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Juvenile Hurdlers 2020/2021

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  • No problems. She is an interesting horse to look at. Best of luck if you are involved with her. If absolutely nothing else then she should still make a viable broodmare.

    Comment


    • That's gotta be... That's gotta be Hell Red! While business did not pick up last Saturday after Quilixios' withdrawal, there is another chance for it to pick up this Saturday as Hell Red is set to make his UK debut at Chepstow. The contest is traditionally the first proper juvenile of the season and has been the launchpad of many useful types over the years. Previous winners include Katchit, Far West, Franchoek, Adrien du Pont, Olofi and Karezak while the likes of Reve de Sivola, Sceau Royal, Sir Psycho and Quel Destin have also been participants. The average winner's seasonal RPR of132 is also one of the strongest in the country. The race itself is challenging not only in terms of class but also of stamina. Chepstow's time per furlong figure is the slowest in the country and the race's average winning DIs of 0.62 median, 0.67 mean are also telling. The quality of flat form brought into this race is low and while there are a some jumps types with some potential, the interest predominantly revolves around Hell Red. As with last week, Hell Red will break the alphabetical order and be the first horse assessed.

      Hell Red grg Paul Nicholls j1-0-1 (-) 118
      Martaline (Muhtathir){1-t}(0.45) 1/1 Hell Boy Grande Course de Haies de Compiegne (G3), Compiegne 2019
      The Prix Rush is a contest for hurdling debutants and has featured some very decent sorts over the years including Pic d'Orhy, Goliath du Berlais, Master Dino, Terrefort, Smashing, Esmondo, Baby Mix, Sam Winner, Twinlight, Balko, Cerium, Vol Solitaire and Robin des Champs. The first two from this year's renewal, held back in March, have both joined Paul Nicholls and Hell Red currently sits above new stablemate Monmiral in the Triumph Hurdle lists. Only two winners have come out of that race, including Martador who recently beat Tom George's Bannister at Compiegne. Nevertheless, fourth placed Hirta was a creditable fourth in an Auteuil handicap on Wednesday off a mark of roughly 135. By the late Martaline, one of France's quality jumps stallions, Hell Red is a full-brother to the useful Hell Boy, half-brother to listed handicap hurdle winner Hell's Queen and is out of a half-sister to Baan Rim Pa who won the Grade Two Prix Leon Rambaud in 2011. Third dam Battani substantiates the juvenile credentials by being the dam of Me Voici, winner of the 2009 Finale, and the granddam of 2013 Anniversary winner L'Unique. Historically the path from Guillaume Macaire to Paul Nicholls has been trod by the likes of Master Minded, Twist Magic and Silviniaco Conti while Sametegal, Frodon and Solo have helped maintain the prestige of said tour in more recent years. Paul Nicholls has won this particular race seven times from his last thirteen runners and his four runners-up were beaten by Katchit, Franchoek, Gumball and Montestrel.

      Billy The Squid bg Fergal O'Brien f3-0-0 (47) 34 j5-0-2 (107) 94 99
      Requinto (American Post){19}(0.43) 2/1 Edylan 1st 5YO Conditions Hurdle, Angers 2019
      Billy The Squid showed next to nothing on the flat in three starts for George Scott and looked similarly limited on his hurdling debut at Market Rasen at the end of July. Nevertheless, in his four subsequent outings over hurdles, he has been a credit to Fergal O'Brien and would be coming into this on the back of three consequtive seconds but for unseating at Southwell early last month. His latest effort saw him beaten just over four lengths at Perth and though his jumping is not entirely fluent and he has a habit of hitting flat spots, he is nothing if not consistent. He has largely been exposed as no better than average and there is no reason to assume that he can trouble Hell Red. Nevertheless, he should give another honest account of himself and is capable of running into a place.

      Bourbali bg Colin Tizzard j1-0-1 (-) 94 105
      Sinndar (Saint des Saints){1-b}(1.18) 2/1 Tamarinbleu 1st Clarence House Chase (G1), Ascot 2008
      Sinndar's record with juvenile hurdlers is exceptional as is that of Saint des Saints. Bourbali is out of a Saint des Saints mare who has produced a winning hurdler and whose own dam won a handicap at Auteuil. She is also a half-sister to Tamarindor who won his first two outings in juvenile hurdles at Pau along with Tamarinbleu who make a winning racecourse debut in an Ascot juvenile hurdle ahead of a top class career. His pedigree is tailor made for the discipline and he made a most promising start to his career at Plumpton three weeks ago. While his inexperience caused him to make a few novicey errors, his jumping was decent in the main and he looked the likeliest winner until he was caught on the line. The winner failed to frank the form in a handicap earlier this week but there were reasons for his underperformance. Good to firm at Plumpton was unlikely to suit Bourbali and he should appreciate Saturday's conditions. While Colin Tizzard is better known for staying chasers, his record in the division is decent and he saddled Catch The Cuban to finish second in this race last season.

      Hector De Sivola bg Nick Williams j1-0-0 (-) 83 69
      Noroit (Montjeu){9-e}(0.42) 1/1 Espiegle De Sivola 1st Claiming Hurdle, Hyeres 2017
      One of the horses listed at the end of Hell Red's assessment was not like the others. Montestrel was a shock 20/1 winner of this race in 2018 and he was trained at the same yard as Hector de Sivola. Hector de Sivola made his sole racecourse appearance in the season's opening juvenile hurdle at Newton Abbot back in July where he was sent off the 4/5 favourite. After being violently hampered at the first, he never travelled thereafter and while there was some fair jumping through the race, he finished a thirty length fifth. Provided that experience did not sour him, it would be entirely appropriate to ignore that run. The yard had a runner-up at Fontwell last week and it is interesting that Hector de Sivola returns in the same race they ran Reve de Sivola, Pistolet Noir, Urbain de Sivola and the aforementioned Montestral.

      Jersey Grey grg Alexandra Dunn f5-0-0 (48) 52
      Rajsaman (Peintre Celebre){16-h}(0.74) 0.5 Grand Banks 120 1st 4yo Conditions Hurdle, Compiegne 2018
      Jersey Grey had five runs on the flat for Jamie Osborne but never finished any better than seventh and was last seen tailed off in a two mile Chepstow handicap in early August. His new trainer has saddled sixteen juvenile hurdlers without any of them winning a race from thirty-five attempts. Jersey Grey's half brother was a winner in France and his dam is a half-sister to multiple jumps winner Sure Josie Sure and the popular flat stayer Geordieland. Furthermore, Rajsaman has had five winning juveniles in France and Peintre Celebre's record as a damsire is above average by all measures. Nevertheless, it would still be a remarkable achievement if Jersey Grey could provide his trainer with her first winner in the division on Saturday.

      Lustleigh bc Dan Skelton Unraced
      Kayf Tara (Midnight Legend){11-d}(0.89) 1/0 My Petra 1st 1965 Chase (G2,136), Ascot 2008
      Dan Skelton has sent out seventeen juvenile hurdlers making their racecourse debuts and only one of them, the useful Langer Dan, won at any point during their first seasons. Not many will have been as nicely bred as Lustleigh however. He is a son of the very useful My Petra, herself a full sister to the equally talented duo of Midnight Appeal and Lake Legend. A full-brother to winning novice My Dance and half-brother to winning stayer Cushuish, Lustleigh is by the top jumps stallion Kayf Tara. However, while famed for his exploits with the likes of Thistlecrack, Carruthers and Special Tiara, Kayf Tara has had only two winning juveniles. Katies Tutor was the latest in November 2006, and was the only one to do so at the age of three. Unraced horses aside, Dan Skelton's record in the division is very good and while Lustleigh is more a store horse than a juvenile, it will be interesting to see how he fares nevertheless.

