horse racing

What we learned from the weekend: 27th, 28th & 29th November…

What we learned from the weekend just past? Well that’s simple…ENVOI ALLEN is challenging SHISHKIN for the best horse in training…EVER!!

Rockets 🚀🚀 and airplanes ✈✈ everywhere! 

Envoi Allen is good, very good, probably the best Novice Chaser currently in training…but it’s worth remembering he’s only ever been up against other Novices, his metal is yet to be fully tested and the real acid tests wait further down the line…

I hope he does continue on his upward trajectory, in this current climate we need the Envoi Allen’s of the world to bring some cheer and something to marvel at…but in a similar vain to Shishkin I’d prefer to wait a bit longer before proclaiming him as the second coming…🧔

I’m actually a bit ‘tapped for toe’ today, with some non-racing things taking up my time and brain space, so in a minor deviation from the usual Tuesday blog post I’ve decided to post the full Saturday Weekend Notes for your future punting delights.

Every Monday full NTF members receive Weekend Notes for the past Friday, Saturday and Sunday’s action and below, in place of the regular Tuesday free blog post, I’ve chopped out the Saturday portion of the notes as a little bonus for all free blog readers.


NTF Weekend Notes – Saturday 28th November




12.15 Bangor – Class 4 Beginners Chase


Very much a lover of testing ground – 612141 on Soft/Heavy compared to 60342 on Good/Good to Soft – and this was a pleasing chasing debut from the mare. There is quite a split at Bangor between the Venetia Williams Chasers and Hurdlers – Chases = 12/63 | Hurdles = 1/47 – and there’s an interesting little Chase angle at play once you start digging…V Williams | Bangor Chases | 2m4.5f+ | 6yo-8yo | SP 8/1 or less = 10/23 | 43% S/R | +£36.71 BFLSP – W&P 14/23 | 61% S/R – 92% above expectation…Pink Legend fitting that angle here.


Had his ground (both wins on Soft or Heavy) but it was another defeat on a track with undulations (2/3 on a flat track compared to 0/8 on tracks with undulations). To show his absolute best I’m just thinking a flat track is what he wants.


1.22 Bangor – Class 3 Handicap Chase


On a winnable mark at present (OR 115 – high and last win mark is OR 122) but has only ever won when returning within 14 days of his last run (form of 11F1 – fell at last when staying on) so a quick return from this run would make him of interest.


12.10 Newbury – Listed Novices’ Hurdle

3rd – MRS HYDE

Was well fancied by plenty (started 5/2f) but Ellison runner regularly under-perform at Newbury (2/56 | 3.5% S/R | -£39.38 BFLSP – 66% below expectation for Ellison Newbury runners) and Ellison is just struggling a little for winners right now (0/18 last week and 3/31 last couple weeks – plenty hitting the places so not out of form as such but just a smidge off the pace) so I wouldn’t look unfavourably on the mare and she could well bounce back from this effort. She was also giving 5lbs to the rest of the field (bar one), so again, probably a better run than the bare form suggests.


12.40 Newbury – Grade 2 Novices’ Chase


Wasn’t the cleanest round of jumping and maybe he just couldn’t get away with things on the good ground against the better class of opposition. He won well on Good last time out but this was a step up in class and I’d like to see him on more testing ground against better opposition to get a better gauge of where he’s at on a class front.


1.15 Newbury – Class 2 Handicap Chase


Had the Good ground he needs (all 4 wins on Good – 0/13 on G/S or softer) but I wouldn’t be totally convinced he stays these trips all that well (0/9, 1p over 2m6f+ – 4/16, 3p over 2m2f – 2m5.5f). I’d have his Prime Conditions as…Good | field of 8 or less | 2m2f – 2m5.5f = 1132121 (4/7, 2p – all 4 career wins).


Quite possibly doesn’t stay these trips (54559P (0/6, 1p) over 2m4.5f+ compared to 154321318 (3/9) over 2m4f or shorter) and I’d be looking at the following as Prime Conditions for him…2m4f or shorter | C2 level & below | DSLR 45 or less = 11331 (3/5, 2p – all 3 career wins). He’s back on his last winning mark now (OR 138, should go down for this effort) and he’s worth keeping in mind for a race under Prime Conditions.


First run off a wind-op but also his first run for 644 days and he is a horse that comes on for a run (0/3, 0p off a break of 121+ days). He’s still lightly raced over fences with only 4 chase starts on his CV and possibly Prime Conditions for him could be along the lines of…DSLR 90 or less | 2m4.5f – 2m6.5f | 11 or less runners = 111 (3/3 – all 3 career wins).


The blinkers remain off and they continue to get his mark down to a workable area. Over fences he’s now 4/10, 3p when wearing blinkers compared to 0/14, 1p without blinkers on and everything about his recent runs look all about getting his mark back down to somewhere around OR 134 (he won’t have to go all the way back to that mark). Expect the blinkers to go back on when they think they’ve got his mark down far enough.


