horse racing

What we learned from the weekend: 20th & 21st of February…

Conti back with a bang!

Random thought of the week…

Maybe it’s not 3 mile+ trips that are the problem for Dynaste, maybe it’s Silviniaco Conti that’s the problem! 

The problem being that he can’t bloody beat him!

They’ve met seven times and Conti has finished ahead of David Pipe’s grey six times.

The only time Dynaste finished ahead of him was in the 2013 Betfair Chase, only problem there was Cue Card finished in front of both of them!!

To be honest though I don’t want to go over old ground with Dynaste this week, I’ve been there, done it and will probably continue to do it until I’ve more grey hairs than the horse has himself!?

There was plenty else going on up and down the country for me to cover in this weeks ‘What we learned from the weekend‘ post without me having to draw you guys back into my personal battle/war with Mr Dynaste, so lets shelve those thoughts for now and crack on with the latest edition of…

What we learned from the weekend: 20th & 21st of February…

1. Silviniaco Conti can still do a job at the top level…

…and what a job it was! A 20 lengths romp in the G1 Betfair Ascot Chase landed the 10yo his SEVENTH G1 victory and his 13th victory at G1 or G2 level.

Sure he had a couple of questions marks hanging over him after his Pulled-Up effort in the King George over Christmas (which was actually only the second time in his 30 race career where he had failed to finish) but answer them he did and answer them in some style as well.

Word is he now goes straight to the Aintree Grand National in the spring, a race where he will undoubtedly be ‘well-in’ as this victory came after the release of the National weights. He’s set to run there off OR 163, which in itself is quite something as in the last 19 Nationals only six horses have even attempted to win the race from above OR 160 and only one of them has managed to run into a place.

That’s not a great deal to go on obviously but the fact they are even giving it a go from such a lofty mark has to be applauded.

The National, however, can be discussed in future posts, for today I want to highlight an interesting Paul Nicholls angle that good old Silviniaco fitted on Saturday.

I didn’t personally back Silviniaco Conti in the Ascot Chase (I’m sure any long term reader of the blog will have made the educated guess that I was on the grey enigma that is Dynaste! Why does he keep appearing in this post!! Must. Stop. Talking. About. Dynaste!) but there is a Paul Nicholls angle I’ve been tracking in the past few months that concentrates on Nicholls horses that were PU (Pulled-Up) last time out.

That angle is…

Trained by Paul Nicholls – PU last time out – 15 runners or less – 19f or further – SP less than 10-1

Since 2011 the angle has returned the following figures…

22/83 | 26.5% S/R | +£36.83 BFLSP – Win & Place 39/83 | 47% S/R

It’s been profitable in each of the last five years and is already in profit again this year.

A PU last time out can put many a punter off but Nicholls, under certain circumstances, is more than capable of turning that last time out disappointment right around, highlighted in no uncertain terms by Conti on Saturday.

What’s Nicholls’ secret?

Hard to say without being close to the yard but he clearly doesn’t take a PU effort lightly and does all he can to rectify whatever the problem was and get the horse in question back to winning ways ASAP.

Don’t be put off by a last time out P in the form line of a Paul Nicholls runner…


2. David Pipe had ANOTHER quiet weekend…

Six runners – Zero winners.

To be fair it wasn’t a bad weekend for Pipe as four of the six did indeed place, however, it was actually just another in a long line of poor weekend results for team Pipe, especially on the win front (and generally this game is about bagging winners!).

If we look at David Pipe’s weekend runners (Saturday & Sunday) since the 1st of October 2015, roughly when this season begun to click up through the gears, we get the following set of rather miserable figures…

5/106 | 5% S/R | -£71.82 BFLSP – Win & Place 28/106 | 26% S/R

Five weekend winners (and the weekends are when the majority of the big races take place) is a pretty poor return for a trainer of Pipe’s stature, I’m sure you will agree?

To compound those poor figures further I want to look at only his Class 1 runners in that time-frame (Oct – present day).

Those figures read…

0/32 | 0% S/R | -£32.00 BFLSP – Win & Place 9/32 | 28% S/R

ZERO weekend winners in the big Class 1 races.

Open that up to all Class 1 races (not just at the weekend) and we get 0/36.


Lets give him a chance, lets open it up to Class 1 AND Class 2 races since October 1st 2015…

5/87 | 6% S/R | -£10.33 BFLSP – Win & Place 23/87 | 26% S/R

A bit better I suppose but still, five winners is, I’m sure, well below the standards we, and indeed Pipe, expect.

