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Juvenile Hurdlers 2020/2021

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    Preview review
    Once again, a preview was not written for the race so a brief summary will be used to address what was preciously written on several of the participants. Viroflay sweated up prior to his UK debut and jumped very cautiously on his first run for 273 days. He stripped fitter and indeed improved for the experience. Hacker des Places looked green in his French races which was also apparent here. Derek Le Grand jumped right on his debut but it was less pronounced on Sunday, while Calidus Mirabilis had become disappointing.

    Race review
    This particular contest has been used by Paul Nicholls as a launchpad for some useful sorts in Risk And Roll (3rd in 2017), Romain de Senam (1st in 2015) and last year's winner Sir Psycho. As it transpired, the Nicholls pair dominated the race although it was the lesser fancied of the pair who landed the spoils. Outside of this front two, only the David Pipe horse looked a credible threat but he did not impress with his jumping and reportedly sustained a cut on his leg. The winning time was respectable and the two principles look fairly useful but there was little else of interest finishing behind.

    Viroflay came into his debut outing at Kempton a week earlier with strong claims. However, a drift in the market foretold an underwhelming performance as he sweated beforehand, jumped very cautiously and was labouring some way from home. While he was the longer priced of the stable's representatives, he still attracted support in the market and he settled much better on this occasion. Patiently ridden, he made smooth headway to join the leaders approaching the straight and went into the lead before the penultimate flight. From there, he was kept up to his work and extended his superiority to fourteen lengths at the line. He still had a tendency to be big at the first three hurdles and was never especially economical, but there was plenty more left in reserve this time around. Viroflay still has scope for further improvement and though he may not be quite as exciting as Hell Red or Monmiral, he can still emerge as a useful sort. It remains to be seen if he can maintain his improvement on the softer conditions that characterise the winter game. 116

    Hacker des Places carried a winners' penalty into the race which he earned when landing an ordinary event at Dax back in June. The runner-up there has since won a couple of minor events of his own but the overall form is only average. His debut effort at Dieppe was more compelling however as he ran close to Nicky Henderson's Paros, who headed the Triumph markets over the summer, and the irrefutably listed class Jeu de Paume. Hacker des Places had shown some greenness on his two starts in France and had jumped overly big on occasion. However, while those traits were prevalent here, his demonstrable ability to jump swiftly was not. He was fresh early without ever really settling and though he traded lower than his SP in running, he never looked like putting his stamp on the race. He was readily outpaced by the winner in the straight and his concluding jumps were rather tired ones. This was not a faithful reflection of his ability and he can be expected to improve for fitness and experience. Particularly as he looks likelier than the winner to go through softer ground. 108

    Iron Heart won twice on the flat for Andrew Balding, including last time out in a two runner Salisbury handicap. His best form had been on quicker ground which suggested that these conditions would be as good as they will get for him at this juncture. However, on his first start for David Pipe following his 28,000 guineas transfer, his jumping was untidy and he went through a couple of his hurdles which likely caused the wound on his near fore. He was hesitant going over the last two jumps and this experience will not have filled him with confidence. Iron Heart's flat ability along with his being out of a half-sister to the useful Red Riverman suggest that he can perform in this discipline, but this was not an ideal introduction and may take some time to be brought along. 85

    Shutupshirley was making his racecourse debut for a yard with a decent record from few runners in the sphere. Out of a winning chaser and a half-brother to a pair of minor winning hurdlers, Shutupshirley had a profound lack of pace and was getting detached a long way from home. Nevertheless, his jumping was sound and he was eventually able to pass beaten horses in the straight. He may have a future over jumps but it looks unlikely to be an immediate one. 76

    Derek Le Grand had been the subject of a plunge ahead of his hurdling debut in a weak Ludlow maiden. However, he jumped awkwardly to the right from the outset and finished tailed off. There were still elements of that trait here but it was much less pronounced. Nevertheless, he was still beaten by over forty lengths and does not look like a solid preposition at this juncture. 75

    Calidus Mirabilis was making his sixth start over hurdles and though he was keen early, his jumping was mostly fine. However, while these conditions theoretically should have seen him to best effect, he put up his worst performance to date and is becoming very disappointing. His mark of 104 remains unchanged and he looks in need of some time in a field. 46

    Mazikeen was a winner of a Chelmsford maiden last December and her efforts this autumn were largely fair and consistent. She was steady in the market but after walking over the first hurdle, she was too big and landed too steeply when falling at the second. 0


    • And here's the preview for tomorrow's race.

