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SEPTEMBER 2017 HORSES TO FOLLOW
CAPSY DE MEE      (Jamie Snowden)

5 year old bay gelding     (Apsis – Coeur De Mee)     953-23

This horse actually won a Group 3 race in France, but it was an AQPS bumper that his home nation treats as a flat racing but the British have considered to be bumpers. The upshot of it is that for Capsy De Mee to have won it shows that he is no mug, even if he failed to land the two races that came before. These levels of excitement can do funny things, such as get people to write large numbers on a cheque or bank transfer, and the horse had the summer off before reappearing for his current stable. The first run here was a huge disappointment. It was a decent Newbury race but losing by 49 lengths was not good. Capsy De Mee did a great deal better at Ludlow next, beaten by one seventh of the previous margin but somehow letting four others finish in front of him. The winner is now rated in the mid-140s, but he had another disappointment when third at Fakenham, in a tongue tie. Another summer break came, only to trick him by turning out in August, where Capsy De Mee did a good job on his chase debut at Stratford. That should be his future as whilst he could not hold onto the lead when it got very serious, he jumped with splendid confidence. *** STOP PRESS: Third over two miles on 31st August – more support for the theory here ***

Handicap chases over 2m 2f to 2m 5f
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Capsy De Mee after his chase debut, looking for confirmation that he took part in the race that he was supposed to race in

JOHNNY GO     (Lisa Harrison)

7 year old bay gelding     (Bollin Eric – Waverbeck)     654/36872321413578/48P317707-2352413

We shall go first with the things to stay away from. Johnny Go cannot do bumpers anymore because he has filled his quota and was not all that good at it anyway. He is less easily avoided in chases, even though connections have interspersed hurdle runs since he went over fences. The suspicion is the temptation of meetings at Perth was too great, even if a suitable race was not present. Three of the four chases that Johnny Go went for have ended in a loss of under seven lengths, but only one of those involved ground softer than good, so the minority came on what he enjoys best. All four wins have been from his ten hurdle races on good to soft or soft going – he has not tried heavy since bumpers. What fine tunes the selection are low weights. Three of the successes of Johnny Go have been when lumbered with less than eleven stone, leaving an overall score combined with the ideal going and stuff to jump over of 311351713. If this keeps up, none of us will have a reason to live in a cabin made of earth and wood, unless finding it a convenient means to harvest grubs (there are lots of badgers that read this site and they need the odd reference that they will associate with).

Hurdles or chases on heavy, soft or good to soft when carrying less than 11 stone

LADY LONGSHOT     (Jeremy Scott)

6 year old bay mare     (Needle Gun - So Long)     9/664052-3

Although she has not yet won a race, and only once even come close to doing so, there are several reasons for thinking that Lady Longshot still has some improvement to come. Firstly she is in a yard that is not at all worried about taking the long term view on bringing a horse to a peak. Secondly, she did become a competitor for places as soon as she got into handicaps and the tongue tie was added. Thirdly, Lady Longshot has not set her sights on chasing yet, which would appear to be the job that offers most scope for success. So far she has sort of alternated performances from which a slight optimism can be taken with those destined to bring gloom, but as she gets older and more physically mature, she should be capable of nailing down a bit of consistency and find a niche where her fundamental lack of speed is not an issue. This could be longer races (early indicators are not encouraging) or soft ground, on which her best and arguably second best performance have occurred. Now it would be really helpful if the world at large ignores this as a possible benefit for Lady Longshot and she does indeed start as a long shot in qualifying races.

Handicap chases on good to soft or soft going

MATCHAWAY     (Kerry Lee)

8 year old bay gelding     (Milan – Hatchaway)     23132/1P415-93

By current standards Matchaway was a late arrival on the sporting scene, not racing until June of his six year old season. After starting off with places in two Irish point-to-points, he was sold on before any potential new connections were limited to operating in veterans’ chases. Matchaway himself realised that there was no time to lose, so won his British bumper debut and came third next time. These races were at Bangor and Chepstow, and perhaps pointed to a sharp track preference. However, connections have not gone near an undulating course since and time has not shown the race he won in terribly magnificent light. So the perfect match for the needs of Matchaway would now seem to be easy tracks and races on the short side. His form in these conditions is 141, with the fourth seeing him some two lengths back in a bit of a blanket finish between the first six. He did try 2m 4f at Uttoxeter and it was the worst that has been seen of him. At present hurdles are being persisted with, but he is in the right stable to get cracking with chases.

Handicap hurdles or handicap chases on an easy track, up to 2m 1f

OCEAN ELEVEN     (Martin Keighley)

4 year old bay gelding     (Equianoo – Fittonia)     75S4

What it looks like is that this horse was so irritated by the absence of the ‘S’ from his name that he resolved to make up for the loss by putting an ‘S’ in his form. This was done at Stratford, where he tipped over on the right angled bend into the back straight. Once this job had been completed, Ocean Eleven went back to Stratford and showed much more of what his capabilities are by finishing fourth by less than four lengths. Given that last autumn Ocean Eleven hit a flat rating of 80 and was winning a couple of mile and a quarter races, he has not been a raging success over jumps, but the signs are that he can correct the shortcomings now that he has a handicap mark. Getting well beaten on hurdles debut was disappointing but the race has had the decency to work out as a reasonable quality one, and his better effort at Worcester second time had a promising sort winning it. The time for optimism is nigh.

Handicap hurdles up to 2m 4f, rated up to 115
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Ocean Eleven thought that he spotted an ocean in the distance, but it sadly turned out to be only a narrow part of the River Avon

WELSH BARD     (Donald McCain)

8 year old chesnut gelding     (Dylan Thomas – Delphinium)     5344/196496/21214532/81/-3553

Although this horse is clearly named after his sire, UK-Jumping supports the view of Lord Edmund Blackadder on the topic of Welsh people singing – it needs to be discouraged at every opportunity, except possibly when making films about the Zulu Wars. In the interest of continuity, Blackadder was not commenting on the latter. This horse also has an additional Welsh connection in that he has an aversion to flat areas, with all four jumps wins coming on sharp, undulating tracks. This tally has come from eleven runs, and is all the more impressive when considering that four of the losses were on the chase course at Cartmel, where he seems to loathe the half mile run-in, although he was least annoyed by over the recent August bank holiday – to a horse it may seem as annoyingly interminable as, erm, Welsh singing. Also notable in Welsh Bard’s career is the extended absence from September 2015 to June this year. The old spell closed with a win, the new one with a fair five lengths loss. He has not excelled since but it has been racing at Cartmel or Uttoxeter.

Hurdles or chases on a sharp, undulating track.
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A belated picture addition - Matchaway watches the rain sweep down the straight at Worcester and seems to approve
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