#startracking Friday December 18th 11am

Here are the next seven to put in your trackers followed by some further information and updates on those in there already.

BORN SURVIVOR  (Dan Skelton) I should have been bold enough to put this chap up before his British debut on the strength of the Irish PtP reports and his £220k price tag but I wanted to see him run first! Luckily he made his debut on “Min” Thursday and Warwick may have gone slightly under the radar! He is a strapping specimen, big, scopey and chasing shouldn’t be an issue further down the line. He won a decent Irish Point in a style that had the scouts drooling. On debut in Britain in a C4 maiden hurdle he was prominent throughout, jumped neatly, took it up three out but Alan King’s Minella Charmer gave him a race all the way to the line with the rest well strung out behind. Indeed the second could be well worth adding to your tracker as well!

The Skelton’s know they have a good horse on their hands and he just did enough. There is talk of not over racing the horse this season, so an EBF qualifier would be an interesting second race with the final at Sandown the Saturday before the Festival?

Here are a few items written before his debut,

“BORN SURVIVOR 4yo b g (1) King’s Theatre – Bob’s Flame (Bob Back) W.F. Codd The Ballymena maiden looked top class on the day. This winner topped the Brightwells Sales making £220,000 while the second and third were sold for a combined £152,000 as both had previous form. Two winners have already emerged from this maiden in Chef D’Oeuvre and Definitly Grey. He is beautifully bred and showed an exceptional turn of foot on his debut against some very talented opposition. He could well be high class and is one of the standout performers of the season. He was purchased by Richard Kelvin Hughes and will now go to Dan Skelton.” FUTURE STARS Richard Pugh 08 May 2015

Dan Skeltons ATR Stable Tour 10th Nov. “Winner of his only point-to-point in Ireland.“He’s a lovely horse who won his only Irish point-to-point. He would be running probably in early December probably in a novice hurdle and he won’t be over raced this year.”

and here is what the Weekender’s Ken Pitterson wrote after the race.

“Expensive purchase Born Survivor made a striking debut at Warwick on Thursday. He looked quality and produced performance to match. His trainer, Dan Skelton, will bring him back to the track for the Leamington Hurdle, the Grade 2 novice he won with Three Musketeers last year.

Minella Charmer was more unfurnished and showed a fair amount of ability to at least give the favourite a race in second. He was a long way clear of the third and the race had a fair bit of depth to it.” CHEF D’OEUVRE     (Warren Greatrex) This French bred 4yo son of Martaline was 4th to Born Survivor (#startracking) on Irish pointing debut but hacked up on heavy ground on his second try. Snapped up by Highflyer’s Tessa Greatrex for £56K to be trained by her husband Warren, on debut in Britain he was 3rd in a soft ground Sandown bumper having been sent off at 6/4 favourite. Five weeks later he made his hurdling debut at Lingfield in a C4 2m 4f novice hurdle back on heavy ground and absolutely routed the well thought of Krugermac (who didn’t handle the ground!). He may be ground dependent but the trainer said in a recent Weekender stable feature “He loves soft ground and might have a good race in him when we step him up to 3m.”

“CHEF D’OEUVRE 4yo b g (41)Martaline – Kostroma (Lost World) Colin Bowe A €29,000 purchase at last year’s Derby Sale by Colin Bowe & Tom Keating. This fellow did not enjoy much luck in running when a very promising fourth on his debut at Ballymena. From that race, Born Survivor, Some Are Lucky and Fionn Mac Cul realised a combined total of £372,000 at Brightwells so this maiden was very well regarded. This fellow was the second horse to run from it as Definitly Grey had won at Taylorstown 24 hours earlier. At Laurence- town he was ridden closer to the pace and ground out a very notable victory and looks a very exciting youngster.” FUTURE STARS Richard Pugh 08 May 2015

WINTERFELL            (Dan Skelton) He is owned by Andrew Brooks and I hope he can go some way to replace Baradari who he sadly lost recently in a schooling accident. He had two runs in France (51) and made his debut at Warwick in a C4 juvenile four runner event finishing 2nd. There are three points of interest from that race. Winterfell and the winner were both quick and nimble at their hurdles. It was a ridiculously good time, nearly nine seconds quicker than the novice hurdle where Yanworth beat Le Prezien!! The winner was Sceau Royal who has gone on to win the C2 Triumph Trial at Cheltenham and earn quotes of 16/1 for the Festival itself. The Racing Post analysis for Winterfell was “Led, ridden approaching 2 out, headed before last, eased when beaten flat.” Now young Mr Skelton really likes a plan. Well how about a couple more runs and set him up for the Fred Winter 4yo handicap at the Festival? Of course a bit fitter, a bit stronger, a decent win and he could be a player in the Triumph itself!

BOX OFFICE             (Nicky Henderson) Will enter the history books as AP McCoy’s last ride when 3rd at Sandown in April. Box Office won three out of four in France and at auction JP McManus had to go to 185K euros to secure the 4yo Great Pretender gelding. He made his debut in this country in a C4 handicap at Taunton off a mark of 135 running third to Tornado in Milan. His second run was at the Festival in the Fred Winter and he went off at 13/2F! Someone thought he was well handicapped and he was a 6L seventh to Qualando. He was then 6th at Aintree and on his final run last season when stepped up 4f third to Brother Tedd in the Bet365 handicap hurdle at Sandown, both times off 135. He started this season back at two miles off 134 and was 6th at Chepstow off 135. Then back up 4f he was 3rd at Aintree off 134 and recently he was fourth at Sandown over 300 yards further off 133. BOX OFFICE ran well to finish a close fourth in the handicap hurdle at Sandown on Saturday. It might have looked like he was a bit unlucky, that he was squeezed out on the run to the final flight and again a little on the run-in, but the reality was that I didn’t have the pace to take the gap when it was there.  Even so, it was a nice run, the first four were nicely clear. Box Office is only four and he is another who has the scope to progress a little more.” Barry Geraghty blog 7th Dec. This horse runs the same race every time. Held up, progress three out, challenged at last, didn’t go through with it!! He’s back up to OR135 and he is only four. I am convinced there is a big C2 handicap hurdle in this horse, if not two. They just seem to think he needs to come between horses to challenge, does he stop in front? Never been put there so we don’t know. He could be a County/Coral Cup/Martin Pipe player at the Festival. Probably prefer the Martin Pipe as an under performing Barry Geraghty won’t be on him! Currently 16/1 favourite for the race!!!

