Monday Mish Mash, featuring ‘Oh Deer’

Binocular: Champion Hurdle 2012 prospect?

Binocular: Champion Hurdle 2012 prospect?

A shorter than normal Monday mish mash today, but some bits and pieces to 'edutain' nevertheless, I hope. In this round up, I'll offer my thoughts on the weekend racing; share a VERY funny video; and, add a date for your diary if you live in or near London.

So, let's crack on.

The weekend racing featured plenty of Graded action from both Newbury and Newcastle, and the highlights were the Fighting Fifth Hurdle and Hennessy Gold Cup chase, recognised stepping stones to the Champion Hurdle and Cheltenham Gold Cup respectively.

But what did we learn? Let's look first at the Fighting Fifth.

As predicted here, the 5/4 favourite, Binocular, was beaten. He's run in this race three years in succession, been sent off favourite three years in succession, and been beaten three years in succession.

But let's be clear: that didn't stop him winning the Champion Hurdle at the end of that first season; and he was close to favouritism for the race when dramatically withdrawn last season (due to drugs still being in his system).

So, as I mentioned, I backed him after his defeat at 16/1 with Boylesports, the best price available. That is now a standout best price, and most bookies - who know the rhythm of the horse - have him as 12/1 or 14/1.

Binocular ran well in truth, and if you watched the race, you'll not that he was given a hand ride. In other words, there are MUCH bigger fish to fry than this Grade 1 (which is probably a little unfair on the Newcastle racecourse executive, but I hope they know what I mean).

Of the winner, Overturn, he is teak tough. He'd won from the front in a hard enough race at Ascot last week when Oscar Whisky fell at the last, and he won from the front again here.

I can't remember a Champion Hurdle winner prevailing from the front, however, and the undulations of that track are in sharp contrast to the flat expanses of both Ascot and (relatively) Newcastle. He's a good stick, but I couldn't entertain him winning the Champion.

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In the Hennessy Gold Cup, we were looking for a horse to emerge as a threat to the top of the Gold Cup market. Alas, it didn't really happen. Carruthers, a very good horse without being top class, won under an expert piece of pace judgment from Mattie Batchelor. Mattie used to ride Night Orbit for us, and he was atop one of the rides of last season, when he got up on Baggsy (another in which I owned a share) in a selling hurdle at Towcester. He deserves some better chances, and with luck he might now get them.

Carruthers has finished 4th in an RSA Chase and a Gold Cup, but he was a well trounced 9th last season, having bungled his chance away early on.

He did blunder a couple of times early here too, and that's the cause for concern, as in the Gold Cup there's no let up from the start. If he could get straight into a rhythm and not concede ground/energy by jumping errors, he could conceivably make the Gold Cup frame with this looking for all the world like a transitional year at the top of the staying chaser tree (Long Run excepted).

Of those in behind, this looked more like a trial for the Ryanair than the Gold Cup, with Planet of Sound and Great Endeavour possibles for that contest. Neither fully stayed this trip here and, at the more testing Cheltenham track, I'd have doubts about them getting home.

The Giant Bolster wasn't beaten far in 7th, and this chap surely needs a return to hurdling. His jumping is horrific as form figures of 1F1UF-4U7 testify. IF'fy indeed. I'd be very interested if he were to line up in a Graded hurdle over three miles or so, but he continues to be opposable over fences.

The other interesting race was the Long Distance Hurdle, in which Big Buck's was 1-8, but didn't win as those odds suggested he ought to. He did win however, and it's likely that the team have much to work on between now and his likely next engagement, the Long Walk Hurdle over the same course and distance.

Whilst I'm in no way predicting the downfall of Europe's pre-eminent hurdler (it will happen, inevitably, but not yet), this was a slightly lacklustre effort, and would have given some hope to connections of the likes of Mourad and So Young (who I backed at 20's with Boylesports - still available, as short as 12's with Paddy Power).

We'll know more when we see him at the end of December, as I'd expect him to be close to concert pitch by then.

