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NOVEMBER 2017 HORSES TO FOLLOW
BACH LE CLERMONT     (Evan Williams)

6 year old bay gelding     (Della Francesca – Fleur De Princesse)     4432-1324

When first looking to include this horse, the possible angle was that he needed to run in South Wales, as a means of mirroring the comically inept away trips in the European Champions Cup often posted by ASM Clermont Auvergne, an otherwise capable French rugby club. Another infamous streak was that they lost their first ten appearances in their national championship final, although the fun has ended with two wins out of three finals in the last eight seasons. As the numbers show Bach Le Clermont (which is advice that only a bookmaker would offer) was a pretty consistent novice hurdler, following a win in his only Irish point. The best novice effort was at Fakenham, shooting down the bad traveller connection in flames. When he flopped in his handicap debut, connections switched back to novice races and he improved a bit. The one that Bach Le Clermont actually took first prize in was a weak Southwell race, but he showed up encouragingly well at Newton Abbot and back at the scene of his win. So the chase debut at Kempton featured a match fit horse, but one which was a bit disappointing. The only serious error came at the second last, when already dropping away, so the interpretation is that Bach Le Clermont simply found that potentially decent race too competitive. The other is keeping busy is a bad thing for him, with the best efforts all involving at least a month off. More chances in chases are granted.

Handicap chases with at least 30 days since the last run
Description
Bach De Clermont in a jolly mood after his chase debut at Kempton.

DINSDALE     (Michael Scudamore)

4 year old bay gelding     (Cape Cross – Emmy Award)     423143-P

Three images are invoked by the name Dinsdale and which one applies says a lot about the personality of the individual concerned. One is of course, the actor Dinsdale Landen. The next is the Piranha Brothers sketch from a distant Monty Python episode, in which the criminal Dinsdale Piranha and his brother Doug are relentlessly pursued by Spiny Norman (based on a true story). The other is eccentric but admirably enthusiastic Loch Ness Monster hunter Tim Dinsdale, who does not owe the monster $3.50 at all. If you simultaneously think of the last two, life is a lost cause. Now we have a chance to add a fourth rider to this apocalyptic oeuvre, in the shape of Dinsdale the youthful hurdler. He had two modest flat efforts under his belt when he debuted in only slightly improved style as a jumper, although hindsight shows it was the wrong place to be going. He was next a close second at Wetherby, then a weak third at Bangor, then a winner at Newbury and a “close enough to be acceptable” fourth in a valuable juvenile handicap hurdle at the same track. Another good Wetherby run has been posted, and a poor one at Chepstow, for which he had a flat warm-up run. It seems absolutely obvious that Dinsdale is a demi-god on galloping, level courses and we may find out a greater specialisation if he ever is unleashed a right-handed one. In May a horse named Spiny Norman did make a bumper debut for Alex Dunn. Getting him in a race to urge along Dinsdale could be a way to move out of the normal pattern.

Handicap hurdles on a galloping, level track

FACT OF THE MATTER     (Jamie Snowden)

7 year old bay gelding     (Brian Boru – Womanofthemountain)     54/1U64/12131-3013

Of all the names that fit this site, Fact Of The Matter is the horse that best reflects the policy, apart from when the selections are based on wild speculation or the hope that connections will find a way to fix a blindingly obvious problem. In this case there is not an obvious problem, simply a glaring strength. And that plus is quite a difficult one for a jumps horse to crack. It is a preference for undulating courses. This probably began when he took an unconventional route through Irish point-to-points, falling in the first and winning the second without the normal third or fourth place to split them. Under Rules he has tried both undulating and level venues for bumpers, hurdles and chases. When there are many ups and downs to handle, Fact Of The Matter has assembled form of 1613113. On a boringly consistent surface the score is a far less impressive 54U41230. The win at Worcester may have been due to the adrenalin rush of a first time hood, but the unseat was when competitive with the now mid-150s rated Flying Angel in a novice hurdle. His career has not progressed quite so wonderfully as that opponent, but it has been steady and productive. Which is all we ask. His evolution into a staying chaser last season gives scope for more success despite a handicap mark that could be seen as a tad on the inflated side.