3.00 Newbury – Grade 3 Handicap Chase – Ladbroke Trophy


He had his conditions and he landed the big pot that had always looked within him. Prime Conditions for him remain…2m5f+ | Good to Soft or quicker | Handicaps = 13311F1 (4/7, 2p  – all 4 career wins) and I’d possibly even be siding towards adding NOT Very-Undulating tracks to the mix as well, which returns…1311F1 (4/6, 1p). He’ll get stuck up to a career high mark after this but there’s nothing to say he can’t defy a higher mark, he’s still lightly enough raced and the cheek-pieces he wore for the first time here could continue to eke out improvement.


I’m honestly not sure where I stand with this one and I’m equally not sure where he fits into the wider picture. He’s been running some noteworthy races over fences but ultimately he’s not winning them and squeaking up the handicap each time. Indeed so far he’s only won a two horse race over fences. He’s clearly talented alright but I’m not sure finding a winning opportunity over fences is going to be all that easy for connections.


Was still bang there as they came down the straight but he had no answer to the winner in the closing stages and there’s a good chance his fitness just ebbed away when push came to shove (he’s now 0/4 off a break of 121+ days). I had a feeling he may have been near the ceiling of his abilities off OR 147 (a career high mark) but I’d maybe hold fire with that assessment for now as there was enough in this run to suggest he could be up to defying the mark. He seems a relatively adaptable type but worth noting that all 3 of his wins have come on Soft or Heavy and I’d maybe have rough Prime Conditions for him as…DSLR 60 or less | Soft-Heavy | Undulating – Very Undulating tracks…where he is…11412 (3/5, 1p – all 3 career wins).


A big run from the 7yo who was probably running on ground that wasn’t ideal for him (he is 4/13 on Soft or Heavy compared to 0/6 on G/S or quicker). He’s also possibly best off a bit of a break and rough Prime Conditions for him may be something along the lines of…Soft/Heavy | DSLR 31+ | NOT Very-Undulating tracks…where he is…11916731 (4/8, 1p – all 4 career wins). I have an inkling that smaller fields (12 or less runners) may also be ideal for him but I’d be open on that for now.


Not convinced he’s really up to Class 1 level (0/6 at C1 level) and smaller fields than this may prove to be more favourable for him. OR 138 should be a mark that is a winnable one for him (or at least one he can be competitive off) and I’d be looking at Prime Conditions for him of…C2 level & below | 11 or less runners = 2111F (3/5, 1p – all 3 career wins).


I think OR 155 may be pushing the ceiling of his abilities but he’ll hopefully go down a pound or two for this run.


There didn’t seem to be anything obviously wayward with his jumping here but the fact remains that all his wins have come right-handed (7 from 8 on RH tracks) and he is 0/4 on left-handed tracks.


A poor run and he was struggling from a very early stage. His last three runs now read F-P-P and this is clearly a concern and the only real glimmer of hope you can give him is that all his wins have come in the Dec-Feb period where he is 5/8 compared to 0/6 all other months. If you feed the monthly filter into the rough Prime Conditions I already had for him then you get…Chase/Hurdle | G2 & below | DSLR 60 or less | Dec-Feb = 111118 (5/6 – all 5 career wins)…and as a 6yo there is still plenty of time for him to bounce back to form.


Doesn’t seem to be a fan of large fields as he is now 0/8 in fields of 16+. I’d be looking at Prime Conditions for him of… Good to Soft or quicker | 14 or less runners = 1111013 (5/7 – all 5 career wins).


3.35 Newbury – Class 2 Handicap Chase

1st – ZANZA

Thrown into open handicap company on only his 3rd chase start and he was clearly sitting on a lenient mark. These conditions will have been bang ideal for him…C2 level & below | DSLR 45 or less | Field of 12 or less | NOT Heavy…where he is now…121111 (5/6, 1p – all 5 career wins).


A better run from the 9yo as he continues to slide down the ratings, travelling well down the home-straight before not quite having enough to kick on a go for the win. He’s on a winnable mark now (OR 139) but this race was just above his class ceiling  (now 0/17, 3p in races worth more than 17K to winner) and a small drop in grade could see him winning shortly, with Prime Conditions remaining…2m2f or shorter | C2 level & below (17k or less) | OR 140 or less | Sept-Feb = 121211311 (6/9, 3p)…ideally a field of 8 or less (all 6 wins in fields of 8 or less).


Despite failing to complete on his last two starts there’s been enough in his three runs this season to suggest he could be winning soon, with just a little tweak down to C3 or lower level likely to be the change he needs to get back winning (C3 level & below = 3111132 (4/7, 3p – all 4 career wins)), his current mark of OR 135 should be within range for him.


