Mark Howard Publications Ltd

Happy New Year

31-December-2021 14:34
in General
by Admin

It was hoped Vauban could provide the Top 40 Prospects with another winner of the final day of 2021 but it wasn't to be with the French recruit failing by half a length in the three year old maiden hurdle at Punchestown. However, the Listed Flat winner still emerged with plenty of credit and looks a smart jumper in the making. Back as though defeat was out of the question, Paul Townend's mount came under pressure on the hometurn but responded and was gaining on another ex-Flat racer Pied Piper approaching the final flight. He got underneath the hurdle though and lost momentum. In contrast, Gordon Elliott's winner landed running and that proved the difference as Vauban rallied on the run-in but found the winning post coming too soon. It was fifteen lengths back to third. It was the trainer's sixth win in the last during the last ten years.

Ironically, Pied Piper was highlighted as a horse to follow in the November Update and, while he had his quirks on the level (wore headgear on six of his starts during 2021), he is talented earning a rating of 96. Formerly owned by the Queen, he was bought for 225,000gns and is a horse with gears. Indeed, he seemed to have more natural pace than the runner-up, plus more experience (raced 11 times on the Flat). Paul Townend rightly switched Vauban to the inside when the winner edged left before the final hurdle but, in doing so, he didn't have a lot of room over the last and that may have been why he got in close and lost ground. The inner track at Punchestown is sharp and places an emphasis on speed. Elliott believes there is a lot of improvement to come from Pied Piper but the same applies to the runner-up. If the pair met again on a stiffer track, preference would be for Vauban. Either way, they both look very good recruits to the juvenile hurdle ranks. 

One piece of sad news to report from the Festive period is that the useful mare Sayce Gold broke a shoulder when falling at the sixth fence in the Grade 2 Dawn Run Mares' Novice Chase at Limerick on Tuesday. Trained by Michael Winters and owned by the late Trevor Hemmings, she won twice over hurdles. 

Finally, well done to who had another successful year - the syndicate had 100 runners during 2021 producing 21 winners, 17 seconds and 10 thirds and earning prize-money of £163,861. 

I would like to take the opportunity to wish all subscribers and contributors a healthy and prosperous 2022 and thank you once again for all your continued support, it is much appreciated.


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