The Week Just Gone…
Jan Trainers: 0/2, -2 points
Jumps Handicappers: 1/4, +2 points
Total: 1/6, 0 points
Big Race Previews: 1/5, +20.5 points
Other: 1/4, +10 points
Total: 2/9, +30.5 points
Weekly Total Across Portfolio: 3/15, 30.5 points
Running Total 2016: 12/42, +64 points
Micros: 6/20, +16 points
Tips (all): 6/22, +48 points
Micros: Since August (when Micro angles ‘stepped up’): +94.3 points
Tips (all): Since start of Oct, mainly National Hunt Bets: +97.25 points.
Total: 191.55 points in just over 5.5 months.
(will be highlighted in daily Members Reports when they run)
Let’s start with Warwick, a race that I think could be worth following with lots catching my eye…
Russe Blanc – He won this really well and there is no predicting how far he could now progress over this trip or further. His jumping is a massive asset and if he can get into a rhythm and travel a pace that he is comfortable at, he will be very dangerous in the future. The Eider could be a possibility. I would be be tempted to run him in the National although would need to look at the trends/stats profile, and he needs to go up in weights to get in. But, he won this going away from a dour stayer and seemed to finish with plenty of zest.Hopefully gone are the days of him running over a flat 24f. A fast run race over 26f, with a stiff finish, is a minimum requirement. He is versatile ground wise, but clearly the more of a test the better, not least because not many will live with him in a slog.
Midnight Prayer – A brilliant run considering he was pulled out of the Welsh National due to a cough and I dare say he would have been challenging Mountainous up the home straight there. That interruption may have told near the end here. A dour stayer, the front two here obliterated the rest. He is versatile ground wise, a decent jumper, and while he is 11, that was only his 8th chase start. At the very least he could be mopping up a few veteran’s chases (need to check qualifying criteria for those, not sure if just age!) and the valuable final next year at Sandown could be a longer term target. But, he is very hard to dismiss in these types of races. If the Scottish National is soft or worse, he could end up there no doubt. We shall see. We know he get’s 4 miles and I suppose Cheltenham may be the next stop. King thinks he will improve further for this run, his second of the season.
De Kerry Man – ran really well here before tiring and falling. I sound jumper in the main (his unseat at Chelts was a slip on landing,rather than a really poor jump- ‘novicey’ maybe) this was only his 4th chase start. Some run really. His trainer clearly rates him given the races he has pitched him into, he clearly handles a bog, and to the eye it just looked like his stamina was giving out. It is possible he may have done too much at times out in front also in that ground. Anyway, he will be winning chases, and I would like to see him back over 24f or so. In a smaller field with no other front runners, he could take some pegging back.
Foxbridge– the other one backed here who hadn’t been asked for any effort when he was hampered by a faller in front. If they continue to persist with the exaggerated hold up tactics (which they must have a reason for, maybe to help him settle) you are asking to be ‘unlucky’. Still, we haven’t seen the best of him yet and he was travelling fine in the ground. This ground was testing/sticky/holding heavy, different from a heavy that you ‘can get through’ – so those that handled it, all of those above so far, is worth noting for severe tests in the future, as it finds many horses out.
What of the rest…Dromnea ran well, handling the ground, and coming from off the pace. He rather just plodded home and I can’t say for sure that he stayed. You never know if he was just outclassed. But, he could be one worth keeping an eye on when he runs over here or back home. That was only his 12th chase start and it will be interesting where he turns up next. His wins to date have been over 2m5f or so, so does need to prove his stamina. Vivaldi Collonges ran well for his age and inexperience. He was laying up with them for quite a way, with stamina giving way 5f/7f or so from home. He is one for the future and that is a tough test, with 11-8 for a 7yo who has only had 5 chase starts. He may still be growing. 3m on a stiffer track may be fine. He jumped well in the main and will learn a lot from the experience. The Nicholls yard is a bit in and out at the moment as well (as they have been all season really). Loose Chips is worth an honorable mention. He is 10 but that was ‘only’ his 17th chase start and went well for a long way here, before tiring quickly. The yard is a bit quiet so this can be marked up a bit. He raced with enthusiasm, jumped well and traveled well for a long way. 3m is his trip, but he demonstrated he handles the ground, that isnt what got him. The petrol just emptied, pretty quickly. It would have taken some energy to lead this field as well, and it was a pestered lead at times, and even when headed he kept on in there for a way. Another who would be dangerous over shorter with an easy lead. All wins to date at C3 level.
Red Devil Lads put in a poor round of jumping and I can’t be having him now in big field races like this – unless very tempting odds and over shorter. He needs a smaller field I think, and he likes to lead. I suspect they may try and find a confidence booster somewhere. He clearly has ability when putting it all together. The same can be said for Algernon Pazham for team Twiston-Davies – his jumping isn’t good enough for these big field races. He needs a confidence booster and a smaller field. Both probably need a track with ‘easier’ fences.
Vendor – was a stat of the day horse for Geegeez and a micro system bet – I was starting to count my winnings jumping the last before the petrol emptied. This was over 2m4f, and is that ground a return to 2m would see him go pretty close. He may get away with this trip on better ground. He traveled really well and still looks to have a bit in hand.
Lackamon – none of us are quite sure how he won during the week given his jumping. Stamina is his forte and he could well get even further. If he ever had a clear round of jumping he could probably step up higher in class, but that is such an if. He finished the race with zest, a bit like RB, and I think he will pick up another minor national like this at some point in future. He is 11 but still has plenty of enthusiasm. The further they go, the harder they go up front, the better.
