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Magnificent Martaline – A Leading French Stallion

The career of talented chaser Dynaste came to an end at the weekend, following a slightly disappointing run in the Veterans’ Handicap Chase at Sandown.

The popular 11-year-old grey had been one of David Pipe’s stable stars for almost half a dozen years. The racecourse highlight came when winning the Ryanair Chase at the Cheltenham Festival back in 2014. He followed that performance with a second-place finish in the Betfred Bowl at Aintree, and later that year was runner-up to Silviniaco Conti in the King George at Kempton.

Though an attractive looking grey, Dynaste could not compete in the looks department with his talented father Martaline. The truly gorgeous French stallion is virtually white from nose to tail. A strikingly powerful colt, he stands at Haras De Montaigu, a beautifully picturesque stud in North-West France.

A classy horse on the flat, Martaline was at his best as a four-year-old in 2003, when runner-up in the Group 2 Grand Prix De Chantilly before winning the Prix Maurice De Nieuil at Longchamp. That victory came at 1m6f, when he defeated an outstanding stayer in Westerner. He was victorious or placed in 12 of his 22 career starts. It’s also interesting to note, that his most disappointing performances came on heavy ground.

As a leading French National Hunt stallion in recent years, he has produced numerous talented jumpers for trainers on both sides of the English Channel.

Agrapart was a high-profile success for the French sire recently, when taking the Grade 2 Relkeel Hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day. Trained by Nick Williams, the six-year-old clearly thrived in testing conditions, when getting up late to beat L’Ami Serge, with Cole Harden seven lengths back in third. He’s likely to head for the Stayers’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, though he looks a chaser in the making, and certainly has the action over hurdles to suggest that he’ll suit a fence.

Another with a Cheltenham success to his name this season, is the Colin Tizzard trained Viconte Du Noyer. Owned by the Potts’, he’d previously been trained in Ireland by Henry De Bromhead, and was winning the Grade 3 Betvictor Handicap Chase on his first run for the new yard. He failed to take to the Grand National fences next time at Aintree and then ran below par in testing ground at the Welsh National. His win at Cheltenham suggested there’s plenty more to come, so I wouldn’t be losing faith in this fella. Better ground may well be essential, and he’s worth a second luck with conditions to suit.

One from the bloodline that does enjoy Aintree’s National fences, is the Gordon Elliott trained Ucello Conti. He was fourth in the Becher Chase in December, having been sixth in the Grand National last April. It’s tough to say whether he truly stayed the trip that day on soft ground, but he’s likely to be back for another crack this year, and on a more attractive looking handicap mark.

Noel Meade also looks to have a talented chaser on his hands with the six-year-old grey gelding Disko. He seemed to appreciate better ground when running a cracker at Leopardstown over Christmas. His third-place finish in the Grade 1 three-mile novice chase was a personal best, and he’d be a live contender at Cheltenham in March, for either the JLT or the RSA. He’s not short of speed. Meade’s last Cheltenham Festival winner was another son of Martaline, with Very Wood landing the Albert Bartlett of 2014 at huge odds.

Another from the Martaline production line, who is rapidly going the right way, is Tim Vaughan’s hurdler, Theligny. Despite four victories and three second place finishes from his eight outings over hurdles, the six-year-old remains on a fair handicap mark. He was impressive at Newbury last time, when showing a terrific attitude in holding off the Rebecca Curtis trained Geordie Des Champs. That came at two and a half miles, and the target may well be the Martin Pipe Conditional at The Festival, with classy claimer Alan Johns likely to be on-board.

As an 18-year-old, Martaline continues to prove an extremely popular stallion. A strike-rate of 31% this season for his offspring, shows just how potent he is. It would be no surprise to see many more of his progeny travelling across the Channel in the coming years.

Stat of the Day, 26th December 2016

Thursday's Result :

1.20 Chelmsford : Curzon Line @ 5/2 BOG 7th at 6/4 - Led, ridden and headed over 1f out, weakened final furlong

Boxing Day's pick goes in the...

