horse racing

NTF Weekend Notes: Future pointers for your notebook…

Fox Appeal. The one to take from the weekends jumping action…

Saturday’s Market rasen card was much more like it for us jumping fans.

A couple of Listed Handicaps, a Class two juvenile and a solid supporting card that allowed us to get our whistles well and truly whetted!

We’ve been starved of decent action for months now but things are slowly staring to crank up a notch as we edge ever closer towards October.

The 188Bet Prelude Chase was a particular delight as it served up a pulsating finish between two second season chasers and left us longing for the multitude of classy handicap chases that are about to hit us full in the face in the coming months.

That Market Rasen meeting also signifies the time when my exhaustive note taking kicks back into action for the jumps. It’s an smooth intro back into that side of my analysis as I’m generally not interested in all the races on the meeting and I’m not over-burdened by other jumps cards on the day (I kept an eye on the Navan card but it rarely provides me with anything girthy of note).

I’m a constant note taker throughout the season but things obviously step up a fair bit on that score when the weekends action rolls around.

The weekends action is also of major importance for the full NTF Subscription Service. Every Monday of the NTF season I supply full NTF members with exhaustive and detailed coverage of the weekends racing from my own personal notes for a section of the service called ‘Weekend Notes’.

What are Weekend Notes?

Weekend Notes is a section I introduced to full NTF members three season’s ago and I then expanded upon it even more during the last couple of seasons.  It has now became an integral part of the service with many NTF members using my information to construct their own bets as we rumble on through the long cold National Hunt winter months.  Essentially I’m sharing my own private notes with NTF members from the weekends racing just past, tidied up a bit so that they are easier to understand and digest than my own short-hand notes that no-one could ever understand!! Seriously, it’s like my own language, but it works for me and that’s the main thing. It also works fantastically well for full members, providing a thorough round-up of the weekends action and providing a vast quantity of information, stats, trends, thoughts and pointers for the coming weeks and months of the season ahead, even, in some cases, years ahead (I’m often keeping an eye open for bumper/hurdle runners that should, in time, turn out to be future chasing stars).

Today I want to share with you my weekend notes from the Market rasen card that has just entered the form book. They clearly are not as deep as they will be once the season is in full swing, and we have a plentiful supply of NH racing to tuck into, but they will give you a great idea of a part of the full NTF service you may not have seen before or, indeed, may not have even been aware existed…

NTF Weekend Notes – 24th September


2.00 – Market Rasen – Class 2 | Juvenile Hurdle | 2m 1.5f | Good | 7 ran

This can often be a decent Juvenile Hurdle to follow as the season progresses, last year’s winner Leoncavallo picked up a Listed race and 5th in the Triumph after this, whist the second (Pinkie Brown) picked up a Wetherby Maiden and a 5th at the Punchestown Festival and the third (Duke Street) won next time out and won a valuable Newbury Handicap at the end of the season.


Landed the hat-trick in fine fashion here and he’s improving at a decent rate. By the sounds of things this was the main plan for the summer/early autumn so he was clearly spot on for this and it will be interesting to see if he can go even further than this. On the sire front he’s by New Approach and he’s yet to really make a splash with his National Hunt runners although it’s only limited numbers at present. 


Tried to do it the hard way from the front and was still bang there at the last. It was comfortably a career best and he’s improving slowly but surely. He’s by Sir Percy and he’s got a decent little record with 3yo hurdlers so far – 8/31 | 26% S/R |+£6.07 BFLP – Win & Place 15/31 | 48% S/R. The figures do start to drop off a touch for older runners, however, so no guarantee he’ll keep progressing once he reaches 4yo+.


He’s made niggly mistakes both starts over hurdles although there is clearly some sort of ability there. He’s by Canford Cliffs and there’s precious little to go on in the National Hunt sphere with his lot at the minute. He’s out of a Galileo mare though and they rarely produce outstanding hurdlers (Hargam the best to date) and my initial feeling is that this lad possibly won’t be up to all that much.


A solid debut for this juvenile and I suspect he will improve significantly for the experience and should easily open his account at a slightly easier level.


