horse racing

NTF Weekend Notes: Future pointers for your notebook…

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!

The Racing FX Prelude Chase was a particular delight as it contained no less than seven horses rated 141+, including one of the most exciting north novices of last term OSCAR ROCK.

That Market Rasen meeting is 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 two season’s ago and I then expanded upon it even more during last season.  It has now became an integral part of the service with many of the members using my information to construct their own bets as we rumble on through the long cold winter (a long cold winter warmed heartily by some wonderful National Hunt racing!).  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 – 26/09/2015


140 – Market Rasen – Class 2 | Juvenile Hurdle | 2m 0.5f | Good | 7 ran

This can often be a decent Juvenile Hurdle to follow as the season progresses. 


Now four from four over timber and its hard not to be impressed by an eased down 14 lengths success, whilst at the same time giving weight away to the rest of the field. He will have to prove he can do it away from the smaller tracks and against the bigger boys but so far the signs are that he is potentially more than just a summer horse. 


This was a solid UK debut for the French bred gelding and he only really faded as they were jumping two out. There was no shame or surprise in that thought as he was returning off a break of 178 days and probably just needed the run, the winner (Leoncavallo) was also very much race-fit after three starts (and wins) during the summer. He looks a fairly sturdy and chunky 3yo and long-term I would suspect he will jump a fence. He is related to Fox Norton (also used to be trained by Nick Williams but now trained by N Mulholland) who also finished 2nd in this race (2013 renewal) before going on to reach a decent level over hurdles (3rd in a G1) and make a successful chase debut in May of this year (2015). This one looks like he could well be a similar type in the making, reaching a decent level over hurdles before tackling fences as he strengthens up. He’ll come on plenty for this and should be of interest as the ground begins to ease.


A decent enough debut from the former flat performer and he battled on well enough once under the pump and should have learned plenty from this experience. He is a half-brother to Act Of Kalanisi, who also made the switch from Mark Johnston to Dr Richard Newlands, and the dam side of his pedigree gives plenty of hope for National Hunt success. On the sire side of things, however, he is by Duke Of Marmalade and his kids are yet to make a splash in the NH waters at this early date, none of them so far bettering an RPR figure of above 118. It’s early days on that score however.

215 – Market Rasen – Class 1 (Listed) | Handicap Hurdle | 2m 0.5f | Good | 9 ran


This was a fair step up in grade on what he had been contesting so far and was also his first start for 231 days but none of that bothered him in the slightest and he won this quite cosily in the end. His form actually suggests that a lengthy break is no obstacle to him as he has now won both of his starts off a long break (121+ days). This also brings his Sept – Dec record to 113121 (85045 in Feb – May) and with only 11 starts on his CV (9 over hurdles) there could yet be more improvement to be squeezed out from his trainer Stuart Edmunds (only second start for trainer).


Potentially unlucky not to get closer to the winner here, if not better. He clipped heels as they left the third last flight and did all but come down on the flat, effecting his rhythm and forward momentum. Impossible to say it made the difference between winning and losing but clearly it did not help as at the time of the incident he was moving well within himself but on clipping heels found himself at the back of the pack, meaning he had to ease himself back into contention at a vital stage.  This was his first start for Dan Skelton since moving across the Irish Sea from Ted Walsh and the signs are Skelton may well have picked up a decent and well-handicapped beast. His best form to date has come on LH tracks (9822811 compared to 70683 on RH tracks) but there are no obvious signs after this that he doesn’t indeed handle RH tracks. He travelled and jumped very smoothly throughout this contest and in time he should make into a fine chaser, hopefully picking up a couple of hurdle races on the way.