Not much to report elsewhere, with Paul Nicholls' other pair of Newbury winners, Prospect Wells and Rock On Ruby, looking good but not great. Both have engines and may be suited to Cheltenham but I'd be surprised if the former was good enough to be Champion Hurdle class, while the latter only served to advertise the Supreme Novices' prospects of Steps To Freedom, who looks interesting at around 10/1.


Onwards, and just a quick line to tell you that if you live in or near to London, and fancy that you know a thing or two about racing, there's the London Racing Club Christmas Quiz on Wednesday 7th December.

The challenge is to knock ATR's Barry Faulkner's team off their perch, and it's a tough challenge indeed! It's free and full details are on the below link:

London Racing Club Christmas Quiz Night


And finally, to cheer up what might be an otherwise unsavoury Monday for you, this was something I was sent last night, and sent by someone else again. It's gone viral pretty quickly, and just shows how much we enjoy other people's misfortune.

Oh deer....


p.s. You can check out today's stat of the day here. Also, there's an international racing round up, and news of Sir Peter O'Sullevan.

p.p.s. If you've got facebook, and you liked this post, don't forget to 'Like' it using the button below. It seems, simply liking stuff isn't enough any more, you've got to tell others about it too! 😉

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19 replies
  1. Paul Ebrey
    Paul Ebrey says:

    Hi Matt
    Make A Stand made all when it won the Champion under McCoy. Aside from that they dont make all, you’re right.

    I thought the 2 horses to take out of the Hennessy were Beshabar and Wymott. Beshabar’s trial to me had Grand National written all over it. Outpaced 4 and 3 out, he stayed on powerfully, won over 4m 2f at Ayr and I’d be interested what Tim Vaughan does with him now. Hurdles possibly?

    For a horse so inexperienced Wymott fared well of the 2nd season novices. He was again outpaced in the home straight and stayed on well. A nice chase awaits somewhere for him.

    I’d be interested in what the handicapper does with Carruthers for the Welsh National and he’s wonderfully handicapped, won at Chepstow and has no issues with heavy ground but on balance a disappointing Hennessy for the future with little Championship horses in my view running in it.

    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi Paul

      Very good shout re Beshabar. As a Scottish National winner and a runner up in the four miler at Cheltenham, and as one who likes to race prominently, he ticks a heck of a lot of Grand National boxes. Handicap mark looks spot on as well. Like you say, he needs to be kept away from fences now, probably.

      I’ve actually had a little bet as a consequence of this observation, so hopefully I’ll be able to thank you later!


  2. kevin hogan
    kevin hogan says:

    hi matt i think the last champion hurdler to make all, was make a stand trained by martin pipe

    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Well done Paul and Kevin, for correctly identifying Make A Stand. It’s possible then, but still unlikely.


    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      A pleasure Kieran. It’s actually one of those that gets funnier each time you watch it! 😉


  3. Marina Runnalls
    Marina Runnalls says:

    I have to disagree with you regarding Big Bucks. Nicholls had reported that he was nowhere near race fit and he was never in any danger of loosing from what I could see. I would be interested to hear why you think he didn’t win like he should.

    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi Marina

      He won by five lengths at 1-8, beating a horse rated 137 (39 pounds below him!). I think you’re right to say he was never in danger of losing, but he wasn’t facing a single horse likely to line up against him at Cheltenham.

      I also mentioned quite clearly that the team were bound to have left plenty to work on, so I’m not entirely sure what you’re disagreeing with! If I owned So Young, and watched that race, I’d be thinking that my horse (So Young), rated 149 after the most facile win you’ll ever see had plenty of improvement to close the gap. I might also be wondering about possible regression from the champ.

      Like I (again, clearly) said, I’m not predicting the downfall of Big Buck’s. Rather, I’m suggesting there may be a couple to bother him this time around and went as far as to mention one of them that I’ve backed. I’ll get paid 5/1 for a place, whereas I’ll be lucky to get evens the win with Big Buck’s. Whether you think mine is the better bet is of course moot. 🙂


  4. john doland
    john doland says:

    Matt The video as has been pointed out gets funnier the more you see
    it and it did brighten up a dull Monday.Thanks for that and your
    other comments on the weekends action,I don’t agree with your
    comments re Big Bucks.

