horse racing

What we learned from the weekend: 9th & 10th January…

The weather seems to have eased off…the rumours circulating on social media about elite sport being cancelled for a few weeks have proven to be false…are we turning a corner at last?!? Probably not…but we can all dream…🤗

What I can tell you for sure is that the regular NTF free blog ‘What We Learned From The Weekend‘ is now back in full swing! 

So let’s crack on…

What we learned from the weekend: 9th & 10th January…

1. ADAGIO sets the tempo for the UK juveniles…

The rearranged Grade 1 Finale Juvenile Hurdle was staged at Chepstow on Saturday and David Pipe’s German bred 4yo ADAGIO captured the honours in impressive fashion, running down red-hot fav Nassalam at the last and pulling away to win by a comfortable 2.5L, with a yawning 20L+ back to the remainder of the field.

The race has a fine history of producing serious animals, with the likes of ALLMANKIND, DEFI DU SEUIL and BRISTOL DE MAI taking the honours in recent seasons. Time will tell if Adagio is up to that kind of level but the early signs are certainly promising.

Whilst the victory was impressive, it was the following David Pipe Last Time Out Winner angle I have plugged into my Proform database that mostly caught my attention…

David Pipe | Non-Hcp Hurdle/Bumper | WON a Non-Hcp Hurdle/Bumper LTO | 4yo-10yo | SP 8-1 or less

…which returns the following impressive set of figures…

83/178 | 47% S/R | +£60.28 BFLSP – W&P 125/178 | 70% S/R

24% above expectation

Pipe certainly knows how to place his last time out winners (under the above circumstances) to the best effect.

Before I leave the Adagio subject, however, I do have one small word of warning…and if you’ve followed me for a few years you may have already spotted where I’m heading with this…Adagio is a GERMAN bred runner! 😵

German bred hurdlers at the Cheltenham Festival since 1998 have returned the following…

2/134 | 1.5% S/R | -£104.50 LSP – W&P 20/134 | 15% S/R

68% below expectation

Admittedly those two winners have come in the past four years, so maybe there is a change coming (maybe…), but those winners were both in handicaps, so if you look only at German bred hurdlers in non-handicaps at the Cheltenham Festival you get the following…

0/59 |0% S/R | -£59.00 LSP – W&P 8/59 | 14% S/R

As always, however, it’s only one stat and that alone doesn’t scream ‘he can’t win the Triumph Hurdle!‘, it’s merely something to factor into the wider picture…

Can ADAGIO bust the German stats at the Festival?


2. Paul Nicholls continues to scoop up the Novice Hurdles at Wincanton…

I think it’s safe to say that Paul Nicholls had an exceptional weekend at the races!! Firing in eight winners across Saturday and Sunday, with seven of those winners coming on Saturday. He clearly wants to get the title wrapped up incase we go into full lockdown mode again!!

Two of those winners came at Wincanton and it’s no secret the champion trainer has an exceptional record at his local track.

There are any number of angles you could dive into when it comes to Nicholls at Wincanton but it’s his record in Novice Hurdles at the track that caught my eye on Saturday…

64/139 | 46% S/R | +£34.98 BFLSP – W&P 97/139 | 70% S/R

15% above expectation (since 2012)

…the angle improves further if you only consider races run over trips of 2m3.5f+

41/76 | 54% S/R | +£49.26 BFLSP – W&P 62/76 | 82% S/R

38% above expectation (since 2012)

Nicholls had one qualifier on the angle on Saturday in the shape of FLASH COLLONGES, who duly romped home in commanding fashion by 8.5L. The 6yo looks your typical Nicholls type and there’s a good chance the gelding will make into an even better chaser when he faces the larger obstacles next season.

Don’t ignore those Nicholls Novice Hurdlers at Wincanton…


3. PROTEKTORAT once again fluffed his lines at Graded level…

PROTEKTORAT was send off as a heavy 1/2 fav for the rescheduled Dipper Chase at Wincanton on Saturday but once again he failed to make the breakthrough at Graded level, meaning his Class splits now read…

Form at Graded level = 57320

Form at Listed level or less = 22U112

That could still change now he is chasing, and he has been firing in significantly stronger ratings over fences than he did over hurdles, but there is a class limit starting to show quite strongly in his form figures and I would just be starting to question if he is a full on Graded player.

