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  1. #261
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    Nice form boost for the Irish horses again today, Elliot could have the first 3 home in the Triumph at this rate.

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  4. #262
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    Very much my sentiments. Good though Adagio is, Duffle Coat was the one who emerged with an enhanced reputation. He might also have another contender in Teahupoo...

    Rather than confront the fact that my affection for Ratatoskr completely ballsed up the Finale tricast, I decided to look to the future and go through the horses currently listed in the Triumph markets who have not yet seen a hurdle in public outside of France. Some of these have been assessed earlier in the thread, but for the benefit of those who do not want to go trawling through over 300,000 words of variable quality, I have reposted the profiles with relevant updates.

    20/1 Baron Samedi bg Joseph Patrick O'Brien f10-5-0 (112) 108
    Harbour Watch (Haafhd){1-l}(3.00) 3/1 Creekside 2nd Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (123), Ascot 2012
    Already written
    Since sacrificing his testicles in August for the greater good, Baron Samedi has improved beyond recognition and he recently completed a four-timer at Listowel off a mark thirty-two pounds higher than when when he began his winning sequence. The owners are yet to have a jumps runner and there has been no word that juvenile hurdling is on the radar for the time being. Should connections opt to go down that route then Baron Samedi's pedigree is a reasonable one as a third of his sire's juveniles have been winners, and while Haafhd has yet to have a winner as a damsire, he was useful in the division with his own progeny.
    Update
    https://www.equidia.fr/chevaux/baron-samedi
    Since this earlier piece, Baron Samedi won the Group 2 Prix du Conseil de Paris at Longchamp in late October. Run over eleven furlongs on heavy ground, he took up the running at the distance, and battled very gamely to prevail by a head from Mare Australis. The form has not been tested subsequently and it was probably not the strongest Group 2. Nevertheless, the runner-up had taken a listed race on his previous outing, the third was a progressive handicapper and the fourth had filled the same position in the Group 1 Prix Jean Romanet and was third in the Prix Dollar on her previous outing. Harbour Watch has added another winning juvenile in Overpriced Mixer, although his other four have achieved little. There has still been no word on any imminent hurdling career and he is only quoted by two firms.

    25/1 Dawn Rising bg Joseph Patrick O'Brien f4-1-1 (-) 107
    Galileo (Danehill Dancer){4-k}(0.76) 1/1 Triplicate 2nd Royal Bond Novices Hurde (G1), Fairyhouse 2018
    Already written
    While there has been no official word on this horse, he was recently treated to a gelding operation as well as entering most of the Triumph lists. Should he make the transition then he would make a most intriguing addition to the division. Along with being related to classic winners Sovereign, West Wind and Balanchine, he is also a full brother to Royal Bond runner up Triplicate and other good jumpers on his damline include Starchitect (2/3), Rio De Janeiro (2/1), Vandas Choice (3/1) and Butler's Cabin (5/4). Finishing last on his debut in the Group 3 Eyrefield Stakes last October, Dawn Rising broke his maiden this June at Limerick by twelve lengths from a horse who would win a handicap off 75 next time out. Allowed to travel to Newmarket for the Group 3 Bahrain Trophy, the sweaty Dawn Rising won one battle up the straight against subsequent German Oaks winner Miss Yoda but was a spent force when headed just outside the furlong marker. The winner disappointed next time in the Gordon Stakes but it is still genuine group level form. Galileo is more than capable of siring juvenile hurdlers although his best (Royal Irish Hussar, Bally Glasheen, Outspoken) have been just shy of top class and has a better record as a damsire (Pentland Hills, Hargam, Sir Erec) and similar sentiments can apply to Danehill Dancer who is again an above average damsire without getting top class juveniles through his mares. Dawn Rising would not be the first pattern class horse off the flat to run for Joseph O'Brien in juvenile hurdles and both Landofhopeandglory and Sir Erec achieved success in the sphere. However, there were another three who were also officially rated above 100 who failed to win during their first seasons over hurdles (Housesofparliament, Sword Fighter, Tree Of Knowledge) although Ivanovich Gorbatov can also be included if one counts those trained in his father's name. Overall, while Dawn Rising's profile does not make him a guaranteed success in the division, he certainly has the potential to cause problems for any horse this season.
    Update
    Dawn Rising has not been out since finishing second at Newmarket in July. While he appears on fourteen books and was shortened by a few firms over christmas, there has still been no public word, he has not appeared in the stable tours, and is still registered with Aiden O'Brien.

    33/1 Berkshire Rocco chc A Balding 9-2-4 (116) 117
    Sir Percy (Shirocco) {1-c}(0.18) 4/2 Bulwark 7th Pertemps Hurdle (127), Haydock 2009
    Already written
    A rating of 108 was earned after his finishing second in the Queen's Vase at Royal Ascot. If he runs over juvenile hurdles, only three horses (Housesofparliament, Sword Fighter and Sir Erec - all for Joseph O'Brien) will have brought higher flat rating to the sphere since 2012. While sixty-three horses have gone hurdling after starting with Andrew Balding, some are also sold to race abroad and I have yet to see anything that suggests Berkshire Rocco is being prepped for a hurdles career. That said, if anybody knows otherwise then please let us know.
    Update
    Berkshire Rocco has since finished fourth in the Great Voltigeur, second in the St Leger, and first in the listed Noel Murless Stakes at Ascot. He has not been sold, he has not been gelded and he is still with Andrew Balding.

    33/1 Haut En Couleurs bg W P Mullins j1-1-0 (-) 126
    Saint Des Saints (Muhtathir){8-c}(0.60) 1/0 Sanouva 1st Prix Congress (G2), Auteuil 2012
    https://www.equidia.fr/chevaux/haut-en-couleurs
    The Prix Pride Of Kildare is a race for hurdling debutants held at Auteuil in early October. Popular chaser Exotic Dancer would be the race's most notorious winner back in 2003. Since then, the winners of the contest have not had a great deal to shout about, with 2012 winner Laristo perhaps faring best when second in the Prix Cambaceres. Given its position on the calender, it is not a prolific source of juvenile hurdlers with Sang Bleu being the only winner to race in the UK when joining Paul Nicholls in 2009. Four other runners have subsequently crossed the channel during the same season, but none since Le Fin Bois in 2013. Other winners did eventually make their way to the UK and Ireland later in their careers, but did not find much success. Breaking the mould in this peculiar year is the latest winner Haut En Couleurs who won the latest renewal by a head. Slightly hampered at the first, wasn't always tidy in what was a messy race and and he had to be ridden into a few. Nevertheless, he was also neat at a few other the others and though he hung left, he got the best of a protracted battle to the line where the front two pulled fifteen lengths clear of the remainder. The runner-up was beaten in a chase at Pau just before Christmas, but the third placed Magic Dream won his next two starts, including the Grade Two Prix Congress steeplechase. Fourth placed Invite Special has shown fair form behind Houx Gris and finished third in a listed hurdle at Auteuil before winning a chase at Pau. Former trainer Gabriel Leenders has yet to send any winning juveniles to the UK or Ireland, and both Paros and Ronde De Nuit have been disappointing this term. Nevertheless, the Leenders family has been responsible for some good types over the years including Clarcam and Politologue. Willie Mullins needs no introduction but the pedigree of Haut en Couleurs is certainly noteworthy. By top stallion Saint des Saints, Haut En Couleurs is out of Prix Congress (a Grade Two for three-year-old Chasers) winner Sanouva who has already produced winning chaser Gentilhomme. Sanouva is a half-sister to two good juveniles in Nicknos, who won the Prix Wild Monarch, and Hippomene who won both of the Grade Ones available to horses in the age group. When something looks as good as this on paper, exercising scepticism is imperative. So the negatives are that the race he won is not prolific, it was ran over eighteen furlongs on heavy ground meaning he is unproven in a race that demands more speed, and he was rather green on his racecourse debut of all things. He could be bred to make a chaser but given the precocity of his damline, and the fact that Saint des Saints' offspring are perfectly capable of performing while young, this might be a stretch. The only realistic concern is that he has only raced once and it is typically unwise to base a reputation around a solitary performance - even if the well beaten third has gone on to be a good horse. Nevertheless, Haut En Couleurs has joined a fine yard, he showed grit and class on his sole outing and his pedigree is exquisite. There is little more one could ask from a once raced prospect and he is a very exciting prospect for this season.

    33/1 Tritonic chc A King 9-2-3 (99) 106
    Sea The Moon (Selkirk){4-r}(1.13) 4/3 Le Breuil 1st National Hunt Chase (G2), Cheltenham 2019
    Already written
    The second Alan King horse on this list, Tritonic would bring a high level of flat form based on his win in the Haynes, Hanson & Clark and finishing runner up in a Royal Ascot handicap. Sire Sea The Moon had a most promising first season as a jumps stallion earning a 43% winners to runners strike rate with 57% of his offspring recording RPRs above 107 including the Grade One winner and Triumph Hurdle third Allmankind. Selkirk's record as a damsire is not quite as exciting although he did produce the Champion Hurdler Sublimity. Owned by the McNeill family, it is more likely than not that he will go hurdling and he would probably make an above average recruit to the game.
    Update
    Though the topic of some "will he, won't he" speculation, the latest tweet from the owners said he will be trained for one of the better juveniles, and the latest stable tour said that he would be gelded then schooled in January after which he could make his debut in something like the Adonis. The gelding prophesy has been fulfilled, so it now looks to hinge on how he schools. There have been spots of movement and introduction in the Triumph lists so it can be assumed that nothing has been ruled out. On the racecourse, Tritonic has ran four times since Ascot, finishing second in a listed race at Hamilton, sixth in the Geoffrey Freer, second in a Yarmouth handicap off 99, and just under six lengths fourth in the Old Rowley Cup off the same mark. A consistent and capable horse, he seemed more straightforward on his latest start at Newmarket. If he appears this season, it is implied that he has schooled satisfactorily and should not go without attention.

    33/1 Tulin bg Paul Nicholls f2-1-0 (-) -
    Gleneagles (Cape Cross){1-c}(0.87) 5/2 Bulwark 7th Pertemps Hurdle (127), Haydock 2009
    https://www.equidia.fr/chevaux/tulin
    Twice raced for Alessandro & Giuseppe Botti, Tulin's racecourse debut came with a green but staying on fifth at Le Touquet in the middle of June. Run on firm ground over 2700 metres, he finished more than nine and five lengths behind horses subsequently rated roughly 78 and 74. Tulin's managed to score next time out a fortnight later in a 2400 metre maiden on good ground at Lignieres. Fairly green once again, he raced prominently behind the leader on the inside and spent the entirety of the straight attempting to gain ground before officially getting his head in front at the line in a five way photo. While clichés are usually boring and ill-applied, an obese horse's blanket will have been sufficient to encapsulate the finishers. The current valeurs of the other four blanketmates range from 30 (66) to 34 (74.8) and the second and the second (seriously, watch the race) have each won €20,000 handicaps at Fontainebleau and Deauville. The quality of form for the division, but it would not warrant the prices currently on offer. While Cabot Cliffs has got first-season stallion Gleneagles off the mark, Cape Cross has just a 10% winners to runners ratio as a damsire and the distaff side of the pedigree is bereft of jumpers. Paul Nicholls has sourced plenty of recruits from French flat races, though most tend to be rated 80 or above and Tulin has probably not ran to that level. Tommy Silver and Volpone Jelois were probably of a similar standard and they both managed to win as juveniles. Nevertheless, while he has reportedly taken well to jumping, he looks a long way from a Triumph contender on available evidence.

