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Juvenile Hurdlers 2020/2021

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  • Fabulous work as always K, your efforts are enough to convince me to get with Flying Scotsman in a number of ways, looking forward to the Hell Red/Flying Scotsman double...


    • Best of luck! The markets are taking an interesting shape at Punchestown. Last night, I thought Rock Chica and Perry Owens were both too short at single digits so their drifts seem justified. Didn't think there was a great deal between the O'Brien horses and was surprised to see Druid's Altar at double figures. Same applies to Ilmig who despite having the most dubious profile of the front four, should not have been 11/1. Flying Scotsman and Dark Voyager sharing favouritism made sense but the former drifting out to 9/2 is either quite alarming or tremendous value. I imagine it might be getting squeezed out due to the support for Ilmig who, unless he has schooled better than Istabraq, is now probably too short.

      Not that I bet on this or any other race, but this is an interesting contest before they've even been saddled!


      • Originally posted by Kotkijet View Post
        Best of luck! The markets are taking an interesting shape at Punchestown. Last night, I thought Rock Chica and Perry Owens were both too short at single digits so their drifts seem justified. Didn't think there was a great deal between the O'Brien horses and was surprised to see Druid's Altar at double figures. Same applies to Ilmig who despite having the most dubious profile of the front four, should not have been 11/1. Flying Scotsman and Dark Voyager sharing favouritism made sense but the former drifting out to 9/2 is either quite alarming or tremendous value. I imagine it might be getting squeezed out due to the support for Ilmig who, unless he has schooled better than Istabraq, is now probably too short.

        Not that I bet on this or any other race, but this is an interesting contest before they've even been saddled!
        The drift continued K, 7/1 last I saw.
        He clearly hated the ground and was being nudged to fight through it throughout the race, his abilities won’t be seen until he encounters better ground...


        • Willie Mullins' Youmdor is declared to run at Gowran Park on Friday while Monmiral and Ronde De Nuit hold entries for Exeter's Juvenile on Sunday. Previews will be up when they are up but for now, it is time for another mass review dump...

          Preview review
          While the second and third prospects would have matched the finishing positions had Overpriced Mixer not lost his jockey, there were a few fairly wild inaccuracies. Talking About You came into the race unexposed but despite being firmly beaten at Fakenham, there were signs that her wind operation could have been beneficial as her jumping and travelling had improved. Mr Shady had been given negligible prospects and was beaten by almost twenty lengths. Nevertheless, his breeding was not atrocious and he still ran into the frame on six occasions on the flat. Top prospect Numberoneson had a caveat within his profile, namely a high head carriage, but that alone would not fully explain why he ran and travelled nowhere near as well as his ability entitled.

          Race review
          This race is generally one of the stronger juvenile contests held at the track during the season and this year's renewal looked up to scratch. The winner came as something of a surprise at 20/1 but she had previously won from the front and had been progressive over the summer. The pace set was very solid with the winning time nearly three seconds faster than the opening maiden. The finishing order was easy enough to accept and though a couple of newcomers can improve for the experience, and that there is no reason to assume the quality is discernibly better than average, the form should be fairly reliable.

          Talking About You was the most experienced hurdler in the field by a considerable margin and was able to win her second race on her seventh outing in the sphere. Generally progressive on her first three outings, a dip in form prompted a break and a wind operation. There were signs of improvement on her return at Fakenham and the benefit of same was seen to its fullest effect here. Talking About You developed a reputation as a bit of a "madam" and she shied away from the tapes at the off here. However, she asserted herself from the outset and led at a good gallop. Though she went left at the first, her jumping was always quick and even though she got in close at the fourth, third and second last flights, she did not lose any momentum in the process. Her task was made simpler when the favourite unseated after the second last, but he was not closing on the run to that flight. Furthermore, given how strongly she ran to the line, it would have taken a good horse to catch her. This marks a new career best for Talking About You and while her rise of seventeen pounds in the ratings might look harsh, it is broadly in keeping with what she achieved here. Life will be more difficult for her under a double penalty and her new mark offers little wriggle room. Nevertheless, she still pose a threat when in this type of mood and would not be without a chance of picking up black type should she go to Aintree in a couple of weeks. 116

          Naizagai made a compelling start to his hurdles career at Cartmel when making all to win comfortably. However, following a seventy day break and a wind operation, he failed to match that effort at Uttoxeter where he jumped poorly and introduced a tendency to hang. Held up on this occasion, neither of those traits were prevalent as he travelled well and posted the cleanest round in the field. He was slightly keen in the early stages but nothing that would warrant concern, and made good headway along the back straight. He never really looked like reaching a challenging position and was fairly one paced on the home stretch. Nevertheless, while he could not match the winner, he comfortably passed and held the third and was not given a hard ride during the final furlong. It looks most likely that his win at Cartmel was somewhat deceptive due to the nature of how the race fell, but this effort is close enough to the impression he made and his being dropped a couple of pounds by the handicapper could be a generous move. Finishing in the first three on all but one of his starts under rules, Naizagai is a consistent sort and it is encouraging that the potential foibles which manifested at Uttoxeter were not replicated. 114

          State Crown was a lightly raced maiden on the flat for Charlie Appleby who achieved a rating of 78 prior to joining Evan Williams. Apart from getting somewhat close to the second and third, there was little to complain about in the jumping department and he travelled kindly from a prominent position throughout. Nevertheless, while this was a perfectly satisfactory hurdling debut, he was still some way off his flat best. This can be attributed to inexperience to a degree, but more conspicuous was his tendency to hang left. State Crown emerges as a horse of potential and it will be intriguing to see what he might achieve going the other way round. 104

          Mr Shady's flat career garnered a win and five places in low grade races either side of the channel. Representing a trainer who has gone a very long time without a winner over hurdles, Mr Shady made errors at half of his jumps yet was still just about in touch with the leading group turning for home. On breeding, he is entitled to take to the discipline and though he was beaten nearly twenty lengths, the performance broadly matches his latest flat mark. He is unlikely to excel beyond this kind of level, but he can be competitive in a modest contest with further experience. 98

          Asharann ran for the Aga Khan in France and left his birthplace with a flat rating of approximately 80. He was easy to back ahead of his hurdles debut at Huntingdon where his performance was lacklustre. Sent off at 150/1, Asharann made good progress from the rear and went as low as 32 in running. However, he was readily outpaced turning for home and was allowed to finish the race in his own time. Apart from getting close to the penultimate flight when well beaten, his jumping was perfectly fine and his tendency to pull was not very apparent. There is little to get excited about over his bare form, but if he runs to a similar level next time then he may potentially be a well handicapped horse. 74

          Numberoneson came into the race on the back of a win in a Leopardstown handicap for Joseph O'Brien and had joined a yard with a good record in the division. However, while he set off in a prominent position, he was losing places before the field had even turned away from the stands. He was still in touch turning for home but had no pretentions of making an impact and would finish both tired and tailed off. Apparently, he has been schooled with an eventer but Numberoneson must not have been paying attention as there were only two hurdles that he jumped with real fluency. By any measure, this was a disappointing debut but there could well have been something amiss so a better assessment can be made after another run. 73

          Theocrat's hurdling debut came at this venue five weeks earlier but while he was keep early and made a few errors, his was not a lamentable effort. However, though his jumping was slightly better on this occasion, his excitability was not and he was spent before the turn for home. Theocrat can do better than this, but he may first have to go on a date with a pair of scissors. 48

          Can't Stop Now ran a fair race on his hurdles debut behind Overpriced Mixer at Kempton in spite of a reluctance to settle. However, the reapplied hood was not enough to prevent him from whipping round at the start and effectively refusing to race. 0

          Lord P won twice on the flat and his best form would have made him of interest in lesser company. However, his general profile was patchy and after being keen early on, was on the way to finishing a tailed off last before pulling up two out. 0

          Carlofantastico finished tailed off on his sole run on the flat in September but his pedigree gave him a semblance of hope. However, he was not fluent in the rear and was the first horse to become truly detached before pulling up at the end of the back straight. 0

          Overpriced Mixer made a winning start to his jumps career at Kempton, although it was not entirely straightforward as a mistake at the last saw his rider complete the race without irons. Bypassing the Grade 2 at Cheltenham for this weaker contest, his jumping was slightly worse and he was awkward over several of these. He did not get particularly high over the penultimate flight, but it was a slight slip a couple of strides afterwards which caused him to lose Nico de Boinville. It can not be said for certain that he would have won or lost this race as he was still in contention and given he was running fairly green in the straight, may have found more for getting a good stride. However, the winner had made ground on him on the run to two out and she also ran on strongly all the way to the line so on balance, Overpriced Mixer would likely have finished second. He is clearly a capable sort but he is not without his quirks. Furthermore, even if there is development in his jumping and attitude, it is improbable that he is anything approaching top class. 108

          Preview review
          Hell Red ran a race which was too bad to be true. Duffle Coat was not as impressive as he had been at Wetherby but it is pointless attempting to speculate whether or not Hell Red could have taken advantage in better spirits. Beyond that, Duffle Coat was clear ahead of his rivals on the prospects lists, the next three places were filled by the feasible prospects and the remainder finished in the correct order.

          Race review
          The Prestbury Hurdle had by far the strongest field assembled in the division to date and apart from Hell Red's underperformance, the finish was contested by horses who had every right to be involved. The official going was good to soft but it was changed to soft after the third race and would continue to deteriorate over the weekend. As such, these conditions in conjunction with the course's configuration will have been unlike anything faced by these young horses. Although this saw improvement from the second and third, the remainder of the field, including the winner, did not go through the race as well as they had on previous outings. Nevertheless, the pace was strong and the winning time matched that set in the novices' handicap hurdle which closed the card on the first day of the meeting. So while it is not a given that the finishing orders and margins would be replicated in different conditions, they can be taken at face value in the context of this race.

