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  1. #141
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    Preview review
    The ground was accounted for in the introduction and the race would transpire to involve the only horses who would be suited by same. While Big Jimbo reportedly had more stamina than he actually possessed, Balko Saint had every right to go through the ground on breeding. See The Eagle Fly could have been given better prospects but was still given reasonable ones and her preview was more optimistic than her position in the early betting implied. It was also noted that she was not straightforward when in the lead which turned out to be much the case. Every other horse disappointed and reasons were given for such an eventuality beforehand so a satisfactory preview overall.

    Race review
    Despite the steady early gallop, the race was an attractional one and the field was essentially reduced to those who could handle the conditions. The winner effectively tried to pull herself up on the running but the runner-up was unable to take advantage of the situation due largely to his inexperience. The first two were obviously the best on the day and probably the two to take out of the race but beyond the context of such testing conditions, the reliability of the form can not be assured. Particularly as these efforts may leave a mark on these young participants going forward.

    See The Eagle Fly achieved fair form at a modest level during eight runs on the flat in Ireland and essentially matched her best efforts on her hurdling debut. Initially held up in the rear, the slow tempo saw her drift towards a prominent position at separate stages during the race and was tracking the remaining leaders turning for home. While asked to lead after travelling nicely approaching the last, it was only a clean jump that saw her reach that position. She was reluctant to extend her advantage and only really galloped to the line as she could still her rival on turning her head. Apart from getting close to the fifth and missing the sixth, her jumping was clean and it was such a jump at the last that afforded her the race. This was not a bad debut effort as the runner-up had shown promise and she undoubtedly jumps and stays well enough for her to have a future in the game. She also boosted the credentials of her sire in the division who now has a winner and a placed hurdler from two runners. However, there can only be major concerns regarding her lack of willingness to run on with a lead which will leave her vulnerable to more enthusiastic rivals. 99

    Balko Saint made a promising debut on his first racecourse appearance at Newton Abbot in early August in conditions which were unlikely to suit. Following a two month break, he returned to the track to post an improved effort on a very different surface. Apart from getting close to the fourth, he posted a good round of jumping until he skewed and landed wrong over the last which cost him the lead and valuable momentum. While he was not travelling better than the winner at the time, she was reticent about overtaking him in and it was largely greenness that prevented him from capitalising on the situation. Balko Saint is more a long term prospect than most in this division and although he does not appear to have the scope of a proper class horse, he has shown enough to suggest that he can win races as he matures. 103

    Treaty Of Dingle is a dual winner on the flat and a consistent type at her level. She made a reasonable debut when third on good to firm at Plumpton but while she filled the same slot here, she was tailed off in the end. Her jumping was not as fluent as on her debut either and was never in a challenging position, only finishing third for passing a spent rival on the run-in. She has enough ability to be competitive at a low level but not when demands are placed on her stamina. 59

    Talking About You won at this venue at the beginning of September but did not have as much in reserve as the manner of her victory suggested and finished tired when running at Market Rasen six days prior to this contest. Racing freely in the early stages, as per usual, her jumping was not her best and she went left at most of her hurdles. She was headed turning for home and was well beaten in the end. Talking About You has been consistent at her level during four hurdle races since the beginning of August but this was a major regression and she may benefit from a break before returning on more favourable ground. 37

    Big Jimbo posted a career best effort when second behind Talking About You over this course and distance at the beginning of September. However, while the trip suited him on good ground, it was a different matter altogether in these conditions and was a tired horse by the end of the back stretch. He hit the sixth quite hard and there were several others where he was not entirely fluent so he may be seen to better effect on firmer ground. He does not look an obvious type in open company but was dropped a further two pounds off the back of this run which leaves him on a very workable mark if he is to be sent handicapping. 0

    Sans Logique ran a fair race on his hurdling debut at Sedgefield even if it did not match his French flat form but his latest two starts have been disappointing. His jumping was erratic back at Sedgefield earlier in the week and while it was better here under a more patient ride, he was a tired horse from some way out. He has since been given a mark of 106 which is a little harsh based on the best of his hurdles efforts, but lenient on the best of his flat form. 0

    Full Secret had only hinted at ability on the flat for Richard Fahey and while her jumping was not bad for a debutant at Plumpton, she was detached from an early stage. Racing more prominently here, she quickly lost her position with a circuit left to race and was pulled up after a tired jump three out. Her trainer has a good record in the sphere and Full Secret is not a bad jumper so she is not the write-off that her 125/1 starting price suggested. Nevertheless, her time and place is unlikely to be in open standard juvenile hurdles during this autumn or winter. 0

    LUDLOW plays host to a juvenile hurdle tomorrow which has been held as a maiden contest each year since 2002. Despite its status, it is generally one of the best juvenile hurdles held at the Shropshire venue each season. Since 2008/09, it has been taken by some fairly useful types such as Ballyglasheen, Duke Street, The Statesman and most recently, Langer Dan. Sternrubin, Saint Jerome and Raven's Tower are other unsuccessful participants from previous renewals as was Fred Winter sixth Alikat who would later be the dam of The Liquidator. This year's edition contains several who were initially due to run at Stratford yesterday before that meeting was washed away including likely favourite Orchestral Rain, and a pair of interesting racecourse debutants. Ludlow's average winning DIs of 1.41 mean, 1.31 median, suggest that it is not an especially demanding circuit and the completion rate of 96.9% is one of the fairer in the country. The winning DIs decrease to 1.32 mean, 1.29 median for this particular contest which would reflect the increased class requirements.

    Bam Bam chg Warren Greatrex Unraced
    Trajano (Alamo Bay){2-d}(2.08) 2/0 The Dream I Dream four time Auteuil winner 1992/1993
    Warren Greatrex has a respectable record in this sphere and his winners to runners rate of 30.43% is the second strongest in this field. He has saddled only the one unraced juvenile in Professeur Emery who after a slow start, would show respectable form without winning during the 2010/11 season. Bam Bam is another set to make his hurdling debut without prior racecourse experience but his profile rather lacks substance. His sire Trajano, by an Elusive Quality whose influence on juvenile hurdlers is rather poor, was no better than a good handicapper at distances of up to a mile and is yet to produce a winner over jumps from his small crops. Breeder Denis Grandin has produced a couple of minor jumps winners but is not especially prolific. Alamo Bay's broodmares have produced some good jumpers however, most notably Thyestes winner Invitation Only. Bam Bam's damline is not inundated with classy jumpers although his granddam was second in the 1993 Prix Ferdinand Dufaure - France's top race for four-year-old chasers - before producing triple hurdle winner Takis.

    Cold War Steve chg Sarah-Jayne Davies f6-0-1 (55) 58
    Lope De Vega (Sinndar){7-f}(0.90) 3/1 Balakan 1st Conditions Hurdle, Listowel 2008
    Cold War Steve had six races on the flat for Roger Fell, the best of those efforts coming in a seven furlong novice stakes at Southwell last November which earned him a mark of 63. That rating was not a kind one and it has since dropped to 55 after thrice finishing well beaten in low grade handicaps during the summer. Lope De Vega's record as a sire in the division is average but Sinndar's is one of the best and while his exploits as a damsire does not match those as a sire, he is still reasonable in that regard. There are jumps winners on Cold War Steve's damline and his more distant relatives include top class types in Bannkipour (4/1) and Sanctuaire (5/3). Sarah-Jayne Davies has only the one winning juvenile from six runners although that did come at this venue when Big John Cannon won a four runner claimer in December 2013. There is enough to hint at an improvement for the switch to hurdling although probably not enough to be a threat in this race.

    Current chf Dave Roberts f1-0-0 (-) 14 j2-0-0 (-) 60 64
    Equiano (New Approach){8-c}(0.57) 2/1 First Buddy 5th Anniversary Hurdle, Aintree 2008
    A cheap purchase out of Richard Hannon's yard, Current was well held in a pair of juvenile hurdles at Bangor and Market Rasen in July. Her jumping in those races was reasonable and has something resembling pace. However, she does not have the stamina or class for this type of race.

    Derek Le Grand bg Grace Harris f8-0-1 (56) 64
    Mukhadram (Manduro){9-c}(1.29) 2/1 Rock The Race 1st Prix Hardatit (L,Hcp), Auteuil 2016
    Mukhadram's first crop of hurdlers includes two winners from four runners and Maduro's record as a damsire is an identical one which counts the decent Rocky Blue amongst its ranks. Derek Le Grand's dam is a half-sister to Rock The Race, a listed handicap winner at Auteuil, as well as a niece of Quinmaster who won the For Auction novice hurdle in 2007. The best of Derek Le Grand's flat form, specifically a second in a ten furlong Windsor handicap on good to firm in July, is respectable in the context of this field. However, he is held by Thunder King on his return to that track a fortnight later and his temperament (twice withdrawn after giving trouble at the start) does raise concerns.

    Fraterculus chg Oliver Greenall f3-0-0 (79) 76 j3-0-2 (104) 91 95
    Teofilo (Anabaa){5-f}(1.08) 6/7 Optimus Prime 2nd Novice Chase, Punchestown 2018
    Following three reasonable outings on the flat for Jim Bolger, Fraterculus has shown hints of promise during the same amount of races over hurdles. While he has the size and scope to be competitive in this sphere, he has been rather let down by his greenness and a lack of fluency entailed by same. Fraterculus was pulled out of a handicap hurdle last week due to the ground and if underfoot conditions deteriorate at Ludlow, he could struggle once again. A tongue strap is set to be used tomorrow although this has no discernible benefit for the yard's runners first time out. Brendan Powell has only been used once in the past by Oliver Greenall but the jockey did put up a textbook ride on a juvenile last week at Huntingdon.

    Nuriel bg Oliver Greenall Unraced
    Nutan (Lavirco){8-f}(0.67) 2/1 Noble Hawk 1st 4yo Hurdle, Strasbourg 2006
    A stablemate of Fraterculus, Nuriel is another runner set to make his racecourse debut tomorrow. While stallion Nutan's progeny have yet to be tried over hurdles, the 2015 German Derby winner's dam is a half-sister to top hurdler Melon. Lavirco is the damsire of Triumph Hurdle winner Defi du Seuil and Grade 2 winning juvenile French Made and was responsible for numerous Grade One jumpers as a stallion. A half-brother to five winners on the flat, Nuriel's dam is a full-sister to four-year-old hurdle winner Noble Hawk and half-sister to a winning juvenile hurdler in Germany. Oliver Greenall has yet to have a winning juvenile at Ludlow from twelve runners and his runners tend to improve with experience but he does school his youngsters well. Nevertheless, while Nuriel is still entitled to some respect on his breeding, the fact that he has already had a wind operation is not encouraging.

    Orchestral Rain bg Dr Richard Newland f1-0-0 (-) 69 j2-0-1 (115) 111 111
    Born To Sea (Val Royal){23}(2.43) 2/1 Crafty Codger 1st 3YO Hurdle, Punchestown 2014
    Based on his hurdles run at Roscommon, Orchestral Rain was entitled to go off favourite for his UK/stable debut at Fontwell at the beginning of last month. However, given the relative quality of his previous form, his failing to land the odds can only be regarded as disappointing. The winner and runner-up at Roscommon have both since been winners and his effort suggested he had plenty of improvement in him. In fairness, his jumping during the race was fine and he only tired late on so he can still be forgiven that outing. Furthermore, Dr Richard Newland has a fine record in this sphere and his general 38.9% winners to runners rate improves to 60% at Ludlow with his five runners producing three wins and a second since 2012/13.

    Theocrat bc Nigel Hawke f4-0-0 (65) 64
    Teofilo (New Approach){8-f}(0.52) 1/1 Novus Aditus 5th Juvenile Hurdle, Taunton 2019
    Nigel Hawke had a 40% winners to runners rate with ex-Jim Bolger juveniles going into this season and the two who fit that description for this campaign have both been winners. Theocrat is the latest such recruit to the sphere although he never made the track for the Coolcullen trainer and his four runs to date have been fair at best. A twelve length fifth to Coltrane on his debut in a Chepstow maiden was perhaps his best effort and while his finishing midfield in a Kempton novice stakes was respectable, his other runs have seen him finish tailed off including his latest start over two miles at Goodwood at the end of August. Teofilo (Tocororo, Theophilus, Broughton) has a good record in the sphere and Theocrat's damline is full of winning jumpers incliding Alterno (2/1), Authinger (3/1) and Idol's Lad (4/2) as well as useful jumps sire Aizavoski (3/2). Theocrat's flat form leaves something to be desired and entires do not have a good record in the sphere but his trainer and pedigree ensure that he can not be dismissed in this field.

    Thunder King bg Amy Murphy f8-1-1 (64) 66 j1-0-1 (-) 83 86
    Hunter's Light (Raven's Pass){1-x}(1.00) no jumps relatives
    Amy Murphy has had a good season thus far with her juvenile hurdlers and Thunder King's debut at Southwell was not without promise. He was a twenty length second (booked for third but for a leader unseating at the last), and did finish tired but he reportedly lost a shoe and was still clear of the remainder including Fraterculus. Thunder King is not especially bred to be a jumper and while he is a winner on the flat, his resolve is not guaranteed. Furthermore, his trainer's rich vein of form has rather tapered off recently and she is without a winner since Solder On Parade scored at Market Rasen. Nevertheless, his overall profile is respectable at this level and he has the experience under his belt.

    Strong prospects
    1. Orchestral Rain
    Reasonable prospects
    2. Theocrat
    3. Thunder King
    Feasible prospects
    4. Fraterculus
    5. Bam Bam
    6. Nuriel
    Moderate prospects
    7. Derek Le Grand
    8. Cold War Steve
    Negligible prospects
    9. Current
    Last edited by Bachelors Hall; 6th October 2020 at 6:58 PM. Reason: Edited to add prospects list

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  4. #142
    Senior Member Bachelors Hall's Avatar
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    17:05 Ludlow 1m7f169y Class 4 Handicap Hurdle
    Peat Moss bg Nigel Hawke f5-0-1 (47) 50 j3-1-1 (105) 91 105
    Fracas (Dalakhani){14-c}(0.71) 4/1 Direct Lady 3rd Festival Hurdle, Leopardstown 1992
    Nigel Hawke's strike rate with three-year-olds in handicap hurdles is a very healthy 25% since 2012. Last season, that rate was 50% and his sole juvenile handicapper this year was a respectable fourth of fifteen at Fontwell last month. This afternoon he saddles Peat Moss for the penultimate race on Ludlow's card, who comes here on the back of a win at Plumpton seventeen days ago. During his first two races over hurdles, Peat Moss had given the impression that he would be best served coming off a strong pace which is what he was provided at Plumpton. After a clean round of jumping, he made steady and consistent progress to snatch victory at the line from a promising newcomer of Colin Tizzard's. Ludlow is a fairly easy track and the distance will be roughly two furlongs shorter than at Plumpton. While there are a couple of potential frontrunners among Peat Moss's ten rivals, the pace angle might not be entirely optimal. Nevertheless, he shown a good attitude at Plumpton and his mark is a fair reflection of what he achieved that day.

  5. #143
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    Along with the weekend's Irish races and yesterday's race at Ludlow, there was also a slight backlog of handicap performances and a race from Compiegne to review. This will be clear right now which leaves the path clear for a preview of Saturday's exciting little race at Chepstow which will hopefully be posted by tomorrow morning.

    Bannister 29/9/2020 Compiegne 3400m Heavy
    https://www.equidia.fr/courses/2020-09-29/R3/C2
    Since winning a moderate race at Southwell, Bannister's handicap rating has risen to an eye-watering 135. This was due to his finishing second at Compiegne at the end of September. The race, which was a fairly standard conditions event, was worth 18,240 to the winner (16,653 on the day). This is over four times the amount Bannister earned for winning at Southwell, over 50% more than what Soldier On Parade collected in the season's most valuable juvenile to date and still exceeds the prize for the listed Wensleydale Hurdle set for the end of this month. Quite why the UK and Irish bookmakers are allowed to absolutely fleece the sport with impunity is a very unfortunate mystery.

    Despite the relatively high level of prizemoney, Compiegne's contest was only of a fair standard without any pretentions of attracting the cream of France's crop. Favourite Harrisburg was the only other winner in the field after comprehensively taking a small race at Vichy. Piriac has form with recent imports Nassalam and Saint Sam but lost his chance here when all but falling two out. The winner Martadore was a near eleven length fifth to Raffles Face on his latest start at Auteuil in June. A race which also contained subsequent winning Auteuil chasers Hades and Losange Vert.

    In the race itself, Bannister was fairly keen early and took up the running approaching the first. By the second, he was already a dozen lengths clear and more than doubled that advantage by the third. He was slightly slow over the fourth but was decent enough over the next two. Bannister began to tire in the back and this was reflected in his jumping as he went through the fourth last hurdle. Nevertheless, he still had a clear lead entering the straight and was still just in front when making a tired jump at the last. Headed within the final two hundred metres, he still battled on bravely and would only be beaten by half a length. Precisely what this form is worth is difficult to gauge. Racing Post gave him an RPR of 100 while the BHA put him up to 135 so the most accurate figure likely lies somewhere in between. Martador's Auteuil race is working out fairly well although he was coming back off his summer break and nothing out of that contest has an official French rating. This was clearly a career best effort from Bannister but it is difficult to imagine that he has improved by over two stone from Southwell so a mark in the mid 120s might have to suffice before he is again tested against UK horses. 123

    Dragon Man 30/9/2020 Huntingdon
    Dragon Man's starting price of 150/1 was a fair reflection of his chances beforehand as he was very unfavourably treated at the weights. After starting in midfield, he was soon racing up with the leaders on the outside but he was very quickly dropped at the seventh and was soon pulled up. To be fair to him, while he slightly dived at the third, clipped the fourth and jumped his last very sloppily, showed some fair hurdling. He might do better over shorter but there was still very little encouragement from a form perspective. 0

    GOWRAN PARK 3/10/2020
    Preview review
    With the withdrawal of Quilixios, the race was a fairly straightforward one to assess. Duffle Coat was clearly superior to his rivals, Little Brother ran respectably with an uncontested lead, Made In Pimlico confirmed his Listowel performance, Waterville Lady did not jump well and Meknas matched his low expectations. There is not a great deal to reflect upon.

