Weighed In: Eyecatchers, analysis and updated BHA ratings following recent action

Grand Sancy: Up 6lb following the Tolworth
Grand Sancy: Up 6lb following the Tolworth

Ben Linfoot looks at the new BHA handicap ratings following the recent action, with three horses added to the My Stable list that has produced a few winners in recent weeks.

The first 'Weighed In' column of the new year focuses on the BHA ratings updated on Tuesday January 8, taking in the action from Cheltenham on New Year's Day and onwards.

A trio of horses are added to the 'Weighed In' My Stable; one from Ludlow last Thursday, another from Wincanton on Saturday and also one from the Tolworth, in the spotlight in the big-race analysis section, in the hope they can follow in the hoofprints of Doitforthevillage and Larry who have won for the list in recent weeks...

My Stable Eyecatchers

CATAMARAN DU SEUIL >>>> Remains on 141

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It’s fair to say not everyone was impressed with CATAMARAN DU SEUIL'S effort at Wincanton on Saturday. Timeform say there was ‘a laboured element to his display’ and that he ‘didn’t shape as well as his position might suggest’, while the Racing Post summarised that ‘he never looked like winning’. All are valid points and the handicapper wasn’t inclined to alter his rating one way or the other, either, but I thought it was an encouraging run with a view to stepping back up in trip to three miles. He’s hugely unexposed over that sort of trip, finishing first and second from just two goes, his victory coming in heavy ground at Ayr and he only sealed that late on. This was a sharp enough test over 2m4f on good ground, but the way he finished was promising and it wasn’t far off a career-best run. He’s on the radar for when Dr Richard Newland steps him back up to three.

Dr Richard Newland: Could be building Catamaran Du Seuil towards another tilt at three miles

CALL TO ORDER >>>> Dropped 2lb to 124

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Jonjo O’Neill’s CALL TO ORDER is worth sticking in your My Stable trackers and taking note of when you see his entries appear in your inbox. The nine-year-old remains pretty lightly-raced over fences after just seven starts and he made a good start to his chasing career, winning once and finishing second three times in his first six goes over the bigger obstacles. Pulled up at Ascot after that in a hot novices’ handicap chase, he was given a confidence booster over hurdles at Ludlow last Thursday and he shaped well after a mini break, especially as he wasn’t suited by the moderate gallop. He’s back on track after not being beaten far and he interestingly ran in cheekpieces rather than the blinkers that have been on his last four starts. A winner in first-time pieces and blinkers, he’s now only 3lb higher than his last winning mark and will be of interest when sent back over fences – especially if there’s another headgear switcheroo.

Jonjo O'Neill: It's worth monitoring his Call To Order

Cheltenham New Year’s Day round-up

  • Aso >>>> Up 5lb to 163
  • Aux Ptits Soins >>>> Up 8lb to 149
  • Beware The Bear >>>> Up 6lb to 152
  • Black Op >>>> Down 4lb to 148
  • Defi du Seuil >>>> Up 1lb to 151
  • Jarveys Plate >>>> Up 17lb to 143
  • Lostintranslation >>>> Remains on 149
  • Midnight Shadow >>>> Up 12lb to 158


New Year’s Day seems a long time ago now but the new official ratings following the action at Cheltenham have only just been published, so we’ll have a quick round-up. ASO put himself bang in the Ryanair picture when winning the Grade 3 handicap on the card off a mark of 158, his new rating of 163 only 4lb shy of ante-post favourite, Min. He’s 25/1 best-price for the Ryanair and those are the same odds AUX PTITS SOINS is for the Stayers’ Hurdle after his handicap success on the same card. Up 8lb to 149, he has plenty more to find to become a contender, even in what looks a potentially weak year. MIDNIGHT SHADOW has much more convincing claims at 16/1 following his impressive Relkeel Hurdle win, although he does have his stamina to prove. Up 12lb to 158, he’s on a steep upward curve, is only six and has come on hugely for stepping up to 2m4f. I just wonder if he’d come into the Champion Hurdle reckoning if it looked like being a soft ground start to the Festival. The Grand National could be on BEWARE THE BEAR’S agenda after he won the staying handicap chase on the card in first-time blinkers, while all roads could well lead to the Ballymore for JARVEYS PLATE after his emphatic win in the trial. The BetBright Dipper Novices’ Chase had only four runners but could well be a key trial for the Festival again, with DEFI DU SEUIL emerging as a real Arkle candidate. He’s up to 151 after giving 3lb to the winner LOSTINTRANSLATION and the way he took things up before being reeled in again strongly suggested he’d appreciate a drop back in trip. He looks to have bounced back from a miserable 2017-18 campaign and odds of 12/1 for the Arkle look fair.