    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      No problem John – glad you enjoyed the video, and it’s absolutely fine if you don’t agree with me.

      I’m just trying to see something that every other website on the planet isn’t.

      I may be wrong more often than I’m right, but I’ll make more money than those who are right more often than they’re wrong… if that makes any sense at all. 😉


  5. john cutts
    john cutts says:

    Hi Matt and all,

    I think that Binocular ran a cracker given the stats you refer to, his 206 days lay off against a fit and in-form horse and the, (going off the race times), heavy going.

    This going would not have inconvenienced the third horse, Celstial Halo, who was only beaten 1/4L in the 2009 Champion Hurdle yet couldn’t get nearer than 16 lengths to the second at the finish.

    As you say, take nothing away from the winner either who may well have still beaten Oscar Whiskey if the latter had stood up. Really gutsy performance I thought – on both occasions.

    I am not an anti post backer but I think the 10/1 against Overturn and the 14/1 against Binocular for the big one may look generous come March. Especially with the participation of Hurrican Fly in doubt.

    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Thanks John – good to hear from you. I’ve backed Oscar at 33’s and Binocular at 16’s, so it might seem contrary to oppose Overturn. But I just can’t see it, despite the Make A Stand observations shared by readers elsewhere in the comments. Time – and numerous more trials between now and March – will tell.


  6. Francis
    Francis says:

    As ever, interesting observations and good video!
    Persian War as far as I recall made all when winning his third CH,
    and what about Hardy Eustace?he made a lot of the running,all?
    Pace makes the race is an old maxim, IF a horse is allowed to dictate pace from the front without his speed being tested by others he can “Steal” the race.
    Binocular needed the race against a very fit Overturn,and certainly 16/1
    could look good value next March.
    best wishes,

  7. Roddo
    Roddo says:

    You must have watched a different race to me to say Big Bucks was SLIGHTLY LACKLUSTRE.He had nothing to beat granted but didnt turn a hair.When Walsh was asked what it was like to win in second gear.He repled, WHATS SECOND GEAR.Good enough for me RUBY.

    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Fair enough Roddo. I’m pretty sure I watched the same race at you – that one at Newbury the other day – but interpreted it differently. I’m never going to be interested in backing 1-8 shots, nor evens chances at Cheltenham, so I’m always going to be looking for chinks in the armour, even if it may appear that I’m clutching at straws.

      Of course, come middle March, it may be shown to be the case that I am clutching at straws. But that’s why my So Young voucher says 20/1 (e/w 1/4 1-2-3) and BB backers have one that says 4/7 (or 4/5 with Ladbrokes, a tell tale sign in itself).


  8. Roddo
    Roddo says:

    Hi Matt,
    Im not Knocking your methods of punting,i actually support and admire them(only today you found a 16/1 winner).Big Bucks will get beaten soon and i hope its when we oppose him.I was just pointing out that i thought Big Bucks did all that was asked of him and Walsh backed it up after the race.

    • Matt Bisogno
      Matt Bisogno says:

      No problem Roddo. Understood and all fine. And thanks for the mention of the big winner. Pity about the TWO 11-2 winners.

  9. Peter Hodges
    Peter Hodges says:

    Hi Matt, interesting post as always. I’m in the process of working out a set of horses to back ante-post and Big Bucks is one horse who I think could offer me some value to back against in the world hurdle.
    Like you, I’m a stats man, and even though he’s an exceptional horse, I think if you bet on stats you have to take him on. He’s the first horse to win 3 world hurdles and has now equalled Bula and Sir Ken in winning 13 races unbeaten. His winning run must end eventually.
    I’m very interested in the chances of Mourad as he was only beaten 4 lengths in third last year and could find improvement.

  10. frank brettle
    frank brettle says:

    ….facile win of the weekend ?…surely Peddlars Cross at Towcester….he was admiring the scenery on the way round

Comments are closed.