    40/1 John Locke Dan Skelton f5-1-3 (85) 91
    Mastercraftsman (Beat Hollow){8-h}(1.46) 2/1 Political Intrigue 1st Juvenile Hurdle, Ludlow 2006
    Bred and owned by the Juddmonte operation, the ironically named John Locke had been gelded before seeing the racecourse. Withdrawn from the stalls ahead of his intended debut in June, he would finish second in a ten furlong Windsor novice stakes in mid July. He was then second at Lingfield on his next two outings, on the all-weather at the start of the month, and the turf towards the end of the month. Though he was developing a case of seconditis, he did not look discernibly recalcitrant and along with competing in races which worked out well, he was finishing clear of the third on each occasion. John Locke got off the mark at the fourth time of asking in a ten furlong novice stakes at Goodwood in September. Moving to the front approaching the distance, he quickly established a clear advantage and while his lead was being eroded, he was more idling than tiring and had enough in hand at the line. The runner-up won next time before finishing third off 85, the third went one place better at Chelmsford, and the third won his next two races. John Locke disappointed on his latest flat outing, with his rider suggesting that he was unsuited by the soft ground. Former inmates of Ralph Beckett's have a solid winners to runners rate of 32.26%, with five of the six rated 80 or above winning during their juvenile campaigns. Passing through Tattersalls for 75,000 guineas, John Locke joins in Dan Skelton a trainer with a fine record in the division, and an overall strike rate of 30.23% with flat recruits rated 80 plus. Mastercraftsman is one of the most prolific and successful sires in the division, Beat Hollow has a winners to runners rate of 33.33% as a damsire, and the dam is a half-sister to three winning hurdlers. John Locke's flat form is strong for the division and his profile is positive in most regards. He might not want the ground to be too soft, but he would be a very interesting recruit nevertheless.

    50/1 Bring On The Night bg W P Mullins f3-2-0 FrF (92.4)
    Gleneagles (Dubai Destination){2-d}(0.52) 3/2 Schelem 1st 3yo Hurdle, Dax 2020
    https://www.equidia.fr/chevaux/bring-on-the-night-1
    Already written
    Since the 2008/09 season, Andre Fabre has been the source of twenty-nine juvenile hurdlers in the UK and Ireland. Twelve of those won during their first season over obstacles but while half of them were rated at least 85 on the flat, that class largely fails to translate with Fred Winter placed duo Alexander Severus and Saticon the most successful of such types. Nevertheless, Willie Mullins has a good record with juvenile hurdlers recruited from the French flat. Twelve of the twenty during the time period have been winners including high class sorts Petitie Parisienne, Burning Victory, Diakali, Saldier and Saglawy. Bring On The Night had three runs on the flat and was successful on his latest two starts. His debut came in a Chantilly maiden in early March where he was slow from the start and finished a never nearer eighth of ten. He was better next time however when a clear winner from a strung out field in a twelve furlong Compiegne maiden later that month. The runner-up, his better fancied stablemate on the day, has not won in four subsequent outings but is currently rated 82.5. Two flat winners have come out of that race, albeit in minor races at Clairefontaine and Tours, as well as a winning steeplechaser. Bring On The Night followed up in late May on the all-weather in a Deauville conditions race over 2500 metres. This was a more hard fought success and he finished three-quarters of a length ahead of a horse currently rated 85.8. The second and third have since won small races at Toulouse and Le Touquet. Bring On The Night's rating of 92.4 is rather difficult to justify but he has a good size to him along with a decent attitude. There are not many clues in his sirelines insofar as a hurdling career is concerned as his sire Gleneagles has yet to be tested, although Galileos can make decent sires in the sphere. Dubai Destination has only nine juveniles as a damsire but three of them have been winners including the useful Forth Bridge. The damlines are rather less encouraging however as apart from Schelem (3/2) winning a minor event at Dax, the few close relatives who have tried hurdling have achieved little.
    Update
    Very little to add. The second and third at Deauville are each rated 36 (79.2) while the better fancied stablemate at Compiegne has dropped a couple of pounds.

    50/1 Harmonie Star bf Wille Mullins b5-4-0
    Boris de Deauville (East Of Heaven){u}(1.50) 2/1 Balki Win 1st 4yo Chase, Pontchateau 2015
    https://www.equidia.fr/chevaux/harmonie-star
    Following a fifth at Vichy on her racecourse debut in May, Harmonie Star won her next four starts to become the leading AQPS bumper horse of the season by prizemoney. Gaining an accurate grasp of the form's worth is not a straightforward undertaking as many of the leading horses in the sphere have taken turns beating each other, and there is little hurdling form to assess. Nevertheless, two of her successes came in Groupe IIIs including a dead heat with Holly and a six and a half length defeat of Hashtag Val - both of whom are not in the ownership of JP McManus. Showing a good and straightforward attitude, Harmonie Star has won on ground from good to very-soft, with all victories coming over twelve furlongs. Nicolas Paysan has yet to supply the sphere with any juvenile hurdlers, but Willie Mullins has a fine record with former French bumper horses including Ut De Sivola, Dandy Mag and this season's Ha d'Or. Having already ran five times in bumpers, she would no longer be elegible for such races in Ireland and the latest plan for Harmonie Star is to send her over hurdles this season.

    50/1 Kingbrook bgc Ian Williams f7-2-4 (97) 103
    Kingman (Montjeu){1-e}(0.63) 2/1 Tower Bridge 3rd Sefton Novices' Hurdle (G1), Aintree 2018
    Switched to Ian Williams as a three-year old and has progressed into a useful type. However, there has yet to be any indication that Kingbrook will be going hurdling this term.

    50/1 Holly bf Ireland b4-3-0
    Voiladenuo (Turgeon){5-h}(0.52) 2/1 Valaway 4th Prix Andre Michel (G3), Auteuil 2008
    https://www.equidia.fr/chevaux/holly-1
    Whereas Harmonie Star finished fifth on her debut before winning the rest of her races, Holly won her first three races before finishing fifth last time out. She made her racecourse bow at Vichy in May and though she took a while to get herself organised in the straight, the penny dropped in time to get up near the finish. She had Harmonie Star just over two lengths behind her in fifth that day, and they would share the spoils of a Le lion d'Angers Groupe III next time out. Holly's third win came at Durtal on sticky ground and while she also took time to move though the gears, this was a more commanding victory and it compelled JP McManus to take the plunge. Carrying the hoops for the first time, she met her first taste of defeat in a Groupe I contest at Saint Cloud where she got stuck in the heavy ground and finished some twelve lengths in arrears of Hollee. Similar to Harmonie Star, establishing the form's value is much of a muchness, and anything beyond stating that she was near the top of her class would be speculative. Erwan Grall has been responsible for just one juvenile hurdler thus far, but he got off to the perfect start as a supplier when Good Ball won on his British debut at Newbury. Voiladenuo, a son of Network, was a decent quality jumper who won a Grade Three hurdle as a four year old, and the Grade Two Prix Léon Rambaud two years later in 2015. He is currently having first crop of jumping age and while Holly is his only winner to date, a couple of others have shown fair placed form over hurdles. Holly is not closely related to any top-class hurdlers, but she is out of a half-sister to the fairly useful Valaway as well as a couple of minor winners in Britain. More distantly, the Champion Hurdle winner Punjabi can be found back at 5/6. Having competed four times, she would have to go straight over hurdles whenever she makes her debut. Who that will be with or when that might be has not yet been disclosed.

    50/1 Night And Day bf W Mullins f4-0-3 (70.4) 50
    Sea The Moon (Danehill){9-f}(1.22) 0.5 Supasundae 1st Irish Champion Hurdle, Leopardstown 2018
    https://www.equidia.fr/chevaux/night-and-day-1
    Already written
    A horse from the Arqana sales whose destination has been disclosed is Night And Day who has moved to the yard of Willie Mullins who has enjoyed winners with six of the last seven juveniles bought from Deauville. She is unraced over hurdles but earned an equivilent rating of 70.4 from four runs on the flat, three of which saw her finish placed including when runner up last time in a Clairefontaine handicap over 2900 meters. Her flat rating is the lowest of all the Mullins purchases yet at €90,000, she is the most expensive of any horse bringing a rating lower than 80 from France. This can be explained in part to her being a half sister to the top class Supasundae as well as other winners Distingo and Twenty Twenty and that her sire Sea The Moon produced winners Allmankind, Must See The Doc and Gealach in his first jumping crop. She needs to leave her flat form far behind to get to the top of the division but she obviously stays, has a likeable pedigree and is in very good hands
    Update
    No real updates to give. She has yet to have any entries and nothing new was revealed in One Jump Ahead. The form of her second at Angers has not been well advertised by either the winner Royaume Uni, or fourth placed Ronde De Nuit as both have disappointed in British juveniles.

    50/1 Paso Doble brc Paul Nicholls f9-2-3 (84) 90
    Dawn Approach (Samum){8-k}(0.60) 0.5 Bailarico 1st Handicap Hurdle (117), Catterick 2020
    Paso Doble reached the frame on each of his five starts in 2020 for Jim Bolger, and fetched €125,000 at the Goffs Autumn Online Sale. Finishing nearer last than first on his four outings as a two year old, he ran out a surprise but emphatic winner on his return as he powered away with a Roscommon handicap off 66 at the end of August. He followed up in a similar fashion at Fairyhouse on the first of October over ten furlongs. Though a beaten favourite on his next three starts the same month, he finished third on each occasion in handicaps at Killarney and Dundalk in races which have all worked out respectably. Consistent from ten to fourteen furlongs, his efforts last year came either on standard, or when soft appeared in the going description. Juvenile hurdlers formerly trained by Jim Bolger have a solid winners to runners rate of 30.51%, although that figure drops to a standard 21.05% for those sold at public auction. Paul Nicholls has a strong record in the division, but his record with publicly bought Irish trained flat recruits reads as zero winners from three with all of them costing at least €100,000. His record with such horses bought privately is three winners from six and includes Dodging Bullets (a maiden as a juvenile), Sir Psycho and Act Of Valour. Dawn Approach is without a winning juvenile from nine to date and none have posted RPRs exceeding 104. Damsire Samum is a sound influence on the division, and while the damline is mostly devoid of jumpers, half-brother Bailarico is a winning hurdler. Paso Doble is with a very strong yard and his flat form demonstrates ample class, stamina, size and versatility for the discipline. Though the sire has yet to prove himself, and Paul Nicholls has had more successful means of procuring talent, he was spoken of in Adonis Hurdle terms on his arrival at Ditcheat.

    50/1 Prunay bg Ireland f2-0-0 j2-0-2
    Prince Gibraltar (Daylami){8-f}(1.50) 3/4 Cerberus 3rd Spring Juvenile Hurdle (G1), Leopardstown 2020
    https://www.equidia.fr/chevaux/prunay
    Already written
    Since 2011/12 there have been seventy-four juveniles who found new homes after the Arqana Summer sales at Deavillle including Diakali, Petite Parisienne, Adriana des Mottes and Zubayr. The last named was the most expensive of them all when he fetched €380,000 in 2015 but his price is the only one that exceeds this year's top lot, Prunay, who changed hands for €240,000. Prunay's career began in a flat race at Fontainebleau last November where he finished sixth, less than two lengths behind a future listed winner and three-quarters of a length ahead of a listed third. After a return to Fontainebleau for another flat race, he once again finished sixth ahead of a pair of subsequent handicap winners. His hurdling debut came in the Prix Grandak touched upon in Mica Malpic's write up earlier in the thread. A launchpad for such quality jumpers as Beaumac de Houelle, Storm Of Saintly and Saint des Saints, this year's renewal saw Prunay finish nine lengths behind the winner but upwards of eleven lengths of the remainder. The winner has not been seen out since and those in behind have done nothing to uphold or elevate the form. Nevertheless, Prunay did give his stock a more respectable look when finishing third in the Prix Aguado, a Grade 3 with a good tradition, at Auteuil ahead of five previous winners and jumping well in the process. Sire Prince Gibraltar has had just the one hurdler in Ireland but has had three others in France thus far including a winner and a placed horse and while the Rock Of Gibraltar line is not prolific, it can get decent types. Daylami's record as a damsire is below average but by no means the worst. Prunay's damline is not brimming with jumpers but it does include last season's decent juvenile Cerberus (3/4) with The Job Is Right (5/6) further back. It has not been disclosed which particular yard Prunay will end up but the agent Toby Jones did say he was going to clients in Ireland and stated that his being a maiden enhanced his price tag as well as describing him more a chasing type for the future.
    Update
    Still no idea where he is. The Prix Aguado form has been boosted by fourth placed Baladin de Mesc who since won a listed hurdle, finished runner-up in a Grade Three, and third in the Prix Cambaceres. Runner-up Jeu de Paume has twice finished not far behind the aforementioned while the winner has not really built on his profile.