      Phoenix Aquilus bc Seamus Durack f4-0-2 (69) 71
      Slade Power (Ad Valorem){31}(1.50) 2/1 Tiger Roll 1st Triumph Hurdle (G1), Cheltenham 2014
      Phoenix Aquilius is the highest rated of those with flat form and his latest effort in a Kempton handicap back in August might be the pick of his four runs. The form of that race is fairly standard but he looked straightforward enough and was a one-paced rather than laboured sixth. Slade Power is not an obvious jumps stallion although one of his two runners in the sphere was a winner. The pedigree reveals a more interesting relative as his dam is a half-sister to Tiger Roll who won the 2014 Triumph Hurdle and a few other races afterwards. She is also a niece of the useful Khachaturian and a daughter of On Air who was fourth in the 1994 Kennel Gate. Seamus Durack does not have many juvenile hurdlers but three of his nine charges in the sphere have been winners and 75% of them improve for the switch between codes. Phoenix Aquilis has been set a tough task for his hurdling bow but he is not without a credible profile.

      Sandyburg bg Harry Whittington Unraced
      Sageburg (Craigsteel){13-c}(0.33) 3/1 Lucky Spirit 1st Handicap Hurdle (94), Gowran Park 2005
      Harry Whittington has a 46.15% winners to runners ratio with juvenile hurdlers which is second only to Paul Nicholls in this field. However, all of them had flat or French hurdling form prior to their initial campaigns. Sageburg has not sired any winning juveniles in the UK or Ireland but he has a very good record with such types in France. While there are no notable jumpers nearby on the damline, useful sorts such as Erzadjan (4/1) and Ebaziyan (4/3) can be found further back.

      The Imposter bg Nigel Hawke f1-0-0 (-) 51
      Authorized (Bertolini){20-a}(0.88) 2/1 Currahee 1st Handicap Hurdle (104), Cartmel 2009
      Nigel Hawke has had two winning juveniles thus far this season and Authorized is one of the elite sires in the division. However, Currahee is the only closely related jumper on the damline and The Imposter's sole flat outing came when a fifteen length tenth after being slowly away in a Chepstow maiden. The yard sent Repetitio to finish third in this race last season but there needs to be more evidence before The Imposter can be considered to be anything but in this company.

      Strong prospects
      1. Hell Red
      Reasonable prospects
      2. Bourbali
      Feasible prospects
      3. Hector de Sivola
      4. Phoenix Aquilius
      5. Lustleigh
      6. Sandyburg
      Moderate prospects
      7. Billy The Squid
      Negligible prospects
      8. The Imposter
      9. Jersey Grey

      Comment


      • Great work Kotkijet, it’ll be interesting to see how Hell Red is priced up...

        Comment


        • First prices available are;-

          10/11 Hell Red
          4/1 Bourbali
          5/1 Hector de Sivola
          6/1 Lustleigh
          8/1 Billy The Squid
          14/1 Sandyburg
          20/1 Phoenix Aquilius
          100/1 Jersey Grey
          100/1 The Imposter

          My not being a tipster notwithstanding, the 20/1 on Phoenix Aquilius looks pretty big given that two of Seamus Durack's three winning juveniles won first time out and he hasn't had a faller or unseat from thirty runs in the division. Must stress that I won't be taking advantage of that or any price on the horse but making a note for the sake of posterity nevertheless.

          Otherwise, the rest look about right for a 129% book...

          Comment


          • At evens....

            Comment


            • It could end up looking like that time he interrupted the minis match.



              I generally detest music being played in the winner's enclosure but I will make an exception for Kane's theme if Hell Red wins the Triumph.

              Comment


              • CHEPSTOW REVIEW
                Preview review
                Hell Red's potential class was very conspicuous, Phoenix Aquilius was a huge price given his profile and Billy The Squid lacked a bit of fluency, hit a flat spot but was capable of running into a place without threatening the winner. Bourbali was slightly disappointing but his being hampered at the second did not look pleasant and the ground could have been softer for him. It is not often that I am pleased with a preview in hindsight but I certainly was in this instance.

                Race review
                Taking out the winner, it was still a fair enough contest but Hell Red looked far superior to everything else seen this season. There was an incident at the second where Billy The Squid hit Bourbali quite hard in mid air which may have affected the latter's performance. Otherwise, the quality of jumping was decent from most of the field and the pace was an honest one. The winning time was respectable relative to the Class 2 handicap and faster than any of the previous ten runnings by upwards of four seconds. Indeed it was over seven and a half seconds quicker than when Sceau Royal and Adrien du Pont fought out the finish of the 2015 edition on good ground which bodes very well in terms of both class and pace as well as being indicative of the speedy surface.

                Hell Red came into the race as the better fancied of the Nicholls horses in the Triumph lists, including his Prix Rush victor Monmiral. During the race, he settled quickly in the front and was clean throughout. When the pace picked up turning for home, he was electric and while he was slightly close to the penultimate flight, it did not affect his momentum. He wandered slightly approaching the last and rather dived at the flight but this merely suggests that he can improve further with experience. Hell Red, with his enthusiasm, aptitude and speed, looked like an alien compared to everything else seen this season. His superiority over his rivals is far greater than the winning margin and the only question is to what extent. He did not win the race hard held but he was never asked to extend out of second gear either and with the race in safe keeping after the last, was eased approaching the line. Naturally, the instinct is to not get carried away by a solitary performance in early October. Nevertheless, since 1983/84, twenty-one horses who placed in the first three in the Triumph made their hurdling debuts prior to October including five winners, and Far West won this race in 2012 prior to finishing runner up at the festival later that season. Calling the winner at this juncture is impossible but the 20/1 still available is very fair considering the obvious talent that this horse possesses. 135

                Phoenix Aquilius was the highest rated flat horse having been placed twice in that sphere in four runs. While Slade Power is not a classic jumping stallion, his record in the division is respectable and Phoenix Aquilius is related to the likes of Tiger Roll and Khachaturian. Furthermore, the trainer has done well with his small number of juvenile hurdlers so an improvement was not unexpected ahead of his hurdling debut. Settled in the rear, his jumping was compromised by some bunching early on but he was clean when finding more room and made good headway throughout. While he was never going to threaten the winner, he was best of the remainder and led home a pair of horses who already had respectable form in the division. This was a fine effort from a debutant, particularly one with his anatomy still in tact, and an ordinary race should be well within his scope if he is happy being in front at the business end of affairs. 112

                Billy The Squid is the most experienced in the field and while he has yet to win a race, has been a credit to his connections. Once again lacking some fluency and being the first off the bridle, he plugged on in his customary fashion to run into third place. This race had been his target for a while and his trainer's faith was repaid with a new career best effort. Quite whether he would be a safe conveyance to win a race warranted by his abilities is questionable but he should continue to be a consistent and admirable sort. 111

                Bourbali was highly promising on his debut at Plumpton and with a profile that suggested inevitable improvement, looked the danger horse coming into the race. However, he was slightly keen early and after steadying into the first, jumped left at the second where Billy The Squid crashed directly into his hint quarters. While this did not appear to affect his general wellbeing, particularly as he jumped well thereafter, the impact was certainly enough to leave an impression. Nevertheless, he still plugged on for a respectable fourth place and with more favourable ground and a less dramatic journey, should be able to step up on this effort. 108

                Jersey Grey had only moderate form on the flat for Jamie Osborne and was representing a yard with an uninspiring record in the division. Notwithstanding, there are enough clues in his pedigree to suggest he can fare better in this discipline and following a clean round of jumping, put up a respectable debut performance. Lofty ambitions may have to be kept on the shelf but there was enough to suggest that he can be competitive in an ordinary contest. 101

                Hector de Sivola could be forgiven his debut outing at Newton Abbot and was representing a yard with a fine record in this race. However, while this was a creditable effort in isolation, he did not give the impression that he is anything out of the ordinary at this juncture. He was green early on and made a couple of slight errors so he is still entitled to improve. 100

                Sandyburg was making his racecourse debut and represented a yard with a good record in the sphere. His profile, while respectable, did not leap off the page and although his jumping was fine save for being slightly awkward at the fifth, he did not make much of an impact in the race itself. Notwithstanding, there was noting disheartening in this performance and Sandyburg can be seen in a better light with the experience under his belt. 96

                The Imposter represented a yard that has done well with its juveniles this season. However, he showed little on his sole flat outing at this venue and it was much the same here. He is by a top stallion in the division whose progeny are better with more give in the ground so it would be too soon to write this horse off entirely. 57

                PUNCHESTOWN PREVIEW
                Business very much picked up at Chepstow on Saturday and it may do so again at Punchestown tomorrow as Quilixios is once again set to make his Irish debut. Tomorrow's contest was traditionally a maiden up to 2016 but with Gimli's Rock being its classiest winner during that period, it still saw the introductions of Clarcam and His Excellency. It was taken by Espoir d'Allen in 2017 and last year by A Wave Of The Sea and with tomorrow's inclusion of Quilixios, the race could be on its way to becoming a firmly established launchpad. The average winning DIs at Punchestown of 1.00 median and 1.26 mean are lower than those of the average runner which stand at 1.27 and 1.54 which along with seconds per furlong times, indicate that the track offers a solid stamina test. That it ranks forty-sixth on the 'clear round' table also suggests that good jumping is an important asset. The ground is forecast to be yielding.