    Race review
    Quilixios's withdrawal deprived this contest of most of its interest but it was still good to see Duffle Coat supplement the impression he made on his debut. The runner-up and the third essentially reproduced their Listowel efforts so the form should be reliable. There were a couple of minor mid-air collisions in the early stages but nothing so drastic as to affect the outcome.

    Duffle Coat made a good impression when winning on his racecourse debut at Punchestown and confirmed that he is an above average sort here. Prior to reaching the straight, his jumping was good and at times, beautiful. He made a couple of errors at the final two flights but those can be attributed to the shifting through the gears that would be less prevalent in a more truly run race. He was a little green when shaken up on the approach to the last but was otherwise a good traveller and his superiority was far greater than the winning margin. Strictly on form, this was a slight regression but he would almost certainly have ran to a better mark in a better race. There is a lot to like about Duffle Coat and though the season is still in its embryonic phase, he has the most potential of those seen thus far. After the race, Gordon Elliott suggested either a winners of two at Punchestown or Down Royal, or even the Wensleydale as his next target. 120

    Made In Pimlico had shown only modest form on the flat as a two-year-old and was pulled up quickly halfway through his hurdling debut at Tipperary. However, at Listowel he surpassed anything he had previously achieved to finish a respectable fourth behind Longclaw. While there was the danger of that effort being a fluke, he was inexplicably sent off at odds of 50/1 here. Despite getting slightly close to a few, his jumping was the second best in the field and he travelled well throughout. He had to be switched out wide in the straight before getting a clear run after the last but while he was never catching the winner, he ran on strongly to be a decisive runner-up. He has shown enough to win a moderate contest over hurdles and with his rekindled enthusiasm and an appreciation of a trip, his flat rating of 40 could be very lenient in something like a ten furlong handicap. 110

    Little Brother has now had four starts over hurdles and his jumping has not really improved since his debut. He is best setting his own gallop on an easy circuit and given that is what he had here, this is probably the ceiling of his ability. He will likely continue to struggle under the penalty he acquired when winning at Ballinrobe and appears to require fairly specific conditions. Any further progression will have to come from more fluent hurdling. 115

    Meknas left the Sir Michael Stoute yard for 7,000 guineas before seeing a racecourse and his profile is not particularly appealing in this discipline. He was always in rear and was close at all but one of his hurdles before finishing tired and completely tailed off. He can build on this performance but the foundations are very low. 18

    Waterville Lady came into the race with the best flat form, albeit at a moderate level, but did not impress either before or following her unseating early on at Listowel. Once again, her jumping was very poor here as she was either hesitant, low, big or close over her hurdles and dived both left and right at a couple of them. When she clipped the top of the last before stumbling on landing, she was already held in fourth. There is little encouragement for the discipline on her sirelines so a successful future over hurdles looks unlikely. Nevertheless, it is possible to be optimistic if one considers that the yard is not in the best form and Waterville Lady may do better on softer ground. 90

    KILLARNEY 5/10/2020
    Preview review
    Due to my spending the weekend with my fun friend, it was deemed best to not have the laptop eat into the quality time. As such, the preview took the form of a prospects list effectively drawn from memory based on what I had previously written about the participants. In the absence of Crassus, the top three prospects filled first, second and fourth positions in a slightly different order. On Guard had been previewed in a sales post where reticence about his pedigree and attitude was abound along with the difficulties of improving ex-John Gosden horses. Varna Gold has been deemed to be a capable animal in the sphere but still had inconsistencies to overcome. At War jumps well from the front but the more patient tactics employed were probably detrimental to his fluency. Belgoprince had yet to be seen to best effect, Londonofficecallin did not have an encouraging profile and Thekeyisnottopanic has an amusing name. It is impossible to assuage quite how I might have previewed the race with more time and information at hand but the key elements pertinent to the race had already been raised which is quite pleasing.

    Race review
    Prior to Monday's race, Killarney had hosted eight three-year-old hurdles since 2008. All of them took place in late August so direct trends were not available for this particular contest. Nevertheless, races at Killarney had high average winning DIs and moderate seasonal RPRs making them fairly undemanding in terms of both class and stamina. Monday's race being a maiden was indicative of the race's overall quality and the absence of Crassus and the underperformance of the 86 rated On Guard emphasised the lack of strength in depth. The pace was fairly steady and the winning time was slower than both the mares maiden and the low grade handicap later on the card. Nevertheless, the winner had shown enough to take a race of this nature and the front three all had fair form over hurdles so the form does look reasonably sound.

    Varna Gold had ran three times over hurdles going into this race and he put that experience to good use. While his debut effort was fairly tepid, he was better on his next start when left in a distant second at Down Royal and may have finished third on his latest outing at Punchestown but for falling at the last. His jumping had improved with each outing and apart from getting slightly close to the fifth and sixth, put in much the cleanest round here. Always racing handily, he joined the leader approaching three out and with a succession of smooth leaps, he eased into an unassailable lead and was under no firmer instruction than a shake of the reins. His first win in fifteen starts, this was also his best performance from a form perspective. While Varna Gold was prone to inconsistency on the flat, he appears to be enjoying himself in his new vocation and this victory is very much a well earned one. Through collateral form, he would likely have found Crassus a bridge too far and good though this performance was, it was not the strongest contest and he could find things more difficult under a penalty. 115

    At War is a half-brother to the useful Baltimore Rock and was rated as high as 76 while racing on the flat at up to a mile. Although he was well beaten on his hurdles debut at Punchestown, he jumped well for a newcomer and rather confirmed his potential when third to Longclaw at Listowel two weeks ago. However, running in a first time hood, his fluency was undermined by a more restrained ride which saw him pull hard early and miss a few of his hurdles. He did not appear to finish too tired and may benefit from a return to more positive tactics in the future. This was another fair effort and he can be competitive at this level in the right conditions. 104

    Belgoprince had winning flat form in the French provinces and a profile which suggests he can do well as a hurdler. However, his hurdling debut at Roscommon, laden with poor jumping and a lethargic ride, roused an unhealthy scepticism and similar sentiments were engendered next time at Ballinrobe. Following a lacklustre run at the Curragh, Belgoprince returned to hurdling with another questionable effort. While he made a very clumsy error at the first, his jumping did improve and was travelling strongly turning for home. However, after an untidy leap three out, he was pulled from a clear position to jump among a tight bunch at the penultimate flight. From there, he was pulled out of a gap in order to get a more direct view of the runner-up's hind quarters before jumping out of his jockey's hands at the last. This performance is worth a mark in the low 100s on form, but deserves an official rating of at least 150. 103+?

    On Guard cost connections 52,000 guineas at the Tattersalls August Sale and his win at Yarmouth in June was the standout piece of flat form in this field. However, his temperament saw him finish tailed off in the Queen's Vase and he was very fresh in the first half of this contest. He wandered into most of his early hurdles and almost refused at the second. While he was able to settle eventually, he was a tired horse by the end of the race. Although Invincible Spirit is not a particularly successful sire in the division, there are some decent jumpers on the damline. However, for all the class that ex-John Gosden horses can bring to the sphere, it is rare that much of it is carried over hurdles and it is notoriously difficult for improvement to be extracted from these types. On Guard showed enough promise to suggest he can be competitive at this level if he becomes more fluent but he would be breaking a mould if he is to be much better than average in this discipline. 96

    Londonofficecallin had been off the track since last August prior to making his hurdling debut here. His pedigree is not an obvious one for the discipline nor is his trainer especially prolific in the sphere. Nevertheless, while he was close to the first couple of hurdles and untidy at the last, his jumping was reasonable and he kept on well enough to finish a twenty length fifth. This effort was not devoid of promise but he still needs to improve before he is competitive at this level. 93

    Boom Boom Boom had only moderate form to show for four runs on the flat with Stuart Williams and was sold for 6,000 guineas at the Tattersalls August Sale. His new trainer's record in the sphere is below average but he does get winners and Boom Boom Boom's dam is a half-sister to Cubomania. His jumping was big and he was also close and steady at several of these but he was not beaten out of sight. He has fair way to progress if he is to be a threat in ordinary company but there is some scope for improvement with experience. 89

    Toughari brought a rating of just 53 after six runs on the flat but his trainer has a decent record with juvenile hurdlers. He did not jump with any real fluency on his hurdling debut however, and is another with plenty to find for the time being. 87

    Thekeyisnottopanic had shown little in three flat outings and though his jumping was fine on his hurdles debut at Tipperary in August, it was less fluent here. He did finish closer to the winner on this occasion but offered little immediate promise. 62

    Butterfly Lounge showed only moderate promise at Redcar over six furlongs for Richard Fahey back in June and was well beaten over the same trip at Ayr in August. She jumped slowly on her first run in Ireland and was detached with a circuit to go before finishing tailed off. 0

    LUDLOW 7/10/2020
    Preview review
    Orchestral Rain's win marked the first winning top prospect in the UK since the seventh of August which is pretty neat. The race was a trappy affair with several horses looking like potential winners and Orchestral Rain looking unconvincing until asserting after the last. Nevertheless, an ugly win is still a win. Fraterculus had the potential to run as he did and has matured somewhat since last seen. Current was noted as a fair jumper with a hint of speed but her performance was still completely unexpected. Theocrat ran with credit and the newcomers had patchy profiles, although while Nuriel's jumping was certainly safe, it was not necessarily good.

    Race review
    Traditionally a relatively useful contest, this year's renewal was built more on promise than on substance. While several of these have the potential to win races, they were very much unfurnished in their nature and would need to develop both their aptitude and attributes. All of the runners made errors and with the winning time over five seconds slower than the Class 4 handicap, the pace was not a thorough one. Orchestral Rain's jumping was his poorest seen to date and the fact that Current led briefly after the last casts further doubt on the reliability of the form.

    Orchestral Rain was keen early, steadied into the first, got in close to the next three and was awkward at all of the hurdles in the straight. He never really travelled and drifted to 23/1 in running yet was able to prevail on the run-in and was ultimately a decisive winner. He had shaped like more of a stayer on his first two starts but finishing tired at Fontwell while taking this off a modest gallop suggests this perspective should be reassessed. This was only his fourth racecourse appearance having making his debut in mid-July so he would still be short of the finished article. The performance does not match his Roscommon debut and while he can progress from here, his capacity is beginning to look more limited. 104

    Fraterculus had shown hints of promise on his first three starts over hurdles although his efforts were hindered by his greenness. However, he put up a much more assured performance from the front here and he travelled and jumped as well as ever. While he was slightly awkward at the first, he settled into a good rhythm until pecking on landing three out. Fraterculus composed himself at the penultimate flight but was untidy over the last and slipped slightly on landing. This error probably did not cost him the race as he had ample opportunity to seize the initiative approaching the last and the winner was pulling away even after he regained his stride on the run to the line. Notwithstanding, this was his best effort over hurdles to date and he is capable of winning a moderate race if he maintains this improvement. 103

    Current had been beaten over forty lengths at both Bangor and Market Rasen and while she had shown some aptitude and pace, looked nothing like a horse who could be competitive in any open company. However, while she was slow at a few of these and looked like getting dropped early on, she was also good over the third and sixth and made sufficient headway to lead briefly over the last. It was only there that her lack of stamina told but she was still able to hold on to third place. The minimum trip on good to firm is probably as sharp as it will get for juvenile hurdlers before the spring and Current would be unlikely to find conditions as favourable as these any time soon. Nevertheless, this shows that she does have some amount of ability. 94

    Theocrat is bred to potentially be better over hurdles than on the flat and is in the right hands to accomplish that goal. He was keen early on and was big at the third while being slow at the sixth. Nevertheless, he showed enough to build on and as he was rather one paced on the run in, should be able to leave this behind as he develops into his frame. 100

    Thunder King was the only previous winner in this field courtesy of a win in a Windsor handicap at the end of July. Although he was beaten twenty lengths on his jumps debut at Southwell, it was still an effort of some potential and he was able to build on that yesterday by virtue of his being more competitive. He was rather messy at a few of his jumps however and his resolve is still up for debate so while he has some ability, he is not an obvious winner in waiting. 97

    Derek Le Grand's best flat form entitled him to respect in this company and his pedigree makes some appeal. Starting at 11/2 having been 33/1 the previous evening made him the best backed horse in the field but he was diving awkwardly to his right from the outset and finished tailed off. 74

    Nuriel was making his racecourse debut and there were some positives in his pedigree. However, his wind had already been done and while he was 9/1 in the morning, had drifted to 40/1 at the off. Held up in the rear, he was very cautious over his hurdles and was never able to get into the contest. While he looks assured of a clear round wherever he goes next, he needs more experience before his abilities can be properly assessed. 73

    Cold War Steve had shown little this season in three flat handicaps and while there is potential in his pedigree, he was completely unfancied in the market. Prominent early, he wandered into the third flight and was slow over the last couple in the back before finishing tired. 62

    Bam Bam was another making his racecourse debut and was the more prominent debutant in the market. However, after steadying and stumbling at the first, was never out of the rear and was the first to get detached before pulling up entering the straight. 0

    Peat Moss 10/7/2020 Ludlow
    His yard does well with juveniles in handicaps and Peat Moss was vying for favouritism in the market before the off. However, the slow early pace did little to help him settle as he was making mistakes early on and getting reminders with a lap to go. Even though the pace picked up shortly after the first, Peat Moss was never travelling and although he moved with some purpose turning for home, was soon a beaten horse. He is capable of better and while this was disappointing, the muddling early gallop is a reasonable excuse for the time being. If his mark drops as a result then he will be interesting in a more suitable race. 94

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    That's gotta be... That's gotta be Hell Red! While business did not pick up last Saturday after Quilixios' withdrawal, there is another chance for it to pick up this Saturday as Hell Red is set to make his UK debut at Chepstow. The contest is traditionally the first proper juvenile of the season and has been the launchpad of many useful types over the years. Previous winners include Katchit, Far West, Franchoek, Adrien du Pont, Olofi and Karezak while the likes of Reve de Sivola, Sceau Royal, Sir Psycho and Quel Destin have also been participants. The average winner's seasonal RPR of132 is also one of the strongest in the country. The race itself is challenging not only in terms of class but also of stamina. Chepstow's time per furlong figure is the slowest in the country and the race's average winning DIs of 0.62 median, 0.67 mean are also telling. The quality of flat form brought into this race is low and while there are a some jumps types with some potential, the interest predominantly revolves around Hell Red. As with last week, Hell Red will break the alphabetical order and be the first horse assessed.

    Hell Red grg Paul Nicholls j1-0-1 (-) 118
    Martaline (Muhtathir){1-t}(0.45) 1/1 Hell Boy Grande Course de Haies de Compiegne (G3), Compiegne 2019
    The Prix Rush is a contest for hurdling debutants and has featured some very decent sorts over the years including Pic d'Orhy, Goliath du Berlais, Master Dino, Terrefort, Smashing, Esmondo, Baby Mix, Sam Winner, Twinlight, Balko, Cerium, Vol Solitaire and Robin des Champs. The first two from this year's renewal, held back in March, have both joined Paul Nicholls and Hell Red currently sits above new stablemate Monmiral in the Triumph Hurdle lists. Only two winners have come out of that race, including Martador who recently beat Tom George's Bannister at Compiegne. Nevertheless, fourth placed Hirta was a creditable fourth in an Auteuil handicap on Wednesday off a mark of roughly 135. By the late Martaline, one of France's quality jumps stallions, Hell Red is a full-brother to the useful Hell Boy, half-brother to listed handicap hurdle winner Hell's Queen and is out of a half-sister to Baan Rim Pa who won the Grade Two Prix Leon Rambaud in 2011. Third dam Battani substantiates the juvenile credentials by being the dam of Me Voici, winner of the 2009 Finale, and the granddam of 2013 Anniversary winner L'Unique. Historically the path from Guillaume Macaire to Paul Nicholls has been trod by the likes of Master Minded, Twist Magic and Silviniaco Conti while Sametegal, Frodon and Solo have helped maintain the prestige of said tour in more recent years. Paul Nicholls has won this particular race seven times from his last thirteen runners and his four runners-up were beaten by Katchit, Franchoek, Gumball and Montestrel.

    Billy The Squid bg Fergal O'Brien f3-0-0 (47) 34 j5-0-2 (107) 94 99
    Requinto (American Post){19}(0.43) 2/1 Edylan 1st 5YO Conditions Hurdle, Angers 2019
    Billy The Squid showed next to nothing on the flat in three starts for George Scott and looked similarly limited on his hurdling debut at Market Rasen at the end of July. Nevertheless, in his four subsequent outings over hurdles, he has been a credit to Fergal O'Brien and would be coming into this on the back of three consequtive seconds but for unseating at Southwell early last month. His latest effort saw him beaten just over four lengths at Perth and though his jumping is not entirely fluent and he has a habit of hitting flat spots, he is nothing if not consistent. He has largely been exposed as no better than average and there is no reason to assume that he can trouble Hell Red. Nevertheless, he should give another honest account of himself and is capable of running into a place.

    Bourbali bg Colin Tizzard j1-0-1 (-) 94 105
    Sinndar (Saint des Saints){1-b}(1.18) 2/1 Tamarinbleu 1st Clarence House Chase (G1), Ascot 2008
    Sinndar's record with juvenile hurdlers is exceptional as is that of Saint des Saints. Bourbali is out of a Saint des Saints mare who has produced a winning hurdler and whose own dam won a handicap at Auteuil. She is also a half-sister to Tamarindor who won his first two outings in juvenile hurdles at Pau along with Tamarinbleu who make a winning racecourse debut in an Ascot juvenile hurdle ahead of a top class career. His pedigree is tailor made for the discipline and he made a most promising start to his career at Plumpton three weeks ago. While his inexperience caused him to make a few novicey errors, his jumping was decent in the main and he looked the likeliest winner until he was caught on the line. The winner failed to frank the form in a handicap earlier this week but there were reasons for his underperformance. Good to firm at Plumpton was unlikely to suit Bourbali and he should appreciate Saturday's conditions. While Colin Tizzard is better known for staying chasers, his record in the division is decent and he saddled Catch The Cuban to finish second in this race last season.

