horse racing

What we learned from the weekend: 4th & 5th November…

Is Bristol De Mai a serious Gold Cup horse?

No looking back now people, we are very much locked and loaded in full National Hunt mode until spring 2018!

The Charlie Hall Chase is the last chance for you to jump ship and stop the addiction before it takes a proper hold for the next six months, but I’m guessing, since you are reading this, you are fully addicted and already looking for your next fix!

Don’t worry though, you’re in great company here, we’ve all been National Hunt addicts for longer than we care to remember, so breathe easy, soak it in and load up on your next dose, life’s too short not to…

What we learned from the weekend: 4th & 5th of November…

1. Bristol De Mai threw an early hat into the Cheltenham Gold Cup picture…

Well…kind of…

Despite the early departure of Coneygree and the late fall of Cue Card it was impossible not to be impressed by the victory of Bristol De Mai in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby on Saturday. He jumped and traveled sweetly throughout and dug deep in the closing stages when challenged by his stable-mate Blaklion.

In victory he fired in his second best figure on the RPR scale and gave every indication that he’s still got improvement to come (he is, after all, only a 6yo) and is likely to be a serious player in the staying chase division this season.

Well up to a point anyway…

For me he’s very much a horse that show’s a monthly pattern to his form and I’d be much happier backing him during the winter months that at other times…

Form during the November – February period: 121121311213 (7/12)

Form in other months: 2732522 (0/7)

*UK form only

He’s clearly a horse that enjoys the winter with a bit of juice under his feet.

The Cheltenham Gold Cup clearly falls out with those prime Bristol De Mai months.

As always though it’s not ALL about the festival in March, far from it, and there are plenty of races for the galloping grey to gun for before the grounds start to dry up and we see the sunlight again (!?!), most notably the Betfair Chase at Haydock at the end of this month, a race, by my own calculations, that he should hold a very strong trends profile for.

The fact he also has the tactical pace master that is Darryl Jacob in the saddle is simply an added bonus…

Expect BDM to be a staying chase player over the next few months…  


2. Our Duke ain’t all that…

Well that’s a tad unfair of me, one poor run doesn’t, and shouldn’t, consign you to the scrapheap.

In the Chase at Down Royal on Saturday he did, however, run a proper stinker and let’s be honest here he never looked like winning at any stage of the contest.

Now he did scope dirty after the race (indeed it sounded like he scoped filthy!!) and that is a legitimate excuse for the 7yo and that run can probably have a line struck right through it; he wasn’t right and he deserves a chance to show he’s better than that before we take a stronger viewpoint on his chances in open Grade 1 company this term.

The run did, however, have me digging into the form of the Harrington yard in general. Without looking into stats my brain had registered a number of runners for the yard in recent weeks but not that many winners. Now without back-up my brain isn’t always to be trusted, it can very much play tricks on me when the caffeine supplies are running low…so I went digging…

Jessie Harrington runners in the last 14 days: 3/46 | 6.5% S/R – 32% below expectation

Jessie Harrington runners in the past 90 days: 6/90 | 6.5% S/R – 22% below expectation

National Hunt runners since 26/10/17: P370446793P70537P0030208F12 (1/27)

She had nine National Hunt runners over the weekend, all nine finished unplaced…

Very average current returns for a yard that finished last season like a runaway steam train!

A problem at the yard? Struggling to get them fit at home? Keeping one eye on future targets?

Whatever is up the stats don’t make for great reading and if you are a Sizing John fan you’d hope for a bit of an upswing before the Betfair Chase rumbles into view at the back-end of the month, he’s going to need to be bang on his game to take down the likes of Bristol De Mai and Might Bite, both who should have race fitness on their side by then.

The Harrington yard are running a shade on the cold side at present…


3. Outlander is another one that loves the winter months…

Whilst Our Duke was floundering about out the back at Down Royal Outlander was getting on with things just off the pace before digging deep and battling hard to land the third Grade 1 of his career. Something that had looked unlikely off the back of his lackluster return to action at Punchestown last month.

