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What we learned from the weekend: 1st & 2nd February…

What we learned from the weekend? 

That FAUGHEEN really is a ‘machine’ and also a complete dis-respecter of trends and stats to boot!

I mean a 12yo winning a G1 Novice Chase!? Faugheen hell!! 🙉🙈

Just shouldn’t be happening…but it did! 

He’s a legend, an anomaly, a freakin’ actual machine in equine form!! An aging rockstar that can still crack out a number one and show the young guns how it’s done 🤘

…and I salute him. What a horse 👏👏👏

Can he produce the goods at the Cheltenham Festival though?

The stats (again!) will be against him…

Since 2003 (at the Cheltenham Festival)…

12yo+ in G1 races = 0/21, 0p

11yo+ in G1 races = 1/79, 11p

*Bonus points if you can name the solitary 11yo+ winner?

Don’t get me wrong, from a racing fan perspective I’d love to see Faugheen bust those stats, absolutely love it…but then again I’d love to see Scotland win the Euro’s this summer (hell I’d love to see them bloody qualify!!)…I just won’t be backing either of those things to be happening…you know what I’m saying?

(for the record if Faugheen wins at the festival AND Scotland win the Euro’s then I’ll run butt naked round Prestbury Park…TWICE!) 

Away from The Machine, however, what else was catching my eye last weekend? (Hint – it’s very much a Mullins themed post this week!!)

What we learned from the weekend: 1st & 2nd February…

1. LUARINA bombed out for the second race in succession

…and as her jockey Nico De Boinville reported post-race the mare was simply ‘never travelling’, which was pretty clear for all to see. She never jumped with any real fluency either, ballooning more than a few of the Sandown fences on her way round before eventually ending up with another ‘PU’ on her CV.

But was the below par effort really that much of a surprise?

The stats were very much against her coming into this contest, given the fact she was Pulled-Up last time out.

Since 2010 the record of those running at Graded level (NOT female only races) having PU last time out is a strikingly miserable…

60/1422 | 4% S/R | -£560.75 LSP – W&P 240/1422 | 17% S/R

39% below expectation

Over the weekend there were seven such horses running (including Laurina) and they finished…P6UPP03

Coming into a Graded race off the back of a PU effort should ring massive alarm bells for any punter…you have been warned!!

PU last time out before running in a Graded race is a major no-no…

2. Willie Mullins tightened his grip in Leopardstown Graded Novice Hurdles…

…with the latest ‘star’ to be unleashed being 6yo ASTERION FORLONGE, who ripped apart the Chanelle Pharma Novice Hurdle (formerly the Deloitte) by an impressive 9.5 lengths.

This win made it 3 from 3 under rules for the grey (4 from 4 in career – 1 from 1 in points, 1 from 1 in bumpers, 2 from 2 over hurdles) and Sunday’s win was nothing if not a deeply impressive performance.

The win also improved the following Willie Mullins Leopardstown Novice Hurdle angle…

Willie Mullins | Leopardstown G1/G2 Novice Hurdles | NO headgear or Tongue-Tie | 5yo-7yo | SP 12-1 or less

…to…

16/39 | 41% S/R | +£49.35 BFLSP – W&P 25/39 | 64% S/R

54% above expectation

…which is a tidy little angle to have in the back-pocket.

The Cheltenham Festival looms large on the horizon for Asterion Forlonge and the stats look promising for him…

W Mullins | Cheltenham Festival Novice Hurdles | 5yo-6yo | Won at graded level LTO

10/27 | 37% S/R | +£25.47 BFLSP – W&P 16/27 | 59% S/R

54% above expectation

Asterion Forlonge will obviously qualify on that angle.

The stats are strong for Willie and Asterion…

3. SHARJAH’s Champion Hurdle bubble went pop…

To be fair I’m not sure how much of a ‘bubble’ there was to burst but his victory in the Leopardstown G1 over the Festive period (Matheson Hurdle) did strongly hint he was a likely player for the March hurdling showpiece.

His latest effort, however, probably suggests otherwise.

He traveled well enough for long enough in the Irish Champion Hurdle on Saturday but when push came to shove there simply was nothing there, the cupboard was more naked than me when I’m running round Prestbury Park after the Faugheen/Scotland double lands (not gonna happen, don’t worry!).

There is, however, now a strong theme to when we are likely to see a peak Sharjah and it comes in the form of his monthly splits…

Form in January – July = 768B463 (0/7)

Form in August – December = 11001314F11 (6/11)

Put simply he’s a second half of the year type of horse. Unless they move the Champion Hurdle to the November meeting you have to think his chances are slim at best…

There were reasons to give him a chance to prove the stats wrong at the weekend, you’d now be hard pushed to give him another chance…

Be wary of Sharjah’s hibernation period…

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My ‘Ten essential Cheltenham Festival trends you NEED to know‘ guide is a must read for anyone that’s serious about making a profit at this years meeting.

It won’t be your standard trends and it won’t be information that’s readily available in the open market so you won’t want to miss this.

Make sure you are in line to get your own personal copy by >>> hooking on to the NTF FREE list today.

Cheers – Ben (NTF)

Laurina/Itchy Feet picture was taken by racing photographer Michael Harris. You can see plenty of his excellent work on his twitter page.

Majority of stats sourced from the excellent Proform Professional database

Narrowing the Field - Proform

23 responses to “What we learned from the weekend: 1st & 2nd February…”

  1. TBF a 12 year old competing against novices and frankly not sure they should send a horse that jumps like that and owes them nothing to Chelters albeit a 160 TF says he should be fav for Marsh or RSA.