    Hector De Sivola bg Nick Williams j1-0-0 (-) 83 69
    Noroit (Montjeu){9-e}(0.42) 1/1 Espiegle De Sivola 1st Claiming Hurdle, Hyeres 2017
    One of the horses listed at the end of Hell Red's assessment was not like the others. Montestrel was a shock 20/1 winner of this race in 2018 and he was trained at the same yard as Hector de Sivola. Hector de Sivola made his sole racecourse appearance in the season's opening juvenile hurdle at Newton Abbot back in July where he was sent off the 4/5 favourite. After being violently hampered at the first, he never travelled thereafter and while there was some fair jumping through the race, he finished a thirty length fifth. Provided that experience did not sour him, it would be entirely appropriate to ignore that run. The yard had a runner-up at Fontwell last week and it is interesting that Hector de Sivola returns in the same race they ran Reve de Sivola, Pistolet Noir, Urbain de Sivola and the aforementioned Montestral.

    Jersey Grey grg Alexandra Dunn f5-0-0 (48) 52
    Rajsaman (Peintre Celebre){16-h}(0.74) 0.5 Grand Banks 120 1st 4yo Conditions Hurdle, Compiegne 2018
    Jersey Grey had five runs on the flat for Jamie Osborne but never finished any better than seventh and was last seen tailed off in a two mile Chepstow handicap in early August. His new trainer has saddled sixteen juvenile hurdlers without any of them winning a race from thirty-five attempts. Jersey Grey's half brother was a winner in France and his dam is a half-sister to multiple jumps winner Sure Josie Sure and the popular flat stayer Geordieland. Furthermore, Rajsaman has had five winning juveniles in France and Peintre Celebre's record as a damsire is above average by all measures. Nevertheless, it would still be a remarkable achievement if Jersey Grey could provide his trainer with her first winner in the division on Saturday.

    Lustleigh bc Dan Skelton Unraced
    Kayf Tara (Midnight Legend){11-d}(0.89) 1/0 My Petra 1st 1965 Chase (G2,136), Ascot 2008
    Dan Skelton has sent out seventeen juvenile hurdlers making their racecourse debuts and only one of them, the useful Langer Dan, won at any point during their first seasons. Not many will have been as nicely bred as Lustleigh however. He is a son of the very useful My Petra, herself a full sister to the equally talented duo of Midnight Appeal and Lake Legend. A full-brother to winning novice My Dance and half-brother to winning stayer Cushuish, Lustleigh is by the top jumps stallion Kayf Tara. However, while famed for his exploits with the likes of Thistlecrack, Carruthers and Special Tiara, Kayf Tara has had only two winning juveniles. Katies Tutor was the latest in November 2006, and was the only one to do so at the age of three. Unraced horses aside, Dan Skelton's record in the division is very good and while Lustleigh is more a store horse than a juvenile, it will be interesting to see how he fares nevertheless.

    Phoenix Aquilus bc Seamus Durack f4-0-2 (69) 71
    Slade Power (Ad Valorem){31}(1.50) 2/1 Tiger Roll 1st Triumph Hurdle (G1), Cheltenham 2014
    Phoenix Aquilius is the highest rated of those with flat form and his latest effort in a Kempton handicap back in August might be the pick of his four runs. The form of that race is fairly standard but he looked straightforward enough and was a one-paced rather than laboured sixth. Slade Power is not an obvious jumps stallion although one of his two runners in the sphere was a winner. The pedigree reveals a more interesting relative as his dam is a half-sister to Tiger Roll who won the 2014 Triumph Hurdle and a few other races afterwards. She is also a niece of the useful Khachaturian and a daughter of On Air who was fourth in the 1994 Kennel Gate. Seamus Durack does not have many juvenile hurdlers but three of his nine charges in the sphere have been winners and 75% of them improve for the switch between codes. Phoenix Aquilis has been set a tough task for his hurdling bow but he is not without a credible profile.

    Sandyburg bg Harry Whittington Unraced
    Sageburg (Craigsteel){13-c}(0.33) 3/1 Lucky Spirit 1st Handicap Hurdle (94), Gowran Park 2005
    Harry Whittington has a 46.15% winners to runners ratio with juvenile hurdlers which is second only to Paul Nicholls in this field. However, all of them had flat or French hurdling form prior to their initial campaigns. Sageburg has not sired any winning juveniles in the UK or Ireland but he has a very good record with such types in France. While there are no notable jumpers nearby on the damline, useful sorts such as Erzadjan (4/1) and Ebaziyan (4/3) can be found further back.

    The Imposter bg Nigel Hawke f1-0-0 (-) 51
    Authorized (Bertolini){20-a}(0.88) 2/1 Currahee 1st Handicap Hurdle (104), Cartmel 2009
    Nigel Hawke has had two winning juveniles thus far this season and Authorized is one of the elite sires in the division. However, Currahee is the only closely related jumper on the damline and The Imposter's sole flat outing came when a fifteen length tenth after being slowly away in a Chepstow maiden. The yard sent Repetitio to finish third in this race last season but there needs to be more evidence before The Imposter can be considered to be anything but in this company.

    Strong prospects
    1. Hell Red
    Reasonable prospects
    2. Bourbali
    Feasible prospects
    3. Hector de Sivola
    4. Phoenix Aquilius
    5. Lustleigh
    6. Sandyburg
    Moderate prospects
    7. Billy The Squid
    Negligible prospects
    8. The Imposter
    9. Jersey Grey

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    Along with Hell Red, a few other horses in the Triumph lists have upcoming entries. Baladin de Mesc (33/1) is set to line up in a listed steeplechase at Auteuil tomorrow afternoon at 14:00 local time (13:00 in the UK/Ireland/Portugal/Faroe Islands/Sierra Leone etc). The first and third from the Prix Kargal (a.k.a the second and third from the Prix Weather Permitting) are among his opponents as is I'm Walking (fourth to Quilixios and second to Heros d'Ainay) who will be making his chase debut.

    On Tuesday at Punchestown, Duffle Coat (50/1) and Quilixios (25/1) are among the entries in a winners-of-two. The pair were set to meet at Gowran Park last week but Quilixios was withdrawn due to the ground. Then on Wednesday, Midnights Legacy (33/1) could make his hurdling debut and while he has been beaten on his last two starts on the flat, his story is an interesting one. Possible opponents at this stage include the impressive Cartmel winner Naizagai, First Impression, an 89 rated newcomer for John Quinn from the family of Fred Winter fourth Kazlian, and Camahawk, a Tim Easterby trained Camelot half-brother to Fred Winter winner Hawk High.

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    CHEPSTOW REVIEW
    Preview review
    Hell Red's potential class was very conspicuous, Phoenix Aquilius was a huge price given his profile and Billy The Squid lacked a bit of fluency, hit a flat spot but was capable of running into a place without threatening the winner. Bourbali was slightly disappointing but his being hampered at the second did not look pleasant and the ground could have been softer for him. It is not often that I am pleased with a preview in hindsight but I certainly was in this instance.

    Race review
    Taking out the winner, it was still a fair enough contest but Hell Red looked far superior to everything else seen this season. There was an incident at the second where Billy The Squid hit Bourbali quite hard in mid air which may have affected the latter's performance. Otherwise, the quality of jumping was decent from most of the field and the pace was an honest one. The winning time was respectable relative to the Class 2 handicap and faster than any of the previous ten runnings by upwards of four seconds. Indeed it was over seven and a half seconds quicker than when Sceau Royal and Adrien du Pont fought out the finish of the 2015 edition on good ground which bodes very well in terms of both class and pace as well as being indicative of the speedy surface.

    Hell Red came into the race as the better fancied of the Nicholls horses in the Triumph lists, including his Prix Rush victor Monmiral. During the race, he settled quickly in the front and was clean throughout. When the pace picked up turning for home, he was electric and while he was slightly close to the penultimate flight, it did not affect his momentum. He wandered slightly approaching the last and rather dived at the flight but this merely suggests that he can improve further with experience. Hell Red, with his enthusiasm, aptitude and speed, looked like an alien compared to everything else seen this season. His superiority over his rivals is far greater than the winning margin and the only question is to what extent. He did not win the race hard held but he was never asked to extend out of second gear either and with the race in safe keeping after the last, was eased approaching the line. Naturally, the instinct is to not get carried away by a solitary performance in early October. Nevertheless, since 1983/84, twenty-one horses who placed in the first three in the Triumph made their hurdling debuts prior to October including five winners, and Far West won this race in 2012 prior to finishing runner up at the festival later that season. Calling the winner at this juncture is impossible but the 20/1 still available is very fair considering the obvious talent that this horse possesses. 135

    Phoenix Aquilius was the highest rated flat horse having been placed twice in that sphere in four runs. While Slade Power is not a classic jumping stallion, his record in the division is respectable and Phoenix Aquilius is related to the likes of Tiger Roll and Khachaturian. Furthermore, the trainer has done well with his small number of juvenile hurdlers so an improvement was not unexpected ahead of his hurdling debut. Settled in the rear, his jumping was compromised by some bunching early on but he was clean when finding more room and made good headway throughout. While he was never going to threaten the winner, he was best of the remainder and led home a pair of horses who already had respectable form in the division. This was a fine effort from a debutant, particularly one with his anatomy still in tact, and an ordinary race should be well within his scope if he is happy being in front at the business end of affairs. 112

    Billy The Squid is the most experienced in the field and while he has yet to win a race, has been a credit to his connections. Once again lacking some fluency and being the first off the bridle, he plugged on in his customary fashion to run into third place. This race had been his target for a while and his trainer's faith was repaid with a new career best effort. Quite whether he would be a safe conveyance to win a race warranted by his abilities is questionable but he should continue to be a consistent and admirable sort. 111

    Bourbali was highly promising on his debut at Plumpton and with a profile that suggested inevitable improvement, looked the danger horse coming into the race. However, he was slightly keen early and after steadying into the first, jumped left at the second where Billy The Squid crashed directly into his hint quarters. While this did not appear to affect his general wellbeing, particularly as he jumped well thereafter, the impact was certainly enough to leave an impression. Nevertheless, he still plugged on for a respectable fourth place and with more favourable ground and a less dramatic journey, should be able to step up on this effort. 108

    Jersey Grey had only moderate form on the flat for Jamie Osborne and was representing a yard with an uninspiring record in the division. Notwithstanding, there are enough clues in his pedigree to suggest he can fare better in this discipline and following a clean round of jumping, put up a respectable debut performance. Lofty ambitions may have to be kept on the shelf but there was enough to suggest that he can be competitive in an ordinary contest. 101

    Hector de Sivola could be forgiven his debut outing at Newton Abbot and was representing a yard with a fine record in this race. However, while this was a creditable effort in isolation, he did not give the impression that he is anything out of the ordinary at this juncture. He was green early on and made a couple of slight errors so he is still entitled to improve. 100

    Sandyburg was making his racecourse debut and represented a yard with a good record in the sphere. His profile, while respectable, did not leap off the page and although his jumping was fine save for being slightly awkward at the fifth, he did not make much of an impact in the race itself. Notwithstanding, there was noting disheartening in this performance and Sandyburg can be seen in a better light with the experience under his belt. 96

    The Imposter represented a yard that has done well with its juveniles this season. However, he showed little on his sole flat outing at this venue and it was much the same here. He is by a top stallion in the division whose progeny are better with more give in the ground so it would be too soon to write this horse off entirely. 57

    PUNCHESTOWN PREVIEW
    Business very much picked up at Chepstow on Saturday and it may do so again at Punchestown tomorrow as Quilixios is once again set to make his Irish debut. Tomorrow's contest was traditionally a maiden up to 2016 but with Gimli's Rock being its classiest winner during that period, it still saw the introductions of Clarcam and His Excellency. It was taken by Espoir d'Allen in 2017 and last year by A Wave Of The Sea and with tomorrow's inclusion of Quilixios, the race could be on its way to becoming a firmly established launchpad. The average winning DIs at Punchestown of 1.00 median and 1.26 mean are lower than those of the average runner which stand at 1.27 and 1.54 which along with seconds per furlong times, indicate that the track offers a solid stamina test. That it ranks forty-sixth on the 'clear round' table also suggests that good jumping is an important asset. The ground is forecast to be yielding.

    Quilixios bg Gordon Elliott j1-1-0 (-) 131
    Maxios (Lomitas){16-c}(0.63) 3/1 Quicuyo 1st Handicap Chase (137), Doncaster 2012
    The least fancied of Francois Nicolle's four runners, Quilixios ground down the long time leader to win from a well strung out field in the second division of the traditional curtain raiser, the Prix d'Essai des Poulains. The time was two seconds quicker than the first division and while it has yet to produce any winners, the second and fourth filled the same positions (in reverse order) in the Prix Go Ahead. Gordon Elliot has had two juveniles from Francois Nicolle in recent years and while neither won for him during their first seasons, both acquitted themselves well in the Fred Winter with Campeador falling when holding a strong chance at the last in 2016 and Coko Beach finishing runner up three years later. Maxios, another addition to the UK/IRE NH stallion ranks for 2020, as well as being another son of Monsun, has so far shown himself a fine sire of juvenile hurdlers. More than half of his offspring have won over obstacles with almost two thirds achieving RPRs exceeding 107 as well as having 71% improve for switching from the flat. Lomitas is also a very capable damsire of juveniles and both he and Maxios have enjoyed success with family 16-c. Incidentally, he and Paros are fairly closely related on the dam's side with Quilixios's fifth dam being the fourth dam of Paros.

    Update
    The way he won his sole outing in the Prix d'Essai des Poulains was very taking and his jumping was good throughout. Insofar as the form of that race since I made that post is concerned, the fourth placed I'm Walking came out best at the weights in a Prix Royal Junior which featured five previous winners, and fifth placed Losange Vert won a steeplechase for three-year-olds at Auteuil. Yesterday, I'm Walking made a winning start to his chase career in the listed Prix Noiro beating Losange Vert by six lengths with Baladin de Mesc a further twelve lengths back. The tailed off Chudamani has also won a little race of his own at Jarnac. The winning time of Quilixios' division was two seconds quicker than the one earlier on the card and the runner-up in that race, Raffles Face, was a respectable third in the Prix Robert Lejeune.

    As pertains to tomorrow's race
    Gordon Elliott has won this contest three times since 2011 including with Smiling Eliza in 2018 when it was a winners-of-two. He also ran Anniversary Hurdle runner-up Clarcam in 2013 and introduced the Grade 2 winner His Excellency in the 2011 renewal. Quilixios was initially declared to make his Irish debut at Gowran Park but was withdrawn on account of the ground. The yielding surface at Punchestown will likely suit him given that he has already won on heavy and the progeny of his sire Maxios do perform better with some give underfoot. Stablemate Duffle Coat aside, this contest does look stronger than the one from which he was withdrawn as a couple of the newcomers have fair flat form on soft ground and those with hurdling experience are not moderate. Nevertheless, he comes into the race with a strong reputation and the overall impression of French form received a huge boost when Hell Red won on Chepstow.

    Battle Of Benburb bg Gavin Cromwell f3-0-0 (76) 75
    War Command (Aqlaam){7}(1.33) .5 Masters Apprentice 1st Handicap Hurdle (119), Sedgefield 2019
    Battle Of Benburb did not make his racecourse debut until the beginning of September but has ran with credit on all three outings. His first appearance came at Navan over a mile when he was a one paced fourth to the 76 rated Robin Des Sheikh. Over a furlong longer next time at Tipperary, he could only finish eleventh but was not beaten far in a similar contest. His latest appearance came last week at Killarney over a mile and three on soft ground. Once again he was decidedly one paced but he plugged on well to snatch third from a 70 rated filly who was receiving five pounds. War Command has yet to sire a winning juvenile from his first two crops although he was represented last season by Fred Winter seventh Theatre Of War (trained by Gavin Cromwell), and his two offspring this season have each been placed. Aqlaam has not had many runners in the sphere as a damsire but his record as a sire is above average. Battle Of Benburb is a half-brother to a winning handicapper and his granddam is a half-sister to winning jumpers Acapulco Gold and Without A Doubt. Gavin Cromwell won this race with Espoir d'Allen three years ago as well as saddling Wolf Prince to finish third in last year's renewal. His record in the sphere is very healthy and his improvement rate of 78.26% is the best of any trainer with fifteen or more qualifiers.

    Corn On The Cob Horse grg M C Grassick f14-0-3 (60) 66 j2-0-0 (-) 52 56
    Camacho (Verglas){8-h}(1.12) 2/1 Whiskey Sour 3rd/4th County Hurdle, Cheltenham 2018/19
    Corn On The Cob Horse had been valiant in defeat on his first three flat outings of the season but did not enjoy being taken on for the lead on his hurdling debut at Ballinrobe back in August. Seven days later, he got stuck in the mud at Tipperary and has since finished stone last in two starts on the flat. There are positives on breeding as his sire has had useful juveniles (Mr Adjudicator, El Beau and Cafe Con Leche), while the dam is a half-sister to the very talented Whiskey Sour. However, Corn On The Cob Horse appears to have gone sour himself as he has shown none of his verve recently and reportedly hung on his penultimate start. With a couple of potential front-runners in this field, he may not enjoy the run of the race here and while he is capable of better, tomorrow's conditions do not look favourable.

