Closure: Forty to Follow 2013-14

So busy trying to find angles on the flat that I’ve overlooked posting the 40TF jumps results. Mildly surprising as I spent most of the Winter writing self-congratulatory updates about the burgeoning progress of the list. So it wouldn’t take a gambling psychoanalyst to deduce that the clanging silence since March indicates some less favourable results.

That is indeed the case. Whilst there were a lot less runners from the stable post-Cheltenham, there were disproportionately more losers. The profit margin took some body blows.

Overall though, a belting season. These are the bald stats.

1st October 2013 – 31st May 2014: 177 bets, £442 profit, £830 staked, 53.2% return on investment. This includes win, each ways and places. I’ve finally stopped including Exactas, Lucky 15s and other mug bets, even if the plotting of them keeps me meaningfully engaged most Saturday mornings.

The high water mark was £551 after Trustan Times ran into a place in the Pertemps on the Thursday of the Festival.

Staking is based on very conservative 1 point = £5. I had a few 2 point bets, but not many outside the Festival (where the limits come off). This is the best return for a good few years, and after a few seasons of stable profit there is overwhelming evidence to ramp up the staking.

As a comparison, the £1 win-only level staking (every run) profit comes in at +15.90.

Here’s an analysis of the successes and failures:

1. Annacotty – Martin Keighley: 8 runs, 2 wins, +14 to a £1 stake
Took a while to find his mark over fences and by the time connections worked out that three miles with him bowling along in front was the trick, there was profit to be made from the big prices that appeared. Bolted up in a sub-standard Feltham. Should have run in the Centenary Chase at the Festival instead of the RSA where he was outclassed. Pleasure to watch.

2. Arbeo – Diana Grissell: 3 runs, 0 wins, -3 to a £1 stake
Left any progression behind and never fired at all this season.

3. Bar De Ligne – Steve Gollings: 8 runs, 1 win, -4.25 to a £1 stake
For the most part actually ran very well – a series of short priced place results – and was often set some challenging tasks. He only got his bonce in front once,  under a great ride from McCoy.

4. Big Occasion – David Pipe: 0 runs
Unseen. Assume injured.

5. Carole’s Spirit – Robert Walford: 4 runs, 3 wins, +2.78 to a £1 stake  
Classy horse and progressed well through the novice mares series. Ran well in defeat to Highland Retreat in desperate ground at Ascot and not seen since. Felt there was much more to come. 

6. Champagne West – Philip Hobbs: 6 runs, 3 wins, +2.88 to a £1 stake
One of three high-performing novice hurdlers in this list from Hobbs’ yard. This one never stopped improving all season and finished just out of the frame in the Albert Bartlett. One for next year.

7. Diamond King – Donald McCain: 3 runs, 2 wins, -0.27 to a £1 stake
Two wins at short prices and one reversal in unusual circumstances. We didn’t really learn very much about him.

8. Harry Topper – Kim Bailey: 5 runs, 2 wind, +5.50 to a £1 stake
With soft going and extended distances, he makes his mark. Found out on lively going where his jumping is real seat-of-the-pants stuff. Good value this season.

9. Ifyouletmefinish – Jeremy Scott, 0 runs

10. Imperial Vic – Michael Smith: 6 runs, 0 wins, -6 to a £1 stake
Ran well enough without ever looking like he was going to win. This meant his mark always stayed on the tricky side. Didn’t fulfil the promise of last season.

11. Jezki – Jessie Harrington: 6 runs, 4 wins, +8.68 to a £1 stake
A star. Once connections worked out how to run him and with his ideal conditions, he proved top class. Finished the season as the top 2 mile hurdler on either side of the Irish Sea.

12. Katenko – Venetia Williams: 5 runs, 0 wins, -5 to a £1 stake
Clearly not the force of last season and it is assumed that the colic attack left its mark. Always a risky selection and on this occasion it didn’t pay off.

13. Legal Exit – Jim Culloty, 0 runs

14. Le Reve – Lucy Wadham: 7 runs, 1 win, +4 to a £1 stake
Picked up one lucky win at 10-1, but otherwise either didn’t live up to hopes and/or was campaigned above his level.

15. Many Clouds – Oliver Sherwood: 6 runs, 2 wins, -0.97 to a £1 stake
Looked classy all season but never really hit top form at either of the two big festivals. Maybe not quite soft enough for him.

16. Melodic Rendezvous – Jeremy Scott, 6 runs, 3 wins, +4.25 to a £1 stake
Always the dark horse in the Champion Hurdle mix and kept winning on soft ground. Ultimately found out on a lively surface and an experiment over 3m at Aintree failed.

17. Midnight Minx – Anthony Honeyball: 2 runs, 0 wins, -2 to a £1 stake
Not much to say. Pretty disappointing.

18. Mrs Eff – Philip Kirby, 2 runs, 0 wins, -2 to a £1 stake
Poor in 1st race and then in the most bizarre race I saw all season, he managed to wander and almost stop after the last in a chase where two horses fell in front of him which should have gifted the spoils.

19. O’Faolains Boy – Rebecca Curtis: 5 runs, 2 wins, +17 to a £1 stake
Biggest winner in terms of level stakes returns. Gave me a massive thrill in the RSA where he held of Smad Place by a nostril. If I ever see Barry Geraghty in a bar anywhere, I’ll buy him a pint. Left his Aintree race at the Festival, but no complaints. 

