horse racing

The Soldier and The Cowboy: End of term report…

Technically I’m on ‘holiday’ right now… well… holiday probably not the correct word… rather I’m between services, letting my brain rest up and re-sharpen itself for the 2024 Flat NTF season (which begins, as always, on Debry/Oaks weekend at Epsom)… I’d like to be chilling out somewhere and getting a proper refresh… but nah, no such luck! Instead I’m working through a list of jobs that need done in the house/garden…ย  ย โ˜น๏ธ๐Ÿ˜ซ

I had, however, penciled in today for a bit of a look back at the two horses I have shares in with the Racing To Profit (RTP) Syndicate

Horse Profile - Jockey Coloursย BLAZING SOLDIER (Mark Walford)


Horse Profile - Jockey Coloursย DIXIE COWBOY (Sam England)

BLAZING SOLDIER ran last week and DIXIE COWBOY is entered up to run tomorrow (Thursday 9th May) at Stratford…

I’ll start with Blazing…



Trainer:ย Mark Walford

Form: 1-3-7

(Screenshot of Blazing Soldier’s form taken from HorseRaceBase… extended Free trial for NTF readers available here>>>)

Plenty of encouraging signs from Blazing Soldier in his three starts so far… he wasn’t purchased to be a 2-mile hurdler so the fact he managed to bang in a win on debut for us was a pleasant surprise ๐Ÿฅณ but that race was run at a bit of a crawl and he didn’t really get taken out of his comfort zone early on, meaning he was able to track along in touch and then kick on down the Newcastle straight… he likely just beat inferior opposition that day, for all the second horse – Two Auld Pals – has won since and the 3rd and 4th horses have both managed to place… regardless of how or why he won that race, it was a superb day for all involved and at the very least Blazing indicated to us that he was a horse that was capable of winning… a vital attribute for any racehorse to have in their locker!!!ย 

Things didn’t quite go to plan on his next two starts, but he’s had a bit of a stop start sort of time since that Newcastle win… he had a runny nose at one point (nothing major but enough to cause him to miss potential engagements)… meetings where he was set/planned to be running have been abandoned due to the weather (meaning he was being readied for a race that didn’t happen… then had to be let down a little and brought back up to speed for the next target)… and then the 2m4f races we had hoped to run him in on his final start of the season just were not there (had he not had the snotty nose/meetings abandoned he would highly likely have run in a different race as his final run of the campaign)… but Mark Walford wanted to get another run into him before he was roughed off for the season… hence the Hexham assignment last week…ย 

As Josh from RTP syndicate put it after the race…

A shame he didn’t have the pace to keep tabs today/comfort speed, and to finish off better. But he didn’t, his legs simply couldn’t go quick enough over that distance without using up too much gas too soon. At least we’ve learnt he’s not a 2m hurdler!

Which is also a sentiment shared by his jockey from Saturday; Brian Hughes…

That video was made available to all Blazing Soldier members very soon after the race itself, one of multiple videos and pics that were posted in the members Whatsapp group throughout race day, which is perfect for those (like myself) who couldn’t make it to the track on the day ๐Ÿ‘Œ

Blazing Soldier is now being let down for the season… reducing his workload at home in preparation for a couple months in the field… and then next season it’s what we’ve all been waiting for… FENCES!ย 

He already jumps his hurdles like he wants a fence, that has been noticeable from the off, and fences, all being well, is where he will go from next season… Mark Walford has informed us that he might give him a spin over hurdles first (I guess if he feels like he maybe needs a run to get himself going after his break then a hurdles pipe-opener would be a sensible plan) but essentially next season is all about going chasing for Blazing Soldier ๐Ÿ”ฅ๐Ÿช–

He’s by Soldier Of Fortune and his kids can and do improve for a fence…

48 Soldier Of Fortune kids have had 2 or more starts over fences and 24 of them have won at least once

…the reason I used 2 or more chase starts as my barometer there is due to the following stats screenshot, which looks at the record of Soldier Of Fortune offspring on their first (Criteria 0), second (Criteria 1) and third (Criteria 2) chase starts…

So… Solider Of Fortune offspring do improve for their first start over fences… the 10% strike-rate on chasing debut improves to 19% on their second chase start and then 26% on their third chase start…

Those stats look at all age groups… if I zone in on the Soldier of Fortune chasers aged 6, 7 & 8 (and Blazing is a 6yo)… then the stats tighter up a bit more…

Plenty of promise there for us Blazing Soldier owners and hopes are very high for the boy delivering further wins over the larger obstacles…ย 

I think the Blazing Soldier syndicate is currently full (he won on debut, that was always likely to see any remaining shares snapped up!!)… but you can join the waiting list in case anyone drops out (you’d be MAD to drop out ๐Ÿ˜„)…


Now for the other lad… ‘The Cowboy’…



Trainer: Sam England

Form: 7-8-5-2

On the face of it Dixie Cowboy’s form isn’t quite on a level with Blazing Soldier’s, but they are quite different horses… at home, anyway… The Cowboy (I’m going to call him ‘The Cowboy’ occasionally from now on) is a bit of a ‘stuffy’ sort who needs plenty of work to get him tuned up for his races and his first three races on the track were all about getting him to settle better and to bring him on, in terms of experience and fitness, and with each run he did indeed settle better and also work better at home… we’ve always known he would improve for stepping up in trip but he needed to have some spins over/around 2-miles to teach him to settle better in his races, and thankfully those runs did what was hoped/needed…

Like Blazing Soldier, however, he just missed a couple of potential assignments (weather mainly) so his run at Southwell last time out came off a bit of a longer break than was ideal (47-days) and he was pulling jockey Jonathan England’s arms out at certain stages of the race ๐Ÿ™ˆ but he still ran a superb race in second… and I think it’s fair to say we ‘bumped into one’ in the shape of the winner – Captain Wallace – the Sam Thomas trained 6yo was running under a 7lb penalty after winning by a comfortable 10L at Exeter 4-days previous… he’s now rated a whopping 15lbs higher than the mark he beat us off… so yeah, we bumped into one there!