      Fakenham is not a racecourse many would accuse of being a theatre of champions and the seasonal RPR of the course's winning juveniles is one of the lowest in the country. Tomorrow's fillies' hurdle is no exception but since 2012, it has been used by some who have ran creditably in Aintree's listed contest at the Becher Chase meeting in December. Midnights' Gift landed the double last season and three other participants collected black type after treading the Fakenham turf. Charlie Longsdon's Local Affair finished third in both races last year, 2015 winner Mystery Code filled the same position in 2015 as did Miss Conduct who was second at Fakenham in 2012. This year's renewal may not be brimming with champions but it looks up to scratch. Two already have winning form over hurdles, three more have been placed, and the flat recruits all bring respectable levels of form. If won decisively then the winner could potentially useful, but it should be a competitive race in any event. The sharpest track in the UK, it is said to be more challenging than its appearance although the average winners DIs of 1.29 median, 1.40 mean suggest that it is still an unexacting test. The clear round rate of 97.87% also suggests that it is a fairly generous jumping test. The going is currently good and only dry and breezy weather is forecast.

      Talking About You bf Sean Curran f6-0-1 (60) 60 j5-1-3 (101) 95 105
      Sixties Icon (Mastercraftsman){9-h}(0.50) 3/1 Princess Caerani 2nd Mares' Maiden Hurdle, Ludlow 2014
      The most experienced hurdler in the field, Talking About You has finished in the first three in all but one of her five starts in the sphere, including a win at Fontwell in early September. Initially given to recalcitrance, her behaviour improved with each outing and was a consistent performer up until her latest outing at the start of the month. There had been doubts over her stamina and she also looked in need of a break. She has since had a wind operation and these conditions should suit her well. Best when making the running, there does not appear to be any blatant front runners in opposition. While she will be burdened with a penalty against some dangerous opponents, if the wind operation has an immediate effect then she is entitled to respect here.

      Topkapi Star bf Amy Murphy f9-0-2 (60) 74 j2-1-0 (102) 90 93
      Golden Horn (Thousand Words){5-h}(1.00) 3/2 Daybreak Boy 1st Conditions Hurdle, Clonmel 2019
      The race Topkapi Star won at Uttoxeter on her hurdling debut did not look especially strong at the time, but several of those in behind have improved to subsequently post respectable efforts. She was unable to build on that performance next time at Fontwell behind Talking About You despite jumping and travelling well for most of the way. Trainer Amy Murphy sent out Really Super to be second in the 2017 edition in this race and while Topkapi Star's penalty will make things more difficult, her ability to jump and travel should serve her well after a break. She was not the most consistent horse on the flat but the market indicators have been a useful guide on her starts for the yard.

      Current chf Dave Roberts f1-0-0 (-) 14 j3-0-1 (96) 81 97
      Equiano (New Approach){8-c}(0.57) 2/1 First Buddy 5th Anniversary Hurdle, Aintree 2008
      Current was a cheap purchase out of the Richard Hannon yard following a sole run last year, and while she exhibited some pace and aptitude during two hurdles outings in July, she looked likely to struggle in the sphere. However, despite starting at 125/1 last time at Ludlow, and looking like getting dropped early on, she made sufficient headway to lead briefly over the last. It was only there that her lack of stamina told but she was still able to hold on to third place. Good ground on a sharp track would appear to be the making of her and though she still needs to prove that her latest outing was not a fluke, another respectable effort can not be ruled out.

      Glass Of Bubbles bf Charlie Longsdon f6-1-0 (65) 66
      War Command (Sadler's Wells){1-c}(1.00) 0.5 Our Power 4th Finesse Juvenile Hurdle (G2), Cheltenham 2019
      Beginning her career in Ireland, Glass Of Bubbles finished no better than seventh in five maiden races for Henry de Bromhead. However, after joining Adrian Nicholls, she ran away with a ten furlong, heavy ground seller at Leicester just over three weeks ago. While she did not attract any bids following her emphatic six length win, she did join a Charlie Longsdon yard with a good record in the division. As mentioned in the introduction, he saddled Local Affair to finish third both in this race and at Aintree last season. War Command has yet to produce any winners in the sphere from his first two crops, but a few have ran respectably and Glass Of Bubbles is a half-sister to the useful juvenile Our Power. Sadler's Wells has a well above average record as a damsire in the discipline and the granddam is also a half-sister to winning juveniles Fontanesi and Colombus. Glass Of Bubbles has the profile to at least match her flat form in this new vocation, although there would be concerns regarding these conditions given the ease that she went through the heavy ground last time.