The win, with hindsight, maybe isn’t all that much of a surprise, given how his form looks when we split it by months…

Form during the November – February period: 112F1112121111 (10/14, 2p)

Form in other months: 6F20622P36 (0/10, 3p)

Pretty conclusive that he’s another lover of the winter months!

Despite three Grade 1 victories on his CV he probably does just fall short of the absolute top of the tree (he’s in a sub-level just below the very best) but he’s certainly worth considering wherever he goes for the next few months, until the spring rolls around again…

When it’s cold outside Outlander is hot!

Ben (NTF)

Jesse Harrington stats sourced from the excellent Proform Professional 

9 responses to “What we learned from the weekend: 4th & 5th November…”

  1. No sooner do you suggest a yard may be ‘out of form’ do the blast back at you with 2 winners from 2 runners!

    Harrington clearly proving me entirely wrong with my ‘cold’ assessment!!

    Ben (NTF)

  2. 😄 Mrs Harrington must have read your comments, fair play for putting your hands up though, but the negative stats were there to see, and stats don’t lie, they just sit there waiting to make a liar of you 😄, What about the Melbourne Cup last night!!, Irish 1st 2nd 3rd +5th and Scottish 4th !!Aussie’s must be fuming, The Tipperary Outfit are breaking every record out there, and Mullins will take over the limelight from here on.

    • Hi Frank

      Yeah I must have upset Harrington somewhat! Of course there may have been niggles at the yard that are now sorted themselves out so we can now expect a bit of an upturn in her stats…

      Melbourne Cup was just utter domination from the Irish & Scots…lovely stuff!

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

  3. in breaking down a horses profile to find patterns to its form,ive come to relaise by the time you have identified such a pattern ,which usually consists of a good few seasons form ,they start failing to win under the circumsatnce you have identified.

    i concentrated myself on many of the class 1 and 2 chases last year and a few of the best graded hurdles as well.ive done this for many years on and off.

    for example you may see a horse who wins or runs very well first time out.then for example ,that horse is now 10 and getting on a bit and all of a sudden needs his first run as its harder to get fit.he then may run well on 2nd run where before his 2nd run may be poor but now that pattern as reversed.

    other types that progress from class 3 and 4 hcaps to class 2 or even 1 races.they might have a brilliant record around sharp tracks then lose on a galloping track at a higher class,they then revert back to a sharp track at the same class level its lost at previously but then lose again.ive saw many examples of this last season thinking it was the track when 9/10 it was the class rise that was the problem.the gaff tracks as they are called are mainly the sharper less demanding courses where the top tracks are mainly more galloping/stiff/testing in nature

    2nd season chasers are another group that can fool you,1 seasons novice chase form and a season or 2 over hurdles and you think youve identified a pattern only for them to lose under the circumstances you feel was best for them and win when you thought they had no may feel your 2nd season chaser shows a small field pattern ,especially if it as failed to win a hurdle in a big field.novice chases are small fields in general so then as a 2nd season chaser finds itself in a big field hcap and you expect it to run poor due to the field size.dont get me wrong the likes of regal encore exist and theres lots of them about but you have to be more lenient.

    bristol de mai,if it was running at chelteham and good ground in winter time would you be confident?or if it was at haydock and soft ground in april?thes eare questions i think bout when it comes to him.

    theres certain horses that you can never catch right,un temps por tout is my pain over the last few seaosn.,ive backed him many times when hes lost thinking i understood what made him win or run very well,but missed him at times hes won as i wrongly assume conditons didnt suit.the only time i got him right was when he lost at aintree when fav after he won his first ultiam chase.i was convinced he would lose that day,unfortuantly i didnt find the winner and i dont lay.

    if you could help me out with utpt i would be gratefull as im out of options with day hes going to drop in at 33-1 and i’ll be on!!