          Duffle Coat began his career in early September and had yet to taste defeat in three outings to date. His first two victories came easily at Punchestown and Gowran Park and while he had to work harder last time in the Wensleydale Hurdle, his superiority was enough to mark him as a most exciting prospect. The ability to travel strongly had been a feature of all of his races to date, but he was being pushed along from as early as the second flight here and still had six rivals ahead of him at the top of the hill. He moved into third position turning for home and finally hit the front with a furlong to go before extending his superiority to five lengths at the line. Apart from landing steeply at the last, his jumping was as good as ever but visually, this was his least impressive performance to date as he never picked up the bit. It can not go unsaid that he is not tough and he has now won on a range of surfaces, on courses flat and undulating in either direction while finding plenty for pressure. His capacity has yet to be fully revealed and his place near the head of the Triumph market is justified. Duffle Coat still needs to prove he is worthy of a single digit price for that race and he may prefer the ground to have less juice in it come March. Nevertheless, it is difficult to fault a perfect record and he remains an exciting prospect for the months ahead. 134

          Adagio's hurdling debut came just eight days prior at Warwick where he overcame some sloppy jumping late on to score by over seven lengths. Settling in midfield here, he still lacked fluency on numerous occasions as he was slightly close to the first and fourth, closer still at three out, and he went through the top of the final two flights, getting away slowly from the last. He moved into the lead turning for home, but would be passed at the furlong marker and was unable to quicken from there. It was an improved performance on ground which will have served him much better than what he went through at Warwick. This was only his third start in 2020 and while the bare form is short of top class, he has the scope to improve into a useful juvenile. Particularly on softer ground. 124

          Balko Saint had been placed on both of his starts to date and he repeated the trick here, far surpassing his previous achievements. There had been improvement from the good ground at Newton Abbot to the soft he encountered at Fontwell and he was one of those who enjoyed the conditions here. A last flight error cost him his chance on his latest outing but while this was not a perfectly fluent round, his jump at the last here was the best of the leaders. The front two had gotten away from him at this point, but he stayed on past the beaten Cabot Cliffs. There were still signs of inexperience but he clearly has some ability and an ordinary race should be well within his compass. 120

          Cabot Cliffs jumped awkwardly in the opening stages at Wetherby behind Duffle Coat, but his aptitude improved when allowed his head and he was allowed to run freely from the outset here. While he was big at the first, the only errors he made from there were not seeing the fourth until too late, and a tired jump at the last. His tendency to wander was apparent throughout as was his high head carriage under pressure. This did not match his Wetherby outing but it was still a reasonable performance. Despite his foibles, he should continue to hold his own on a less demanding track. 114

          Historic Heart has already collected victories at Sedgefield and Wetherby. The latter represented a new career best although things did fall perfectly for him and he jumped and travelled at his absolute best. While he was alright getting over these hurdles, he did not always do so in a straight line - going right at the first and third, and left at the fifth and seventh. His jump at the last was a tired one and while he was closing on Cabot Cliffs, the aforementioned was a spent force. He will be difficult to place either under a double penalty, or his handicap mark of 118 as only his best on optimum conditions will see him overcome either burden. 112

          Billy The Squid has been an admirable type in ordinary races during the summer, and ran a career best on his latest start at Chepstow behind Hell Red. While a flat spot from which he recovers is customary in his races, he generally remained on the bridle before being dropped on merit. There were a few errors but it was still as good a round as any for him. This was his worst effort since his debut however and while he has the ability to win a race, modest contests will become rarer as the season progresses. 82

          Jersey Grey outran his 125/1 odds at Chepstow on his hurdling debut and showed that was no fluke when scoring from a subsequent winner at Lingfield next time. However, his jumping was nowhere near as clean on this occasion and he was beaten a long way from home. There were no obvious excuses apart from the gulf in class and he will be happier returned to calmer waters. 26

          Hell Red was exhilarating on his UK debut at Chepstow as he raced enthusiastically and jumped better than anything seen beforehand before winning with the utmost ease. However, it was clear from the start that this was not the same horse as he skewed over the first two before steadying into the third. While his jumping was better from there, it still completely lacked the zest of his Chepstow round and after being slow away from two out, was soon pulled up. It was reported after the race that he had made a respiratory noise. Should this be the main reason for his underperformance then it is not a difficult issue to resolve and his drift out to 50/1 in places for the Triumph could be premature. 112


          • PUNCHESTOWN
            Preview review
            This would be one of those instances where the market was especially informative, particularly in its indication of Flying Scotsman's underperformance as he went from sharing favourtism to quadrupling in price. Conversely, Ilmig, whose opening 12/1 was too big, was backed down to 9/4 at the off. In terms of the result itself, Druid's Altar's estimation was scant only on the prospects list as his profile very much anticipated a strong showing. In truth, either one of the O'Brien horses could have gotten the nod, and it was only the line through Dark Voyager which made the difference. In hindsight, Druid Altar's proven ability to perform on heavy should have been afforded more credence. Perry Owens was underestimated, although his finishing third is owed largely to the fatigue of his rivals.

            Race review
            While this contest takes place during one of the more high profile meetings of Punchestown's season, it is historically a few pounds short of the typical race at the venue. This season's renewal featured several runners with the potential to be above average. However, given that these horses all finished tired, the form must be treated with some scepticism. There was also a concertina effect at the second flight which appeared to knock the stuffing out of at least one of the leading contenders. The pace set by the winner was not an idle one, but the winning time was still some four seconds slower than the preceding rated novice hurdle. Provided this race does not leave too much of a mark, it could still transpire that a few of these end up being useful sorts. But for now, the form ought only be approached by its own substance rather than its potential.

            Druid's Altar broke his maiden at the fifth time of asking when last seen on the flat in late September. That win came on heavy ground in a twelve furlong Listowel maiden, but his second in a similar contest at Bellewstown a month earlier makes for interesting reading as a literal line through the winner there puts Druid's Altar just three pounds behind Breeders' Cup Mile hero Order Of Australia. While that form does not make Druid's Altar a temporarily shy Group One horse, it does justify his official flat mark of 86 and the fact he achieved same on heavy ground bodes well for the upcoming months. Either holding or disputing the lead with Perry Owens, he helped to set a searching pace which left the field with no hiding place. His jumping was not particularly fluent however which often handed the initiative to his more experienced rival. He was big at the first, got in close to the third, and he steadied into four of the flights including at the second where he caused some impromtu bunching in behind. Notwithstanding, he burned off Perry Owens leaving the back and he was able to distance himself from Ilmig's challenge before entering the straight. Though he was slow over the last, so too were the rest of his opponents and he maintained his lead to the line. Given the nature of the race, he largely won by sheer virtue of being the best in the ground and his achievement can not be exaggerated as he also finished quite tired. Nevertheless, this son of Mastercraftsman brings quality with him from the flat and has proven he has the stamina for the winter game. Assuming he can be more assured with his jumping given experience, Druid's Altar could develop into a useful sort. 124

            Ilmig had not seen the racecourse prior to making his debut in a two mile Thurles maiden in early October. There he finished runner-up in a field composed primarily of experienced jumpers and he went one better next time over two furlongs shorter at Navan ahead of hurdles winner Jesse Evans, with former Triumph Hurdle winner Tiger Roll further back. The subject of sustained market support throughout the day, Ilmig was settled in midfield and apart from a careless error three out, put in a good round of jumping. Though he made progress to challenge the winner in the closing stages, he could not keep up with him in the closing stages and stayed on at one pace for a clear second. This was very much an encouraging debut and the winter ground should present no issues in the future. However, unless the going is bottomless, Ilmig would appear to lack the pace necessary for the best races in the division. 120

            Perry Owens brought the only winning hurdles form into the race, coming when grinding down a Gordon Elliott horse in a Galway maiden last month. He had subsequently disappointed on the flat but returned to the sphere with a career best effort. While his reaching at a couple of flights prevents his round from being described as perfectly fluent, his hurdling was the quickest in the field which saw him jump into the lead on a few occasions. He did not have the class to match the winner leaving the back and was shuffled back to fifth entering the straight. Nevertheless, he was able to regain his position from those tired rivals to finish upwards of ten lengths ahead of them at the line. This was not the first time Perry Owens had finished comparatively well and while he has no pretentions to being high class, he can continue to hold his own at this level. 119

            Dark Voyager had been Flying Scotsman's inferior when they met on the flat at the Galway Festival, but he made a highly promising start to his hurdling career behind Zanahiyr at Ballinrobe and was well fancied to get off the mark here. However, in the event, he was beaten twenty-two lengths and though he was forced to steady into the second, that will not have impacted his performance. His greenness that he displayed on his debut was no longer a presence and he jumped fine before getting tired late on. He had travelled better than the winner at Ballinrobe before being outstayed on the run to the line and was well in contention prior to fading quickly approaching the penultimate flight. While he has the ability to stay the minimum trip over hurdles, he is beginning to look vulnerable whenever presented with a true test of stamina. He was found post-race normal by the veterinary officer. 102

            Flying Scotsman was the highest rated flat horse coming into this race by dint of his quickfire double at the Galway Festival. However, he was a huge drifter in the market and his prospects were done no favours when forced to check at the second flight. He was being pushed along after jumping too big at the first and was never travelling thereafter, nor jumping with any real fluency. Beaten by a distance, he was a tired horse in the end and there is not a lot of encouragement to be drawn from this outing. It may be possible to forgive him for this outing as the incident at the second did appear to impact his performance. Nevertheless, the drift in the market beforehand still leaves him with questions to answer. 93