    50/1 Punctuation bg Charlie Longsdon f8-1-3 (83) 91
    Dansili (Galileo){12-c}(0.86) 3/1 King Carew 2nd Handicap Chase (L,120), Cork 2003
    Already written
    As mentioned earlier in this thread, the Andrew Balding yard usually has a sizeable dispersion of its three-year-olds at the autumn sales but those who are sold are no likelier to go over hurdles than they are to race overseas or stay on the flat. Punctuation is still with Andrew Balding and until it is confirmed that he has joined a national hunt yard, he probably should not be listed for the Triumph Hurdle.
    Update
    In the event, Andrew Balding had seventeen three-year-olds offered at the Tattersalls Autumn Sale, with his top lot going to Saudi Arabia for 185,000 guineas. The next best seller was Punctuation whose but of 110,000 guineas diverted him from the desert to near Chipping Norton. Former residents of Kingsclere win their fair share of juvenile hurdles, although little over a quarter will improve for the switch between codes. Balding has been responsible for seven juveniles who fetched more than 100,000 guineas and while three were winners, only Flaxen Flare could be described as pattern class. Charlie Longsdon has a respectable winners to runners rate of 29.03%, and Punctuation is set be his most expensive public purchase by some margin, with the next priciest being dual winner Paintball at 70,000 guineas in 2010. Punctuation, as a racehorse rather than a commodity, made his debut last January when a head second to To Nathaniel in a twelve furlong novice stakes at Kempton. The following month, he took a course and distance maiden by eleven lengths from a fairly moderate field. He was stepped up to pattern company for his next two starts at Newmarket and Ascot, but was well beaten on each occasion. The remainder of his four runs came in fourteen furlong, class two handicaps at Haydock, Sandown and twice at York, during which time his mark dropped from 89 to 83. Though he had a questionable headcarriage when last seen in October, he has generally looked quite straightforward although there may be a preference for firmer ground. Dansili has a strong 35.14% winners to runners rate in the division, and Galileo is a stronger damsire than sire. The dam is a half-sister to a pair of minor jumps winners as well as successful national hunt sire Kalanisi. Punctuation is entered up at Catterick next week, and while he is not an obvious Triumph contender, he is a decent enough looking recruit to the division.

    50/1 Soaring Monarch bg Peter Fahey 8-1-2 (82) 87
    Free Eagle (Dubawi){10-c}(0.90) 5/4 Bayan 1st Handicap Hurdle (G3,146), Ascot 2014
    Already written
    Soaring Monarch is not mentioned in terms of hurdling on the internet apart from in the Triumph lists but as his trainer predominantly handles national hunt horses, we can work on the assumption that that is where his attentions will be turned. He sprang a 50/1 surprise when losing his maiden tag at Limerick in June in a six and a half furlong maiden which has produced just one subsequent winner who landed a handicap off 59. He has since finished runner up in a pair of handicaps at the Galway festival including last time off 83 over nine and a half furlongs on soft ground. Soaring Monarch is rather distantly (5/4) related to the good handicapper Bayan but more immediately, his half brother and his dam's two siblings are all poor maidens over jumps. This will be his sire's first crop of juveniles and while his sire High Chaparral was good influence in the sphere, his sons have yet to really make a mark although Dubawi has a couple of winners from seven as a damsire. Peter Fahey has had no winner from his three juveniles since the 2011/12 season and while Soaring Monarch could well be a capable juvenile, his inclusion in the Triumph betting is very premature.
    Update
    Soaring Monarch has since placed fourth in seven furlong handicaps at Tipperary and the Curragh and has also changed ownership while staying with the trainer. Free Eagle has had two winners and two seconds from his first crop which is a fine start. However, Soaring Monarch has yet to be entered over hurdles and has not been seen in public since early November.

    50/1 Tax For Max bc Willie Mullins f6-0-3 DeF GAG94.5 (109) 106
    Maxios (Starborough){1-m}(0.80) 0.5 Tiger Tap Tap 4th Spring Juvenile Hurdle (G1), Leopardstown 2019
    https://www.racebets.com/en/horse-ra...external/19256 - Munich
    https://www.racebets.com/en/horse-ra...external/19018 - Hannover
    Despite costing €200,000 at the Arqana Autumn sale, Tax For Max is still a maiden after six races in Germany. Nevertheless, he has progressed nicely since his debut in May and a staying on second in a valuable auction race at Hannover on his penultimate start was surpassed by a creditable fifth in a Group One in November. Just preceding the leaders turning into the straight, he briefly moved into second before losing his position a furlong from home and finishing just under six lengths behind the winner in fifth. Given its location, it would not be one of the stronger Group Ones in Europe, but it would still be high class in the context of juvenile hurdling. The German Derby runner-up was in second, Charlie Appleby's 114 rated Secret Advisor was just half a length ahead of Tax For Max, and a line through third placed Dicaprio puts him cosily ahead of the Stuart Edmunds filly Megan. Henk Grewe has supplied the division with the one juvenile in the past in the useful juvenile Tiger Tap Tap who is also a half-brother to Tax For Max along with his new stablemate. Apart than Whiteout, who was able to win as a juvenile, this is the extent of the Mullins yard with imported German juveniles, but his record with French flat imports is beyond reproach. As well as being a half-brother to Tiger Tap Tap, the granddam is a half-sister to the top class hurdler Muse, while Supreme Hurdle third Rakes Lane (4/3) and Triumph third Al Mutahm (5/3) appear further back on the damline. Maxios has a strong record in the division and he has already had an impact on the current campaign in the form of Quilixios. Though he will still need to prove himself over hurdles, Tax For Max has very strong credentials with his form, trainer and pedigree.

    50/1 Teahupoo bg Gordon Elliott j1-1-0 (-) 121
    Masked Marvel (Sassanian){12-g}(0.50) 1/0 Droit d'Aimer 1st 3yo Conditions Hurdle, Enghien 2010
    https://www.equidia.fr/chevaux/teahupoo
    Teahupoo has had just the one race to date, which came in the Prix Emilius on Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris day in mid-October. Although fairly late in the season for juvenile imports, the newcomers' contest has featured several who would join British and Irish yards including 2011 winner Balder Succes, 2012 winner Rolling Star, and last season's runner-up Solo. Initially in a prominent position, he was baulked at the first by a rival jumping across him and he dropped back to midfield. Though impeded again at the second, he cruised up to settle behind the leader ahead of the final circuit. Travelling strongly into the straight, he jumped into the lead at the last and though his running against the rail helped his cause, he still ran on strongly to run out a length and a quarter winner. Despite suffering interference in the early stages, Teahupoo jumped very well with his getting slightly close to the seventh being hardly worth a mention. The form has been boosted in no uncertain terms, with runner-up Good Ball winning on his debut for Paul Nicholls at Newbury, and third placed Haut les Coeurs was a twelve length winner next time out. Masked Marvel has a solid record thus far in the division, and along with the dam winning her first three starts over hurdles, Prix Rush winner Kanto (4/1) and the classy juvenile Top Notch (4/3) also appear in the pedigree. The Leenders family were responsible for Gordon Elliott's Anniversary Hurdle runner-up Clarcam, and though the stable is already saturated with talent, Teahupoo could be yet another exciting recruit.

    50/1 Zoran bc Paul Nicholls f7-1-3 (81) 85
    Invincible Spirit (Galileo){12-b}(1.00) 3/1 Spectrometer 3rd Coral Cup (G3,138), Cheltenham 2003
    During seven runs on the flat for Hugo Palmer, Zoran has been progressive throughout his career. He got off the mark on his penultimate outing in a five runner, ten furlong handicap at Newmarket in September off a mark of 78. Though sporting a tongue tie and visor, he stayed on gamely to prevail by half a length. He was less convincing when last seen finishing sixth at Yarmouth, although it is possible that he was not suited by the soft ground. His current rating of 81 is a fair reflection of his ability and not out of line with Triumph class horses. He sold for 77,000 guineas at the Tattersalls Autumn sale, but it is worth noting that those formerly trained by Hugo Palmer's have a moderate record in the division with only Persiflage winning a moderate contest from thirteen horses. Notwithstanding, ex-inmate Mengli Khan, who cost 155,000 guineas, was much stronger in his second campaign. The offspring of Invincible Spirit do not achieve much in the sphere, with the winners to runners rate being 9.68%, and the highest RPR achieved from thirty-one juveniles was 123. A grandson of Ouija Board makes Zoran a nephew of Australia, a good sire in the division, and a relative of the useful Spectrometer.

    There are three other horses currently at 50/1, two of whom are owned by JP McManus. Hashtag Val and Mica Malpic are both with currently with David Cottin, with the former finishing third at Fontainebleau on his sole hurdles run, and the latter disappointing at Compiegne on his first run for the new owner. Brentford Hope (66/1) boosted his class credentials with a win over a mile at Haydock in October that brought his rating up to 100. However, it was said afterwards that the step down in trip suited, and that he would be targeted at pattern races in the upcoming flat season. North Street (100/1) is a complete non-hoper while Willy Nilly (150/1) is a 67 rated 14,000 guineas purchase for Donald McCain who is not too distantly related to Torpichen.

    Fortune Finder is also listed at 50/1 with Unibet. With Nimes available with the same firm at 40/1, this now makes two dead horses on their lists. The adjective used to describe Unibet would probably be "disgusting", while the noun is best left to the imagination.

    There are probably a few more who might enter the markets over the next few weeks. I have found six potential juveniles who are yet to be quoted, three from French hurdles, three from the flat. I will hopefully do profiles on them before too long, but since nobody likes surprises, their names are Galata Bridge, Vulcan and Wise Glory from the flat, and Homme Public, Samarrive, and Fortunes Melody from across the channel. I am rather surprised that the latter has not been listed as she is the second placed French filly for prize money, third for official rating, and has joined Harry Fry.

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    Bit outdated this Timeform assessment, 3/1/21, and a few changes to come in - Adagio must be close to the top two now.

    JUVENILE HURDLERS

    141p ZANAHIYR
    140p FRENCH ASEEL
    133p NASSALAM
    131p DUFFLE COAT
    130p MONMIRAL
    128P YOUMDOR
    128p QUILIXIOS
    125p HOUX GRIS
    124 ADAGIO
    124 BUSSELTON
    124 TALKING ABOUT YOU
    123p HA D'OR
    122p HYSTERY BERE
    122p RIVIERE D'ETEL
    122 HACKER DES PLACES
    122 HELL RED
    122 SAINT SAM
    122 SOLDIER ON PARADE
    121 ELHAM VALLEY
    121 FIVEANDTWENTY
    121 GLORIOUS ZOFF
    121 HISTORIC HEART
    Last edited by barjon; 10th January 2021 at 3:55 PM.

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    I'm not used to seeing Timeform ratings for juveniles in terms of such listing so I'm wondering how those above would compare/contrast with previous years' lists at the same stage.

    They look very conservative to me.

    These are the top juveniles on RPRs as listed the other day in the Weekender:

    Zanahiyr 145
    Quilixios 144
    Nassalam 140
    French Aseel 139
    Monmiral 134
    Youmdor 133
    Duffle Coat 132
    Saint Sam 131
    Hacker Des Places 130
    Busselton 125
    Talking About You 124
    Dark Voyager 123

    Again, I'm not used to checking these at this stage and they look conservative.