Jonathan England rode a smart race on The Cowboy though, he had a brief thought of ‘OK, let’s see if we can get this leader’… but then wisely realised that was a fruitless task and just made sure he secured second… and hopefully that run will have tuned him up nicely for tomorrow’s race at Stratford…

Thursday 9th May – 5.50 Novices Limited Handicap Hurdle (Div 1)

It’s another step up in trip for The Cowboy, with this assignment being 2m6f (up from 2m4.5f last time out) and we’d be hopeful that will bring a bit more improvement from him, like Blazing we think/hope he will be a 3-mile chaser… and like Blazing it very much is a case of the old chestnut ‘anything he does over hurdles will be a bonus‘… but who doesn’t like a bonus!!ย 

I had a bit of a stats dig yesterday as I wanted to see how offspring of his sire – Westerner – performed at Stratford… and there are definite positives on that side of things…

Westerner IRE bred geldings | Stratford >2m1f and <3m | SP 9/1 or less

(since 2017) 9/23 | 39% S/R | +ยฃ32.74 – W&P 15/23 | 65% S/R

Dixie Cowboy being an Irish bred gelded son of Westerner… and then knocking out the ‘sprint’ trips and the ‘staying’ trips with the distance filter and concentrating on the more fancied types with the SP filter…

Adding to both the visual evidence of his last race and those promising Westerner stats above, it’s also well worth noting that The Cowboy is…

Those are all ratings/figures that I regularly factor in for my own betting/analysis… so there is plenty pointing towards a big run form The Cowboy… with the caveat that he is very much about chasing and as a 5yo we still don’t see him as the finished article yet…

I was actually at the Sam England yard on Saturday morning with a few of the other Dixie Cowboy owners and he was looking fantastic, he’s an extremely well put together individual and is developing at a rate of knots… helped in no small part by regular swims in the yards equine pool… ๐Ÿ‘‡

If you are going for regular outdoor swims in West Yorkshire then you will naturally toughen up!!ย 

He’s a smart cookie is The Cowboy though… I watched a few horses in the pool on Saturday and I swear he was cutting the corners more than most!!! He’s not stupid ๐Ÿค 

This was him after he had done his quota in the pool (4-times one way then 4-times the other… just a light swim for him to keep him supple after some heavier work the day before)…

Regardless of the outcome at Stratford on Thursday he’s a horse we are confident will be winning for us over fences next season, Sam & Jonathan England are also very happy with him… Sam has seen plenty improvement from him at home and Jonathan has felt plenty improvement from him on the track… weather/ground dependent Thursday may not be his last run before his summer break, he doesn’t seem to want extremes of going so as long as things don’t dry out to a fast underfoot surface (which seems unlikely given the amount of rain we’ve had over the past few months!) then there may potentially be a couple more opportunities for him before he has a bit of a break and then gets ready, like Blazing Soldier, to strut his stuff over the larger obstacles…

I think there’s still a small amount of shares available in the Dixie Cowboy Syndicate so if you are looking to get involved in the ownership side of things then (in a completely non-bias way!!) I’d thoroughly recommend you take a look at what is on offer…

Join the Dixie Cowboy syndicate>>>

If Sam England can get anywhere near the level of improvement from The Cowboy that she got out of Kinondo Kwetu then we will be in for one hell of a ride!!!

And talking truthfully (as in not biased as an owner!) about the Racing To Profit Syndicate… it’s run by two extremely knowledgeable guys in Josh Wright & Jay Ryan

I’ve known Josh for a very long time, he’s one of the few people in the same field as myself that I would class as a friend and he 100% knows his stuff when it comes to racing, he lives and breathes the game and his knowledge runs deep… perhaps more importantly, when it comes to ownership/syndicates, he’s someone who is 100% trustworthy and is a great communicator, something that is very obvious via the RTP horses… even if you don’t make it to the racetrack/yard visits you are kept so much in the loop with regular updates that it feels like you are there… the communication to owners is absolutely bang onย  ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

Jay I only met for the first time on Saturday at the Sam England yard, but like Josh he clearly knows his stuff, extremely friendly and approachable and between them they run an extremely professional syndicate… I’m impressed… and I’m a grumpy Scotsman… I’m not easily impressed!!ย  ๐Ÿ˜

Exciting times ahead for DIXIE COWBOY and BLAZING SOLDIER (and owners) and hopefully a big run awaits The Cowboy at Stratford on Thursday ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿคž๐Ÿคž

Cheers – Ben (NTF)

You can get all previous NTF Blog posts here>>>

6 responses to “The Soldier and The Cowboy: End of term report…”

    • Cheers Bill… hopeful of a big run from The Cowboy ๐Ÿคž could be improvement to come from some of the others but hopefully he’ll be in there fighting out the finish…

      Ben (NTF)

  1. HI Ben
    Good luck to Dixie,you and the rest of the lads also to Coolree later on in the week/next week and horses come back safe.

    • Many thanks Bill, much appreciated ๐Ÿ˜Ž

      You’d think Coolree would be getting himself home in front again before too long…

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

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