            Rock Chica achieved little on the flat, but the promise on her hurdling debut was fulfilled last time at Tipperary where she won a fillies' maiden by twenty-six lengths. That race rather fell apart for her though and she was let down by her jumping here. She weakened quickly after three out and while she did underperform, it would be fair to assume that she was also outclassed in this company. 80

            Speak Now is a brother of winning hurdler Let The Heirs Walk, but was not well supported on his racecourse debut. Steady going into the first, he was also close to the fourth and clipped the top of the seventh. Apart from those errors, it was not a bad round for a newcomer. Nevertheless, he was completely outclassed in this company and would not make any immediate appeal. 16

            Boom Boom Boom had shown hints of ability on his second outing over hurdles when posting a career best behind Glorious Zoff at Sligo last time. However, his jumping had regressed from patchy to very poor and he finished completely tailed off. 8

            Topkapi Star 14/11/2020 Uttoxeter 2m Handicap Hurdle
            Topkapi Star won over this course and distance back in August, but she failed to build on that performance a fortnight later at Fontwell. Following a fifty-two day break, she finished fifth at Fakenham, posting a career best under a penalty. The race she won did not warrant her initial mark of 102, but her being dropped to 100 still left her with little wriggle room. She was backed ahead of her handicap debut but her race started with a blunder at the first which saw her peck on landing and she pulled hard for a few strides afterwards. She soon settled into a better rhythm but there were a couple of minor errors in the back straight and was well beaten when making another mistake at the last. Topkapi Star did not seem at ease in this field but is capable of better and her new mark of 98 is more in line with what she has achieved. 77

            Preview review
            No preview was written for this race due to my taking rest. There was a bit written on Nassalam posted way back on the 3rd of September which concluded by stating "it would not be a surprise to see him doing well this season". There were also bits and pieces on how jumpers purchased out of French claimers had a poor strike rate and that ex-inmates of Mick Channon's have a better record going straight to Sheena West. Edebez's limitations were well documented.

            Race review
            The first two editions of this particular contest were fairly ordinary affairs, but last season's renewal was used by Gary Moore to introduce Goshen. This four runner affair eventually turned into a one horse race which was won by another Gary Moore newcomer in Nassalam. Finishing upwards of fifty-nine lengths ahead of two other finishers, the race was won in such a fashion that there is little to discuss beyond the winner looking good and the others looking poor. Nevertheless, the winning time was quicker than the opening novice and just a shade off the Class 3 handicap so there is still some substance to the performance.

            Nassalam finished runner-up on his sole start in France which came in a newcomers race at Clairefontaine in the end of June. The winner subsequently took a chase at Fontainebleau in October before recently finishing third in a €44,000 contest at Compiegne. He is currently rated 136.4 while the horse who finished third is on 132. He got big at a couple of the early flights on his debut and it was the same case here. However, he became more fluent as the race progressed and while he was not foot perfect over the last, caution was the prevailing sentiment as his win was under no equine threat. A Dream Well half-brother to Msassa, the former inmate of Guillaume Macaire could not have won this any easier having cruised into the lead turning for home before extending his advantage without being asked to accelerate. Any figure given for this performance would largely be arbitrary, but he is clearly a decent prospect and it will be exciting to see how he fares against more substantial opposition. 126

            Shentri won two of his six starts in France for David Cottin, including a steeplechase at La Roche Posay where he was the sole finisher (likely had the race won when his last rival fell). His latest win came in an Auteuil claimer at the beginning of September whereafter he changed hands for €25,001. The runner-up and third had odds of 85/1 and 42/1 but they filled the first two places in a subsequent claimer with the third then winning two more claimers. Five winning juveniles since 2008/09 were sourced from French Claiming hurdles including Notus De La Tour and Chic Name, although the overall strike rate is just 6.58%. Nevertheless, while he was likely to struggle against Nassalam in any case, the manner of his capitulation was quite severe as it is not as though he was eased as soon as he had been passed. Apart from getting close to the first and making tired jumps in the closing stages, his jumping was generally fine. It could be that he wanted for fitness and while his rating of 130 looks steep, it will be worth seeing how he does next time before his prospects can be dismissed. 74

            Sly Minx was beaten by around nine lengths in a listed race at Lingfield back in June and that was the margin when she won a Catterick maiden the following month. While she is by Sixties Icon, a sire with two winners in the sphere this season, there is nothing on the damline suggesting that she can make a hurdler and this was reflected in a very poor round of jumping. For all that her sire and flat ability entitles her to some respect, there was little promise on her hurdling debut. 27

            Edebez made his hurdles debut in the first race of the season where he was beaten twenty-one lengths on good ground at Newton Abbot. He failed to build on that back at Newton Abbot the following month and as bad though his return at Lingfield was, this performance was even worse. Apart from skewing at the first and trailing his hind legs through the third, his jumping was fairly decent at times. However, he struggled to stay during the summer and that task appears impossible in winter ground. 0


            • Blue Slate 16/11/2020 Leicester 1m7?f Selling Hurdle
              Blue Slate ended his initial flat spell well beaten in a Leicester seller and he began his hurdling career in a similar fashion. Apart from skewing at the second and making a mess of the penultimate flight, his jumping was reasonable and he was still in contention at the top of the straight. However, he would weaken as the race unfolded before eventually finishing a remote fourth. Not an abysmal effort, but still nothing like enough to suggest he can be competitive in ordinary company. 76

              Preview review
              Once again, there was no preview written for this race and very little was previously written which pertained to these runners. Those with good memories might recall the prominence of Stuart Edmunds on the winners to runners lists and Megan was his first such runner of the season. The breeding snippets would have shown that High Moor Flyer and Lunar Bounty were each out of good racemares, although the former had achieved little in four starts and the latter had been well beaten on her sole outing to date. See The Eagle Fly was unconvincing in the lead at Fontwell but that would not have been enough to explain her underperformance.

              Race review
              Since the 2008/09 season, eight fillies' juveniles had been held at Leicester. The introduction of the corresponding Listed contest at Aintree saw the race moved to its November slot and fourteen fillies have taken in both contests. None were able to land the double although 2014 runner-up Nyanza was able to reverse placings with Announcement the following month. Returning after a two season absence, this year's renewal looked like an intriguing affair with Fontwell winner See The Eagle Fly and Fakenham third Isayalittleprayer representing the hurdling form, UK flat recruits for Alan King and Warren Greatrex, and a pair of Teutonic imports for Dan Skelton and Stuart Edmunds. In the end, the race went to one of the German bred fillies who won the race quite impressively. The proximity of the second and third casts doubt over the form as does the reported physical issues of two pulled up horses. Furthermore, the only solid remaining benchmark appeared to run slightly below par back in fourth. Nevertheless, the pace was a solid one and the winning time was the fastest of four races ran over the trip on the card so it may be harsh to unduly downplay the standard of form.

              Megan ran six times on the flat in Germany for Dominik Moser, winning once in June at Hannover over 1900 meters. Since then, she took in three races at pattern company and was last seen in early October when finishing last of seven, but just four and a quarter lengths behind Sunny Queen who subsequently took the Group One Grosser Preis Von Bayern. Megan was then sold at the BBAG October Sale for €22,000 with an official German GAG of 77kg. According to available charts, this roughly translates to a BHA rating of 74 although the RPR of 90 for her latest effort at Hanover looks more realistic. In any event, she was representing a sire with two winners from four in the sphere, and a trainer with the best winners to runners ratio of any trainer with ten or more juveniles since 2008/09. Her early jumping was not brilliant as she steadied into the first, was slow at the second and got in close to the third. Nevertheless, she soon got into a good rhythm and travelled strongly in midfield. She made steady progress in the straight and cruised into the lead approaching the final flight. Clearing the last with a two length lead, she responded well to being shaken up and very quickly extended her advantage to nearly ten lengths at the line. Given that neither of the next two finishers had finished within eighteen lengths of a winner from six flat starts between them, it is difficult to get too excited about the standard of form. Nevertheless, she could hardly have won this race in a more taking fashion and the winning time affords her performance some substance. Megan now heads to the Listed race at Aintree and with only Hiconic and Talking About You matching her at this juncture, she holds good prospects of collecting some black type. 116

              High Moor Flyer earned an official rating of 42 following four runs on the flat, yet even that mark would have flattered her. Furthermore, she sweated up prior to this contest and burned plenty of energy by pulling hard while in the lead. That she managed to beat all but one of her rivals casts doubt over the form, but there were some clues in her profile. Trainer Jedd O'Keeffe has a solid record in the division with limited ammunition and sire Pour Moi's improvement rate of 78.95% is the highest of any stallion with ten or more qualifiers. Her damline was also strong for as well as being out of Chatteris Fen winner A Media Luz, the granddam was a half-sister to a pair of fair French juveniles in Ameno and Lucie. Apart from wandering into a few of her flights, High Moor Flyer had more good jumps than bad and in the absence of Megan, she would have ran out an emphatic winner. As with any turn up of this nature, it would be wise to see if she can replicate this performance. Nevertheless, this was still an encouraging introduction. 103

              Gilbertina beat just one of twelve rivals home in a pair of Yorkshire novice races on the flat and was beaten a combined eighty-nine lengths in the process. While the runner-up had a pedigree that promised improvement, there was no such elixir in Gilbertina's breeding. Apart from being a half-sister to a maiden hurdler in Ireland, the damline is bereft of jumpers and of the sire's five juvenile hurdlers, none had achieved an RPR exceeding 88. Tracking the leading group throughout, Gilbertina lacked some fluency in the early stages but was otherwise a sound jumper. While the front pair left her trailing, she never lost her position relative to the remainder of the field. Her being beaten by over eighteen lengths restores some semblance of sanity to the form, and as this was just her third outing, it can be argued that she was still unexposed. As it stands, the performance was no better than fair but it could entitle her to be competitive in modest company. But once again, it remains to be seen if the form can be replicated. 94

