horse racing

What we learned from the weekend: 8th, 9th & 10th November…

An interesting weekend just past, albeit maybe a wee bit quieter than what is poking over the horizon for us, but nevertheless there is always something for us to learn and pick the bones out of…

One of the main talking points was the ‘underwhelming’ return to the track of SANTINI, who scrambled home in the Future Stars Intermediate Chase at Sandown. 

Should we have expected more from one of the leading Gold Cup fancies?

Possibly, yes. However, is he simply more comfortable going the other way round (left-handed)?

Sunday’s effort and his 3rd in the Kauto Star Novices’ Chase (his only two runs on RH tracks) are the two starts he’s looked least comfortable in, both performances could well be described as ‘laboured’.  For me he’ll be better judged on his next effort, preferably on a LH track, where I’d expect to see the ‘real’ Santini. Hopefully the kid gloves are taken off him this season as well… 🤨

But what else did we learn this weekend…

What we learned from the weekend: 8th, 9th & 10th November

1. Paul Nicholls once again reminded us why he is the master of Wincanton…

GIVE ME A COPPER‘s victory in the Badger Ales trophy represented a tenth win in the race for Paul Nicholls, including the last three. That’s domination at play right there.

There was always the potential Give Me A copper was going to prove to be well-handicapped enough to pick off a decent pot at some stage, given his stop-start career to date, and Nicholls clearly had him ready to run for his life on Saturday, he’s obviously a horse that doesn’t stand that much racing.

Whilst Nicholls has dominated that particular contest, his record in general in Handicap Chases at Wincanton in November is something we all need to keep on the radar, particularly when meeting the following criteria…

P Nicholls | Wincanton Handicap Chases | November | Horse with 1-11 Handicap Chase starts | SP 12-1 or less

…where he is now…

18/44 | 41% S/R | +£68.34 BFLSP – W&P 28/44 | 64% S/R

101% above expectation (since 2003)

Nicholls also had a Bumper winner on the card – CONFIRMATION BIAS – and that’s another area he likes to dominate at Wincanton, particularly under the following conditions…

P Nicholls | Wincanton Bumpers | Good-G/S-Soft | Males only | SP 9/2 or less

…where his stats now read…

22/56 | 39% S/R | +£20.31 BFLSP – W&P 39/56 | 70% S/R

28% above expectation (since 2003)

As always…

Don’t EVER let anyone tell you that you can’t make profit backing Paul Nicholls runners!

2. Anthony Honeyball unleashed a beast at Fontwell…

We’ll be hard-pushed to see a more visually impressive bumper debut this season than that of KID COMMANDO at Fontwell last Friday.

The 5yo son of Robin Des Champs made all the running over the 2m1.5f trip and slaughtered his opposition by a widening 18L come the line. What he beat is obviously hard to tell at the minute but even a cursory glance at the figures tells you he’s potentially very good.

Kid Commando recorded a Proform Speed Figure (PSF) of 70 and an RPR rating of 120 when scooting to victory on debut.

Here’s what the last five Champion Bumper winners recorded on debut…






If we look at CUE CARD (who was a Champion Bumper winner who scored on debut at Fontwell) we see PSF 42 | RPR 110.

Now clearly a horse can improve significantly after their debut effort so comparing figures are not always beneficial but it does, at the very least, give a rough indication of the kind of horse Anthony Honeyball could have on his hands

The Champion Bumper is still a long way off though, what is more interesting for me is the record of Honeyball with his fancied bumper runners at Fontwell…

AJ Honeyball | Fontwell Bumper | NOT Heavy | SP 9-2 or less

…where he is now…

11/19 | 58% S/R | +£23.75 BFLSP – W&P 18/19 | 95% S/R

90% above expectation

The fact only one of these types have failed to place says plenty and when a Honeyball bumper runner sits near the head of the market at Fontwell we need to be sitting up and taking note.

Don’t ignore a Honeyball Bumper fancy…

3. Keith Dalgleish is also making a splash with his bumper runners…

Keith Dalgleish is easily turning into one of the best dual-purpose trainers on the block and he’s started putting his flat expertise to good use in the bumper ranks.

On Saturday his LET ME BE landed the closing bumper on the Aintree card by 5-lengths and added another victory to the following Dalgleish bumper angle…

K Dalgleish in bumpers | Sept-March | SP less than 7/1

…where his runners are now…

18/43 | 42% S/R | +£25.52 BFLSP – W&P 33/43 | 77% S/R

39% above expectation

Brian Hughes was on-board Let Me Be on Saturday and if you only look at his rides in the above angle the strike-rate improves to an even more impressive 50%.

