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FEBRUARY 2017 HORSES TO FOLLOW
DAVERON     (Ben Pauling)

9 year old bay gelding     (Winged Love – Double Doc)     00/432451/458133356/6031137-7P6

One thing we can be certain of is plenty of runs, as everyone knows that repeats come thick and fast on Dave. Even the programmes on Dave have made it a running joke. The horse Daveron has contributed his own share of risible performances over the years, but his appearance on the list shows that the times do come when a solid day can be expected. The first thing to look at is that all four Daveron wins have been on right handed tracks, between 2m 3f and 2m 4f. When the distance was no more than a furlong further than that his record going clockwise is 04251513331176, but that needs to be narrowed down to assure profit. One way is the aforementioned distance, which having failed to impress twice recently at three miles, could appeal to some. The other angle to play with is weight carried by Daveron. When lugging around 11 stone or more in handicaps - i.e. trying to intimidate horses of inferior talents, the score ends up on 55131176 (excluding the two three mile failures). That is very workable, and the last two losses were class 3 grade on a big course, and this outside the purest scope of UK-Jumping.

Handicap hurdles or chases, right-handed, carrying 11 stone or more, up to 2m 6f

GOLD CHAIN     (Dianne Sayer)

7 year old bay mare     (Authorized – Mountain Chain)     22/12U2128333P6/465R741-6611054358

Another right-handed specialist to have popped her head over the parapet lately, Gold Chain has won the theoretical gold medal four times from her twelve races going that way round, which is enough to offset that crazy day when she refused at Musselburgh. In the interest of pedantry, she is 4/9 at Perth and 0/3 at Musselburgh, but at some point she may go to Carlisle or even Market Rasen is not missing from the stable sat nav. To be able to exploit this preference, a few losses will need to be filtered out and the way that this is done is to link Gold Chain’s best days to the number of days since the last appearance. She has wins on one and two day reappearances, and when thinking only of races within ten days of the previous one, Gold Chain has gone 1114 with her two other victories lost in a time span flooded with defeats. So we grit our teeth and endure perhaps a win, maybe two after a break to long, and wait for the perfect moment – well, 75% reliable moment.

Hurdles on a right-handed track, with a run in the last ten days

LETS HOPE SO     (Emma Lavelle)

7 year old bay mare     (Generous - Baily Mist)     1/2-F316

So far this mare has been quite productive from what, in terms of performance levels, does not amount to a great deal. This is what can happen when trusting to hope and optimism, and the gods have, at the time, not much else to worry about. She began by winning a bumper at Uttoxeter in Spring 2015. Since then the placed horses have won twice from twelve runs, and the five unplaced ones have been comprehensively blank from only six further appearances. For her hurdles debut, Lets Hope So was entrusted with a first time hood, despite the debut victory and she ran well in that also. After a fall she had a not massively sparkling third place, but next up connections seemed to have found a doofus seminar for her and Lets Hope So responded with a hurdle win at Worcester. First impressions were false, however, with the runner-up winning her next two races and the others very easily defeated. However, Lets Hope So herself disappointed next time. Possibly just inconsistency, possibly not enjoying a step up from two miles, probably a bit of both. So if the overall verdict on her efforts so far is to not be massively impressed, the opportunity presented to her by mares only chases is a very real thing. She has hinted at being best with plenty of time between runs, but the evidence is not adequate and got badly undermined by her last alleged effort.

Mares handicap chases up to 2m 2f

MOORLANDS GEORGE     (Jeremy Scott)

9 year old bay gelding     (Grape Tree Road - Sandford Springs)     7000/4733/12133P-127316

The selection of Moorlands George contained a minor concern that his handicap rating had already forced him out of his, and by extension our, comfort zone. Even worse, his last win came outside the qualifying conditions, quite recently and is fresh in the mind, although like all sincere gentleman, he offered up an utterly terrible effort to follow it, allowing the handicapper an excuse to have a rethink about what rating it deserves. When he comes into his own is occasions that have given him a nice break between races. When the gap is at least seven weeks, Moorlands George has a record of 0431113 - excluding his bumper debut when his time since in action depends on which cycle of earthly existence you choose to trace back his last physical manifestation. Once those outcomes are removed from his not dismal career score, the residual results are less impressive, and even 37 days off before his last win provides some substantiation of the idea that keeping him fresh is very important. Not unusually for his yard, Moorlands George did not waste too much time phaffing around with hurdles, so all the success has been over fences. If the chase rating gets too intolerable, that provides an avenue to exploit where he is less exposed. Races under three miles may yet be an Achilles Heel, although they are not often attempted these days.

Handicap hurdles and chases after at least seven weeks since the last run

ROBINTHEAULAD     (Sandy Thomson)

6 year old bay gelding     (Robin Des Champs - Brotenstown)     1-43

Named after an obscure local euphemism for a dubious sexual activity, Robintheaulad has not yet let the mockery get to him. It did not look great when he hit the deck in his debut Irish point, running well at the time, but it has been noted in the past on this site that the number of Irish pointers which started with fell/unseated/pulled up, then finish third or fourth, then win is far greater than normal activity should produce. So it was inevitable that Robintheaulad finished third in his second pointing run, but he was snapped up on the back of it and denied the opportunity to make his mark on tradition. By the means of a Carlisle bumper he did manage to at least get a win at the third race of his career. The purists of Irish pointing were not impressed and the form is modest - one or two have done well in bottom grade handicap hurdling. Robintheaulad began over hurdles himself with a bit of promise, finding two miles a bit nippy and also losing a shoe to hamper his chances. At face value he did not progress when upped in trip next time, although it this stage the oppo seems to have been a bit tougher. Expect a more prominent offering in handicap company

Handicap hurdles or chases over 2m 3f or more, rated up to 115

SEA WALL     (Chris Gordon)

9 year old bay gelding     (Turgeon - Si Parfaite)     4/75/313R46/51FU1504-774

One enduring characteristic of sea walls is that they get wet. It is their job. One enduring characteristic of Sea Wall is that he likes it to be wet. All three career wins in his twenty race career have happened when the conditions are heavy. On the deepest mud his form is 3131U154. When the sponges have been working hard, the tally is 475R465F0477. Sometimes with the horses on here the splits between the good and bad days are not fantastically distinct, but this is a pretty clear cut case of the lovely and the horrid. So, the decision that now has to be made is to establish whether Sea Wall is a hurdler, chaser or easy going adaptor to all the wrinkles he may encounter. He has contested four chases, being uninspired in the first (soft ground), winning the second, then falling and unseating in the next two. So for the time being, he is treated as a hurdler, but that can be reviewed should he be back chasing and show the necessary skills. On the preferred ground all runs have been at about two miles, and the odd venture at further in the wrong conditions have shown no signs that it is a way to steam the tide of failure. ** STOP PRESS: Disappointing fifth on heavy at Lingfield, 31st Jan, but did have top weight **

Handicap hurdles up to 2m 2f on heavy ground
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