horse racing

What we learned from the weekend: 1st & 2nd November…

Another top weekend of jumps racing in the bag and a few more logs thrown on the National Hunt fire, keeping that flame burning bright as we reach deeper into the season.

There were a number of Cheltenham Gold Cup potentials flexing their muscles up and down the country on Saturday and Sunday, some that were fit and ready to gun down the opposition (Road To Riches, Menorah (?!), Many Clouds) and others who were clearly using their seasonal debut as a good old pipe-opener (Silviniaco Conti, The Giant Bolster, Holywell, Boston Bob).

But that’s by the by, today all you need to be concerned about is…

What we learned from the weekend: 1st & 2nd November…

1. Venetia Williams runners are starting to come to the boil…

Venetia’s string can often take a little time to warm up before suddenly exploding into life during November; certainly if the last couple of seasons are anything to go by.

Based on the figures she returned from this weekends action it seems like this season will be no different…

3/9 | 33% S/R | +£25.86 BFLSP – Win & Place 4/9 | 44% S/R

Historically it has been her chasers that have provided the most winners and, in turn, the most profits during the month of November…

23/102 | 23% S/R | +£108.87 BFLSP – Win & Place 45/102 | 44% S/R

*Figures sourced from the excellent Proform database and taken from the start of 2011

Keep an eye on the Venetia Williams chasers during November, historically they have given a fine boost to your Xmas fund. 


2. It’s clear they are taking the long-term view once again with HOLYWELL…

Which is fair enough. It’s worked in the past and produced back-to-back Festival victories, it could well work again this time around.

His third placed finish at Carlisle on Sunday is nothing more than we should have expected. He doesn’t come to life until the New Year anyway…

Form of 22332U during Oct – Dec

Form of 32111112412 from Jan – May

As highlighted on my NTF Trend Horses Page he simply did not have conditions to suit on Sunday at Carlisle, he won’t have been anywhere near peak fitness, a win would never have been an expectation for connections.

He did drift a little in the ante-post market for the Gold Cup, which is a little surprising, but at the same time understandable.

He will mostly likely have a couple of targets this side of New Years Eve, most likely valuable targets as well.

Will they have him more forward than usual this season? Or will they take the same softly, softly approach that has been so successful in the past couple of seasons?

Regardless of what he does up to the 31st of December expect him to better it come the New Year. 


3. MENORAH has suddenly become a robust 3m+ beast…

Well…um…except he hasn’t really, has he?

In fairness to the horse he did almost win the Betfair Bowl at Aintree a couple of season’s back but even then he didn’t really look a horse that was crying out for a 3 mile trip, generally looking the sort that would be susceptible to a more robust  staying type.

With that in mind I’m sure I wasn’t the only one scratching my head when Menorah romped home with the 3m1f Charlie Hall Chase on Saturday.

The alarms bells should have started ringing when the Hobbs horse broke the course record.

That course record time changed it from ‘how did that happen’ to ‘how the HELL did that happen!’.

I was ready, although not all that happy, to mark it down as just ‘one of those things’, an early season anomaly, a horse that was potentially more forward on the day than his opponents.

That was until I read Simon Rowlands latest Timeform article ‘Rowleyfile investigates:What is going on at Wetherby?‘.

Now that Charlie Hall Chase result starts to make a bit more sense.

It wasn’t a 3m1f race, it was more like a 2m7.5f race. That’s significant. That’s very significant in fact. That’s pretty much a different race.

From my perspective it’s a bit of a ball-ache. The Charlie Hall is a race I analyse from a Dosage perspective. The Charlie Hall figures are based on the race being a 3m1f race (or as near enough to that to not make a significant difference).

Stamina clearly isn’t quite as paramount over 2m7.5f as it is over 3m1f. Menorah didn’t have to dig as deep into his limited stamina reserves as would normally have been expected.

Come on Wetherby, get it sorted! It’s a hard enough game without the distances being completely wrong!

Treat that Charlie Hall Chase form with a large pinch of salt.


Ben (NTF)

12 responses to “What we learned from the weekend: 1st & 2nd November…”

  1. Don’t think race distance made a difference to the race result, Menorah would have won that over 3m2f let alone 3m1f IMO. What was noticeable to me Silvinacio Conti has never looked so small and un-chaser like as he did on Saturday – he looked like a pony! Secondly, Tarquin, Medermit and Double Ross aren’t 3m chasers all their best form is around 2m5f, so in affect once SC was out the picture Menorah didn’t really have a stayer to beat. Take with a pinch of salt indeed.