    Complete Fantasy bg Peter Fahey f5-0-0 (57) 70
    Make Believe (Night Shift){42}(1.67) 0.5 Monkeylou 3rd 3-y-o Maiden Hurdle, Ballinrobe 2018
    While he earned an RPR of 70 on his racecourse debut at Naas last April, Complete Fantasy has not been anywhere near that mark in four subsequent outings. His best effort this season saw him beaten ten lengths in a Roscommon handicap in late June and he was last seen tailed off at Fairyhouse a fortnight later. He is a half-brother to a horse who placed third in a weak juvenile at Ballinrobe and his dam is a half-sister to a winning seller. Much further back on the damline is 2005 Grand Prix de Automne third Sunspot and Night Shift has been a winning damsire in the division. Nevertheless, these factors are not enough to overcome his patchy flat efforts and Peter Fahey has yet to saddle a winning juvenile from six starts.

    Lucky Fella bg Gordon Elliott j1-0-0 (-) 93 95
    Yorgunnabelucky (Hernando){6-e}(0.80) 0.5 Must See The Doc 1st Juvenile Hurdle, Newton Abbot 2019
    Gordon Elliott won the first juvenile of Punchestown's season with the unraced Duffle Coat and Lucky Fella was well backed to repeat the dose a fortnight ago. However, he was rather slow at several of his jumps and could not match the principles for speed at the business end as he finished a twenty-one length fifth behind Scholastic. It was not a bad debut outing and he can improve plenty for the experience. Particularly as he is related to several winners in the sphere including Must See The Doc, Jamal Malik (3/3) and Cotee Sud (3/4). However, he probably lacks the class of his more esteemed stablemates and while he is six pounds better off and may prefer the softer ground here, there is still a big gap remaining between himself and Scholastic.

    Poets Touch bg P M Cloke f1-0-0 (-) 59 j3-0-0 (-) 95 109
    Poet's Voice (Candy Ride){12-b}(3.00) no jumps relatives
    Poets Touch began his career with Andrew Slattery and though he was withdrawn from the Goffs UK September sale, he has since joined a new yard. He jumped well from a prominent position on his hurdles debut in very testing conditions at Tipperary but would eventually finish very tired. There was more promise next time at Down Royal where he pulled himself into a clear lead before getting joined by the winner approaching the turn for home. While he did not look like repelling his new companion, he was not in any discernible trouble before he was carried out by a loose Scholastic three from home. His jumping was largely fine when he was last seen at this venue a month ago but he ended up a twenty-six length sixth with no apparent excuses. He is a capable animal but is probably a notch below the best of these.

    Scholastic bf Joseph Patrick O'Brien f12-3-0 (70) 66 j4-1-2 (-) 111 109
    Zoffany (Sadler's Wells){5-b}(0.63) 1/1 Severus Alexander 4th Handicap Hurdle (102), Leopardstown 2020
    While the season is still young, it has already been a storied one for Scholastic. Following a flat career which saw her visit the winners enclosure on four occasions, her exploits as a loose horse at Down Royal were very dramatic as she managed to eliminate three horses at two separate flights. She also clouted the first before finishing third at this venue last month but has since improved to the point where she was immaculate when winning here a fortnight ago. Though it was a visually impressive performance, her rivals rather jumped themselves out of the contest and she did not have to improve on her Listowel second to win as she did. Nevertheless, it is still the best piece of Irish form in this field and while she may prefer quicker ground, there is plenty to like about her recent attitude. Joseph O'Brien had the first two in this race last season with A Wave Over The Sea and Cerberus, while also saddling another Zoffany in Zig Zag to finish second in 2016.

    Capel At Dawn chf David Harry Kelly f11-2-2 (75) 76
    Dawn Approach (Street Cry){32}(1.00) 2/1 Short Takes 1st Juvenile Hurdle, Newton Abbot 2011
    Formerly with Joseph Patrick O'Brien, and entered for a couple of hurdles while still under his care, Capel At Dawn had her last run for that yard when winning a claimer at Gowran Park early last month. Held over a mile on soft to heavy ground, Capel At Dawn made a sustained challenge in the straight and was able to get her head in front close to the line. It was not a brilliant race but the front three were clear and the runner-up (conceding ten pounds), has since finished second in a Navan handicap off 77. This was her second victory on the flat, the first coming when beating Corn On The Cob Horse in a Naas handicap on good to yielding off 65, While she was not specifically claimed out of her latest race, she has joined a new trainer in the interim. David Harry Kelly has saddled just the one winning juvenile from nine runners but his charges do have an improvement rate of 80%. While the dam is a half-sister to winning juvenile Short Takes, there are some concerns on the sirelines as Dawn Approach is without a winner in the sphere from thirteen runs and Street Cry has just a 3.85% strike rate as a damsire - 4.65% as a sire. Capel At Dawn's hopes are not forlorn but her pedigree is patchy and the fact that she was allowed to leave the O'Brien yard is indicative of a class deficit.

    Strong prospects
    1. Quilixios
    Reasonable prospects
    2. Scholastic
    3. Battle Of Benburb
    Feasible prospects
    4. Lucky Fella
    5. Capel At Dawn
    Moderate prospects
    6. Poets Touch
    7. Corn On The Cob Horse
    Negligible prospects
    8. Complete Fantasy

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    Baladin de Mesc was beaten eighteen lengths in the listed chase yesterday but apart from missing La Plage and being slow over the last, jumped well for the most part. https://www.equidia.fr/courses/2020-10-11/R1/C1

    Midnights Legacy has been declared for Wetherby on Wednesday, the preview should be done for around midday tomorrow. Nicky Henderson's Overpriced Mixer (40/1) and Paul Nicholls' Viroflay hold entries at Kempton this Sunday.

    Since some Triumph candidates are beginning to appear in what are still the opening salvos of this campaign, here is some information on when and how the Festival horses begin to appear. The first of these images has already been posted in this thread, the second shows the source of the Fred Winter and Triumph runners since 2010.




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    Wetherby's juvenile contest consists primarily of hurdling newcomers with only one of the declared eleven being jumps form of any description. Nevertheless, two of those making their jumps bow are rated 89 on the flat which is the highest seen in the sphere this season and a couple of others have interesting pedigrees. As such, this race has the potential to provide a few useful recruits to the division. Historically, the winners of this race have been little better than fair with Fred Winter fourth King d'Argent being the most notable winner in recent years. The average winning DI of 1.00 median, 1.22 mean are lower than those of the average runner of 1.33 and 1.55 which suggests the track provides a solid stamina test. The completion rate of 94.7% is also one of the lowest in the country so good jumping would be most beneficial. The going is currently good to soft with light but fairly persistent showers forecast in the meantime.

    Historic Heart chg Nigel Hawke f4-0-1 (75) 70 j3-1-1 (112) 100 107
    Fracas (Giant's Causeway){14-c}(1.00) 3/1 Direct Lady 3rd Festival Hurdle Leopardstown 1992
    The only runner in the field with hurdling experience, Historic Heart has had three starts in the sphere with his penultimate outing a winning one at Sedgefield. The runner-up in that event followed up at Fontwell although no other runner from that race has since been able to maintain their form. Historic Heart was last seen a month ago where he was a creditable fourth in a Fontwell handicap off 110. He has since been raised two pounds which looks fairly harsh and though he is perfectly fine jumper for his level and has valuable experience to his name, he may struggle under a penalty against a couple of these.

    Camahawk brg Tim Easterby f6-0-1 (69) 75
    Camelot (Machiavellian){25}(1.00) 0.5 Hawk High 1st Fred Winter HcH (G3,130) Cheltenham 2014
    Tim Easterby won this race in 2015 with Our Thomas and is set to saddle two here. The most interesting of his charges is Camahawk, a half-brother to the stable's Fred Winter winner Hawk Wing along with three other jumps winners. Sire Camelot has made a fine start with his first two crops in the division with a 28.57% winners to runners rate that includes Sir Erec and Gardens Of Babylon. Tim Easterby's record in the division is slightly below average but he still has eleven winning juveniles since 2008/09 and his clear round rate of 97.37% is one of the best in this field. Recently rated 73 on the flat, Camahawk's best performance this season came when a three and a half-length fourth in a ten-furlong Redcar handicap on goof to firm in late June. However, his head carriage is not the most convincing and while he was not disgraced next time at Thirsk, he did fail to justify second favouritism and he was well beaten on his latest outing at Haydock in mid-August. His form and overall profile entitles him to plenty of respect but there are a couple of others with more substantial claims here.

    Clay Regazzoni bg Keith Dalgleish f19-1-6 (70) 79
    Due Diligence (Kheleyf){6-b}(3.00) 2/1 Age Of Glory 1st 4yo Maiden Hurdle, Killarney 2013
    With nineteen runs already under his belt, Clay Regazzoni is by far the most experienced horse in the field. He was well beaten in Pinatubo's Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot but was eventually able to get off the mark at the eleventh time of asking when taking a Wolverhampton nursery off 76 last October. He has raced seven times this year at distances from seven furlongs to a mile and a half and though he has largely been consistent, his best placing was a third in a soft ground Ayr handicap off 77. He was last seen sixteen days ago finishing fifth in a mile and a half Hamilton handicap. While he was still in contention at the distance, he did begin to tire in the closing stages. He will be the first hurdles runner for sire Due Diligence who is from the War Front line which has yet to have a winner in the division. Nevertheless, Kheleyf is a winning damsire in the sphere and Clay Regazzoni's damline includes Bertie Moon (2/1), a winner for the yard, with Deenos Beeno and French Holly a little further back at 4/2. Furthermore, Keith Dalgleish has a solid record with juvenile hurdlers and five of his six winners in the division did so first time out with the other finishing second.

    Fast Deal chg Tim Easterby f10-0-2 (57) 71
    Fast Company (Doyen){4-d}(1.15) 4/2 Go Tech 2nd Novice Hurdle, Wetherby 2007
    The second of the Tim Easterby pair, Fast Deal was rated as high as 72 as a two-year-old but he has not matched that form in five outings this year. His near seven length fifth at Haydock on his penultimate outing was the last time he finished within ten lengths of the winner this season and he was last seen a month ago beating only two home in a Musselburgh handicap off 60. There are no notable jumpers nearby on the damline although his sire Fast Company is does have a respectable record in the division with a 35% winners to runners rate and a 64.71% improvement rate. Nevertheless, Fast Deal would have to overcome some patchy form and he appears to be the stable's second string on jockey bookings.

    First Impression bg John Quinn f8-3-2 (89) 94
    Make Believe (Nureyev){16-a}(1.67) 3/3 Kazlian 4th Fred Winter (130), Cheltenham 2012
    First Impression is the joint highest flat horse in the lineup and unlike Midnights Legacy, comes here on the back of a win which came in a ten furlong Ayr handicap last month. That was his third win from eight career starts, the first coming ahead of Clay Regazzoni last autumn and his second coming on his seasonal reappearance in a Redcar handicap in mid-June. Winners have come out from all of his successful outings and the form of his latest outing has been franked with the third and fourth scoring since. His only two disappointing efforts came in a pair of handicaps in July but he looked entirely straightforward in his latest victory. Make Believe is having his first crop of juvenile hurdlers but his own sire Makfi was not prolific in the sphere and similar sentiments apply to damsire Nureyev. First Impression is fairly closely related to Fred Winter fourth Kazlian but that is the sum of notable jumpers nearby on the damline. Trainer John Quinn has a fantastic record with juvenile hurdlers and his improvement rate of 63.89%, and overall strike rate of 24.86% since 2008/09 are the best in this field. He won this race in 2008 with Graze On And On but has since had a couple of beaten favourites in the contest and while First Impression has leading claims, there are slight reservations concerning his pedigree.

    Lustleigh bc Dan Skelton Unraced
    Kayf Tara (Midnight Legend){11-d}(0.89) 1/0 My Petra 1st 1965 Chase (G2,136), Ascot 2008
    Dan Skelton has sent out seventeen juvenile hurdlers making their racecourse debuts and only one of them, the useful Langer Dan, won at any point during their first seasons. Not many will have been as nicely bred as Lustleigh however who is a son of the very useful My Petra, herself a full sister to the equally talented duo of Midnight Appeal and Lake Legend. A full-brother to winning novice My Dance and half-brother to winning stayer Cushuish, Lustleigh is by the top jumps stallion Kayf Tara. However, while famed for his exploits with the likes of Thistlecrack, Carruthers and Special Tiara, Kayf Tara has had only two winning juveniles. Katies Tutor being the latest in November 2006 and was the only one to do so at the age of three. Unraced horses aside, Dan Skelton's record in the division is very good and his record at Wetherby is even better with his eleven runners producing six wins, two seconds and three thirds. While Lustleigh is more a store horse than a juvvenile, it will be interesting to see how he fares here having been withdrawn from Chepstow's recent race on account of the ground.

    Mesmeric bg John Wainwright f4-1-1 (65) 68
    Casamento (Authorized){1-l}(1.18) 2/1 Mambo Dancer 6th Maiden Hurdle, Killarney 2019
    After a win (in the stewards' room) and a second in a pair of Southwell contests early in the year for Mark Johnston, Mesmeric was sold for just 3,000gns at the Tattersalls July sale. He was sent off 50/1 on his return in a Newcastle handicap last month, finishing a tailed-off last, and was last seen refusing to enter the stalls at Redcar ahead of a seller. Authorized is one of the best sires of juveniles and has made a good impression as a damsire with four of nine juveniles from his broodmare winning races. Casamento also has a solid record as a sire but there is little encouragement to be drawn from the damline. John Wainwright is without a winner in the sphere and has gone over a thousand days since a jumps winner of any description.

    Midnights Legacy bc A King f6-3-0 (89) 94
    Midnight Legend (Generous){8-i}(0.47) 2/2 Katchit 1st Champion Hurdle, Cheltenham 2008
    Hurdling was the plan for Midnights Legacy before he even set foot on a racecourse with connections hoping that he might one day emulate his sire by achieving success as an entire over hurdles before replacing him as a stallion. His pedigree screams juvenile hurdler as it was in this sphere that his full sister Midnight's Gift, and half-sisters Giving Glances and Forgiving Glance, both picked up black type. Another full sister Giving Back and half-sister Giveaway Glance were also winners as juveniles. Furthermore, Midnights Legacy's dam Giving is a half-sister to Miracle - the dam of Katchit who won seven times as a juvenile, including the Triumph and Anniversary Hurdles, before winning the Champion Hurdle the following season. Even the best laid plans in the breeding sheds rarely play out in reality, and ones as rare and specific as those for Midnights Legacy would seemingly require some metaphysical intervention. Nevertheless, after a fairly uninspiring debut at 33/1 in a Bath novice last September, this scion went on to win his next three starts over ten and twelve furlongs on ground from soft to good while showing a willing attitude. The hype train was rather derailed in the Melrose Handicap in late August but while he was beaten seventh of eight at Haydock last time, it was a more respectable showing. Alan King is the winningmost trainer in the UK or Ireland in this division and is first or second across all metrics in this field.

    New Zealander bg Graeme McPherson f1-0-0 (-) 33
    Australia (Marju){13-c}(0.54) 2/1 Dalaram 1st Free Handicap Hurdle (131), Chepstow 2004
    New Zealander was well beaten at Kempton on his sole flat start for Charles Hills and was sold for 4,000gns at the Tattersalls July sale. There is encouragement on breeding as Australia had three winners from his first crop of juveniles and New Zealander's dam is a half-sister to Free Handicap winner Dalaram. Daraydan (3/1), Darialann (3/1) and Der Spieler (3/2) are other useful types on the damline. However, the new trainer has had just one winner in forty-two juvenile hurdles and this is a very warm contest.

    Lightning Blue bf Tom Gretton f9-0-0 (46) 47
    Harbour Watch (Fantastic Light){16}(2.50) 2/1 Blue Leader 1st Selling Hurdle, Hereford 2005
    Lightning Blue finished no better than sixth in eight flat starts for Mick Channon and was beaten nearly nine lengths on her stable debut in a Lingfield handicap off just 47. Harbour Watch has a respectable record of four winners from thirteen juvenile hurdlers and the dam is a half-sister to a winning hurdler. However, Tom Gretton is without a winner from thirty-six attempts in the sphere.

    Silver Desert grf Micky Hammond f5-0-0 (46) 51
    Mastercraftsman (Galileo){4-n}(0.66) 2/1 Descaro 1st Selling Hurdle, Uttoxeter 2013
    Silver Desert has shown nothing more than a modicum of flat ability for either David Lanigan or Michael Appleby in five outings. Micky Hammond does have an above average record in this sphere however and won this race in 2016 with 20/1 shot Canford Thompson. Furthermore, Mastercraftsman is the joint leading sire in the division and Galileo has a solid record as a damsire. Nevertheless, Silver Desert is still several stones behind the leading contenders here.

    Strong prospects
    1. Midnights Legacy
    2. First Impression
    Reasonable prospects
    3. Historic Heart
    4. Lustleigh
    Feasible prospects
    5. Camahawk
    6. Clay Regazzoni
    Moderate prospects
    7. Fast Deal
    8. Silver Desert
    Negligible prospects
    9. Mesmeric
    10. New Zealander
    11. Lightning Blue

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    Preview review
    The entire field finished precisely as they were listed on the prospects list.

    Race review
    The race revolved around the well touted Quilixios and he ran out a commanding winner. Taking the winner out of the race, it would have been a reasonable contest without being up to the standard of a typical winners of two. After a slow start, they ended up going a decent gallop and the winning time was almost equal to that set by A Wave Of The Sea when he won the contest last season. The jumping on show was not brilliant but the field finished as anticipated so the form ought to be reliable.