    I know my own rating for Zanahiyr is a good 10lbs higher but I don't have many juvenile ratings as I only look at the form ahead of the festival or where one jumps out on times.
    Two's company, three's allowed.

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    If that was a handicap it would be 4/7 7/4 14/1 bar

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    On the basis that something often comes out in Jan/Feb and muscles its way to the head of the Triumph market, I’d probably take the 14/1 Youmdor.
    Last edited by Grasshopper; 10th January 2021 at 5:32 PM.
    "Beat the price and lose. It's what we do".

    SlimChance, March 2018

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    Quilixios is the over priced one. He's 12/1 (10/1nrnb), because the others have been busy and he hasn't. We know that Gordon had him top of his tree too. Zanahiyr has surprised them. Given that one was out in the Knight Frank you'd think that Quilixios is the one for the Spring Juvenile at the DRF, and if he is that would be confirmation that Gordon still sees him as the better of the two.
    Last edited by Maruco; 10th January 2021 at 6:13 PM.

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    Horse BH TF RPR BHA
    Zanahiyr / 143 / 141 / 145 / .
    Youmdor / 141 / 128 / 133 / .
    Monmiral / 140 / 130 / 134 / 143
    Duffle Coat / 137 / 131 / 132 / .
    French Aseel / 137 / 140 / 139 / .
    Hell Red / 135 / 122 / . / 134
    Saint Sam / 133 / 122 / 131 / .
    Quilixios / 132 / 128 / 144 / .
    Soldier On Parade / 132 / 122 / . / 133
    Busselton / 131 / 124 / 125 / .
    Riviere d'Etel / 131 / 122 / . / .
    Ha d'Or / 129 / 123 / . / .
    Cabot Cliffs / 129 / . / . / 125
    Glorious Zoff / 128 / 121 / . / .
    Autumn Evening / 128 / . / . / .
    Dark Voyager / 128 / . / 123 / .
    Adagio / 127 / 124 / . / 136
    Crassus / 126 / . / . / .
    Longclaw / 126 / . / . / .
    Nassalam / 126 / 133 / 140 / 140
    Druid's Altar / 126 / . / . / .
    Jeff Kidder / 125 / . / . / .
    Bannister / 125 / . / . / 132
    Heross Du Seuil / 125 / . / . / .
    Honneur d'Ajonc / 125 / . / . / .
    First Impression / 124 / . / . / 121
    Historic Heart / 124 / 121 / . / 131
    Gold Desert / 124 / . / . / 123
    Good Ball / 124 / . / . / 126
    Hacker Des Places / 124 / 122 / 130 / 136
    Hiconic / 124 / . / . / 125
    Talking About You / 124 / 124 / 124 / 135
    Palm Beach / 124 / . / . / .
    Zoffanien / 121 / . / . / .
    Kings Creek / 120 / . / . / 117
    Naizagai / 120 / . / . / 118
    Balko Saint / 120 / . / . / 128
    Ilmig / 120 / . / . / .
    Fiveandtwenty / 119 / 121 / . / 129
    Hystery Bere / 118 / 122 / . / 125
    Elham Valley / 116 / 121 / . / .

    Without the benefit of fiddling around with them after every race, these are my master ratings up to, but not including, yesterday's races. I have also added the BHA's ratings at the end. All of my ratings have been posted in this thread, and the only mark I've actually altered (I can't remember if I expressly did this or just alluded to same in a review) is Glorious Zoff's given that Crassus was likely going through a lull of confidence at Sligo. Hell Red's looks a little high disregarding his Cheltenham disappointment, although he did look magnificent at Chepstow and Monmiral has certainly validated his credentials. Soldier On Parade might have just been a summer horse but time will tell. Cabot Cliffs possibly has a higher mark as the Wensleydale looked good at the time, although given what Adagio has done since, the Cheltenham race is looking strong in hindsight. Nevertheless, while Adagio beat Cabot Cliffs at Cheltenham, a line through Duffle Coat would still put Cabot Cliffs ahead and he may have ran better at Wetherby. Before I think myself into a loop... Strictly on his Ballinrobe run against Zanahiyr and Crassus, Dark Voyager ran to a mark around 128 there but looks to have gone sour since. Adagio has improved but I still had him above Nassalam so kudos to me. It is nice that myself, Timeform and RPR agree on Talking About You...

    Does anybody else have ratings to hand?

    Also, anonymous polls!

    https://www.strawpoll.me/42420571 - Which ratings do you most agree with?
    https://www.strawpoll.me/42420587 - Which ratings do you most agree with? Sans my ego.

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  12. #269
    Senior Member barjon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Orchid View Post
    I'm not used to seeing Timeform ratings for juveniles in terms of such listing so I'm wondering how those above would compare/contrast with previous years' lists at the same stage.

    They look very conservative to me.

    These are the top juveniles on RPRs as listed the other day in the Weekender:

    Zanahiyr 145
    Quilixios 144
    Nassalam 140
    French Aseel 139
    Monmiral 134
    Youmdor 133
    Duffle Coat 132
    Saint Sam 131
    Hacker Des Places 130
    Busselton 125
    Talking About You 124
    Dark Voyager 123

    Again, I'm not used to checking these at this stage and they look conservative.

    I know my own rating for Zanahiyr is a good 10lbs higher but I don't have many juvenile ratings as I only look at the form ahead of the festival or where one jumps out on times.
    My notes show Goshen lifted to 145 (from 142) by Timeform on 20/1/20 if that helps.
    Last edited by barjon; 10th January 2021 at 7:02 PM.

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    BH, I have say that I would normally plump for Timeform, but because yours are accompanied by such comprehensive and perceptive race commentaries it would be lovely to see yours prove the better. Perhaps you ought to copy the thread and send it off to them. Not that we want to lose you, of course

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maruco View Post
    Quilixios is the over priced one. He's 12/1 (10/1nrnb), because the others have been busy and he hasn't. We know that Gordon had him top of his tree too. Zanahiyr has surprised them. Given that one was out in the Knight Frank you'd think that Quilixios is the one for the Spring Juvenile at the DRF, and if he is that would be confirmation that Gordon still sees him as the better of the two.
    Perhaps this would be of interest?



    Quote Originally Posted by barjon View Post
    BH, I have say that I would normally plump for Timeform, but because yours are accompanied by such comprehensive and perceptive race commentaries it would be lovely to see yours prove the better. Perhaps you ought to copy the thread and send it off to them. Not that we want to lose you, of course
    Cheers barjon. I only actually started posting them after you pestered me to do so

    I would be lying if I said that a career of some description in the industry is not a small part of what motivates me to contribute to this thread. Indeed, this time last year, I was at the NHC and had actually started on a yard prior to the lockdown which truncated that endeavour. It was probably a blessing though as my tennis elbow was starting to become a nuisance. I wouldn't mind going back into ground work although while I love being around horses and am fitter and stronger than most people my size and age, I have never been able to get the hang of mucking out without completely overthinking the process. (I actually came first in the fitness test at horsey college so should any of my former classmates turn professional, I will be able to tell myself that my athleticism is of an elite standard). I also did the secretary course off my own back while I was there and I would like to imagine I could become fairly capable in some kind of administrative role involving research or whathaveyou. That said, if getting paid to do something similar to what I am doing here becomes a realistic prospect then it would be very strongly considered.

    Obviously, my main priority is to be less homeless before too long as well as brush up on my spreadsheet skills whatever other facets I can hone doing this project. But once this season is completed, by which time I would like to have somewhere stable, then considering where to send samples of this work would be the next step.

    Notwithstanding, if anything more than nothing happens, I won't forget where I came from

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    It certainly is. As we've discussed before, trainers are creatures of habit. Thanks BH.

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    No probs. This one is a little more comprehensive as it shows the trials records of the first four home in each of the sixteen previous Triumph Hurdles.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Bachelors Hall View Post
    I have never been able to get the hang of mucking out without completely overthinking the process.
    Now I won't sleep tonight worrying about you, BH.

    How the fvck can you overthink mucking out?

    Isn't that on the same level as overthinking doing a jobby?
    Two's company, three's allowed.

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    Surely its a possibility that Duffle Coat goes Fred winter with Elliot having a strong hand with the other two?

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    Quote Originally Posted by DannyB View Post
    Surely its a possibility that Duffle Coat goes Fred winter with Elliot having a strong hand with the other two?
    It is a possibility Danny, but he keeps going up for standing in his box. It's probably going to happen for a second time after Adagio's win at Chepstow.

    You can't say he can't win a Fred Winter of top weight, but you'd have to suspect he'd be keeping the weight down for something better handicapped from the same stable. He's looking pretty exposed of his mark, and there's bound to be a few very well in. What he has in his favour is course experience. You can see him running on late into a place perhaps.

  21. #277
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    The reviews for the weekend's action have yet to be done as the past few days were spent in a state of agitation over the prospect of a move to a shelter or the streets (which the more lucid of the homeless people I spoke to claim is preferable to the former). Fortunately, I may have been offered a reprieve as a friend of a friend might be looking for lodger. Naturally, this has prompted a new series of matters that require attendance, but priorities being priorities, here is an essay for the juvenile at Catterick which may or may not be sleeted away.

    Corresponding race held on the North Yorkshire Grand National card each season since 2010
    Eight of the ten winners had UK/IRE hurdling experience
    Cockney Sparrow was beaten in this race at 1/6 in 2013 before winning handicap hurdle at Aintree festival
    Cornerstone Lad won in 2018 prior to close second in Victor Ludorum
    Intense Tango won in 2015 ahead of win in Doncaster Mares' Hurdle
    Though a maiden in all but name, race has some useful placed form as well as expensive flat recruit.
    Seven of the trainers and all but one of the sires have above average records in the sphere
    Average winning RPRs of 114.5md and 115.8mn are slightly higher than course average, but lower than standard
    Course winning DIs of 1.20md, 1.26mn roughly average
    Median SP 4.00 higher than average, but record of odds-on favs 70.59% above average
    Going currently soft with sleet forecast overnight. Precautionary inspection at 7.30am

    Balkardy chg Evan Williams j1-0-1 (-) 97 99
    Balko (Limnos){1-e}(0.50) 2/2 Roll On Has 1st Prix Alain du Breil (G1), Auteuil 2014
    Few racecourse debutants outside of France will have been better bred than Balkardy. A son of Balko (Blacko, Gitaine du Berlais, Ubaltique), his granddam was a dual winning juvenile in France and is the matriarch of a line which includes Royale Cazoumaille (fourth in the 2005 Grand Prix d'Automne and dam of Venetia Williams' promising Royale Pagaille), Royal Satarania (first in the 2015 Prix Murat), Inoxe Royale (winner of a four year old Listed Chase) and top French juvenile hurdler Roll On Has. While not well fancied ahead of his Warwick introduction last month, drifting from 18/1 in the morning to start at 33/1, he still ran with promise. Held up in rear, his first three jumps were big and untidy but he was soon hurdling with more fluency. Though he never got close to the leaders, he stayed on well up the straight to finish a clear third. Runner-up Ambassador is the only prominent horse to have come out of the race, but he did build on his debut when left in third at Kempton. Evan Williams has had only one winner in the past fortnight, but that did come in the Welsh National and most of his shorter priced charges have been running close. His overall record with juveniles is a solid one and though he has gone just over a year without a winner in the division, both of his juveniles have been placed this term. Balkardy has a good all round profile and though he has around ten pounds to find on hurdling form with Wise Eagle, he did shape like an obvious improver first time out.