      Isayalittleprayer bf Gary Moore f7-0-2 (68) 73
      Nathaniel (Oratorio){10-a}(0.76) 0.5 Nelson River 4th Triumph Hurdle (G1), Cheltenham 2019
      Gary Moore is another trainer with a fine record with juvenile hurdlers and being a Nathaniel half-brother to a Triumph Hurdle fourth, there is no doubt that Isayalittleprayer has the right pedigree for the game. Though a maiden after seven starts on the flat, she has twice been placed in a pair of all-weather handicaps over distances of twelve and fourteen furlongs so she ought not want for class nor stamina. Her attitude in defeat has also been commendable although she was not at her best when last seen in August and she has yet to run near to her best on turf. Furthermore, for all the yard is successful in the division, none of its eight juveniles to have ran at the venue since 2008/09 have been placed.

      Lightning Bug bf Suzy Smith f6-0-0 (37) 45 j1-0-0 (-) 0 0
      Starspangledbanner (Dansili){2-e}(0.71) 3/1 Satchmo 3rd Bader Preis Hurdle (Listed), Baden-Baden
      Lightning Bug achieved little in six starts as a two year old and was a good dozen lengths off the leading quintet when coming to grief three from home on her hurdling debut at Plumpton.

      To Fly Free bf David Pipe f6-1-1 (72.6) 79 j4-0-4 (102) 92 100
      Soldier Hollow (Canford Cliffs){19-b}{ 0.57) 3/1 Video Tape 2nd Grand Course de Haies d'Auteuil 1985
      Since leaving Ludovic Gadbin for €6,000 in July, To Fly Free has been placed on all four starts over hurdles without winning. Her latest couple of outings came in handicap company at Sedgefield and Exeter, failing to justify favouritism each time. She was not disgraced on either occasion, rather she was unable to live up to her mark and was quite easily bullied by her older rivals. Her jumping is generally sound and is the best treated at the weights from those with experience in this field. A horse who takes her racing well, she is worthy of respect in this company.

      Treaty Of Dingle bf Sean Curran f15-2-5 (67) 70 j2-0-2 (-) 79 92
      Roderic O'Connor (Sakhee's Secret){6-b}(0.60) 4/1 Surrey Dancer 2nd Fighting Fifth Hurdle (G2), Newcastle 1994
      Claimed for £12,000 after winning at Lingfield on her final start for Hughie Morrison, Treaty Of Dingle was keen early on her hurdling bow at Plumpton last month. However, she was not as fluent next time at Fontwell and was once again keen when beating just one home in a Kempton handicap back on the flat last week. These conditions are likely to suit but she is already exposed and would be vulnerable against a few of these.

      Volkovka bf Fergal O'Brien f5-1-2 FrF (81.4) 59
      Camelot (Anabaa){2-i}(0.71) 1/0 Drole de Dame 2nd 4YO Hurdle, Lyon Parilly 2011
      Fergal O'Brien's juveniles have performed creditably in what has been an excellent season thus far and Aintree's listed race has already been touted as a possible target for French import Volkovka. A winner of a conditions race at Dax in the middle of June, she was well beaten in a Listed race in Italy before returning to finish third of four in a ten furlong Toulouse claimer last month. It was following this race that she left the Simone Brogi yard for €22,500. The horses who finished near Volkovka have generally been contesting claimers and average handicaps either side of their encounters but a mark in the high seventies or low eighties is reasonable and would in turn, give her the highest flat rating in this field. Nevertheless, it is still only a couple of pounds higher than To Fly Free who, like the majority of those who competed in French claimers, failed to translate their flat ability to hurdles. Nevertheless, there is plenty of encouragement on breeding as Camelot has done well with his juvenile hurdlers just as Anabaa is an above average damsire in the sphere. Furthermore, Volkovka is out of a mare who showed form as a juvenile, who herself is a full-sister to dual winning juvenile Advisor, a half-sister to Stuccador and is out of a half-sister to Tertre who won the 2018 Prix Univers II (a listed handicap hurdle for four-year-olds). There is some trepidation regarding her background and being a rangy looking filly, may not be entirely suited to Fakenham. Nevertheless, she is still entitled to plenty of respect in this contest.

      Strong prospects
      1. To Fly Free
      Reasonable prospects
      2. Volkovka
      3. Talking About You
      Feasible prospects
      4. Glass Of Bubbles
      5. Isayalittleprayer
      6. Current
      7. Topkapi Star
      Moderate prospects
      8. Treaty Of Dingle
      Negligible prospects
      9. Lightning Bug


      • Only do it if you enjoy it, you don't owe anyone here anything


        • Cheers Kev.

