There were two big seasonal debuts this weekend just gone, and the first one I want to look at is the one made by MIGHT BITE (151) who won a four runner race at Sandown in solid style.  I still maintain that I’ve never seen a performance like his win in the RSA at Cheltenham, but he seemed a much more straightforward horse at Aintree and it was more of the same on this run as he travelled well to easily dispatch some solid rivals.

Jameson Might Bite Houblon Des Obeaux
7.94 8.39 8.21
14.32 15.12 14.86
54.86 58.3 57.12
69.77 73.55 72.09
83.58 87.93 85.7
142.75 148.33 145.15
163.83 169.3 166.2
171.71 176.92 174.23
179.66 184.35 182.53
195.26 200.06 198.31
209.08 213.64 212.26
217.19 221.67 220.81
223.71 227.97 227.38
262.85 267.52 267.92
276.88 281.47 282.49
290.6 294.47 296.2
308.11 310.89 311.95


On the clock though I can only get to a number of 151 for Might Bite for this run.  As we can see, he clocked a time just a second quicker that HOUBLON DES OBEAUX (141) did in the veterans chase over the same course and distance carrying just a pound less.  I’ve adjusted a bit for his faster finish, but it is still a run nearly two stone below what I felt he is capable of in the aftermath of his RSA win.  Obviously, this is just his first run of the season and there are bigger days on the horizon, but his jumping was a bit too big and overall I felt a bit disappointed by him on this run.  It may be that that mega effort in the RSA has left it’s mark, certainly he’ll need to be stepping up on this run to win the King George.  Overall this was just a solid run from him.



I was much more taken with the novice handicap chase on the card won by JAMESON (147) who just managed to collar the front running WESTERN MILLER (151).  They clocked a much faster time in this race, finishing 2.8s quicker than Might Bite did in the half mile longer race for the same course, and only carried 3lbs less.  When adjusting for this and their slightly slower finish I’ve given the winner a mark of 147, which is in line with the mark I gave him at Ffos Las when beaten by West Approach.

The pair of them were thirteen lengths clear of the third placed horse and this was a decent performance to my eye.  The runner-up has probably improved for fences and going up to this 2.5m trip, and he equally gives some credit to the performance of Capitaine who slammed him by 22lengths on his previous run.  Both West Approach and Capitaine are lined up to run at Cheltenham this weekend and I’ll be interested in their prices on the day.

Jameson and Western Miller though are clearly smart novices in their own right, and were running here off marks of 129 and 133 respectively.  The novice handicap chase on day 1 is now 0-145 and should they get into that race they would look nice prospects for it at this stage.



The other big reappearance on Sunday was from APPLE’S JADE (154) who won the Lismullen Hurdle at Navan over 2.5m.

Icantsay Mengli Khan Apple’s Jade Oscars Den
14.05 15.3 14.47 15
29.9 32.25 30.43 30.98
69.63 74.96 70.5 71.11
96.12 102.15 97.78 98.26
122.34 128.12 124.6 125.02
136.67 142.67 139.44 139.49
197.98 200.32 199.74 201.29
211.65 212.88 212.18 213.6
227.06 226.4 225.8 227.31
246.96 242.28 241.49 243.84


As you can see from the sectionals above, Apple’s Jade clocked the fastest time from the first flight on the two mile course.  She also clocked the fastest time from 3 out (as shown below) and with that in mind I would love to see them let her take her chance in a champion hurdle.  She jumps hurdles so well that she can take lengths out of her rivals, and I feel in a strongly run race she can use this to full effect.

Icantsay Mengli Khan Apple’s Jade Oscars Den
48.98 41.96 41.75 42.55


She typically improves for her racing, and so her putting in a mark of 154 here gives plenty of optimism for the future.  I think she’s capable of a stone better than this and so Buveur D’Air and Faugheen would have to be on their A-game to give her 7lbs and a beating.



FOOTPAD (156) put in a fine debut over fences at Navan, and I had to time the race a second time as he showed a turn of foot that I hadn’t previously associated with a horse I felt more suited to three miles over hurdles.

Clarcam Footpad
17.61 19.15
50.71 54.46
82.88 87.96
94.32 99.24
107.54 112.67
133.19 139.18
160.09 166.8
190.93 196.75
210.28 214.13
228.67 230
240.92 241.25


The overall time wasn’t anything special, he was fractionally slower than Clarcam was over just a furlong shorter, although carrying 5lbs more in weight.  But the turn of foot he showed was impressive.

Clarcam Footpad
30.64 27.12

From three out to the line, Footpad was 3.5s quicker than Clarcam.  They had gone much quicker in Clarcam’s race, but even accounting for that this points to a fine debut chase performance from the winner.

He clearly can stay further than this sort of trip, and now combining in a turn of foot and fine jumping he is clearly of interest as an Arkle horse.  I’m not sure I’d have him as favourite at this stage, but he certainly warrants interest in the race.  He is yet to win on good ground and that would have to be a concern should he mop up races in Ireland and go off a short price in March.



There was an excellent performance on the clock from BALL D’ARC (166) at Naas on Saturday.

Ball D’arc First To Boogie Mossback
14.39 15.95 15.3
63.1 67.85 65.73
86.55 92.56 89.27
104.38 111.62 108.04
138.74 147.49 143.72
151.03 160.96 157.13
165.59 175.98 172.57
197.34 208.06 204.83
211.39 221.77 218.83
231.6 242.29 237.58


As we can see from the sectionals, he clocked by far the best time of the three chase races on the card, and even when I adjust for the half mile shorter trip this was a red hot run.  I note that on ground with heavy in the description he has now run 5 times over fences winning 3 times.  One of his defeats was by just half a length to Ballycasey, and the other defeat was finishing runner-up on his debut.  Clearly on deep ground he is worth following.

I was interested in the run of ORDINARY WORLD (151) in second, in as much as the winner loves this sort of ground, he absolutely hates it!  He ran big numbers last year behind Min and Altior and I wonder if they’ll target something like the Grand Annual.  He could get beaten over the winter months on deep ground and then pop up on much quicker ground in the spring and land a touch in a big handicap chase for connections.  He has some relations who have done well over 2.5m so even going up to that trip could merit a bet.



There have been some good novice hurdles already this season, but the best one so far may be the one won by NEXT DESTINATION (156) at Naas.  On paper it looked strong and it certainly lived up to expectations on the clock.

Red Jack Early Doors Next Destination Oscar Knight
16.11 16.23 15.99 16.7
71.29 69.21 69.49 71.38
103.27 99.62 99.64 101.4
150.72 146.08 146.47 148.02
166.41 161.59 161.79 163.47
201.88 196.04 197.25 199.26
215.72 210.09 211.43 213.49
230.82 225.41 226.02 229.06


Next Destination clocked a time 3s quicker than Oscar Knight did in the handicap hurdle over a furlong further on the card, and did so carrying 20lbs more in weight.  The more eye-catching performance though was when comparing it to the grade 3 hurdle on the card won by Early Doors.  Next Destination clocked a time just 0.6s slower but ran over 3f further and carried 13lbs more.  All the ways I played with the figures, I gave him a red hot number of 156.  He was half a second quicker from the last to the line than anything else!  He looks a live candidate for the Ballymore…the only problem being that Samcro lies in wait!  But at this stage that looks a potential clash to savour.

The vanquished horses were thirteen lengths back but put up performances of merit themselves and will be winning maiden hurdles and could be handicap hurdles to follow.  Someday, Paloma Blue, Laverteen and Pallasator are worth keeping an eye on.

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