Keepyourdreamsbig and while the Emma Lavelle yard is in decent form, Vunipola would have plenty to prove at this juncture.

    Cirrus chf Milton Harris f14-0-3 (65) 77
    Starspangledbanner (Halling){5-e}(3.00) 2/1 Spiritual Art 1st 2m1f Mares’ Maiden Hurdle, Newton Abbot 2011
    A fourteen race maiden on the flat, Cirrus has failed to reach the frame in six outings since finishing third at Nottingham in early May, and has beaten just one of her twelve rivals home in her two starts for Milton Harris. Leaving Richard Hannon for 15,000guineas at the Tattersalls July sale, Cirrus had shown her best form when under a length third on the aforementioned Nottingham off 73, and on her final outing for her former handler when just over two lengths fifth of seven at Bath off the same mark; with both of these performances coming on good to soft ground. While this alone would be a tenuous cause for optimism, there are further positives in the profile. Her sire, Starspangledbanner, was a four time Group One winner in Britain and Australia, and while his most notable successes came over sprint distances, he also won the Caulfield Guineas at three. While a sprint bred sprinter should not make into a sire of juvenile hurdlers, his own sire Choisir has a 30% winner to runner rate, a 72.73% improvement rate, and another son of his in Olympic Glory has also made a promising start with comparable figures of 37.5% and 50% respectively. Starspangledbanner himself has two winners from six in the sphere with Can’t Stop Now winning on soft, Tinnahalla beating Homme Public on heavy, and Kentucky Hardboot finishing second on soft at Newbury. Cirrus is out of a half-sister to a winning hurdler with other winners Strawman (3/1) and Royal Master (3/2) on the damline. Milton Harris, who boasts a 43% strike rate in the past fortnight, has already had two winning juveniles this term including Knight Salute who won at the first time of asking at Sedgefield on Tuesday. That performance also maintained the yard’s 100% clear round rate for juvenile debutants with the figure of 45 putting atop all British trainers. Furthermore, the only other juvenile acquired by Milton Harris from the Hannon team was when Gulf Punch was bought out of a claimer in 2009 (as a two-year-old, it should be noted) from Hannon Sr before winning three times during her first campaign. While a first-time tongue tie might be a concern, it has a 17.6% success rate when employed by the stable. Cirrus has hung left on occasion, although that might be mitigated by her going in that direction at Fontwell. With the relatively good fortunes of both fillies and newcomers in this kind of contest, as mentioned in the introduction, the fact that her she is well treated at the weights on her flat rating, and the likelihood that the race can be run to suit, Cirrus has enough in her profile to suggest a good performance is plausible in this field..

    Keepyourdreamsbig – Bred to be a French juvenile hurdler and improved on promising debut with a win next time at Worcester. Though bred to handle conditions, is unproven on ground and trainer form is a concern.

    George Bancroft – Dual winner on flat, including for current jumps yard last time out. Bred to do well in the sphere and attracted the attentions of JP McManus. Best form on fast ground however, and is unlikely to get an easy lead.

    The Yellow Mini – Very modest maiden on flat but clearly relished the switch to hurdling when making a winning bow over course and distance last month. Proved that was no fluke at Plumpton last time and retains the services of jockey who knows the course well.

    Vunipola – Lightly raced and not without promise on flat debut last year. Joined capable yard and pedigree not without positives, but little promise when tailed off behind Keepyourdreamsbig on hurdling debut.

    Cirrus – Fourteen race maiden and not at best on latest flat outings. However, yard is in tremendous form and knows what it’s doing with its juveniles and sire’s progeny has made bright start in sphere, including on softer ground. Well treated, receives weight all round and has favourable course trends pertinent to sex and experience.

    Strong prospects
    1. Cirrus
    Reasonable prospects
    2. The Yellow Mini
    3. George Bancroft
    4. Keepyourdreamsbig
    Feasible prospects
    Moderate prospects
    5. Vunipola
    Negligible prospects

    sporting sam
    • Total Posts 6395

    Hi BH,
    George Bancroft
    The Yellow Mini
    These four look to me the likely ones.
    The intriguing issue is has the yard had enough time to ready George Bancroft in time to put in a sound debut display?
    Certainly has a future.
    Keepyourdreamsbig looks very sound and doesn’t face too many here and the experience may be plenty enough to win again.
    Milton Harris yard is flying with juveniles and Cirrus has been at the yard since july.
    The stats do suggest she may have to wait for more experience.

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