Friday, 19 March 2021

Cheltenham 2021 - Day Four

 JCB Triumph Hurdle

If you were thinking of backing Quilixios at yestderday's 9/2. Think again, the bookies are taking no chances with Rachel Blackmore's fancies today. I'm going to have to say that Adagio is now the only value in this. The top 3 in the market look good though, and I do expect them to fill the places. The devil in me wonders whether Historic Heart or Talking About You might become a non-runner later on today 😉

BET

ADAGIO @ 16/1. 


McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle


we can rule out the non-hurdlers last time out (in red). 

The last 6 runnings have gone to either Willie Mullins or Dan Skelton.

Mullins has Buildmeupbuttercup, Ciel De Neige, Ganapathi, Getaway Gorgeous and Captain Kangaroo. Of these only Ganapathi is one i'd be interested in, he's a lightly raced novice in the stype of last year's winner, Saint Roi. He is 6/1, so no hidden gem.

Skelton's Third Time Lucki isn't his usual type for this, and is passed over this year.

Champagne Gold was 14/1 a couple of days ago, however Rachel's on board so the price has halved, would have been my bet so keep in the placepot. Fifty Ball was 2nd in the Betfair and before that won 2 handicaps, there maybe more to come from him. 

There is nothing stand out at a price. I want to advise Champagne Gold, and if he drifts he'd be a bet, however I can only see 7/1 at the moment. Not a race I was to go mad on. So just one.

BET

FIFTY BALL @ 14/1, general. 7 places Paddy Power


Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle


I typically aim for Graded winners in this race and that naturally points to 3 of the 4 horses here (the other is Fakiera, but only  Grade 3). 

Adrimel, Alaphilippe and The Cob have all won Grade 2 races this season (Adrimel's was over 2m5). The Cob has come from handicapping, something I'm not too keen on, so he'd be the one to drop if any.

Tom Lacey is 0 from 24 in the last month, so that's a worry for Adrimel. Ben Pauling is 0 from 24 in the last fortnight (2/51 month), not good for The Cob.

Short and sweet.

ALAPHILLIPE @ 14/1, genral. Betfair 5 places.


Wellchild Cheltenham Gold Cup

We have a Gold Cup where many of last years runners meet again. Apart fron Native River and Frodon, the brits have disappointed. The ground should be agianst Native River and Frodon surely won't stay. They may both front run too, which will hinder their chances.

Novice Royal Pagaille has to overcome a couple of negatives, firstly he's come from a handicap (the limited Group 2, Peterborough Chase) and has yet to win a Group 1 Chase. 

Minella Indo, Aso, Black Op and Santini also fail this stat.

Kemboy looks a little exposed for this now and hasn't done too well at the festival before.

Lets concentrate where it will be won. Either Al Boum Photo will either score his hattrick, A Plus Tard will sneak into contention like Sizing John did, or Champ will may three errors, befor steaming up the hill a la Lord Windermere.

Of course the Rachel Blackmore effect has halved APT's price at a stroke. 5/1 was a lovely price, 3/1 not so. Let's see if the price drifts again over the morning.

It looks like a no-bet Gold Cup for me. A Plus Tard would be the selection, 7/2 at the moment, still not a price to tempt me. 

NO BET 


St James's Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunter's Chase


Last years winner It Came To Pass is back for another tilt. You won't be getting the 66/1 this time. He unseated on his last run, and wasn't running well at the time. He would have need that run after 3 months off, although you'd have liked him to have run better. 

There's plenty of last years field back for more - Billaway (2nd), Staker Wallace (4th), Law Of Gold (7th). Only Billaway ticks boxes for us this year. 

Hazel Hill won 2 seasons ago (was a non-runner last year). He'd be a little older than most winners at 13. In the same stable are Salvatore and Wishing And Hoping. British-bred horses haven't been having a great time in this and that would be a negative against Salvatore, as well as Latenightpass and Red Indian.

Wishing And Hoping was well beaten by Bob And Co last time, but 2m 6 won't have suited.  He's not from a Point-To-Point background though and that a negative here. 

The GB-bred stat is the only negative about Salvatore. He won over this trip last time.


Realistically on the ratings, the only horses liekly to win are Billaway, Bob and Co and It Came To Pass. Bob And Co has limited experience (twice in France) of these drying conditions. 


BET

IT CAME TO PASS @ 8/1, general

SALVATORE e/w @ 33/1, Bet 365, Paddy Power



Mrs Paddy Power Mares' Chase


The first running of the Mares' Chase and its attracted a decent field. I used the Ryanair Chase as the template for some of the trends and the results are above. An obvious place to start would be Willie Mullins trained horses as he does well with purchasing and training them.

Colreevy hasn't troubled the judge in her first 2 runs at the festival, 7th in the Bumper (2018) and 5th in last years' Mare Novices' Hurdle. She's won all 3 of her starts over fences though, including a 12 length beating of Mount Ida (won the Kim Muir yesterday).

Elimay sets the standard thought. Only 3 lengths behind Ryanair winner Allaho in January, she then put Shattered Love in her place over the minimum trip.. She is a worthy favourite.

Salsaretta won her first four starts, including a Grade 2 Chase on the way, she's come unstuck in her last 2 races.