Keep a look out for those Dalgleish Bumper runners, especially once the main part of the flat season is over…

Put NTF to the test at Cheltenham’s BetVictor Open meeting…

My attentions will be fully focused on the Cheltenham action this weekend. Three days of high intensity jumping shenanigans from the home of the National Hunt game gives me plenty of racing to get stuck into from my Race Trends approach.

My figures regularly hold up well at Prestbury Park and I’ve already started delving into the major races over the three days.

And this is YOUR chance to jump on-board and give the NTF service a full road test at one of the most high-profile meetings on the National Hunt calendar.

I know from the feedback I have received that plenty of you are interested in being part of the full NTF service but are just not quite sure of the exact ins and outs of the service.

Well this is your chance to get inside the members area for one full week! I’m opening up the doors to 50 of you (on a first come first served basis) so that you can see EXACTLY how the service operates and road test it to see if what I offer is what you need to enhance your experience of the 2019/20 National Hunt season.

I’ll be mailing out with full details on this tomorrow (Wednesday) and doors will only be open for two days (Wednesday 13th & Thursday 14th) so don’t dilly dally if you are looking to get on board for the trial, it’s a busy weekend ahead and I won’t be holding places once the doors close.

To make sure you don’t miss out on the links to sign-up for trial week, get yourself on the NTF free list HERE.

Ben (NTF)

*Stats sourced from the excellent Proform Professional database

Narrowing the Field

10 responses to “What we learned from the weekend: 8th, 9th & 10th November…”

  1. Certainly one of the best racing sites ive come across…statistics are still underated as far as iam concerned …also like the fact that there is a certain amount of reasoning behind them and not back fitted like I see a lot of so called experts doing ..

    • Hi John

      I’m a strong believer in RH-LH preferences in horses (not all horses obviously). ‘If’ Santini does have a LH bias/preference then Sandown is not the place for him. It’s not just running round the bends that impact the horse, they will also be taking off at their obstacles on the wrong foot at times, putting them out of their rhythm for following fences, and we all know how much of a rhythm track Sandown is…

      Only a theory at this stage for Santini though as the kid gloves approach means we still have limited data on him…

      Ben (NTF)

  2. Hi Ben slightly off topic to the article but sure you have some stats lurking……..just how bad are Paul Nicholls horses running right now?

    Forget the 2 winners at Wincanton the weekend, the runners so far this week and the back end of last week have been really awful – Not one has got remotely close to winning! I follow Ditcheat religiously and something doesn’t seem right at present. Any thoughts?

    • Hi Simon

      Don’t think there is anything to worry about.

      His November stats are…

      8/40 | 20% S/R – W&P 20/40 | 50% S/R – 11% below expectation

      Look at those that start shorter than 7/1 and you get…

      8/30 | 27% S/R \ W&P 17/30 | 57% S/R – 1% below expectation

      It’s unusual for an overall group of Nicholls runners to run above expectation as they are generally ‘over-bet’ so I don’t think there is anything massively to worry about at the minute…

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

  3. I’m not decrying Kid Commando but he won RPR 120 RPSF 90 – don’t have proform so not sure of SF for the next horses
    Day before at Newbury Son Of Camas RPR 119 RPSF 88
    Day before that at Chepstow Kepagge RPR 118 RPSF 82

    So it would seem that either we suddenly have a bunch of very good bumper debutants winning last week or it isn’t such a stand out performance as it initially looks

    • Hi John

      Kepagge was very impressive at Chepstow and also recorded excellent figures for his debut effort.

      Son Of Camas had already run in a Class 1 bumper at Punchestown (started as fav but disappointed).

      I’m inclined to think we saw two excellent bumper debutantes that should be followed and a second time out bumper runner who looks like he’s straighter for another summer on his back.

      A good week for bumper prospects…

      Ben (NTF)

  4. Hi Ben As a newbie I am fascinated by the bumper stats with bumper debutants.
    I had a horse with Noel chance and he loved to nurture a horse and targeted these races as it learned them how to settle and race .
    I am very interested in stats and wondered if there were any significant stats regarding trainers horses that improve markedly in bumpers from their first run .
    Thank you

    • Hi Craig

      As in a trainer with a good record with bumper runners on their second start after not winning on debut (for example)?

      I’ll take a look when I get a second (probably next week) but I know that Honeyball has a decent record under the conditions mentioned above (bumper runners on their second start after not winning on debut), round about a 33% S/R.

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

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