#startracking Wednesday December 2nd 2015 6pm
Unde Sceaux misses the Tingle Creek. Been “flat” for two days. How did they keep that quiet because the market never twigged it.
Here we go with the next batch for your tracker and why.
HAYMOUNT (Willie Mullins) Before he made his hurdling debut at Clonmel on November 26th trainer Willie Mullins wrote online “Haymount won a two and a half mile bumper at Tipperary in April and is doing better work now than he had been doing before that run. He jumps well and is more of a stayer but he could be each way value here.” Right on all counts Uncle Willie. Took all of Ruby Walsh’s urging to get Royal Caviar (“a difficult ride”. Correct again Willie!) past Haymount with 11L back to the third. In the Racing Post Stable Tour Mullins had called him “a fine big, chasing type” so we are looking for a step up in trip and his jumping skills should make him competitive, even over hurdles. Haymounts mum is a sister of Bishopsfurze and Mullins doesn’t have many homebreds so he must like this one and Haymount is in the tracker for the long term.
HELMSLEY LAD (Malcom Jefferson) We may all have to tread carefully with this young lad as Helmsley Lad is going in the tracker on the basis of what your correspondent saw in the flesh at Doncaster. He had enough size and scope in the paddock to be noteworthy, he was nibbled at in the market, raced prominently before losing his place turning for home but kept on well to finish fourth in what could turn out to be an above average northern C6 bumper, it was won by a Harry Fry mare on debut. The reason for the caution is that my summer paddock pick got withdrawn at the start after taking a dislike to the stalls, ran like a drain twice and was sold for 500 quid at the Horses in Training sale!!
IFTIRAAQ (Seamus Durack) I had better hurry up with this one as he is out on Thursday running under a penalty over 2m in a C4 novice hurdle at Leicester. I think his trainer has a real eye for a good horse and I would love to see him in a situation where he didn’t have to sell them on as I think that he can train as well. Iftiraaq knew what was required first time up in a C4 maiden hurdle at Leicester, the money was down, and he could be picked as the winner from three out and despite missing out the last two flights he won “comfortably” by three parts of a length. An ex-Hamdan al Maktoum horse homebred out of Mutathir he ran three times as a 3yo in France in the care of John Hammond before Durack paid just 8K guineas for him. He ran him five times on the flat over a variety of trips without winning but to a mark of 77 most times. However I am sure Durack bought him for the winter game as he has the size and scope to do well hurdling and whatever happens tomorrow I think the shrewd trainer could plot a few handicaps with Iftiraaq.
LISHEEN PRINCE (Philip Hobbs) It would seem the Whateley’s bought this 4yo son of Oscar as an unraced 3yo for 31K euros and after he had won an Irish 4yo PtP “impressively” at Oldcastle under JJ Codd they moved him to Philip Hobbs. In the trainers Racing Post Stable Tour in his typical understated manner he said “Not showing a great deal at home yet but is well regarded. He’ll want a trip.” That didn’t stop him running him in the 2 mile Listed bumper at Cheltenham’s Open Meeting where he went off a well supported 11/2 third favourite finishing an outpaced 8th! However that run did catch the attention of the Weekender’s eagle-eyed Ken Pitterson who wrote “Lisheen Prince looked the part in Sunday’s bumper but was green at various stages in the race. He will come on a ton for the experience.” That’s good enough for me he goes in the tracker.
MILES TO MILAN (Philip Hobbs) Guess what? This is another once raced novice from the Hobbs yard! This one cost 52K guineas as a 3yo but didn’t make his debut until he was five and was pitched in at C3 level he was a keeping on 3rd to the stellar Modus. My notes on the race for Miles to Milan say “travelled, hurdled, competitive two out. Can only improve.” That was over 2m 3f and another couple of furlongs may help? Ideal tracker material.
MINELLA AWARDS (Nicky Henderson) As I have written elsewhere (Jockey and Trainer Profiles) Nicky Henderson may have lost his way with fragile, ageing superstars and not much backing them up, he has some promising novices coming through and along with Buveur D’Air this is going in the tracker. On hurdling debut he was a solid second to Champers on Ice from the “hit and miss” David Pipe stable in the C3 novice hurdle at Newbury’s Hennessy meeting. Making headway from three out he was the only one to give the winner a race being held by threequarters of a length. Another one who changed hands at Brightwells having finished 2nd to Crazyheart (Sold to Paul Nolan for £110K at the same sale) in an Irish PtP he cost Portensis and Chris Giles £120K. No surprise to see Ken Pitterson (Weekender) was equally impressed “Held up, he warmed to his task and jumped and travelled with purpose. He stayed on in determined style on the run-in and I am sure this experience will not go amiss.” He is a 4yo gelded son of Oscar out of a Presenting mare and is obviously a chaser in waiting but showed enough speed to have a fruitful hurdling career.