                Quilixios bg Gordon Elliott j1-1-0 (-) 131
                Maxios (Lomitas){16-c}(0.63) 3/1 Quicuyo 1st Handicap Chase (137), Doncaster 2012
                The least fancied of Francois Nicolle's four runners, Quilixios ground down the long time leader to win from a well strung out field in the second division of the traditional curtain raiser, the Prix d'Essai des Poulains. The time was two seconds quicker than the first division and while it has yet to produce any winners, the second and fourth filled the same positions (in reverse order) in the Prix Go Ahead. Gordon Elliot has had two juveniles from Francois Nicolle in recent years and while neither won for him during their first seasons, both acquitted themselves well in the Fred Winter with Campeador falling when holding a strong chance at the last in 2016 and Coko Beach finishing runner up three years later. Maxios, another addition to the UK/IRE NH stallion ranks for 2020, as well as being another son of Monsun, has so far shown himself a fine sire of juvenile hurdlers. More than half of his offspring have won over obstacles with almost two thirds achieving RPRs exceeding 107 as well as having 71% improve for switching from the flat. Lomitas is also a very capable damsire of juveniles and both he and Maxios have enjoyed success with family 16-c. Incidentally, he and Paros are fairly closely related on the dam's side with Quilixios's fifth dam being the fourth dam of Paros.

                Update
                The way he won his sole outing in the Prix d'Essai des Poulains was very taking and his jumping was good throughout. Insofar as the form of that race since I made that post is concerned, the fourth placed I'm Walking came out best at the weights in a Prix Royal Junior which featured five previous winners, and fifth placed Losange Vert won a steeplechase for three-year-olds at Auteuil. Yesterday, I'm Walking made a winning start to his chase career in the listed Prix Noiro beating Losange Vert by six lengths with Baladin de Mesc a further twelve lengths back. The tailed off Chudamani has also won a little race of his own at Jarnac. The winning time of Quilixios' division was two seconds quicker than the one earlier on the card and the runner-up in that race, Raffles Face, was a respectable third in the Prix Robert Lejeune.

                As pertains to tomorrow's race
                Gordon Elliott has won this contest three times since 2011 including with Smiling Eliza in 2018 when it was a winners-of-two. He also ran Anniversary Hurdle runner-up Clarcam in 2013 and introduced the Grade 2 winner His Excellency in the 2011 renewal. Quilixios was initially declared to make his Irish debut at Gowran Park but was withdrawn on account of the ground. The yielding surface at Punchestown will likely suit him given that he has already won on heavy and the progeny of his sire Maxios do perform better with some give underfoot. Stablemate Duffle Coat aside, this contest does look stronger than the one from which he was withdrawn as a couple of the newcomers have fair flat form on soft ground and those with hurdling experience are not moderate. Nevertheless, he comes into the race with a strong reputation and the overall impression of French form received a huge boost when Hell Red won on Chepstow.

                Battle Of Benburb bg Gavin Cromwell f3-0-0 (76) 75
                War Command (Aqlaam){7}(1.33) .5 Masters Apprentice 1st Handicap Hurdle (119), Sedgefield 2019
                Battle Of Benburb did not make his racecourse debut until the beginning of September but has ran with credit on all three outings. His first appearance came at Navan over a mile when he was a one paced fourth to the 76 rated Robin Des Sheikh. Over a furlong longer next time at Tipperary, he could only finish eleventh but was not beaten far in a similar contest. His latest appearance came last week at Killarney over a mile and three on soft ground. Once again he was decidedly one paced but he plugged on well to snatch third from a 70 rated filly who was receiving five pounds. War Command has yet to sire a winning juvenile from his first two crops although he was represented last season by Fred Winter seventh Theatre Of War (trained by Gavin Cromwell), and his two offspring this season have each been placed. Aqlaam has not had many runners in the sphere as a damsire but his record as a sire is above average. Battle Of Benburb is a half-brother to a winning handicapper and his granddam is a half-sister to winning jumpers Acapulco Gold and Without A Doubt. Gavin Cromwell won this race with Espoir d'Allen three years ago as well as saddling Wolf Prince to finish third in last year's renewal. His record in the sphere is very healthy and his improvement rate of 78.26% is the best of any trainer with fifteen or more qualifiers.

                Corn On The Cob Horse grg M C Grassick f14-0-3 (60) 66 j2-0-0 (-) 52 56
                Camacho (Verglas){8-h}(1.12) 2/1 Whiskey Sour 3rd/4th County Hurdle, Cheltenham 2018/19
                Corn On The Cob Horse had been valiant in defeat on his first three flat outings of the season but did not enjoy being taken on for the lead on his hurdling debut at Ballinrobe back in August. Seven days later, he got stuck in the mud at Tipperary and has since finished stone last in two starts on the flat. There are positives on breeding as his sire has had useful juveniles (Mr Adjudicator, El Beau and Cafe Con Leche), while the dam is a half-sister to the very talented Whiskey Sour. However, Corn On The Cob Horse appears to have gone sour himself as he has shown none of his verve recently and reportedly hung on his penultimate start. With a couple of potential front-runners in this field, he may not enjoy the run of the race here and while he is capable of better, tomorrow's conditions do not look favourable.

                Complete Fantasy bg Peter Fahey f5-0-0 (57) 70
                Make Believe (Night Shift){42}(1.67) 0.5 Monkeylou 3rd 3-y-o Maiden Hurdle, Ballinrobe 2018
                While he earned an RPR of 70 on his racecourse debut at Naas last April, Complete Fantasy has not been anywhere near that mark in four subsequent outings. His best effort this season saw him beaten ten lengths in a Roscommon handicap in late June and he was last seen tailed off at Fairyhouse a fortnight later. He is a half-brother to a horse who placed third in a weak juvenile at Ballinrobe and his dam is a half-sister to a winning seller. Much further back on the damline is 2005 Grand Prix de Automne third Sunspot and Night Shift has been a winning damsire in the division. Nevertheless, these factors are not enough to overcome his patchy flat efforts and Peter Fahey has yet to saddle a winning juvenile from six starts.

                Lucky Fella bg Gordon Elliott j1-0-0 (-) 93 95
                Yorgunnabelucky (Hernando){6-e}(0.80) 0.5 Must See The Doc 1st Juvenile Hurdle, Newton Abbot 2019
                Gordon Elliott won the first juvenile of Punchestown's season with the unraced Duffle Coat and Lucky Fella was well backed to repeat the dose a fortnight ago. However, he was rather slow at several of his jumps and could not match the principles for speed at the business end as he finished a twenty-one length fifth behind Scholastic. It was not a bad debut outing and he can improve plenty for the experience. Particularly as he is related to several winners in the sphere including Must See The Doc, Jamal Malik (3/3) and Cotee Sud (3/4). However, he probably lacks the class of his more esteemed stablemates and while he is six pounds better off and may prefer the softer ground here, there is still a big gap remaining between himself and Scholastic.

                Poets Touch bg P M Cloke f1-0-0 (-) 59 j3-0-0 (-) 95 109
                Poet's Voice (Candy Ride){12-b}(3.00) no jumps relatives
                Poets Touch began his career with Andrew Slattery and though he was withdrawn from the Goffs UK September sale, he has since joined a new yard. He jumped well from a prominent position on his hurdles debut in very testing conditions at Tipperary but would eventually finish very tired. There was more promise next time at Down Royal where he pulled himself into a clear lead before getting joined by the winner approaching the turn for home. While he did not look like repelling his new companion, he was not in any discernible trouble before he was carried out by a loose Scholastic three from home. His jumping was largely fine when he was last seen at this venue a month ago but he ended up a twenty-six length sixth with no apparent excuses. He is a capable animal but is probably a notch below the best of these.