          I enjoy it tremendously for the most part, but I think I can forgive myself if I can't be arsed writing two thousand words for a traipse around a cow field in February...


          • Originally posted by Kotkijet View Post
            Cheers Kev.

            I enjoy it tremendously for the most part, but I think I can forgive myself if I can't be arsed writing two thousand words for a traipse around a cow field in February...
            Yeah fair enough, I'll have a replacement for you by then anyway. Colour photograph and everything...


            • FAKENHAM
              Preview review
              The race was said to be a competitive looking event beforehand and that turned out to be the case. The winner led the prospects list and while the runner-up was rather lower, the conditions were said to suit. Talking About You did show a bit more zest after a break and wind operation and while Volkovka disappointed, there were reasons for trepidation beforehand.

              Race review
              Barring a decisive winner, the quality of the race would have been average and it was the lack of same which transpired. In truth, with the exception of Hiconic, the quality of fillies in UK juveniles has not been strong and the front five here make up the top six in the division behind Hiconic. As such, while this race should have no bearing on the Cheltenham Festival whatsoever, a couple of these may be in with a shout at black type in the listed fillies' race at Aintree in December. The pace was sound and the winning time was in keeping with the level. While the form looks perfectly legitimate, Fakenham on good ground is a law unto itself so it may not be faithfully replicated in the future.

              To Fly Free has been a likeable performer thus far for David Pipe and her first win in the UK is thoroughly deserved. A fairly diminutive filly, she found herself being quite easily bullied in handicaps against older horses recently, but she was much more comfortable among her peers and put her experience and consistency to good use here. Travelling well throughout behind the leader, she put in a typically decent round of jumping and went into the lead turning into the straight. Though her advantaged was reduced to within a length after the last, she showed a likeable willingness to put distance between herself and her rival on the short run to the line. The conditions and complexion of the race were perfect for her here and she will do well to defy either her handicap mark or a penalty in the future. Nevertheless, she can still run with credit and if the Aintree contest is a weak one, may even pick up some black type. 103

              Treaty Of Dingle is not keeping any secrets regarding her ability as her seventeen previous runs have shown her to be no better than average. Her mediocrity notwithstanding, she took advantage of these favourable conditions by jumping and travelling as well as she had done to post a career best over hurdles. She demonstrated little of her usual keenness and apart from jumping awkwardly to the left at the fourth and slightly skewing at three out, put in a good round of jumping. This was an instance of everything falling right for her but she is a dual winner on the flat and there may be a race in her over hurdles given an appropriate opportunity. 101

              Isayalittleprayer is rated 68 on the flat and represents a yard, stallion and dam with a fine record in the sphere. Her only decent form came on the all-weather and she did not match that here on her hurdles debut. She lacked fluency at most of her hurdles and was perhaps helped by being able to walk over three successively flattened flights before an awkward jump at the last cost her momentum. Although she was the best backed horse in the race, it would not be unfair to describe her as being slightly flattered by this performance. Isayalittleprayer is entitled to improve for this outing and has the profile to perform in this discipline - particularly in more testing conditions. Nevertheless, whatever she achieved here should not be rashly overstated. 98

              Talking About You had been a consistent, if not entirely straightforward sort since starting her hurdling career. She disappointed on her latest outing at Fontwell and was given a wind operation and a short break before returning here. Going into an uncontested lead, she got close to the first but was good over the next few which is a definite sign of encouragement. However, she would flatten a few hurdles on the final circuit and though she led up to the home turn, faded into fourth by the line. Talking About You still ran reasonably well under her penalty but unless she can learn to settle better, there appear to be few feasible options for her to double her tally. 99

              Topkapi Star is another with a hurdles win under her name and by extension, a winner's penalty. While she is generally a decent jumper and traveller, she was awkward at a couple of these although that did not necessarily affect her overall performance. Strictly on form, this was a better performance than when she won at Uttoxeter although while it was enough to have her clear of the remainder, it is still not enough to make an impact in most races. 98

              Lightning Bug is rated just 37 on the flat and was in the process of being well beaten when falling three out on her hurdling debut at Plumpton. She was keen early and lacked fluency at a couple here before finishing tailed off. 8

              Current sprang a big surprise when finishing third at Ludlow last time but ran nowhere near that level here. Her jumping was as good as it has ever been but she never looked remotely like being competitive and also finished tailed off. 8

              Glass Of Bubbles was an easy winner of a heavy ground seller last time at Leicester. However, she was slow and untidy at several of these and though she was prominent early, quickly lost ground in the back straight. She may do better on softer ground with experience under her belt, but there was little promise on this occasion. 0