    Caldwell bc Michael Scudamore f3-0-2 (-) 73 j1-0-1 (-) 99 86
    Dansili (Barathea){13-c}(1.67) 1/1 Quebec 1st Novices' Hurdle, Market Rasen 2015
    Placed on the first two of his three starts for Dermot Weld, Caldwell joined his new connections for 28,000 guineas at the Tattersalls Autumn Sale. The standard of flat form is perfectly respectable in the context of this discipline and he is a brother to two winning hurdlers. While he was withdrawn on account of heavy ground at Listowel, he was not entirely unsuited by the conditions at Wetherby where he received warm market support through the day. However, a conspicuous misgiving from the flat was his peculiar headcarriage and this translated into a very sloppy round of jumping on his hurdles debut. He steadied into the first where he jumped big and to the left, was big and left at the second, steadied and got close to the third, was close and skewed over the fourth, close again into the fifth, clipped the top and stumbled on landing at the sixth (this was his best jump of the race), skewed and went left at the seventh and eighth and was big and skewed over the last. Tracking the leader throughout, he was taken the scenic route and was still in contention at the top of the straight. The futility of his task revealed itself as the race began to wrap up and rather sensibly, he was given nothing harsher than a hands and heels ride and was allowed to come home in his own time with almost fifty lengths in hand over his remaining opponents. Though he was beaten a distance, it was still a promising debut as in the absence of Hacker des Places, he would have been a very impressive winner in spite of the litany of jumping errors. His jumping absolutely needs to improve and he might also benefit from a date with a pair of scissors which has not happened in the past couple of weeks. Nevertheless, it was his first run for over two months, he should be fitter for the experience and if it does not have the impact of draining him too much, he can be competitive in ordinary company. Michael Scudamore has a low strike rate in the division however and those of his who have won, did so after more than two runs over hurdles.

    El Jefe bg Brian Ellison f7-0-2 (53) 57 j1-0-0 (-) 15 9
    Born To Sea (Montjeu){22-a}(0.63) 2/1 Mountain 1st Juvenile Hurdle, Sandown 2007
    Brian Ellison has the strongest record of the trainers represented in this field, and has five wins from twenty-two juveniles at this venue since 2009. His runner here, El Jefe, was moderate on the flat, but his best effort in that sphere was also his latest one when second in a Redcar handicap off 51 after a wind operation. He was very well backed to make a winning hurdles debut at Wetherby eighteen days ago, starting the day at 33/1, opening in the ring at 9/1, and setting off at 16/5. However, while he jumped well enough save for going left at the second and steadying at the fourth, he took a keen hold up from the start to the home straight where he faded to finish over a hundred lengths behind the winner. It is possible that the run was too bad to be deemed reliable and El Jefe is at least bred to do better as a hurdler. Nevertheless, even his strongest flat form will leave him short in this company.

    Lanval bg Sam England f3-0-1 (58) 61
    Camelot (Woodman){8-c}(1.00) 2/2 Den Maschine 1st Handicap Hurdle (115), Sandown 2012
    Making his debut in September, Lanval ran three times on the flat for David Menuisier with the best performance coming last time when beaten eighteen lengths in a Chelmsford novice stakes. Since then, he joined Sam England for 1,000 guineas at the Tattersalls Autumn Sale. Camelot is a useful stallion in the division and his 55 rated Hen managed to win a very modest handicap at Uttoxter last season. However, there no other cause for enthusiasm in the profile.

    Masterdream bg Tim Vaughan f4-0-0 (73) 70 j2-0-0 (-) 70 68
    Sea The Stars (Danehill Dancer){20}(1.40) 3/1 Vasco Marengo 1st 4yo Maiden Hurdle, Fontainebleau 2009
    Though he fetched 56,000 guineas at the Tattersalls Autumn sale, Masterdream did not really achieve enough during three runs for John Oxx to warranty such a price. He was unfancied ahead of his hurdling bow where jumped poorly and finished tailed off, and quadrupled from a morning show of 20/1 when last again at Taunton just over a fortnight ago. He jumped better on that occasion and managed to finish closer to the winner, but he was still beaten nearly forty lengths and was the last of the six finishers.

    Punctuation bg Charlie Longsdon f8-1-3 (83) 91
    Dansili (Galileo){12-c}(0.86) 3/1 King Carew 2nd Handicap Chase (Listed,120), Cork 2003
    Andrew Balding had seventeen three-year-olds offered at the Tattersalls Autumn Sale, with his top lot going to Saudi Arabia for 185,000 guineas. The next best seller was Punctuation whose bid of 110,000 guineas diverted him from the desert to near Chipping Norton. Former residents of Kingsclere win their fair share of juvenile hurdles, although little over a quarter will improve for the switch between codes. Balding has been responsible for seven juveniles who fetched more than 100,000 guineas and while three were winners, only Flaxen Flare could be described as pattern class. Charlie Longsdon has a respectable winners to runners rate of 29.03%, and Punctuation is set be his most expensive public purchase by some margin, with the next priciest being dual winner Paintball at 70,000 guineas in 2010. Punctuation, as a racehorse rather than a commodity, made his debut last January when a head second to To Nathaniel in a twelve furlong novice stakes at Kempton. The following month, he took a course and distance maiden by eleven lengths from a fairly moderate field. He was stepped up to pattern company for his next two starts at Newmarket and Ascot, but was well beaten on each occasion. The remainder of his four runs came in fourteen furlong, class two handicaps at Haydock, Sandown and twice at York, during which time his mark dropped from 89 to 83. Though he had a questionable headcarriage when last seen in October, he has generally looked quite straightforward although there may be a preference for firmer ground. Dansili has a strong 35.14% winners to runners rate in the division, and Galileo is a stronger damsire than sire. The dam is a half-sister to a pair of minor jumps winners as well as successful national hunt sire Kalanisi. Along with this entry, Punctuation is also declared in the Chatteris Fen at Huntingdon. Quite whether this is indicative of the stable's expectations, or its desire to get a run into him is a matter of speculation, but his flat rating is well above average for a recruit into the division. Brian Hughes is an interesting booking should he take this engagement, and the yard's only other juvenile to have ran at Catterick finished second in the 2015 renewal of this contest. However, the stable is not in the strongest form at the moment and only one of its twenty-nine juvenile hurdlers has won first time out.

    Rains Of Castamere chg Mick Channon f12-4-2 (71) 75 j1-0-0 (-) - 73?
    Harbour Watch (Cadeaux Genereux){5-g}(3.00) 3/2 Quill Art 1st Novices' Handicap Hurdle (97), Doncaster 2016
    Winning a seller on his final start as a two year old, and a handicap on his first run after a winter break, Rains Of Castamere went into October with nine races to his name. Nevertheless, while he was well beaten when third in a Leicester handicap, he wrapped up his latest campaign with a double in a pair of mile handicaps at Windsor and Newmarket. The form of those outings has been patchy at best and though he was not unfancied, he lacked fluency when well beaten at Plumpton on his hurdling debut less than twenty-four hours ago. It would be a surprise is he makes the long journey after such a poor showing.

    Saint Palais bg Richard J Bandey j2-0-1 (-) 68
    Saint Des Saints (Turgeon){26}(1.29) 1/1 Lord Du Mesnil 2nd National Hunt Chase (G2), Cheltenham 2020
    https://www.equidia.fr/chevaux/saint-palais
    Cutting his teeth in the point to point field, Richard Bandey began training under rules in 2018 and Saint Palais is set to be his first juvenile hurdler. One of Francois Nicolle's four runners in the Prix d'Essai des Poulains back in March, Saint Palais was the third string in the market, just ahead of stablemate Quilixios. In the event, Quilixios won with ease and is now a leading fancy for the Triumph, while Saint Palais lacked fluency and finished a tailed off last. Following a break of close to eight months, he returned in a nineteen furlong steeple chase at Maure de Bretagne. A contest worth just €12,000, it resembled more a cross country chase and Saint Palais jumped rather inconsistently before closing on the leaders and failing to win by a narrow margin. The quality of the form is negligible outside of the provinces, but race did hint at the very likely future for Saint Palais. A full brother to Lord du Mesnil, his dam and two other siblings won over fences as four-year-olds, and the Scottish National runner-up Goonyella along with the excellent French stayer Shannon Rock appear at 3/2 on the damline. Bred to make a staying chaser, Saint Palais is unlikely to make much impact in this discipline outside of very moderate company.

    Salamanca School bg Warren Greatrex f7-1-3 (65) 76
    Rock Of Gibraltar (Pennekamp){9-e}(1.91) 1/1 Sofia's Rock 3rd Listed Hurdle, Kempton 2019
    Habitual front-runner Salamanca School ran seven times on the flat for Mark Johnston, winning a seller as a two-year-old, and was last seen finishing thirteen lengths behind Elham Valley when runner-up in another seller at Goodwood at the end of August. Between those outings, he competed in three handicaps, but was well beaten on each occasion and his mark dropped from 79 to 65 during 2020. Joining Warren Greatrex for £12,500 at the Goffs September sale, he is with a yard that boasts a decent winners to runners ratio of 28%, and a healthy improvement rate of 52.63%. Rock Of Gibraltar gets his fair share of winners but his improvement rate of 32.61% is the lowest in the field and both sire and trainer have below par overall strike rates. Salamanca School is a full brother to the useful Sofia's Rock, and Danny Whizzbang also appears on the damline at 2/3. Nevertheless, while there are positive in the profile and the ground should not be a problem, the regressive flat form and the wind operation prior to his sale at Goffs are not particularly encouraging.

    Simply True chg D J Jeffreys f18-4-1 (85) 87 h1-0-0 (-) 74 76
    Camacho (Beat Hollow){5-h}(1.46) 2/1 Dr Livingstone 1st Novices' Hurdle, Leicester 2009
    Four times a winner on the flat for Andrew Oliver, earning a rating of 85 in the process, Simply True joined David Jeffreys for 50,000 guineas at the Tattersalls Autumn Sale. Pitched in at the deep end on his hurdling debut at Cheltenham last month, he was weak in the market beforehand, drifting from an opening show of 9/1 out to 18/1 at the off. Though he led for all but the last three furlongs of the race, his reticent jumping and relative keenness prevented him from looking a serious threat. He lost his position turning for home and dropped back quickly through the field as he trailed in by nearly fifty lengths, and beating only one home. His ability to set the pace over hurdles is a positive and he should benefit for the experience in this softer contest. Furthermore, the yard had a couple of thirds at this venue eleven days ago so Simply True would not be a forlorn hope.

    Wise Eagle chg Adam Nicol f6-1-0 (67) 74 j1-0-1 (-) 106 110
    Free Eagle (Exceed And Excel){9-e}(1.00) 3/2 Cardinal Palace 2nd Persian War Novices' Hurdle (G2) Chepstow
    Although he won a Lingfield maiden in February on his second flat start, Wise Eagle had subsequently finished seventh on four consecutive outings in handicap company. Leaving Tom Clover for 7,000 guineas at the Tattersalls Autumn Sale, he was sent off at 66/1 for his, and his new trainer's, first attempt in a juvenile hurdle at Wetherby last month. His latest rating of 67 was a reasonable reflection of his ability although he did pull extremely hard at Yarmouth in October. The blinkers he wore on the flat were left off for his stable/hurdling debut and he settled well in midfield from the outset. Apart from getting close to the sixth, he posted a respectable round for a newcomer and while he could not get near the winner, a better jump at the last enabled him to finish second. It was not the highest quality contest, but the field was strung out and though the winner was beaten at Musselburgh at the start of the month, he appeared to maintain his form nevertheless. Those previously placed in the first three in Catterick juveniles have nine wins from twenty-eight runners, and with the form of Wise Eagle being the strongest shown over hurdles in this contest, he would be entitled to plenty of respect.