              See The Eagle Fly's win at Fontwell received a boost last week as the runner-up finished third in the Grade Two at Cheltenham, and the fourth won at Ludlow. The third placed also managed to subsequently finish second at Fakenham. Given the manner of defeat of the latter two, and the fact that the runner-up was still green on that occasion, the form can not be taken too literally. Nevertheless, any win where the form has worked out well is worthy of respect which makes See The Eagle Fly's performance here a disappointment. Pulling in the early stages, her jumping was not quite as clean as it had been on her debut. She appeared to be travelling strongly when taking the lead in the straight, but she then started to idle and would weaken tamely from thereon. Given this is twice in as many races that she has been uncomfortable with the lead, the inclination is to attribute this performance to attitude rather than a lack of stamina or ability. While See The Eagle Fly is capable of defying a penalty, she may require deft handling in order to do so. 96

              Volkovka went into her debut at Fakenham as favourite when bringing in a flat rating of 81.4 from France. However, her chances were effectively ended by a bad mistake at the first and she was pulled up some way from home. She managed to complete the course here but it was not without some novicey jumping and a pair of bad blunders at the sixth and the last. At the time of her latter error, she was in contention only for third place as the race was already completely out of her range. Bred to do well in the division, she can move towards her flat ability with further experience, although there is a chance she may be getting soured by the discipline and is not one with real immediate promise. 87

              Lunar Bounty was well beaten on her sole flat start back in July, but she represents a top yard in the division and is bred to be a jumper. By Sea The Moon (37.5% winners to runners with juveniles), she is out of a King's Theatre mare who was fourth in the Mares' Hurdle at the Festival who herself is a full-sister to The Dutchman and Katie Too. Her dam won a Grade Three mares' novice chase and the likes of Addington Boy and Lord Noelie can also be found on the damline. Slightly hampered at the first, Lunar Bounty only made one real mistake at the fourth and travelled well before being outpaced in the straight. While the bare form is poor, it was not a bad introduction but she may be one who benefits from time. 78

              Restricted Access earned a rating of 62 following three starts in the summer, but that mark dropped to 55 after another three runs in October. Diving right at the first, she was then close at the second and steadied into the third. Her jumping improved from there but while she was in contention turning in, she eventually faded and made a tired mistake at the last. There will have been stamina concerns going into the race and these were not alleviated. 69

              Kobra won a minor race at Dresden on her sole start back in May before joining one of the leading yards in the division. That race earned her a GAG of just 65 and subsequently produced only one subsequent winner but she did not go off unfancied. However, given that Megan achieved considerably more yet started at over twice the price reflects the strength of yard reputation in the market. Kobra was keen early but made only a couple of minor errors and was still within a length of the leaders at three out. However, she would fade tamely before being the last to finish. Though she may strip fitter for the outing, there is little reason to assume that she might progress particularly far. 52

              Isayalittleprayer represents a yard, stallion and dam with a good record in the sphere, but she did not jump well on her hurdling debut at Fakenham and was possibly flattered by the result. But save for a slow jump at the third, her jumping was better here. Nevertheless, she would eventually pull up and it was reported that she had breathing issues. 0

              Plusdargent achieved little on the flat for either Ben Haslam or Katie Scott and while her sire has a fair record in the division, she made no appeal through her damline. She lacked fluency, never left the rear of the field and was the first horse beaten. 0

              Atailof Two Cities won a handicap at Catterick by twenty-two lengths on her penultimate start for Charlie Fellowes and joined a yard with a solid record in the discipline. However, while she initially raced prominently, she was hesitant at four out and weakened quickly thereafter. It was discovered that she burst a blood vessel. 0

              Originally posted by Istabraq View Post

              The drift continued K, 7/1 last I saw.
              He clearly hated the ground and was being nudged to fight through it throughout the race, his abilities won’t be seen until he encounters better ground...
              That was my first impression since even though he won on soft at Galway, it was a not especially bad ground. Though the trainer did say he went on soft in the "improved performance" statement to the stewards afterwards. Furthermore, on breeding, there is no reason whatsoever why he would hate the ground as he is by Galileo and his dam won her maiden on soft to heavy, finished second on soft in Germany and also beat Found on Heavy. I think his stablemate much preferred the ground and Flying Scotsman might not want it completely bottomless, but I am not convinced the ground made the difference. Given his drift beforehand, (particularly as he's a JP horse) I suspect his schooling was not terrific as got a little high at the first. He also felt the brunt of the incident at the second and he definitely wasn't travelling from there so his constitution might also be amiss.



                ...some interesting stats in this article re Gordon Elliott juveniles.


                • This table was posted in the Triumph thread yesterday. But it's also good for this preview so it can go here as well.

                  There is also a race tomorrow at Sedgefield, the preview for which should hopefully be done before the day's end.

                  Tomorrow's maiden hurdle at Gowran Park has been a mainstay at the meeting since 2008 and would be one of the more important races of its nature on the calendar. Diakali (2012) and Footpad (2015) are the most notorious winners as they each won Grade Ones later in the season as well as finish placed in the Triumph Hurdle. Buiseness Sivola and Officieux were also introduced in this contest while Doctor Deejay and Prussian Eagle used the race to get off the mark. Crassus brings useful placed form into this race while On Guard seeks to rebuild his reputation after disappointing at Killarney. However, the potential quality of this renewal probably hinges on Youmdor who makes his hurdling debut for the Willie Mullins yard which was responsible for the aforementioned Grade One winners. Gowran Park's average winning DIs of 1.40 median, 1.56 mean are higher than those of the average runner and the third highest in the country. This indicates that it is one of the less demanding circuits although the going is currently forecast to be heavy. The clear round rate is fairly average although the course is second only to Ascot for successful odds-on favourites.

                  Triumph odds
                  50/1 Youmdor

                  Adamaris chg Gerard O'Leary f12-1-2 (68) 75
                  Born To Sea (Oratorio){22-b}(1.86) 2/1 Juno The Muffinman 1st Juvenile Hurdle, Warwick 2012
                  Twice a runner-up on the all-weather during the winter, Adamaris got off the mark at the eleventh time of asking at Leopardstown in a mile handicap last month. Running in first time blinkers on a mark of 62, Adamaris led from the outset and was able to extend his lead turning for home. While the runner-up closed the gap in the closing stages, the post came just in time for him to prevail by a head. Adamaris was unable to follow up next time at Dundalk where he was a two and a half length fifth, although the Leopardstown third filled the same position in that race. The yard is without a win from nine runs in juvenile hurdles since 2008/09 and his last winner over jumps came in October 2007. There is more encouragement on breeding however as Born To Sea (A Wave Of The Sea, Aspire Tower, Orchestral Rain) has a fine record in the division and Adamaris is out of a half-sister to winning juvenile Juno The Muffinman. There is not much to find on flat form and he should be able to go on the ground, but the trainer's lack of prolificacy is a concern given his lack of hurdling experience.

                  Baltinglass Hill bg P J Rothwell f3-0-0 (75) 62
                  Cable Bay (Iffraaj){16-a}(2.00) 3/0 Wheeler's Wonder 1st Juvenile Claiming Hurdle, Wincanton 1993
                  Baltinglass Hill ran three times on the flat for Michael Grassick, twice in maiden company and once in a Claimer, before being allotted a mark of 75. However, that rating is difficult to justify and looks the result of an anomalous performance in a twelve furlong maiden at Leopardstown where he was just over nine lengths fifth at odds of 150/1. His only subsequent outing saw him beaten by twice the margin in a ten furlong Claimer at the same venue in August. Since then, he joined a Philip Rothwell yard who since 2008/09, is without a winner in the sphere from seventy-one runs. Cable Bay has yet to sire a winning juvenile, dams by Iffraaj have yet to produce one, and the third dam winning a Claiming Hurdle in 1993 is the closest example of a jumps relative - although Quick Jack appears on the damline at 4/4. One very tenuous glimmer of hope however lies in the relation between his thoroughbred family and his dosage index. While family 17-a is without a winner from 17 when the horse's DI is 1.00 or below, it has six winners from seventeen when the DI is higher which is fascinating in and of itself since the rule of thumb generally asserts that the lower the DI, the better. However, to illustrate how tenuous this facet of information might be, the best representatives of the family are very distant from Baltinglass Hill, with Kazlian at 12/8, and Tonic Mellysse at 12/9. Still, useless though this revelation may be, we can still luxuriate in being privy to the kind of information that can only be reached through rigorous research.

                  Bigz Belief bg Matthew J Smith f9-0-0 (51) 61 j4-0-3 (-) 109 114
                  Make Believe (Falco){3-d}(2.00) 2/1 Camouflage 4th Maiden Hurdle, Navan 2007
                  A nine race flat career culminated with a rating of just 51, but Bigz Belief has been placed on his last three starts over hurdles and would have the second strongest hurdles form in the field. Showing up for much of the race before fading on his debut at Punchestown he returned there to finish third to Scholastic, splitting a pair of subsequent winners in the process. Third again next time at Galway behind Perry Owens and Sideshift, he reversed placings with the runner-up on his latest start at Fairyhouse where he had Complete Fantasy, Toughari and Saga Malta in his trail. Bigz Belief's form has improved with each outing and while not yet entirely fluent, so too has his jumping. The ground was soft, soft to heavy in places at Fairyhouse and the conditions will be close to identical here. He may still prefer a less demanding race but with his form and experience, he should still put up a decent account of himself.

