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26 Sep 10 20:38
Date Joined: 13 Oct 04
| Topic/replies: 29,355 | Blogger: Howdi's blog
Isnt it about time he went novice chasing?
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Report Masterminded September 26, 2010 8:44 PM BST
yes i was thinking the same. i believe hes staying over hurdles tho..
Report Howdi September 26, 2010 8:56 PM BST
heard the same pal.
Report dej99 September 26, 2010 9:13 PM BST
He's going novice chasing!!!
Report Howdi September 26, 2010 9:30 PM BST

surprised he hasn't poopped up in the betting for it.
Report CVByrne September 26, 2010 9:51 PM BST
Hmmm, I've a feeling he's tired of it all and won't cut it at chasing. I love the horse, mega win for me that Champion last year. But he was so so poor last season that he might be finished ala Katchit.
Report 3132 September 26, 2010 10:19 PM BST
Maybe chasing will get him going again CV...couple of easy pipe openers for experience and get his head back in front.

2m Nov Chase division could be incredibly strong this season.
Report CVByrne September 26, 2010 10:25 PM BST
Well at least he has the option of Chasing, something Katchit didn't have. We shall see how he takes to the fences.
Report TD_Gunner September 26, 2010 11:53 PM BST
Seriously overrated horse, won one of the worst ever champion hurdles.

Binocular proved last time that he was probably about 50% in 09.
Report 3132 September 27, 2010 7:58 AM BST
Henderson says he's came back in bigger/stronger than ever...but has yet to jump a fence so probably be a while before he's out yet.
Report aka September 27, 2010 11:35 AM BST
Not the most obvious type to make a chaser perhaps (height wise particularly), though athletic enough and so might take to it.

I guess most recent Arkle winners are horses that started out over hurdles only as a preparation for chasing i.e. they were marked out from an early point as chasers in the making. Punjabi would be coming at it from a different angle in the sense that he was effectively a specialist hurdler who is now being switched to fences because, as Henderson indicates, he is probably no longer quite good enough to cut it over hurdles against the very best. It is not the most promising way to be starting out over fences perhaps, but it'll be interesting to see how it goes.
Report TD_Gunner September 27, 2010 11:51 AM BST
Exactly the same with Celestial Halo ^

I'll be looking to oppose both horses this season if they do go chasing as I follow the same viewpoint as you aka with regards to the Arkle. You need a horse that has always had the cliche of 'whatever he does over hurdles will be a bonus' IMO.
Report CVByrne September 27, 2010 1:40 PM BST
Totally agree, only going chasing because of failure over hurdles.
Report rogerthebutler September 27, 2010 2:50 PM BST
Aka / TD / CVB


Whenever I hear the term 'one more season over hurdles before he goes chasing' I mentally put a line through the horse as a serious betting proposition. To me, it's another season's worth of picking up bad habits over the smaller obstacles.
Report abbott September 27, 2010 2:50 PM BST
winning a Champ hrdle is hardly failure CV ;)
I love this horse but if hes going over fences its because he isnt as good as he was and that would put me of him for the arkle. that said he should be able to win a few races.
Report R Carver September 27, 2010 4:09 PM BST
Terrific horse, placed in a champion, won a champion, a fighting fifth, won an adonis, placed in the triumph, 2nd at liverpool, womn the irish 4yr old race, 2nd off top weight in the totesport, won the punchestown champion hurdle, placed in the punchestown champion hurdle... horse is brilliant, a real battler, not imo quite to class in comparisson to the great 2 milers,  but a wonderful horse. Chasing? I dont like the sound of it, but where else to go with him?
Report CVByrne September 27, 2010 4:34 PM BST
I knew I should have put in that their hurdling careers have become a failure to compete. I know winning three grade one hurdling races including the champion is not failure. I love jabbers, but along with katchit he was never to class.

Anyway, the best rated hurdler probably won't win the arkle this year me thinks.
Report CVByrne September 27, 2010 4:37 PM BST
RC you using a smartphone with swype too?

to instead of top always happens with swype on my phone.
Report R Carver September 27, 2010 5:34 PM BST
Sorry CVB, fell asleep! Liquid lunch! No, not on a smart phone.. The LL may also explain the 'to' rather than the 'top' error !
Report R Carver September 27, 2010 5:35 PM BST
Agree too regarding the Arkle btw.
Report Wayward Lad September 27, 2010 5:41 PM BST
CV and CR: we wont know who the "best-rated" hurdler will be until they line up for the Arkle next March.
Report R Carver September 27, 2010 5:46 PM BST
That's true - i was thinking of the highest rated hurdler at this stage.
Report rhinestone September 27, 2010 7:30 PM BST
Don't see him as a chaser myself.
Report CVByrne September 27, 2010 11:20 PM BST
Well yes, I mean that horses like Punjabi and Celestial Halo are going chasing because they are no longer able to compete at a high level in the 2 mile hurdling division. So it's not a career change that was planned, nor would it inspire confidence in one to back either horse. Three or four seasons over hurdles is also less than the ideal time to be switched to fences.