    Quilixios came into the race near the top of the Triumph markets and came out of it the clear favourite. A big horse who is impressive on the eye, he did not look the finished article which was emphasised by his greenness. He got in very close to the first and after wandering at the paddock turn, was big and slow over the second. However, his jumping improved dramatically as the pace increased. While he wandered again when left in the lead approaching two out, he was still good over it and his stuttering slightly on landing at the last does not raise any concerns. Quilixios did not win on the bridle as he was shaken up three furlongs out and kept up to his work on the run-in, but he never really left second gear and this will have shaken off the cobwebs. Given his breeding, extensive scope and the fact that he was not fancied prior to his debut in France, there is a suspicion that he could be better next season. Nevertheless, he is clearly a serious horse with a good engine and would still be entitled to take a place within the upper echelons of the division. 128

    Scholastic had improved on each of her four outings to date over hurdles and was immaculate with her jumping when winning here on her latest start. However, while her jumping was still decent in the main, there were still a few errors, particularly at the second, which were absent on her last two outings. While she likely ran close to her best again here, she is largely exposed as being little better than average. Nevertheless, this was still a solid effort and she might be able to collect some black type in a weak enough mares' contest. 108

    Battle Of Benburb only made his racecourse debut in early September but had shown enough in three starts to suggest that he could do well over hurdles. Particularly as he represents a yard which does well in the division. However, he made mistakes at most of his hurdles which ranged getting in close to skewing and jumping right. He was also keen early and looked very vulnerable when being pressed for third during the concluding few furlongs. Nevertheless, much to his credit, he was able to maintain his superiority over the fourth and while there is plenty to improve upon, this was not a hurdling debut without promise. 97

    Lucky Fella made a respectable debut here a fortnight ago behind Scholastic and essentially matched that effort this afternoon. His jumping lacked fluency at most of his early jumps and he never looked like threatening the leaders but he ran an honest enough race and should be competitive in ordinary company. 97

    Capel At Dawn had previously been with Joseph O'Brien but left that yard before jumping a hurdle in public. As such, her hurdles debut was made under the care of David Harry Kelly and while she was well beaten, she put in the cleanest round of jumping before almost unseating at the last. These opponents were too much for her today but there was enough here to command interest in a weaker event. 64

    Poets Touch was keen early on and pulled himself to the front after the third. His jumping rather fell apart midway through the race and he was already weakening when slipping badly after the seventh. He was then allowed to come home in his own time. Poets Touch has shown more than this in the past but is looking prone to inconsistency. 42

    Corn On The Cob Horse was always in the rear but while he was hesitant and blundered at the first, his jumping improved form there. However, he was already getting reminders after the fifth and finished a tired horse. Corn On The Cob Horse had demonstrated some potential earlier this season on the flat and could end up being fairly well handicapped but he needs to break out of this lull before he would be able to take advantage. 37

    Complete Fantasy was unfancied prior to the off and was pulled up after his saddle slipped when tripping over the first. 0

    Along with Midnights Legacy tomorrow, other upcoming entries include

    Friday - Uttoxeter - Overpriced Mixer
    Saturday - Ballinrobe - Zanahiyr and Dark Voyager
    Sunday - Kempton - Overpriced Mixer and Viroflay
    Sunday - Auteuil - Baladin de Mesc, Heros d'Ainay, Raffles Face, Bannister

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    The review for yesterday's race at Wetherby should hopefully be done by this afternoon. In the meantime, here is the preview for tomorrow's race.

    Uttoxeter hosts its second juvenile hurdle of the season tomorrow and despite a small field, it features a few interesting runners. Naizagai returns after his impressive win at Cartmel two months ago while Magna Moralia bids to build on his promising debut at Sedgefield. There is also a pair of flat recruits with fair form and agreeable pedigrees. This race has been hosted every season since 2008/09 but is generally not of the highest standard with Herod The Great being the most prestigious name on the roll-call. When that horse is taken out, the average seasonal RPR of the winner is just 103.5 median, 100 mean. Uttoxeter's time per furlong figure is fairly standard and the winning DIs of 1.15 median and 1.51 mean (slightly lower than the average runner) suggest that the course offers a fair test of stamina. The course's clear round rate of 96.99% is also one of the kinder in the country. However, the completion rate of 82.33% is one of the lowest which ties into the notion that Uttoxeter can become exponentially testing in softer conditions. The going is currently soft although there is little rain forecast in the meantime.

    Naizagai bg Fergal O'Brien f5-0-4 (76) 78 j1-1-0 (-) 114 120
    Dark Angel (Galileo){9-b}(0.90) 3/1 Oxymeron 1st Handicap Hurdle, Lingfield 1990
    After leaving Roger Varian's yard for 40,000guineas, Naizagai made an impressive start to his hurdling career at Cartmel in early August. Sent to the front from the outset, he was able to burn off the early challengers for his lead with little fuss. While he was not foot perfect, he was clever enough to mitigate his misjudgements without losing momentum. Behind Hiconic, it was the best performance seen up to that point although the race rather fell perfectly for him and the form does not look the most reliable. The runner-up has gone really sour in two subsequent runs and while the third, fourth and sixth have all done well since, there were reasons for their underperformance at Cartmel. Furthermore, Naizagai did tire in the closing stages and the subsequent wind operation and two month absence raise concerns. Nonetheless, he already has the proven aptitude and although the penalty will make things more difficult, he sets a good standard.

    Bentley Wood bg Dai Burchell f6-0-1 (65) 76
    Sixties Icon (Mastercraftsman){10}(0.71) 3/2 Argentino 1st Handicap Hurdle (126), Killarney 2015
    Bentley Wood showed reasonable form on his first two starts as a two-year-old for Mick Channon, but that form dipped afterwards and has been seen only once since the first of February. His latest outing came in June when beating one home in a Wolverhampton handicap off a mark of 70 and has since moved to Dai Burchell's yard. Ex-inmates of Mick Channon's yard have a solid winners to runners rate of 25.26% in the sphere but that drops to 18.18% when the charges do not move to Sheena West. Dai Burchell's record in the division since 2008/09 is poor as he has has failed to saddle a winner from thirty-seven starts and his clear round rate is a low 86.49%. The sirelines are much more encouraging and the best of his flat form is respectable at this level.

    Cabot Cliffs chg Dan Skelton f4-0-0 (66) 68
    Gleneagles (Halling){9-f}(0.71) 2/1 Rougham 1st Juvenile Hurdle, Newbury 2010
    Dan Skelton and Charles Hills each have good records in this division as both a trainer and a source respectively. The former has a winners to runners rate of 39.06%, the latter is at 43.75%, and both have improvement rates exceeding 50%. Following a four race flat career which ended, for now, with an official mark of 66, Cabot Cliffs was transferred between the aforementioned stables after fetching 18,000guineas at the Tattersalls July sale. His last flat outing was probably his best and it came in a Windsor handicap over an extended mile and three furlongs. He was beaten just under five lengths but other than the fourth winning next time, the form looks average at best. Furthermore, Cabot Cliffs was hanging all over the place in the straight and despite being gelded earlier in the year. This was not the first time he had shown a questionable attitude and he has since had a wind operation. Gleneagles is having his first juvenile crop this year and though neither have achieved much, his horses have shown to act on softer ground. Damsire Halling's record is solid and the dam is a half-sister to winning juvenile Rougham. Cabot Cliffs' profile is decent enough but there are considerable concerns over his mentality at this stage.

    Jan Wellens chg Olly Murphy f6-1-0 (63) 67 j1-0-0 (-) 83 83
    Dutch Art (Pivotal){6-e}(1.80) 4/2 Elusive Dream 1st Mersey Novices' Hurdle (G2), Aintree 2008
    Prior to Dutch Admiral winning at Huntingdon, Dutch Art's record in the division had been woeful. It is still not good and despite winning on the flat for Ger Lyons, Jan Wellens did nothing to enhance the reputation of his sire on his hurdling debut at Perth. Despite having the assistance of Richard Johnson, he looking anything but a natural jumper in what was a moderate race. Trainer Olly Murphy has a fair record in the division but is currently on an eighteen race losing streak. Jan Wellens can improve for the experience and could benefit from the more testing conditions but he has plenty to prove at this juncture.

    Magna Moralia grg John Quinn f10-2-3 (74) 81 j1-0-1 (-) 105 108
    Gregorian (Singspiel){1-h}(0.87) 0.5 Speed Company 1st Handicap Hurdle (119), Chepstow 2019
    John Quinn's record with juvenile hurdlers is the strongest of all trainers represented in this race and he introduced another nice prospect at Wetherby in First Impression. Magna Moralia brings the strongest flat form into this race and made a compelling, if somewhat dubious, impression on his jumps debut at Sedgefield seventeen days ago. His hurdling was not particularly fluent but he was swinging away on the bridle approaching the last. However, he jumped it awkwardly and lost his stride on landing which cost him valuable momentum and though he was able to rally, he was always held in any case. Magna Moralia has winning form on soft ground, is capable of ample improvement and receives a useful seven pounds from Naizagai. However, unless the race is handed to him, he might need a crafty ride in order to get his head in front.

    You Owe Me chg Sarah-Jayne Davies f6-0-1 (60) 64 j1-0-0 (-) 68 68
    Champs Elysees (Giant's Causeway){10-a}(1.50) no jumps relatives
    Third in a Kempton maiden last year for Mark Johnson, You Owe Me had become disappointing in three starts during the summer and was sold for 19,000 at the Goffs UK summer Sale. He made his hurdling debut at the end of last month for his new yard but jumped poorly throughout and finished a tailed off last.

    Strong prospects
    1. Naizagai
    Reasonable prospects
    2. Magna Moralia
    Feasible prospects
    3. Cabot Cliffs
    4. Bentley Wood
    Moderate prospects
    5. Jan Wellens
    Negligible prospects
    6. You Owe Me

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    Preview review
    The first three in the prospects list filled those places in the reverse order and the fourth was booked for fourth when falling at the last. Lightning Blue was the only one to really outrun her prospects but there were clues in her breeding and was still beaten a fair distance. Historic Heart was not given strong prospects as he was deemed to be fairly exposed and while credit was given to his experience and reliability, the penalty looked to tip the balance. However, he ran was was essentially a perfect race and was able to post a career best here.

    Race review
    Yesterday's race looked an above average renewal beforehand and several of these emerged with endearing prospects for the future. There was some chaos at the first but while there was a deficiency of fluency, there was nothing especially alarming from the principles. The pace was an honest one and the leading contenders pulled clear some way from home with Midnights Legacy staying on having looked rather flat. Although the race was won by a seemingly exposed sort, the winning time was respectably comparable to the concluding handicap won by a 128 rated horse carrying four pounds less than Historic Heart.

    Historic Heart had three hurdles runs to his name prior to yesterday and had ran creditably and consistently on each occasion. His win at Sedgefield was bolstered by the runner-up winning next time and he ran a perfectly respectable race against older horses in a handicap last time. Other than getting close to the sixth and slightly close to the last, this was an error free round. Having travelled well to share the lead approaching the last, he came out marginally the best in a protracted and compelling duel to the line. Although there is a reticence to rate this performance over a stone higher than any of his previous efforts, a mark in the low 120s is still a conservative one based on the winning time and the assumption that none of his opponents ran up to their flat form. Furthermore, he ran an almost perfect race here in terms of travelling, jumping, pacing and determination. His official rating of 112 will likely become a relic after this performance but there could be weak enough contests for him under a double penalty. Moreover, as both of his wins were in class fours, he would not carry any penalties were he to contest a race like the Wensleydale at the end of the month. 123

    First Impression came into the race with the joint highest flat rating in the field and had the better recent form. He also represented a yard with a good record in the division and emerged from the race with great credit. He was not particularly fluent in the early stages as he was awkward at the first and the third as well as being slightly slow over the sixth. Nevertheless, his jumping was perfectly adequate in the closing stages and he gave everything in the run to the line. He was quoted at 33/1 for the Triumph Hurdle afterwards which is some way from justifiable at this stage since the same price would not be offered on the winner. Notwithstanding, given his versatility regarding ground conditions, straightforward nature and solid jumping foundation, a win in an ordinary hurdle race is not difficult to envisage. 117

    Midnights Legacy had been priced up at 33/1 for the Triumph since the summer but those aspirations had been tempered by a pair of lacklustre runs on the flat. He is very much bred for the division on his damline and while his sire did better with older horses, Midnights Legacy had been groomed to be his father's successor. His hurdling debut looked like being an inauspicious one from the outset as he came out much the worst from the squeezing which occurred at the first that left his knees and nose firmly on the ground. From there, he was never really travelling with much zest and his jumping was littered with misjudgements. To his credit, he was able to stay on having been outpaced and though he never threatened the front two, finished a long way clear of the remainder. Midnights Legacy can largely be forgiven for this outing and should show himself in a much better light in due course. A place in the upper echelons might be out of his grasp this season and he would want to rediscover his enthusiasm for the sport, but he ought to have a future over jumps. 101

    Lightning Blue had been poor on the flat in nine starts and joined a yard without much success in the sphere. She was big and slow over the second, stumbled three out and found herself distracted in between, yet was still able to outrun her 200/1 odds. Her sire has a fair record in the division and her dam is a half-sister to a winning hurdler so there is scope for her to enjoy some moderate success over hurdles. However, she was still beaten a long way and would not be competitive in anything but moderate company. 75

    Clay Regazzoni was making his twentieth racecourse appearance yesterday and his first over hurdles. His overall flat form is respectable for this discipline and his stable has a solid record with its juveniles. However, Clay Regazzoni's jumping was substandard and he looked anything but a natural. He blundered at the second, skewed badly over the third, jumped slowly and to the right over the three in the back and was steady again over three out. The yard often has its juveniles ready to do themselves justice first time although it is currently out of form. As such, it would not be unreasonable to anticipate some improvement but this was not particularly encouraging for the short term. 81

    New Zealander ran only once for Charlie Hills on the flat and was sent off here at an unfancied 80/1. There is some encouragement on breeding as his sire Australia has done well with his early crops and the damline contains numerous good juveniles. His jumping was not fluent however and he finished a tired horse so while more will be learned of his abilities in due course, he demands little immediate interest. 79

    Camahawk is a well-related half-brother to the yard's Fred Winter winner Hawk High, and his best flat form is respectable for the division. However, his recent form had not been great and there were concerns over his head carriage. His jumping was not too bad for a debutant as apart from getting close to the second and fourth, he put in a fair enough round. He did not travel with any purpose however, and was being pushed along from the rear with a third of the race left to be run. 73

    Fast Deal, the stablemate of Camahawk, had shown nothing but patchy form since his two-year-old days and was unfancied in the market. Always in the rear, he got slightly close to the first, wandered on the approach to the second and fourth, was low at the first two flights in the straight and veered badly right at the last. 70

    Silver Desert was poor on the flat but had joined a capable yard and is by a leading sire in the division. However, she sweated up beforehand, lack fluency at many of her hurdles and weakened quickly from a prominent position in the back straight before pulling up before two out. 0

    Lustleigh is out of the high-class jumper My Petra who has also done well as a broodmare. After being pulled out of his intended debut at Chepstow, Lustleigh was well backed ahead of his racecourse bow here. Leading from the outset, he jumped slightly right at the first, got close to the second, slightly close to the third and sixth before getting too low at his final two jumps. He was only headed on the approach to the last but was a tired horse by that stage. Unable to lift his legs, he took a heavy fall which saw him winded for a while. Mercifully, he got up safely and should hopefully be none the worse for the experience. Despite his imperfect jumping, it was still reasonable enough to set a searching gallop and if he shows no ill-effect for the experience, there should be more to come. 91

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    While some flat horses are apparently doing some flat horsey things at Ascot and Pic d'Orhy returns to chasing at Market Rasen, tomorrow's highlight this side of la Manche categorically takes place just after one o'clock at Ballinrobe. Ballinrobe is not generally regarded as a racecourse which hosts especially high grade juvenile hurdles. While the likes of Noble Inn and Lord Justice have been winners in the past, the average winner's seasonal RPR is 117 which places it behind thirty-two other racecourses in the UK and Ireland. Nevertheless, while tomorrow's contest has only six starters, three of those have already achieved RPRs exceeding the course average of 94 and two of the newcomers are listed in the Triumph markets. The racecourse's winning DIs are higher than average but so too are those of the average runner. Tomorrow's distance of eighteen furlongs is longer than the standard two miles and the soft ground will place further emphasis on stamina. Only fourteen courses in the UK and Ireland have a clear round rate lower than Ballinrobe's 95.04% so an ability to jump will also be desirable.

    Belgoprince chg A J Martin f11-1-2 (67) 54 j3-0-1 (-) 97 102
    Prince Gibraltar (Bering){9-f}(0.82) 2/1 Golden Marvel jumps winner in US
    Prince Gibraltar is having his first crop of hurdlers this season and while he has not made a flying start, he does have a dual winner on the board along with the expensive import Prunay to his name. His son Belgoprince showed a fair level of form on the flat for Cedric Rossi and despite some farcical performances in three runs over hurdles, has also demonstrated that he is capable of good form over hurdles. However, without wishing to cast accusations or suggest that the Irish stewards have selective eyesight, there have been reasons to suspect that Belgoprince has not been giving best. His schooling has seemingly been autodidactic in nature while there has been very little urgency insofar as actually participating in a race is concerned. On bare form, he has achieved a rating worth 102 but it would be surprising if this is the ceiling of his capabilities. Quite when he surpasses this rating is a private matter.

    Crassus bg Noel Meade f9-0-2 (69) 76 j1-0-1 (-) 115 117
    War Command (Seeking The Gold){4-m}(1.89) 0.5 Indian Chief PU Maiden Hurdle, Sedgefield 2019
    By a sire yet to produce a winning juvenile from a family with only negligible hurdling experience, Crassus's pedigree is not the most compelling. Furthermore, while he has shown promise on the flat, his form had been rather patchy as of late. However, he represents a stable with a fine record in the sphere and made a very promising hurdling debut at Punchestown in early September when a six length second to Duffle Coat. Finishing best of those who raced prominently, Crassus jumped and travelled well for the most part and was comfortably on top of all bar one of his rivals. The first and third have each won races since and the yard is currently in better form than it was at the time of the race. He sets a clear standard on hurdling form and the experience and proven jumping ability will be extremely useful. Crassus is also the yard's first string on jockey bookings but there are some concerns over his ability to fully see out this trip.

