horse racing

Three to follow from the weekend: 18th, 19th & 20th February…

Bit of a weather impacted week at times over the last seven or so days, what with Storm Blowy and Storm Chucking it Down (whatever they were called!) causing havoc up and down the land. Thankfully there was still plenty for us to tuck into on the racing front though…

FAKIR D’OUDAIRIES landed the Grade 1 spoils at Ascot in fine style, taking his form under the following conditions…Fields of 9 or less | DSLR 21-35… to… 1121221 (4/7, 3p). The figure he posted was right up there with his best and he’s simply a very solid Grade 1 performer. I suspect connections will bypass the Ryanair Chase and go to Aintree instead and try and defend his Melling Chase crown, a race where he would likely prove hard to beat. TWO FOR GOLD ran a huge race in second place behind the Irish raider and he’s a horse that is having a fantastic season and he was simply beaten by a better horse come the line. As for the remainder of the field I’m not sure any of them will be picking off a Grade 1 anytime soon…

The same probably applies to the Reynoldstown Chase field earlier on the card. DOES HE KNOW pummelled the opposition by upwards of 14L but I suspect the race will produce nothing more than a bunch of handicappers… some potentially decent handicappers, don’t get me wrong, but not sure I see any future Grade 1 winners coming from the race…

Haydock was it’s usual mud-bath with the slugfest that was the Grand National Trial seeing only three of the 11 runners manage to complete the course. The winner – THE GALLOPING BEAR – highlighted his endless stamina reserves by grinding down the old warrior BRISTOL DE MAI (what a run from the lad!) and landing his second staying test on the bounce. The 2023 National looks like the long-term plan for him so it will be interesting to see how he is campaigned from here on out as he was raised 7lbs to OR 147 for Saturday’s win and I’d say that was an almost perfect mark to be going to war from over the National fences (the winning handicap marks of the last five National winners have been 146-159-150-148-148… the anomaly there being Tiger Roll when he landed his second National off 159).

Down at Wincanton GOSHEN secured his second Kingwell Hurdle, a race that is probably run under the absolute optimum conditions for him (a right-handed track without any severe undulations run on testing ground and below G1 level). The one to take from the race, however, is possibly the runner-up ADAGIO. I suspect that was a massively better effort than the bare form suggests as he was bumping into a hard race fit GOSHEN who as already mentioned had absolute Prime Conditions to race under, as such a 1.75L second on his first run for 97 days for the Pipe 5yo is probably a fair old effort. Not sure where he’ll go after this but he’s worth keeping an eye on for the remainder of the season, he could well pick off a decent pot somewhere. 

Now time for my ‘Three to follow from the weekend’…

Three to follow from the weekend: 18th, 19th & 20th February…


ELVIS MAIL (N Alexander)

2nd in a Class 3 Handicap Hurdle – 2.00 Kelso (Friday 18th) 

The winner (Stainsby Girl) was probably a bit better handicapped than this Nick Alexander runner but this was still a fine effort from the 8yo and he was 25L+ ahead of the remainder. Not sure why they still haven’t put the hood back on him yet as he’s now 0/10, 3p without a hood compared to 5/10, 1p with a hood, his last two wins came when wearing a hood and he’s not won any of the 8 starts since then (all without the hood). Maybe they are lining him up for a crack at something and only want the hood back on when whatever that race is comes around…

Prime Conditions for the horse would look to be…

Class 2 or less Chase or Hurdle | Wearing a Hood

…where he has form figures of…

1111214 (5/7, 1p – all 5 career wins)

…although if he rocked up in a Class 1 wearing the hood I suspect I’d be backing him regardless!



3rd in the Grade 3 Grand National Trial Handicap Chase – 2.40 Haydock (Saturday 19th) 

I thought there was plenty to like about this effort from the 9yo and he was still travelling extremely smoothly as they turned for home for the final slog down the home-straight. I’d be pretty sure it was fitness (it was his first run for 105 days) rather than stamina that let him down here as his pedigree is chocked full of stamina influences and he’s worthy of consideration in any Nationals he may line up in in the coming months. For the majority of this race he moved like a horse that still has improvement to come from his current mark of OR 142 (down 2lbs from 144 for Saturday’s run) and I’d be sure his connections have something in mind for him…


YOUNG BULL (H Whittington)

3rd in a Class 3 Handicap Chase – 4.15 Newbury (Sunday 20th) 

Good to see this one back on the track after 456 days off and there was plenty of promise from him until fitness told between the second last and last fence. He generally improves for his first run off a break anyway…

523333 (0/6) off breaks of 50+ days

11112 (4/5) off breaks of 49 days or less

…so I’d expect him to strip plenty fitter for Sunday’s outing.

He’s well worth keeping on the radar with this run in the bank and his mark of OR 130 shouldn’t pose any great obstacle for him.

Cheers – Ben (NTF)

p.s. you can view all previous free posts on the main NTF Blog menu page

4 responses to “Three to follow from the weekend: 18th, 19th & 20th February…”

  1. Long been a fan of Young Bull and was certainly a future staying chaser on the last season prior to picking up an injury after his Ascot run. Harry was keen to take him to the 3M novice hcap on Midlands national day last season prior to that & can’t help but think he’s targeting it this year now he’s got him fit in time.

    • Hi Aaron

      Yes, Young Bull been on my radar for quite a while so great to see him back at the weekend.

      3m Nov on Midlands National day often produces some decent types and can see that being a good fit for Young Bull, definitely 👍

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

  2. Nice one Ben. Always read what you put out over the years. Very good information/right ups, Your prime conditions is a belter. I used to love your ‘mini angles’ that Skeleton one was a good one of note for me, I can’t remember it now though 😂.
    Keep it going your work is fantastic.

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