              Volkovka was the highest rated flat horse and was sent off favourite for her hurdling bow. However, she made a terrible error at the first where she was big and awkward while trailing her legs into the flight. She then wandered into the second, went left at the third, trailed her hind legs at the fourth before being baulked on landing and after hanging badly right handed, was pulled up after the next flight. It would be premature to write her off after this outing as it was heavily compromised from the outset. However, she does have plenty to prove before she can be competitive in the sphere. 0

              The Wensleydale Juvenile Hurdle is a integral feature of the early season juvenile calendar and it has a rather varied history. While winners of Aviation, Calomeria and Nicky Nutjob's ilk hardly covered the race in glory, it has also featured some very useful jumpers. Its earlier renewals produced the likes of Silver Wedge, Bellator, Kerawi and Quazar while more recently, Grandouet, Sametegal and Sceau Royal trod the Wetherby turf. The most notable participant was 2011 runner-up Countrywide Flame, who filled the same position in the Finale and Anniversary Hurdles as well as winning that season's Triumph. While it is too soon to tell whether tomorrow's runners might reach the heights attained by the aforementioned, this year's edition certainly offers strength in depth. The field of seven have already accumulated thirteen wins between themselves and four have already performed to ratings exceeding 120. A race where none of the runners can be ruled out completely, this year's renewal is a real treat for fans of the discipline. Wetherby's average winning DI of 1.00 median, 1.20 mean are lower than those of the average runner of 1.33 and 1.52 which suggests the track provides a solid stamina test. The completion rate of 94.7% is also one of the lowest in the country so good jumping would be most beneficial. The going is currently good to soft but heavy showers forecast in the meantime.

              Soldier On Parade bg Amy Murphy f7-0-1 (65) 68 j4-3-1 (136) 120 132
              Dunaden (Mujadil){1-u}(4.60) 2/1 Out Of Control 1st Claiming Hurdle, Auteuil 2009
              Amy Murphy enjoyed an outstanding summer campaign post lockdown and the horse who collected the most prize money during her purple patch was Soldier On Parade. No better than a fair maiden on the flat, he made a promising debut behind Hiconic at Bangor in July where he jumped acceptably and was the only horse to match the filly before being left behind at the business end of the race. A fortnight later, he broke his maiden at Market Rasen in a race he was entitled to win and while he was somewhat keen, his jumping was mostly neat and tidy and he ran out a cosy winner. He improved again on his return to Market Rasen to double his win tally under a penalty and although the margin was shorter and his jumping was not foot perfect, his was still a comfortable success from two subsequent winners. Soldier On Parade then had a break of six weeks before returning to Market Rasen once again for a Class 2 contest, and a rematch against Hiconic. The brief sabattical did him a world of good as he posted his best performance to date. Electing to track the leader rather than make the running himself, he travelled well with the pace turning for home and ran on strongly when given firm encouragement to win his race. His hurdling is not of the highest standard but it was enough for him at that level. With the exceptions of Hell Red and Glorious Zoff, that performance is the best seen from a juvenile this season. The burden of a three pound penalty still leaves him just ahead of this field and being flexible with where he can be placed in running, is worthy of the utmost respect. However, he has yet to prove his abilities on softer ground and with four hurdles runs already under his belt, he may lack the scope for as much improvement as a few of his rivals.

              Cabot Cliffs chg Dan Skelton f4-0-0 (66) 68 j1-1-0 (-) 112 109
              Gleneagles (Halling){9-f}(0.71) 2/1 Rougham 1st Juvenile Hurdle, Newbury 2010
              Cabot Cliffs ran four times on the flat for Charlie Hills without reaching the first four and had shown some questionable traits. Following a sale of 18,000 guineas at Tattersalls in July, he joined the Dan Skelton yard and had his wind done in August ahead of his hurdling debut at Uttoxeter two weeks ago. He did not look at all straightforward as he pulled extremely hard in the opening stages and his high head carriage and wandering on the run-in were not endearing. He got in close to the first but apart from being slightly awkward in the straight, jumped well for the most part ultimately ran out a decisive winner. His main markets underperformed which left him with little to beat and the bare form leaves him with plenty to find. Nevertheless, he should improve for the experience and his yard has a fine record at Wetherby with half of its twelve juveniles winning - including Langer Dan who took this race last year.

