As Nu-Metal god Fred Durst once famously said…
“Keep on raining baby, you know what time it is”
Of course we know what time it is Fred, its National Hunt time!
OK, he didn’t quite say that (exchange the raining for rollin’ if you’re being pedantic!) but let’s pretend he did utter those immortal words and also pretend he was a National Hunt die-hard, like most of us!
Yes, once again I spent a lot of my dog-walking time last week dodging showers. I love that! That’s prime jumping ground. This is a prolonged wet spell! There are no excuses being supplied by the weather gods right now. They are keeping the taps on and getting the juice into the ground. Just in time for the first Cheltenham meeting of the season. How kind of them!
But that’s in the future (very near future) and whilst we have every right to get excited for this coming weekend I do first want to take a look back at the weekends action for the second installment of the new weekly NTF feature; What we learned from the weekend.
Let’s get cracking…
What we learned from the weekend: 11th & 12th October…
1. Those Skelton brothers make a formidable team!
Dan Skelton really seems to have kicked up a gear or two this season, his second season as his own trainer. He’s also getting plenty of help from his brother Harry in the saddle. They banged in a double this weekend at Chepstow from four runners and pulled in +£11.78 points profit for anyone who backed their five mounts over Saturday & Sunday.
It wasn’t just this weekend that Dan Skelton has caught my eye either. Indeed he has been rattling in the winners all season, forcing me to take a closer look at his stats. Last season he pulled in a rather tasty 27 winners from 171 runners (16% S/R). That’s decent in anyone’s book. So far this season, however, he is already on the 22 winner mark and only from 87 runners (25% S/R). Last season was merely a sighter, this season he means business!
Pulling things back to the here and now and we see that his October figures read 7 winners from 21 runners for a 33% S/R and +£13.61 level stakes profit at Betfair sp. He has also had a further 4 placed, giving him a 52% win & place S/R. His brother Harry has ridden six of those winners from 17 rides. That’s a 35% S/R and +£16.02 points profit at Betfair SP.
As you know I always keep an eye out for trainers doing well (and not so well) with their runners returning after a break (90+ days, you should have picked up the free guide somewhere over the past week or two) and this month Dan Skelton has saddled 13 90+ day runners. Five have won (38% S/R) for a +£14.40 level stakes profit and a further three have placed for a 62% win & place strike-rate. I don’t have enough data yet to add him to the 90+ day trainers guide but trust me he is on the radar and if he keeps going at this rate he will be making an appearance in future guides.
Those Skelton brothers make a formidable team; keep an eye on them super-charging through the ranks!
2. The plan for Monbeg Dude probably wasn’t last Saturday…
I can only assume they didn’t want to win the Chepstow contest on Saturday. A win there would have finished his handicap mark and made him very difficult to place, and he most likely isn’t better than a handicapper (not too far off it though). OR 143 is a steep enough mark but on the evidence of Saturday’s race (5.30 Chepstow) he can defy it. If they can get him into the Aintree National off a lower mark than last season’s renewal (he ran off OR 146 then) he would have a squeak of improving on his 7th placed finish.
In fairness he generally needs his first run back (0/7 after a break of 61 days+) so that may have also been why he came up short at the death (he looked fit enough jumping the last couple though!) but Tom Scudamore wasn’t too harsh on him in the closing stages, which is fair enough if this wasn’t the main plan. He won’t have many pots in him off his current mark and they probably want to fire the bullet at a hefty prize rather than this 16k race.
He seems to excel during Nov/Dec/Jan (form of 21142131 – 63PP5745U32 other months) so that will have to change to land the Aintree National, obviously. Overall he a tricky one in the sense we don’t know his exact plans. A win now blows his handicap mark but his best form is in the next three months… hmmm… it may be they have another valuable pot in mind, closer than April.
Whatever and wherever the plan for ‘The Dude’ is the signs are he will bag a decent pot somewhere this term…
3. Gordy Elliott seems to be creeping over the Irish Sea quite a bit these days…
And I don’t just mean for the major meetings. Yes, he has always been a plunderer of Perth (253 runners and 76 winners in the last five seasons!!) but he’s started infiltrating some of the other ‘smaller’ tracks as well. On Saturday he had four runners at Hexham, returning form figures of 2312. I had also noticed he had winners at Exeter, Carlisle and Towcester through the week, producing form figures of 111P1, giving him October form figures over here of 111P12312 and a level stakes profit to Betfair SP of +£25.38. Those trips to Exeter & Towcester were the first time he had visited those National Hunt outposts. He had only visited Carlisle twice previously. Is big Gordy widening his scope?
I was briefly speaking about it with my Twitter buddy Josh (@Josh_HW) on Saturday. He wondered if Elliott maybe had a satellite yard over here. If he does I’m not familiar with it. He’s maybe just willing to go where he has to for winners. I like that.
I’ve always been a fan of Gordon Elliott to be honest. I love delving into the trends and stats he produces. It probably has a lot to do with his Perth prowess (Perth used to be my ‘local’ track). It definitely has a lot to do with Silver Birch winning the National (that was THE race when my Dosage & Trends approach fully clicked after years of research and tinkering, I had a good night that night!). So naturally when he appears in places he doesn’t normally (Exeter, Carlisle, Towcester…), my antenna starts twitching.
Watch out for those Gordy Elliott raiders, they don’t go on their travels for the hell of it and who knows where they will turn up next…
So there we have it. The second installment of the NTF ‘What we learned from the weekend‘ weekly Blog posts. As I said last week there will be more to talk about as the we dive deeper into the jumping game. The forthcoming Cheltenham meeting (woohoo!) should give me more than enough to talk about next week…