                Scholastic bf Joseph Patrick O'Brien f12-3-0 (70) 66 j4-1-2 (-) 111 109
                Zoffany (Sadler's Wells){5-b}(0.63) 1/1 Severus Alexander 4th Handicap Hurdle (102), Leopardstown 2020
                While the season is still young, it has already been a storied one for Scholastic. Following a flat career which saw her visit the winners enclosure on four occasions, her exploits as a loose horse at Down Royal were very dramatic as she managed to eliminate three horses at two separate flights. She also clouted the first before finishing third at this venue last month but has since improved to the point where she was immaculate when winning here a fortnight ago. Though it was a visually impressive performance, her rivals rather jumped themselves out of the contest and she did not have to improve on her Listowel second to win as she did. Nevertheless, it is still the best piece of Irish form in this field and while she may prefer quicker ground, there is plenty to like about her recent attitude. Joseph O'Brien had the first two in this race last season with A Wave Over The Sea and Cerberus, while also saddling another Zoffany in Zig Zag to finish second in 2016.

                Capel At Dawn chf David Harry Kelly f11-2-2 (75) 76
                Dawn Approach (Street Cry){32}(1.00) 2/1 Short Takes 1st Juvenile Hurdle, Newton Abbot 2011
                Formerly with Joseph Patrick O'Brien, and entered for a couple of hurdles while still under his care, Capel At Dawn had her last run for that yard when winning a claimer at Gowran Park early last month. Held over a mile on soft to heavy ground, Capel At Dawn made a sustained challenge in the straight and was able to get her head in front close to the line. It was not a brilliant race but the front three were clear and the runner-up (conceding ten pounds), has since finished second in a Navan handicap off 77. This was her second victory on the flat, the first coming when beating Corn On The Cob Horse in a Naas handicap on good to yielding off 65, While she was not specifically claimed out of her latest race, she has joined a new trainer in the interim. David Harry Kelly has saddled just the one winning juvenile from nine runners but his charges do have an improvement rate of 80%. While the dam is a half-sister to winning juvenile Short Takes, there are some concerns on the sirelines as Dawn Approach is without a winner in the sphere from thirteen runs and Street Cry has just a 3.85% strike rate as a damsire - 4.65% as a sire. Capel At Dawn's hopes are not forlorn but her pedigree is patchy and the fact that she was allowed to leave the O'Brien yard is indicative of a class deficit.

                Strong prospects
                1. Quilixios
                Reasonable prospects
                2. Scholastic
                3. Battle Of Benburb
                Feasible prospects
                4. Lucky Fella
                5. Capel At Dawn
                Moderate prospects
                6. Poets Touch
                7. Corn On The Cob Horse
                Negligible prospects
                8. Complete Fantasy

                Comment


                • Wetherby's juvenile contest consists primarily of hurdling newcomers with only one of the declared eleven being jumps form of any description. Nevertheless, two of those making their jumps bow are rated 89 on the flat which is the highest seen in the sphere this season and a couple of others have interesting pedigrees. As such, this race has the potential to provide a few useful recruits to the division. Historically, the winners of this race have been little better than fair with Fred Winter fourth King d'Argent being the most notable winner in recent years. The average winning DI of 1.00 median, 1.22 mean are lower than those of the average runner of 1.33 and 1.55 which suggests the track provides a solid stamina test. The completion rate of 94.7% is also one of the lowest in the country so good jumping would be most beneficial. The going is currently good to soft with light but fairly persistent showers forecast in the meantime.

                  Historic Heart chg Nigel Hawke f4-0-1 (75) 70 j3-1-1 (112) 100 107
                  Fracas (Giant's Causeway){14-c}(1.00) 3/1 Direct Lady 3rd Festival Hurdle Leopardstown 1992
                  The only runner in the field with hurdling experience, Historic Heart has had three starts in the sphere with his penultimate outing a winning one at Sedgefield. The runner-up in that event followed up at Fontwell although no other runner from that race has since been able to maintain their form. Historic Heart was last seen a month ago where he was a creditable fourth in a Fontwell handicap off 110. He has since been raised two pounds which looks fairly harsh and though he is perfectly fine jumper for his level and has valuable experience to his name, he may struggle under a penalty against a couple of these.

                  Camahawk brg Tim Easterby f6-0-1 (69) 75
                  Camelot (Machiavellian){25}(1.00) 0.5 Hawk High 1st Fred Winter HcH (G3,130) Cheltenham 2014
                  Tim Easterby won this race in 2015 with Our Thomas and is set to saddle two here. The most interesting of his charges is Camahawk, a half-brother to the stable's Fred Winter winner Hawk Wing along with three other jumps winners. Sire Camelot has made a fine start with his first two crops in the division with a 28.57% winners to runners rate that includes Sir Erec and Gardens Of Babylon. Tim Easterby's record in the division is slightly below average but he still has eleven winning juveniles since 2008/09 and his clear round rate of 97.37% is one of the best in this field. Recently rated 73 on the flat, Camahawk's best performance this season came when a three and a half-length fourth in a ten-furlong Redcar handicap on goof to firm in late June. However, his head carriage is not the most convincing and while he was not disgraced next time at Thirsk, he did fail to justify second favouritism and he was well beaten on his latest outing at Haydock in mid-August. His form and overall profile entitles him to plenty of respect but there are a couple of others with more substantial claims here.

                  Clay Regazzoni bg Keith Dalgleish f19-1-6 (70) 79
                  Due Diligence (Kheleyf){6-b}(3.00) 2/1 Age Of Glory 1st 4yo Maiden Hurdle, Killarney 2013
                  With nineteen runs already under his belt, Clay Regazzoni is by far the most experienced horse in the field. He was well beaten in Pinatubo's Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot but was eventually able to get off the mark at the eleventh time of asking when taking a Wolverhampton nursery off 76 last October. He has raced seven times this year at distances from seven furlongs to a mile and a half and though he has largely been consistent, his best placing was a third in a soft ground Ayr handicap off 77. He was last seen sixteen days ago finishing fifth in a mile and a half Hamilton handicap. While he was still in contention at the distance, he did begin to tire in the closing stages. He will be the first hurdles runner for sire Due Diligence who is from the War Front line which has yet to have a winner in the division. Nevertheless, Kheleyf is a winning damsire in the sphere and Clay Regazzoni's damline includes Bertie Moon (2/1), a winner for the yard, with Deenos Beeno and French Holly a little further back at 4/2. Furthermore, Keith Dalgleish has a solid record with juvenile hurdlers and five of his six winners in the division did so first time out with the other finishing second.

                  Fast Deal chg Tim Easterby f10-0-2 (57) 71
                  Fast Company (Doyen){4-d}(1.15) 4/2 Go Tech 2nd Novice Hurdle, Wetherby 2007
                  The second of the Tim Easterby pair, Fast Deal was rated as high as 72 as a two-year-old but he has not matched that form in five outings this year. His near seven length fifth at Haydock on his penultimate outing was the last time he finished within ten lengths of the winner this season and he was last seen a month ago beating only two home in a Musselburgh handicap off 60. There are no notable jumpers nearby on the damline although his sire Fast Company is does have a respectable record in the division with a 35% winners to runners rate and a 64.71% improvement rate. Nevertheless, Fast Deal would have to overcome some patchy form and he appears to be the stable's second string on jockey bookings.

                  First Impression bg John Quinn f8-3-2 (89) 94
                  Make Believe (Nureyev){16-a}(1.67) 3/3 Kazlian 4th Fred Winter (130), Cheltenham 2012
                  First Impression is the joint highest flat horse in the lineup and unlike Midnights Legacy, comes here on the back of a win which came in a ten furlong Ayr handicap last month. That was his third win from eight career starts, the first coming ahead of Clay Regazzoni last autumn and his second coming on his seasonal reappearance in a Redcar handicap in mid-June. Winners have come out from all of his successful outings and the form of his latest outing has been franked with the third and fourth scoring since. His only two disappointing efforts came in a pair of handicaps in July but he looked entirely straightforward in his latest victory. Make Believe is having his first crop of juvenile hurdlers but his own sire Makfi was not prolific in the sphere and similar sentiments apply to damsire Nureyev. First Impression is fairly closely related to Fred Winter fourth Kazlian but that is the sum of notable jumpers nearby on the damline. Trainer John Quinn has a fantastic record with juvenile hurdlers and his improvement rate of 63.89%, and overall strike rate of 24.86% since 2008/09 are the best in this field. He won this race in 2008 with Graze On And On but has since had a couple of beaten favourites in the contest and while First Impression has leading claims, there are slight reservations concerning his pedigree.