12.20 Newcastle – Class 4 Handicap Chase


2m4f looks out with his stamina capabilities and Good ground is also probably too quick for him. All 3 of his wins to date have come in Dec – Jan (3/7, 1p in those months compared to 0/12 in Feb-Nov) so a drop back in trip on softer ground would make him more appealing, with Prime Conditions looking somewhere along the lines of…Dec-Jan | 2m0.5f or less | C3 level or below | Soft ground = 1113 (3/4, 1p – all 3 career wins). Heavy ground may also be OK for him as 2 of his 3 previous starts on Heavy came at C2 level, which does look beyond him, regardless of the ground.


2.40 Newcastle – Class 4 Maiden Hurdle


This was the second first time wind-op winner on the card for James Ewart and his wind-op stats are starting to look interesting, especially under the following… J Ewart | First time wind-op | Chase/Hurdles | fields of 10 or less | SP 9-1 or less = 11121151 (6/8 | 75% S/R | +£37.67 BFLSP).



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Normal service will hopefully be resumed next week…

Cheers – Ben (NTF)

14 responses to “What we learned from the weekend: 27th, 28th & 29th November…”

  1. As a great follower if Aidan Coleman was dismayed at his ride in the Rehearsal CHase at Newcastle .I didnt back it but it was never put into the races.Feel sorry for those that did I know Murphys stable in poorish form but this ride bordered onthe appalling.

    • Hi Ken

      The Murphy runners are indeed firing below what you would expect of them and certainly someway below market expectation… 6/89 – 59% below expectation in November…so possibly not entirely Colemans fault and he would have been riding to instruction with the horse being a hold-up runner…he did take the 5th last by the roots as he was trying to make a move as well…

      Saying that I do get what you are saying, there did seem little urgency to put him into the contest…maybe they have other plans for him further down the line…he seemed to travel and jump well enough for most of the contest…

      Could be an interesting type in a handicap once the Murphy runners begin to hit a bit of form, certainly not one I’d be giving up on just yet…

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

  2. I felt coth cap is more like goodish ground and needs his seasonal debut as he’s 3 from 4 over fences like that and the loss was a close placed finish in the Scottish national.under those conditions he has a improving hcap rating,but he didn’t progress due to soft ground last a result is hcap mark was even dropped 2lb as he needed his debut run so took a 15l beating. handicapper is not going to be pleased by a 10l winner of a low weight so maybe he will struggle from now on,but job done.

    • Hi Rob

      Soft ground definitely held him back on most of his recent runs, absolutely. Been stuck up 11lb to OR 147, which is no surprise. Could possibly still be within range for him on favoured Good ground although massive hike never ideal.

      Be interesting to see where they head now…

      Ben (NTF)

    • 😂😂 Harsh…but yeah, he’s been running pretty poorly on recent starts. Needs to start showing signs of life pretty quickly…

      Ben (NTF)

  3. As good as Copperhead looked when winning the Reynoldstown, he hasn’t shown anything since that run. Those runners at Ascot that weekend have fared terribly since (I think?) could that race have broke him?

    • Hi David

      Yes, bar Cyrname and the odd other one that ran at Ascot that day haven’t really done that much since…

      Could just be that the Reynoldstown race took a bit out of Copperhead, possibly, but as I said, still only a 6yo so time is on his side, but you would like to see him start showing something soon…

      Ben (NTF)

    • Hi Clive

      It’s generally marked as a ‘slightly undulating’ track, so not quite flat but a sprinkling of undulations here and there.

      May have just been beaten by a horse more suited to the conditions of course but I am leaning towards Stolen Silver being at his absolute Prime Conditions on ‘flat’ track.

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

  4. I take your general point about Aye Right but a creditable second in one of the toughest handicaps of the year is no mean feat. Plus this was only its sixth chase, in a race from which Gold Cup winners have emerged in the past. Surely it has to be still improving.

    • Hi Peter

      Ah yeah, I’m not knocking what he’s done, far from it, but I never like it when a horse is losing more than winning at start of it’s chase career but still finds itself high enough in the weights.

      It’s unlikely it’s going to be a top-performing non-handicap graded type (it would be picking up some of these races if it was) and as it continues to creep up the ratings it’s going to become harder for them to place it to victory.

      I’d think it potentially has one big handicap victory in the locker then it becomes weighted out of things and has to spend some time swimming in the top races, probably running with credit without winning.

      Maybe Scottish National could be the race for it…

      Ben (NTF)

  5. How do I get full to the angles list
    I’ve tried but keep going round in circles to a site asking me to join
    I wanted to look at the Ben Pauling angle as apart from the big priced winner I feel I should have shares in the rest of his stablemates by now

    • Hi Ron

      Make sure you are logged in, click on Members Area from the top menu bar, look to the right and down a bit and click on the box that say ‘Members Trends & Stats Guides’ …and the full guide is in there.

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

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