Friday, 2 May 2014

An Absolute Farce


Punchestown has been providing us with some impressive racing the last few days, so it really disappoints me to see one of the main races of the Festival attracting only 3 horses, where the pot is 200k and pays all the way down to 6th place.

OK so the race has attracted Hurricane Fly and Jezki. But the race cannot be taken seriously. Steps To Freedom is completely out of his league, not even good enough to win a grade 3 race. We know why he is in thereand that is something i will speak off later. This is effectively a 2 horse race.

This race isn't unusual in fact several Grade 1 races have been run with fewer than 5 runners. This is a Champion Hurdle, it should be attracting the best horses in the UK and Ireland. So why isn't it? Is it because the season is at an end and most the horses have had heavy campaigns. or is it because there are not good enough horses at this level? or maybe the prize money is not good enough.

Something surely needs to be done to change this? Races like this means that the result may not be a true one. Small fields can mean a false pace, not suiting some. This race for example Jezki needs a strong pace, where as i think Hurricane Fly is probably best off a slower pace. This is why Step To Freedom is entered, to make sure they go a good gallop. The last 2 times in Ireland these two met were  4 and 5 runner races. This played to Hurricane Flys strength but not so much to Jezki's and Jezki even came last in one of them, because the pace was not quick enough for him. When they met in the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham, the pace was quick and Jezki settled and won, where as Hurricane Fly came 3rd. There were 8 horses in the race there.



This is also one of the reason there were some doubts about Hurricane Fly and how good he really is.

Since the 2012 Champion Hurdle The Fly had 4 races before the 2013 Champion Hurdle. He faced 13 opponents.

Of those opponents he raced 2 of them 3 times each. So that was actually just 9 horses he raced.
4 of those 9 were Mullins horses leaving 5 REAL opponents.

In one race The Irish Champion Hurdle, it was a 4 runner race. 3 of those were Willie Mullins horses, and his only real opponent was rated 21lb behind him the in the handicap.

The other 2 Mullins horses were rate 9lb and 11lb behind him. So all 3 horses would have to improve a lot before getting close. In the end he beat a horse rated 11lb lower than him by only 2 and a half lengths. Not very impressive. Of that race the Real opponent took home 4k in prize money and Willie who's horses filled the first 3 took home 117k.

Compare that to Rock On Ruby, who came out of the 2011 Champion Hurdle racing 3 times in that year facing 16 horses and only one of those he met twice.

Of Hurricane Flys 19 Grade 1 wins, 10 of those he faced 4 or less opponents. I was one of those doubters until i saw him run in the 20123 Champion Hurdle and he beat some very good horses. And i really saw that the horse was deserving of his Champion title. He is a duel winner of a Champion Hurdle and has come 3rd and 4th. That's an amazing achievement.

My point to this is, Hurricane Fly is one of the best hurdlers of his generation but there have been doubts to how good he is because of some of the races he has won. Surely you want to see him constantly race in big fields and beat the best time and time again. instead of beating 2 stable mates and a horse who is there just to steal some prize money.

When you look at these big races attracting such small fields and then you look at a Class 5 or 6 race at a small meeting, who's winning's hardly cover the cost of the expenses in getting there is a joke. But the horse lines up against 10 others, it's impossible to see the justice. The smaller yards are struggling because the prize money is so poor.

If a race such as a Grade 1 can only attract 3 horses there is 12k in todays race alone that is not being picked up by anyone, so can that money not be put in to boost the prize money of a smaller race. For example today 7:50 Bangor there is a 2m 1f Handicap Hurdle. & runners are declared. 5k is the prize fund, the prize money for coming 5th in todays race is more than winning this Class 4 race at Bangor, the winner getting only £3k whilst 2nd place a measly £954, 3rd £477.00 4th £238.50, if there was any race that should be 3 runners then it's this race. That 12k should be spread added to a race like this. Improve prize money of the smaller races and on Grade or Group 1 races where the field is less than 6 then any prize money not given out should be moved to a low class race. Or offer a bonus for races with more than 6 runners.

Whatever is done, it needs doing soon as small field is making a mockery of Horse Racing.

Friday, 4 April 2014

Grand National Trends







What makes a Grand National Winner? For me the horse has to jump well, have the stamina and above all i do like a horse to have had experience of the fences.
So i went through the runners up to number 46. And i marked out several pointers.
·         Horses who have won over 3 miles (11 out of the last 11 have all won over 3 miles before the National)
·         Horses who have won over hurdles this season (5 of the last 6 winners, all had a pipe opener over hurdles)
·         Stamina, i want see who has proven stamina, so looked at horses who have completed 3m 6f+
·         Also course experience is interesting, especially with that very long run in. So i have looked to see if a horse has won a race at Aintree, either hurdles or the Mildmay course or even over the National Fences.
·         For me experience over these fences is only positive, as the can be very daunting.
·         Because the fences are so big, you need a horse who jumps well, saying that Aurora’s Encore’s record was Fallen 5 times 1 UR, and 1 REF. But on the whole horses who jump go well.

For me these are a good combination and here is the list of the horses who did well in order of how well they did

Shakalakboomboom
Across The Bay
Saint Are
Triolo D’Alene
Wayward Prince
Teaforthree
Tidal Bay
Balthazar King
Prince De Beauchene
Monbeg Dude
Burton Point
Chance Du Roy
The Package
One In A Milan
Swing Bill
Soll
Night In Milan
Mr Moonshine

However Age seems quite important and horses age 7-8 and 12+ have a very bad record in the race, so that leaves us with
1st Shakalakboomboom 33/1
2nd Across The Bay 40/1
3rd Wayward Prince 50/1
3rd Teaforthree 8/1
Balthazar King
Prince De Beauchene
Monbeg Dude
Burton Point
Chance Du Roy
The Package
One In A Milan
Mr Moonshine

The winner you have to assume is from this list, although i have highlighted the main scorers. The top 4 horses look very nice indeed. However it’s still a long list and i have split the list in 2. The first list is horses who have had experience over the fences and the 2nd is the horses who are racing in the National for the first time as 15 of the last 20 winners have won on their very first time. I am posting them in order.
Experience over fences
Were They Came
First Time over fences
Shakalakaboomboom
7th Topham & 9th GN
Wayward Prince
Across The Bay
8th Bechers & 14th GN
Prince De Beauchene
Teaforthree
3rd GN
Monbeg Dude
Balthazar King
15th GN
Burton Port
Chance Du Roy
1st Bechers, 2nd Topham and Fell Grand Sefton
One In A Milan
The Package
UR GN
Night In Milan
Mr Moonshine
3rd Bechers & PU GN


So if you would want to Shortlist the horses even further the Shakalakaboomboom and Wayward Prince could be the 2 to focus on. However for me i am sticking to my list after the ages had been sorted and my final list will be

1st Shakalakboomboom 33/1
2nd Across The Bay 40/1
3rd Wayward Prince 50/1
3rd Teaforthree 8/1