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OCTOBER 2017 HORSES TO FOLLOW
A slightly early update as necessity is the mother of something (guitar theft by organised crime possibly). None of the removed horses were due to run again before 1st October.

BUGSIE MALONE      (Chris Gordon)

7 year old bay gelding      (Mahler – The Irish Whip)      34/24445122-2

Although it unfortunately took his streak of second placed finishes to three, there was plenty to like about Bugsie Malone’s recent season reappearance at Plumpton, against more certainly match fit opponents. Not the least of it was that it happened in a staying hurdle where the pace set was quite strong, but his sole Rules success and best form at the end of last season came in chases at about three miles. What has also been seen so far is an aversion to soft ground, with the form of a novice hurdle third for Paul Nicholls turning out to not amount to much. Good to soft is more borderline, and his eight lengths loss at Sandown last December would indicate that he has positive stuff to be done in those conditions. What these things additionally show is that Bugsie Malone is not dependent on sharp courses either. In fact all that he seems to want at present is a nice stamina test, and he has been happy both conceding weight to lesser talents and also with a very low burden in a quality race. So if the defendant is as straightforward as the evidence indicates, m’lud, is it not about time he put more wins on the board, instead of spraying people with Tommy Guns that fire custard pies.

Handicap hurdles or handicap chases over 2m 7f or more, rated up to 130
Description
Putting on an athletic look at Plumpton, just in case anyone is ready with a camera and prepared to pay some compliments to a jockey who can balance a stick on his head during the race

CELTIC FLAMES     (Lucinda Russell)

7 year old grey gelding     (Celtic Swing – Don’t Forget Shoka)     23/-4

Having ended up in a stable well known for handicap chasers, this selection is based on the expectation that the lesson of an extended injury absence will be learned and nobody connected will be wanting to hang around too much before setting Celtic Flames off on that path. His racing life commenced with victory in an Irish point-to-point at Ballyarthur, which shares a name with a horse trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies. False memory syndrome on the form is almost guaranteed. The form has not worked out especially well in bulk but fifth placed Native Robin has won a couple of chases. After the summer off, he reappeared by finishing second in a Perth bumper, beaten nine lengths by Fagan, now a 147-rated chaser and six ahead of Ballinvegga, now a hurdler of much more modest accomplishments. On his personal hurdles debut Celtic Flames was beaten two lengths, in a race where again the winner (Oscar Blue) improved on it, but the rest of the main contenders have been fairly average since. Celtic Flames has twenty-three months off to follow this teaser, and was a 21 lengths fourth on his comeback, running very well to two out. Perhaps one more cobweb removal exercise will take place over hurdles, but handicap chases are the future

Handicap chases over 2m 6f or more, rated up to 115

GET IN PAT     (Tim Vaughan)

10 year old bay gelding     (Flemensfirth – Clarin River)     0/7043S8//PP4/83PP416-

As a selection option Get In Pat is riddled with flaws. Go Away Pat might even be a more appropriate train of thought for the not so patient. He is ten years old with only seventeen career races. There is one season missed, but the lack of hot action is not purely down to injuries. From the sparse activity he has only one win and a couple of seconds, so there is not much in the way of strong performances to derive a pattern from. What there is to find are hints that Get In has not often met conditions that would make it easy for him to actually get in. Apparently both Jon English and Steps were correct and words are not enough. In Ireland he mostly raced midfield, with a few sojourns at the back and even when placed in big fields (typically at Thurles) it involved not being overly threatening to the winner. Only twice did he line up in a field smaller than fifteen, being a bit of a non-trier in a maiden hurdle and then losing by only ten lengths in a seven horse race at Limerick in spring 2016. After that he was over to Britain and managed a couple of solid hurdle races before pulling up in complete failure during two chases. When back hurdling, he was asked to make the running, losing narrowly at Ffos Las and returning there to finally win a race – six ran, heavy ground, 2m 6f. Get In Pat flapped, or rather flopped, back there, when upped to class 4 company, but there are more wins possible when able to dominate lesser races. He will lose a few too, but hopefully the bad days will allow a fair price on the good ones, and produce a long term profit.