                  Complete Fantasy bg Peter Fahey f5-0-0 (57) 70 j3-0-0 (-) 104 109
                  Make Believe (Night Shift){42}(1.67) 0.5 Monkeylou 3rd 3-y-o Maiden Hurdle, Ballinrobe 2018
                  Moderate on the flat, Complete Fantasy only made it to the first on his hurdling debut and was tailed off next time at Sligo. However, a more assured round of jumping saw him reach a more competitive position on his latest start at Fairyhouse when a seven length fourth, five lengths behind Bigz Belief. It was his best performance in over a year and with the yard enjoying a double last week, there is every reason for this improvement to continue. However, there is no real reason for him to reverse placings with Bigz Belief and there is still ground to be made with a few of his other rivals.

                  Crassus bg Noel Meade f9-0-2 (69) 76 j3-0-2 (-) 110 124
                  War Command (Seeking The Gold){4-m}(1.89) 0.5 Indian Chief PU Maiden Hurdle, Sedgefield 2019
                  Though he failed to win in nine starts on the flat, Crassus had been rated as high as 79 in that discipline. While a dip in form saw that mark fall by ten pounds, he regained some standing when embarking on his hurdling career. He was no match for Duffle Coat when a six length second on his debut at Punchestown, but he had subsequent winner Scholastic seven lengths further back. He was in the process of running a fine race at Ballinrobe before falling at the penultimate flight and found only Glorious Zoff too good last time at Sligo. Crassus had jumped well on his first two starts, and was especially solid prior to his fall at Ballinrobe. He was understandably less assured last time out and it is hoped that the clear round will have improved his confidence. The form of his last two outings has not been particularly well advertised as both Dark Voyager and Glorious Zoff were beaten favourites next time out. There have been excuses for those defeats and regardless of those disappointments, the form is still the best on offer in this field. Though Crassus is still without a win in twelve starts, there may yet be better to come as Noel Meade's juveniles often continue to progress through the season and have amassed a win, two seconds and a fourth from four runners in this contest. He should present a good test for Youmdor.

                  Dazzling Darren chg Gavin Cromwell f15-3-4 (65) 70 j2-0-0 (-) 87 91
                  Dragon Pulse (Dark Angel){16-f}(1.67) no jumps relatives
                  Between the Sixth of February and the Seventh of July, Dazzling Darren won three races on the all-weather in the UK, then was second in three races at Roscommon. This sequence ended at Galway and while he was well backed ahead of his hurdling debut back at Roscommon, he could only finish a twenty-nine length fifth. A two month break saw him finish well beaten at Fairyhouse on the flat and he never travelled with any purpose when finishing last in a maiden hurdle at Galway four weeks ago. He only made one error on each of his hurdles outing, but while he represents a yard with a good record in the division, he comes into the race with plenty to prove.

                  French Asset bg Gavin Cromwell f5-0-1 (75) 80 j1-0-0 (-) 82 82
                  Siyouni (Galileo){9-c}(0.73) 2/1 No Heretic 3rd Novices' Hurdle, Newbury 2016
                  A stablemate of Dazzling Darren, French Asset started his career with Sir Michael Stoute and achieved a rating of 75. Former residents of Freemason Lodge tend to achieve decent ratings as juveniles, although their overall winners to runners rate is 15.56% and only 25.81% will improve for the switch between codes. French Asset was easy to back ahead of his hurdles debut and his jumping was marked by greenness. He lost touch half a mile from home and would eventually beat only his stablemate home. The yard gets more than its fair share of success in the field and his charges often improve with experience. However, while he has scored first time one, half of his winners did not get off the mark until at least the third time of asking and French Asset has a still task if he is to buck that trend.

                  Londonofficecallin grg Miss Evanna McCutcheon f4-0-0 (50) 51 j2-0-0 (-) 95 95
                  Alhebayeb (Lord Shanakill){13-e}(11.00) 5/1 Cezanne 1st Novices' Hurdle, Huntingdon 1999
                  No better than a fifty rated horse on the flat, Londonofficecallin has improved for the switch to hurdling. However, he was still beaten a combined thirty-seven lengths in a pair of Maiden Hurdles at Killarney and Galway (twelve lengths behind Bigz Belief at the latter) and his jumping has not been fluent. There are traces of ability but not enough to make him competitive here.

                  On Guard bg Gordon Elliott f3-1-1 (86) 88 j1-0-0 (-) 93 96
                  Invincible Spirit (Giant’s Causeway){1-e}(1.40) 2/2 Strolling Home 1st 4yo Maiden Hurdle, Tramore 2008
                  On Guard left John Gosden at the Tattersalls August sale for 52,000 guineas to join Gordon Elliott with an official rating of 86. On that basis alone, he could have been seen as an interesting recruit to the division. After a promising debut second at Haydock last year, he won a six runner Yarmouth Novice Stakes from three subsequent winners and two subsequent runners up. Leading from the start, he was headed over a furlong out and drifted out to 20/1 in-running before rallying to regain the lead close to the line. He played up prior to his latest flat outing in the Queen's Vase and refused to settle while being held up, before finishing tailed off. It is typical of juveniles whose flat careers began with John Gosden to disappoint over hurdles without even taking into account the heightened expectations. Of the forty-nine horses to have made the switch from Clarehaven to hurdles, only six managed to win a race. Three of those with fruitless campaigns sold for over ?100,000 and only Tom George's Petit Palais earned more than ?10,000 in prize money. Invincible Spirit's record in the sphere is also poor and though his 10% winners to runners rate since 2008/09 is bad enough, none of his sixteen juveniles since 2012/13 have won a race between them. There are some positives on the damline however as there the likes of Chivalry (3/2), Sir Erec (3/3) and jumps stallion Mahler (3/2) can be found. On Guard made it seventeen winless juveniles for Invincible Spirit on his hurdling debut at Killarney in early October where he was an uneasy even money favourite. There he was very fresh in the first part of the contest, wandering into most of his early hurdles and almost refusing at the second. While he was able to settle eventually, he was a tired horse by the end of the race finishing a seventeen length fourth in a moderate looking contest. On Guard showed enough promise to suggest he can be competitive at a moderate level if he becomes more fluent but he would be breaking a mould if he is to be much better than average in this discipline. Furthermore, this would not be a race that Gordon Elliott typically targets with his better juveniles, with only one of his ten participants winning, and only one of those ten achieved an RPR exceeding 120 during the season.

                  Sydney Blues bg Patrick J Flynn f9-0-1 (66) 73
                  Footstepsinthesand (Kingmambo){14-c}(1.06) 0.5 Artistic Touch 11th 4yo Maiden Hurdle, Killarney 2016
                  A maiden after nine starts on the flat, Sydney Blues' best effort in that sphere came in early September when second in a soft ground mile handicap at Punchestown off 70. His next three outings saw him weaken on each occasion over trips ranging from six furlongs to nine and a half furlongs. The trainer, sire and damsire all have fair records in the sphere but there are nagging stamina concerns.

                  Toughari bg Thomas Mullins f7-1-0 (63) 66 j2-0-0 (-) 103 108
                  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
                  Toughari achieved little in his first six starts on the flat and a lack of fluency contributed to an insipid hurdling debut at Killarney in early October. The application of blinkers on a return to the flat saw him run away with a handicap in the mud at Fairyhouse and he was backed from 16/1 in the morning to 6/1 ahead of his return to Fairyhouse for a Maiden Hurdle. However, he was either close or steady at half of his jumps and although he was in contention entering the straight, he could not find enough to make an impact on the finish. It was an improved showing and with more assured jumping, he can get involved in a weaker contest. The yard enjoyed a double at Punchestown over the weekend, but Toughari would still need to reverse placings with a few of these.

                  Youmdor bg Willie Mullins f8-2-4 (82.5) 83
                  Youmzain (Kentucky Dynamite){2-s}(0.89) 3/1 Attiki Oddo 2nd Handicap Hurdle, Enghien 2012
                  Freddie Head is one of France's leading trainers, although he has not been a prolific source of Juvenile Hurdlers in the UK or Ireland. Since 2008/09, only nine of his former inmates have participated in the division with two of them being winners. Hoping to bolster that record will be the latest Willie Mullins charge, Youmdor. After finishing down the field in a trio of maiden contests, Youmdor has finished first or second in all of his five starts since switching to handicaps. He broke his duck on his handicap debut just before Christmas at Chantilly where he produced a very late burst to grab victory on the line. He was twice runner-up at the same venue in the new year and filled that position for a third time in a ten furlong Saint-Cloud handicap in May, finishing late once again. His spell of seconditis was ended last time out however when he ran out a neck winner of a "Quinte+" handicap over ten furlongs at Deauville at the end of May. That race has not produced many winners although the third was able to win a similar contest at Compiegne two starts later. Youmzain has had five juvenile hurdlers in the UK and Ireland and two of them have been winners including the ill-fated Saglawy, who was third in the Champion Four Year Old Hurdle at Punchestown. Kentucky Dynamite has yet to be tested as a damsire but four of his five own juveniles in the UK were winners including Kentucky Hyden and Unanimite. A half-brother to Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere third Anodor, Youmdor's pedigree is not inundated with hurdlers with the closest relative being handicapper Attiki Oddo at 3/1 (Burning Victory shows up at 5/4). His flat form is comparable with On Guard but what makes Youmdor an interesting contender is that he is the chosen representative of a yard which used this race to introduce Buiseness Sivola, Diakali and Footpad.

                  Saga Malta bf Barry J Fitzgerald j1-0-0 (-) 77 82
                  War Command (Exceed And Excel){22-b}(2.11) 2/1 Juno The Muffinman 1st Juvenile Hurdle, Warwick 2012
                  Closely related to Adamaris, Saga Malta made her racecourse debut at Fairyhouse finishing behind Bigz Belief, Complete Fantasy and Toughari. Her jumping lacked fluency and she reportedly ran very green. She can improve for the experience but makes little appeal here.