His place in the pecking order was pretty clear prior to this as he had been beaten by the first three here previously in each of his last three starts and he was once again put firmly in his place by them. He’s now 0/5 over hurdles, 0/5 on the flat and he’s been tried with CP’s and now a visor and neither have really seemed to have had the desired effect; he could just be a tricky bugger. His sire, Intense Focus, hasn’t had much in the way of National Hunt stock yet but apart from the G2 winning Fiscal Focus (who was a 33-1 shock winner anyway and then finished 43L last and 56L last on his next two starts) there hasn’t really been any great promise from the limited numbers we’ve seen to date. I would be treating the sire’s NH runners with a degree of caution until some signs of life I think.


235 – Market Rasen – Class 1 (Listed) | Handicap Hurdle | 2m 0.5f | Good | 8 ran

3rd – WISTY

Surprised they haven’t gone chasing with this one yet. He’s by Cloudings and is a half-brother to the decent Philip Hobbs chaser Persian Snow and although perhaps not the biggest of beasts he should still jump a fence well enough. I suspect he’s reached his limit over hurdles anyway so their hand may be forced to go over the larger obstacles.


I would be pretty convinced that had he jumped 2 out cleanly he would have won this comfortably. He’s at his peak in the Sept-Jan period (1F153172121 (5/11)) but then tends to dip off in the Feb-May period (8530345 (0/7)). He’s clearly in fine shape for this season ahead and he should be competitive off both his Hurdles (OR 135) and Chase (OR 140) marks. He’s only had 4 starts over fences so he’s still very much unexposed in that sphere.

310 – Market Rasen – Class 1 (Listed) | Handicap Chase | 2m6.5f | Good | 12 ran


Not always the cleanest of rounds from the 7yo but he was so well handicapped (OR 129 minus his jocks 3lb claim) that he probably didn’t need to be put in a sparkling round he just needed to be in touch when the taps were turned to full. That now puts him 3/3 in September and this early autumn time is clearly a time he relishes (Sept-Oct form 11113F (4/6) compared to 3452243PP (0/9) in other months). He also loves Good ground (31F11 (3/5) compared to 13524342PP (1/10) on Good to Soft or softer, with the win coming when he outclassed his opposition on racecourse debut). Vinnie is a horse I like but he may just be a bit tricky to place off this win although if the can strike before the end of October on good ground and away from Very Undulating tracks (where he has form of 54F4P (0/5)) then he may be worth having an interest in.


This was a decent enough run from the 9yo especially since he’s probably just that bit better with more cut underfoot (1/10 on Good+ | 1/8 on Good to Soft | 3/5 (17112) on Soft & Heavy) and seems to be at his prime between Oct & Mar (6/17 compared to 0/7 Apr-Sept). He does also seem best this way round (RH) with 5 of his 6 wins coming on RH tracks. The trip may also just push his stamina limitations as he is now 0/5 when racing over 2m4f+. OR 139 (may go up a couple for this) should still be well within his range and he’s worth keeping on the radar.


I have my doubts as to whether he’s up to Listed + level (P63400 (0/6) at Listed+ compared to 41O1112112 (6/10) at C2 level & below) even though this was an OK effort. He’s also much stronger in smaller fields (1O22141111 (6/10) compared to P34600 (0/6) in fields of 12+). A small drop in grade in a slightly smaller field would have me interested and although he may be near the ceiling of his rating (OR 141) he may just have a bit more improvement to be squeezed.

4th FOX APPEAL – *Horse to take from the weekend*

Not quite his conditions here so no real surprise to me that he struggled a touch when the pace heated up as they went down the back-straight for the final time. He’s now 0/10 on Good or quicker ground (all wins on G/S & Soft) and he doesn’t peak until the Nov – Jan period (he is now 0/17 in the Feb-Oct period compared to 6/14 in the Nov-Jan period – he has placed on all 3 starts in October so it’s worth stretching the parameters slightly). For me he also just struggles in races worth 18k+ to the winner as he is 0/15, 3 places at that level compared to 6/16, 4 places in races worth less than 18k. He is extremely well-handicapped at the minute on OR 143 though and he should be considered for the next few months from here on in, especially under the following conditions – Race worth less than 18k | G/S or softer | Field of 13 or less | Oct-Jan | RH Tracks – as he has form of 11112123 (5/8) under such conditions. He may not need all those boxes ticked but most ticked would definitely be preferable and he should hopefully break his almost 2 year ‘losing’ streak shortly.