    Strong prospects
    1. Wise Eagle
    Reasonable prospects
    2. Balkardy
    3. Punctuation
    4. Simply True
    Feasible prospects
    5. Caldwell
    Moderate prospects
    6. Salamanca School
    7. Saint Palais
    8. El Jefe
    Negligible prospects
    9. Masterdream
    10. Rains Of Castamere
    11. Lanval

  22. #278
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannyB View Post
    Surely its a possibility that Duffle Coat goes Fred winter with Elliot having a strong hand with the other two?
    I think Duffle Coat is being dangerously underestimated given that while he has never been thought much of at home, he has done everything asked of him at home and more. If I had the choice of the Triumph or the Fred Winter for him, the Triumph would be an instant decision. Plus, I don't think he is the biggest horse so carrying top weight in the Fred Winter probably wouldn't be ideal.

    Quote Originally Posted by Desert Orchid View Post
    Now I won't sleep tonight worrying about you, BH.

    How the fvck can you overthink mucking out?

    Isn't that on the same level as overthinking doing a jobby?
    So skipping out is fine. Take out the poop, take out the really obvious wee, move onto the next box. Gutting a box is also fine. Sure it's a lot of work, but the instructions are clear. However, I have never got the technique down for mucking out. Take out the poop, put the dry stuff to one side... but even though that scoop felt dry, it was wet and now we have wet stuff everywhere. I can't see where this wet stuff is. I know there is wet stuff somewhere but where? This scoop feels heavy but it was just dense and now I've just thrown out a fivers worth of clean stuff. This mare usually likes to wee on this bank but for some reason, she chose to go over here. This store horse just pees everywhere and likes walking it in so do I get rid of all of it? Of course not because we only put fresh shavings in twice a week even though this horse should just be left in a field. Just go with my instincts? I grew up on a fvcking council estate. And that little nugget of poop that rolled off the fork, do I chase it or do I leave it? Chase it or leave it? How many little nuggets off poop are acceptable? Chasing the nugget, chasing the nugget, oh fvck it, just pick it up with the hand and chuck it into the barrow. Bring the banks down, oh great, the lazy weekend wanker has left six piles of sh!t in them and it's rolled everywhere like a cluster bomb. The store horse wants to play with my fork and the grumpy filly is starting to whinny and dance because her neighbour has gone out with the first lot. Am I not good enough company for her? Stay still! What did the head lad just shout at me? Was it an instruction that I needed to catch or was he just berating me? He was berating me and now he's even more angry because I just wasted another ten seconds of my time and his. Right, I can finally pull it back, where's my fvcking broom? That bloody tw@t has nicked it and left me with the sodding toothbrush. Oh and the box still looks like a toilet and the barrow is full of fresh bedding. How in the buggering world of buggery did this happen? Sod it. One down, nineteen to go. Wait, you're having another one? Do I stay and clear this up or do I leave it and look like I haven't done my job? Aaaargh! All I want to do is be the tosser in the gilet and flat cap who bollocks the conditionals and says to the trainer "Halford's entered a Mastercraftsman in the Tatts sale. It's been crying out for soft ground".

    Granted I've only spent less than a cumulative half-year doing boxes at different yards with different materials and different standards, and it's probably just one of those things that when I get it, I get it. But even though I am fit, strong and I am not completely dull of mind, the processes and arrangements just don't intuitively make sense. And the more I want it to make sense, the less sense it makes. It's that common sense thing which apparently, most people are born with but have never experienced it myself.

  23. #279
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    Saturday's juvenile hurdle at Fairyhouse is only the fourth iteration in its current format and has featured only sixteen runners to date. Nevertheless, it has been a very dense contest in terms of quality with fourteen of those also taking in other notable races. The 2018 edition saw Winning Fair victor Michouka score from Fred Winter winner Veneer Of Charm, 2019 was fought out between Spring Juvenile third Surin and Triumph third Gardens Of Babylon while last season had Spring Juvenile runner-up Wolf Prince hold Fred Winter winner Aramax in third. This season's renewal is set to have the largest field and could also be the strongest one to date. All of the declared runners have won races, five of them are undefeated, and two have ran in graded company. Youmdor is the standout on Irish form, but Gordon Elliott and Gavin Cromwell also introduce a pair of French winners with the former's representative having his form boosted at Newbury recently. These three along with Awkwafina, hold entries in the Grade One Spring Juvenile Hurdle. Fairyhouse is one of the less demanding tracks in the country and the average winning DIs for juveniles of 1.20 median, 1.27 mean would attest to this premise. The clear round rate of 97.78% is the third highest in Ireland, and the record of favourites and odds-on shots is close to average. The going is currently heavy and though it looks to be dry before tomorrow evening, there is heavy rain forecast overnight.

    Triumph odds
    Youmdor 18/1
    Autumn Evening 50/1
    Teahupoo 50/1
    Druid's Altar 100/1

    Fred Winter odds
    Teahupoo 25/1
    Autumn Evening 33/1

    Alexei Vronsky bg Padraig Roche f6-1-0 (68) 71 j3-1-0 (-) 107 105
    Power (Fasliyev){11-d}(3.00) 0.5 Maria Padilla 7th 3YO Maiden Hurdle, Thurles 2013
    Alexei Vronsky began his 2020 campaign with a win in a Roscommon handicap off 62, end ended it with a win in a Punchestown maiden on his third hurdles outing. He had the best hurdles form going into a weak contest for the venue with a ten length fourth to Perry Owens at Galway, and an eighteen length sixth at Fairyhouse behind Jeff Kidder. He jumped well on each occasion before his attempts to close wore thin in the closing stages. Ridden more positively, he put in a decent round at Punchestown which only began to loosen in the latter stages. Prominent throughout, he took the lead after the penultimate flight. Steadying into the last with a clear advantage, he had enough in reserve to hold off the challenge of the runner up. He did not have to improve on his previous hurdling form to win, and while the race has produced a winner which looked unlikely at the time, he still would prefer a much sounder surface to what he might encounter on Saturday.

    Autumn Evening chg Mrs John Harrington f4-0-2 (78) 78 j2-1-0 (-) 122 128
    Tamayuz (Manduro){1-t}(1.25) 2/1 Menelaus 1st Handicap Hurdle (98), Towcester 2007
    First appearing on the racecourse in late August, Autumn Evening followed a pair of reasonable outings with two successive third place finishes at Navan and the Curragh. He was sent off a well backed 5/4 favourite on his hurdling debut at Cork last month and obliged in pleasing fashion. A solid stamp of a horse, he was always racing prominently and jumped nicely for the most part. He got in slightly close to three out but travelled smoothly to the penultimate flight where he jumped into a slender lead. He cruised towards the final flight but an untidy leap saw him skid on landing and lose some momentum. Nevertheless, he only needed a hands and heels ride to regain superiority and carried a length advantage over the line. The form of the race has worked out moderately at this juncture, and Autumn Evening failed to build on his success in the Grade Two on Boxing Day. Unfancied in the market beforehand, his jumping profile was much the same as at Cork as he was slightly untidy at the first, got in close to the second, skewed over the fourth and, saving his worst until the end, flattened the last which cost him several strides worth of momentum. Nevertheless, he was still beaten entirely on merit and while he would still be an above average sort, this is very much an above average contest. Though his place claims are not slender, he may find at least a couple too strong and his yard is not in flying form at the moment. Incidentally, Jessica Harrington did run Got Trumped to finish fourth in this contest prior to a tilt at the Fred Winter hurdle.

    Druid's Altar bg Joseph Patrick O'Brien f5-1-2 (86) 79 j3-1-0 (-) 121 126
    Mastercraftsman (Sadler's Wells){13-c}(1.20) 0.5 Waterlord 4th Rossington Main Novices' Hurdle (G2), Haydock 2018
    An above average sort on the flat, Druid's Altar was a commanding winner on his hurdles debut in a gruelling contest at Punchestown, albeit one which has not worked out brilliantly. He went off too quickly for his own good next time at Fairyhouse when fading behind Zanahiyr, and was another unfancied in the Boxing Day Grade Two. He led once again but did so under a very tight grip, and though he was still keen, it was fairly mild in nature. He steadied slightly going into the third and fifth but jumped fine otherwise and though headed and dropped from the turn into the straight, he was more outpaced than tired. From a form perspective, this was a slight improvement on his Punchestown effort, but he is becoming rather exposed and another trip around Fairyhouse looks unlikely to suit. Joseph O'Brien has been in good form recently, and he sent Gardens Of Babylon to finish second in this two years ago. However, this is a tough assignment and unlike his predecessor, Druid's Altar is not entered in the Spring Juvenile.

    Josh d'Id bg Gavin Cromwell j1-1-0 (-) - -
    Joshua Tree (Okawango){26}(0.63) 0.5 Ladygaya 2nd 4yo Conditions Hurdle, Mont-de-Marsan 2015
    https://www.equidia.fr/chevaux/josh-did (yellow, orange sleeves, orange cap, noseband)
    Daniela Mele has supplied just one horse to the division thus far in the fairly useful Stratagem, and Josh d'Id could be another useful recruit. His sole run to date came in an ordinary conditions event at Saint Brieuc in mid November. Initially steady and untidy at his jumps, he lost his prominent position along the back of the second circuit. However, his jumping improved by the time they reached the final lap and he pursued the clear leader before taking his place on the turn for home. From there, he did not have to be ridden hard and though he was green, he ran out a comfortable twelve length winner. Being a race of its nature at a provincial venue, it probably took little winning. Nevertheless, the runner-up had previously been beaten a shorter distance by Houx Gris at Auteuil, and the thirty-eight length fourth won next time at Nantes. Sire Joshua Tree is on his second crop in the division and though he has yet to be tested in Britain or Ireland, he has done well in France thus far and already has a listed winner to his name. The immediate damline has only minor winners, but leading juvenile Don Lino appears at 4/2, with useful sorts Olofi and Gumball at 4/3. Gavin Cromwell has a healthy winners to runners rate of 25% although he is without a win from eighteen runs this term and his recent form is modest. Nevertheless, Josh d'Id is clearly held in some regard as he is entered for the Spring Juvenile, a race the trainer has had just three runners in Jer's Girl, Espoir d'Allen, and Wolf Prince who won this contest last season. Incidentally, he is also the only JP McManus owned horse who holds an entry. A compelling recruit to the division, Josh d'Id would be a most compelling contender in any ordinary contest. However, this is a strong race of its type and while his immaturity last time is not a major concern, the form of his stable tempers enthusiasm. Furthermore, the contest he won in France was run over eighteen furlongs which would not be conducive to elucidating the suitability of a sharp venue like Fairyhouse.

    Teahupoo bg Gordon Elliott j1-1-0 (-) 121 -
    Masked Marvel (Sassanian){12-g}(0.50) 1/0 Droit d'Aimer 1st 3yo Conditions Hurdle, Enghien 2010
    https://www.equidia.fr/chevaux/teahupoo
    Teahupoo has had just the one race to date, which came in the Prix Emilius on Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris day in mid-October. Although fairly late in the season for juvenile imports, the newcomers' contest has featured several who would join British and Irish yards including 2011 winner Balder Succes, 2012 victor Rolling Star, and last season's runner-up Solo. Teahupoo started in a prominent position, but was baulked at the first by a rival jumping across him and he dropped back to midfield. Though impeded again at the second, he cruised up to settle behind the leader ahead of the final circuit. Travelling strongly into the straight, he jumped into the lead at the last and though his running against the rail helped his cause, he still ran on strongly to run out a length and a quarter winner. Despite suffering interference in the early stages, Teahupoo jumped very well with his getting slightly close to the seventh being hardly worth a mention. The form has been boosted in no uncertain terms, with runner-up Good Ball winning on his debut for Paul Nicholls at Newbury, and third placed Haut les Coeurs was a twelve length winner next time out. Masked Marvel has a solid record thus far in the division, and along with the dam winning her first three starts over hurdles, Prix Rush winner Kanto (4/1) and the classy juvenile Top Notch (4/3) also appear in the pedigree. The Leenders family were responsible for Gordon Elliott's Anniversary Hurdle runner-up Clarcam, and though the stable is already saturated with talent, Teahupoo could be yet another exciting recruit. Furthermore, he already holds an entry for the Spring Juvenile, and though the yard usually has a scattergun approach to this contest, it has won two of the three renewals from six runners, Teahupoo is the trainer's sole charge here. However, similar to Josh d'Id, the Prix Emilus is also run over eighteen furlongs and again, Gordon Elliott has not been firing at his usual high standard.