    To be mildly contrarian and someone who finds the fetish of restricted races rather leading to lots of geese and few swans is it not really what novice racing is for a 12 year old whose connections want to ring every last drop out of him?

    Oh and Cue Card is the answer… at Ascot? Ignore other answer!

    • Knockara Beua = No

      Cue Card = No

      Cheltenham G1’s remember…

      I’ll admit I thought it was a strange move to send him chasing as an 11yo/12yo but in fairness the move has been justified. Will be almighty hard for him to repeat the trick at Cheltenham mind you…

      Ben (NTF)

  2. Any thoughts on Tornado Flyer, thought it ran a great race, not best ride last couple of fences but tired, Cheltenham bound and which race…. Marsh I think, your thoughts would be appreciated.. Thank You

    • Hi Roger

      Yes, good to see an improved run from TF after his PU on his last start.

      No real strong opinion on him in fairness but given he was a Graded bumper performer you’d have to think there’s plenty talent in him, could well see him out running his odds in some decent races…

      Ben (NTF)

    • Hi Rob

      Wouldn’t say Mullins is a stat killer, more one that sets the stats and continues to deliver on them (Faugheen excluded, obviously!!).

      Ben (NTF)

  3. Moscow Flyer?
    On what we have seen so far Faugheen looks a worthy favourite but the ground was unusually fast last week so I can see a few of these results being reversed come the Festival.

    • Hi Kevin

      Yes, ground was a bit faster than you’d expect for February in Ireland! Depends on what ground appears at Cheltenham of course but if we get a wet one then yes, could be a case for a few of the results to be spun on their heads…

      Ben (NTF)

      p.s. 👍 for 11yo+ G1 Cheltenham winner

  4. Hi Ben
    My Thoughts on Presenting Percy is that its 1 day in March only that counts and the rest have been prep runs, I think Percy ran really well last time and jumped very well, with a bit more to come and the longer distance on the new course 14/1 seems a bit big.
    Thoughts?

    • Hi Pete

      Just can’t have Presenting Percy as a full on G1 player myself I know a lot think differently but I just can’t have him…

      1/7 at G1 level – 9/15 at G2 level & below

      In truth he doesn’t really win enough of his chase starts either, with overall chase form of 3 from 9…

      Just not for me. Dangerous game as well (priming horse for one particular target), plenty of races they could win (if good enough) throughout season and still have enough time to recover between races…

      Ben (NTF)

  5. Feb 5th,morning Ben,as regards Laurina and being P/U in her form figures,why then was she 5/4 fav?,but by the same token i scan the results every day looking for clues or some sort of pattern.Take yesterdays results of low class horses how they manage to win very well with similar form ,Sedg,3.00,Valence Daumont,W 8/1.PU lto.Sedg,4.35 Miss Zip W 11/1,PU in last two races.MR,3.50,Lady Master,W 9/2,pu in last 2 races,although was 3rd lto,won by 7L.,MR,4.20,Ballyhome,6PP,Wins@4/1.PU,maybe could be signifcant.John.

    • Hi John

      Why was she fav? Mullins sending one horse over, bit of a hyped up horse for this season, punters just see the name Mullins and Laurina and don’t look past that…doesn’t really matter why she was fav though, the stats said that a PU last time out before running at Graded level is a concern…

      Big difference in running in a C4/C5 at Market Rasen or Sedgefield after a PU last time than a G1 at Sandown…Laurina was taking on a bunch of high quality Novice Chasers, the levels mid-week at M Rasen or Sedgefield are some way below that, a PU LTO wouldn’t concern me anywhere near as much under those circumstances…

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

  6. ive just realised that delta work will be the 3rd pertemps final winner trying to win the gold cup since 2015.presenting percy flopped as fav last year and holywell came 4th.both them pair and delta work were good novice chasers the following year (all 3 won grade 1 novice chases)

    looking at the previous pertemps winners,i dont think any took there chance in the gold cup upto 2015,so newish trend im seeing here ,theres something about the profile of a gold cup winner i have in my head without even looking at past winners and being a big handicap hurdle winner isnt one of them!!

    • Morning Rob

      No, you wouldn’t really associate a Gold Cup winner with being a big handicap hurdle winner, Delta Work, however, has already proven himself as a multiple G1 winning Chaser (novice and out of the novice ranks) with 5 G1 chases already in the bank, something Presenting Percy and Holywell were not coming into their Gold Cup bids.

      For me Delta Work is someway better than both Holywell and Presenting P.

      Synchronised had won a Pertemps Hurdle qualifier and then fell at the last in the Pertemps Final, most of the other recent Gold Cup winners wouldn’t have had much in the way of handicap Hurdle starts.

      Delta Work only spent the one season over Hurdles so I’d be more concerned if he had a novice hurdle season then stayed hurdling the next year and went down the Handicap route.

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

  7. Topofthegame as well ,neck 2nd in coral cup,if he wasn’t injured this season,the formlines suggest as serious chance in the gold cup,just a thing I’m noticing now that top chasers seen to be running in festival handicap hurdles

    • Could be connections trying to take advantage of them being ‘well-handicapped’ early in their career before they head chasing, reach their full potential and have less chance of entering handicaps on a decent mark.

      Generalising, of course, but makes sense I suppose, a future chaser probably won’t show his full potential until he meets with a fence…

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

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