Precious little caught my eye over the weekend in the jumping sphere and certainly no performers were deemed worthy of adding to my ‘to follow’ list.
Over at Cork on Sunday there were a couple of runners that at least interested me –
PIQUE SOUS (3rd in Cheltenham Bumper) made his debut over hurdles in the opening race and in my opinion I would need to see an improved display next time out before following him (I did discuss this in-depth on Twitter yesterday).
REBEL FITZ continued on his upward curve with a comfortable and fluent victory in the big race of the day and (again as discussed on Twitter) he looks like he could well develop into a player this term and indeed over fences in the future.
Neither of these two, for various reasons, do I really want to add to my ‘to follow list’ that I regularly let you guys in on here on the Blog.
Today what I am going to do is take a look back at previous ‘to follow’ runners and give you guys an update on them and how they have fared since highlighted and indeed what we should be doing with them going forward from here.
I would like to add that there are no hard and fast rules with my ‘to follow’ runners. I am not one for saying ‘follow this horse for his next 3 runs blindly’ as I like to judge each horse on an individual basis. For instance a horse may not have ideal conditions in its next 3 runs or indeed it may get ideal conditions for its next 5! The ‘to follow’ list is very much horse specific and although with some it may be prudent to follow them for a sequence of runs with others it will be important to cherry pick when and where you get the cash down on them. Indeed you may find your own way of following and backing the runners that I highlight, this also is perfectly fine and something I would encourage.
So lets get started with the update, where today I’m going to take it back from the present time until April…
Note – I will only be looking at the National Hunt ‘to follow’ runners, there were precious few flat ones anyway.
1 to follow from 20/08
HUNTERVIEW – Yet to run
1 to follow from 06/08
MR VALENTINO – Yet to run
1 to follow from 22/07
SPOCK – 1 run at Newton Abbot over 2m 110yds where he finished 6th of 9
This drop in trip seemed an odd choice by Paul Nicholls, indeed this was his first start at less than 2m4f since his bumper days. The shorter trip clearly did not suit him in the slightest and I am more than happy to ignore this run. On the plus side he has been dropped 1lb on official ratings by the handicapper.
Going forward – Still remains as one to follow under his correct conditions and most certainly back up in trip.
1 to follow from 09/07
BOBOWEN – 3 runs and 3 wins!
The 6yo has been campaigned brilliantly by his trainer Dr Newlands and he now sits on a Chase mark of 130 and a Hurdle mark of 125. His next run should tell us plenty about what he has left in the tank and how we deal with him going forward. Interestingly he is entered in a (non-handicap) Novice Chase at Worcester on Wednesday (29/08). Whether that means they think he can’t be competitive off his new Chase mark or indeed they think he is better than a handicapper is not clear. It is also interesting to note that he isn’t that well in at the weights with some of the other entries at Worcester so this should be an informative race for us, depending of course on who else lines up and indeed if he himself lines up.
Going forward – Hard to tell really. I thought he may have more to give in handicaps so the novice chase entry is a bit of a curve ball. One to keep an eye on and play race by race I think.
1 to follow from 02/07
NEXT EXIT – 1 run – 1 win.
The 7yo won a 3 runner novice hurdle at stratford (11/4) on the 20th of August. My notes said a weak novice hurdle contest should be within his remit and that’s exactly how it transpired. Hopefully Tim Vaughan has chasing in his sights now for the 7yo although a similarly weak novice hurdle event could see him bag another race before going chasing. Interestingly between his run at Uttoxeter (01/07) and his run last time at Stratford (20/08) it was reported he had a breathing operation, one that clearly has had the desired effect.
Going forward – Remains of interest although ideally I would like to see him tackle a fence sooner rather than later.
1 to follow from 14/05
DOUBLE ROSS – Yet to run
Hopefully we will see him over fences this term once NTD starts firing out more runners.
2 to follow from 23/04
GALAXY ROCK – 1 run – finished 9th in the Bet365 Gold Cup
On the face of it this was a poor run but conditions that day were bloody miserable and had deteriorated throughout the day and plenty didn’t run their race on that occasion. It must also be noted that A P McCoy was not on-board him here and he has been the pilot on 7 of the geldings 8 victories. On the plus side he was dropped 4lbs to a mark of 140 and I think that keeps him of interest for us.
Going forward – Still remains of interest but he looks the kind who really needs perfect conditions so he would not be one to follow blindly. A P McCoy back on-board would also be a huge bonus.
RUSSIAN WAR – 3 runs finishing 4th, 2nd and 1st
First of those runs was right-handed and he has never won going that way round with an obstacle in front of him (4th) – 2nd of those runs was on Heavy going which is far from ideal for him (2nd) – 3rd of those runs was on a left-handed track on Good going with a fast pace to aim at (1st) – and there in rests the crux of the matter; he is a temperamental bugger who needs absolute ideal conditions to shine, he is far from a straightforward character!
Going forward – There should still be races in him but you really want plenty in his favour – Good to Soft or better, Left-handed track, A handicap mark of around 140 or less, a fast pace that he can come off…
3 to follow from 16/04
ZARZAL – Yet to run
SAPHIR RIVER – 1 run – Pulled-Up in the Swinton Hurdle
There is still time for him to produce the goods but there is a part of me that is thinking he may be a trickier sort than I first figured. There is no doubt the run at Haydock in the Swinton was a poor one and it will be interesting to see where he is aimed at for the coming season.
Going forward – All depends on where he is aimed. I’m not quite binning him yet but we may need to re-asses him a touch.
COLOUR SQUADRON – 1 run – 2nd in a Grade 1 Novice Hurdle at the Punchestown Festival
This was a solid run in Ireland and he certainly backed up my thinking that he has plenty talent in the locker. It was heavy ground on this occasion and I do think that may not play to his strengths.
Going forward – Fingers crossed he goes Chasing this season as that was the main reason he made the list after Aintree
I will deal with the ‘to follow’ runners from March backwards later on the week when I will be giving updated thoughts on some of our old friends such as AL CO and AURORAS ENCORE .
Before I go today though…
Were there any runners that caught your attention and went in your own notebook as ones to follow from the weekend?
Drop me a comment below and share your runners to follow from the weekend (Flat or Jumps) with the NTF community.
Happy Bank Holiday Punting!
Ben – (NTF)