    Dark Voyager bg W P Mullins f7-1-1 (78) 76
    Raven's Pass (Montjeu){7-a}(0.83) 0.5 A Wave Of The Sea 1st Spring Juvenile Hurdle (G1), Leopardstown 2020
    Willie Mullins has an exceptional record in this division. For trainers with fifteen or more juveniles since 2008/09, his winners to runners rate of 58.14% is second only to Nicky Henderson, 82.56% of his runners achieve RPRs of 108 and above and his improvement rate of 77.14% is outstanding given the quality of his flat recruits. The bulk of his best juveniles tend to be imported either from France or from other yards. His first runner this season is set to be Dark Voyager who has spent his entire career with the master of Closutton. Those that raced on the flat for Willie Mullins have a still respectable 41.67% winners to runners rate but while they have been decent (Call Me Bubbles, Fatcatinthehat, Maze Runner), none have been top class. After showing little in his first five runs for the yard, Dark Voyager improved on his penultimate start when stepped up to a mile and a half in a Galway handicap on soft ground. Having to force his way from mid division at the home turn, he stayed on well when getting a clear run. However, he did seem reluctant to follow through but was no match for Flying Scotsman in any case. The form of that race has worked out well with the winner following up the next day, the fourth winning two races and the sixth scoring next time out. Returning to the venue five days later, Dark Voyager was still unconvincing with his head carriage but he had no trouble comfortably accounting for his rivals as he ran out a three length winner. Raven's Pass has a solid enough record as a sire in the division with four of his twenty-two juvenile hurdlers being winners, and Dark Voyager's dosage index is lower than all of those with success. This low DI is largely courtesy of Montjeu who is also a capable damsire in the sphere with a 22% winners to runners rate. It is on the damline where Dark Voyager's pedigree becomes more interesting. A half brother to last season's Grade One winner A Wave Of The Sea, his dam is a half-sister winning hurdler Martial Law and the fourth dam produced the useful Sossis Vlei. More distantly related are top class jumpers Cause Of Causes (6/4), Binocular (6/5), and Nichols Canyon (6/6). While Dark Voyager's quote of 33/1 for the Triumph is rather premature, his profile certainly entitles him to the utmost respect in this field and he is an interesting recruit to the division.

    Flylikeaneagle bg Eamonn O'Connell f8-2-2 (70) 86
    Free Eagle (Shamardal){6-f}(1.20) 2/1 Harp Player 7th Juvenile Hurdle, Market Rasen 1999
    After two wins and two seconds as a two-year-old for Mark Johnston, Flylikeaneagle was beaten by at least twenty lengths on his next four starts. He was sold for just 4,000 guineas at the Tattersalls July sale and made his stable debut last Sunday where he finished a fifteen length eleventh of fourteen in a Cork handicap. His new yard has yet to have a winner in this sphere from five runs although they have all completed the course. Free Eagle has a winner and a placed horse from two juveniles and damsire Shamardal has two winners from fourteen through his broodmares. However, there is little else encouraging in the pedigree and this is a very hot contest for a debutant.

    Perry Owens bg Noel Meade f6-0-1 (66) 74 j1-0-1 (-) 106 109
    Free Eagle (Time For A Change){9}(1.53) 2/1 Parker Ridge 1st Claiming Chase, Cagnes Sur Mer 2019
    The aforementioned placed horse of Free Eagle was Perry Owens who ran into third at this venue on the tenth of August. He went into that race with poor recent flat form and the stable was not firing either. However, despite an error strewn round of jumping and being ten lengths behind the winner with a furlong to go, he rallied to get within two lengths of the winner at the line. It was not the strongest race but the winner ran with credit on his next two hurdles starts and seventh placed Varna Gold was able to collect an average race at Kilarney recently. Perry Owens was out eleven days later when well beaten in a Killarney handicap and has not been seen since. While he will likely enjoy the ground and is capable of being competitive in ordinary company, he is the stable's second string and should find a couple of these too good.

    Zanahiyr chg Gordon Elliott f4-1-1 (-) 80
    Nathaniel (Marju){9-c}(0.53) 2/1 Zarinava 136 1st Doncaster Mares' Hurdle (G2), Doncaster 2012
    Zahahiyr had four runs on the flat for Michael Halford, all of which took place in maiden company. He made his racecourse debut in a seven furlong contest at the Curragh last October where he was a four and a half length sixth behind four pattern class horses including Irish Derby runner-up Tiger Moth. He was just under nine lengths ninth when returning to the Curragh in June where he finished behind classic winners Galileo Chrome and Serpentine. Stepped up to thirteen furlongs on soft ground at Navan, he failed by a length and a quarter to justify favouritism but was able to get off the mark last time out at Fairyhouse in early July. Racing over a mile and a half on good to yielding ground, Zanahiyr took up the running at the distance and lengthened well inside the final furlong to win by just over a length. Being a midsummer maiden race for older horses, it was not of the highest quality. Nevertheless, of the front seven who were clear of the remainder, are all rated at least 70 (three rated 80 or above) and can count two subsequent winners amongst themselves, so the standard is decent enough for flat recruits to the sphere. He has since been sold privately to run for Gordon Elliott who is the winningmost trainer of juveniles in Ireland. Twelve of the twenty-three juveniles who joined the yard from the flat after private transactions have won races including top-class types Farclas, Mega Fortune, Mitchouka and Clarcam. Horses whose careers began with Michael Halford have a 25.53% winners to runners rate and a very healthy 61.54% improvement rate. Nathaniel has made a fine start with his first three crops in the division with 47% of his offspring winning races, including the first and fourth in last season's Triumph Hurdle. Marju's record as a damsire is below average but his broodmares are still capable of producing useful sorts such as Ultimate and Lake Champlain. It is not unusual for horses bred by the Aga Khan to be related to useful jumpers and Zanahiyr is no exception. While his half-brother only managed to finish placed over hurdles, his dam is a half-sister to Doncaster Mares' Hurdle winner Zarinava and her half-brother Zarif twice finished runner-up in the Velka Pardubicka. Zanahiyr's fourth dam Zahra, daughter of the brilliant Petite Etoile, is the matriarch of a family that includes the likes of Zafarabad, Zarkandar, Zaiyad, Zaynar and Zaidpour. Gordon Elliott has already sent out three quality juveniles this season and Zanahiyr has the credentials to make it four. While he broadly matches Dark Voyager for flat form, his pedigree is more substantial and the yard's clear round rate of 97.11% is healthier than the 94.81% of Willie Mullins.

    Strong prospects
    1. Zanahiyr
    Reasonable prospects
    2. Dark Voyager
    3. Crassus
    Feasible prospects
    4. Perry Owens
    Moderate prospects
    5. Belgoprince
    Negligible prospects
    6. Flylikeaneagle

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    Tom George's Bannister runs in a conditions hurdle at Auteuil tomorrow while Nicky Henderson's first juvenile of the season, Overpriced Mixer, is entered at Kempton on Sunday along with Viroflay of Paul Nicholls. The preview to that race, and the one at Sedgefield, should be up by tomorrow afternoon.

    Preview review
    As with Wetherby on Wednesday, the first three occupied the same positions in the prospects lists but in the reverse order. The positive elements of the performances were justified within the preview as were the negatives. Particularly Naizgai's fitness, Magna Moralia's sincerity and Cabot Cliffs' ungainly head carriage under pressure. Jan Wellens also jumped terribly and the others were tepid. While I would be the first to stress that I am not a tipster, I am quite pleased with the preview insofar as it being informative.

    Race review
    The race looked fairly interesting beforehand although most of the profiles were fairly patchy. The winner had shown that he was capable of doing well but his attitude was questionable and he drifted out to 94/1 in running. The runner up jumped better but did not travel as well as he had last time and the third wanted for fitness while hanging badly and lacking the fluency shown on his debut. They pulled clear of the remainder but between them, the form may not be too reliable. The pace was a strong one and the winning time was comparable to the Class 5 handicap later on the card.

    Cabot Cliffs was having his first run for Dan Skelton and completed a treble on the card for a yard which does well in this sphere. He also became the first winner over hurdles for his sire Gleneagles. However, he did not look at all straightforward as he pulled extremely hard in the opening stages and though he was eventually a decisive winner, his high head carriage and wandering on the run-in were not endearing. He got in close to the first and skewed his way over it but apart from being slightly awkward in the straight, his jumping was fine for the most part. He jumped the fourth well but ended up knuckling a stride after landing and did quite well to recover. His wind operation was clearly a success and this rates as a new career best. With the two market leaders running below their best, he did not have a great deal to beat and questions remain over his attitude. Nevertheless, if he improves on this effort, as he is entitled to do, then he could develop into a fairly capable hurdler. 109

    Magna Moralia lacked fluency on his debut but travelled well throughout. Here, his jumping was better but he appeared to run rather flat at the business end of the race. He skewed over the first and got slightly close to the sixth but was fine otherwise. However, while he went as low as 1.3 in running, the winner always appeared to be travelling the better and Magna Moralia eventually finished rather tired. Being a winner on the flat on soft ground, his ability to handle the ground was not a major concern. He is capable of being competitive at this level but while he is a consistent type, he does not look the most reliable when faced with a challenge. 104

    Naizagai looked like a decent prospect when making a winning debut at Cartmel in early August but that was the last time he was seen prior to today. He had undergone a wind operation shortly after that win and was sent out to make all once again. However, he made errors at most of his hurdles and was a tired horse when headed approaching two out. More worryingly, he had a tendency to hang badly right and favoured that direction at each of his jumps. Given that Cartmel is also left handed, this habit is a new development. He may be better going the other way but there is likely an underlying physiological factor at play and until that is addressed, he could struggle to build on his debut promise. 100

    Jan Wellens saw that the underperformance of Dutch Art juveniles reverted to the norm with another lacklustre performance. He managed to blunder at the first four flights, was steep at the fifth and while he was OK at the next, he was tired over the remaining obstacles. While he has won on the flat, his jumping needs to improve dramatically before he can do the same over hurdles. 77

    You Owe Me jumped poorly when a tailed-off last on his hurdling debut. While his jumping was better here, his only real error was trailing his legs through the third, he was already getting reminders and dropping away by the fifth. He finished tailed off once again and has shown next to nothing thus far in this sphere. 17

    Bentley Wood has respectable sirelines and had some reasonable form to his name from last year. However, although his jumping was fine in the early stages, he made a couple of errors in the back straight and finished completely tailed off. 0

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    First impression of the Ballinrobe race was that the front two are quality horses, although a proper review will have to wait as the preview for tomorrow's Sedgefield race is still in progress. It was also nice to see Bannister run a brave race at Auteuil this afternoon.

    Kempton hosts its first juvenile hurdle of the season tomorrow and it looks to be an intriguing affair. The two with hurdling experience have achieved little but there are four newcomers with winning flat form including representatives of Nicky Henderson, Paul Nicholls and Alan King. This particular race is a regular fixture on Kempton's October card and has been the launchpad of several horses who would appear at that season's festival. Quel Destin won this in 2018 prior to following up in three graded races and finishing fifth in the Triumph while Saticon and Plan A were each placed in the Fred Winter. Despite being one of the quicker tracks in the country, the average median winning DI is just 0.95 which emphasizes the class requirements at the venue which ranks below only Cheltenham and Ascot for winning seasonal RPRs. The clear round rate of 96.81% is fairer than average.

    Can't Stop Now chg Chris Gordon f6-0-2 (73) 74
    Starspangledbanner (Ivan Denisovich){1-n}(7.00) 2/1 Aviatorilor 3rd 3YO Hurdle, Argentan 2015
    Can't Stop Now ran six times on the flat for Clive Cox and while he did not win a race, he did earn a respectable official rating of 73. He has never been beyond a mile however and his only outing since February was when he beat just one home in a ten runner Doncaster handicap back in June. He was sold at the Tattersalls July sale for 7,000 guineas and has joined a yard with a solid enough record at lower grades. Chris Gordon has saddled five winning juveniles since 2008/09 although none achieved RPRs exceeding 120 and the overall strike rate is just 5.95%. Starspangledbanner has had just the three horses in the sphere yet none of them have even completed a race, let alone been competitive. Furthermore, Can't Stop Now has already had his wind done so while he had some quality on the flat, his profile in this race is not compelling.

    Chinese Whisperer bg Alan King f7-1-0 (63) 71
    Poet's Voice (Turtle Bowl){16-a}(1.00) 2/1 Elouera 1st 3YO Conditions Hurdle, Chateauroux 2010
    Alan King is one of the leading trainers in the division with above average figures across all metrics. He also has a fine record in this particular contest with five wins from seven runners since 2008/09. However, the lowest rated of those winners was Mcvicar on 67 and though he was a winner last October at Wolverhampton, Chinese Whisperer has not run to anything like that mark in his last three outings. Furthermore, the yard is in relatively poor form and has only had one winning juvenile in 2020 which came when Blacko won at Warwick in January at odds of 3/10. Poet's Voice has a fair record in the division and the two offspring that have been under the care of Alan King, Cracker Factory and Lisp, have been decent. The damline is also decent as Chinese Whisperer is out of a half-sister to a winning French juvenile and useful sorts such as Ebonite (3/3 - 2nd 2019 Prix La Haye Jousselin), Sol Roc (3/4 - 2nd 2004 Prix Camaceres) and Rintimtim Has (3/4 - 3rd Prix Finot 2012) can be found further back. There are enough positives within the profile to suggest that Chinese Whisperer can do creditable things in the sphere and his jumping is practically assured in advance, but he may be seen to better effect when both he and the stable are in better form.

    Kentucky Hardboot chg Mohamed Moubarak f11-1-2 (62) 66
    Starspangledbanner (Danehill Dancer){14-c}(3.00) 2/1 Persistent 2nd Handicap Hurdle (123), Galway 2017
    Kentucky Hardiboot will be the first jumps runner for Newmarket trainer Mohamed Moubarak who had a handful of group winners on the flat in the early nineties before moving to Florida. Having spent his two-year-old career with Mick Channon, Kentucky Hardboot made a winning start for his new handler when taking a seven-furlong Yarmouth handicap back in June off 55. While he was runner-up next time at Doncaster, his next four racecourse appearances saw him twice well beaten, and twice withdrawn for refusing to enter the stalls. Damsire Danehill Dancer has the best overall record of those represented in this field but it is still no better than average and the aforementioned Starspangledbanner has made an inauspicious start in the division. The dam is a half-sister to a fair handicap hurdler and Mobaasher (4/2) and Davorin (4/3) appear further back in the pedigree. However, Kentucky Hardboot's overall profile is patchy at best.

    Now We're Touring bg Alex Hales f3-0-0 (42) 38 j1-0-0 (-) 73 73
    Kingston Hill (Footstepsinthesand){A1}(0.68) 3/4 Rock Climber 3rd Handicap Hurdle (Listed), Enghien 2013
    Being a stamina laden son of Mastercraftsman, Kingston Hill could be an exciting recruit to the jumps stallion ranks. However, his sole representative to date achieved little on the flat and his pedigree is not inundated with hurdlers. His hurdling debut was similarly lacklustre though his hurdling was largely fair, he needs to improve considerably in this company.

    Overpriced Mixer bg Nicky Henderson f6-2-2 (78) 78
    Harbour Watch (Daylami){21-a}(1.40) 4/2 Mike Quercus 1st Claiming Hurdle, Cagnes-Sur-Mer 2014
    After winning a pair of Novice Auction Stakes at Thirsk and Kempton for Jamie Osborne, Overpriced Mixer was sold for 90,000 at Tattersalls' Autumn sale. Sire Harbour Watch has a respectable 28.57% winners to runners rate with juveniles and those out of Daylami mares can hold their own. However, only around a third of each type improve for switching codes and there is not much in the way of quality jumpers on the damline. Those sold by Jamie Osborne can pick up prize money but are not usually high class. Juveniles who wind up at Seven Barrows having fetched large figures at public auction win their fair share of races but do not habitually achieve greatness with only 250,000 purchase Charlie Parcs achieving an RPR in excess of 130. Nevertheless, Nicky Henderson's record in the division is still exceptional. Along with saddling seven Triumph Hurdle winners, since 2008/09 he has a winners to runners rate of 60.47%, a 108 plus rate of 74.42% and an overall strike rate of 32.96%. Overpriced Mixer will be his first juvenile of the season, but he has already ran on the flat for the yard and was a tailed off twelfth in a Newmarket handicap in late August. The stable has not made a flying start as of yet and with the exception of Royal Irish Hussar, Nicky Henderson's better juveniles have never been introduced before the Wensleydale. Overpriced Mixer is capable of winning races and has reasonable prospects in this company but it looks unlikely that he will be one of the season's leading lights.

    Viroflay bg Paul Nicholls f3-1-1 (80.3) -
    Air Chief Marshal (Agnes World){5-g}(3.00) 0.5 Mallorca 2nd 3YO Hurdle, Enghien 2013
    Hell Red made an exciting start Paul Nicholls' campaign at Chepstow and he sends out another French import tomorrow, this time from the flat. While the majority of his top juveniles cut their teeth in French hurdle races, he has also enjoyed success with his flat imports. Fourteen of the twenty-four have been winners and the best ones include the likes of Zarkandar, Pearl Swan and All Yours. Furthermore, Paul Nicholls has a fine record in this race, winning it with his last three runners. Starting off with Bruno de Montzey, source of the yard's recent Free Handicap winner Thyme White, Viroflay had three starts on the flat between September and January. Starting off in a seven furlong maiden at Mont-de-Marsan, he ran green and somewhat one paced but was nearest at the finish when second to the 77 rated Venetico. He got off the mark next time in mid-December when staying on well to take a sixteen runner Pau maiden ran over a mile. The form of that race has not worked out but he was a comfortable winner. He was last seen back at Pau a month later when a one paced fourth in a ten furlong conditions race where he was not beaten far by three subsequent winners including one at listed level. Air Chief Marshal has only had the two juvenile hurdlers in the UK but one of them was a winner and his winner to runner rate with French three-year-olds is healthy. Agnes World has yet to be tested as a damsire on these shores but Viroflay is a half-brother to a pair of French juveniles with form. Paul Nicholls will have stronger types in his yard for the season but Viroflay's profile is still compelling in this race.