TIPPMANBOY         (Dr Richard Newland)           Mucking about going down to the start at Bangor and my notes said ”son of Beneficial, bit of attitude given a strange ride. The only way to settle him was to let him blast off in front and he had nothing left to repel the winner from the last.” He hails from a small yard in Ireland and apparently they couldn’t hold him. This was his second run in Britain and he’s worn a hood both times. The big question is can the mercurial doctor get him to settle? Does he just need to grow up (the horse that is!)? Would a fence sort him out? He’s a big horse with plenty of scope and oodles of ability. Oh by the way the horse that beat him was Final Nudge and he ran UknowwhatImeanharry to one and a half lengths in the C2 Alfred Bartlett trial at Cheltenham!! We’ll tread carefully but just strikes me he is the sort of horse that Dr Newland excels with. BRONCO BILLY       (Jonjo O’Neill) You just can’t ignore the Ballydoyle boys paying big money for geldings. 120K euros for this one. John Wade has his year older brother (Allez Cool) who is currently a 100 rated handicap hurdler! Second first time up in a Worcester bumper he made no mistake next time winning at Carlisle on heavy ground. Geraghty completed the double when booting Bronco Billy to victory in an interesting bumper. What a lovely horse this was, with plenty of size and good bone, he looks a proper horse for the future. With a run behind him he was a good bet against the other two market principals.” Notes-from-the-northBRONCO BILLY won the bumper despite being green. I’d expect a lot of improvement for the experience.” Geraghty Blog

He was then off the course for thirteen months hinting at a physical issue (?) but over 2m 4f back at Carlisle on hurdling debut it was only lack of a run that allowed Nicky Richards much touted Western Rules to beat him. Bronco Billy hurdled neatly, travelled strongly but just couldn’t go past in that final climb to the line.

A PLEIN TEMPS      (Harry Fry) Dec. 17th ran in the Taunton 3.20 coming 2nd. Put up as a two star selection at 11/4, he was returned 13/8 favourite. Right price, wrong result. For this 2m 7f C4 novice hurdle they went a steady pace in the heavy ground. The selection was always prominent on the inside but at times looked a little green running about a bit and he really guessed at one in the back straight but turning for home there were four in it and he had every chance but just didn’t see it out as well as the winner. Definite work in progress as a 3m chaser and still some growing up to do. He will improve for the run and better ground may help. He goes in the tracker. Could finish up with the whole of Harry Fry’s yard in the tracker come season end!!


#startracking more info

Some Buckle – Cheltenham, Friday December 11

A useful hurdler last season for Tom George, Some Buckle made an encouraging return to action after an absence since running at the Grand National meeting. Switched to Paul Nicholls in the meantime, he contested a competitive two-mile handicap under joint-top weight, finishing sixth in the end behind the most progressive winner Solstice Star. Some Buckle went with enthusiasm, looming up approaching the straight as though about to take a hand in the finish before fading approaching the last as the lack of a recent run probably told. He seems sure to build on that run, and as a winning pointer and a chasing type on looks, he’d be interesting if switching to fences after this.”

Cheltenham International Meeting Eye-Catcher John Ingles (Timeform) published 16th December 2015

Champagne West – Cheltenham, Saturday December 12

Philip Hobbs saddled the first two in the day’s big handicap chase, the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup, and while Village Vic made all to complete a hat-trick, the trainer must have been pleased too with the performance of runner-up Champagne West who was trying to concede a stone to his stable-companion. The trainer reported beforehand that Champagne West had sustained an injury when falling at Sandown in January, and in the circumstances he made a promising reappearance. Prominent throughout and travelling well, Champagne West did well to shrug off a bad mistake with a circuit to go and kept on in the straight, albeit unable to make any impression on the winner. Twice successful over fences as a novice at Cheltenham (pictured winning at this meeting last year), Champagne West still has potential over fences after just five starts in chases, especially if he can cut out jumping errors. There are a couple of similar handicaps at Cheltenham’s January meetings that could be suitable targets for him.

Cheltenham International Meeting Eye-Catcher John Ingles (Timeform) published 16th December 2015

Found this in an old file…

Copper Kay – Warwick, Saturday January 10 Copper Kay boasts an impressive pedigree – she’s a half-sister to Copper Bleu and Cloudy Copper – and, based on her debut success at Warwick, she certainly looks like keeping up the family’s good name. An athletic type, Copper Kay was well backed in the market and she eventually justified that support, despite obvious signs of inexperience almost proving costly. Copper Kay looked to have matters in control when she quickened entering the straight, but she proved wayward under pressure, opening the door for Big Chief Benny – an exciting prospect in his own right – to hit the front. The manner in which Copper Kay picked up again once having a target to aim at was most pleasing, however, and she was good value for her one-and-a-half length win, the front duo crossing the line 18 lengths clear of the third. Copper Kay is evidently a useful prospect and looks a likely type for valuable mares’ events in the spring. Tony McFadden -Timeform- published 14th January 2015



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