Class 5 handicap hurdles with up to eight runners
Description
Get In Pat at Fontwell, showing what seems to pass for normal behaviour in his world view.

INDIAN VOYAGE     (Maurice Barnes)

9 year old bay gelding     (Indian Haven – Voyage Of Dreams)     5422/P466/522414211/14F654/PP7U112P4243/6654325-44653

What we know about Indian Voyage is that he has won six races and all of them have been on going easier than good. As he has raced twenty-eight times in those conditions, something a bit more is need to turn a worthy profit, although even on those circumstances a loyal follower could have earned enough for half a cup of tea. The successes have been at Carlisle three times, Wetherby twice and Kelso once, showing that there is not much of a track bias building and that ironically Indian Voyage is not one of the equine world’s greatest travellers. However, where the statistics do stand out is that five of his victories have been when six or seven horses took part. When that is combined with the narrowing the going demands to soft or heavy, the results read P214114612P44 with no runs in even smaller fields – two five horse races on good to soft ended in very close loses, so Indian Voyage would probably cope with very sparse line ups in the mud. Of those specified results, everything bar the initial pulled up were chases. He has not won since November 2015, but last December he was pipped at Wetherby, showing that he has not really given up on the joys of success yet, and his recent third at Kelso, against too many runners and upon going a touch too fast, was also an encouraging display.

Handicap hurdles or handicap chases on heavy or soft, up to 7 run

LLANTARA     (Tom Symonds)

6 year old bay mare     (Kayf Tara – Lady Llancillo)     635/473P-

This mare achieved just what was wanted (on UK-Jumping, at least) when she contested mares only novices’ hurdles. She showed enough ability to think that real winning could come her way in handicaps, but in losing by about fifteen lengths in her two best runs, the handicapper was given no cause to force her out of the bottom drawer. Prior to this Llantara had been beaten by about three lengths twice in bumpers. This did occur at Fakenham and Towcester, two of the courses that routinely attract the weakest bumpers going. However, only one of the five that beat her at Towcester is yet to win (the first two have combined for seven successes) and four of those that Llantara beat have won six between them. Fakenham was less good, but the winner has been second in a flat maiden and the runner-up has two wins over jumps. So the case for raw Llantaran ability is solid, we just have the rather awkward situation of running woefully and pulling up on handicap debut. Possibly heavy ground ruined it, as her only bumper flop was also on heavy, or 2m 5f was too far as her worst novice hurdle run was the sole try beyond 2m 1f. Or perhaps it was just an off day. The plan is to pretend it never happened and expect mares only handicaps to work in her favour this season (whilst monitoring ground preferences as the evidence develops).

Mares only handicap hurdles up to 2m 2f

PERSEID     (Sue Smith)

7 year old brown gelding     (Robin Des Pres – Cowanstown Miss)     01060/83271182452/515169-34454

Perseid is in one sense a natural fit for this list because in general they are a group of celestial objects that when off of their game are a complete shower. He is also a belated inclusion because when he was initially spotted as the sort of horse from which Sue Smith can conjure a meteoric rise through the chasing ranks. This perspective helpfully prevents getting too hung up on the modest qualities of the races that he actually wins. He has now had a look at chases and nobody has been hugely impressed. He has completed each one, and not lost by more than eighteen lengths, but it has all been rather laboured and short of pizzazz. Improvement may arrive, but the option is now considered that Perseid goes back hurdling, so we need to know what brings good things there. Waiting, we have been told by many a wise man over the years, and Jon Bon Jovi as well. A secondary answer is Sedgefield, a track whose many meetings do allow for a plethora of multiple course winners. When there he is 112514, although he is not a one burst piece of cometary debris as the only visit to Bangor is a win and there is one place from three tries at Southwell, plus an average chase showing at Kelso. The gist of it is that when on a sharp left-handed track, distance and going seem to be almost irrelevant.

Handicap hurdles and handicap chases on sharp, left-handed tracks
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