A change of tack!

Due to pressure of time and other commitments I’ve not had the chance to follow this week’s bumper action in much detail so this blog is more of a random catch up on events in the bumper sphere and novice hurdle action.

It was very pleasing to see one of this blog’s stars, Wilde Blue Yonder, make his hurdling debut at Newbury’s three day meeting. I was really impressed with his gritty determination to win what was a well contested event. Seedling, another previously mentioned in this blog ran on well to grab second improving markedly from his hurdling debut from the Phillip Hobbs trained Tiqris.  The latter hadn’t previously crossed my radar but I was impressed with him, lacking the race fitness of the other two, he looked in the process of giving Wilde Blue Yonder a real race before weakening out of things late on as lack of peak fitness told. He’s one for the notebook so long as all remains well. A couple of other useful bumper sorts in Vazaro Delafayette and Chase the Wind were well beaten on this occasion but are worth bearing in mind for the future.

The previous day at Newbury, Nicky Henderson’s Volnay De Thaix made it four wins from five when winning as a 1/16 shot should! The Tolworth hurdle has been muted as his next likely race. Whilst in the bumper, Harry Fry’s Thomas Brown, who was well backed, showed the benefit of his first racecourse appearance behind Oscarteea to win in taking style. Fry had won this last year with Oscar Rock.

As I Am ran right away with the mares listed novices hurdle at Newbury forging clear in the final furlong. She looks to be very progressive

Over at Newcastle on Saturday, Oscar Rock was running for his new trainer in his second novice hurdle looking to maintain his unbeaten record, but in the end, he had to settle for second with the Ian Williams trained Ballyalton coming out on top. Both look horses to remain on the right side of.

Also at Newcastle, there was a good performance in the final race, a national hunt novice hurdle with a taking novice hurdle debut from the Nicky Henderson trained Full Shift who won a West Country point-to-point in February. He outgunned the more experienced dual bumper winner, Clever Cookie, who was making his second start over hurdles. Both are nice prospects and ones for the notebook.

A rare (virtual) visit to Ireland for this blog. The Royal Bond novices hurdle looked a really good race beforehand with several previous winners with good reputations doing battle. I was impressed with the winner, The Tullow Tank, who had been supplemented for the race, he looks a chasing type and yet had the speed to win over 2 miles against some stern opposition.  Third placed Arctic Fire went into the notebook, having looked unlucky in running, once finding a clear passage he finished with a real rattle.

I was impressed with Analifet who sauntered to victory in the opening juvenile hurdle and hardly looked to have had a race when winning jockey Ruby Walsh was being interviewed by Matt Chapman.

I missed seeing Shaneshill win the previous day but it was interesting to read this week that Willie Mullins said ‘It’s hard to think I’ll have a better bumper horse this year’

Finally, on a personal note, I am likely to be at Aintree on Saturday assuming that Rose of the Moon runs in the Becher chase. He runs well fresh and this has been the plan for some time. He looks nicely handicapped with Jake Greenall’s claim taking off an extra 3lbs, though he has only had four runs over fences. It will be fascinating to see how he gets on, but it looks a competitive renewal, and my own feeling is we may be flying a bit too high and 25/1 probably reflects that!  I like the look of Boston’s Angel, if David Pipe has worked the oracle. He has G1 winning chase form and was travelling well in the Festival cross country race before running out of stamina.





Vote for your bumper performance for November 2013


A short poll to decide the top bumper performer for November 2013. Wilde Blue Yonder won the original vote for the early November bumper winner whilst The Govaness stormed to victory at Cheltenham in the open meeting in the mares listed event.  Red Sherlock maintained his unbeaten record when winning somewhat cosily from a classy field in the traditional listed bumper also run at the open meeting.

The best race of the open meeting ?

This was the race that I had been looking forward to out of all the races of the open meeting, with a mouthwatering clash in prospect between several highly regarded young bumper horses.  I think the race itself lived up to its billing.

Unsurprisingly, there were some gorgeous horses on display, some real chasing types including Carningli, Champagne at Tara, Cogry, and Our Kaempfer, horses that you could imagine walking round the paddock for the Gold Cup itself in a few years time.

It was great to see the dual winner Red Sherlock for the first time, a son of one of my favourite racemares Lady Cricket, by Shirocco. He didn’t disappoint and looked fit and well as did Dan Skelton’s Storm of Swords.

Carningli was up there from the start helping to set a steady pace in the dead ground, whilst Timmy Murphy chose to steer a wide course on Red Sherlock looking for the better ground At the business end of the race, there were several in contention but it turned into a 3 horse race with Red Sherlock and Carningli in a match up the home straight, with Our Kaempfer closing on the duo. Red Sherlock asserted near the line leaving Carningli and Our Kaempfer to fight out 2nd and 3rd. Whilst Champagne at Tara was a creditable fourth.