He definitely had his ground conditions here (all 5 wins on Good – 0/7, 0 places on G/S & softer) although he maybe just found the step up to Listed level a touch too much for him. He may also have not totally enjoyed the Right-Handed track as he is now 0/4, 0 places this way round. It was, however, only his 4th chase start so he should still have plenty improvement to come and a little drop in grade should see him back to winning ways.


Needs Good to Soft or softer to show his best (141112032F672U1 (5/15) on G/S or softer – 7F7326 (0/6) on Good) so that mixed with the rise in class will have pushed him to the limit. He’s yet to score in a race worth more than 6.5k to the winner (213311411 (5/9) 6.5k or less – 272U67F207F6 (0/12) in 7k+ races) so a drop back in grade would certainly be preferable after this. He is worth keeping on the radar for the foreseeable for when the ground softens as he is 4/12 in the Oct-Jan period compared to 1/9 in the Feb-Sept period.


This was only his second start for Dr Newland with both runs coming off significant breaks (162 days & 259 days). Considering the horse is 1/15 off breaks of 31+ days compared to 5/21 off shorter breaks it’s no real surprise that he’s not shown much for his new yard yet. He’ll come on plenty for this effort and may even get dropped a couple pounds for the run (ran here off OR 136) so he’s worth keeping on the radar as Newland can get horses from other yards winning again. Worth noting that the horse peaks in the Aug – Dec period (6/18) compared to 0/18 in the Jan-Jul period and if you look at him under the following – DSLR 30 or less | Aug-Dec | RH track – you get a form line of 11633134121 (5/11). 


345 – Market Rasen – Class 4 | Handicap Chase | 2m 5.5f | Good | 8 ran


This 6yo is possibly some way ahead of mark, winning this on OR 109 and being by Presenting out of an Old Vic mare stamps him as one with plenty of improvement to come over fences (he’s still unexposed over birch after only 4 starts). Good ground seems the key (0121 on Good – 35P24 on G/S & softer) and he could scoop up a couple of low grade prizes before the rains come.


530 – Market Rasen – Class 6 | Bumper | 2m 0.5f | Good | 9 ran


This 6yo is probably just biding his time until being asked to jump obstacles and it’s not hard to see him improving when sent hurdling and tackling slightly longer trips. He’s by Oscar out of a Supreme Leader mare so he’s got jumping in the blood and he will probably handle fences perfectly well in time as well.

As part of the full service I also provide two downloadable versions each week of the ‘Weekend Notes’.

One is a PDF version of the notes for anyone who wants to print off the data and read it the old fashioned way and the other is a text version that has been formatted for easy upload to the Proform database.

As most of you are probably aware I am a dedicated Proform user and one of the features of the software is the ability to upload horse notes for a multitude of horses in one file (as opposed to the pain-staking task of manually adding the notes for each individual horse, one at a time). I know a few of my members also use Proform to store notes against horses so the second file (the text file) is specifically designed for easy upload to the software.

I have included both those files for your downloading pleasure (should you so wish) below…

[file_download style=”2″][download title=”NTF%20Weekend%20Notes%20-%2024th%20September” icon=”style1-Pdf-64×64.png” file=”” package=”” level=”” new_window=”Y”]NTF%20Weekend%20Notes%20-%2024th%20September%20-%20PDF%20Download%20Version[/download][/file_download]

[file_download style=”2″][download title=”NTF%20Weekend%20Notes%20-%2024th%20September” icon=”style1-Txt-64×64.png” file=”” package=”” level=”” new_window=”Y”]NTF%20Weekend%20Notes%20-%2024th%20September%20-%20Proform%20Upload%20Version[/download][/file_download]

That Market rasen meeting is a great ‘warm-up’ note taking day for me. It gets my National Hunt brain back in proper thinking/analyzing/angle-seeking/pattern finding mode.