                  Lustleigh bc Dan Skelton Unraced
                  Kayf Tara (Midnight Legend){11-d}(0.89) 1/0 My Petra 1st 1965 Chase (G2,136), Ascot 2008
                  Dan Skelton has sent out seventeen juvenile hurdlers making their racecourse debuts and only one of them, the useful Langer Dan, won at any point during their first seasons. Not many will have been as nicely bred as Lustleigh however who is a son of the very useful My Petra, herself a full sister to the equally talented duo of Midnight Appeal and Lake Legend. A full-brother to winning novice My Dance and half-brother to winning stayer Cushuish, Lustleigh is by the top jumps stallion Kayf Tara. However, while famed for his exploits with the likes of Thistlecrack, Carruthers and Special Tiara, Kayf Tara has had only two winning juveniles. Katies Tutor being the latest in November 2006 and was the only one to do so at the age of three. Unraced horses aside, Dan Skelton's record in the division is very good and his record at Wetherby is even better with his eleven runners producing six wins, two seconds and three thirds. While Lustleigh is more a store horse than a juvvenile, it will be interesting to see how he fares here having been withdrawn from Chepstow's recent race on account of the ground.

                  Mesmeric bg John Wainwright f4-1-1 (65) 68
                  Casamento (Authorized){1-l}(1.18) 2/1 Mambo Dancer 6th Maiden Hurdle, Killarney 2019
                  After a win (in the stewards' room) and a second in a pair of Southwell contests early in the year for Mark Johnston, Mesmeric was sold for just 3,000gns at the Tattersalls July sale. He was sent off 50/1 on his return in a Newcastle handicap last month, finishing a tailed-off last, and was last seen refusing to enter the stalls at Redcar ahead of a seller. Authorized is one of the best sires of juveniles and has made a good impression as a damsire with four of nine juveniles from his broodmare winning races. Casamento also has a solid record as a sire but there is little encouragement to be drawn from the damline. John Wainwright is without a winner in the sphere and has gone over a thousand days since a jumps winner of any description.

                  Midnights Legacy bc A King f6-3-0 (89) 94
                  Midnight Legend (Generous){8-i}(0.47) 2/2 Katchit 1st Champion Hurdle, Cheltenham 2008
                  Hurdling was the plan for Midnights Legacy before he even set foot on a racecourse with connections hoping that he might one day emulate his sire by achieving success as an entire over hurdles before replacing him as a stallion. His pedigree screams juvenile hurdler as it was in this sphere that his full sister Midnight's Gift, and half-sisters Giving Glances and Forgiving Glance, both picked up black type. Another full sister Giving Back and half-sister Giveaway Glance were also winners as juveniles. Furthermore, Midnights Legacy's dam Giving is a half-sister to Miracle - the dam of Katchit who won seven times as a juvenile, including the Triumph and Anniversary Hurdles, before winning the Champion Hurdle the following season. Even the best laid plans in the breeding sheds rarely play out in reality, and ones as rare and specific as those for Midnights Legacy would seemingly require some metaphysical intervention. Nevertheless, after a fairly uninspiring debut at 33/1 in a Bath novice last September, this scion went on to win his next three starts over ten and twelve furlongs on ground from soft to good while showing a willing attitude. The hype train was rather derailed in the Melrose Handicap in late August but while he was beaten seventh of eight at Haydock last time, it was a more respectable showing. Alan King is the winningmost trainer in the UK or Ireland in this division and is first or second across all metrics in this field.

                  New Zealander bg Graeme McPherson f1-0-0 (-) 33
                  Australia (Marju){13-c}(0.54) 2/1 Dalaram 1st Free Handicap Hurdle (131), Chepstow 2004
                  New Zealander was well beaten at Kempton on his sole flat start for Charles Hills and was sold for 4,000gns at the Tattersalls July sale. There is encouragement on breeding as Australia had three winners from his first crop of juveniles and New Zealander's dam is a half-sister to Free Handicap winner Dalaram. Daraydan (3/1), Darialann (3/1) and Der Spieler (3/2) are other useful types on the damline. However, the new trainer has had just one winner in forty-two juvenile hurdles and this is a very warm contest.

                  Lightning Blue bf Tom Gretton f9-0-0 (46) 47
                  Harbour Watch (Fantastic Light){16}(2.50) 2/1 Blue Leader 1st Selling Hurdle, Hereford 2005
                  Lightning Blue finished no better than sixth in eight flat starts for Mick Channon and was beaten nearly nine lengths on her stable debut in a Lingfield handicap off just 47. Harbour Watch has a respectable record of four winners from thirteen juvenile hurdlers and the dam is a half-sister to a winning hurdler. However, Tom Gretton is without a winner from thirty-six attempts in the sphere.

                  Silver Desert grf Micky Hammond f5-0-0 (46) 51
                  Mastercraftsman (Galileo){4-n}(0.66) 2/1 Descaro 1st Selling Hurdle, Uttoxeter 2013
                  Silver Desert has shown nothing more than a modicum of flat ability for either David Lanigan or Michael Appleby in five outings. Micky Hammond does have an above average record in this sphere however and won this race in 2016 with 20/1 shot Canford Thompson. Furthermore, Mastercraftsman is the joint leading sire in the division and Galileo has a solid record as a damsire. Nevertheless, Silver Desert is still several stones behind the leading contenders here.

                  Strong prospects
                  1. Midnights Legacy
                  2. First Impression
                  Reasonable prospects
                  3. Historic Heart
                  4. Lustleigh
                  Feasible prospects
                  5. Camahawk
                  6. Clay Regazzoni
                  Moderate prospects
                  7. Fast Deal
                  8. Silver Desert
                  Negligible prospects
                  9. Mesmeric
                  10. New Zealander
                  11. Lightning Blue

                  Comment


                  • Preview review
                    The entire field finished precisely as they were listed on the prospects list.

                    Race review
                    The race revolved around the well touted Quilixios and he ran out a commanding winner. Taking the winner out of the race, it would have been a reasonable contest without being up to the standard of a typical winners of two. After a slow start, they ended up going a decent gallop and the winning time was almost equal to that set by A Wave Of The Sea when he won the contest last season. The jumping on show was not brilliant but the field finished as anticipated so the form ought to be reliable.

                    Quilixios came into the race near the top of the Triumph markets and came out of it the clear favourite. A big horse who is impressive on the eye, he did not look the finished article which was emphasised by his greenness. He got in very close to the first and after wandering at the paddock turn, was big and slow over the second. However, his jumping improved dramatically as the pace increased. While he wandered again when left in the lead approaching two out, he was still good over it and his stuttering slightly on landing at the last does not raise any concerns. Quilixios did not win on the bridle as he was shaken up three furlongs out and kept up to his work on the run-in, but he never really left second gear and this will have shaken off the cobwebs. Given his breeding, extensive scope and the fact that he was not fancied prior to his debut in France, there is a suspicion that he could be better next season. Nevertheless, he is clearly a serious horse with a good engine and would still be entitled to take a place within the upper echelons of the division. 128

                    Scholastic had improved on each of her four outings to date over hurdles and was immaculate with her jumping when winning here on her latest start. However, while her jumping was still decent in the main, there were still a few errors, particularly at the second, which were absent on her last two outings. While she likely ran close to her best again here, she is largely exposed as being little better than average. Nevertheless, this was still a solid effort and she might be able to collect some black type in a weak enough mares' contest. 108