    • I agree Richard, I doubt Menorah would’ve been caught but you never know. Had he jumped the final fence after running 3-mile and not just over 2m6f would he have stayed-on up the run-in as well as he did?
      I was on Medermit at 10/1 eachway and, with another 300 yards to run, he’d have easily overhauled Double Ross and Tarquin De Seuil.

    • Hi Richard

      I noticed that about Silv Conti as well! What was that all about!? I’m assuming he hasn’t shrunk over the summertime?!? Very odd.

      It was a strange Charlie Hall all round in truth. Told us very little in the end…

      Ben (NTF)

      • Hi Ben

        Not sure but certainly was a shock. I know he’s not the most robustly built chaser and that he’s more the long rangey type but never seen him looking so ‘thin’ for want of a better word. Interesting to see what he looks like come Haydock.


        • I’m actually glad you mentioned how ‘thin’ Silv Cont looked as I thought it was my eyes playing tricks on me!

          I would think Silv will improve a great deal for that run although there really are many more questions than answers from the Charlie Hall Chase. What exactly was the distance? What exactly was the ground? How far forward was Silv Conti? What has Hobbs done top his horses over the summer??!?

          What makes this game so interesting though, isn’t it!

          Ben (NTF)

  2. When you see more than one course record broke on the same day ,you can be almost certain it’s down to shortened distances .unbelievable in this day and age but look how long it took the bha to act with the start of jump races with some horses having double figure lengths head start.I hope wolves distances are correct as I’m compiling speed figures for it on the new tapeta surfaces.

    • And Menorah wasn’t exactly all out either! The guy from Timeform is really grasping at straws when he talks about cutting corners. Another possibility is that, as so often, the official going was m
      iles out (not for the first time – all the times were below RP standard on Saturday, were they all run short?)

      • Hi John

        Yeah there is a very real chance the ground was faster than they advertised as well. They probably though that any Firm in the description would deter some trainers from entering their horses.

        According to my Proform database the ‘actual’ ground was FIRM not Good. That will have been accentuated due to the shortened distances but even still we are probably looking at Good to Firm…

        Ben (NTF)

    • Hi Rob

      It is unbelievable that they can get things so wrong in this day in age, hugely frustrating for us punters that spend so long analysing the races. May not have changed the result in the end but essentially it was a completely different race that what we were led to believe.

      I’m pretty sure the rails don’t move much (at all?) on the A/W so you would hope they have those distances spot on…

      Ben (NTF)

  3. Silviniaco Conti (FR) starts to look interesting to me. His chase record at Aintree and Kempton is 2311 and lost to a Grand Crus we never saw again and Menorah and First Lieutenant on fast ground but that is grade 1 form (Bob’s was 3rd behind him and GC). Elsewhere he has wins over a declining Long Run who may have been short of fitness and ride (did go on to win King George but only by outstaying Capt Chris) – plus Haydock pretty close to tight? He also beat Giant Bolster 7 at Newbury but Bolster’s record away from Chel on flat uns sucks and 7 is close for him. Plus dominated pace in those 2 races.

    • Hi Jon

      I would assume Silv Cont wasn’t anywhere near as fit as Nicholls either though or led us to believe. Also have to factor in that Wetherby was more like spring ground than autumn ground onm Saturday.

      Should come on a bundle for that run.

      I would say new Haydock chase track is close to tight nowadays, yes.

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

  4. Hi Ben

    Still wouldn’t want to touch Silvinacio Conti with a barge pole at Haydock. Until I see him back to somewhere near the form he’s capable of I’m keeping away.

    As regards the tightness of tracks I think Haydock’s long straights are so long that it suits a flat track gallope/grinder which Silvinacio Conti seems to be when at his best.

    As always Ben a great article, provoking quality debate!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You currently have JavaScript disabled!

This site requires JavaScript to be enabled. Some functions of the site may not be usable or the site may not look correct until you enable JavaScript. You can enable JavaScript by following this tutorial. Once JavaScript is enabled, this message will be removed.