Little in the way of National Hunt racing on yet another sodden British summer weekend, however, for all us twig-hopping fanatics out there Market Rasen did manage to stage an 8 race card on Sunday.
My notebook remained shut for most of the card I must admit but there was one runner that had my radar beeping.
Here is my NTF 1 to follow from the weekend -
BOBOWEN (Dr R Newland) – Sunday– 4.45 Market Rasen– 1st in the 2m2f Class 4 Handicap Chase
This robust looking 6yo was taking his first steps overs the larger obstacles here and it did not go unnoticed by myself that Dr Newland took the opportunity to sent him straight down the handicapping route. This gelded son of Bob Back looks every inch a chaser and he jumped well in the main here on chasing debut, firing in some clean and accurate leaps on his way to a comfortable 12L victory. Although this was his first chase run under rules he did come here with winning Point to Point form and it was evident that his hurdle mark of 103 (the mark he was able to run off here in his chasing debut) was at least a shade on the lenient side. BOBOWEN had the race in the bag from some way out and despite making a bit of a hash of the final fence I would be putting that down to the jockey wanting to ‘pop’ the last fence and the horse looking to jump it in a normal racing pace fashion.
Being by the sire Bob Back it is no surprise that he looks more at home when faced with fences rather than hurdles as plenty of his progeny have improved for being sent chasing. Bob Back offspring such as Burton Port, Bobs Worth, Thisthatandtother, Roberto Goldback and, to a certain extent, Bacchanal have all benefited from switching to the chasing game. It is unlikely that the Dr Newland gelding will the reach the same level as that lot but he more than suggested that he will be another son of Bob Back that relishes the challenge of the chasing game.
Although it is perhaps a bit early to tell if he has a strong preference with regards to the ground there is a suggestion that he will be at his best when there is at least a small amount of cut in the ground (Good to Soft or worse). He has run on ground described as Good or better on 3 occasions and each time he has finished well beaten. It may be a different story now he has been switched to fences but this is a factor we should wary of and keep a close eye on going forward.
Clearly the next point of interest would be if connections can get him out under a penalty before he can be re-assessed by the handicapper who is more than likely to hike him severely in the weights for this debut win. He holds an entry at Uttoxeter tomorrow (Tuesday 10th July) but that is over hurdles and personally I feel they would benefit more from sticking with the chasing route for the immediate future. Even if they can’t get a run into him before he is re-assessed he could still find himself ahead of the handicapper as my impression was that he had a fair number of lbs up his sleeve yesterday and could have easily won by at least double the winning margin.
BOBOWEN looks a horse we want firmly on-side for the foreseeable future.
Dr Newland/Tom O’Brien Partnership
Tom O’Brien was the pilot on-board BOBOWEN yesterday and in my ever thinking and analytical mind I decided to delve deep into my trusty Proform database to take a look at the statistics associated with the partnership.
It is a fairly limited set of figures but nonetheless an interesting set.
Here is their overall record together since the beginning of 2007 -
5/16 | 31% S/R | +£9.90 BFLSP – Win & place 6/16 | 38 % S/R
A small but decent set of figures I would say.
What really interests me, however, is the pairings record in 2012. Take a look for yourselves -
5/7 | 71% S/R | +£18.90 BFLSP – Win & place 6/7 | 86% S/R
Clearly this is a burgeoning relationship and for whatever reason the 2 have really clicked since the beginning of this year -
Before 2012 Tom O’Brien had yet to ride one of Dr Newland’s horses into even a place – Since the start of 2012 Tom O’Brien has only failed to ride one of Dr Newland’s horses into a place!
Quite a turnaround!
It is a limited set of figures and hardly something we can risk our last penny on but there is clearly a connection here and at the very least we should be showing these types of runners a large dollop of respect. It’s something I’m going to be keeping a close eye on…
Were there any runners that caught your attention and went in your own notebook as ones to follow from the weekend?
Drop me a comment below and share your runners to follow from the weekend (Flat or Jumps) with the NTF community.
I would also like to say a big hello to all new NTF readers and encourage you to take a look back at some previous Blog posts you may have missed. Here are the links to the last 3 -
Ben – (NTF)