1.40 Wincanton

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection in the evening before the following day's race and I then add a detailed write-up later on that night/next morning.

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Chakisto @ 7/1 BOG

Why?

This 8 yr old won his last effort over hurdles in a similar (C5, 2m) contest at Uttoxeter 12 weeks ago when ridden by today's jockey Alan Johns for the first time. He has run creditably in two chases since then and Mr Johns now jumps back in the saddle for a second time, as the horse reverts back to hurdling.

He acts well enough on soft ground and is still favourably treated based on his previous Irish form and seems overpriced at 7/1 to me today.

His trainer, Tim Vaughan, is 17 from 80 (21.25% SR) for 67.2pts (+84% RO) here at Wincanton since 2009, and with today's contest in mind, those 80 runners are...

  • 16/71 (22.5%) for 57.5pts (+81%) as males
  • 16/69 (23.2%) for 73.1pts (+106%) aged 4 to 8 yrs old
  • 15/66 (22.7%) for 71.3pts (+108%) at Classes 4 to 6
  • 13/59 (22%) for 71.8pts (+121.7%) over hurdles
  • 10/57 (17.5%) for 71.2pts (+125%) in handicaps
  • 7/33 (21.2%) for 15.6pts (+47.3%) over 1m7.5f / 2m

In addition to the above, Alan Johns has 21 wins from 164 (12.8% SR) rides on Tim Vaughan's handicap hurdlers since the start of 2015, netting 30.9pts profit at an ROI of 18.8% with those racing over 1m7.5f/2m winning 6 of 35 (17.1%) for 35.6pts (+101.7%)

...giving us...a 1pt win bet on Chakisto at 7/1 BOG which was available from my preferred Bet365 and at least 6 others (so we should all be getting the same deal!) at 9.45pm on Christmas Day (yes, we work Christmas Day for you here at Geegeez!) To see if your preferred bookie is also offering 7/1 BOG, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 1.40 Wincanton

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

Stat of the Day, 26th December 2016

Thursday's Result :

1.20 Chelmsford : Curzon Line @ 5/2 BOG 7th at 6/4 - Led, ridden and headed over 1f out, weakened final furlong

Boxing Day's pick goes in the...

1.40 Wincanton

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection in the evening before the following day's race and I then add a detailed write-up later on that night/next morning.

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Chakisto @ 7/1 BOG

Why?

This 8 yr old won his last effort over hurdles in a similar (C5, 2m) contest at Uttoxeter 12 weeks ago when ridden by today's jockey Alan Johns for the first time. He has run creditably in two chases since then and Mr Johns now jumps back in the saddle for a second time, as the horse reverts back to hurdling.

He acts well enough on soft ground and is still favourably treated based on his previous Irish form and seems overpriced at 7/1 to me today.

His trainer, Tim Vaughan, is 17 from 80 (21.25% SR) for 67.2pts (+84% RO) here at Wincanton since 2009, and with today's contest in mind, those 80 runners are...

  • 16/71 (22.5%) for 57.5pts (+81%) as males
  • 16/69 (23.2%) for 73.1pts (+106%) aged 4 to 8 yrs old
  • 15/66 (22.7%) for 71.3pts (+108%) at Classes 4 to 6
  • 13/59 (22%) for 71.8pts (+121.7%) over hurdles
  • 10/57 (17.5%) for 71.2pts (+125%) in handicaps
  • 7/33 (21.2%) for 15.6pts (+47.3%) over 1m7.5f / 2m

In addition to the above, Alan Johns has 21 wins from 164 (12.8% SR) rides on Tim Vaughan's handicap hurdlers since the start of 2015, netting 30.9pts profit at an ROI of 18.8% with those racing over 1m7.5f/2m winning 6 of 35 (17.1%) for 35.6pts (+101.7%)

...giving us...a 1pt win bet on Chakisto at 7/1 BOG which was available from my preferred Bet365 and at least 6 others (so we should all be getting the same deal!) at 9.45pm on Christmas Day (yes, we work Christmas Day for you here at Geegeez!) To see if your preferred bookie is also offering 7/1 BOG, simply...