250 – Market Rasen – Class 1 (Listed) | Handicap Chase | 2m5.5f | Good | 10 ran


There was plenty in this lads favour here and he won in the manner his progressive and unexposed profile suggested he could. His record after a break of 61+ days now reads 1211721 and he clearly enjoys running off a decent break (this was first start of season) and it’s also worth noting that all his wins to date have come on tracks with some kind of undulations on (he is 327F on flat tracks). This win now brings his record at Listed level and below to 1221211211 and the weight rise for this win will almost certainly force connections to run him in better company. That, to date, has been a small sticking point as he is 73F3 at G3 level + and now needs to prove he can cut it at the top levels. This win also means he has won on Good, Good to Soft and Soft and looks relatively adaptable with regards to ground, heavy looking like the one going that he possibly doesn’t handle. Where he goes from here will depend a lot on what the handicapper does with him but trainer suggests that the Paddy Power Gold Cup looks like the likely next target.


This was a decent enough effort from the top-weight but at the same time I do think it exposed his stamina limitations and, to a certain extent, his class limitations. He travelled well into the home-straight but made a mess of 3 out (probably due to his stamina starting to ebb away) and was running on fumes after that, his class keeping him in second to the line. He is now 0225042 over 2m1f or further with all his wins coming over 2m or 2m 0.5f. He is also now 23240033842 at Listed level+ with a much stronger record at Class 2 level and below of 02410151111 (151111 at Class 3 level & below). On the plus side Aidan Coleman is now 1212 on the horse and the horse is now 1124411102 in fields of 11 or less. From a handicapping perspective OR 155 looks very tricky for him.


CLOUD CREEPER is almost certainly on a mark that’s above his capabilities (OR 152) so this 3rd placed effort probably was better than it looked. He also seems to need his first run back (record after a break of 121+ days now reads 2523) and again the run could be marked up with that in mind. He maybe also just prefers fields of 8 or less (422211112 compared to 3287552223 in 9+ fields) and potentially saves his best for the Feb – Apr period (form of 3121711 compared to 852522224223 in the May – Jan period). The month angle is far from conclusive as he has run well out with those prime months but it’s well worth keeping in mind.


Fourth was a decent effort from this one but he is potentially starting to look like a mid-summer type. He is now 334494 in the Aug – Jan period and his strong months look to be May, June & July (form of 1141211 – 5 of his 6 wins).  I also wouldn’t be quite convinced he is up to this level as although he travelled well enough for long enough he just couldn’t quite change gear when push came to shove.


This was a disappointing effort given that conditions should have been almost prime for him. He never really, however, looked happy at any stage and it’s worth considering that his 4 career wins have come on Left-Handed tracks and he is now 337475 when running on Right-Handed tracks. With that in mind it’s maybe just worth giving him one more chance to prove he isn’t done progressing just yet.


I mentioned this numerous times last season on the weekend notes and yet again Sam Twiston-Davies struggled to settle a Nicholls live-wire on the front end. The horse went way too fast early on here and his collapse back through the pack at four out was nothing if not inevitable. Don’t get me wrong I do rate STD but this wouldn’t be the first of these types of rides he has produced on a Nicholls ‘tricky’ type and it is an area of his game he needs to improve. This defeat also made it 10 attempts in Class 2 or above races for the horse and he may just not be all that good, albeit he still has time on his side as a 6yo.


A disappointing run on the face of it but he does need a run after a decent break as he is now 36459027238 after a break of 31 days or more. With that in mind you would expect him to be much sharper next time out. I’m also not convinced he likes RH tracks as he is now 0/4 going that way round. He is also yet to win over further than 2m 0.5f in 20 attempts now so personally I would like to see him tried back over the shorter trips. There are certainly excuses for this effort and he is finally dropping to what looks an eye-catching mark. He was 2lbs above his highest winning mark for this run and you suspect he will get dropped again for this effort, hopefully bringing him back to at least his last winning mark, hopefully below. We also have to factor in Emma Lavelle’s record in races worth 18k or more to the winner since 2011 (3/114 | 2.5% S/R  in races worth 18k+ to winner since 2011 – 68% below expectation). For whatever reason her horses have really been struggling in these valuable races.

