2015 Summer Plate winner Brave Spartacus
As most of you will be aware I’ve been busy over on NTF’s sister site BDH since the flat season (or should that be the WET season!?!) kicked into gear, giving NTF a good old summer break to recharge the batteries and allowing the big man time to get some sun on his back after a long hard slog through the winter.
NTF is still technically in ‘resting mode’ at the minute but I couldn’t let one of my favourite summer jumping contests slip past without giving it a good old seeing to via the tried and tested trends approach.
The Summer Plate at Market Rasen is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the summer jumping season and the track deservedly gets yet another healthy turn-out in numbers on Saturday for their showcase race.
The betting market suggests it’s fairly open renewal (currently 6-1 the field) but that’s fine by me, that generally means we gets plenty bang for our buck whichever runners we end up plumping for.
To help me narrow the 16 strong field I’ve turned to my trusty trends approach. I’ve not fired up the Dosage machine for this one as I wouldn’t be much of a user of that approach for the summer jumping stuff, I’ll leave that side of things for the proper winter racing and the serious flat stuff during the summer.
The trends I use for the Summer Plate are…
1 11/11 were (IRE) or (FR) bred
2 11/11 had an OR of 139 or below
3 11/11 carried 11-05 or below
4 10/11 no more than 2 previous handicap chase victories
5 10/11 were aged 7 – 10
6 9/11 recorded a top 2 finish on 1 of last 3 starts
7 9/11 top 3 last time out
Applying those bad boys to this year’s field gives us…
As always I’ll take the top of that table to construct a workable shortlist…
TINDARO (P Webber)
CUT THE CORNER (Dr R Newland)
KILFINICHEN BAY (C Longsdon)
GERMANY CALLING (C Longsdon)
MONSIEUR GIBRALTAR (P Nicholls)
TONY STAR (P Bowen)
…and now time to whittle down that group further…
…which in truth isn’t all that easy!!
But it needs done so lets crack on with it…
Paul Nicholls sends three to this race and his MONSIEUR GIBRALTAR is the only one of his trio that make my shortlist. Nicholls doesn’t send many to Market Rasen and the ones he has sent since 2010 have all drawn a blank (0/15). He’s still relatively unexposed being a 5yo with only 8 starts to his name in the UK (14 career starts in total) and only 4 over fences (yet to win any) but he does look a horse that may just want a bit of cut underfoot as all 3 career wins to date have come on Good to Soft or softer. He’s also yet to win any of his 3 starts over further than 18.5f and he’s yet to get within 4L of the winner in any of his 4 chase starts. All in all there are just a few too many questions for me and I just have to leave him alone here.
Any runner Peter Bowen sends to this race is obviously worth a second look but TONY STAR is nothing if not a frustrating bugger and he’s probably another that would just want it a bit softer (4 career wins on Good to Soft or softer – 1 win on Good, overall record of 1/10 on Good). He’s also 0/15 at C2 level+ and Bowen will probably have to have changed this horse into something that previous trainer Philip Hobbs couldn’t. Not impossible, of course, but not something I’m personally willing to bet on.
GERMANY CALLING is, to a certain extent, interesting. He has his ground (all wins on Good), Coleman gets on well with him (11210) and he’s still relatively unexposed as a chaser after only 6 starts. The one concern would be the trip. All his wins have come over a bare 2 miles and he is 0/6 over longer trips. This trip is the furthest he has ever raced over and although I don’t think he is a complete non-stayer there are certainly questions marks over his distance suitability.
Charlie Longsdon’s other runner KILFINICHEN BAY is, to my eyes anyway, much more interesting. He loves the ground (7 of his 9 wins have come on Good or Good to Firm), his form at or around the trip is 1P113, his June-September form is an outstanding 5113011111, jockey Graham Watters has won on him before and takes off a handy 3lbs, Longsdon has clearly found the key to the horse getting 9 wins out of him from 14 starts (prior to moving to Longsdon he was 0/10) and the horse won on his only previous visit to the track (albeit over hurdles). Add into the fact that Longsdon is 17/59 (29% S/R) with his chasers at the track since 2010 (42% Win & Place) AND the horse is trading at 25/1 then it’s safe to say we have a tasty E/W bet on our hands. Yes there are risks attached being that he has only had 3 chase starts to date, meaning he is pretty inexperienced as a chaser, but that’s more than factored into the price and I’m happy to have a dabble. This lad is also in my free NTF Summer Stunners guide so I do expect victories from him this summer.
CUT THE CORNER is another that is relatively inexperienced as a chaser (this will be only his seventh chase start) but he put in a thumping 11L victory last time out over Course & Distance (well almost C&D, it was half a furlong short to be precise) and the 9lb raise he received for that is offset in no small part by the 10lb claim of Charlie Hammond. He’s probably not the most straightforward of beasts but he gets his ground here, Newland’s handicappers have been doing particularly well at the track in the last couple of seasons (7/18 | 39% S/R) and I want this one on-side at double figures.
TINDARO is the last of the shortlisters and he warmed up for this with a staying on 3rd over the Market Rasen fences over the 19f trip. He’s not actually won a National Hunt race since 2013 but he has shown bits and bobs of form since then and he is now back down to a mark (OR 131) that he can win from (highest and last win OR was 134). He is another that will appreciate the ground (all 4 wins have come on Good) and with all 4 of his career wins coming off a break of 32 days or more there is no worry about the 62 day break he returns from here. I’ll take a little slice of him at 33’s.
I’m happy to play all three – KILFINICHEN BAY, CUT THE CORNER & TINDARO – in my attempt to crack the 2016 plate.
NTF Summer Stunners 2016
There have been a few of the Summer Stunners out already over the past few weeks with a couple handily finding themselves in the winners enclosure.
There is still plenty of fun to be had, hopefully, with this dirty summer dozen and you can still grab the FREE guide by visiting the link below…
Best of luck if you are getting involved in the Summer Plate this weekend.