    Youmdor bg Willie Mullins f8-2-4 (82.5) 83 j1-1-0 (-) 133 141
    Youmzain (Kentucky Dynamite){2-s}(0.89) 3/1 Attiki Oddo 2nd Handicap Hurdle, Enghien 2012
    https://www.equidia.fr/chevaux/youmdor
    Starting his career with Freddie Head, Youmdor finished first or second in all of his five starts following a switch to handicaps. He broke his duck on his handicap debut just before Christmas 2019 at Chantilly where he produced a very late burst to grab victory on the line. He was twice runner-up at the same venue in the new year and filled that position for a third time in a ten furlong Saint-Cloud handicap in May, finishing late once again. His spell of seconditis was ended last time out however when he ran out a neck winner of a "Quinte+" handicap over ten furlongs at Deauville at the end of May. A half-brother to Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere third Anodor, Youmdor's pedigree is not inundated with hurdlers with the closest relative being handicapper Attiki Oddo at 3/1 (Burning Victory shows up at 5/4). Nevertheless, he was chosen to follow in some illustrious hoofprints as he was introduced in the same Gowran maiden used by Willie Mullins for Buiseness Sivola, Diakali and Footpad. Very strongly fancied in the market beforehand, he made a very striking impression despite imperfect early jumping. He steadied on his approach to the first couple of flights, going big over the first and close into the second. However, while he got quite close to the fourth and the penultimate flights, and could not be described as particularly neat or swift, his jumping did improve once he learned his job and he put in his best jump when getting ridden into the last. Tracking the leaders throughout, Youmdor eased into the lead after two out and after a clean jump at the last, extended his advantage to sixteen lengths at the line. The only encouragement from the jockey came in the request for a good jump at the last and it would be a stretch to suggest that Youmdor was even shaken up. He treated his rivals with utter contempt and while the runner-up has not been seen since, the third and fourth have each continued their progressive form by running creditably in maidens at Limerick and Fairyhouse. Already a winner on good and heavy, the only quibble is that he will need to improve his jumping. Should he become more fluent, which is a reasonable expectation, then Youmdor could be a very serious horse and unlike French recruits, the Mullins yard is in good health at the moment.

    Awkwafina bf S Curling f6-0-1 (64) 72 j1-1-0 (-) 113 113
    Kyllachy (Muhtathir){1-l}(1.33) 2/1 Lone Ranger 3rd Maiden Hurdle, Wincanton 2013
    After placing third in a Leopardstown maiden for Jack Davison, and running without disgrace in a soft ground Naas handicap off 69, Awkwafina changed hands for €8,500 at the Goffs Autumn Online Sale. She joined a Sam Curling whose only previous juvenile hurdler prior to Boxing Day was unplaced at Down Royal November 2011.
    Her dam is a full-sister to maiden hurdle placed Lone Ranger and is herself, out of a half-sister to Prix Tanerko winner Baguette Magique. However, sire Kyllachy has a lamentable record in the division and since 2008/09, had failed to produce a winning juvenile from twenty-four offspring. That was until Awkwafina caused a 100/1 upset at Limerick. It was reported afterwards that Awkwafina had schooled and worked well and apart from skewing at the second, she put in a clean round on her hurdling debut. Setting off in the rear, she moved towards the midfield on entering the back stretch and made steady headway to turn for home among the leading group. She briefly led approaching the penultimate flight where she was outjumped, but regained the lead going over the last and was able to repel the challenge of Palm Beach to win by a neck. She clearly has the aptitude for the game and her performance happened to be the joint highest rated achieved by an Irish filly before Riviere d'Etel appeared on New Year's Eve. Being that the next five all had solid chances and were a long way clear of the remainder, it would be unfair to dismiss this as a fluke and although it remains to be seen if she can repeat this showing, she may be a fair recruit to the division. Furthermore, with her sex allowance, her win leaves her with no more than half a stone to find on most of these. While she still would be a surprise winner in this company, she is not an absolute certainty to finish last.

    Merry Poppins grf J Motherway j1-1-0 (-) 102 106
    Authorized (Peintre Celebre){1-w}(0.68) 2/1 In On The Act 3rd Juvenile Maiden Hurdle, Plumpton 2006
    From an undefeated filly whose sire has a lamentable record but with a respectable damline, to one with a poor damline but is also a daughter of an outstanding stallion in the sphere. Merry Poppins made her racecourse debut at Tipperary in mid-August, and started the day at 33/1 before halving in price before the off. It was said that she had schooled well and that transpired to be true as the only semblance of an error came when slightly steady going into the first. Merry Poppins was also as much a beneficiary of a brilliantly patient ride as she was a good jumper. Her willing attitude in the battle to the line was also important to her success as she threw herself into every stride to fend off Gavin Cromwell's Differentiate. The runner-up was beaten in a flat handicap on his only subsequent run, but third placed Sweet Sixteen was beaten a similar distance at Punchestown behind Duffle Coat, Crassus and Scholastic and the front three were nearly forty lengths clear of the remainder. Though Merry Poppins is coming back after a long layoff, and her form is largely unquantifiable, she is now in the same ownership as Teahupoo and Rachael Blackmore is a notable booking. Furthermore, her ability to jump, battle and handle soft will serve her well.

    Strong prospects
    1. Youmdor
    Reasonable prospects
    2. Teahupoo
    3. Josh d'Id
    Feasible prospects
    4. Merry Poppins
    5. Awkwafina
    Moderate prospects
    6. Autumn Evening
    7. Druid's Altar
    Negligible prospects
    8. Alexei Vronsky

  24. #280
    Senior Member Bachelors Hall's Avatar
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    Good morning one and all. With the packing ahead of my move down south (compared to Newcastle at least) and a few other distractions, I have found myself rather too spent to do a preview of the twenty runner at Punchestown. Furthermore, the internet connection where I am is hopeless so watching videos and so forth is not possible. I did the intro, but the bulk will have to be cold, boring, sterile stats I'm afraid. I don't think this field contains the Triumph 1-2-3 but if it does, I can carry the guilt to my grave. I can do a copy paste of the reviews from each horse's latest run, but anything more bespoke requires more mental energy than I can muster.

    The columns are winner to runner rate, RPR >107 rate, improvement rate and overall strike rate.



    Punchestown used to host a Grade 3 in January which since 2005, produced five winners of the Spring Juvenile, four winners of the Winning Fair, winners of the Fairyhouse Easter, Punchestown Champion and the Fred Winter along with a Triumph runner-up. However, the Grade 3 was last run in 2013 and the maiden hurdle introduced in 2019 has thus far had a negligible impact on the season's bigger races. This years edition looks to broadly match the race's standard, with the newcomers looking fairly ordinary, and the strongest hurdling form coming from those who ran creditably in maiden company last month. Punchestown's DIs of 0.97 median, 1.19 mean, makes it one of the more testing racecourses and the clear round rate of 95.73% is also lower than average. Nevertheless, hurdling debutants are generally not at a huge disadvantage and though racecourse experience can be a useful asset, those who ran at Punchestown last year did not fare particularly well in their respective contests.

    Baltinglass Hill bg P J Rothwell f3-0-0 (75) 62 j1-0-0 (-) 0 0
    Cable Bay (Iffraaj){16-a}(2.00) 3/0 Wheeler's Wonder 1st Juvenile Claiming Hurdle, Wincanton 1993
    Baltinglass Hill set off with the others but was detached before he reached the first. His jumps that were picked up by the cameras were either slow or clumsy, and he eventually finished seventy lengths behind Dazzling Darren

    Call Me Rocky bg Denis Gerard Hogan f6-1-3 (79) 83 j1-0-1 (-) 119 118
    Society Rock (Intikhab){2-d}(1.46) 2/1 Boy Royal 1st 4yo Hurdle, Clairefontaine 2018
    Call Me Rocky was the stable's second string behind Zoffanien on jockey bookings, and drifted from 25/1 to 40/1 in the market. His flat form, including a maiden win at Limerick and a second in a heavy ground handicap off 78 on his penultimate start, entitled him to a fair chance on his hurdling debut. However, it got off to a perilous start when he was badly baulked at the first hurdle. Nevertheless, he was able to settle into a rhythm and apart from getting close to the third, put in a solid round of jumping. Tucking behind the pursuers, he was always close enough to launch a challenge but was never able to land a telling blow and finished a length and a half behind the front pair. This was a respectable introduction and the standard of this performance is already in keeping with his flat form so he should continue to be competitive.

    Coltor bg D K Weld f3-1-0 (86) 83 j1-0-0 (-) 111 112
    Free Eagle (Red Ransom){14-c}(0.89) 2/2 Limini 1st Dawn Run Mares' Novices' Hurdle (G2), Cheltenham 2016
    Coltor only made his racecourse debut at the end of August, but was not disgraced on his first two outings at Navan, and won on his third start at Navan over eleven furlongs on soft ground. A rare juvenile hurdler for Dermot Weld, he is bred to flourish in the sphere being a son of Free Eagle, and a relative of Limini, Call My Guest and Vintage Crop. He was not unbacked in the market and started the race sixth in the betting at 6/1. Settling well early on, he was held up in the rear and still had some nine horses ahead of him leaving the back. He made headway down the side and would reach the front of the chasing group at the elbow. He had no chance of catching the runaway winner, but in his absence, would have been a comfortable six length winner himself. His round of jumping was one of the cleanest in the field, and the only discernible flaw was where he very slightly skewed and pecked on landing at the third. The distance by which he was beaten puts a dampener on the performance from a form perspective, and he may be seen to better effect with an even sterner stamina test in due course. Nevertheless, it was a very commendable debut effort on his first run for eighty-four days, and he has set a solid foundation for his new career.

    Complete Fantasy bg Peter Fahey f5-0-0 (54) 70 j6-0-2 (-) 118 118
    Make Believe (Night Shift){42}(1.67) 0.5 Monkeylou 3rd 3-y-o Maiden Hurdle, Ballinrobe 2018
    Complete Fantasy already had the experience of five jumps races to his name and after taking a couple of runs to get the hang of things, has become an honest and consistent performer. One element to his consistency is that while he largely jumps well, he is prone to making the odd error. Despite being ridden into the flight, he was big and slow over the second, got in close to the fifth and steadied into the penultimate flight before tripping over it. Racing just behind the leaders, he was another who was close enough in the concluding stages, yet unable to find that extra gear. Complete Fantasy thoroughly deserves to win a race of his own, but he is typically liable to find one or two a little stronger than himself.

    Easca Peasca bg B R Hamilton f9-1-1 (74) 78
    Born To Sea (Cadeaux Genereaux){1-t}(1.86) 0.5 Blues In Cee 4th Finesse Juvenile Hurdle (G2), Cheltenham 2009
    Formerly with John Oxx, trainer next to no experience in field, won soft ground ten furlong Fairyhouse handicap when last seen in October by five lengths off 65.

    French Asset bg Gavin Cromwell f5-0-1 (75) 80 j3-0-0 (-) 82 82
    Siyouni (Galileo){9-c}(0.73) 2/1 No Heretic 3rd Novices' Hurdle, Newbury 2016
    French Asset has the flat ability and the right trainer to do well in the sphere. However, he achieved very little on his hurdling debut, and managed even less in subsequent starts. Lacking fluency on his first two outings, he was also poor here as he veered left at the first, got in close to the third, and was slow over the fourth

    Knight Of Malta bg Denis Gerard Hogan f9-0-3 (78) 76
    War Front (Galileo){19-b}(1.21) 3/1 Thunder Rock 1st 2m7f Handicap Hurdle (118), Bangor 2008
    Horses formerly trained by Aiden O'Brien have a winners to runners rate of 20.90%, and the figure drops to 18.37% for those not trained by Joseph. Still a maiden after nine starts, he ran his best race to date when third at Dundalk on his stable debut, but finished midfield in a claimer at the same venue ten days ago. Stable has had just one win from forty-one newcomers and has stronger candidates in the race.