                  Strong prospects
                  1. Youmdor
                  Reasonable prospects
                  2. Crassus
                  3. Bigz Belief
                  4. On Guard
                  Feasible prospects
                  5. Toughari
                  6. Adamaris
                  Moderate prospects
                  7. Complete Fantasy
                  8. French Asset
                  9. Sydney Blues
                  Negligible prospects
                  10. Londonofficecallin
                  11. Dazzling Darren
                  12. Baltinglass Hill
                  13. Saga Malta

                  Originally posted by Eggs View Post

                  ...some interesting stats in this article re Gordon Elliott juveniles.
                  He's definitely having a grand time of things this season. I wonder if the disparity is due to last season being a poor one, or this season being exceptional...


                  • Excellent stuff again Kotkijet and a very interesting table there.
                    Do we know any more about Paros and when he may be seen ?


                    • Originally posted by Kotkijet View Post
                      He's definitely having a grand time of things this season. I wonder if the disparity is due to last season being a poor one, or this season being exceptional...
                      Ask and I shall receive.

                      Setting up a template was a bit of a ballache. But now that it's been done, I decided to see how other trainers fared in the breakdowns.

                      I also had a look at Galileo just because.

                      Other breakdowns can be done on request...

                      Originally posted by Istabraq View Post
                      Excellent stuff again Kotkijet and a very interesting table there.
                      Do we know any more about Paros and when he may be seen ?
                      The Middleham Park Racing site has actually been fantastic for information on the horse.


                      The gist here, as well as in the stable tours, has been that he will likely go straight into a decent race once there's cut in the ground.


                      • Originally posted by Kotkijet View Post
                        The gist here, as well as in the stable tours, has been that he will likely go straight into a decent race once there's cut in the ground.
                        Thanks K, unless Seven Barrows exists in a micro climate or Nicky has been at the red again I'm surprised he hasn't though the soft ground in recent weeks suitable enough, that said there's no rush with potential Triumph horses and he did come from France with experience.
                        Looking forward to seeing him...


                        • Catterick's first juvenile hurdle of the season takes place tomorrow and with the winner's seasonal RPRs being just 113 median, it is one of the less prestigious tracks in the country. This is not to say that the course does not get the occasional useful juvenile as both Orsippus and Ruacana visited the North Yorkshire venue prior to winning at the highest level. Although none of these look likely to reach those heights, with two hurdle winners, another with good placed form, and a pair of flat newcomers rated in the seventies, there will be worse races ran this season. A sharp track with only minor undulations, Catterick is one of the easier circuits in the country and with the going forecast to be good, speed rather than stamina may be the most useful attribute tomorrow. The clear round rate of 95.87% is just below average but would not suggest a particularly stern jumping test.

                          Genever Dragon bg Donald McCain f10-0-2 (62) 71 j2-1-0 (115) 104 109
                          Dragon Pulse (Red Clubs){1-w}(1.29) 3/1 Staunch Rival 2nd Handicap Chase (124), Sandown 1995
                          Genever Dragon ran with promise as a two-year old for Tom Dascombe, but failed to justify his mark of 71 during three runs in the summer. He was able to get off the mark at the eleventh time of asking on his hurdles debut at Sedgefield at the end of September, jumping and travelling well before repelling the challenge of Magna Moralia. Though he showed signs of greenness, they were not as pronounced as they were when he returned to Sedgefield a fortnight ago. His jumping also saw a decline prior to his finishing twenty-five lengths behind the winner, twenty behind Gold Desert. The return to a sounder surface might suit and his debut win is not without merit. However, the penalty will not make life easy, especially as he was prone to inconsistency on the flat. Furthermore, while Donald McCain has a fine record in the division, he has scored only once from twenty-five runs in Catterick juvenile hurdles since 2008/09.

                          Gold Desert chg Oliver Greenall f4-0-0 (71) 74 j2-1-1 (116) 105 118
                          Mastercraftsman (Galileo){9-f}(0.76) 3/1 Triple Sharp 1st Mares' Handicap Hurdle (81), Fakenham 2001
                          After leaving Richard Hannon for 23,000 guineas at the Tattersalls August sale, Gold Desert made a winning start to his hurdling career at Sedgefield in mid October. His jumping was initially cautious and he made a meal of winning what was a poor race by any measure. Nevertheless, he looked sure to improve which is what he did returning to the venue to finish third behind Le Magnifique and Glorious Zoff. Here, his jumping was reasonable without being great, and after taking up the running in the back straight, he was outpaced at the top of the hill before staying on again towards the finish. There is a concern that the sharp configuration of this race is unlikely to play to his strengths. Nevertheless, Gold Desert is a progressive sort who sets the form standard and is entitled to plenty of respect in this company.

                          Camahawk brg Tim Easterby f6-0-1 (69) 75 j2-0-0 (-) 71 78
                          Camelot (Machiavellian){25}(1.00) 0.5 Hawk High 1st Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle (G3,130) Cheltenham 2014
                          Bred to be a juvenile hurdler, Camahawk is a Camelot half-brother to 2014 Fred Winter hero Hawk High along with three other jumps winners in Dactik, Autumn Surprise and Mountain Hawk. His flat career was not bad either as while he failed to win in six outings, he was not disgraced in handicaps at Redcar and Thirsk off a mark of 73. However, he was tailed off on his hurdling debut at Wetherby and fared not much better next time at Sedgefield, finishing well behind Gold Desert and Genever Dragon. While he still has questions to answer, there is still time for him to fulfil some of his genetic promise and he may also benefit from the sounder surface. However, although the yard won this race in 2018, it is currently going through a lean spell.

                          Castle View chg Jim Goldie j1-0-0 (-) 2 1
                          Casamento (Invincible Spirit){1-w}(2.20) 2/1 Book Of Invasions 1st Novices' Hurdle, Huntingdon 2019
                          Prior to his debut at Musselburgh earlier this month, Castle View had been withdrawn from two intended flat runs due to his behaviour beforehand. In the event, he never left the rear of the field and made mistakes at every hurdle before finishing completely tailed off.

                          Clay Regazzoni bg Keith Dalgleish f19-1-6 (70) 79 j2-0-0 (-) 83 88
                          Due Diligence (Kheleyf){6-b}(3.00) 2/1 Age Of Glory 1st 4yo Maiden Hurdle, Killarney 2013
                          Clay Regazzoni had nineteen starts on the flat, earning a win and six places in the process. However, he looked anything but a natural on his hurdles debut at Wetherby and despite the having services of Brian Hughes, was not much better at Musselburgh last time out. While his flat form reads well in the context of this field, nothing in his two runs over jumps suggests he can make an impact here.

                          Fahad bg Danny Brooke f5-0-1 (72) 78
                          Farhh (Nayef){1-k}(2.50) 3/3 Lisheen Castle 1st Juvenile Maiden Hurdle, Wetherby 2019
                          Another lot at the Tattersalls August sale, Fahad fetched 14,000 guineas to join first season trainer Danny Brooke. Winless in five starts for Roger Varian, Fahad's best effort came when just under a length third in a ten furlong Kempton maiden at the start of June. Neither of the front two there managed to place in ten subsequent races between them although the fourth did win a handicap off 74 the following month. Since then, Fahad has thrice been beaten in handicaps, including when beating just one home last time at Newbury following a gelding operation. Juveniles formerly trained by Roger Varian have a respectable winners to runners rate of 30.77%, although only 27.78% of them found improvement over hurdles. Neither of Farhh's two juvenile hurdlers to date have been placed and the damline is bereft of jumpers in close proximity.

                          Grouseman bg Pam Sly f7-0-0 (50) 56 j1-0-0 (-) 92 92
                          Kyllachy (Danehill Dancer){8-d}(1.91) 2/1 Pivot Bridge 1st Handicap Hurdle (B,110), Killarney 2014
                          Grouseman achieved a rating of just 50 after seven runs on the flat and being by Kyllachy offers little encouragement for his new vocation. Nevertheless, he was not disgraced on his jumping debut a fortnight ago at Warwick despite finishing twenty-five lengths behind Adagio. He suffered interference at the second and third but apart from getting close to the first and fourth flights of hurdles, his jumping was not too bad. Staying on from a long way behind, he failed by only a neck in his attempt to grab third on the line. This performance matched the best of his flat form and his trainer's record in Catterick Juveniles since 2008/09 is two wins and two seconds from four runs. Bare form leaves him with a bit to find but he would not be ruled out entirely.

                          Magna Moralia grg John Quinn f11-2-4 (75) 81 j2-0-2 (117) 105 108
                          Gregorian (Singspiel){1-h}(0.87) 0.5 Speed Company 1st Handicap Hurdle (119), Chepstow 2019
                          Twice a winner on the flat, Magna Moralia traded as low as 1.04 to make a winning hurdles bow at Sedgefield in late September. However, he jumped the last awkwardly and was unable to regain the lead from Genever Dragon. Next time at Uttoxeter, he once again went long odds-on in running but though his jumping was improved, he was never travelling as well as the winner. Nevertheless, the form of that race has a respectable look to it as the winner has since ran with credit in a pair of pattern races and the third returned to form when runner-up at Ludlow last week. Magna Moralia then returned to the flat in a fourteen furlong handicap on soft ground at Redcar where he stayed on best of all to get within a length of Cornerstone Lad at the line. He is patently capable of winning a race of this nature and wil be helped by the fact that he is without a penalty. However, once again, his head carriage was not the most convincing last time at Redcar and the yard has astonishingly gone a year without a winner over jumps and is not in the best of form on the flat either.