I would prefer to back a horse who has had a career in chasing in mind from an early stage, horses like Mikael D'Haguenet and Sang Bleu were always going chasing after seasons novice hurdling. While horses like CAJ and Walkon were young enough to have a go at the Champion with a view to chasing in the future. A situation that was similar to Sizing Europe, a horse that spent a year too long in the hurdling division.
Report Wayward Lad September 28, 2010 1:38 PM BST
That is the dilemma CV. Both Punjabi and Celestial Halo have more than repaid their respective owners in deed and prizemoney over hurdles - committing them now to chasing, perhaps 2 years after when initially planned, could be considered "money-grabbing".
That said, if Celestial Halo can jump at speed and, in doing so, capitalise on his front-running tactics; then he'll rip the novice chase ranks apart! We'll have to wait and see how he gets on when he jumps a fence on the course.
As for Punjabi, I feel he will follow a similar career-path as French Opera. He has been able to compete with big weights in hurdle handicaps, and likely he'll be asked to do the same over fences.
But at this stage, I reckon you could pick a dozen novice chasers - all with huge potential - and not find the winner of next March's Arkle. Its wide-open and hugely exciting.
Bring it on!
Report CVByrne September 28, 2010 8:52 PM BST
Agreed Wayward, Celestial Halo's style would make him a formidable chaser if he takes to fences well. He is a high class horse. The Arkle and Champion hurdle have always been the two best races for me, always competitive. The Arkle is really wide open this year. Very interesting mix of horses, going to be tricky to find the winner.
Report revedesivola September 28, 2010 8:55 PM BST
very hard to know what to do with very good 2m hurdlers which are just not good enuf to win the champion hurdle. often they are off the flat or flat bred so dont jump that well. tricky 1!
Report millhouse September 28, 2010 9:06 PM BST
Not sure what this 'sending them chasing 2 years after planned' stuff is all about - Punjabi is seven, and Celestial Halo is six...??
Report Wayward Lad September 29, 2010 9:02 AM BST
millhouse: When Celestial Halo won the Triumph (as a 4yo) it came as a bit of a surprise to connections as he was expected to go chasing as a 4yo-5yo in 2008-09. Having won the Triumph, instead of going novice chasing in 2008-09, he continued hurdling (the intention being to go novice chasing in 2009-10). He ended that season running 2nd in the Champion Hurdle; so he continued a hurdler in 2009-10.
Having reached his ceiling as a hurdler (and not won the Champion Hurdle) he goes chasing in 2010-11, 2 seasons (years) after originally planned in 2008-09. Its all been well discussed on these forums, and I remember there was a lot of debate as to whether the horse remained a hurdler in 2008-09 or went novice chasing.
Punjabi? Well, after not winning the Triumph in 2006-07, and then running 3rd in the 2007-08 Champion Hurdle behind Katchit, Henderson sent the horse flat racing presumably as he considered him unsuitable for chasing. No doubt about it, Punjabi was the 2nd-string by a long way to Binocular in 2008-09, and his Champion Hurdle win was a bit of a surprise for everyone. Had he not won the Champion Hurdle in 2009, I reckon he'd have gone chasing last season - but I think that Punjabi is one of those horses that nobody (even Henderson) can get a handle on and, despite having plenty of talent, he only really puts-out when he wants to. We could see a revitalised horse, or we could see him spit the dummy out and not co-operate.
Report R Carver September 29, 2010 12:31 PM BST
Wayward - 'I think that Punjabi is one of those horses that nobody (even Henderson) can get a handle on and, despite having plenty of talent, he only really puts-out when he wants to' - i assume you mean Henderson cannot get a handle on him now, and Punjabi only puts out now when he wants to? Because those comments cannot be applied to the horse (or trainer!) when this horse was in his peak. he was incredibly consistent and tough and could never be accused on non-trying. 