20. On The Bridge – Jeremy Scott, 3 runs, 0 wins, -3 to a £1 stake
Frustrating customer. Laid out for some big handicaps at the end of the season but was never ridden to be competitive in any of them. Poor tactics or underwhelming horse. Not clear.

21. Oscar Rock – Harry Fry: 5 runs, 1 win, -3.47 to a £1 win
Looked a world beater after his first run, but then a couple of reversals and didn’t seem to go on.

22. Our Vinnie – Charles Byrnes: 2 runs, 0 wins, -2 to a £1 stake
Utterly failed to be competitive in two early season novice chases. Clearly something amiss as this was so far below his hurdle form. Not seen since.

23. Pendra – Charlie Longsden: 5 runs, 2 wins, -2.04 to a £1 stake
Not convinced by this one. Appears to have bags of talent, but not sure he has the stomach for a fight when something else serves it up. That said, he ran better than expected in the Irish Grand National. Ultimately disappointing.

24. Pine Creek – John Ferguson: 3 runs, 1 win, +3.50 to a £1 stake
Won a good handicap hurdle in November and that seemed to put paid to his chances in handicaps. And then not seen since December.

25. Rare Legend – John Joseph Hanlon: 1 run, 0 wins, -1 to a £1 stake
Just one moderately encouraging run for 2nd over hurdles in January and not seen again.

26. Red Devil Boys – John Ferguson: 0 runs

27. Red Sherlock – David Pipe: 5 runs, 4 wins, +5.35 to a £1 stake
Mostly very impressive in bumpers and novice hurdles. Thumped in the Neptune though. Whilst that was not his true running, he would not have got near Faugheen even with his A game.

28. Sausalito Sunrise – Philip Hobbs: 7 runs, 4 wins, +4.51 to a £1 stake
One of my favourites from the list this year. Bar one below par run in January, never stopped improving. One for next year over extended novice chase trips.

29. Seymour Eric - Martin Keighley: 8 runs, 0 wins, -8 to a £1 stake
Disastrous season. Whatever promise he showed last term had evaporated by December. Connections persevered over varying obstacles and trips, but the spark has gone out with this one.

30. Sire De Grugy – Gary Moore: 7 runs, 6 wins, +11.54 to a £1 stake
Sire on fire! What a legend. Star of the season by a country mile. Delighted for the extended connections of this well loved horse. Didn’t owe me a penny before this season and has now entered my personal pantheon of greatness.

31. Suntiep – Willie Mullins: 3 runs, 1 win, -1.20 to a £1 stake
Season should have been so much more profitable. With a better ride could have taken the four-miler at the Festival and I really fancied him for the Irish National, but not declared due to injury. So still exposed and a possible for next year.

32. Swing Bowler – David Pipe: 3 runs, 0 wins, -3 to a £1 stake
Only once came close to capturing last year’s promise in the Scottish Champion Hurdle from a mile out of the weights. Disappointing.

33. Theatre Guide – Colin Tizzard: 3 runs, 0 wins, -3 to a £1 stake
Ran with credit in his three early season runs, but no wins. His excellent 33-1 third in the Hennessy was the only return I gathered. High in the handicap now and not seen since December. Respect.

34. The Skyfarmer – Philip Hobbs: 5 runs, 3 wins, +3.62 to a £1 stake
The third of this lists’ Hobbs novice hurdlers also ran with great credit. His hattrick in early season was very convincing. The defeat at Ascot on deep ground was understandable, but his no-show in the Conditionals race at the Festival was very disappointing. I fancied a big run and backed accordingly. Possible something was amiss as he wasn’t seen again. Another great prospect for next season. 

35. Tolkeins Tango – Victor Dartnell: 7 runs, 1 win, -3.50 to a £1 stake
Campaigned oddly. Managed one win when sent chasing and although sent off favourite for a couple of other small events, he never really carried much of my confidence.

36. Trustan Times – Tim Easterby: 6 runs, 0 wins, -6 to a £1 stake
Probably just about held his form this season. Set some tough tasks and whilst he didn’t get his head in front he did pay his way in place money. Mixed hurdling and chasing to good effect.

37. Upswing – Jonjo O’Neill: 5 runs, 2 wins, +1.75 to a £1 stake
The style of his October win suggested good things for the season. But races on better ground didn’t play to his strengths and he didn’t win again until heavy ground in February. Also fell at the last when in with a shout at Wincanton, also on heavy. Still one to bear in mind when conditions suit next season.

38. Up To Something – Charlie Longsden: 6 runs, 1 win, -3.50 to a £1 stake
Flattered to deceive. Early season win was good and a close 2nd just after promised heady progress. Maybe he had his sights set too high after that. Questions about the ideal trip also remain. Frustrating horse as obviously has some quality.

39. Wilde Pastures – James Ewart: 5 runs, 0 wins, -5 to a £1 stake
Looks like he paid all season for his three-timer last term. Only once looked competitive in his five starts and is one of those selections that just didn’t pay off.

40. Zarkandar – Paul Nicholls: 6 runs, 0 wins, -6 to a £1 stake
Been a fan for many years and the truth is I put him in this list a year too late. Played bridesmaid in most of his races until the Festivals. There he confirmed that he is now over the top. Great horse in his prime. Just not this season.


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