                          Monash bg Rebecca Menzies f6-0-0 (59) 68
                          Lawman (Sadler's Wells){1-s}(0.82) 2/1 Jack The Giant 1st Wayward Lad Novices' Chase (G2), Kempton 2006
                          During the last two seasons, Rebecca Menzies has had two winning juveniles from five including Fabianski who won at this track in December 2018. She saddles her first juvenile of the current campaign in Monash who left the Ed Walker yard for 6,000 guineas at the Tattersalls Autumn Sale. Making his racecourse debut in July, he ran six times without finishing in the first four and comes into the race rated just 59. There is more encouragement on breeding however as Lawman wins his fair share of races, including with Legal History - another former inmate of Ed Walker who won over ?50,000 during his first campaign. Sadler's Wells has above average figures as a damsire by all metrics, and the dam is a full-sister to winner Malakiya, and a half-sister to the high class Jack The Giant and the useful Crystal Rock. Wahiba Sands (5/4), Celestial Halo (5/4) and Thomas Edison (5/5) are other useful relatives. Tomorrow's contest may be too much too soon for Monash, but he would not be the worst recruit to the discipline.

                          Ring Of Gold bg Michael Easterby f4-0-2 (73) 75
                          Havana Gold (Nayef){14-c}(1.00) 1/0 Pitter Patter 6th Mares' Novices' Hurdle (Listed), Taunton 2014
                          Ring Of Gold first saw the racecourse in July, and he improved on a debut second in a Leicester maiden to finish a close third in a Redcar Novice Stakes at the end of August. He was not disgraced when fourth on his handicap debut at Beverley off 74 but he was a tailed off last on his latest outing at Nottingham. Havana Gold has won just one race in the sphere from thirty starts as a sire and while the trainer does get winners, his overall strike rate is just 6.41%.

                          Temper Trap brg Tim Easterby f11-2-1 (56) 65
                          Slade Power (Teofilo){14-c}(0.45) 3/1 Dynamagic 5th 4yo Maiden Hurdle, Tramore 2018
                          After achieving little on his first three starts, Temper Trap finished second on his handicap debut off a mark of 50 before scoring by the narrowest of margins four days later in a 0-50 Classified Stakes at Musselburgh over seven furlongs. He followed up in a Hamilton handicap three weeks later but without being beaten too far, has since failed to revisit the winners enclosure in five subsequent starts. Slade Power has not done badly with a small batch of juveniles with a winner and a second from three runners. However, there is little encouragement on the damline, the yard is out of form and he looks exposed as moderate on flat form.

                          Strong prospects
                          1. Gold Desert
                          Reasonable prospects
                          2. Magna Moralia
                          3. Genever Dragon
                          Feasible prospects
                          4. Grouseman
                          5. Monash
                          6. Camahawk
                          Moderate prospects
                          7. Ring Of Gold
                          8. Temper Trap
                          9. Fahad
                          10. Clay Regazzoni
                          Negligible prospects
                          11. Castle View

                          Originally posted by Istabraq View Post

                          Thanks K, unless Seven Barrows exists in a micro climate or Nicky has been at the red again I'm surprised he hasn't though the soft ground in recent weeks suitable enough, that said there's no rush with potential Triumph horses and he did come from France with experience.
                          Looking forward to seeing him...
                          The Wensleydale was initially earmarked but that didn't happen and the only other "good" race was the one that just passed at Cheltenham where he initially had Overpriced Mixer entered. There's the Introductory Juvenile at Sandown on Tingle Creek day and there's the Summit and a Class 2 at Cheltenham the following weekend... I think this might call for another table...


                          • Comment

                            • Strong prospects
                              1. Gold Desert

                              Well done


                              • Tomorrow's race at Exeter will see this season's first hurdlers to emerge from "junior" bumpers. Since this is fresh dynamic for the current campaign, it is worth having a look at these races as they relate to juvenile hurdles. Credit to graysonscolumn whose donkey work many moons ago helped to fill the gaps for the embryonic phases of this sphere.

                                The first national hunt flat race open to three-year-olds was held at Newbury in November 2002. During that year, they were open to three and four-year-olds, but it is fitting that it would be won by a member of the younger vintage in Enitsag. The following season, junior bumpers became the preserve of three-year-olds and Ascot's first (and to this date, only) junior bumper was won by the unraced ex-Roger Charlton filly Locksmith who would finish second in that season's Adonis Hurdle, and seventh in the Supreme at Cheltenham. Another junior bumper winner that season was Baby Run, who would win the Fox Hunters' at Aintree eight years later. The use of such races as a springboard for a flat career, particularly in the instance of Alan Swinbank's pair Alfie Flitts and Turbo Linn, raised some eyebrows at the time. That pair notwithstanding, these contests have generally been used for their intended purpose as the years have passed.

                                Insofar as their impact on juvenile hurdles is concerned, 382 horses started off in a bumper before contesting a juvenile hurdle since the 2008/09 season. I See You Well, Kuilsriver and Chris Pea Green would go on to contest the Triumph Hurdle (the latter being the best placed when seventh in 2013), but the most successful juvenile hurdler would be Runswick Royal who finished second in the 2013 Anniversary Hurdle. Generally speaking, these races are not a prolific source of juvenile hurdling talent as just 21 of the 382 horses were able to collect a win during their first campaign. Put into perspective, the winner to runner rate is just 5.50% (3.56% overall strike rate) whereas the winner to runner rate of flat horses rated 50 or below is 7.74% (3.64% strike rate). Incidentally, juvenile hurdlers whose careers began in French bumpers, the most notorious being Defi du Seuil and Espoir d'Allen, have a winner to runner rate of 46.4%.

                                With that out of the way, Exeter regularly sees the introduction of good class novices both over fences and hurdles. However, the quality of juvenile hurdlers at the Devon venue is not usually festival standard. The 2016 edition of this race was won by Finale runner-up Evening Hush, with Fred Winter winner Flying Tiger finishing sixth. Nevertheless, the course's median seasonal RPR of 113 for winning juveniles is nearer to the bottom than to the top. This year's renewal may be a decent one however as it is headlined by Paul Nicholls newcomer Monmiral, and supported by the first JP McManus/Philip Hobbs juvenile of the season, a pair of well-bred George Nympton racecourse debutants, two with decent placed form over hurdles and a junior bumper winner. Despite being a stiff galloping track, the average winning DIs of 1.40 median, 1.62 mean, are among the highest in the country and such anomaly is not accounted for by the DI of all runners. One explanation might be that ground conditions tend to be one extreme or another, and with the going forecast to be soft, stamina will likely be an asset. Jumping will also be a favourable attribute as the clear round rate of 94.89% is the fifth lowest in the UK.

                                Monmiral blg Paul Nicholls j1-1-0 (-) 120
                                Saint Des Saints (Mont Basile){16}(0.60) 2/1 La Landiere 1st Cathcart Chase (G2), Cheltenham 2003
                       (black horse, white cap, dark blue with light grey armlets)
                                Francois Nicolle has already supplied one of the season's leading juveniles in Quilixios, and connections will be hoping that Monmiral can make a similar impression on the UK landscape. His sole start in France was a win in the Prix Rush which is an early season contest for hurdling debutants. Since 2008, twenty-four horses have come out of that race to contest to compete in UK/IRE juvenile hurdlers. Thirteen of those were winners including Fixe Le Kap, Twinlight and Sam Winner, with Balko, Goliath du Berlais and Cerium counted among its many classy graduates. One of those thirteen winners was this season's runner-up Hell Red who made a most compelling UK debut at Chepstow for Paul Nicholls before an excusable disappointment at Cheltenham. Settled in midfield, Monmiral travelled smoothly to take up the running at the end of the back straight and he ran on strongly to the finish to win by two and a half lengths. Apart from reaching at the last. it was difficult to find fault in his jumping and his demonstration of pace through heavy ground will serve him well in the winter game. The form of the race, as befits one full of newcomers, is solid without being exceptional. Hell Red looked very good at Chepstow, fourth placed Hirta is currently rated 133, and sixth placed Martator, the race's only subsequent winner in France, is on 137. Monmiral's pedigree is decidedly meritorious as he is the produce of Saint des Saints out of a mare who won on her debut at Auteuil and is a half-sister to the classy La Landiere. Along with Monmiral, she has produced two other winning jumpers including Soulongy who placed second in a Listed steeplechase. Drop Out Joe (2/2) and Lough Derg (3/2) are also closely related while Walkon (6/4) and Quel Destin (6/5) appear further back on the damline. While thought of as a chasing type, there are still strong expectations for Monmiral as a juvenile hurdler and a visit to Cheltenham or Doncaster next month has already been earmarked.

                                Bourbali bg Colin Tizzard j2-0-1 (104) 91 108
                                Sinndar (Saint Des Saints){1-b}(1.18) 2/1 Tamarinbleu 1st Clarence House Chase (G1), Ascot 2008
                                By Sinndar (Hargam, Mourad, Diakali), out of a half-sister to Tamarinbleu and related to numerous other winning juveniles, Bourbali is another with a compelling pedigree. Making his racecourse debut at Plumpton in September, only inexperience and unsuitable conditions prevented a winning start. He could only finish fourth next time at Chepstow but he bore the impact of a heavy mid-air collision at the second and although he jumped well afterwards before plugging on up the straight, it was not an ideal journey. Bourbali's initial handicap mark of 104 looks generous and his trainer had suggested that the handicap route was an option. As such, it is interesting that he runs in an open race - a race which incidentally was won by the yard in 2017 with Padleyourowncanoe. The ground and course should suit him better than what he has encountered to this point and he should offer a solid test for Monmiral in receipt of six pounds.