              Duffle Coat grg Gordon Elliott j2-2-0 (-) 119 127
              Alhebayeb (Sadler's Wells){4-k}(1.40) 0.5 Starchitect 2nd Summit Juvenile Hurdle (G2), Doncaster 2014
              A half-brother to the talented Starchitect, Duffle Coat only made his racecourse debut at Punchestown early last month. While he was a big drifter beforehand and understandably green, he could not have made a more favourable impression as he jumped and travelled very professionally before coasting home by six lengths. The runner-up Crassus has shown useful form without winning while a strict line through Scholastic, a subsequent winner, measures favourably against Longclaw and Quilixios - although she likely improved since her defeat. After missing a clash with Longclaw at Listowel after being found stiff, he was next seen at Gowran Park where he was sent off a 1/6 favourite. There, his jumping was good and at times, beautiful. He made a couple of errors at the final two flights but those can be attributed to the shifting through the gears that would be less prevalent in a truly run race. He was a little green when shaken up on the approach to the last but was otherwise a good traveller and his superiority was far greater than the winning margin of three lengths. Duffle Coat's debut win came on yielding ground and on breeding, he should be able to cope with conditions should they deteriorate. Although he appears to be the stable's second string, he comes into the race unexposed, is perhaps the best overall jumper, and would have the most scope for improvement in this field.

              First Impression bg John Quinn f8-3-2 (89) 94 j1-0-1 (-) 99 117
              Make Believe (Nureyev){16-a}(1.67) 3/3 Kazlian 4th Fred Winter (130), Cheltenham 2012
              Along with Midnights Legacy, First Impression is the joint highest flat horse lining up and has the better recent form both on the flat and over hurdles. His hurdling debut came at Wetherby just over a fortnight ago where he was very narrowly denied a winning start by the experienced Historic Heart. Tracking the leaders, his early jumping lacked fluency although it improved as the race developed and he threw everything into the battle for the line. A winner on both good and soft ground, First Impression is likely to improve well for the experience although he has ground to find on the leading contenders.

              Longclaw bg Gordon Elliott f6-0-2 (82) 83 j3-3-0 (-) 120 126
              Kitten's Joy (Dixie Union){3-d}(2.38) american family
              Longclaw won Ireland's curtain raiser at Roscommon back in the beginning of August and each of the first seven from that win to have ran again have either won or been placed. His eleven length victory at Down Royal next time also came at the expense of future winners and he defied a double penalty when last seen at Listowel forty days ago. His jumping had improved with each run and though he was made to battle for the first time on his latest outing, he showed tremendous resolve. Still undefeated over hurdles, Longclaw's form entitles him to respect here, particularly as he escapes any penalty and is presumably the chosen mount of Richard Johnson. However, he was prone to inconsistency on the flat and may lack the scope for further improvement.

              Midnights Legacy bc Alan King f6-3-0 (89) 94 j1-0-1 (-) 86 101
              Midnight Legend (Generous){8-i}(0.47) 2/2 Katchit 1st Champion Hurdle, Cheltenham 2008
              From the family of Katchit, Midnight's Gift, Giving Glances and Forgiving Glance, and by Midnight Legend, Midnights Legacy was bred with the intention of one day becoming a national hunt stallion. His predetermined destiny looked less fantastical when winning three starts on the flat and earning a rating of 90 before his jumps career had even begun. However, he disappointed in the Melrose Handicap at the Ebor meeting and though not disgraced next time at Haydock, his allure had not been rekindled by finishing seventh of eight. When the time came for him to make his jumps debut in the same Wetherby event contested by First Impression, his new vocation was looking inauspicious from the outset. He emerged badly from bustling at the first which left his knees and nose firmly on the ground. From there, he was never really travelling with much zest and his jumping was littered with misjudgements. To his credit, he was able to stay on having been outpaced, and though he never threatened the front two, finished a long way clear of the remainder. Midnights Legacy can largely be forgiven for that outing and he is the chosen representative for a yard which has won this race with Howle Hill in 2003, Secret Edge in 2011, and Cracker Factory in 2018. Albeit, a yard that while having a fantastic record in the sphere, is without a winning juvenile hurdler since January.