I just think he was never quite top top class (but won his big races anyway), there are some really smart 2 milers around now, the horse has had plenty of really tough races, has plenty of miles on the clock, and as a consequence cannot cut it against the really good 2 milers hence they are going chasing.
Report abbott September 29, 2010 2:47 PM BST
' Henderson sent the horse flat racing presumably as he considered him unsuitable for chasing. '

This was not the case. Punjabi was sent to the flat to help him settle in his races. This worked well and it didnt take a genuis to see that horse that managed 3rd one year when not settleing could produce a better performance once he was able to settle.
Report Wayward Lad September 29, 2010 4:42 PM BST
I've been a supporter of Punjabi since he did me proud when winning at Punchestown in April 2008, so I'm not poking him with a stick for the fun of it.
If you take away his facile win at Kempton last Feb, then all his runs were not a patch on his performances last season when (I admit) he was not just consistent, but progressive (I still did not back him for his Champion Hurdle win tho'). In the 4 races which he did not win last season, he had no excuses (and I'm not aware of Henderson offering any either); he had the going, trip, fitness and jockey all in his favour. I'm sure that a trainer of Hendersons capability would find a key to him if there was one.
If horses could talk, then perhaps Punjabi would tell us why he didn't beat Medermit at Haydock, or didn't finish closer to Binocular at Cheltenham.
Perhaps, if Abbott's comment is taken seriously (he clearly must've won a fortune on the horse in the Champion Hurdle of 2009 when it won at 22/1 as the formlines were so obvious to his genius) then Henderson has settled the horse a bit to well to the point were he's now going backwards. Me? I think Punjabi bored with hurdling.
As I said in my post earlier, Punjabi has plenty of talent and I hope we see a revitalised horse when he goes chasing.
Report abbott September 29, 2010 4:56 PM BST
I did win a fortune on him that race ;) so my view might be slightly clouded but that was the reason that he was sent to the flat as watched an interview with Nicky.

Im not sure what to think about the coming season but what I would say is last season's champion hurdle was a strange one and I for one wont be taking the form as rock solid.
Report R Carver September 29, 2010 6:09 PM BST
Wayward - In the 4 races which he did not win last season, he had no excuses (and I'm not aware of Henderson offering any either); he had the going, trip, fitness and jockey all in his favour.

This is not my understanding -

Henderson did say the horse would not be spot on in the bula, so thats a legit excuse, he was actually the horse many people took out of the race - he travelled great and blew up, as the trainer predicted.

possibly at haydock NJH said the same thing, which would also be an excuse.

He's always said the horse needs buckets of work, hence they ran him at kempers as a prep for march.

I think they said they thought he made a noise in the champion. thats possibly an excuse too.

However! I like you really love the horse, but thought he was basically disappointing in march (never thought he could win the race tho) and slightly at haydock too (thought he had a chance, though think he had a penalty). obviously his final run was shocking at a track he loves.  I didn't back him once.

I think he may need freshnening up to rekindle his enthusiasm, and fences might do it. But i think he's had a hard career, done brilliantly, and cannot now quite hack it at the top level over hurdles. In many respects he is just like his contemporary katchit, except he has lasted even longer and now has fences as an option.
Report TD_Gunner September 29, 2010 6:16 PM BST
A lot of excuses in there R C.
Report Far From Trouble September 29, 2010 6:19 PM BST
Punjabi gone at the game imo
Report R Carver September 29, 2010 6:27 PM BST
Defo TD!! - a lot of excuses!

i'm not making them tho, and i'm not saying he'd have won any of those races without them (thats even if they are legit) i'm just saying Wayward was wrong to say he had no excuses last season. Not being fit once or possibly twice is a great excuse, posibly making a noise might be an excuse. But if he had been A1 in all those races would he have won them? We cannot say but if i had to gamble on it, i'd leave my money in my pocket!

TDG - you been away for a week or two?
Report TD_Gunner September 29, 2010 6:36 PM BST
No mate, was away for a couple of weeks last month, but been around recently!

Just looking forward to the jumps now the flat (yawn) is coming to the end [:)]
Report R Carver September 29, 2010 6:43 PM BST
Same here! its been truly awful!
Report millhouse September 29, 2010 7:20 PM BST
My view on Punjabi, for what it's worth, is that he really wants decent ground - when he gets that he usually puts up top class performances.

What happened in this year's Champion I don't know, but you didn't get the feeling that the trainer felt he had him right for that race, imo - as was emphasised with the last of eleven runners in the Grade One hurdle at Punchestown straight afterwards...
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