    its a bit late now but and i ended up not betting in the haldon gold cup depsite spending hours on the frustrted me but i held my disipline and there was too many uncertainies with the ground changing and many runners having first run of the season.

    the one runner that had some form to go on was forest bihan,a recent kelso hcap chase winner and was beaten in a photo at aintree by san benedeto with politolgue falling at the last.

    he pulled up today despite being race fit from a recent run where the other 2 ran to there aintree form.brian ellsions comments about exeter got me thinking ,i found it strange he would mention the nature fo the track when talking about his next target after his kelso win,its as though he was convincing himself he would be fine around it,even saying it should suit him as hes handled kelso.kelso is sharp and lefthanded where exeter nearly twice the circumference and righthanded and more testing.they have undualtions but that the only thing they have in common.

    looking at forst bihans wins it seems tracks aint a issue and they come all alike to him and it could not be the case today and maybe something else was to blame for his poor run,but last year i probably wouldnt of even considered the track as a problem when dealing with a horse like him but along with those little comments from his trainer ,i was certain he wasn tgoingt o run very well at exeter.

    • Hi Rob

      For sure, you definitely need a level of flexibility when it comes to profiling a horse and like most things in horse racing it’s never as black and white as it looks.

      THOMAS BROWN (H Fry) is a good recent example. He ran at Ascot last weekend and prior to that run he had excellent first time out form and excellent November form, plenty of people seemed to be tipping him up based on those two conditions. However the race he was running in was at Grade 3 level and he was 0/10 at Listed level+, so regardless of always being primed first time up and running at a time of year he generally excels at he was simply running outwith his class level, which almost certainly trumps any of the other conditions you would look at.

      On Un Temps Pour Tout I’d be the same as you, no real strong indicators to his form, other than his class splits…

      G3 level & below – 1011241 (4/7)

      G2 level+ – 233266343 (0/9)

      His problem now is he’s almost certainly too high in the handicap (160) to be a force in those races for now.

      Forest Bihan is also probably a shade high in the weights now (158) for handicaps and will probably prove hard to place. I would have been surprised had he proved good enough to win a Haldon Gold Cup.

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

  4. Funny you mentioned Thomas brown as that was the horse I was thinking of from Ascot on Saturday regarding small field pattern.

    Pricewise tipped it as well and I remember thinking no chance.he as showed a small field pattern for a few seasons now.whats confusing is he won a 9 runner chase at aintree,9 runners in a chase is considered generally a decent size field .

    However if you watch the race,a horse blundered and caused a few others to get hampered.whilst this was going on,his jockey just in front of the trouble stole a few lengths and I think that was the winning move as on tour who came 2nd was let with quite a bit to do as he had to avoid the trouble but he did close on him.

    Regal encore is usually kept wide of runners,I’m convinced he can run to graded form but only in a small field.when Barry geraghty is on board,he always keeps him away from other horses.

    Last season’s win at Ascot he was kept wide and it was foggy,that must of confused the horse I reckon and he won at big odds.he has since pulled up in big fields since.

    • Hi Rob

      Wasn’t aware Pricewise had tipped up Thomas Brown, for me he was always up against it in that company, a single figure field and C2 level & below a must for him. I’d have 9 runners as small-med sized field.

      Not sure about Regal Encore at Graded level, he’s 6/14 at Listed level & below compared to 0/13 at G3 level+, albeit I don’t think he’s the easiest to assess, the McManus horses are not always allowed to run to their true form…

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

  5. Re horses you can’t seem to get right,with me it’s trainers.
    The aforementioned Brian Ellison and Jonjo O’Neill are the main ones that I simply can’t work out,to the point where I now avoid their runners altogether.

    • Hi Paul

      O’Neill is definitely a tricky trainer to get right, has been for a long time, particularly his handicappers, more so his JP McManus owned ones.

      I would never avoid them completely but you certainly need to approach with caution…

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

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