              Hiconic bf Alex Hales f8-0-3 (58) 60 j5-4-1 (128) 115 121
              Sixties Icon (Acclamation){1-n}(0.60) 1/0 Hi Note 2nd 4YO Hurdle, Cheltenham 2012
              Hiconic won the first juvenile of the season at Newton Abbot back in July and went on to complete a four timer within a month. Her debut success was improved upon considerably at Bangor where she dropped all of her rivals, including Soldier On Parade, under hands and heels. She stepped up again next time at Stratford and while she was asked to extend more than previously, still did things very nicely under a double penalty. Her four timer was completed at Newton Abbot but she had to work hard for the win and though her jumping was fine, she did run green and was fairly distracted along the way. Those questionable elements were also apparent on her return to the flat at Lingfield in the middle of September and when she faced Soldier On Parade at Market Rasen at the end of the month, she did not travel or jump as well as she had during the summer. She also veered at the start but that did not affect the result as Solder On Parade appeared to have improved during the break between their first meeting. Hiconic is a most admirable filly at her best and as the beneficiary of a sex allowance along with escaping penalties for her wins, she is generously weighted here. However, her performances have seemingly plateaued and while she is not without a chance tomorrow, there are a few with stronger credentials. Notwithstanding, she is rated almost a stone superior to any other filly seen this season and if she can not collect black type here, she looks likely to do so at Aintree in December.

              Strong prospects
              1. Duffle Coat
              Reasonable prospects
              2. Soldier On Parade
              3. Longclaw
              Feasible prospects
              4. Hiconic
              5. First Impression
              6. Midnights Legacy
              Moderate prospects
              7. Cabot Cliffs

              Originally posted by Kevloaf View Post

              Yeah fair enough, I'll have a replacement for you by then anyway. Colour photograph and everything...
              Good luck finding a colour photo of Bachelors Hall!


              • Saturday's 3YO hurdle at Down Royal has a solid history of producing very good juveniles including three subsequent Grade One winners since 2013. Three horses, Guitar Pete, Mega Fortune and A Wave Of The Sea, took this contest ahead of winning the Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown, with Guitar Pete also winning the Anniversary Hurdle. He also finished third in the Triumph Hurdle, a contest where previous winners Mega Fortune and Coeur Sublime were also runners-up. Espoir d'Allen is another classy name on the roll call, having scored in 2017. Along with the aforementioned Triumph seconds, Gordon Elliott also took this race with Missy Tata and Toner d'Oudairies, and he fields an undefeated pair here who each looked hugely promising on their sole Irish starts. The average winning DIs for juveniles at Down Royal are 1.00 median, 1.35 mean which are each lower than those of the average runner. Despite the small field size, a few of these have either led or raced prominently in their races so an honest pace looks likely. The completion rate is fairly average but the clear round rate is one of the lowest in the country so good jumping will be valuable. The going is currently yielding although while it is forecast to be dry tomorrow, there are heavy showers due on Saturday morning.

                Quilixios bg Gordon Elliott j2-2-0 (-) 133 128
                Maxios (Lomitas){16-c}(0.63) 3/1 Quicuyo 1st 2m½f Handicap Chase (137), Doncaster 2012
                Quilixios spent the bulk of the summer near the top of the Triumph lists after being bought out of the Francois Nicolle yard following an easy win in the Prix d'Essai des Poulains. Missing his intended Irish debut at Gowran Park, he made his first appearance in Ireland at Punchestown which he took by thirteen lengths. A big horse who is impressive on the eye, he did not look the finished article which was emphasised by his greenness. He got in very close to the first and after wandering at the paddock turn, was big and slow over the second. However, his jumping improved dramatically as the pace increased. While he wandered again when left in the lead approaching two out, he was still good over it and his stuttering slightly on landing at the last does not raise any concerns. Quilixios did not win on the bridle as he was shaken up three furlongs out and kept up to his work on the run-in, but he never really left second gear and the run will have shaken off the cobwebs. Six of his beaten rivals have run subsequently without any of them collecting a win. Nevertheless, a strict line through the third placed Battle Of Benburb puts Quilixios ahead of Glorious Zoff to the tune of nearly a stone. It looks likely that the yardstick improved between runs and Quilixios will concede four pounds to his stablemate. Notwithstanding, Quilixios has yet to take a dent to his reputation and as well as being the mount of Jack Kennedy, would be the likelier of the Elliott pair to enjoy softer conditions.

                Glorious Zoff bg Gordon Elliott f6-0-1 (70) 74 j1-1-0 126 134
                Zoffany (Overbury){4-r}(1.40) 3/1 Spate River 1st Handicap Hurdle (94), Southwell 2012
                Glorious Zoff*left Charlie Hills for 26,000 guineas after a six race flat career which saw him earn a rating of 72 without any wins. Though he never raced beyond a mile, he shaped as though the stamina demands for his new vocation would be well within his scope and following a sixty day lay-off, he made a winning hurdles debut in a Sligo maiden last week. Always close to the leaders, his jumping was not perfectly fluent. But while the errors he made were minor, he impressed in the way he readjusted himself to mitigate against any loss of momentum and was very nimble over the last when the race was already in safe keeping. Travelling well in himself throughout, he cruised upsides the leader approaching the second last before jumping into the lead at that flight. Never so much as shaken up, he eased his way into a handy lead on the run to the last and increased his superiority in a nonchalant fashion. Though his pedigree and flat profile are fairly unremarkable, the manner of his victory over several opponents who have every right to win races of their own, the useful winning time, and the further improvement due from his imperfect yet intelligent jumping all combine to make Glorious Zoff an exciting recruit to the division. In the absence of Quilixios, Glorious Zoff would be very difficult to beat in this company and while he appears to be the yard's second string, he will be no pushover if his Sligo win is to be believed.

