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NOVEMBER 2016 HORSES TO FOLLOW
BUCKONTUPENCE     (James Evans)

8 year old bay gelding     (Brian Boru – Miss Od)     40/3357/323-2

A winless eight year old is never an initially encouraging sign, but Buckontupence had only had ten attempts under Rules, and as the form figures show, he is definitely homing in on that first professional victory. After a very wobbly beginning, he did win an Irish point-to-point at the fifth attempt, so being patient is not a concept that he has an objection to. Connections have been a touch indecisive about what is his ideal trip, although being convinced to persevere with shorter races after Buckontupence was outpaced and stayed on gamely in vain at Aintree over 2m 1f appears to have been a deliberate deception from Loki the Trickster. Anyway, he has proved his point eventually, being beaten about a length at Market Rasen (2m 7f) and Huntingdon (3m 1f) in his last couple. Going right-handed lately has appeared to suit as well, not only because of those two staying hurdle runs. What is hopefully going to be his forte is chasing, and he could do with getting on with that job, as time waits for no man, nor horse.

Handicap chases on a right handed track over 2m 7f or more

EXTREME IMPACT     (Charlie Mann)

10 year old bay gelding     (Rock Of Gibraltar – Soviet Moon)     81445/71/7230003/3/1864/06127434P8/8131178-

Extreme Impact is very well named because a) he likes undulating courses, presumably because the ups and downs remind him of a surface that has suffered an extreme impact, and b) because he functions best on soft and heavy ground, due to the fact (probably) that if you are going to hit something hard, soft things are the best target. The atmosphere of our planet, when in a spaceship returning to Earth, would be a notable exception, but these wrinkles are all part of the joy of science. A shark’s tongue would also be off of the radar in this instance. Returning reluctantly to the topic of this paragraph, Extreme Impact has seven hurdle wins, with only four in these conditions, but has shown muddy ground and undulating track preferences where the two combine. Ignoring his occasional chase runs due to him having proven that he cannot do that job, when his favourite conditions are combined, Extreme Impact has gained those four wins from only eleven races over hurdles, showing flexible pace and stamina from two and a half miles up to more than three, and his tendency to fail badly away from them has meant decent prices when successful, so that the only wallet impact is an extremely positive one.

Hurdles on undulating tracks, on soft or heavy

GUSTAVE MAHLER     (Alistair Ralph)

6 year old chesnut gelding     (Mahler – Kloetta)     11

A case study in the difficulties of translating point-to-point form into Rules racing, especially when a horse lacking a great deal of success tries different ground and shorter distances. As a pointer, Gustave Mahler lost all four in Ireland, placed on his debut but out of the frame when favourite for his next couple. Switching to Britain, he was runner-up at Cottenham over 2m 4f, then won at the same distance on his second go. In Restricted company he pulled up twice. Unsurprisingly an outsider for the point-to-point bumper in May at Aintree, he swooped upon some more illustrious names to nab first prize and interestingly third placed Creative Inertia had a comparably wobbly pointing career. Gustave Mahler proved it to be no fluke by adding to his score at Worcester in the summer, at rather less lucrative odds but still ones that suggested his previous win was being seen as a freak result. The good work is expected to continue in hurdles, and perhaps a quick move to chasing. SO far he has been placed to avoid the worst mud, so a little caution may be applied if greater gambles are made in that respect.

Hurdles or chases up to 2m 2f

KASSIS     (Jamie Snowden)

7 year old bay mare     (Kalanisi – Gastina)     65/4P313/21548-14

This mare caught the eye in part due to the fact that she is a half-sister to Bleu Et Noir, who was noted as a possible to be included on the list, only to spoil his chance of honour by suddenly improving with a vengeance and racking up some wins in novice hurdles, which has blasted his handicap mark. Kassis has worked her way up the ratings with a bit more caution, due to not really getting stuck in with her maximum gusto when it gets a bit too crowded. She is not being criticised for that, but from the punters’ point of view, it takes time and an amassing of racecourse evidence before there is a chance of spotting that way of operating. What she has left unequivocally on her record in races with six or fewer runners is results of 13141. The fourth place was in a Listed chase when she was a 100/1 shot. Even allowing for the unexceptional quality of mares only races of Listed level, she could not reasonably be expected to beat horses rated 30+ pounds better than her in it. So far Kassis has won over no further than 2m 4.5f but limiting the range of distances for the conditions is dangerous because a) she shapes as if longer distances can be coped with and b) small fields often beget weird tactical races in which a non-stayer can bluff their way a bit. *** STOP PRESS *** Last of four at Hereford on 31st Oct, but only beaten seven lengths.

Hurdles or chases with up to six runners

PURE SCIENCE     (Sue Smith)

8 year old chesnut gelding     (Galileo – Rebelline)     1465/45345314/1F/41-

Based on name, it could be presented that this horse is the prefect figurehead for this site, but then somebody with far too much time on their hands would go through the pages counting instances of phrases such as “gut feeling” or “instincts are saying” or “there is a strong hunch” or “the Spirits Of The Dead have assured us.” Admittedly the latter refers to Norway’s finest prog/folk/psyche/grunge/stoner band, but the gist of this is correct. So how do we deploy Pure Science for the good of humanity – as opposed to the good of the planet, which involves the removal of humanity. The horse looked, as expected for his stable, a chase prospect, but after a winning debut, he was far from foot perfect and fell in the next, so was returned to hurdles. The first of those was not bad, and he won the next by forty-two lengths. In bad conditions only two finished, and ahead of Wellforth, who eventually finished second, one fell and one pulled up at the last. Historically the best scenarios for Pure Science have been in a sort of vacuum – easy courses lacking sharp turns or very long straights. Yeah, that was a bit of a stretch of a pun, unlike following Pure Science on these courses, where his record is 145141F1. All of them have been on soft or heavy ground, along with most appearances, but he has not been intolerably bad on good to soft either. Only managing four races in the last two and a half years is not ideal, but may allay fears that Pure Science will run loads of times and drag the winning stats badly down. As if. He can win fresh so do not fear the lay off when the comeback begins.

Handicap hurdles or handicap chases on easy tracks

SIGNED REQUEST     (Henry Oliver)

9 year old bay gelding      (Fantastic Quest – Magic Sign)     000811/9/P11/P-566

Dear Jim, can you fix it for me to be on the “to follow” list of UK-Jumping.com, signed Signed Request. Of all things being signed off, a bureaucratic dream, a functional nightmare, like his three handicap qualifying runs, all of which had a strong whiff of not taking them terribly seriously with an eye on the future. Too much investigation and this could get into an infinite regression. This being sucked into a black hole of limbo existence is just about the only problem that has not affected Signed Request so far, meaning that he is nearly ten and has only fourteen Rules runs and half a dozen point-to-point ones to his name. There are a lot of unpromising results as well, but it is possible to narrow down an intriguing area of operations. This is on easy, undulating tracks, where he won his first three attempts after qualifying for handicaps – he lost a novice hurdle on one but see above for a good reason to be indifferent about it. Unfortunately after pulling up at Kempton in May 2015, Signed Request was off with a doctor’s note for over a year. His comeback runs, switching to chases, involved hefty losses, but when he went to Chepstow next time, the 27 lengths loss represented improvement because he was sixth of thirteen, rather than right out at the back. It showed that the old preference still carries weight even if it is taking him time to get going again after the lay-off.

Handicap hurdles or handicap chases on an easy, undulating course
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UK-Jumping and Gustave Mahler have a mutual appreciation moment at Doncaster. Until he wins again, his love for us is the greater.
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