                    Battle Of Benburb only made his racecourse debut in early September but had shown enough in three starts to suggest that he could do well over hurdles. Particularly as he represents a yard which does well in the division. However, he made mistakes at most of his hurdles which ranged getting in close to skewing and jumping right. He was also keen early and looked very vulnerable when being pressed for third during the concluding few furlongs. Nevertheless, much to his credit, he was able to maintain his superiority over the fourth and while there is plenty to improve upon, this was not a hurdling debut without promise. 97

                    Lucky Fella made a respectable debut here a fortnight ago behind Scholastic and essentially matched that effort this afternoon. His jumping lacked fluency at most of his early jumps and he never looked like threatening the leaders but he ran an honest enough race and should be competitive in ordinary company. 97

                    Capel At Dawn had previously been with Joseph O'Brien but left that yard before jumping a hurdle in public. As such, her hurdles debut was made under the care of David Harry Kelly and while she was well beaten, she put in the cleanest round of jumping before almost unseating at the last. These opponents were too much for her today but there was enough here to command interest in a weaker event. 64

                    Poets Touch was keen early on and pulled himself to the front after the third. His jumping rather fell apart midway through the race and he was already weakening when slipping badly after the seventh. He was then allowed to come home in his own time. Poets Touch has shown more than this in the past but is looking prone to inconsistency. 42

                    Corn On The Cob Horse was always in the rear but while he was hesitant and blundered at the first, his jumping improved form there. However, he was already getting reminders after the fifth and finished a tired horse. Corn On The Cob Horse had demonstrated some potential earlier this season on the flat and could end up being fairly well handicapped but he needs to break out of this lull before he would be able to take advantage. 37

                    Complete Fantasy was unfancied prior to the off and was pulled up after his saddle slipped when tripping over the first. 0

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by Kotkijet View Post
                      Preview review
                      The entire field finished precisely as they were listed on the prospects list.
                      Bar set pretty high.

                      Comment


                      • Kotkijet,

                        Your essays are stunning.

                        Thank you for being a part of Fat Jockey.
                        "Journeys to Glory, breathing in his head".

                        Comment


                        • Literally so good Kotkijet.

                          I look forward to reading every single one, when I get the time

                          Comment


                          • Cheers lads. I was probably quite lucky that the saddle slipped on Complete Fantasy and the finishing order had only one deviation from the SP thanks to Battle Of Benburb's unearthly resilience but I still enjoyed the outcome nonetheless

                            The review for yesterday's race at Wetherby should hopefully be done by this afternoon. In the meantime, here is the preview for tomorrow's race.

                            Uttoxeter hosts its second juvenile hurdle of the season tomorrow and despite a small field, it features a few interesting runners. Naizagai returns after his impressive win at Cartmel two months ago while Magna Moralia bids to build on his promising debut at Sedgefield. There is also a pair of flat recruits with fair form and agreeable pedigrees. This race has been hosted every season since 2008/09 but is generally not of the highest standard with Herod The Great being the most prestigious name on the roll-call. When that horse is taken out, the average seasonal RPR of the winner is just 103.5 median, 100 mean. Uttoxeter's time per furlong figure is fairly standard and the winning DIs of 1.15 median and 1.51 mean (slightly lower than the average runner) suggest that the course offers a fair test of stamina. The course's clear round rate of 96.99% is also one of the kinder in the country. However, the completion rate of 82.33% is one of the lowest which ties into the notion that Uttoxeter can become exponentially testing in softer conditions. The going is currently soft although there is little rain forecast in the meantime.

                            Naizagai bg Fergal O'Brien f5-0-4 (76) 78 j1-1-0 (-) 114 120
                            Dark Angel (Galileo){9-b}(0.90) 3/1 Oxymeron 1st Handicap Hurdle, Lingfield 1990
                            After leaving Roger Varian's yard for 40,000guineas, Naizagai made an impressive start to his hurdling career at Cartmel in early August. Sent to the front from the outset, he was able to burn off the early challengers for his lead with little fuss. While he was not foot perfect, he was clever enough to mitigate his misjudgements without losing momentum. Behind Hiconic, it was the best performance seen up to that point although the race rather fell perfectly for him and the form does not look the most reliable. The runner-up has gone really sour in two subsequent runs and while the third, fourth and sixth have all done well since, there were reasons for their underperformance at Cartmel. Furthermore, Naizagai did tire in the closing stages and the subsequent wind operation and two month absence raise concerns. Nonetheless, he already has the proven aptitude and although the penalty will make things more difficult, he sets a good standard.

                            Bentley Wood bg Dai Burchell f6-0-1 (65) 76
                            Sixties Icon (Mastercraftsman){10}(0.71) 3/2 Argentino 1st Handicap Hurdle (126), Killarney 2015
                            Bentley Wood showed reasonable form on his first two starts as a two-year-old for Mick Channon, but that form dipped afterwards and has been seen only once since the first of February. His latest outing came in June when beating one home in a Wolverhampton handicap off a mark of 70 and has since moved to Dai Burchell's yard. Ex-inmates of Mick Channon's yard have a solid winners to runners rate of 25.26% in the sphere but that drops to 18.18% when the charges do not move to Sheena West. Dai Burchell's record in the division since 2008/09 is poor as he has has failed to saddle a winner from thirty-seven starts and his clear round rate is a low 86.49%. The sirelines are much more encouraging and the best of his flat form is respectable at this level.

                            Cabot Cliffs chg Dan Skelton f4-0-0 (66) 68
                            Gleneagles (Halling){9-f}(0.71) 2/1 Rougham 1st Juvenile Hurdle, Newbury 2010
                            Dan Skelton and Charles Hills each have good records in this division as both a trainer and a source respectively. The former has a winners to runners rate of 39.06%, the latter is at 43.75%, and both have improvement rates exceeding 50%. Following a four race flat career which ended, for now, with an official mark of 66, Cabot Cliffs was transferred between the aforementioned stables after fetching 18,000guineas at the Tattersalls July sale. His last flat outing was probably his best and it came in a Windsor handicap over an extended mile and three furlongs. He was beaten just under five lengths but other than the fourth winning next time, the form looks average at best. Furthermore, Cabot Cliffs was hanging all over the place in the straight and despite being gelded earlier in the year. This was not the first time he had shown a questionable attitude and he has since had a wind operation. Gleneagles is having his first juvenile crop this year and though neither have achieved much, his horses have shown to act on softer ground. Damsire Halling's record is solid and the dam is a half-sister to winning juvenile Rougham. Cabot Cliffs' profile is decent enough but there are considerable concerns over his mentality at this stage.

                            Jan Wellens chg Olly Murphy f6-1-0 (63) 67 j1-0-0 (-) 83 83
                            Dutch Art (Pivotal){6-e}(1.80) 4/2 Elusive Dream 1st Mersey Novices' Hurdle (G2), Aintree 2008
                            Prior to Dutch Admiral winning at Huntingdon, Dutch Art's record in the division had been woeful. It is still not good and despite winning on the flat for Ger Lyons, Jan Wellens did nothing to enhance the reputation of his sire on his hurdling debut at Perth. Despite having the assistance of Richard Johnson, he looking anything but a natural jumper in what was a moderate race. Trainer Olly Murphy has a fair record in the division but is currently on an eighteen race losing streak. Jan Wellens can improve for the experience and could benefit from the more testing conditions but he has plenty to prove at this juncture.

                            Magna Moralia grg John Quinn f10-2-3 (74) 81 j1-0-1 (-) 105 108
                            Gregorian (Singspiel){1-h}(0.87) 0.5 Speed Company 1st Handicap Hurdle (119), Chepstow 2019
                            John Quinn's record with juvenile hurdlers is the strongest of all trainers represented in this race and he introduced another nice prospect at Wetherby in First Impression. Magna Moralia brings the strongest flat form into this race and made a compelling, if somewhat dubious, impression on his jumps debut at Sedgefield seventeen days ago. His hurdling was not particularly fluent but he was swinging away on the bridle approaching the last. However, he jumped it awkwardly and lost his stride on landing which cost him valuable momentum and though he was able to rally, he was always held in any case. Magna Moralia has winning form on soft ground, is capable of ample improvement and receives a useful seven pounds from Naizagai. However, unless the race is handed to him, he might need a crafty ride in order to get his head in front.