...click here for the betting on the 1.40 Wincanton

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

 

Signs Promising for Resurgent Vaughan

It’s probably fair to say that the last couple of seasons have proved slightly disappointing for Tim Vaughan and his South Wales team.

His first serious campaign of 2008-2009 yielded a terrific strike rate of 17% and total prize money of £326,000. The following three seasons were virtually identical in terms of percentage winners, though prize money rose to a high of £574,000 in the 2010-11 campaign, thanks in no small part to the Scottish Grand National success of Beshabar.

Contrast those wonderfully successful times with 11% and 9% strike rates in the past two seasons, yielding prize money of £244,000 and £277,000 respectively, and it’s clear to see that success has proved much harder to find. Of course, that level of winnings is not to be sniffed at, and around 40 winners a term is far from disastrous. Nevertheless, Vaughan will be hoping that his strong start to the latest campaign is a sign of things to come.

His yard is somewhat renowned for being fast ‘out-the-blocks’, with decent late-summer ground often suiting Vaughan’s stable. Canton Prince is a perfect example, having already struck three times since getting his season underway in August. The five-year-old gelding is by Shantou, and could make into an exciting novice hurdler over staying trips.

Vaughan has been at Pant Wilkin Stables, near Aberthin in the picturesque Vale of Glamorgan for the past seven years. Just 12 miles from Cardiff, the yard is handily placed near the M4 for access across the border to England, with tracks such as Chepstow, Cheltenham and Worcester in easy reach.

Vaughan’s association with Champion Jockey Richard Johnson has proved the foundation of the stables success over the years. Having such an outstanding talent as part of the set-up, not only on the track, but also at the yard working the horses, is a priceless commodity for such an outfit. At this time of year, Vaughan can call on Johnson to partner many of his horses, before the Champ joins the powerful Hobbs team on a regular basis throughout the winter.

Vaughan also has a talented claimer among his team in Alan Johns. Already on a career best 13 winners for this campaign, at an impressive 19% strike rate, his performance aboard Winter Walk at Newton Abbot just over a week ago portrayed star quality. Held up in last place for the marathon hurdle event, he crept into contention on the final circuit, before timing his challenge to perfection approaching the second last flight. This stylish jockey’s judgement of pace, and strength in a finish, will undoubtedly see him prove a huge success over the coming years.

And he couldn’t be working in a better environment than at Pant Wilkin Stables. It’s an impressive training facility, with all ‘mod cons’ geared towards getting the best from the equine talent to hand. And that equine talent promises much for the winter ahead. Vaughan has a number of youngsters that look set to move the yard forward, and nothing attracts future owners more than a successful, thriving stable.

Debece is one such youngster likely to prove a hit in the coming months. He was hugely impressive at Kempton in May on his first outing over hurdles, when ridden by Johns, and is certainly bred for the game, being closely related to Cheltenham Festival winner Don Poli. He’s a powerful looking sort, and you’d expect that Vaughan cannot wait to get him back on a racecourse. That could be as soon as next week at Southwell.

I’ve already mentioned Winter Walk and Canton Prince earlier in the piece. Both are young progressive types, the latter having won his last three starts, whilst Winter Walk will hopefully make up for lost time having returned from a spell on the injury list. Both should make exciting chasers in time.

Today the yard sends newcomer Aqalim over fences for the first time at Bangor. Previously with John Ferguson, he was a classy staying hurdler, and should appreciate the better ground that he will hopefully encounter today. Whether he takes to fences is questionable, and it could prove an interesting ride for Richard Johnson this afternoon. If he does adapt to the larger obstacles, Aqalim could prove a major hit for the yard, especially on that all important sounder surface.

For Tim Vaughan and his team, the coming period will give clues to just how successful a season this is going to be. The ‘big guns’ will soon be stepping into the arena, and only then will the South Wales yard know if they have the ammunition to bring about the much needed upturn in fortunes. The early signs are positive.