Handicap hurdles or handicap chases over 2m 6f or more on an undulating course
Description
Fact Of The Matter basking in the Huntingdon sun

MR LOVE     (Lucy Wadham)

5 year old bay gelding     (Winged Love – Bonny Rathlin)     4/25-

The numbers posted by Mr Love do not reach out and embrace our affection, but the part in which we read between the lines there is some more fascinating action going on. He was runner-up in his sole Irish pointing run, behind Gigginstown’s Monbeg Worldwide (something beyond the reach of Ryanair in other circumstances), who followed up that race by winning three bumpers. Those behind him included Ask Nile (now a 134-rated chaser), Molly Childers (placed in two bumpers and three novice hurdles) and a couple that have won or lost narrowly in later point-to-points. So that stiff task demanded talent of Mr Love, leaving the conclusion that he has more than has yet emerged under Rules. He began with fourth in a reasonable standard three mile novice hurdle at Kempton, then was second of four is desperate mud at Uttoxeter. Dropped to 2m 5f at Warwick, Mr Love was not at his best and did not race again afterwards. With a summer to build his physical and mental attributes, he can return to embrace our adoration in staying handicaps this winter.

Handicap hurdles or handicap chases over 2m 6f or more, rated up to 130
Description
Mr Love (purple silks with stars, orange cap) enjoys a snowy and gloomy afternoon at Uttoxeter, as a declaration of weather resistant hardness to Fact Of The Matter

PADDYS RUNNER     (Graeme McPherson)

5 year old grey gelding     (Sir Percy – Frosty Welcome)     2112P/4387120-62

There are two reasons to be enamoured of this horse. One is that Paddys Runner gets on with the job and does not spend time phaffing around at home waiting for everything to be just right. As many trainers will confirm, the problem with this approach is the number of times that you choose the race that is just right, only to find that at the exact time of running, it is actually slightly wrong. The second aspect of Paddys Runner is that he makes it totally clear what he considers to be exactly right, even if the human beings in the equation may not agree with him. When eight or more horses run, his record reads 2P38706. When fewer bother to make the effort to go racing, his score is 2114122. The latest second place was by a nose, although the runner-up finishes expand the range a bit as the three wins have been when only four or five run. There are hints of patterns favouring better ground and level tracks, but each of them has a significant exception or two, so we shall rely on the option of Paddys Runner not being subject to any random changes of opinion.

Handicap hurdles or handicap chases up to 2m 5f, with seven or fewer runners

TIKKEN AWAY     (Robert Walford)

6 year old grey gelding     (Tikkanen – Lady Goldilocks)     70752-0

The arrival of Tikkanen on the scene as a sire has provided enormous scope for silly puns in the names of horses, but breeders have been disappointing in regards to the mares that they have sent to have him cover. And when a chance presents itself, it is not always taken – why is this horse not called Tikken Breakfast? It is a massive opportunity missed. Hopefully there will be a different sort of massive opportunity coming in the direction of Tikken Away on a racecourse and he will do a better job of seizing the moment. His career so far has mostly been in Ireland. He started with an interesting seventh of twenty three in a Punchestown Festival bumper, although seen off by a fair margin, the number of opponents behind him was a plus. Unfortunately it was the encouragement that was subsequently Tikken Away as two more tries (Punchestown again and Leopardstown) saw him beaten twice as far and with only one horse apiece in arrears. Going hurdling started the recovery, as he was fifth of eighteen at Thurles, by fifteen lengths and then second of seventeen by only six lengths back at the same track. His British debut came after a summer break and in a potentially decent race at Wincanton. Tikken Away’s yard were busy winning it with another horse, and he quietly drifted out towards the back late in the race. The run was needed, as was true of several other horses lining up (competing would be an exaggeration), and getting into handicaps before some of those talented but tubby participants play their hand could be a good idea.

Handicap hurdles rated up to 125
Description
Tikken Away has spotted someone or something he likes at Wincanton. It may or may not be porridge related.
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