                            You Owe Me chg Sarah-Jayne Davies f6-0-1 (60) 64 j1-0-0 (-) 68 68
                            Champs Elysees (Giant's Causeway){10-a}(1.50) no jumps relatives
                            Third in a Kempton maiden last year for Mark Johnson, You Owe Me had become disappointing in three starts during the summer and was sold for £19,000 at the Goffs UK summer Sale. He made his hurdling debut at the end of last month for his new yard but jumped poorly throughout and finished a tailed off last.

                            Strong prospects
                            1. Naizagai
                            Reasonable prospects
                            2. Magna Moralia
                            Feasible prospects
                            3. Cabot Cliffs
                            4. Bentley Wood
                            Moderate prospects
                            5. Jan Wellens
                            Negligible prospects
                            6. You Owe Me

                            Comment


                            • Preview review
                              The first three in the prospects list filled those places in the reverse order and the fourth was booked for fourth when falling at the last. Lightning Blue was the only one to really outrun her prospects but there were clues in her breeding and was still beaten a fair distance. Historic Heart was not given strong prospects as he was deemed to be fairly exposed and while credit was given to his experience and reliability, the penalty looked to tip the balance. However, he ran was was essentially a perfect race and was able to post a career best here.

                              Race review
                              Yesterday's race looked an above average renewal beforehand and several of these emerged with endearing prospects for the future. There was some chaos at the first but while there was a deficiency of fluency, there was nothing especially alarming from the principles. The pace was an honest one and the leading contenders pulled clear some way from home with Midnights Legacy staying on having looked rather flat. Although the race was won by a seemingly exposed sort, the winning time was respectably comparable to the concluding handicap won by a 128 rated horse carrying four pounds less than Historic Heart.

                              Historic Heart had three hurdles runs to his name prior to yesterday and had ran creditably and consistently on each occasion. His win at Sedgefield was bolstered by the runner-up winning next time and he ran a perfectly respectable race against older horses in a handicap last time. Other than getting close to the sixth and slightly close to the last, this was an error free round. Having travelled well to share the lead approaching the last, he came out marginally the best in a protracted and compelling duel to the line. Although there is a reticence to rate this performance over a stone higher than any of his previous efforts, a mark in the low 120s is still a conservative one based on the winning time and the assumption that none of his opponents ran up to their flat form. Furthermore, he ran an almost perfect race here in terms of travelling, jumping, pacing and determination. His official rating of 112 will likely become a relic after this performance but there could be weak enough contests for him under a double penalty. Moreover, as both of his wins were in class fours, he would not carry any penalties were he to contest a race like the Wensleydale at the end of the month. 123

                              First Impression came into the race with the joint highest flat rating in the field and had the better recent form. He also represented a yard with a good record in the division and emerged from the race with great credit. He was not particularly fluent in the early stages as he was awkward at the first and the third as well as being slightly slow over the sixth. Nevertheless, his jumping was perfectly adequate in the closing stages and he gave everything in the run to the line. He was quoted at 33/1 for the Triumph Hurdle afterwards which is some way from justifiable at this stage since the same price would not be offered on the winner. Notwithstanding, given his versatility regarding ground conditions, straightforward nature and solid jumping foundation, a win in an ordinary hurdle race is not difficult to envisage. 117

                              Midnights Legacy had been priced up at 33/1 for the Triumph since the summer but those aspirations had been tempered by a pair of lacklustre runs on the flat. He is very much bred for the division on his damline and while his sire did better with older horses, Midnights Legacy had been groomed to be his father's successor. His hurdling debut looked like being an inauspicious one from the outset as he came out much the worst from the squeezing which occurred at the first that left his knees and nose firmly on the ground. From there, he was never really travelling with much zest and his jumping was littered with misjudgements. To his credit, he was able to stay on having been outpaced and though he never threatened the front two, finished a long way clear of the remainder. Midnights Legacy can largely be forgiven for this outing and should show himself in a much better light in due course. A place in the upper echelons might be out of his grasp this season and he would want to rediscover his enthusiasm for the sport, but he ought to have a future over jumps. 101

                              Lightning Blue had been poor on the flat in nine starts and joined a yard without much success in the sphere. She was big and slow over the second, stumbled three out and found herself distracted in between, yet was still able to outrun her 200/1 odds. Her sire has a fair record in the division and her dam is a half-sister to a winning hurdler so there is scope for her to enjoy some moderate success over hurdles. However, she was still beaten a long way and would not be competitive in anything but moderate company. 75

                              Clay Regazzoni was making his twentieth racecourse appearance yesterday and his first over hurdles. His overall flat form is respectable for this discipline and his stable has a solid record with its juveniles. However, Clay Regazzoni's jumping was substandard and he looked anything but a natural. He blundered at the second, skewed badly over the third, jumped slowly and to the right over the three in the back and was steady again over three out. The yard often has its juveniles ready to do themselves justice first time although it is currently out of form. As such, it would not be unreasonable to anticipate some improvement but this was not particularly encouraging for the short term. 81

                              New Zealander ran only once for Charlie Hills on the flat and was sent off here at an unfancied 80/1. There is some encouragement on breeding as his sire Australia has done well with his early crops and the damline contains numerous good juveniles. His jumping was not fluent however and he finished a tired horse so while more will be learned of his abilities in due course, he demands little immediate interest. 79

                              Camahawk is a well-related half-brother to the yard's Fred Winter winner Hawk High, and his best flat form is respectable for the division. However, his recent form had not been great and there were concerns over his head carriage. His jumping was not too bad for a debutant as apart from getting close to the second and fourth, he put in a fair enough round. He did not travel with any purpose however, and was being pushed along from the rear with a third of the race left to be run. 73

                              Fast Deal, the stablemate of Camahawk, had shown nothing but patchy form since his two-year-old days and was unfancied in the market. Always in the rear, he got slightly close to the first, wandered on the approach to the second and fourth, was low at the first two flights in the straight and veered badly right at the last. 70

                              Silver Desert was poor on the flat but had joined a capable yard and is by a leading sire in the division. However, she sweated up beforehand, lack fluency at many of her hurdles and weakened quickly from a prominent position in the back straight before pulling up before two out. 0

                              Lustleigh is out of the high-class jumper My Petra who has also done well as a broodmare. After being pulled out of his intended debut at Chepstow, Lustleigh was well backed ahead of his racecourse bow here. Leading from the outset, he jumped slightly right at the first, got close to the second, slightly close to the third and sixth before getting too low at his final two jumps. He was only headed on the approach to the last but was a tired horse by that stage. Unable to lift his legs, he took a heavy fall which saw him winded for a while. Mercifully, he got up safely and should hopefully be none the worse for the experience. Despite his imperfect jumping, it was still reasonable enough to set a searching gallop and if he shows no ill-effect for the experience, there should be more to come. 91

                              Comment


                              • While some flat horses are apparently doing some flat horsey things at Ascot and Pic d'Orhy returns to chasing at Market Rasen, tomorrow's highlight this side of la Manche categorically takes place just after one o'clock at Ballinrobe. Ballinrobe is not generally regarded as a racecourse which hosts especially high grade juvenile hurdles. While the likes of Noble Inn and Lord Justice have been winners in the past, the average winner's seasonal RPR is 117 which places it behind thirty-two other racecourses in the UK and Ireland. Nevertheless, while tomorrow's contest has only six starters, three of those have already achieved RPRs exceeding the course average of 94 and two of the newcomers are listed in the Triumph markets. The racecourse's winning DIs are higher than average but so too are those of the average runner. Tomorrow's distance of eighteen furlongs is longer than the standard two miles and the soft ground will place further emphasis on stamina. Only fourteen courses in the UK and Ireland have a clear round rate lower than Ballinrobe's 95.04% so an ability to jump will also be desirable.

                                Belgoprince chg A J Martin f11-1-2 (67) 54 j3-0-1 (-) 97 102
                                Prince Gibraltar (Bering){9-f}(0.82) 2/1 Golden Marvel jumps winner in US
                                Prince Gibraltar is having his first crop of hurdlers this season and while he has not made a flying start, he does have a dual winner on the board along with the expensive import Prunay to his name. His son Belgoprince showed a fair level of form on the flat for Cedric Rossi and despite some farcical performances in three runs over hurdles, has also demonstrated that he is capable of good form over hurdles. However, without wishing to cast accusations or suggest that the Irish stewards have selective eyesight, there have been reasons to suspect that Belgoprince has not been giving best. His schooling has seemingly been autodidactic in nature while there has been very little urgency insofar as actually participating in a race is concerned. On bare form, he has achieved a rating worth 102 but it would be surprising if this is the ceiling of his capabilities. Quite when he surpasses this rating is a private matter.

