Not a typical winner….

Last Updated: 30.11.2021

Tuesday, 30th November 2021                                                                    

Not a typical winner….

GR – longstanding friend of this column – asks how closely Ladbrokes Trophy winner Cloudy Glen matched the race trends set out by previous winners of the race….

Good question. One worth providing answers to….

And GR is right when he adds that a few lines of coverage along these lines for the biggest races would be a worthwhile addition to the column.

Why didn’t I think of it myself? Sometimes you don’t see the wood for trees….

  • Boxes unticked....

Venetia Williams’ charge did tick some of the key statistical boxes outlined last week….

For a start, he’s an 8yo – and now 22 of the last 25 winners were aged 6 to 8. But we must weigh against that the fact that only 4 of Saturday’s 21 runners were younger than 6 or older than 8….

Cloudy Glen had also won over 3m+ like 22 of his 24 predecessors. And he’d had 4+ runs over fences prior to Saturday….

He’d only won a single handicap over fences too – only 6 of the last 25 winners had won more such races heading into Newbury….

But that’s where the similarities – between Cloudy Glen and most of the previous winners – end….

And that’s not wholly surprising….

When a horse wins a big race like the Ladbrokes Trophy sent off at 33s – with a dozen horses in the field shorter in the betting – it’s probably odds-on he’s an outlier on a variety of statistical scales….

Not too many big-race winners at that kind of price measure up to the blueprint – whatever the blueprint happens to be….

  • Profile busting….

Cloudy Glen had never previously produced a performance worth 153+ on the Racing Post rating scale – unlike 19 of the previous 24 winners….

Nor had he produced a performance worth 132+ on the Topspeed scale – unlike 19 of the previous 24 winners….

Indeed, he only managed to scale those specific heights on Saturday – winning with a performance that earned 154 on the RPR scale and 132 on the Topspeed equivalent….

His chase strike rate of 14.3% heading into the race was considerably lower than the 40% ratio boasted by 18 of the previous 27 winners….

Having had 14 previous goes over fences he was a little more experienced than your general Ladbrokes Trophy winner….

And he’d never raced at Newbury – unlike 17 of the previous 24 winners….

All things considered – you have to put Cloudy Glen down as an out-and-out profile buster….

  • The improvers....

Taking the race as a whole – from the tapes going up to the finishing post – only three horses really figured….

The winner improved his previous best on the RPR scale by 7lbs….

Whilst the horse that was chasing him down at the line – Fiddlerontheroof – improved his previous peak rating by 6lbs….

Maybe Colin Tizzard’s charge would have got closer still – he was beaten 0.5 lengths at the line – had Remastered’s fall not deprived him of a little momentum just as Cloudy Glen was kicking on up the straight under Charlie Deutsch….

But that’s all ifs, buts and maybe….

Take nothing away from Cloudy Glen. He put it up to them from quite a way out and it would have been a tough beat had he been collared in the shadow of the post….

Fiddlerontheroof proved to be the best horse in the race at the weights (a moral victory) and given it was his 9th go over fences – compared to Cloudy Glen’s 15th – he’s the one most likely to kick on to greater heights still….

It was no surprise yesterday to learn that Colin Tizzard thinks of him as a possible for the King George over Christmas….

That race comes pretty quickly though. And you wonder if Fiddlerontheroof will need more time to recover from a tough race that might well leave a mark on quite a few runners. Plenty finished tired….

  • Into the notebook....

The other one that improved on what he’d produced before was David Pipe’s Remastered – despite crashing out of the race four fences from home….

We’ll never know how he might have fared had he stood up. The fall came too far out to say for sure that he would have won….

But he was certainly going well enough at the time to suggest he’d have played a big hand in the finish….

He did enough to earn himself an RPR of 155 under 3lb claimer Fergus Gillard – 3lbs in advance of his previous best….

Had he finished the race I think it’s odds-on he’d have improved further still – and the 8yo will have gone into plenty of notebooks on the back of his performance and the visual impression he made as he travelled into the race. He’s certainly going into mine….

And let’s not overlook the fact that David Pipe was well out of form heading into the Newbury meeting. His last 72 runners have produced just 3 winners – his yard is a long way from flying right now….

Viewing things from that perspective, Remastered’s performance on Saturday looks better still…

It’s worth noting that horses that buck those kind of prevailing trends within a yard can turn out to be pretty good. Doing what other inmates can’t in times of trouble is sometimes a signal of overall superiority….

Take a certain Fiddlerontheroof, for example. He was very consistent against good horses for almost the entirety of last season. He had 7 races over fences and posted RPRs of 149, 150,150, 151, 148, 161 & 116….

With the exception of that last performance – when he was probably over the top – he produced a solid sequence spanning a period during which the Tizzard yard endured a really miserable time….

It was a clue of sorts – that he might be a proper good horse. Remastered gave off a similar clue on Saturday….

  • The final word….

That’s all for today. Back tomorrow. Meanwhile….

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Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd