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SEPTEMBER 2019 HORSES TO FOLLOW
BEENO     (Dianne Sayer)

10 year old bay gelding     (Exit To Nowhere – Kay Theatre)     7774422/411125317/323365004-5112

A late starter, Beeno did not engage his career under Rules until he was a seven year old. Prior to that he had two most inconsequential runs in Irish points. It took a while to shine in the professional game and when he first got into a positive groove it was on courses that have not subsequentially proved to be the sort of tracks for a proper successful beano. Or Beeno. Then he went to Cartmel in Spring 2017 and the scales fell from his eyes – and legs – winning three out of his four visits that summer. Where we have the chance to get truly excited about Beeno is that when he went to other sharp, undulating tracks (initially the phrase was “other venues like Cartmel” but in this country there is nothing just like Cartmel) the results were sustained. A rather foolish twelve lengths margin in 2018 completely stuffed him up in rating terms but he kept battering away gallantly in the right conditions and he got due reward with two more successes this year. From Beeno’s perspective a rating of 131 sounds like a conspiracy to stop him adding more successes, but he has won when rated 128 and been placed from even higher ratings than that. The overall score on wet(tish) conditions and the right track is 4111112, with a very hefty level stake profit.

Races on a sharp, undulating track, with good to soft, soft or heavy ground

ICONIC MUDDLE     (Gary Moore)

6 year old grey gelding     (Sixties Icon – Spatham Rose)     00-2

Although he looks every inch a winter horse, even if simply for having perfect camouflage for melting into the fog and frost, Iconic Muddle was in action in May, after a few months off, so by not being overly busy so far the chances of an early reappearance must be considered. His racing debut came without vulgar recourse to bumper, flat or pointing runs for the experience, and he duly finished sixteenth of twenty at Newbury. His margin of thirty-four lengths was hardly the worst achieved in the history of novice hurdlers to have had fifteen ahead of them at that track and the race was won by Bright Forecast (close third in the Grade 1 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham) from the in and out but interesting Severano and Dashel Drasher, who later won four novice hurdles himself. Having participated in what may prove to have been his namesake, Iconic Muddle returned to Newbury and finished tenth, still behind the likes of Dashel Drasher and Beaufort West, but also the well touted Rathhill and capable bedlam magnet Umndeni. For the third appearance the more realistic surroundings of Fontwell were used and despite staying on neatly in the second Newbury run he was sent off at 16/1, ending up second to 127-rated Some Day Soon, who always was dealing with him but was not allowed any peace and quiet. Some Day Soon has won all three subsequent runs. In the circumstances, Iconic Muddle’s initial rating of 115 could have been worse but with not much improvement he could consider winning novice hurdles when the big yards best horses stay well away. Or he might cunningly use that hurdling rating in chase company. A step up in distance should help.

Races over 2m 2f or more
An older picture of Quantum Of Solace. For purposes of identification he is probably still the same colour brown with tfour legs

RYEDALE RACER     (Nick Alexander)

8 year old bay gelding     (Indian Danehill – Jonty’s Lass)     2/123U33/115334/2433/72-F

This horse has visited easy, undulating tracks so often that it feels like he should be in the video accompanying an Eagles song, but it is still possible to ascertain a direction to follow in maximising his possibilities. He has always been beaten when competing on good ground, making Ryedale Racer’s imminent entry at Hexham either a moment of extreme weather forecast pessimism or just a fact finding exercise now that he has new owners and a new trainer. Despite the mud loving it appears that his feet get cold in the wintertime as wins have come in spring and autumn (although late in it). Even when conditions suit, Rydeale Racer has not managed to win a race that has more than seven runners. The problem with these rules is that he has gone very close to success in defying both conditions and the possibility is that they will one day prove to be surmountable – maybe a small change of routine in the new yard and he can loosen his load. The counter argument is that we can be concentrate on looking at circumstances where he has proven an ability to finish the job. Therefore the summary of easy, undulating course, good to soft or worse ground and up to seven run leaves us looking at results of 123112. There is the slight statistical nuisance that he has never won a handicap and that last victory came nearly three years ago but in that time his rating has only ever been in the range of 120 to 122 – no punishment for doing well, no relief when doing badly. A little bit of a drop and the chance to meet some lesser rivals might help him take it to the limit one more time, at least. Should he fail in that, most of us are sad.