Alto Des Mottes – very nearly held on here. A very brave run for a 6yo who has had a handful of chase starts. He clearly relished the mud and clearly stays this far. He traveled very well, generally jumped well from memory, and has plenty of time on his side. This race may have taken quite a bit out of him so I would be wary on his next couple of starts. I can see him coming back for this next year, or a regional national somewhere else on the northern circuit.
Gorgehous Lliege – ran really well here in first time cheekpieces, returning to form. He didn’t get an easy lead and was always up there. Those exertions may have told near the end, combined with the fact that I don’t think quite stays 3m6f. A drop in trip, an easy lead, and a smaller field could do the trick. He relishes the mud and is well handicapped now. VW will find a race for him to grind it out.
Top Wood– was tipped and backed during the last week and ran a strange old race. Tom Scu (record on front runners mentioned below) was gunned to the front and got into a persistent pace battle with another one, from the start. He was going a safe speed to jump – and for me he jumped well, albeit on a fairly easy track – but those exertions looked to take their toll. I want to think he went too hard (the other pace setter took a tired fall three from home) and the petrol light just went out. He did stop fairly quickly so maybe I have it wrong, and it was off day. He is usually a trier, albeit wears headgear for a reason. Part of me thinks they may be plotting so I will keep an eye on him! He is unexposed over fences and has the ability to win up to C2/G3 for me.
Bashford Ben – another who went hard out front at Huntingdon but he gave us a thrilling run for our money, looking like the race was his turning in. In the end he did do too much and was out-stayed, by a horse who kept galloping and may have liked the ground just a tad more. I don’t think he really has any gears to catch horses (if they don’t stop in front) hence why he is good out in front and on stiff tracks. He is handicapped to win again and I suspect we may see a bold show or two on his next few starts. Let’s just hope he is a backable price.
Desoto County – I/we/some of us backed him in the big handicap hurdle on Sunday and having just watched the race he could be considered unlucky. He was arguably held too far back, by a young jockey still making his name. No complaints there but a more strongly run race may have helped. In fairness, it looked like he realised earlier enough that he needed to get a move on, but he had to circle slower horses (and also race wider than ideal the whole way round, the winner sticking to the rail) and ran in to traffic twice which did not help. He somewhat ‘flew home’ in the straight but the winner, who clearly has a turn of gears, got first run. He still looked well handicapped and big field handicaps are no problem. He should be winning more races.
Some of you may recall discussions in the week about Tom Scu, following what I thought was a ‘strange’ ride on Top Wood. This led to me and others floating questions about whether he was any good from the front. Well, the stats suggest that he is.
I asked my good friend (well we have never met but have talked plenty online in last few years) Ben Aitken at narrowingthefield to have a quick dive into his ProForm software for me. I don’t have this piece of kit and I don’t think HRB has that function, albeit I haven’t looked very hard.
The stats say that Scu has a 28% win strike with all front runners under all codes. He is 17% above expected winners, based on their starting price. Whatsmore on favs or joint favs he has a 48% win strike rate, 11% above expected.
So, he has a clock in his head and by all accounts is good from the front – when he wants to be! And maybe that is the key. I think a plot may be unfolding with Top Wood…who can also be added to the eye-catchers. Or he just wasn’t very good on the day, but I will be tracking him.
I always like to add something stats wise to track in these posts.
You have one of your fellow readers, Steve, to thank for what follows. And thank him regardless, and blame me if these angles lead to nothing!! He raised an interesting point about a ‘bonus micro system horse’ on Sunday (they all lost). He didn’t qualify in the end but he noticed that New Leaf had an interesting record in handicaps when running in a claimer LTO.
So, naturally, I have had a look to see if there were any trainers who appear to do this as a deliberate tactic, or have a decent record with such an approach.
As a starting point I am looking at trainers who are running horses in an All-Weather handicap, that last ran in a claimer or seller.
(starting point now for all stats is 2011- , so the last 5 years)
S C Williams
This is very ‘micro’ but all wins with different horses. All wins with horses 12/1 or under so far, but he has only had two runners above this price, and you never know, a big priced one may drop in one day.
-Any Odds (1x 33/1 winner)
A few things to note. Firstly his record when racing in sellers LTO is 3/7, 6 places, +40. In Claimers it is 1/11, 6 places, -6 sp. He has had quite a few go close, beaten under 1 length, some at double figure odds.
While clearly one 33/1 winner makes up the profit, it should be noted that those sent off at 7/1 or shorter are 3/7, 6 places, +9.75 SP.
-Claimer Only LTO
Small samples again but interesting stats nonetheless. Two of the winners were 16/1 and he has had a 33/1 shot go close last year as well. Two of the winners were with the same horse but this looks like a tactic he employs every now and then.
-Claimer Only LTO
-Any Odds (more fancied ones interest)
A slightly bigger sample here with all winners with different horses. He has had one 16/1 winner, nothing above that but only a handful of runners. Those placed 8/1 or under SP are 5/15, 8 places, +16 points.
C A DWYER
-10/1 or under SP (0/11, 0 places above this)
So, something of interest there, especially for those of you who like playing in AW Handicaps. Clearly there are some small samples – well they are all small – but with angles that look at trainer behaviour, and especially a niche angle like this, that will always be the case. Still, they are interesting and should be useful in some format moving forwards. It will be interesting to see how they get on during 2016.