It says a lot when a horse has won a Grade 1 by 57 lengths, and still isn’t the horse I’m almost giddy with excitement over after the weekend.  But SAMCRO (164) might just be the most exciting horse we’ve seen after bolting up in a Grade 3 race over 2.5m at Navan today.

Ratoute Yutty Samcro Balbir Du Mathan Red Devil Lads
17.66 18.23 18.14 18.82
32.7 32.98 32.91 34.5
68.46 68.45 69.66 70.78
101.1 99.29 100.37 102.23
116.77 114.28 115.77 117.58
141.91 139.13 140.94 142.54
196.64 192.46 195.93 197.73
212.97 208.29 212.68 214.82
226.51 220.86 227.26 229.36
242.53 236.05 245 246.55

The sectional comparisons with the other hurdle races demonstrate the scale of this performance.  He clocked by far the quickest time of the four hurdle races and did so going half a mile further than two of the other winners.  But what really marks him down as something to get very excited is the manner in which he won and the speed he showed in winning.  We can see this clearly when breaking down the sectionals:

Ratoute Yutty Samcro Balbir Du Mathan Red Devil Lads
196.64 192.46 195.93 197.73
45.89 43.59 49.07 48.82

The above shows how long they all took to get from the first jump in the two mile race to 3 out, and then from 3 out to the line. As we can see Samcro clocked 192.46s to 3 out, 3.5s quicker than the next best time from Balbir Du Mathan.  Amazingly he then proceeded to blast home in 43.59s, 2.3s quicker than the next best time set by Ratoute Yutty in the opening race.  I’ve upgraded him on the basis of these numbers and have given him a mark of 164 as a result.  In truth this may still be underplaying his ability.

To put up this sort of performance on just his 2nd start over hurdles on the bridle is simply extraordinary.  Make no mistake this is a very very special horse.  It’s scary to think just how good he can be, he’s unlikely to be a betting proposition ever again but for a horse racing fanatic I just can’t wait to see what he does.  He looks a nice mover, and has already won a bumper on better ground than what he was running on today, and could well improve for better ground.  All we can do is marvel at him and pray he stays sound.

I am a fan of Next Destination who looks special himself, but Samcro could be as good as we’ve seen.  After the race I was left thinking that the only way he doesn’t win the Ballymore is if they decide to go for the Champion Hurdle.



All the talk on Saturday though was about one horse, and that was BRISTOL DE MAI (186) who won the Betfair Chase by a staggering 57 lengths.  Plenty of people have said this is an impossible race to rate but with three other chases on the card we can at least give a good attempt at trying!

Hainan Clan Des Obeaux Bristol De Mai Chase The Spud
14.48 15.3 14.46 14.89
27.93 29.6 27.03 28.09
40.91 42.94 39.39 40.73
86.24 88.2 81.69 84.94
103.54 104.54 97.48 101.46
119.37 119.55 112.28 116.83
136.5 135.18 127.94 133.2
196.41 191.51 184.37 191.22
209.68 204.33 197.02 204.6
223.89 217.72 210.76 218.53
236.97 230.15 223.29 232.07
249.63 242.37 235.38 245.07
292.39 283.11 276.74 289.16
308.24 297.77 292.32 305.34
323.32 311.84 307.01 320.04
339.81 327.9 323.54 336.46
357.14 345.37 341.45 353.65

Timing all four races from the first jump in the 2m5.5f race won by Clan Des Obeaux, Bristol De Mai clocked the fastest time of 341.45s.  He did the damage early on going from the 6th to the 7th jump in his race in 42.3s, the next best time coming from Chase The Spud in 44.21s.  He just got horses out of their comfort zone, and especially on this sort of ground.

Hainan Clan Des Obeaux Bristol De Mai Chase The Spud
308.24 297.77 292.32 305.34
48.9 47.6 49.13 48.31

The above table shows that he got to 3 out in 292.32s, 5.45s quicker than Clan Des Obeaux did over half a mile shorter.  Understandably he came home slower from 3 out, but the savage effort he put in to that stage had already told, and he came home relatively comfortably.

The debate now is whether he can replicate this form elsewhere?  This was very much a home fixture for him, a flat track on heavy ground, and indeed I gave him a big figure when he won the Peter Marsh here last year.  This was another league though and I just can’t help but wonder that a horse that has the latent ability to put in this sort of run must be able to do something like it when “away from home”.  Interestingly Twiston-Davies mentioned he had some issues last year before running down the field at Cheltenham and Aintree.  It will be fascinating to see how he goes when seen again, I would be sceptical about dismissing this as a one off performance.



As if Samcro and Bristol De Mai weren’t enough, we were also treated to seeing the comeback run of MIN (172) who was very impressive in dispatching two rivals with minimal fuss, but also in an excellent time on the clock.

Min Dounikos Persian Wind
11.63 13.23 13.31
22.00 24.61 24.36
79.38 86.11 83.64
92.21 100.10 97.52
105.56 114.58 111.46
119.48 129.73 126.09
136.86 147.72 143.45
189.05 198.11 193.78
200.23 208.58 205.32
210.34 217.65 215.62
222.82 230.03 229.44

Min clocked the fastest time by nearly 8 seconds when timed from the first flight on the two mile course.  He was actually 16s quicker than Dounikos ran over the same course and distance!  All this points to Min being just as good as he was last year when I gave him a big rating when winning Racing Post Novice Chase at Christmas.

This was the first time we’d seen him over 2.5m and he looked to handle it well.  With Douvan set to return soon and probably stick to 2m the obvious target for Min looks to be the Ryanair and odds of 12/1 seem very generous at this stage.

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