Races on an easy, undulating track, on good to soft, soft or heavy ground, up to seven runners

STAR FOOT     (Jo Davis)

8 year old bay gelding     (Soviet Star – On The Backfoot)     93222831/6735P422/11581953/P486312-5

There are two things that you must know about Star Foot. One, he is a star (at least in his own mind). Two, he has a foot (with three back up ones for insurance purposes). Then there are two secondary issues that only have relevance when following him financially. Firstly he prefers to go on a right-handed course with four wins at Market Rasen and one at Huntingdon. Secondly he seems to be a bit happier when conceding weight to lesser talents. The lowest weight carried in a win is 11-1 and when below 11 stone, he has no wins from a dozen attempts (lots of places though), half of them right-handed. When those two strands are woven together by the Norns, Star Foot’s Fate dictates results of 322 in Irish bumpers and 11115P63125 in British hurdles and chases. The wobble in the middle of all that was largely down to a high hurdle rating and his yard having a sustained quiet spell but he has taken well to chases after an unexceptional debut, and has dealt with all going tried (everything bar heavy) so we are not left with many things to worry about over him. Hopefully the same will be true in six months time.

Races on a right handed track, carrying 11 stone or more
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Iconic Muddle in a state of relative post-race organisation

JUST MARVIN     (Alex Hales)

6 year old bay gelding    (Atraf – Gailybay Ellen)     83-77763

The main thing that generates enthusiasm about Just Marvin is his latest run, so it is fortunate that it was only his seventh race and not the consequence of years of misadventure. He did only finish in third but had runner-up Patsio not given him a serious thump when veering left at the final hurdle, then second place was looking a very realistic option. First may have been beyond redemption even then as winner Dariya, an unexposed filly, seemed to respond very dynamically to first time cheekpieces. Prior to this run Just Marvin had offered an unexceptional handicap debut at Uttoxeter, although sixth of fourteen was not a disaster. In novice company he only really caught the eye in the third try, well seen off but at least better on the day than plenty of opponents and winner Pacify is now unbeaten from a trio of hurdling runs. Runner-up Purple King is 2/2 from that day and Emerald Rocket, who finished third, has driven his fans bonkers with three second place finishes. Beyond those the subsequent results get rather patchy but some of those horses are still trying to find their racing feet. Just Marvin may have found his slightly ahead of them. A slightly longer race distance should pay off.

Handicap hurdles or handicap chases over 2m 2f or more.

QUANTUM OF SOLACE     (Fergal O’Brien)

9 year old bay mare     (Kayf Tara – Fashion House)     65582/66314P/0/144222143-

When names are in the frame for who should play James Bond, two people are perpetually overlooked whilst remaining more qualified than some who regularly are mentioned, or have even played the part in the past – Brian Blessed and Fergal O’Brien. Although in reality any fool can stand up there and amble their way through a festival of product placement. For a lot of the time that seems to be how Quantum Of Solace approaches horse racing, but she has won three times, each of them coming when it is good going and an easy track. Her hint of flexibility is spreading the munificence over three different courses and not always needing a hood. They were all two milers though. In order to create an imaginary venn diagram of solace, the overall hit rate on easy tracks alone is three from ten (Huntingdon gets a bit of a cold shoulder) and on good ground alone three from sixteen, so the two strands do need to be woven together, to mix a metaphor with quantums and quilts. When the conditions are as specified Quantum Of Solace has lost four times, but still shows a nice profit. There is no temptation yet to bring good to soft ground into play.

Hurdles or chases on good ground at an easy course    run
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