It’s almost October folks, it’s almost here, the first fence is approaching fast, get ready to land running on the other side…

Ben (NTF)


My ‘Alternative to follow list’ was released to members of the FREE NTF list last week. Grab your copy HERE.

2 responses to “NTF Weekend Notes: Future pointers for your notebook…”

  1. ben ,regarding fox appeal who runs at chepstow 5.00 today.

    i like to look at trainer/jockey quotes when analysing a horses form to try to explain certain runs that dont seem to make sense

    after reading your advice on fox appeal,i thought i could discout him but have gone through his form again and think he needs a second look.

    im going through many class 1 and 2 horses myself looking for form patterns,something i did years ago and just started to do it again and hopefully i can keep on top of it this time round.

    ive done about 40 horses so far and one thing i remember from years ago is a pattern im still noticing and think fox appeals form may be dictated by it.

    its when a horse is suited to one distance on a certain ground but can (normally a longer distance) win when the ground is different.

    this is either a 2m4f type who appears best on soft at that distance but can get 3 miles on good,but not 3 miles soft.also at 2m4f they do need it soft or they can get outpaced if they run at 2m4f on good.

    the same also can be said about 2 milers who like soft,but can get 2m4f if its good.

    now if you look at fox appeals chase form at 2m3/4/5f with the word soft in the going,but also look at his 3/3m1f form on good only,you get this –

    221315223 ,so were ignoring 3 miles with soft in the going and 2m4/5f on good going.

    that 5th was in the grade 2 amlin chase.he was a 150 rated horse who had 4 horses rated 158 + in front of was a hot race and although hes won a novice grade 2 chase,he is not this level out of novice status.

    so thats a top 3 finish basically under the conditions set,regardless of track,time of year.value of race etc etc.

    this also backs up emma lavelles past quotes about “he goes on any ground”.she also stated hes a “fine horse” in that he doesnt give big weight away as others do that well.

    again this now i think explains why hi win ratio is low. hes won more place money than win money.

    as a result of a weak grade 2 novice chase win,hes been lumbered with a handicap rating in the 150’s for if you look at his 2 recent 3rds in handicaps and his 2nd in a hcap ,under the conditions ive set,he wasnt beaten far under big weights.

    on adjusted ratings using weight/lengths beaten formula,he comes out as the morale winner of these races.he ran of 149,151 and 152 giving loads of weight away to the winner and 2nd.

    he also ran balder sucess and gods own close in 3rd once under 2m4f on soft,these 2 were future grade 1 winners

    i know he seems to be best righthanded ,especially kempton,but its only because he had ideal ground,trip and class type when winning there.

    now lto at market rasen ,it was 2m5f on good,also a sharp track,so he was noted of losing his place at the 8th,but headway 3 out and kept on.

    i bet a extra 3f he would of gone really close and if the ground was softer that day he wouldnt of lost his place mid race.i didnt know this until i went through his earlier form first so im glad he ran like that to prove even now that that these conditions dictate his form.

    having spent 2 hours or so going through his form,much longer than any other horse ive done,at 10-1 it will be a bet for me ,hes fit and surely to improve from lto,a hcap mark of 141 means hes as the best chance to win in a long time and its nearly 3 miles on good ground an hopefully the rain stays away.

    hes going to make me look clever or stupid i think tomorrow unless it rains!!

    • Hi Rob

      That is some deep digging from yourself, I like it!

      Fox Appeal is a bit of a fiddly one as I agree to a certain extent, a case can be made for him today. However for me there are just a few too many niggling concerns… 0/10 on Good ground – 0/15 15k+ races – 0/9 14+ fields (1/16 12+ fields) – 5/6 wins on RH tracks – All wins between Nov & Jan – 0/6 on very undulating tracks…just think there will be better spots for him in coming weeks.

      I’ve also had a long-held concern over E Lavelle’s horses in 20k+ races as in the last few seasons they’ve returned figures of 3/129 | 2% S/R and run 72% below expectation. In fact those that start at 8/1 or less (and Fox A may well do that) are 0/47.

      Even after all that I still won’t be surprised if he should roll in at Chepstow due to how well handicapped he is!!

      We’ll soon find out…

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

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