To give those Class 1 & 2 figures a bit of perspective…

Willie Mullins has had 54 C1/C2 winners in the same period (30% S/R)

Nicholls 23 (14% S/R)

Henderson 20 (22% S/R)

Hobbs 18 (20% S/R)

Elliott 17 (15% S/R)

King 16 (24% S/R)

Suddenly that ‘bit better’ looks ‘distinctly poor’ when we consider the other yards that you would expect Pipe to be in amongst.

Five winners in Class 1 & Class 2 races since October the 1st has to be a worry for Pipe.

Is there a problem at the yard?

Does he simply not have the ammo for the top levels this term?

With the 2016 Cheltenham Festival just around the corner can we realistically be backing his runners in the big races?

If I’m honest I’m wouldn’t be keen on blanket ignoring Pipe although it must be pointed out that he’s had 31 runners at Cheltenham this season and only ONE has managed to bag a victory (4 others have squeezed into the places).

The stats are worrying and you would like to see some signs of life before the festival rolls fully into view…

Can Pipe get his yard firing in time for the Cheltenham Festival?


3. Rigadin De Beauchene should never have been as short as 5-1 for the Grand National Trial at Haydock…

RDB seems to be a horse that’s well loved by many. I get that. I’m fan of the old bugger myself. But that’s no reason to back a horse is it? Sentimentality has always been and always will be the quick route to the poor house (when it comes to betting anyway).

Lets examine the evidence…

He’s an 11yo who was being asked to win the race from a mark 5lbs above his highest ever winning mark. That’s tough. Especially for a horse who has proven, time and time again, that he can’t win when racing above his ceiling.

His ceiling is OR 128.

When racing from OR 129 or above (and I take into account the jockey’s claim when looking at this angle) he has now produced the following form line…



7 (SEVEN!) pulled-up runs, a fall, an 8th and a 9th.

That’s nothing if not clear evidence that he has a very distinct ceiling to his abilities.

That ceiling is OR 128.

He ran here from OR 133.

He finished Pulled-Up (shocker!).

Not only did he have his own major negative trend to overcome, he also had the following negative trainer trend bang against him…

Venetia Williams French bred (FR) handicappers aged 10yo+…

Which has produced the following set of figures since the beginning of 2010…

3/81 | 4% S/R | -£59.44 BFLSP – Win & Place 14/81 | 17% S/R – 56% below expectations

When her French bred handicappers reach double digits they find it extremely difficult to get themselves in the winners enclosure, the stats prove that, it’s right there in black and white.

Interestingly Rigadin De Beauchene overcame that stat three runs ago at Haydock, he is one of the three winners, however, he had absolutely bang on slap you in the chops prime conditions that day, including the all important ‘below his handicap ceiling’ angle.

That victory for the old boy was a prime example as to why you need to be flexible when it comes to following these types of angles, as always they should be a guide rather than gospel, a starting point rather than the only point.

On Saturday, however, RDB had TWO major angles completely against him, from my point of view he was seriously up against it, there was rock hard evidence that he simply could not win from his handicap mark AND his trainer has a terrible record with similar horses to RDB, yet he still started at 5-1!?!?

I would be convinced a lot of that was down to people punting with their hearts rather than their heads…

Never let the heart rule the head when it comes to punting, unless you like giving the bookies some free beer tokens! 

Ben (NTF)

Stats sourced from the excellent Proform Database

Proform Racing | The professional Formbook

6 responses to “What we learned from the weekend: 20th & 21st of February…”

  1. Venetia Williams seems to be able to produce chasers who are just as likely to be pulled up as they are to win. Does she have more P’s than would be expected from fancied runners? After a P, a win is quite likely before another P. I find her an infuriating trainer to follow.

    • im thinking profit could be made on venetias runners if you look at 3m + chases on soft or heavy and with any runner who pulled up lto,it may be me but ive seen a fair few of those go in!!

      • Hi Rob

        A quick look suggests no profit to be made from that angle. Since 2011 those runners have returned 6/52 | 12% S/R | -£0.97 BFLSP.

        Cheers – Ben (NTF)

    • Hi Alan

      She’s not the worst for PU fancied runners. She’d had 973 runners start at 5-1 or less since 2011 with 55 of them pulling-up.

      Jonjo O’Neill is one of the worst perpetrator, he’s had 108 of his 1462 pulled up.

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

  2. regarding david pipe,,he had a frustrating time with some top horses with injury who you would think would of won class 1’s easy enough if they were around to race,moon racer not out this term,western warhorse not seen since 2014 arkle,red sherlock similar ,the liquidator also springs to mind as he looked good 2 seasons ago also,why is it taking so long for these horses to come back?

    • Hi Rob

      Very true, he has had plenty long-term injuries to some potential stable stars. Not sure why it’s taking so long to get them back on the track, must be frustrating for him…

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

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