                                Devongate bg Nigel Hawke b1-0-0 (-) 79
                                Delegator (Compton Place){14-b}(11.00) 2/1 Levitation 5th Ladies Open PtP, Hackwood Park 2012
                                Devongate is one of three graduates of a junior bumper held at the course last month. He was unfancied prior to the off, but was not entirely disgraced in finishing just over sixteen lengths behind The Worthy Brat in fifth place. Delegator is not an obvious national hunt sire but his one winner in the sphere is the talented Cornerstone Lad who also scored twice as a juvenile. There is nothing compelling on the damline and while Nigel Hawke has had a couple of winning juveniles this season in Historic Heart and Peat Moss, of his five who started off in bumpers his best result was a 66/1 second at Newton Abbot in April 2015. Devongate is not the most hopeless recruit to the sphere, but he makes little appeal on his debut in this company.

                                Duke Of Condicote bg Alan King f8-1-2 (79) 85 j1-0-1 (-) 109 110
                                No Nay Never (Halling){A16}(3.00) 3/2 Pateese 3rd Imperial Cup (L,125), Sandown 2011
                                Alan King is one of the leading trainers of juvenile hurdlers by any metric, but he has gone twenty-one runs without a win in the division since Blacko scored at Warwick back in January. Duke Of Condicote came closest to ending that lull at the same Warwickshire venue just over a fortnight ago when a seven length second to Adagio. Rated 79 following a flat career which included a win at Haydock and culminated with a second on soft ground at Yarmouth. Sent off as favourite for his jumps debut, his round got off to the most inauspicious start however as he veered very badly right at the first, during which Tom Cannon displayed a remarkable feat of strength to retain the partnership. He was then slow at the second but there was some improvement thereafter as he went into the lead. This lead was lost approaching two out whereafter his jumping rather fell apart. This deterioration did not cost him the races as the winner was similarly error prone. The form of the race has already taken a good shape as the winner subsequently finished second in the Grade Two at Cheltenham, while fourth placed Grouseman, who was seventeen lengths behind, was runner-up at Catterick on Friday. Capable of making his own running and likely to handle conditions here, Duke Of Condicote is entitled to respect in this company, although he will have to jump better than last time.

                                Honneur d'Ajonc bg Mrs Jane Williams Unraced
                                Diamond Boy (April Night){8-i}(1.00) 0.5 Destin d'Ajonc 1st Prix Pride Of Kildare, Auteuil 2016
                                Racecourse debutants from the yards of Nick and Jane Williams have been a regular feature of the current campaign. While none of the five have won a race this season, two were able to finish second on their debuts, namely Balko Saint - who later finished third in the Prestbury Hurdle, and Admiral Balko who was second at Bangor. Honneur d'Ajonc, who cost €24,000 at Arqana last July, is not by Balko but by Diamond Boy. Despite none of his three UK/IRE juveniles winning during their intial campaigns, they all achieved RPRs exceeding 111 including Free Handicap winner Grand Sancy. Diamond Boy, a brother to Golden Silver, has a fair 23.81% winners to runners rate with three-year-olds in France. The damline does not contain any superstars, but it is not short of winners either. Honneur d'Ajonc is a half-brother to Prix Pride Of Kildare winner Destin d'anjonc along with six time winner Solotremp, and Polyfleur who scored in a three-year-old hurdle at Enghien. His dam is a sister to the fairly useful Kerrigand, and a half-sister to cross country chaser Sainte Suzanne. Ascertaining stable form is a curious task with Nick and Jane Williams as while the former is without a winner since March, the latter's charges have been running well recently. This is compounded by the fact that while the latter has yet to send a juvenile to Exeter, the former has a record of a winner and three places from five. Honneur d'Ajonc has a respectable profile and can not be wholly dismissed, but winning racecourse debutants are still a rare breed and this is a warm contest for a newcomer.

                                Shutupshirley bg Robert Walford j1-0-0 (-) 67 76
                                Saddler's Rock (Tragic Role){6-f}(0.78) 1/0 Ede'Iff 1st Handicap Chase (101), Ludlow 2005
                                Shutupshirley made his racecourse debut at Wincanton four weeks ago, starting at an unfancied 66/1. Out of a minor winning chaser and a half-brother to a pair of minor winning hurdlers, he showed a profound lack of pace and found himself detached a long way from home. His jumping was sound however, and he stayed on past beaten horses to finish a tailed off fourth. Robert Walford has a decent record with limited ammunition in the discipline, but while Shupupshirley may have a future over jumps, it won't be coming soon enough to worry his rivals here.

                                The Worthy Brat bg Jeremy Scott b1-1-0 (-) 101
                                Worthadd (Alhaarth){20-d}(1.32) 2/1 Penric 1st Novices' Handicap Hurdle (86), Hereford 2005
                                Jeremy Scott has had four wins in juvenile hurdles since the 2008/09 season, with all of them coming couresty of Ultravox in 2011. None of his other four representatives enjoyed much success but The Worthy Brat will be carrying reasonable hopes. He is already a winner at the venue, which came in a junior bumper last month. Despite wandering around up the straight, he was able to prevail by the narrowest of margins from a Jamie Osborne charge who was previously third at Huntingdon. The latter aside, the form of neither race has worked out with all subsequent runners failing to place next time. Worthadd yet to be tested as a jumps sire but sons of Dubawi have a fairly moderate record in the sphere and though the dam is a half-sister to a winning hurdler, the pedigree is hardly riveting. Any undefeated horse is worthy of some respect by default, and The Worthy Brat is entitled to improve with experience. Nevertheless, he was still very green in his race, itself coming on good to firm ground, and the record of junior bumpers in juvenile hurdles is poor enough without the questionable quality of The Worthy Brat's success.

                                Yggdrasil bg Nick Williams Unraced
                                Kapgarde (Le Balafre){4-m}(1.67) 0.5 Siruh du Lac 1st Mildmay of Fleet (G3,141), Cheltenham 2019
                                In Norse cosmology, Yggdrasil is essentially the tree of everything and is the place of residence of my favourite mythical squirrel, Ratatoskr. Ratatoskr's job is to run up and down Yggdrasil exchanging insults between the eagle who lives atop the tree and the serpent who lives in the roots. As much as anybody who bought Neil Gaiman's book would like to believe otherwise, this is about as interesting as it gets for Norse mythology. Yggdrasil's namesake has yet to see a racecourse, but his pedigree alone is a compelling read. A half-brother to former stablemate Siruh du Lac, fair chaser Acta Est Fabula, and winning French Juvenile Txamanxoia, Yggdrasil is out of a dual chase winner and is closely related (3/1) to Matchou who won the 1995 Grand Course de Haies d'Auteuil. Kapgarde, who is responsible for Fakir d'Oudairies, Solo and Clan des Obeaux, has the best winners to runners ratio in the field at 47.06%. The record of the Williams' yards has been addressed already, but it is worth noting that Siruh du Lac was introduced in the 2016 renewal of this contest where he finished third at 16/1. Once again, this will not be an easy race to win first time out, but Yggdrasil's profile still merits respect.

                                Zellerate bg Mark Gillard b1-0-0 (-) 39
                                Gutaifan (Barathea){16-f}(1.50) 2/2 Mirzam 2nd Mares' Handicap Hurdle (98), Worcester 2018
                                Zellerate cost ?33,000 as a yearling, but he failed to make the racecourse for Amanda Perrett and was let go for just 1,500 guineas at the Tattersalls July sale. He since made his debut in the aforementioned junior bumper where he started at 125/1 and beat just one of his eleven rivals home, trailling in by forty-seven lengths. Set to be his sire's first runner over jumps, Zellerate has few national hunt relatives and his pedigree largely consists of speedy flat sorts such as Sudirman (2/2) and Dandy Man (4/3). Mark Gillard has a fair 15.79% winners to runners rate in the sphere, although none of his three successes came first time out.

                                Ronde De Nuit bf Philip Hobbs f1-0-0 FrF ?
                                Doctor Dino (April Night){8-c}(1.67) 0.5 Nuit De France 1st 4yo Chase, Tolouse 2018
                       (maroon, gold star)
                                Philip Hobbs has solid figures across the board with juvenile hurdlers and Defi du Seuil carried the JP McManus silks to success in the Triumph Hurdle in 2017. Both owner and trainer are set to be represented for the first time this season in the UK by the ex-Etienne & Gr?goire Leenders filly Ronde de Nuit. Her sole start came in a soft ground 2,900 metre maiden at Angers in early June where she finished a length and three-quarter fourth. Held up in midfield, she was more inclined to weave away from the whip than run true to the line and did well to finish as close as she did. Only the seventh placed horse has won since and the overall form is reasonable at best. The second and third, who both carried more weight than Ronde de Nuit, each have valeurs of 32 (BHA 74) while the next two behind have ratings around the 70 mark. Incidentally, the runner-up, Night And Day, has since joined Willie Mullins after fetching €90,000 at the Arqana Deaville sale in July. Two of Doctor Dino's six UK/IRE juveniles, namely Sceau Royal and Dino Mite, have been winners and his winners to runners rate with three-year-olds in France is a very healthy 44.68%. A half-sister to winning four-year-old chaser, Ronde de Nuit's dam won a hurdle at the same age and along with Southern National winner Brave Spirit (3/1), the family also features top French juvenile Grand Souvenir and 2005 Prix Maurice Gillois winner Polivalente at 4/1. There is a bit to find on bare form and the greenness she showed on her debut is not ideal but there was still plenty of promise. Ronde de Nuit has a decent pedigree and is an interesting contender for a yard which won this race in 2015 with another French flat horse in Jaboltiski.

                                Strong prospects
                                1. Monmiral
                                Reasonable prospects
                                2. Bourbali
                                3. Ronde de Nuit
                                Feasible prospects
                                4. Duke Of Condicote
                                5. Yggdrasil
                                Moderate prospects
                                6. The Worthy Brat
                                7. Honneur d'Ajonc
                                Negligible prospects
                                8. Shutupshirley
                                9. Devongate
                                10. Zellerate

                                Originally posted by Old Vic View Post
                                Strong prospects
                                1. Gold Desert

                                Well done
                                Thank you