400 – Market Rasen – Class 4 | Novice Hurdle | 2m 0.5f | Good | 6 ran


An interesting type this one. He looks quite big for a 4yo and looks a lovely put together and well-proportioned individual. He is a lovely jumper of his obstacles and shows plenty of speed through the air, wasting precious time getting from one side to the other. He looked like he may be swallowed up in the home-straight by the runner-up but he dug in doggedly and fought all the way to the line to grab the decision. He actually had some OK form from his juvenile season in France last year (14/15) and is related to the classy L’Ami Serge (N Henderson) and winning hurdler/chaser Sizing Codelco (H De Bromhead) and looks to have plenty scope to jump fences in time. Indeed he was sent over fences on his final start in France last term, unseating just as the race was about to hot up.


Loses nothing in defeat here and only just failed to get up on the line, losing out in a very dogged battle. He didn’t jump as fluently when it really mattered and that may have had a bearing but he still rates as a promising type.


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


Possibly a little bit lucky that the runner-up did it’s best to throw the race away but this one was sticking on right to the line and he does look an above average type. He holds plenty stamina influences in his pedigree and it may be that he is seen to even better effect when sent over further once he goes hurdling. The form of his bumper win from April has also been working out well enough to date.


Charlie Longsdon likes to target this race, having won 3 of the 4 renewals, and he often fires a decent one at it having won it with Magnifique Etoile & Spirit Of Shankly on two of the occasions. This one was backed like it was expected to win and it isn’t hard to say the filly was very unlucky not to have indeed won. She made good progress as they turned for home but clipped heels as they straightened up and did extremely well not to go down. That cost her plenty of momentum but to her credit she comfortable got back into a challenging position, only to then jump the path as she ranged up to the eventual winner, again costing herself vital momentum. She clearly has ability and an engine and once her greenness has been ironed out she should be winning races. She clearly fancies herself as a hurdler before long anyway with the way she jumped/hurdled the path!

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-%2026th%20September” icon=”style1-Pdf-64×64.png” file=”” package=”” level=”” new_window=”Y”]NTF%20Weekend%20Notes%20-%2026th%20September%20-%20PDF%20Download%20Version[/download][/file_download]

[file_download style=”2″][download title=”NTF%20Weekend%20Notes%2026th%20Sept” icon=”style1-Txt-64×64.png” file=”” package=”” level=”” new_window=”Y”]NTF%20Weekend%20Notes%2026th%20Sept%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…

Ben (NTF)


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


Doors to the full NTF service open on 14th October. Join below…

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

  1. A great read Ben.
    My main focus is on the Listed Chase won by OSCAR ROCK, who looked capable of winning again off a rating 8lb higher. Heaven knows what he’s capable of when pushed, as he lost concentration for a few strides on the run-in.
    I also agree with your comments on Edgardo Sol, who can throw-in a run in the mid-150’s when he’s in the mood. As such, he can win easily off his current mark – but when? He’s probably worth a small eachway wager each time he runs this season, especially when he’s priced at 10/1+.

    • Cheers Ian

      Yeah I have a feeling Edgardo is a big-priced winner waiting to happen. No doubt he will have needed this run and his current mark, which will almost certainly go down again off this, could seem him waltz away with a contest at some stage this season.

      Worth keeping on the raar for sure.

      Ben (NTF)

  2. Hi pinkie brown is my horse … ( and fox norton) different horse to foxy … Just needs to learn to relax … Winner would never beat us on soft ground , it was like a road!!!

    • Hi Brian

      I would say you have a very exciting prospect on your hands with Pinkie.

      Looking forward to seeing him out again when the ground starts to ease.

      Winner had plenty in it’s favour on Saturday, fitness, experience, ground…once ground eases you could take him no hassle!!

      Thanks for the comment – Ben (NTF)

  3. A great read Ben, I wasn’t aware of this service but it’s very interesting to read your comments. What software do you use to dissect the form by field size, track type, days since last run etc.?

    • Hi Adam

      Many thanks for the comment.

      I use a wide range of software to look at individual horses form. My main tool is Proform but I also use Racing Post and such sites to look at other angles to help build a profile on a horse.

      It’s a continual process but one of my main strengths is getting to know certain horses as deeply as possible.

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

    • Thanks Steve

      Edgardo ran a couple of solid races last term and he should come on plenty for this latest outing.

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

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