    Crazy Love bf Sheena West f4-0-0 (45) 46
    Sixties Icon (Piccolo){3-l}(0.71) 2/0 Keeping The Faith 2nd Juvenile Hurdle, Cheltenham 1997
    Crazy love earned an official rating of 47 after three runs over the winter but that proved to be too steep as she finished an eight length ninth in a ten furlong Lingfield handicap in June. She has since left Mick Channon to join Sheena West who has an above average record in the sphere and has won this race twice since 2009 with Alfraamsey and Mohanad. Crazy Love's new trainer has won juvenile hurdles with eight horses rated lower than 60 with two of them rated just 45. One of those was another Sixties Icon who has had another fine season in the division. Crazy Love's granddam was placed in a Cheltenham juvenile in 1997 and is a half-sister to the useful Mystical City. She still has a mountain to climb on form and damsire Piccolo has a bad record in the sphere but given her connections and the remainder of her breeding, a place effort cannot be ruled out entirely.

    Little Tipsy bf Adam West f1-0-0 (-) 25 j1-0-0 (-) 67 75
    Harbour Watch (Event Of The Year){6-a}(2.43) 0.5 Act Of Valour 131 2nd Scottish Triumph Trial (L), Musselburgh 2018
    Little Tipsy is a full-sister to the useful juvenile Act Of Valour but she was tailed off on her sole flat start last season. Her hurdling debut at Huntingdon began with some novicey jumping but she improved past beaten horses to finish a remote fifth. Much more will be needed here however.

    Strong prospects
    1. Viroflay
    Reasonable prospects
    2. Chinese Whisperer
    3. Overpriced Mixer
    Feasible prospects
    4. Crazy Love
    Moderate prospects
    5. Can't Stop Now
    Negligible prospects
    6. Little Tipsy
    7. Now We're Touring
    8. Kentucky Hardboot

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    With Zanahiyr and Dark Voyager looking like good sorts at Ballinrobe, Nicholls, Henderson and King represented at Kempton, and the Groupe II Prix Georges de Talhouet-Roy at Auteuil, tomorrow's juvenile at Sedgefield offers a change of pace. While two of the newcomers have the potential to be fairly useful in the division, the bulk of the field offers little in the way of promise. This particular contest has not previously been run in the past but races hosted in October at Sedgefield typically take little winning. Despite being an undulating track with an uphill finish, it does not place a great emphasis on stamina with the median average winning being 1.35 and the average winning time per furlong being quicker than average. The clear round rate of 95.56% makes it slightly trickier than average and the completion rate is one of the lowest in the country so being able to jump well is a useful asset.

    Gold Desert chg Oliver Greenall f4-0-0 (71) 74
    Mastercraftsman (Galileo){9-f}(0.76) 3/1 Triple Sharp 1st Mares' Handicap Hurdle (81), Fakenham 2001
    Oliver Greenall purchased two juveniles at the Tattersalls August sale, one of those being the ex-Richard Hannon trained Gold Desert for 23,000 guineas. He thrice finished in fifth place in novice stakes last term and would finish sixth of sixteen in a Haydock handicap over an extended ten furlongs on his return. The form of that race has not worked out and just over a third of ex-Hannon horses improve for the switch to hurdles. Nevertheless, that yard has been the source of some decent types such as Lil Rockerfeller and Who Dares Wins, and Gold Desert has a top juvenile stallion in Mastercraftsman. Galileo also has a solid record as a damsire and the useful juvenile Don Fernando appears on the damline at 4/2. Curiously, juvenile hurdlers from thoroughbred family 9-f fare much better when the Dosage Index is 1.00 or less. Oliver Greenall ended a recent barren spell when winning a seller at Stratford this afternoon and his juveniles are typically safe jumpers. While his charges usually improve for their debut outings, Gold Desert is still worthy of respect in this company.

    Mesmeric bg John Wainwright f4-1-1 (65) 68
    Casamento (Authorized){1-l}(1.18) 2/1 Mambo Dancer 6th Maiden Hurdle, Killarney 2019
    After a win (in the stewards' room) and a second in a pair of Southwell contests early in the year for Mark Johnston, Mesmeric was sold for just 3,000gns at the Tattersalls July sale. He was sent off 50/1 on his return in a Newcastle handicap last month, finishing a tailed-off last, and was last seen refusing to enter the stalls at Redcar ahead of a seller. Authorized is one of the best sires of juveniles and has made a good impression as a damsire with four of nine juveniles from his broodmare winning races. Casamento also has a solid record as a sire but there is little encouragement to be drawn from the damline. John Wainwright is without a winner in the sphere and has gone over a thousand days since a jumps winner of any description.

    Park Lane Dancer brg John Quinn f6-0-0 (52) 57
    Elzaam (Iffraaj){8-f}(1.18) 3/1 Wise Words 2nd 4YO Hurdle, Roscommon 2003
    John Quinn's record in the division is well above average and is comfortably the strongest in this field. He is set to saddle two here with Park Lane Dancer looking the lesser light of the pair. Having never finished closer than seven lengths to the winner in six starts on the flat, he comes here with an official rating of just 52. While the yard has won with lower rated juveniles, neither achieved RPRs exceeding 94 in doing so which would leave Park Lane Dancer needing some underperformances if he is to stand a chance of winning. Elzaam has managed to produce two winning juveniles from five but iffraaj has a less positive influence on the sphere and while Prunay (5/3) and Cerberus (5/4) appear in the further reaches of the damline, there is less interest closer by.

    Poker Master bg Philip McBride f2-0-0 (-) 56 j2-0-0 (-) 66 77
    Sepoy (Mastercraftsman){4-i}(3.00) 3/3 Hipsters 1st Prix Go Ahead (L), Auteuil 2019
    After two fruitless runs on the flat, Poker Master was tailed off on his hurdling debut at Fontwell but jumped well enough in the main. His jumping was much poorer last time at Market Rasen however and he has plenty to prove here.

    Spit It Out bg Susan Corbett f6-0-0 (48) 48 j1-0-0 (-) 57 58
    Swiss Spirit (Sinndar){1-e}(2.43) 3/2 Pintanera 3rd 3yo Hurdle, Cagnes-Sur-Mer 2006
    Spit It Out made his hurdles debut at this venue at the end of this month and after putting in a reasonable round of jumping, finished best of the rank outsiders. However, he was still beaten by over fifty lengths in sixth.

    Time Voyage bf John Quinn f10-1-4 (78) 83
    Raven's Pass (Azamour){7}(3.00) 3/1 Muzio Scevola 11th Juvenile Hurdle, Fontwell 2005
    The first string of the John Quinn pair, Time Voyage comes into the race with much the highest flat rating with the added assistance of a seven pound sex allowance. Her sole win came in a mile handicap at Doncaster in the middle of June and has twice finished second since then. She was last seen when beaten fifteen lengths in a listed race at Chester but that performance still matched her best form. Along with her consistency, she is also straightforward horse who stays on well under pressure. The record of Raven's Pass in the sphere is slightly below average but his progeny does have a respectable 53.33% improvement rate between codes. Azamour has a fair record as a sire but is less prolific as a damsire and there is little encouragement to be drawn from the damline. Furthermore, juvenile hurdlers from thoroughbred family 7 have a much stronger record when the DI is 1.00 or less. Time Voyage is the clear form pick but her pedigree could be more substantial and the yard's 94.83% clear round rate is not the highest.

    Where's The Tape bf Sean Conway Unraced
    Coach House (Southern Halo){1-x}(1.40) 2/1 Actionnaire 3rd Conditions Hurdle, Compiegne 2002
    Sean Conway's sole runner in the sphere did not win in three starts but Coach House's sole offspring was successful. A descendent of Allez France, Where's The Tape is out of a half-sister to a placed hurdler in France and top juveniles Soldat (5/3) and Duke Of Monmouth (6/5) can be found much further back. She is also a half-sister to two winners on the flat from distances of six furlongs to two miles.

    Wrightia grf Ollie Pears f5-0-0 (42) 38
    Mastercraftsman (Galileo){3-h}(0.74) 0.5 Pirate Look 2nd Juvenile Maiden Hurdle, Wetherby 2018
    Wrightia is bred on the same sirelines as Gold Desert and is a half-sister to a placed juvenile hurdler. However, her five flat runs since her debut on the first of June have conjured little of note with her best effort coming when a fourteen length eighth in a Thirsk novice stakes. Ollie Pears is yet to saddle a winner in this sphere from three runners although they did all manage to complete.

    Strong prospects
    1. Gold Desert
    Reasonable prospects
    2. Time Voyage
    Feasible prospects
    3. Where's The Tape
    4. Park Lane Dancer
    Moderate/negligible prospects
    5. Wrightia
    6. Spit It Out
    7. Mesmeric
    8. Poker Master

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    Bachelors Hall,
    Very good analysis of Ballinrobe juvenile today.
    Great thread on a division I wouldn’t normally pay a lot of attention to.

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    Agree with above. Have noticed myself taking more of an interest in the races since the thread started.

    My own thoughts on the Ballinrobe race is that a) Crassus looked to be a good horse for juveniles from a stable in form and was put in his place before falling - form is decent b) I would never send a juvenile/novice hurdler to Ballinrobe - horses seemed to struggle over the hurdles (plastic types) throughout the day and mistake from Mullins's at the last left the door open.

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    Cheers lads. The division is almost like a microcosmic cocktail of all forms of racing rolled into one. From selling and pattern class flat horses to French hurdlers and chasers to store horses... No idea where I am going with that train of thought but I am pleased that people are getting turned onto a most unique area of the sport.

    I will want to watch the race properly again but while Dark Voyager looked to be travelling better for a while, Zanahiyr was the better stayer so I am not convinced that the former's mistake at the last made a crucial impact.

    Had an unexpectedly busy weekend which means I have accrued a bit of a review debt. Hopefully it won't be long before it is cleared but in the meantime, here is the preview for tomorrow's race.

    The first fillies only juvenile takes place this Tuesday at Tipperary and it also doubles as a maiden hurdle. Those with hurdling experience have shown flashes of potential however and the Joseph O'Brien newcomer could be relatively useful. Juvenile hurdles at Tipperary are a rare beast and as there have been only three such races since 2008, a firm profile is difficult to gauge. It appears to provide a sound test when good and a very stern one when soft and with the clear round rate being very low, it may suit the more assured jumper.

    Capel At Dawn chf David Harry Kelly f11-2-2 (75) 76 j1-0-0 (-) 69 64
    Dawn Approach (Street Cry){32}(1.00) 2/1 Short Takes 1st Juvenile Hurdle, Newton Abbot 2011
    Twice a winner on the flat for Joseph O'Brien, albeit at distances no further than a mile, Capel At Dawn joined her new yard ahead of her hurdling debut at Punchestown last week behind Quilixios. She was predictably outclassed in the end but she travelled well up to two out and apart from a tired mistake at the last, was the best jumper in the field. Capel At Dawn's flat rating is the highest in the field and there was plenty of promise in her debut effort. However, that the Joseph O'Brien yard were willing to let her go is a concern and she has yet to prove her stamina for the discipline.

    Dashing Diamond bf Martin Hassett f12-0-3 (60) 62
    Excelebration (Raven's Pass){20-d}(7.00) 3/2 Falling Rain 2nd 3YO Hurdle, Fontainebleu 2015
    Dashing Diamond has had twelve runs on the flat with her best effort coming last time out when second in a Limerick handicap ten days ago. Contested over an extended mile and three furlongs on heavy ground, she proved no match for the controversially handicapped Dreal Deal. Nevertheless, she was still over five lengths clear of the remainder headed by Waterville Lady who was runner-up at Cork three days later. Her breeding is less encouraging however as Excelebration is still without a winning juvenile hurdler from forty-two runs and Raven's Pass is without one as a damsire from seven. Local trainer Martin Hassett has yet to saddle a juvenile hurdler and while he is responsible for the useful Mary Frances, his overall strike rate is a low one.

    Half Of Seven bf Patrick Griffin f1-0-0 (-) 0
    Harbour Watch (Diktat){4-r}(1.40) 1/1 Duchess Ravenwaves 1st Handicap Hurdle (111), Hexham 2019
    Tailed off on her sole flat start at Windsor last August, Half Of Seven has since switched from the Jonjo O'Neill yard and was last seen refusing to enter the stalls at Nass in June. She is a full sister to winning handicapper Duchess Ravenwaves and a cousin to useful jumpers Nambour and Novarov. Harbour Watch has had five winners from fifteen juvenile hurdlers including Act Of Valour and Overpriced Mixer while Diktat is responsible for three winners in the sphere including Secret Edge. However, none of Patrick Griffin's charges in the sphere have been winners and Half Of Seven is left with plenty to prove despite her intriguing pedigree.

    Miss Daingerfield bf Henry De Bromhead f3-0-0 (66) 57
    Zoffany (Silver Hawk){6-a}(2.00) 0.5 Humaniste 1st 3-Y-O Maiden Hurdle, Fairyhouse 2018
    Miss Daingerfield achieved little in three maidens and was yesterday a tailed off last on her handicap debut off 66. Zoffany has a solid 29.41% winners to runners rate in the sphere and half-brother Humaniste was a decent winner in the division. While Henry de Bromhead is responsible for Aspire Tower, his overall record with juveniles is well below average and Miss Daingerfield would not have the most compelling profile if she is to make a quick reappearance.

    Rock Chica bf Thomas Mullins f6-0-0 (38) 40 j1-0-0 (-) 93 94
    Rock Of Gibraltar (Bahri){1-l}(1.86) 2/1 Chica Buena 1st Fillies' Juvenile Hurdle (Listed), Aintree 2018
    Rock Chica's flat rating is not a generous one but the yard has won in the division with low rated animals. The records of Rock Of Gibraltar and Bahri in the sphere are above average and the dam is a half-sister to the decent Chica Buena. While she made some bad blunders on her jumps debut at Punchestown, Rock Chica was decent at a few of her other hurdles and was able to finish just over fifteen lengths fourth to Scholastic at the end of last month. The race has produced a winner in Varna Gold and others who have since been out appear to have at least maintained their form. She is entitled to have improved for that effort and is respected in this company.

    Sister Eliza bf Gordon Elliott f4-0-1 (65) 61 j3-0-0 (-) 98 104
    Footstepsinthesand (Imperial Dancer){2-f}(0.82) 2/1 Holy Show 6th Maiden Hurdle, Listowel 2009
    Beginning her flat career at the end of june, Sister Eliza ran four times without much success before contesting three hurdles races within the space of a month. Beginning at Ballinrobe, she jumped decently apart from being slow at the last and finished two lengths fourth in a fairly average race. Although she was held by stablemate Longclaw, she was in the process of running a respectable race next time at Down Royal before being brought down at the penultimate flight. She was on the ground for a while afterwards and ran no sort of race eleven days later at Punchestown. Sister Eliza will be fresher for the six week break and her form and experience would make her a strong contender here.

    Zoom Zoom Babe bf Joseph Patrick O'Brien f11-1-4 (74) 80
    Footstepsinthesand (Sinndar){1-t}(0.88) 1/0 Blues In Cee 4th Finesse Juvenile Hurdle (G2), Cheltenham 2009
    After winning on her fourth and final start as a two-year-old in a Leopardstown nursery, Zoom Zoom Babe has been out seven times on the flat since June. While she has yet to add to her tally, she received no luck in running when finishing within two lengths of the winner in handicaps at Leopardstown and Gowran Park. However, she had no such excuses on her penultimate start when tiring in a Tipperary handicap over an extended mile and a half. She also enjoyed a clear run last time at Navan where she was a three length sixth of eleven in a soft ground handicap over a mile. Footstepsinthesand has a good record with average horses in the sphere and Sinndar, along with being one of the very best sires, is also a useful damsire for the discipline. The dam was no better than an average juvenile hurdler and half-sister Yeah Babe (Yeats) has shown little in five starts over hurdles. Joseph O'Brien already has a winning juvenile filly to his name this season and Zoom Zoom Babe could be another fair recruit.

    Strong prospects
    1. Sister Eliza
    Reasonable prospects
    2. Zoom Zoom Babe
    3. Rock Chica
    Feasible prospects
    4. Capel At Dawn
    5. Dashing Diamond
    Moderate prospects
    6. Miss Daingerfield
    7. Half Of Seven

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    BALLINROBE
    Preview review
    Had Crassus not fallen, it is likely this would have been another instance where the prospects list matched the finishing order. Zanahiyr had all of the right credentials and Dark Voyager had most of them while being iffy in battle. It is difficult to speculate on how Crassus would have fared but Belgoprice was given another tender ride (even if he would have been outclassed) and Flylikeaneagle met his limited expectations.

    Race review
    Saturday's contest may have been a maiden held at an unfashionable venue but it would probably be Ireland's best juvenile hurdle held thus far this season. The two principals were both improving sorts from the flat, had both shown good form in that discipline, were both representing top yards and both jumped very well before finishing well clear of the remainder. It is a shame that Crassus came to grief two out as he had been jumping well up to that point and was still full of running. Nevertheless, there is little reason to assume that the first two are not good quality recruits and the juvenile hurdling landscape is exciting for their emergence. The pace was no better than fair but it still allowed class to tell without turning the race into a damaging slog.

