As rock god Paul Stanley of Kiss once famously sang…
“I know life sometimes can get tough!
And I know life sometimes can be a drag!
But people, we have been given a gift,
we have been given a road
And that road’s name is… NATIONAL HUNT RACING!!”
Well he actually said the road’s name is Rock N Roll but I’m sure he really meant National Hunt Racing! In fact I’m positive he meant National Hunt Racing!
And people we are now firmly on that glorious mud splattered road for the next few months!
Chepstow kicked this National Hunt season into gear in fine fashion this weekend with their new two day mini-festival, well supported by a number of the major players of the jumping game.
For me the early part of the season is always a fantastic time to update my personal notes (full NTF Members benefited from ten pages of horse notes yesterday!) and this weekend certainly gave me plenty of ammo for this weeks ‘What we learned from the weekend’ post…
What We learned from The Weekend: 10th & 11th October…
1. Beast Of Burden looks exactly that over fences… A BEAST!
OK the end result wasn’t quite the icing on the cake but up until that second last fence boy did he look like a proper fencing beast! He was pulling Paul Townend’s arms out for most of the contest and it simply looked like a matter of ‘how far’ when the jockey finally decided to give him his head. At his obstacles he was extremely quick and he spends very little time in the air, getting up and over in economical fashion and getting away from his fences with the minimum of fuss. Yes he didn’t meet all his fences perfectly but that’s most likely due to him going slower than he really wanted and there was a sense that if he had been allowed a little bit more rope (although you can fully understand why Townend was restraining him) he would have positively devoured his fences.
Once the ground softens up he could be very difficult to beat in novice chases and the signs are very much that Rebecca Curtis has a chasing monster on her hands.
Whilst on the trainer, Rebecca Curtis, I think it’s fair to say that her string haven’t quite clicked as yet.
Her 30 day stats aren’t actually all that bad…
3/18 | 17% S/R | +£4.60 BFSP – Win & Place 5/18 | 28% S/R (winning at pretty much expectation)
…but it’s pretty clear from the visual evidence that most of her string are in need of their first outing. A number of her runners come into the home-straight looking to hold a chance but then relatively quickly check-out when push comes to shove.
That’s no bad thing though as it is still very early doors at present and there are plenty of horses currently in need of an outing to freshen their legs up from a long old summer with their feet up.
The Curtis horses don’t, however, look all that far away from ‘peak’ fitness and her string could well be worth following on their second outings, most, I suspect, will be bouncing fit after their recent spins.
Beast Of Burden obviously fits into that category and despite the unsatisfactory conclusion to his chasing debut it should have at least taken the freshness out of him and primed him perfectly for the season ahead.
Watch out cos the beast is gonna get ya!
2. Nico de Boinville has picked up where he left off from last season…
Four rides this weekend and three winners, two for Nicky Henderson and one for Patrick Chammings, all three ridden with expert calm.
Those three winners put him on seasonal figures of…
21/93 | 23% S/R | +£42.14 LSP
Last season he pulled in 44 winners from 208 rides (21% S/R).
The fact he is almost half-way to his seasonally tally from last term and we are only in the middle of October is very impressive from the young jockey indeed.
Obviously he is picking up more rides from Nicky Henderson now that Geraghty has taken on the JP McManus job full-time but he still has to get the job done and so far that’s exactly what he’s doing.
It’s actually well worth us looking a bit closer at the Henderson/de Boinville record a little closer and in particular their record together in non-handicap contests (where the duo teamed up for their two winners this weekend).
Since the start of 2013 the pair have an exceptional record of …
27/66 | 41% S/R | +£30.65 BFLSP – Win & Place 38/66 | 58% S/R
…in non-handicap events. That alone is an angle worth keeping on the radar.
However, look at the pair only in non-handicap hurdle events and you get…
18/37 | 49% S/R | +£23.11 BFLSP – Win & Place 25/37 | 68% S/R
An almost 50% strike-rate is never something to be sniffed at!
Don’t ignore the de Boinville, he means business!
3. Former Welsh National winner Mountainous is starting to look interesting again…
Then 10yo made his seasonal debut in the Veterans Chase at Chepstow on Sunday, finishing a never nearer 16 length 5th. However, I’m of the view that this was actually a decent run considering conditions were far from in his favour…
He will have needed the run (form of F3235572 off a break of 31 days+ whilst he is 1114131P when returning within 30 days)
He needs way more cut underfoot than he was getting (he is 25573F55 on Good or Good to Soft with four of his career wins coming on Heavy and one on Soft, overall form figures of 31121241315P6)
He seems to peak in the November – January period (32311315P12 compared to 7456512F55 in other months).
It’s also worth noting that he is 7lbs below his last and highest winning mark of OR 140 (Welsh National win) and he may well get dropped again for this run.
Whether he is up to winning another Welsh national is debatable but if he gets his conditions (Soft or Heavy ground – Returning within 30 days – Nov to Jan period – 3m+) then it isn’t hard to see him taking advantage of what is a very eye-catching handicap mark.
Don’t give up on the mountain just yet…
The shifting of the Cheltenham October meeting means that Champions Day at Ascot takes centre stage this weekend but there are still three National Hunt meetings taking place on Saturday and Kempton also host a decent card for us jumping fans on Sunday, a meeting that has been the returning point for the classy The New One in recent seasons.
Those meeting are sure to be juicy enough to bolster my own private notes (which then go to full NTF members in the shape of the ‘Weekends Notes’ guide) and there may even be a UTR runner lurking amongst the runners.
That side of the full service (the NTF UTR Squad) will start to motor into gear this week at some stage.
For the record MOUNTAINOUS was a UTR Squad member when he won the Welsh National back in 2013 so he’s certainly a horse that the NTF members and myself know very well!
Doors to the full NTF service are currently open, with places filling up rapidly thanks to the massive pick-up from previous members.
You can join the service at the following link…