    Palm Beach bc Joseph Patrick O'Brien f2-1-0 (-) 82 j2-0-2 (-) 120 124
    Galileo (Anabaa){8-f}(0.77) 2/1 Armen 3rd Anniversary Hurdle (G2), Aintree 2001
    Palm Beach won a reasonable maiden on the second of his flat starts and followed up with a good second to Crassus at this venue at the start of the month. His jumping was fairly novicey on that occasion but was better here apart from getting close to three out, and being slightly tired over the last. Tracking the leaders throughout, he appeared to make the winning move when jumping to the front at the penultimate flight. However, he was outjumped at the last and was never able to regain the initiative. This is the second time he has been outbattled in as many races, but does not appear to be one who shirks the duels. Crassus was a more experienced rival and the going, while heavy at the start of the month, was even more testing here and that ultimately made the difference. Palm Beach has the class and aptitude to win one of these things, and with very few miles on the clock, he may still be able to progress beyond this level.

    Pretorius chg Gavin Cromwell f2-0-0 DeF
    Durban Thunder (Saddex){1-e}(0.54) 2/1 Pahaska 2nd 3yo Newcomers Hurdle, Auteuil 2016
    Pretorius provided viewers with some comic relief during the preliminaries by exuviating his jockey when leaving the paddock, and exploring the vast expanses of Punchestown racecourse. During his adventure in the snow, he even cleared one of the bank fences and while he was not especially tidy, and was slow getting away, he negotiated it safely enough. After joining his equine chums at the start, he became bored with milling around, and galloped along the road back to the saddling enclosure. While we learned nothing of his ability as a juvenile hurdler, Pretorius was still able to demonstrate a willingness to jump large obstacles, and an intelligence which may or may not be helpful in his intended vocation.

    Raamez chg Gordon Elliott f8-1-0 FrF 36.5 (80.3) j1-0-0 (-) 8 7
    Sea The Stars (Nayef){15-a}(1.86) 2/1 Takjreej 4th Selling Hurdle, Stratford 2012
    Raamez won as a two-year-old for John Hammond and was not disgraced on his first outing for François Rohaut back in May. However, his form deteriorated in the meantime and he fetched just 20,000 guineas at the Tattersalls Autumn Sale. Held up in mid-division, he was fluent enough in the early stages but his jumping fell to pieces after getting very close to the fourth and was a spent force with half a mile to run. This performance in conjunction with his regressive flat form leaves him with much to answer

    Saeer chg Gordon Elliott f4-0-1 (63) 65 j1-0-0 (-) 88 87
    Australia (Pivotal){6-e}(0.88) 2/1 Persian Warrior 1st Novice Hurdle, Stratford 2009
    Saeer ran four times for Sir Michael Stoute, and with a flat rating of 63, joined Gordon Elliott for 9,000 guineas. An unused reserve at Leopardstown, horses leaving Freemason Lodge generally struggle to improve on their flat form and he was the least fancied of his yard's three runners. Held up in midfield, he never looked like getting competitive and still had seven ahead of him at the distance. He usurped three of those rivals but was still beaten forty-four lengths in the end. His hurdling had been reasonable prior to a slow jump at the sixth, and the round was capped off by a pair of tired leaps at the final two flights. It was not a disgraceful introduction and wanting for fitness, he likely blew up towards the end. He might be suited by an easier test.

    Star Of Cashel bg J A Stack f8-3-1 (89) 95 j1-0-0 (-) 116 115
    No Nay Never (Dubai Destination){11}(1.22) 2/1 Woody's Dream 4th 4YO Hurdle, Fontwell 2009
    Star Of Cashel is a rare juvenile hurdler for Fozzy Stack, but he was the highest rated flat horse coming into the race and had shown himself game in nature. He was a drifter in the market beforehand and he completely lacked fluency on his introduction to the sphere, After making a blunder at the first, he was big and slow over the second, steady and close at the third and especially the fourth, and was close again at the next two before stumbling over the last. It is a appreciable amount of class which allowed Star Of Cashel to finish as close as he did and should he become more fluent, then he might be quite useful. Particularly on a sharper circuit.

    Trebizond bg Henry De Bromhead j1-0-0 (-) 102 103
    Golden Horn (Night Shift){4-n}(1.25) 0.5 Burns Night 1st Handicap Hurdle (83), Stratford 2013
    Trebizond initially cost Godolphin 300,000 guineas as a yearling, but this close relative of Palace Pier never ran on the flat and joined Henry de Bromhead for nearly a tenth of the original price in September. Unraced newcomers generally have a poor record in the sphere. Nevertheless, Golden Horn has made a solid start as a sire of juveniles, and with Rachael Blackmore on board, Trebizond was sent off third favourite at 5/1. He was fresh early without being worryingly keen, but he made a tremendous blunder at the first and skewed in mid air at the third. The remainder of his hurdlers were taken well enough and having initially been ridden conservatively, he stayed on at one pace on the run-in to reach his best position inside the final half-furlong. Though a long way behind the winner, he will have learned a lot from this experience and can improve sufficiently to be competitive in ordinary company

    Turkestan bg Mark Michael McNiff f4-0-1 (72) 74
    New Approach (Seeking The Gold){3-c}(1.15) 0.5 Douman 4th 3yo Maiden Hurdle, Punchestown 2014
    Left Roger Varian for 11,000gns at the Tatts August sale. Ex Varian horses have a respectable winners to runners rate of 32.14%, but a lesser improvement rate of 26.32%. The horse was twice beaten off 75 in August, but has largely ran to the same level on all four starts. Out of a half-sister to St Leger winner might help his ability to stay the trip. Trainer has not had a first time winner in the sphere.

    Zoffanien bg Denis Gerard Hogan f6-2-0 FrF 37.5 (85) 58 j2-0-1 (-) 116 121
    Zoffany (Monsun){1-n}(0.87) 2/1 Amarak 1st 4yo Conditions Hurdle, Auteuil 2011
    Zoffanien was a fairly useful dual winner on the flat in France and made a pleasing start to his hurdling career at this venue behind Crassus and Palm Beach. However, his jumping was nowhere near as tidy on his return as after being badly baulked at the first, was hesitant and untidy at the second and while he was better over the next few, his round concluded with a series of untidy jumps. These errors were not serious and it is unlikely his confidence will be too aversely affected in the long run. Zoffanien was unable to match his debut performance but he was still a long way clear of the remainder and he should be able to bounce back from this showing.

    Army Of One bf Gavin Cromwell f5-0-1 DeF GAG 63.5 (47) 67 j2-0-0 (-) 44 44
    Kingston Hill (Authorized){2-n}(0.50) 2/1 Aberwind 3rd Handicap Hurdle (122), Compiegne 2020
    Army Of One made her stable/hurdles debut in the Listed race at Aintree early this month, but finished ninety lengths behind the winner and would have been beaten further had they jumped more than five hurdles. Unfancied beforehand, she was always closer to last than first and made errors, some of them quite bad, at each and every hurdle.

    Brides Hill bf Gavin Cromwell Unraced
    Dylan Thomas (Groom Dancer){5-h}(1.22) 0.5 Count Simon 1st Handicap Hurdle (133), Perth 2019
    Gavin Cromwell has had nine juveniles who began the campaign unraced, with only one being a winner and that happened on the sixth start. Two half siblings performed over two and a half miles and dam is half-sister to NH sire Gamut. Yard is still out of form.

    Curious Bride bf Noel Meade f9-1-0 (80) 85 j1-0-1 (-) 108 113
    Excelebration (Three Valleys){1-n}(3.00) 3/1 Low Sun 1st Handicap Hurdle (B,132), Galway 2018
    Curious Bride had ran nine times on the flat but while initially rated 71, had began to look disappointing during the summer. However, she took advantage of a drop to 64 and ran out an easy winner of a twelve furlong Cork handicap in mid September. The runner-up has since won three times and Curious Bride was not disgraced on either of her subsequent outings at Dundalk where fifth on each occasion. The rating of 80 was the joint highest in this contest when counting her sex allowance and trainer Noel Meade won this contest in 2017. Her sire was some cause for concern as none of his thirteen juvenile hurdlers have won a race from forty-three attempts. Nevertheless, she was backed in the ring from 11/4 to 2/1 at the off and apart from reaching at the fourth and getting close to the fifth, jumped well on her debut. Another who raced prominently, she was not the quickest getting away from the last and while she put her head down on the run-in, she was unable to match the winner and was slightly worried out of the battle by her more imposing rival Autumn Evening. Notwithstanding, she was eleven lengths clear of the remainder and this progressive filly likely has more to offer in the coming weeks and months.

    Lady Kapalua bf J P Dempsey j3-0-0 (-) 67 66
    Maxios (Champs Elysees){1-l}(0.76) 3/2 Hills Of Aran 2nd Rendlesham Hurdle (G2), Haydock 2009
    Lady Kapalua had been quite ignominious on her two starts to date coming at Roscommon in August, and Fairyhouse in December. Nevertheless, though she never left the rear and was beaten fifty-eight lengths, she posted her best round of jumping, and her best performance to date.

    Poetica bf John Joseph Hanlon f6-0-1 (54) 61 j3-0-0 (-) 27 34
    Lope De Vega (Motivator){10}(1.22) 0.5 Lilypad 1st Mares' Handicap Hurdle (98), Uttoxeter 2020
    Poetica's first two runs over hurdles could be ignored as her saddle slipped at Cork, and he was hampered and unseated early on at Leopardstown. Starting at 125/1, she was in the rear throughout, was very steady and slow at all of the hurdles where she was picked up by the camera, and finished seventy-three lengths last of seventeen.

    RESERVES
    Anno Maximo bg David Harry Kelly f6-0-1 (62) 64 j1-0-0 (-) 36 35
    Maxios (Singspiel){7-f}(0.76) 2/2 Aachen 2nd Veterans' Chase Final (146), Sandown 2016
    Anno Maximo was second off a mark of 60 in a firm ground Bath handicap on his penultimate start for Micheal Bell, but his breeding suggested that he could do reasonably well over hurdles. However, he was unfancied in the betting and made minor errors without ever escaping the rear.

    Hisdaywillcome blg Thomas Cooper Unraced
    Dragon Pulse (Lucky Guest){1-e}(1.22) 0.5 Niven 1st 1m7f Handicap Chase (122), Catterick 2020
    Thomas Cooper has yet to have a first time winner in the division and his three racecourse debutants were all soundly beaten.

    Master Rocco chg P C O'Connor f13-0-1 (52) 59 j1-0-0 (-) 81 80
    Dawn Approach (Shirocco){14-c}(0.68) 2/2 Mourad 2nd Champion 4YO Hurdle (G1), Punchestown 2009
    Master Rocco finished last in a claimer on his final start for Jane Chapple-Hyam and was completely unfancied here. Taking a keen hold early, he pulled himself to the front which is where he remained until the third last wherever he faded tamely. His jumping was poor over the first two flights but he settled into a rhythm and hurdled cleanly for the most part. Though he was beaten a long way, he was the best placed of the front runners and if he learns to settle better then he may be able to do himself justice in lesser company.

    Other notes
    Gordon Elliott has had seven runners in this race with the best placed coming fifth. Fozzy Stack trained the winner in 2019 while Noel Meade saddled the runner up.

    Might do an arbitrary prospects list if I wake up early enough and have enough time remaining for the journey prep... Which is no certainty. Palm Beach and Coltor currently head the betting, and I would be more inclined to make the latter the strong prospect.

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