                Varna Gold chg Paul John Gilligan f12-0-3 (67) 73 j4-1-1 (-) 115 115
                Shooting To Win (Efisio){5-e}(1.67) 3/2 Najaf 2nd Spa Novices' Hurdle (G1), Cheltenham 2010
                Prior to winning at Killarney early this month, Varna Gold had gone fourteen races without a win. His success was not undeserved however as he had been progressing on each start and though he fell at the last on his penultimate start, his win at Killarney was due in part to being the cleanest jumper in that particular race. He was given to inconsistency on the flat and was beaten just over nine lengths in that sphere five days ago at Galway. The distance of seven furlongs will have been too short for him these days and his win came within a week of his previous outing so he should be straight for Saturday. However, his best form has generally come on better ground and it would still take further improvement if he is to trouble the Gordon Elliott duo.

                Anjician chg Paul Traynor Unraced
                Anjaal (Galileo){7}(0.64) 0.5 Lord Erskine 2nd Novice Hurdle, Ballinrobe 2018
                Though Anjician is a half-brother to the fair hurdler Lord Erskine and Galileo is a solid damsire in the division, this racecourse debutant is set to be the first runner in the division for both his sire and trainer. Trainer Paul Traynor has a fine 16% strike rate in hurdles since taking out a license last September but Anjaals credentials are less encouraging. A precocious sort whose wins came over five and six furlongs, he has yet to sire a flat winner beyond a mile and both his sire Bahamian Bounty, and paternal half-brother Pastoral Pursuits, have poor records in this division. Anjician can collect upwards of €230 for connections if he completes, but that would be the limit of his aspirations here.

                Na Caith Tobac bbg Paul W Flynn f7-2-0 (69) 68
                Elzaam (Dutch Art){5-e}(0.65) 2/1 Witch From Rome 3rd Juvenile Hurdle, Aintree 2014
                The last Netherlands bred horse to contest a juvenile hurdle was The Cat Creation who finished tailed off at Huntingdon in January 2012. Na Caith Tobac ("smoking" according to google translate) will be hoping to fare better on Saturday and, more likely, beyond. Well beaten on his debut for Gavin Cromwell last July, he achieved little on his first three outings for his new yard back in June. However, running off a mark of 48, he sprang a surprise when winning a nine furlong apprentice handicap at Tipperary in September. Two weeks later, he followed up off ten pounds higher in a ten furlong Navan handicap but was unable to defy a further eleven pound rise at Naas a fortnight ago. Although he looked starightforward in winning his races, the form of neither of those successes has worked out well. Two of Elzaam's six juvenile hurdlers to date have been winners and the dam is a half-sister to the fair juvenile Witch From Rome. However, his trainer's strike rate in the sphere is just 3.33% and if Dutch Art is as good a damsire as he is a sire, then that does not bode well for juvenile hurdling.

                Strong prospects
                1. Quilixios
                Reasonable prospects
                2. Glorious Zoff
                Moderate prospects
                3. Varna Gold
                Negligible prospects
                4. Na Caith Tobac
                5. Anjician


                • The Wensleydale at Wetherby was the original target for the horse I’m involved with called Paros (Henderson). I’m not sure this renewal is that deep but like the look of Duffle Coat of the two Elliott runners.


                  • Originally posted by Hibore View Post
                    The Wensleydale at Wetherby was the original target for the horse I’m involved with called Paros (Henderson). I’m not sure this renewal is that deep but like the look of Duffle Coat of the two Elliott runners.
                    Welcome to the site Hibore. I know there's a few on here that will be interested in how Paros goes this season.

                    Best of luck.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


                          • So glad they found this on the server.
                            Excellent stuff again sir.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                              Originally posted by Quevega View Post
                              So glad they found this on the server.
                              Excellent stuff again sir.
                              Cheers Quevega. I probably would have reposted in any case but there are no guarantees with ADHD!

                              (It's actually ADD but ADHD suited the cadence better...)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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