PERFORM (Philip Hobbs) He was as green as grass on debut last March at Uttoxeter pulling hard, sloppy at his hurdles etc. etc. but reappeared at Haydock in October in a C4 maiden hurdle looking much more the real deal. The day after that Philip Hobbs’ Racing Post Stable Tour was published he was a Dark Horse or not so dark as the trainer suggests. Hobbs reported that Perform “had grown up mentally and filled out, although he still looked green. Should step up significantly on that effort could be very nice.” That is fair gushing for young Philip. The form has been well franked since with the second Knockgraffon putting another Hobbs hopeful, Onefitzall, to the sword and the third, American, hacking up at Ascot in a C2 for Harry Fry. There was 15L back to the fourth who ran in a Doncaster handicap at the weekend off OR115. His next run is eagerly anticipated.
STILLETTO (Paul Nicholls) If I had got my act together a little bit quicker we could have launched this blog with a 6/4 winner! Stilletto is a horse of interest for many reasons. Firstly he is owned by big spending owner Roger Brookhouse who seems to have got into bed with Paul Nicholls and moved all his horses to Ditcheat, this one came from Philip Hobbs and a whole bunch came from Tom George (many of whom have appeared in 49SimpleSimonSays such as Wuff and Stellar Notion). Mr Brookhouse’s modus operandi is to take his cheque book to Brightwell’s and spend six figure sums on Irish PtP winners. This 5yo son of Westerner is exactly that costing £130K having won a 5yo maiden at Maralin. He won his maiden hurdle at Chepstow for Philip Hobbs before disappointing in the Neptune at the Festival having pulled too hard but going off at just 10/1. Secondly his first run for Paul Nicholls was noteworthy as he was a never competitive third to Rock the Kasbah, ironically trained by Hobbs, in a C2 handicap hurdle at Haydock off OR132 in a first time hood. Nick Schofield tried to settle him out the back, unsuccessfully, but he ran on through beaten horses. Thirdly he is huge, reminds me a bit of Wuff, he is headstrong and to get the very best out of him Nicholls needs him to grow up mentally. However he has real talent and on chasing debut at Catterick of all places he raced “with the choke out”, got close to a couple of fences but treated the rest with total contempt. When Amore Alato came to him he just winged the last and the race was over. If he ever settles he’ll be a real player. Look forward to the observations of Adam Norman plus comments from the connections.
THE ORGANIST (Oliver Sherwood) Last May she won a C5 bumper at Perth for the Crawford’s but it was enough to persuade The Million in Mind crowd to part with £60K for her. On hurdling debut she has only won a C4 mare’s novice hurdle at Huntingdon but she made every yard, didn’t touch a twig and came home full of running winning by fifteen lengths. She is trained by my bete noir Oliver Sherwood but she could be absolutely anything so she’s in the tracker.
THREE MUSKETEERS (Dan Skelton) Hands up I’ve backed him for the JLT already. Dan Skelton has made known that the race is his target and last time at Newbury he was faultless. Jumping, travelling and winning comfortably. This horse is classy and I like it when Dan Skelton has a plan, thank you Baradari. Next appearance should be at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day in the Dipper Chase.
TOMBSTONE (Gordon Elliott) On Saturday I thought the best bet of the season so far was TOMBSTONE in the first division of the Maiden hurdle at Fairyhouse at a standout 6/4! The market was 20/1 bar two and the morning 8/11 favourite was the Willie Mullins trained Pylonthepressure. A useful bumper horse but destined to shine over fences having his first run of the season. Tombstone was already in my notebook as a horse who travelled, jumped and quickened, add to that Davy Russell in the saddle, a red hot Gordon Elliott training it and the negatives surrounding the favourite and the betting boots were on. Tombstone whizzed past between the last two flights and it was game over. With Paddy Power he is 33/1 (top price) for the Supreme, 12/1 (16/1 available elsewhere!) and no quote for the Alfred Bartlett. Think I know where he’s going then!! I see in the Weekender that Gordon Elliott has since called him “a proper horse.”
TOP GAMBLE (Kerri Lee) He is rated OR153 which could be an issue as he could be a “twilight” horse. Too high for a handicap, not good enough for level weights contests. I have put him in the tracker because in eight runs over fences he has won four and placed twice and he think he could allay both my fears, namely win a big handicap and succeed at level weights. I like the trainer, Kerri Lee, who has done a fantastic job since taking the licence over from her father Richard. Only seven years old this son of Presenting could have more yet to come though probably not on deep winter ground. He is owned by Dai Walters (owns Ffos Las, Oscar Whiskey etc. etc.) and the Potters and I’m sure Ms Lee wouldn’t mind them having a few more in the yard.
UN ACE (Kim Bailey) Is there a shrewder trainer than the blog-tastic Kim Bailey? He has been up and down jump racings greasy pole but seems very contented currently. I am with him on this one. Finished last season on a chasing OR of 149 so for debut this season Mr B runs him in a Listed handicap hurdle where he finishes a highly credible 4th, “Raced wide, held up in rear, steady progress from 3 out, took 4th before last, soon ridden and no impression, tired near finish”. So we are looking for a C2 0-150 chase but obviously he’s not quite ready as he is entered in two 3m hurdles at the weekend off an attractive hurdling mark of 144. Is he being lined up for another crack at what I know as the Byrne Plate? He was a disappointing 13th last year under McCoy at just 6/1. Another year older etc.