Lucinda Russell’s Voyage A New York won at Newcastle in February of last year winning by a neck from Sue Smith’s Wakanda, over three miles. Since that race, the latter has gone on to finish fourth in the Grade 1 Mildmay at the Grand National meeting in April, before running up a hat-trick of wins this season.
The Westerner gelding has won Listed races at Wetherby, Newcastle and the Silver Cup at Ascot, taking home more than £100,000 for connections.
Voyage A New York, on the other hand, has being pulled up on two occasions on soft ground, finished last of eight, beaten 67 lengths at Haydock and finishing third of eight, last time out at Wetherby, both on heavy ground.
The key to the differing fortunes can be found in the ground conditions. While Wakanda has flourished in the soft and heavy ground, Voyage A New York has regressed in the horrid conditions.
The seven-year-old has fallen 15lbs since that win at Newcastle 12 months ago and is expected to come down again in the ratings following his defeat last weekend. The French bred has won both of his national hunt races in February and March on good to soft ground and, with his mark now at a career low, the Kapgarde gelding should be monitored when conditions are back in his favour.
The Venetia Williams-trained Vivaccio won a two-mile Handicap Novice Chase and a Handicap Chase over the same distance back in November and December of 2014. His last win came at Ludlow winning by five lengths under Aiden Coleman from a mark of 125.
The seven-year-old was then raised 14lb for that win, which basically put the geldings’ career on hold as he was forced to run in grades beyond his capabilities. In seven runs since, Vivaccio has unseated (twice), pulled up and being beaten a total of 133 lengths.
Add to that the French-bred has only run on his preferred good to soft just once, albeit over two mile four-and-a-half furlongs, plus he has even been forced to run in grades far above his talent. Vicaccio is back down to a winning mark following his turbulent year. Good to soft ground over two miles in Class 3 or below contests and possibly at Ludow, could see this horse back in the winners’ enclosure.
Fergal O’Brien’s Owen Na View has being running on soft and heavy in November and December on three occasions, eventually beaten a total of 65 lengths. The handicap chaser last won over the bigger obstacles in June last year from a mark of 135.
The Presenting gelding is down to being rated 122 currently and has enough in the locker to win again. Preferable conditions are good ground, racing between two miles and two miles one furlong, in class 3 or 4 contests and ridden by Paddy Brennan, who does get the best out of Owen Na View.
These are just three of around a dozen horses that will be ready to win when reappearing on suitable ground and back to an official rating advantageous to them.
Since November the three runners mentioned have run on soft or heavy ground with form of U34655P83 meaning, together, their record on such ground is now nought from 24. Add to those figures, the 20 times the runners have been beaten since their last win, dropping a total of 27lbs between them, you will see a lot of work has gone in to what may be a profitable couple of weeks when the ‘conditions’ change.
I’m well aware I’m not reinventing the wheel here, just merely highlighting a number of points that may benefit, you, the reader, in the coming weeks.