Houblon proves the best of the Vets

  • Houblon Des Obeaux >>>> Up 9lb to 144
  • Buywise >>>> Up 7lb to 145
  • Le Reve >>>> Down 3lb to 132

Would HOUBLON DES OBEAUX have held on if Buywise had winged the last instead of crashing out in Saturday’s Veterans’ Final at Sandown? It’s impossible to know, but the handicapper thinks it would’ve been close as Buywise would get just a 2lb pull at the weights if these two were to meet again next time out. Houblon Des Obeaux had dropped to a career-low mark of 135 for a stable in terrific form and he took advantage following a big gamble. Available at 20/1 the night before, he went off at 7/1 but a 9lb hike makes things difficult for him again now – he’s been beaten his last eight goes off marks in the 140s. Buywise won the 2018 renewal off 138 and he was back down to the same mark here, his 7lb hike telling you all you need to know about his performance. Again, things could be difficult for him as well now. They were well strung out in behind and Le Reve was disappointing in eighth, but it was just his second run back after a long absence and he’s undoubtedly very well treated now off 132. He might be worth another chance.

Big-race Analysis: Tolworth Hurdle

  • Elixir De Nutz >>>> Up 5lb to 145
  • Grand Sancy >>>> Up 6lb to 143
  • Southfield Stone >>>> Remains on 140

Rathhill was sent off favourite for the Tolworth on the back of an easy victory at Newbury, but he was in trouble some way out as the form horses came to the fore. The best of those was ELIXIR DE NUTZ, a winner on both the Old and New courses at Cheltenham this season, his victory on the latter track on December 14 emphatically boosted by the runner-up, Jarveys Plate, who won the Ballymore trial by 13 lengths on New Year’s Day. Elixir De Nutz was giving him 10lb, too, so he came into the Tolworth with solid claims and he showed his qualities once again, jumping well and making all and showing a good attitude to see off Grand Sancy. It sounds like he’ll head straight to the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle where he’ll bid to do a Summerville Boy, who did the Tolworth- Supreme double last year. This race has been a good trial for the Betfair Hurdle in recent years, too, with third home Agrapart winning the Newbury highlight in 2016 while last year’s runner-up Kalashnikov also triumphed in the valuable handicap. With that in mind, GRAND SANCY has to be on the radar for Newbury, as he’ll have solid claims despite a 6lb rise to 143. He had a tendency of racing too keenly earlier in the season, but a more professional run in the Betfair Exchange Trophy at Ascot was the turning point for him and he ran a super race in defeat here. He settled well despite the small field, travelled the best and was just edged out by a very good horse. He’s on the up and early prices of 20/1 for the Betfair Hurdle look big. We'll add him to the My Stable list as well.


The Weighed In My Stable

  • Born Survivor (added 6/11/2018)
  • Smaoineamh Alainn (added 13/11/2018)
  • Theatre Territory (added 20/11/2018)
  • Doux Pretender (added 27/11/2018)
  • Foxtail Hill (added 18/12/2018)
  • Lisnager Oscar (added 18/12/2018)
  • Catamaran Du Seuil (added 08/01/2018)
  • Call To Order (added 08/01/2018)
  • Grand Sancy (added 08/01/2018)

Weighed In My Stable Winners: Warriors Tale (15/2), Doitforthevillage (7/1), Larry (7/2).

A few more winners for the eyecatchers list since the ‘Weighed In’ last round-up with Doitforthevillage (7/1) and Larry (7/2) winning at Chepstow and Sandown respectively. They’ve done their job and are removed from the group with fresh blood Catamaran Du Seuil, Call To Order and Grand Sancy coming in.

Foxtail Hill and Born Survivor both ran behind Aso at Cheltenham and I’ll stick with both for now. Foxtail Hill is down a further 3lb to 132 and is really well treated, so he’s worth one more go to revive old glories while I’m not sure Born Survivor is a Cheltenham horse. He’s down 1lb and remains of interest away from Prestbury Park.

I haven’t got the same patience with Bishops Road who put in another laboured effort in the Veterans’ Final on Saturday. He wasn’t dropped any further from his current mark of 137 by the handicapper and so it’s time to wave goodbye.

Looking at the upcoming entries, Theatre Territory was added to the list for a big Aintree fences handicap rather than a two-runner novice chase at Doncaster, but we’ll see how she goes on Wednesday before deciding if she stays with us for the spring.

Finally, Doux Pretender was added after winning at Ascot in November in the hope he’d be aimed at the Lanzarote, so it’s pleasing to see him among the five-day entries for Saturday’s Kempton handicap. He didn’t run too badly at Cheltenham last time and going handicapping could see him in a much better light.

Principal BHA Ratings updates January 8

  • Aso >>>> Up 5lb to 163
  • Aux Ptits Soins >>>> Up 8lb to 149
  • Beware The Bear >>>> Up 6lb to 152
  • Black Op >>>> Down 4lb to 148
  • Buywise >>>> Up 7lb to 145
  • Call To Order >>>> Dropped 2lb to 124
  • Catamaran Du Seuil >>>> Remains on 141
  • Defi du Seuil >>>> Up 1lb to 151
  • Elixir De Nutz >>>> Up 5lb to 145
  • Grand Sancy >>>> Up 6lb to 143
  • Houblon Des Obeaux >>>> Up 9lb to 144
  • Jarveys Plate >>>> Up 17lb to 143
  • Larry >>>> Up 9lb to 137
  • Le Reve >>>> Down 3lb to 132
  • Lostintranslation >>>> Remains on 149
  • Midnight Shadow >>>> Up 12lb to 158
  • Southfield Stone >>>> Remains on 140

Previous 'Weighed In' columns

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