On Monday I gave you all a little update on the NTF ‘to follow from the weekend’ runners from the present day back until April.
Today I’m going to give an update on the horses I highlighted from the 26th of March back until the 20th of February.
*Note – I will only be looking at the National Hunt ‘to follow’ runners, there were precious few flat ones anyway.
1 to follow from 26/03
THE BEAR TRAP – 1 run in a 25 runner handicap at Punchestown Festival – Finished 10th
Run at Punchestown was on Heavy ground so was of no real interest to us.
Going forward – Should be races in him and could pick up a handicap or 2 if he stays hurdling
3 to follow from 18/03 (Cheltenham Festival – The ‘Losers’)
PALACE JESTER – 1 run in a handicap hurdle at the Aintree Festival – 16th of 21
Conditions at Aintree were not really to suit so poor showing not a concern to me. I commented in my initial post that “He probably needs to drop a couple of lbs in the handicap (very likely after his last 2 starts) but once he gets cut in the ground (Good to Soft could be enough) he should manage to get back in the winners enclosure. His chasing career never really took off but if they were to switch him back that route I would be willing to give him a chance, especially in a soft/heavy ground handicap.” It was Good to Soft that day at Aintree and Good to Soft April ground probably just doesn’t have enough give in it for him.
Going forward – He has been dropped to a mark of 135 and I expect him to be competitive in soft/heavy winter ground
RUBI LIGHT – 1 run – 4th in the Punchestown Gold Cup
A disappointing run by all accounts and to be honest I’m not sure if it was the results of a long-ish season on tough ground that was taking it’s toll or it was indeed the fact he didn’t quite stay. I still think he should stay these sort of trips but I am starting to post little question marks against his name…
Going forward – I want to see how he is campaigned and will take him race by race
TORNADO BOB – 2 runs – 3rd at Ayr & 6th at Aintree
His 2 subsequent runs were promising, in fact his Ayr run resulted in his 3rd best career RPR and indeed best RPR of the season.
Going forward – My comments stated that he may need this summer to mature and I still stand by that so he remains one to keep in mind
3 to follow from 17/03 (Cheltenham Festival – The Winners)
BOBS WORTH - Yet to Run
SIR DES CHAMPS – 1 run in G1 Novice Chase at Punchestown Festival – Won by 36 lengths!
We didn’t learn much more about the 6yo on this subsequent run to be fair but he proved (as best he could in the circumstances) that he stays the 3m+ trip and remains a very exciting 2nd season chaser for this season.
Going forward – Very much one to follow
BRINDISI BREEZE – Now sadly departed after a terrible accident at Lucinda Russell’s Yard. R.I.P fella
1 to follow from 12/03
AURORAS ENCORE – 4 runs – 1st at 12/1 | 2nd at 25/1 (Scottish National) | Fell | 13th of 16
A superstar of the NTF to follow list! As if winning at Haydock at 12/1 (BFSP 16.69) wasn’t enough he then went on to finish 2nd in the Scottish National at 25/1 (BFSP 40.02!!) only losing out by a head in the photo-finish to Ayr course connoisseur Merigo. His next 2 runs were on right-handed tracks so were of no interest to us anyway, he was also way too high in the handicap to be a consideration.
Going forward – Needs to drop a few lbs before we return our interest in him. He also shows his best form in the Spring and early Summertime so for now we wait…
3 to follow from 05/03
SAMSTOWN - 4 runs – 8th | 1st | 4th | 1st
2 wins from 4 runs is a decent return for us and the step up in distance certainly gave him that much needed boost to reach the winners enclosure. He looks one that needs a test – whether that is a staying trip, a testing track, testing ground or a mix of all 3.