    Zanahiyr is a well-bred sort for the division, being by a sire who has already shown his quality with juveniles, and coming from a family inundated with classy hurdlers. Settling just behind the pacesetters, he jumped very well at most of his obstacles and the only mistakes he made were reaching slightly at the fourth, getting close to the sixth and being rather big at the last. Though he was briefly outpaced by his main rival approaching the last, he had the class to power clear of Dark Voyager on the run-in and ran strongly to the line. He was still showing signs of greenness as he went slightly wide at the last, but he responded well to the instructions to get back to the rail and he was very resolute in the concluding battle. A horse with plenty of size about him, he may well mature into something for beyond this season since Gordon Elliott described him afterwards as "not just a juvenile". But for the time being, he is a juvenile and a very exciting one at that. An initial rating in the low 130s would be reflective of his accomplishment rather than his potential. Nevertheless, he has all of the attributes necessary to become a leading player in the division. 130

    Dark Voyager is another interestingly bred horse for the division as his half-brother, A Wave Of The Sea, was a Grade One winning juvenile last season. Setting a steady gallop, he jumped well at all but the final obstacle where he took off a little too early and stuttered slightly on landing. He wandered slightly approaching the fifth, which was by the paddock turn, and though he appeared to be travelling best approaching the last (trading as low as 1.2 in running), he did not appear to give his all on the battle to the line. These quirks are not massive concerns as they did not necessarily him cost him the race. However, they may be instrumental in making the difference when a thorough effort is essential. He drifted out to 40/1 in the Triumph markets as a result of this performance but in truth, he lost little caste in defeat to a very promising horse and he will be of interest wherever he is seen next. 128

    Belgoprince had been suspended after receiving a soft ride when last seen at this venue and not much use was made of him here either. In fairness, his jumping was poor throughout and there was only one flight where he did not get in close or skew in the air. He was outpaced by the leading two on merit but got the best of the mildly contested scrap for third. Belgoprince has shown flashes of promise in the past but it is unlikely we will see the best of him in a half-decent race. 86

    Flylikeaneagle had some form on the flat for Mark Johnston but was an inexpensive purchase out of that yard and his starting price of 50/1 was warranted. He was green, steady and slow at most of his jumps and never looked like getting involved. He would need to contest a lesser event before his ability can be properly assessed. 85

    Crassus had not been at his best on the flat recently but he made a promising start to his hurdling career at Punchestown in the beginning of September. He missed an engagement at Killarney a fortnight earlier due to a runny nose but he looked decent here. He travelled and jumped very well and had overtaken the winner in mid-air at three out. He would unfortunately fall at the next while still full of running and it appears that he almost did not notice the flight as he made no real attempt to lift his front legs on the approach. It is difficult to gauge how he would have finished as he had yet to be asked a question although the two in front did stay well which is a quality yet to be proven by Crassus. Thankfully he got up safely and if he is not perturbed by the experience, he is more than capable of winning an ordinary race. 124

    KEMPTON
    Preview review
    The prospects list list did not faithfully reflect the finishing positions but there was a lively market preceding the race which told a couple of stories. Viroflay drifted from odds-on to briefly losing favouritism before the off and his lack of fluency was most conspicuous. Kentucky Harboot was the subject of support which was not entirely warranted on paper and he accordingly ran to a career high. I am not entirely sure why Chinese Whisperer was placed above Overpriced Mixer but there was also a move for the aforementioned which went awry in the race. Ultimately, it was not a high quality renewal and the winner was entitled to score as a result.

    Race review
    This race has a decent history of producing useful sorts but while a couple of these had the potential to match their predecessors, the initial impressions are that this was a fairly weak renewal. With the Paul Nicholls horse jumping poorly and the Alan King horse looking below standard, the race did not take a great deal of winning and was almost thrown away at the last by Overpriced Mixer. While the pace set was a fair one (the field covered the same amount of ground in the first minute as the listed race), the winning time was over four seconds slower than the other races held on the card. The front two pulled well clear but there was a lack of tangible talent in behind.

    Overpriced Mixer was bought out of the Jamie Osbourne yard for 90,000 last year and there is encouragement on the sirelines although the damline does want for useful hurdlers. His new yard is one of the very best in the division and is starting to go through the gears, although the better juveniles of Seven Barrows tend to make their appearances in the Wensleydale at the earliest. Nevertheless, Overpriced Mixer was entitled to be competitive in this company and he was the best jumper in this field. It was not an error free round as he slightly dived at the sixth, was not entirely clean getting away from two out, and veered so badly to the left at the last that Nico de Boinville had to finish the race without his stirrups. As a result, his initial mark will not necessarily reflect his superiority and he can improve with experience. Progression through the ranks is not impossible although it is unlikely he will be one of the top juveniles of the season and his contraction to as low as 20/1 in places for the Triumph is difficult to justify. 111

    Kentucky Hardboot won a handicap at Yarmouth off 55 on his stable debut in June but was last seen being withdrawn for refusing to enter the stalls. His sire had yet to sire a juvenile hurdler who even completed a race while his trainer had never been represented in the sphere, but Kentucky Hardboot was close to becoming both their first winners in the division. He dived slightly at the first, was somewhat big at the second, and got in close to the sixth and penultimate flights of hurdles. He was slightly baulked at the last but it did not affect his momentum and he tried his best to take advantage of the winner's stirrupless condition. In isolation from his market support throughout the day, this was a surprising effort. Nevertheless, he travelled well and was still fifteen lengths clear of the remainder so there is no reason to doubt the validity of this performance. He is capable of being competitive at an ordinary level but should be limited in how far he might progress. 111

    Can't Stop Now doubled Starspangledbanner's place tally a few seconds after the second, but he was rated eleven pounds higher than the runner-up on the flat and represented a yard that has sent out winning juveniles. He pulled hard early and his foray into hurdling began with a succession of novicey errors. His jumping improved from the fourth onwards however, and he only began to lose touch with the winner approaching the penultimate flight. He finished tired in the end and while this may be mitigated if he learns to settle better, he would still need to prove his stamina for any track sharper than Kempton. 96

    Viroflay was an odds-on shot in the morning but went as high as 15/8 in the ring. His breeding, connections and French flat form gave him a strong chance in this company but it looked ominous for him from flag fall. Having already sweated up beforehand, he pulled hard approaching the first before getting in very close to the flight and bunny-hopping over the hurdle. He did the same at the second and skewed at the third and fifth. He began to labour way before the turn for home and would weaken gradually from thereon. His jumping did get cleaner as the race progressed although it is possible that may be a symptom of fatigue as he was always careful at least. This was his first run for 273 days and he is entitled to improve for fitness and experience, but this was not a compelling beginning of his new career. 88

    Little Tipsy was novicey in the early stages of her hurdling bow at Huntingdon before passing beaten horses to finish a distant fifth. She was also novicey in the early stages here before passing beaten horses to finish a distant fifth. 74

    Now We're Touring once again finished just behind Little Tipsy after making a series of minor errors throughout. The first time cheekpieces elicited only the smallest amount of improvement and he makes little appeal at this juncture - even if this was a new career best effort. 76

    Chinese Whisperer represented a yard which has won this contest five times from its last seven runners and had halved in price between the morning and post time to start at 7/2. However, while his jumping was not bad (he got in slightly close to the first two and was slow at the fifth), he was treading water before turning for home. He is not a highly rated recruit in terms of flat ratings but better was clearly expected. Given that the stable had three winners over the weekend, including the Long Distance Cup and the Prelude Chase, it can only be assumed that Chinese Whisperer was a big disappointment. He may be able to make some amends in the future but at face value, there was scant promise here. 29

    Crazy Love had shown nothing on the flat but there were reasons on breeding, and from the trainer's record in the race, to anticipate better than the nothing she shown here. Her jumping was slow and novicey and she never travelled before pulling up after three out. 0

    SEDGEFIELD
    Preview review
    The top prospect won but it was such a poor race that the bottom prospect would have been an equally valid winner. Hurdling experience, despite it coming in the shape of poor form, was useful for the runner-up and even the pulled-up Spit It Out still held a chance at the top of the hill. It was said that the long odds-on favourite had a patchy pedigree and the unraced fourth still had feasible prospects in light of the moderate line-up. Gold Desert's jumping was not fantastic and perhaps too much stock is being put in his trainer's clear round record.

    Race review
    While the race looked moderate beforehand, it looked even worse in hindsight deSpite being won by one of the likelier newcomers. The market leaders jumped without fluency, the field bunched up on numerous occasions and the winning time was over twelve seconds slower than the maiden hurdle later on the card. The winner drifted to 35/1 in running, two others went down to 1.05 and 1.26 and even the rank outsider went as low as 12.5. While the winner might be capable of better and was the best horse on the day, there is little other reason to consider the form to be either strong or reliable.

    Gold Desert fetched 23,000 guineas at the July sale after earning a rating of 71 in four winless starts for Richard Hannon. Along with the relatively decent flat form, the strength of his case came in his being by Mastercraftsman who is one of the leading sires in the division. Furthermore, his yard had returned to the winners' enclosure recently and is good for sending out juveniles who do not fall or unseat. However, while Gold Desert's jumping was reasonable at times, he wandered and was hesitant at the first, steadied into the fifth, and skewed before landing awkwardly two out. He was also shaken up briefly after the fifth but he travelled reasonably well at the business end of the race and though he was ridden for much of straight, had enough in reserve to grind down the leader on the run-in. He did not achieve a great deal here and at face value, this level of form would see him struggle in most races under a penalty. However, he is entitled to improve for the experience, as is the often case with those from his stable, and he should emerge much the best of this field. 93

    Poker Master jumped fine on his debut at Fontwell despite being tailed off, but was much worse last time at Market Rasen in a decent contest. That experience was put to good use here and though he got low at a couple, was able to maintain a prominent position and look like the winner for much of the straight. However, after clearing the last with a two length lead, he passed the limits of his stamina and was unable to repel the winner's steady charge. This represents a new career best for Poker Master but while there is still some room for improvement, he might need a similarly poor contest if he is to be competitive. 92

    Park Lane Dancer was the lesser fancied of the two John Quinn runners, but he was backed down from 11/1 in the morning to 6/1, and was the more fluent of the pair. Racing from the rear, she was already getting pushed along after the fourth. Nevertheless, she was able to make steady progress and was closest at the finish. Apart from going slightly left at the fifth and being somewhat awkward at the last, her jumping was very reasonable. There is no reason why she can not improve but it bears reiterating that this was not a good race. 90

    Where's The Tape was making his racecourse debut for a mostly unproven sire and trainer. She is a descendent of Allez France and distantly related to some top juveniles but there was not much else to recommend her. A slow jump at the first notwithstanding, she put in an acceptable round of jumping and stayed on to briefly run into third on the run-in. This is all the more creditable considering that she cantered loose prior to the start of the race. Once again, what she achieved probably amounts to little from a form perspective, but it was not the worst introduction to the discipline. 83

    Time Voyage was last seen in listed company on the flat and represented a fine stable for both the track and the sphere. She was sent off the 4/9 favourite largely due to the quality of the opposition but although she was a straightforward type on the flat, she was not a natural jumper. There was nothing dramatic about her lack of fluency but she skewed over each of her first five hurdles and while she was still travelling reasonably at the top of the hill, she weakened quickly in the straight. She may well be better than this in due course but would not be an obvious candidate to transfer all of her flat ability to the national hunt game. 71

    Mesmeric won a race in the stewards room for Mark Johnston but was later sold for just 3,000 guineas. There is some encouragement on the sirelines but the yard has gone a long time without a winner. Mesmeric skewed right at the majority of his hurdles and though he raced prominently for much of the way, was a spent force before the straight and was one of three who pulled up before the last. 63

    Wrightia was, like the winner, also by Mastercraftsman and out of a Galileo mare. However, that was where the similarities ended as she was rated over two stone inferior on the flat. While she was steady at the first and slightly skewed at the second, her jumping was better from there. However, she lost her place some way from home and was pulled up before the last. 55

    Spit It Out jumped reasonably well on his hurdling debut at this venue last time and did so here until he started to get tired. For a moment, he appeared to be travelling with intent at the top of the hill, but he soon weakened quickly and was another who pulled up before the last. 62

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    Lingfield was once the proud home of the Summit Junior Hurdle, a Grade 2 for Juvenile Hurdlers held in mid-December. However, due to the course habitually being either frozen or waterlogged at that time of year, the race was moved to Doncaster. In the absence of that contest, juvenile hurdles have become a rare sight at the lovely venue and the last such contest for three-year-olds was held when Keychain won the 12:50 for the Brendan Powells in November 2013. However, it returns tomorrow with a small but potentially reasonable field featuring a Jonjo O'Neill horse who was runner up on his hurdling debut, a Dan Skelton newcomer running in the same colours as Allmankind, and a representative for Milton Harris who won the old Summit Junior Hurdle in 2003 mit Mondul. While there is a dearth of races from which to extrapolate tangible trends, Lingfield's seconds per furlong figures rank among the slowest and the winning DIs are lower than that of the average runner.

    Edebez bg Seamus Mullins f3-0-0 (52) 47 j2-0-0 (-) 85 78
    Zebedee (Barathea){4-r}(1.67) No immediate jumps relatives, 7/5 Le Breuil
    Edebez achieved little in three flat runs last year and his two hurdles efforts in the summer were similarly fruitless. While his jumping was not poor, he was beaten a combined fifty-three lengths and struggled with the trip on each occasion. Lingfield will offer an even sterner challenge than a good ground Newton Abbot so it is difficult to see him being competitive here after a 78 day break.

    Jersey Grey grg Alexandra Dunn f5-0-0 (48) 52 j1-0-0 (-) 84 101
    Rajsaman (Peintre Celebre){16-h}(0.74) 0.5 Grand Banks 1st 4yo Conditions Hurdle, Compiegne 2018
    Jamie Osborne's ex-inmate Overpriced Mixer made a winning start to his hurdling career at Kempton last Sunday and while not in the same bracket as the Seven Barrows resident, Jersey Grey's hurdling debut at Chepstow was not without promise. A mediocre flat career saw him sent off at 125/1 but while he finished twenty-three lengths behind Hell Red, he put in a clean round of jumping and was not too far from the remainder of the field. Related to hurdling winners and by an unexposed sire with fair juveniles in France, there was reason to believe that Jersey Grey could fare better over hurdles. The trainer has yet to saddle a winner from thirty-six runs in the discipline but was in good enough form to land a 4288/1 double at Wincanton last week.

    Nevendon bg Dan Skelton f3-0-1 (75) 71
    Nathaniel (Shamardal){1-s}(1.06) 3/2 Two Miles West 3rd Sharp Novices' Hurdle (G2), Cheltenham 2005
    Dan Skelton's record with juvenile hurdlers is comfortably above average by all metrics and has started this campaign in a promising fashion. Cabot Cliffs won for him at Uttoxeter while Lustleigh was in the process of making a solid racecourse debut before falling at Wetherby. All three of his juveniles imported from the Micheal Bell yard have been winners including last season's Grade One winner Allmankind. Nevendon runs in the same Gredley colours although his flat form is not of the same standard. After finishing twelve of thirteen at Newmarket on his sole run as a two-year-old, he posted his best effort when a seven length third at Kempton back in July. He made much of the running in the twelve furlong contest but was headed at the distance and was green under pressure as he faded in the closing stages. The front two looked useful beforehand but neither have been seen since and none of the nine in behind have won since. Nevendon was last seen finishing twenty-three lengths behind Red Missile at this venue in early August and the official mark of 75 looks steep. Nevertheless, his sire Nathaniel has made a flying start to his career in this division and while the damline is a classy one (half-sister to Prix Morny winner Pretty Pollyanna from family of User Friendly), it is rather threadbare insofar as jumpers are concerned. Two Miles West appears at 3/2 and Sea Freedom, a fair novice and sire of a multiple jumps winner, appears at 3/1. While there are concerns over the quality of Nevendon's flat form, it may still be the best available in this field and his sire and trainer are worthy of the utmost respect.

    Opine bg Jonjo O'Neill f8-0-0 (52) 57 j1-0-0 (-) 105 109
    Authorized (Numerous){4-n}(0.94) .5 Tamarix Jode 6th 3yo Claiming Hurdle, Auteuil 2016
    Another runner formerly trained by Michael Bell and representing a top stallion in the sphere, Opine went a long way to justifying the market support ahead of his hurdling debut at Huntingdon three weeks ago. He did not achieve much during eight runs on the flat, but his latest second to Dutch Admiral was much his best performance to date and he finished at least nineteen lengths clear of the remainder. His jumping left much to be desired as he jumped big and got in close to several of his obstacles. It was to his credit that he would finish as well as he did and with the tendency of the stable's juveniles to improve for their first outings, Opine comes into this race with a leading chance.

    Pyramid Place bg Milton Harris f4-0-0 (69) 66
    Authorized (Zafonic){20-a}(0.81) 0.5 Jukebox Blues Pulled up sole hurdles run.
    Pyramid Place, trained by the Milton Harris mentioned in the introduction, is another produce of leading juvenile stallion Authorized. His flat career consisted of four outings on the all-weather between November and February. While he was unable to reach the frame, his performances were consistent as he was thrice able to finish fourth over distances of a mile to a mile and a half. He left John Gosden for 27,000 guineas at the Tattersalls August sale to join a yard that does get winners, albeit with a low strike rate of 5.63%. Former inmates of John Gosden's have a poor record in the sphere with just five of the forty-nine since 2008/09 able to win races which emphasises the difficulty of extracting anything that was missed by the master of Clarehaven Stables. There is nothing in the way of accomplishment over jumps on the damline although while Zafonic mares rarely produce classy juveniles (Toprichen a possible exception), their winners to runners rate of 30.77% is the best in this field.

    Star Of Wells bg David Loughnane f7-0-1 (66) 71
    Sea The Stars (Dansili){5-b}(1.00) 3/1 Motorway 2nd Handicap Hurdle (128), Cheltenham 2008
    Also sold at the Tattersalls August sale was Star Of Wells, who fetched 7,500 guineas prior to leaving Tom Ward's care. His first outing was for William Haggas which saw him start favourite in a Sandown Maiden won by Kameko. He did not quite match those expectations and his best effort for his first stable came when a four length second in a Kempton Novice Stakes. Star Of Wells had shown little in three runs for Tom Ward but he was a respectable fourth last time for Dave Loughnane in an extended mile handicap at Wolverhampton last week. Rousted along from the start, he settled just behind the leaders and never really gained or lost that position. His new yard has only had the one winning juvenile from seven but stallion Sea The Stars is another useful stallion in the sphere with the likes of Starchitect and Stars Over The Sea contributing to his handy 42.11% winners to runners rate.

    Strong prospects
    1. Opine
    Reasonable prospects
    2. Nevendon
    Feasible prospects
    3. Jersey Grey
    4. Star Of Wells
    5. Pyramid Place
    Negligible prospects
    6. Edebez

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