horse racing

Hendo to ‘bump’ Nicholls off top spot?

“Henderson just 5-4 to wrest title from Nicholls”

That’s what the Racing Post tells me anyway. Not a bet I’m likely to get involved in and to be fair I wouldn’t be underestimating anything that comes from the Paul Nicholls yard; they have more than just Denman and Kauto Star to go to war with!

Anyway that’s really got nothing to do with today’s post it just gives me a decent post title!

If you remember back to last National Hunt season I started writing a few articles on National Hunt Bumper races but for one reason or another I never followed it up. Now the web-site is up and running I aim to rectify that.

The area I want to concentrate on for now is bumper runners making their racecourse debut; that is horses setting foot on the track for the first time running in a National hunt flat race.

For some yards a horse running for the first time in a bumper is simply a case of getting some experience into the animal and letting the horse find its feet in the world of ‘competitive’ racing.

On the other hand some yards have their bumper debutants fit and raring to go from the off and can be relied upon to produce a bumper runner that is ready to strike first time up.

The man at the top of this list is none other than the title chasing Nicky Henderson.

Take a look at his bumper debutant figures from 2006 – present (figures sourced from the excellent Proform database)

67/183 | 37% S/R | +£63.76 BFLSP – Win & Place 106/183 | 58% S/R

Of the 187 bumper debutants he has sent to the track a rather healthy 37% of them have won on debut; that’s good going in anyone’s book.

Undoubtedly the Henderson bumper brigade are likely to be stronger than a vast majority of other yards but the fact they score regularly and produce healthy level stakes profits should not be overlooked lightly.

Within the wider stats there are a plethora of mini-angles floating around, here are the ones that caught my eye –


Newbury – 9/26 | 35% S/R | +£32.99 BFLSP – Win & Place 13/26 | 50% S/R

Kempton – 5/10 | 50% S/R | +£3.02 BFSLP – Win & Place 6/10 | 60% S/R

Two tracks that are not a huge journey from the yard and the figures tell us Henderson enjoys his raids to the local tracks with bumper debutants.


A P McCoy – 11/25 | 44% S/R | +£5.05 BFLSP – Win & Place 17/25 | 68% S/R

For some people its a negative to have A P McCoy on board a horse making its debut, however Henderson and the figures tend to disagree.


Class 6 events – 39/83 | 47% S/R | +£45.41 BFLSP – Win & place 60/83 | 72% S/R

The lower areas of National Hunt racing and a place where Nicky Henderson makes his superiority pay off. Win and Win & Place strike-rates are both sky high and highlights the advantage his bumper debutants have in this grade.


6yo’s – 6/11 | 55% S/R | +£6.04 BFLSP | 9/11 | 82% S/R

On the old-ish side for a bumper debutant and Henderson doesn’t fire very many of these types at all, however, when he does we should take notice. There could be any number of reasons for a horse not making its debut until 6 but if Henderson deems it worthy of entering it in a bumper we should be confident of a strong showing.


Milan – 4/4 | 100% S/R | +£7.78 BFLSP – Win & Place 4/4 | 100% S/R

This is a very small sample but nonetheless a very interesting one. Henderson has sent out 4 Milan progeny as bumper debutants and ALL 4 have won. It’s unlikely this will continue as a 100% stat but the figures suggest this could be a profitable angle to follow. Milan’s bumper debutants have a solid enough record but it could be Henderson’s training regime is the best place for them to try and secure a debut victory.

Bumpers and particularly bumper debutants is an area I don’t delve into with great regularity but it is an area I do believe holds unlocked profits and somewhere I want to enhance my knowledge and understanding.

I’m starting to build up profiles of trainers and sires in the bumper sphere and I will be sharing these with you throughout the 2011/12 National Hunt season.

As with most angles there are plenty of areas I want to avoid when putting my cash down in bumpers and this is something I will also delve into in later posts.

One to watch from the weekend

NOBLE ALAN  – Nicky Richards – (4-1-9-4-0 /18 / 1.12 / 0.28)

If he stayed on his feet at Market Rasen on Saturday would he have won? Almost certainly and I’m confident there is a race in this lad, especially from his current mark of 140.

Saturday was the first time he had tried a distance beyond 2m4f (in fact only the 3rd time he had run beyond 2m1f) and this looks like where his future sits. He doesn’t appear to quite have the speed to cope with 2 milers and the 2m4f to 3m trips look ideal.

There is obvioulsy one concern with this lad and that is his jumping (especially at the business end of a race). Not for the first time did he look to throw away a race winning opportunity with a stupid jumping error and this is something he will need to iradicate from his game. Essentially he is a solid jumper of a fence, however, he does seem to have a self-destruct button for when things start to hot up.

He is a strong travelling sort who likes to come there with a smooth run and generally trades lower in-running during the race –

On Saturday he hit 1.55 in-running (from an SP of 11.12) before unshipping his rider – in the Vote A.P Gold Cup at Cheltenham last December he hit 5.10 in running (from an SP of 19.64) before crumpling 2 out – at Ascot last November he hit 2.28 in-running (from an SP of 5.70) before making a hash of the 2nd last fence

(I sourced these figures myself but word does reach me that Simon at PROFORM is feverisly working on an in-running model for the next PROFORM update, exciting times!)

In fact on every one of his 13 defeats he has traded lower in-running. He is a horse that should come with a health warning or at least a ‘cover your stake in-running’ sticker!

He is a horse that I expect to bag a race or 2 this term but until he proves otherwise it may be wise to at the very least cover your stake in-running; he does seem to enjoy the agony of throwing away race winning opportunities!

Ideally we will be able to back the King’s Theatre gelding in a small field (8 or less) 2m4f+ handicap chase as he does appear to prefer the space of a small field –

Chase record with 8 or less runners – 1-F-1-1-1-3

Chase record with 9 or more runners – 2-6-F-7-U

I certainly would not discount him in a large field (far from it) but I would prefer to back him in a chase with 8 or less runners.

Keep an eye out for the galloping grey as I’m almost certain he is a lot better than his 140 rating…..

NTF Website

Many thanks to those of you that re-signed to the FREE updates list for the website. Everyone that was signed up to the Blog should now have received an email with a conformation link that allows you to confirm your FREE subscription as well as gaining you access to the FREE NTF guides that are currently on offer.

The first participant in the NTF Q&A session has now been confirmed and hopefully that will be available for you all to read and enjoy later on in the week.

There will also be a guest post at the end of the week from someone I hope will become a regular contributer to the site.

Stay tuned to NTF

Ben (NTF)

4 responses to “Hendo to ‘bump’ Nicholls off top spot?”

  1. As ever Ben I will be following the trends you have highlighted – was on both the De Sousa winners today from the Johnston yard – keep up the good work

    • Thanks for comment Ron.

      Yes the figures suggest Hendo does not muck around with his bumper runners, if they are good enough he will have them fit enough.

      Thanks again

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