Coneygree; still a beast!
What we learned from the weekend?
That CONEYGREE is still a bloody beast!
OK he only had two opponents to beat but it’s more than what’s behind Coneygree that makes him such an impressive chaser, it what he does himself out front that really makes him stand out.
Jump, Grind, Turn The Screw, Repeat.
The others just can’t get a breather in behind and he just goes along at his own pace up front. A pace that so far nothing has been able to keep up with over fences.
He rarely makes an error either. That’s the scary thing about him. He’s a bit like Denman, but a bit more refined. That’s also the scary thing about him!
This could be some staying chase division we are witnessing this season friends,let’s hope they all stay fit.
Anyway, enough waxing lyrical about the Gold Cup holder, lets dig a bit deeper into the weekends action for the weeks…
What we learned from the weekend: 7th & 8th November…
1. Nicky Henderson still hasn’t found the key to getting his chaser back in the winners enclosure on a regular basis…
I mentioned this ‘phenomenon’ last term. At the time I wasn’t entirely sure if it was just a mini-dip from his chasers or indeed a serious negative pattern that was infiltrating the Henderson stats.
After watching CARACCI APACHE finish a weak and well-beaten 3rd on his chasing debut at Aintree at the weekend, a horse I thought had the hallmarks of an exciting chase prospect, I simply had to go digging into the stats again.
These are the stats for the Nicky Henderson chasers since the beginning of October 2014…
10/103 | 10% S/R | -£51.66 BFLSP – Win & Place 33/103 | 32% S/R
53% below expectation
In the past 13 months one of the biggest yards in the country has only saddled 10 chase winners.
To give you a bit of context on that…
Paul Nicholls chasers in the same period
87/309 | 28% S/R | +£79.11 BFLSP – Win & Place 144/309 | 47% S/R
17% above expectation
That is simply a massive gulf between the two. Sure Nicholls has had plenty more chasers going to the track but his strike-rate is almost at 30% and he’s firing above market expectation.
To give you even more context on that…
When it comes to number of chase winners trained since October 2014 Nicky Henderson is 49th on the list! FORTY NINTH!!
48 trainers have saddled more chase winners than him! That’s crazy!
And a sure sign that something just ain’t quite right with his chasing string.
Looking a bit deeper we see that it’s at the top levels that his chasing squad have been hit the most. Here are the stats for his chasers in Class 1 races in the time period analysed…
1/44 | 2% S/R | -£30.04 BFLSP – Win & Place 11/44 | 25% S/R
85% below expectation
It’s a worrying trend for Henderson and it seems to just keep going. Will Sprinter Sacre be able to turn the clock back to his glory days this weekend and start to re-address the balance?
You need some pretty strong factors in your favour before backing a Henderson chaser at present.
*figures sourced from the Proform database
Sticking with Henderson…
2. There was a lot more to like about SIMONSIG’s comeback run that I thought there would be…
He had been off the track for a mammoth 970 days but he looked all over the winner coming to the last, before doing his best impression of Harchibald and finding nothing when ‘asked’ for his effort.
I say ‘asked’ but there wasn’t too much forcing coming from Barry Geraghty when it looked like he would have to get down and dirty in the trenches with his stable-mate Bobs Worth in the closing stages. And you know what, I can fully understand that. Sure it looked bad from the outside but it’s clearly not been easy to get him back on the track and in one piece and it isn’t hard to imagine a fight to the line with a former Gold Cup winner, who goes well fresh and would just keep on battling away to the line, wouldn’t have done him any good. In fact it would probably have finished his season right there and then.
I’m not sure I believe Geraghty when he says he was ‘holding on to nothing from around three out’ but I guess it sure sounds better than ‘I didn’t want to get into a fight on his first run back for almost 1000 days’. And it would have been a fight. Bobs Worth isn’t the force of old but he wasn’t anywhere near the start of his stamina reserves and he would have just kept fighting away.
But where does that leave Simonsig for the rest of the season?
I still don’t think he will reach the heights he could have had he stayed sound but on this evidence there may well be races of some sort still in his locker. He may be a 9yo but he has only had ten starts under rules and on this evidence there is still plenty under the bonnet.
Obviously he has the Henderson Chaser stats to overcome as well but could he be the one to kick-start their comeback?
Is SIMONSIG the saviour of the Henderson chasing team?
3. Once again FESTIVE AFFAIR was sent over a seriously inadequate trip…
I’ve talked about this boy on plenty of occasions. Specifically how he isn’t a two-miler.
He has had nine starts since he came to Jonjo’s from Irish Hunter Chases. Seven of those nine starts have been over 18f or less, five of them over 16f.
But nothing about him shouts two-miler!
He was backed into 7/2 second fav for his run at Aintree on Saturday?!? That’s just crazy! He clearly isn’t a two-miler (if I keep saying it maybe people will believe me!!).
I’m still convinced he would have won the Topham last season had he stood up. He was in his element that day. That was a serious chance missed.
I can only assume this latest run was to knock the summer cobwebs away and get some fitness into him before they stick him back up in trip.
I’m convinced he is an exceptionally well-handicapped mark at present and that there is a decent prize in him over 2m4f+ trips, he simply doesn’t have the speed to go with two-milers.
Interestingly he has changed hands in the off season as he has gone from JP McManus to the Four The Fun Of It Partnership.
They seem, however, to be playing the same game.
There is a decent pot in Festive Affair over longer trips, I’m sure of it, keep him firmly on your radar…
Time for you to put NTF to the test this Cheltenham Paddy Power meeting…
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