horse racing

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

The Gigginstown/Mullins split had little to no effect on Willie…

The heaters went back on over the weekend, despite the fact I was walking the dogs in shorts and t-shirt at the start of last week!

It’s like a switch had been flipped as soon as we hit October.

Sun OFF. Rain and cold ON.

I like to think that switch was marked ‘National Hunt’!

The turn in the weather mixed with the trees all shedding their leaves are the sure signs that big things are on the cusp of happening.

Big things such as National Hunt 2016/17 starting to kick into party mode!!!

The facts are that if I’m sticking on the waterproofs for dog walking duties (which I bloody well am!) it also means that racetracks up and down the country are getting a good old natural softening.

As well as the racetracks having the summer sting taking out of them the trainers gallops at home will also be softening up. They will be much more likely to get some serious work into their charges when the ground has more give in it. More work at home means more chance of them unleashing their bigger names on the racetrack before long. That, my friends, can only but be a good thing!

If you are a jumping fan I urge you to embrace any rain and cold that comes your way in the next week or so. Sure you may get wet on the way to work. You’ll get drenched on the dog walk. You will have to stick an extra layer on here and there. The thin duvet will need to be changed for the bulky winter one. But hey, suck it up people! Take a soaking for the team! Add the extra layers with pride! For this is National Hunt weather and that is exactly what we want. Nay it’s 100% what we need! EMBRACE THE BEAUTIFUL BRITISH WEATHER!

And off the back of that call to arms it’s time to kick my regular weekly NTF article back into action; What we learned from the weekend.

Each Monday or Tuesday I cherry-pick three things from the National Hunt weekend action just past and give you my thoughts, opinions and pointers to give you something to mull-over and take forward with you into the coming week and beyond. It won’t be as in-depth as the Weekend Notes that I supply to full members each and every Monday but there will still be plenty for you to tuck into and chew over.

So let’s crack on with the party…

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

1. Mullins cares not a jot for the loss of the Gigginstown runners…

For any normal yard the loss of 60 horses from the champion owner would be a hammer blow. Willie Mullins, however, is no normal trainer!

A quick look at his stats from the weekend tells us the Gigginstown split has, so far, had very little effect on him…

4 winners from 5 runners | 80% S/R | +£5.69 BFLSP

Those wins came in two Grade two’s and two Grade three’s. He wasn’t scoofing up some low grade maidens, far from it, he was nailing the hottest races on offer over in Ireland.

You can’t stop the Willie juggernaut!

If we compare the Mullins weekend stats (above) to the Gigginstown weekend stats (below) we again see that it’s not Mullins that is going to suffer the most from the split…

2/12 | 17% S/R | -£3.19 BFLSP – Win & Place 6/12 | 50% S/R

OK it’s only one weekend of racing and the season is only just slipping out of it’s summer gear but I think it’s a fair enough indicator that this mass removal of horse flesh isn’t even a minor bump in the road for team Mullins, simply a small inconvenience that’s he’s already dealt with and moved on from.

To be honest I’m more interested in the impact it will have on us punters.

These are the stats for the Mullins/Gigginstown partnership since the start of 2011…

159/493 | 32% S/R | +£128.54 BFLSP – Win & Place 271/493 | 55% S/R

A hefty strike-rate and a healthy level stakes profit to boot.

Indeed there has only been one year (2013) in the past six where you couldn’t have made a profit backing them blind.

If we drill down into the Mullins/Gigginstown Bumper runners we see an even heftier strike-rate…

45/86 | 52% S/R | +£46.96 BFLSP – Win & Place 68/86 | 79% S/R

I don’t know about you guys but having an angle that was striking at above 50% taken away from you in the toughest races to fathom from a form perspective (bumpers) is pretty damn gutting!

If you look at the Gordon Elliott/Gigginstwon axis (Elliott has by far and away the largest number of the Gigginstown horses and looks likely to be the main beneficiary of the Mullins split) you get a very different picture…

191/956 | 20% S/R | -£61.86 BFLSP – Win & Place 397/956 | 42% S/R

A lower strike-rate and a fairly hefty level stakes loss on all runners.

Obviously this is a bit of a generic overview of things and is no way indicative of Elliott’s talents as a trainer, far from it, but from our point of view (the everyday punter) the Mullins/Gigginstown split does rob us of a profitable betting angle that didn’t look like slowing up any time soon.

The parting of ways is unlikely to effect Mullins but it does leave us punters a bit worse off…


Sticking with Gigginstown…

2. Road to Riches looked more than a tad laboured on Saturday…

At his best, or even a few pounds below his best, Road To Riches should have been strolling away with that PWC Champion Chase at Gowran Park. The tactics employed on him, however, left plenty to be desired.

I get that his crunching fall at Punchestown in April may have dented his confidence and then his poor run in the Galway Plate, where he finished lame, probably didn’t restore the confidence much, but keeping a tight reign on him in a race in which he could have dominated from the front surely won’t do much for his confidence either. They were making him do something he isn’t a fan of doing in this contest (sitting in the rear of the pack) and that’s surely going to knock his confidence further?

The result was that he fired in his lowest RPR figure for 14 starts (since his novice chase days) and one of his scrappiest rounds of jumping for quite some time.

