horse racing

What we learned from the weekend: 31st January & 1st February…

Well that was a muddy old weekend!!

I’ve been discussing it quite a bit with NTF members recently and I think Ffos Las on Saturday proved the point well; there needs to be a going description below Heavy. Very Heavy will do. It’s not rocket science. Ffos Las wasn’t Heavy. It was clearly worse than that. We don’t need to go back and look at all previous fixtures and determine what was Heavy and what was Very Heavy, we just need to start doing it from now and make it part of the form book from here on in. It would be beneficial for punters, trainers, jockeys and owners alike. It’s firmly on my wishlist of things that need done to improve the sport. Next time I’m in a position to speak with a person of influence I’ll bring it up. You should do the same. Until then I’ll do the standard British thing and moan about it 😀

Despite the soggy-bottomed underfoot conditions there was still plenty of note happening on the track so lets crack on with this weeks ‘What We Learned From The Weekend’…


What we learned from the weekend: 31st January & 1st February… 

1. Paul Nicholls looks to have a serious prospect on his hands in SILSOL…

Another Saturday and another big race winner from Paul Nicholls, this time in the shape of SILSOL who landed the Welsh Champion Hurdle in authoritative fashion.

It would be easy to conclude that this super-heavy ground form shouldn’t be taken at face value but one of my full NTF subscribers (Sean) made an excellent case pre-race regarding the Welsh Champion Hurdle and subsequent form…

Oscar Whisky won the 2011 renewal

Medinas won the 2013 renewal

Saphir Du Rheu and Whisper fought out a close finish in the 2014 renewal

The last two renewals were also run on similarly heavy ground.

Take a look at the damage three of the four mentioned above did when they went on to the Cheltenham and Aintree Festivals in the aftermath of their Welsh Champion Hurdle victories…

Oscar Whiskey – 3rd in the Champion Hurdle and winner of the Aintree Hurdle (multiple graded winner in following seasons)

Medinas – Winner of the Coral Cup at 33-1 (has since won the Grade 2 Long Distance Hurdle)

Saphir Du Rheu – Didn’t go to any of the Festivals but has since won the Grade 2 Cleeve Hurdle

Whisper – Won the Coral Cup AND the Aintree Hurdle

That’s serious form. SILSOL won this years renewal from a mark of OR 151 (aided by Jack Sherwood’s 7lb claim). He looks a serious prospect and he should be followed with interest going on from this.

One word of caution, however; he is a German (GER) bred!!

Long-term NTF readers you will know what is coming, but for the benefit of new readers…

German bred (GER) hurdlers are 0/101 at the Cheltenham Festival since 2002!!

WOW! 0 from 101!

101 German bred (GER) runners have lined up in a hurdle race at the Cheltenham Festival since 2002 and ALL 101 have been beaten!! In fact only 13 have managed to place. Sheesh!

The Germans do not like the Chelenham hurdle track in the springtime. Fact.

I expect one to pop in at some stage. This won’t go on indefinitely. At present, however, the stats suggest we need to be avoiding them.

There hasn’t actually been any word of SILSOL turning up in a Festival race but if he did he would have to have ROCK SOLID credentials for whichever race he was lining up in for me to turn a blind-eye to those German bred stats.

Aintree may be the best option for him in the spring but even if he misses the spring festivals altogether he does look a serious prospect in the long-term, probably over fences.

Keep Silsol firmly on your radar but beware of those Germans over hurdles at the Cheltenham Festival…

p.s. join the NTF list and gain access to more fascinating and profitable stats as we build ever closer to the 2015 Cheltenham Festival…


…sticking with Silsol and Paul Nicholls…

2. Paul Nicholls has another serious prospect under his care in the shape of young Jack Sherwood…

Paul Nicholls isn’t afraid to blood young up and coming jockey talent and in Jack Sherwood he looks to have unearthed a gem.

Jack Sherwood rode Silsol to his Welsh Champion Hurdle victory with the composure and class of a man many years his senior, bringing his record on the horse to 2111. It’s partnership that works fantastically well, a bit like the overall Nicholls/Sherwood partnership…

Jack Sherwood/Paul Nicholls combo stats

7/20 | 35% S/R | +£45.33 BFLSP – Win & Place 11/20 | 55% S/R (119% above expectation)

It’s safe to say that is a flourishing set of figures, despite the limited data-set.