It almost goes without saying that here will be plenty of winners to come out of this race from those who finished behind the places. I think the first four are horses to put in the notebook for now and the next few seasons.  My particular favourite being Our Kaempfer, a real eyecatching individual, who is a full brother to the highly regarded Clondaw Kaempfer (hopefully he will continue the winning thread at Haydock on Saturday) as I’m sure can only continue to improve as he matures.

A great win for The Govaness!

If any would be paddock judge wants to know what to look for in the paddock pre-race then The Govaness (a daughter of Kayf Tara)  would have been the prime example of what defines looking well. She caught my eye in the pre-parade too.The term athletic gets banded around quite a bit in racing parlance, and for me she ticked that box and is now my blueprint for what I should look for, she was every inch an athlete walking around the paddock and in tip top form, literally trained to the minute in terms of conditioning and fitness. A great credit to her trainer, Fergal O’Brien and his team.

The other horses that caught my eye in the paddock were Lily Waugh, Mayfair Music and Wyfield Rose.

The race itself was run at a good pace with several in with a chance coming down the hill, including the triple winner Legacy Gold, and Lily Waugh. However, it was the pink colours of The Govaness who weaved her way into contention and kicked on up the final furlong to win by a length and a half with a rather exultant Paddy Brennan punching the air with delight, rounding off a great day for the Fergal O’Brien yard, with an across the card treble (with two of those winners having come at Cheltenham). Lily Waugh ran a great race in second whilst Legacy Gold came third. All three look likely to take high rank in future mares races. Cabaret Girl also gets a mention for her creditable fourth having been up with the pace.

From a personal point of view, yesterday proved a real red letter day for me with an each way bet on The Govaness landed and the exacta (my favourite bet in these type of races, where I combine four horses in a reverse exacta) for good measure!  Whilst definitely not a tipping service, writing the review helps me – and hopefully other readers too – to get a better understanding of the value of a race, and for horses to look out for whether going hurdling or continuing down the bumper route. I had mentioned in an earlier blog that The Govaness was a horse to take out of the race run at Cheltenham’s October meeting having been baulked when making her challenge. Lily Waugh was also a horse I highlighted to remain interested in following her performance at Fontwell.

The race I am most looking forward to today, is the final race of the Open Meeting! The bumper looks a real classy affair with several previous winners including Carningli – whose form was boosted yesterday with the win of The Govaness – Champagne at Tara and Wadswick Court who all featured in my poll for best bumper performer for October),

Who wins your vote for the best English bumper performer 1st-9th November?!


I’ve decided to change the voting this month and set up a poll for each review period. The winner of that poll goes forward to the vote for the best for that month.

The pick of the English bumper action, 1st to 9th November 2013

The Wincanton bumper looked a strongly contested affair with several of the big stables represented but whilst recent promising Cheltenham 3rd Vazaro Delafayette and Nicky Henderson’s Irish point winner Now Ben disputed the betting, it was the eventual winner of the race, Zulu Oscar, who landed a gamble for connections. Harry Fry’s four year old son of Oscar, who had previous experience last season, quickened away in the home straight along with Irish point winner, Inner Drive, trained by Don Cantillon, with Zulu Oscar getting the upper hand in the final furlong, they pulled well clear of the remainder, and look nice prospects.

Meanwhile at Sandown, three horses deserve a good mention for their efforts. Hello George coming out on top in a cracking three way run to the line. Second placed Flying Eagle having shown the benefit of his debut run when second to On Tour. The market spoke in favour of Rebecca Curtis, Tara Road, the subject of a a late jockey change with Barry Geraghty getting the leg up. He looked the likely winner at the final furlong but weakened out of things close home.

The month started with a comprehensive victory for Alan King’s Wilde Blue Yonder at Uttoxeter The four year old son of Oscar had some decent bumper form in the book and had run in the Championship bumper at Aintree back in the spring. He looks a good prospect for hurdles.

At Ascot’s meeting, David Pipe introduced another promising bumper type in Pleasant Company who stormed home to win by 8 lengths, the former Irish pointer is a son of Presenting. It looks as if his owner, Malcolm Denmark, could have another nice horse on his hands as the race had seemed quite a competitive event on paper with some previous winners in the race and some good stables represented.

At Huntingdon, the highly regarded Urban Hymn made his rules debut, trained by Malcolm Jefferson. He powered home to win in the style of a very good horse. A former point-to-point winner, he looks a horse to look forward to when sent over hurdles and also for the longer term.

The mares bumper at Warwick proved a really interesting race, with Henry Daly’s Kayfleur, a 4 year old daughter of Kayf Tara, showing the benefit of experience, having contested the mares listed bumper at Aintree, to win by a head from the previously un-raced Makadamia.  The latter being a homebred from the Waley-Cohen’s Upton Viva stud. Both look to be mares with good futures ahead of them.