For me it left plenty more questions than answers and personally I would have much preferred to see him attack the race from the front and use his stamina to put the others under pressure. Ballycasey (the winner) is hardly a robust stayer but they simply allowed him the run of the race and he won with the utmost ease.

Road To Riches is now at a bit of a crossroads for me. I don’t think he’s done with as a top level performer but I’m not sure I’ll be tempted to part with my cash on him until I see a more polished performance from him. A performance off the front end where he is allowed to what he does best; pinging away at the head of affairs and grinding things out.

Let Riches do what he’s happiest doing so we can see exactly what he still has to offer…


3. Tim Vaughan has his string in absolutely bouncing form…

I’ll let his weekend stats do the talking first…

5/14 | 36% S/R | +£8.02 BFLSP

Not bad for two days work! Indeed all five winners came on Sunday so not bad for one days work!!

It’s far from a flash in the pan couple of days either. If we look at his 30 day stats we can see that his string have been bouncing for a while now…

15/44 | 34% S/R | +£32.24 BFLSP – Win & Place 18/44 | 41% S/R

The facts are no trainer that has saddled 10 or more runners in the past 30 days has a better strike-rate than Tim Vaughan, his string is positively on fire at present.

Is this usual for Vaughan?

Well no, it isn’t.

In the 2011 – 2015 period Vaughan had recorded 3, 4, 5, 1 & 3 winners in September. This year he recorded 10 winners. Indeed following him blind in September you would have lost money each year between 2011-2015. This year he turned a +£24.22 profit to Betfair SP.

He’s clearly changed something this year and the results tell us that whatever he’s done has worked wonders.

In previous years October has been a very up and down month for the yard…

2011 – 16 winners – 28% S/R

2012 – 7 winners – 10% S/R

2013 – 6 winners – 11% S/R

2014 – 9 winners – 21% S/R

2015 – 2 winners – 4% S/R

2016 – 5 winners – 36% S/R (as of 2nd October)

He can have decent October’s and the early signs are that this is going to be one of those decent ones, it’s certainly started in a well above average fashion.

It’s well worth keeping Vaughan on the radar until the stats tell us otherwise…

So there we have it. The first instalment of the NTF ‘What we learned from the weekend‘ weekly Blog posts for 2016/17. There will be more to talk about as the season builds (so much more!) and with more racing I’ll have more to choose from, meaning I’ll be able to provide more diverse and in-depth pointers for the season ahead.

And talking of the season ahead…

The NTF 2016/17 Subscription Service…

…will be opening it’s doors very soon.

There will be a couple of articles in the members area by the middle of this week and more will follow very shortly as this National Hunt season clicks itself through the gears. I suspect this weekends racing at Chepstow alone will provide a large numbers of note taking opportunities for myself (which in turn means a juicy first ‘Weekend Notes’ article of the season for members next Monday).

I’ll also have my bumper ‘NTF Trend Horses‘ guide posted in the members area before long. I’m currently beavering away on that behind the scenes and it’s really getting my NTF/National Hunt juices flowing!

If you are on the NTF FREE list then you will be able to become a full NTF member this Friday (7th Oct). You will also be able to sign-up for a discounted price (only available if on the free list).

If you are not yet a Free NTF member then simply stick your details in the box below…

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Happy National Hunt Punting – The fun is about to begin!!

Ben (NTF)

*Stats sourced from the excellent Proform Professional database

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

  1. I think Gigginstown leaving is more than a bump in the road for Mullins, i think he now has a £1m+ hole in his accounts from lost training fees and prize money and is going to have to fill that gap. I imagine the economics of his operation will include having those boxes filled and although i dont think it will have an effect on the quality he puts out short term, in the long term it may well do as he may not be able to maintain the investment levels that have made the stable such a success.

    • Hi Ian

      Fair points and yes financially there will be a hold to fill for Mullins although I suspect he’ll get plenty new bodies coming in pretty sharpish and I imagine he’ll be able to attract other high profile owners quite easily.

      Don’t imagine he will rush anything though.

      Very interesting to see how things stand come the end of the season…

      Cheers – ben (NTF)

  2. if you break down ballycaseys form to 2m4.5f or less you will see what a consistent horse he is. hes been trying 3 miles and clearly doesnt stay and given his hcap rating what he ran off in the galway plate,he should of won that considering what he did here but that extra furlong seemed to find him out.

    at 2m4.5f or less ,i think its 6 wins from 9 and he fell in one when looking like winning,7th when dropping back to 2m1f which doesnt suit him these days and just a poor 3rd without any valid reason i can find.

    so really it may of been 7 wins from 8 runs at the shorter trips and once upped to 2m4f you ignore dropping back to 2m1f.

    • Hi Rob

      Totally agree. Very much a non-stayer at the longer trips and the mid-range trips are where he’s at his best.

      My main issue with Saturday’s run was that he was given the total run of the race at his own pace (pretty much). As a thorough stayer Road To Riches could have made it a test of stamina and stretched Bally’s stamina reserves whilst all the time keeping in his own comfort zone.

      Taking nothing away from Ballyc at all but the others (RTR in particular) made his job plenty easier.

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

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