Going forward – Should still be wins in him when he gets his conditions and hurdle mark of 112 looks workable
AL CO - 6 runs – 11th (Hurdles) | 4th (Hurdles) | 1st (Fences) | 1st (Fences)| 2nd (Fences) | 8th (Fences)
He was on the list as a Chaser to follow so his 2 hurdle runs were of little interest to us. Trainer Peter Bowen then stuck him over fences and the 7yo duly obliged with a double before failing by a short-head to land the valuable Summer Plate at Market Rasen. He bombed last time out at Ffos Las so we must now start to question if he is at the peak of his handicap powers or if indeed something else caused the below par run.
Going forward – He is now one that is in the review period. He is clearly not as well handicapped as he once was and the run at Ffos Las last time out was a poor showing. It could have been the terrible conditions that contributed to that run but I’m wary from now on in.
THE WAY WE WERE - 2 runs – 2nd in a valuable handicap hurdle at Fairyhouse Festival | Pulled-Up in the Galway Hurdle
His run at Fairyhouse was encouraging and last time out I have the feeling the ground was against him and possibly the almost 3 month break as well.
Going forward – Still remains feasibly handicapped off 131 and will also be of interest if he goes over fences this term
3 to follow from 20/02
BAILE ANRAI – 2 runs – 11th in Handicap Chase at Cheltenham Festival | 1st in a Novice Chase at Market Rasen (won by 24 lengths)
He probably found himself out of his depth at this stage of his career at Cheltenham and the Novice Chase win at Market Rasen was a better indicator of his powers. He also recorded his career best RPR of 143 that day at Market Rasen and that tells us he is still heading in the correct direction.
Going forward – Could be an interesting sort in staying handicap chases as a 2nd season chaser. Will make my decision on whether to follow him based on how he looks like being campaigned. Handicap mark of 133 looks workable.
DUNRAVEN STORM - Yet to run
One hopes his non-appearance is not down to injury and is simply down to keeping him fresh for a jumping campaign this season coming.
ALFIE SHERRIN - 2 runs – 1st in JLT handicap at Cheltenham Festival (14-1) | 3rd in Irish National (10-1)
I have had plenty of you email me/drop comments/tweet me telling me you backed this lad at 33/1 or 40/1 for Cheltenham glory! I’m sure more of you would have also got better prices had it not been for that pesky Pricewise!! I thought his Irish National run was a solid enough effort and I’m more inclined to think it was the soggy Irish Good to Soft that stopped him following up rather than the 7lb rise in the weights.
Going forward – Jonjo has commented that this one could be a National horse in the future. If that is the case then it would be tight getting him in off 136 and it would surely be best to get him a few lbs higher in the weights. He is far from straight forward and he now rates as one to monitor on a race by race basis.
It is safe to say AURORAS ENCORE and ALFIE SHERRIN were the stars of the show although a nod of the head must also go to AL CO.
There were others I highlighted on the ‘to follow from the weekend’ posts from before this but for now that concludes my look back at these runners.
The NTF to follow runners will of course continue as normal from here onwards as I look to source some ‘under the radar’ runners from my own notebook to keep you guys in profit
Been a bit of a slow start to Twister Season this term although it must be noted he seems to be sending out, for use of a better term, a lot of dross! Is he using these runners to test the fitness of his string? Has he been struggling with the weather like the rest of us? Hard to tell and from the guide we should know to be wary of his Worcester runners anyway; he had 3 there yesterday and all ran average races although it should be noted none were really fancied by the market. Twister Season is a 3 month phenomenon though so when they do start firing they are pretty hard to stop!! NTD will be ‘raining’ in the winners soon enough I’m sure…
…and just before I go a little word on a recent ‘to follow from the weekend’ runner in the shape of BOBOWEN. I thought he ran a sound race in 2nd yesterday behind ROYALE’S CHARTER and at the weights BOBOWEN probably comes out the better of the 2. He was conceding 12lbs to the winner over a trip that was more than likely on the short side for him so his 1 and 3/4 length defeat rates as a solid run in my book. It will be interesting to see if they now revert back to handicaps with him rather than stick with the Novice route.
Ben – (NTF)