He’s a good horse, probably a very good horse, I’m just not sure he’ll prove up to the very top levels…

In his defence he may have just been bumping into a very good opponent who was racing in what have proven to be his prime months. That opponent being the Alan King trained MESSIRE DES OBEAUX.

Alan King’s 9yo is now 2 from 2 over fences and he now has the following monthly splits to his wider form…

November – January form = 11111 (5/5)

February – October form = 372334 (0/6)

Like Protektorat those figures could be subject to change now he’s chasing but what is abundantly clear is the fact he loves racing during the deep winter months of Nov-Dec.

Despite the small 3-runner field I do think the race could turn out to be a hot piece of form, with third-placed LIEUTENANT ROCO a potentially interesting type for when they go handicapping.

Keep that Dipper Chase form in mind going forward…

Let’s hope we get a clear run of things on the weather front over the next few weeks, we need something to keep us sane during these never ending restrictions and lockdowns…😣

Before I go, remember to check out the latest article from All-Weather expert David Punshon, who puts the All-Weather Fast Track Qualifier from Newcastle (5.00pm) under the spotlight today.

Cheers – Ben (NTF)

13 responses to “What we learned from the weekend: 9th & 10th January…”

  1. Cheers Ben.
    Those German stats are telling for Adagio but I’d already decided to back Nassalam EW for the triumph! Thought he ran a great Race and stayed on really well you’ll appreciate the Cheltenham Hill.

    • Yeah that’s probably not a bad shout, we already know he stays at least 2m2f and there’s plenty of stamina in his pedigree.

      Best of luck – Ben (NTF)

    • Hi Michael

      I’ve no major angles plugged into any database for Nicholls Maiden Hurdlers…only loose one I have is…

      P NIcholls | Maiden Hurdles | Favs | South West England tracks

      37/61 | 61% S/R | +£14.92 BFLSP – 19% above exp

      High strike-rate but nothing to be getting rich from!

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

  2. Always words of wisdom from you Ben.
    Ref Adagio & stating the bleeding obvious I know, but Duffle Coat beat him comprehensively at Chelt in the Autumn & Mr Elliot probably has another 2/3 equal or better than DC for the Triumph. I know racing is never that straight forward (I still remember poor old Mr Erec), but worth bearing in mind.

    • Cheers John

      You are absolutely correct re. Adagio/Duffle Coat form line and Elliott probably isn’t overly worried by the the Juvenile this side of the Irish Sea. Can see Adagio having more of a chance in the AIntree Juvenile G1, assuming the Irish don’t decide to target it (which is unlikely given the current climate).

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

  3. I took a Keen interest myself in the adagio and protektoret races and adagio now monmiral is not running in the triumph hurdle would appear the best the UK can offer but with a time nothing to get excited about and duffle coat as beat him,I feel the Irish and Elliott in particular will dominant the triumph hurdle easily.elliott as seemingly tested the juvenile UK form and I can’t see him being that worried.

    The dipper novice chase as a weird history and different to other novice graded chases as older novices seem to do well in and messuire des obeaux added to that good record beating two 6yos .

    This was more down to the fact protektoret was all at sea on the course,that’s why his form is mainly runs at testing tracks like Cheltenham Carlisle and sandown.only one run at a flatter sharper track before when a poor effort at can’t be by coincidence he’s ran at testing tracks all his life, Skelton knows he prefers those tracks and he would if been better off at the original track Cheltenham. Mdo odds are now shorter than protektoret in the marsh,whos odds now offer great ew value in the marsh chase.

    • Hi Rob

      Yeah I don’t think the Irish Juvenile will be all that worried right now, suspect they hold all the aces in the division right now.

      If Protektorat is to break his Graded duck I do think it will be on a galloping track where he’s more capable of getting himself organized, yes, certainly agree with you on that one. A track with a bit more grunt to it (some proper undulations to get stuck into) seems to bring out the best in him.

      Ben (NTF)

  4. I would agree with the stats regarding David Pipe ‘s Adagio but a word of warning – I ignored French bred runners in the Grand National and even laid some of them as they had not shown a winner in a couple of hundred entries – until Mon Mome won at 100/1!

    • Hi Alan

      Indeed, these things are always subject to change and to be kept an eye on for the stats evolving.

      p.s. please don’t mention Mon Mome on here, my mum still hasn’t forgiven me for telling her not to bother backing him the year he romped home at 100/1!!! Brings back too many traumatising memories for me…😣😵😫😫😂

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

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