Unsurprisingly Nicholls has used the young pilot primarily in handicaps…

Jack Sherwood/Paul Nicholls – Handicaps

7/18 | 39% S/R | +£47.33 BFLSP – Win & Place 9/18 | 50% S/R

His claim is well worth it’s weight in gold and Nicholls is not afraid to use it, especially on a Saturday…

Jack Sherwood/Paul Nicholls – Saturday figures

5/8 | 63% S/R | +£49.37 BFLSP

He’s a jockey that is clearly going places and Paul Nicholls, rightly so, will milk his claim for all it’s worth.

Keep a watchful eye on any Nicholls/Sherwood runners, they have been a rich source of profits so far…


3. Tony Martin is plotting…as usual!!

It was Cheltenham Trials day at Musselburgh on Sunday and in the concluding Pertemps Qualifier there was a typically sneaky run under the radar from Tony Martin’s EDEYMI.  His never nearer 4th gets him qualified for the Pertemps final at the Festival in March, a race that clearly looks the main target for this 7yo. They tried to get him qualified in the Leopardstown qualifier over Xmas but that was his first run for well over a year and he could only manage 11th that day. With that run under his belt, however, they had a fitter horse on their hands for this task and they were able to nudge and nurdle the horse into a qualifying slot without seriously threatening the winners spot (the stewards had a look, didn’t see anything wrong, job done as far as Martin was concerned).

The interesting thing about this horse is that he already has some solid Cheltenham Festival form to his name with a decent 2nd in the 2012 Fred Winter behind Une Artiste. He also ran in the 2013 Martin Pipe Hurdle but was brought down 3 out before he could get involved. He ran off OR 139 in the Martin Pipe and OR 135 in the Fred Winter (the same as the mark he ran off in the Musselburgh race) so if he gets in the Pertemps this year (bottom weight last year was OR 135, same as year before) he will most likely be at the foot of the weights and running from the same mark that saw him go very close in the 2012 Fred Winter.

The quiet ride from the inexperienced 7lb claimer (from what I can see he is yet to win a race under rules) at Musselburgh was clearly a qualifying job and nothing else. Essentially it was job done and the Martin plot is brewing nicely.

Look out for a vastly improved effort from EDEYMI at the Festival…


Happy Punting – Ben (NTF)

*Stats sourced from the excellent Proform Professional Database

Proform Racing | The professional Formbook

12 responses to “What we learned from the weekend: 31st January & 1st February…”

  1. Did you see ruby in Leopardstown Ireland riding one of Tony Martins in a pertemps qualifier this has plot written all over it will not say the name but you can work it out by checking if so desired.
    Best regards jc

    • Hi John

      Yeah I think I know the one you are on about, finished 4th, never likely to finish better than that, same race over Xmas as Edemyi.

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

    • Hi Ian

      I wish the going stick readings were available more readily personally and we were able to analyse the form using the going stick readings. That way we would be able to determine, for example, that a horse was at it’s best on a going stick reading of between 3.5 & 5.5 but didn’t run to it’s best outwith that.

      That would surely give us more reliable data to work with and I wish there were online formbooks that allowed us to search a horses form in that manner.

      The stick may ultimately be the best answer…

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

      • I’m with you on that one. I have reservations about some readings that are given as courses are loath to have extremes of ground, more so on the flat.

        There’s almost a case for someone independent to declare the going rather than course representatives, a certain Mr Armstrong springs to mind at Newcastle where I think he pulls the going out of a hat

  2. Great read Ben, await your next article with much anticipation.
    Any inkling as to the Cheltenham target of Henry de Bromheads Shanahans Turn?

    • Thanks James, much appreciated.

      Personally I think they should go the JLT route with Shanahans Turn, he has speed in his pedigree. He probably will stay 3m well enough in time but for now I would think shorter trip would suit.

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

  3. Couldn’t agree more seemed to be cruising into the straight at Leopardstown last time and didn’t seem to get home, possibly the ground but has previous form on soft/heavy!!!

    • Hi James

      Yeah he could just be one of those who will stay in time but at the minute I would think they need to stick to the shorter trips.

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

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