                                Crassus bg Noel Meade f9-0-2 (69) 76 j1-0-1 (-) 115 117
                                War Command (Seeking The Gold){4-m}(1.89) 0.5 Indian Chief PU Maiden Hurdle, Sedgefield 2019
                                By a sire yet to produce a winning juvenile from a family with only negligible hurdling experience, Crassus's pedigree is not the most compelling. Furthermore, while he has shown promise on the flat, his form had been rather patchy as of late. However, he represents a stable with a fine record in the sphere and made a very promising hurdling debut at Punchestown in early September when a six length second to Duffle Coat. Finishing best of those who raced prominently, Crassus jumped and travelled well for the most part and was comfortably on top of all bar one of his rivals. The first and third have each won races since and the yard is currently in better form than it was at the time of the race. He sets a clear standard on hurdling form and the experience and proven jumping ability will be extremely useful. Crassus is also the yard's first string on jockey bookings but there are some concerns over his ability to fully see out this trip.

                                Dark Voyager bg W P Mullins f7-1-1 (78) 76
                                Raven's Pass (Montjeu){7-a}(0.83) 0.5 A Wave Of The Sea 1st Spring Juvenile Hurdle (G1), Leopardstown 2020
                                Willie Mullins has an exceptional record in this division. For trainers with fifteen or more juveniles since 2008/09, his winners to runners rate of 58.14% is second only to Nicky Henderson, 82.56% of his runners achieve RPRs of 108 and above and his improvement rate of 77.14% is outstanding given the quality of his flat recruits. The bulk of his best juveniles tend to be imported either from France or from other yards. His first runner this season is set to be Dark Voyager who has spent his entire career with the master of Closutton. Those that raced on the flat for Willie Mullins have a still respectable 41.67% winners to runners rate but while they have been decent (Call Me Bubbles, Fatcatinthehat, Maze Runner), none have been top class. After showing little in his first five runs for the yard, Dark Voyager improved on his penultimate start when stepped up to a mile and a half in a Galway handicap on soft ground. Having to force his way from mid division at the home turn, he stayed on well when getting a clear run. However, he did seem reluctant to follow through but was no match for Flying Scotsman in any case. The form of that race has worked out well with the winner following up the next day, the fourth winning two races and the sixth scoring next time out. Returning to the venue five days later, Dark Voyager was still unconvincing with his head carriage but he had no trouble comfortably accounting for his rivals as he ran out a three length winner. Raven's Pass has a solid enough record as a sire in the division with four of his twenty-two juvenile hurdlers being winners, and Dark Voyager's dosage index is lower than all of those with success. This low DI is largely courtesy of Montjeu who is also a capable damsire in the sphere with a 22% winners to runners rate. It is on the damline where Dark Voyager's pedigree becomes more interesting. A half brother to last season's Grade One winner A Wave Of The Sea, his dam is a half-sister winning hurdler Martial Law and the fourth dam produced the useful Sossis Vlei. More distantly related are top class jumpers Cause Of Causes (6/4), Binocular (6/5), and Nichols Canyon (6/6). While Dark Voyager's quote of 33/1 for the Triumph is rather premature, his profile certainly entitles him to the utmost respect in this field and he is an interesting recruit to the division.

                                Flylikeaneagle bg Eamonn O'Connell f8-2-2 (70) 86
                                Free Eagle (Shamardal){6-f}(1.20) 2/1 Harp Player 7th Juvenile Hurdle, Market Rasen 1999
                                After two wins and two seconds as a two-year-old for Mark Johnston, Flylikeaneagle was beaten by at least twenty lengths on his next four starts. He was sold for just 4,000 guineas at the Tattersalls July sale and made his stable debut last Sunday where he finished a fifteen length eleventh of fourteen in a Cork handicap. His new yard has yet to have a winner in this sphere from five runs although they have all completed the course. Free Eagle has a winner and a placed horse from two juveniles and damsire Shamardal has two winners from fourteen through his broodmares. However, there is little else encouraging in the pedigree and this is a very hot contest for a debutant.

                                Perry Owens bg Noel Meade f6-0-1 (66) 74 j1-0-1 (-) 106 109
                                Free Eagle (Time For A Change){9}(1.53) 2/1 Parker Ridge 1st Claiming Chase, Cagnes Sur Mer 2019
                                The aforementioned placed horse of Free Eagle was Perry Owens who ran into third at this venue on the tenth of August. He went into that race with poor recent flat form and the stable was not firing either. However, despite an error strewn round of jumping and being ten lengths behind the winner with a furlong to go, he rallied to get within two lengths of the winner at the line. It was not the strongest race but the winner ran with credit on his next two hurdles starts and seventh placed Varna Gold was able to collect an average race at Kilarney recently. Perry Owens was out eleven days later when well beaten in a Killarney handicap and has not been seen since. While he will likely enjoy the ground and is capable of being competitive in ordinary company, he is the stable's second string and should find a couple of these too good.

                                Zanahiyr chg Gordon Elliott f4-1-1 (-) 80
                                Nathaniel (Marju){9-c}(0.53) 2/1 Zarinava 136 1st Doncaster Mares' Hurdle (G2), Doncaster 2012
                                Zahahiyr had four runs on the flat for Michael Halford, all of which took place in maiden company. He made his racecourse debut in a seven furlong contest at the Curragh last October where he was a four and a half length sixth behind four pattern class horses including Irish Derby runner-up Tiger Moth. He was just under nine lengths ninth when returning to the Curragh in June where he finished behind classic winners Galileo Chrome and Serpentine. Stepped up to thirteen furlongs on soft ground at Navan, he failed by a length and a quarter to justify favouritism but was able to get off the mark last time out at Fairyhouse in early July. Racing over a mile and a half on good to yielding ground, Zanahiyr took up the running at the distance and lengthened well inside the final furlong to win by just over a length. Being a midsummer maiden race for older horses, it was not of the highest quality. Nevertheless, of the front seven who were clear of the remainder, are all rated at least 70 (three rated 80 or above) and can count two subsequent winners amongst themselves, so the standard is decent enough for flat recruits to the sphere. He has since been sold privately to run for Gordon Elliott who is the winningmost trainer of juveniles in Ireland. Twelve of the twenty-three juveniles who joined the yard from the flat after private transactions have won races including top-class types Farclas, Mega Fortune, Mitchouka and Clarcam. Horses whose careers began with Michael Halford have a 25.53% winners to runners rate and a very healthy 61.54% improvement rate. Nathaniel has made a fine start with his first three crops in the division with 47% of his offspring winning races, including the first and fourth in last season's Triumph Hurdle. Marju's record as a damsire is below average but his broodmares are still capable of producing useful sorts such as Ultimate and Lake Champlain. It is not unusual for horses bred by the Aga Khan to be related to useful jumpers and Zanahiyr is no exception. While his half-brother only managed to finish placed over hurdles, his dam is a half-sister to Doncaster Mares' Hurdle winner Zarinava and her half-brother Zarif twice finished runner-up in the Velka Pardubicka. Zanahiyr's fourth dam Zahra, daughter of the brilliant Petite Etoile, is the matriarch of a family that includes the likes of Zafarabad, Zarkandar, Zaiyad, Zaynar and Zaidpour. Gordon Elliott has already sent out three quality juveniles this season and Zanahiyr has the credentials to make it four. While he broadly matches Dark Voyager for flat form, his pedigree is more substantial and the yard's clear round rate of 97.11% is healthier than the 94.81% of Willie Mullins.

                                Strong prospects
                                1. Zanahiyr
                                Reasonable prospects
                                2. Dark Voyager
                                3. Crassus
                                Feasible prospects
                                4. Perry Owens
                                Moderate prospects
                                5. Belgoprince
                                Negligible prospects
                                6. Flylikeaneagle

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