Caberet Queen is the outsider of these 4, although the 25/1 may not last long if Rachel Blackmore has any winners earlier in the day.

Of the rest, Magic Of Light is a former Grand National runner-up and this is surely too short for her, especially on decent ground. Shattered Love shouldn't be ruled out, though beaten by Elimay last time, she didn't jump well early before running on into 2nd. She has won the Marsh (Was JLT) Chase in 2018.

Difficult to see past the favourite. A no bet race for me.


Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle




Most winners in this race have no stamina issues, having raced over further in their fledgling hurdling careers. Graded form of any kind fits may of them as well.

Fire Attack looks perfect on the trends but doesn't fit that particular trait. Its been a Gigginstown Stud benefit since the start, but he's also untried on the drying ground.

Galopin Des Champs is one to consider, his "failure" is not top 3 last time, but he was 6th to Appreciate It in the 2m Grade 1 at Leopardstown.

Gabynako ran 8 lengths behind Bob Olinger (won weds), earlier in the season over this trip. Another not hidden by the market.

Frontal Assault ticks lots of boxes, but hasn't shown enough to say he'll win this.

Gentleman De Mee looks a typical Ex-French, Willie Mullins hotpot, just 3 runs, including a nice win on Irish debut. He's 3/1, but I'd have thought County Hurdle was his race.

Langer Dan won easily 6 days ago, don't even think he really came of the bridle. I'm not usually one for racing again so quickly, but it can be done. Steps up in trip today.

If you need a get out horse, maybe First Lord De Cuet will be the answer. He wen't up 10lb for winning last time out. He doesn't have the Graded form of the favourites, but ticks pleny of other boxes.


The market looks to have everything sorted, and I expect the winner to come from those. I have to back Fire Attack on the trends.

BET

FIRE ATTACK @ 12/1, bet365



Thursday, 18 March 2021

Cheltenham 2021 - Day Three

 Marsh Novices' Chase


Going to be difficult to to stop Envoi Allen here. I'd take Fusil Raffles over Chantry House anyday, so 18/1 looks too big. Shan Blue to also fill the frame.

Updated odds give Shan Blue a nice each way price.

BET

Shan Blue e/w @ 12/1 - Bet365


Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle



Southfield Harvest & Getaround now non-runners


Favourite Imperial Alcazar is perfect on the trends. He should go very close. 

Dandy Mag wil be quite popular for Mullins/Townend, however French-Breds have a poor record in this. 

Champagne Harvest looks a little inexperienced for this, but has the right profile.

Anything Will Do is a big price. He's finished 5th in big fields over this trip, but little to completely dismiss him.

Mrs Milner has run well here before, but has to overcome a fall last time. Plenty of mentions on the preview videos.

Redford Road, former Grade 1 winner over C & D last season. Went chasing, discovered he wasn't great at it and qualified for this on his first run back. Some graded winners just don't perform in big bustling handicaps, so that would have to be taken on trust.

Come On Teddy is another C & D winner, with only a 5 length defeat to Imperial Alcazar last time. I will say that Tom George is 1 place from 12 runners in the last fortnight. Jockey, Jonathan Burke is winless in his last 31 rides in the last 14 days as well.


BET

IMPERIAL ALCAZAR @ 6/1 - Bet365

REDFORD ROAD e/w @ 40/1 - Bet365



Ryanair Chase

Dashel Drasher & Real Steel additional non-runners.


Absolutely wide open. Imperial Aura and Mr Fisher haven't won a Grade 1 Chase yet. The Irish have Allaho and Min, and we can't discount Samcro or Melon either. There's no real each-way option and I may have a put on one closer to the race, especially if the ground dries.



Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle

Paisley Park looks back to his best after his last run. This has a stronger feel about it this year. Sire De Berlais won the Pertemps off top weight last year and that gives him a good chance here. Last year's winner Lisnagar Oscar also has a decent chance again, but is now much shorter. And you throw in Grade 1 winner, Flooring Porter, ultraconsistent The Story Teller, and Vinndication, back over hurdles, and you have a craicking race. 

If the ground dried out further, If The Cap Fits, is a Grade 1, 3 mile winner, good ground winner, although he's been chasing this season, so it would be tough to win this from that campaign.


At the current prices, Flooring Porter looks the value.

BET

FLOORING PORTER @ 14/1, 5 places with Paddy Power 



Paddy Power Plate Handicap Chase (Mildmay Of Flete)



Smarty Wild & Laskalin are non runners.

It generally pays to stick to Novices or Second Season Chasers in these events. Just over half the field will be those this time.

The Shunter is short enough in the market now, going for the bonus. He was entered into half a dozen handicaps, and this looks the right one for him.

Wave Of The Sea is only 5, only 2 have run in this in the last decade, but he''' be a better class than those 2 as he was a Grade 1 Juvenile winner just last season. Not sure the ground will suit him today.

Farclas also won the Triumph here a in 2018. He will love better ground and has to go close.


Of the outsiders. I can't give you much really. Maypole Class has been climbing the weights, but in small fields, and seems to struggle in bigger. Sully d'Oc AA has a chance, has been off for 111 days though and although winning off a break earlier in the season, its always tougher here. Fils D'Oudaries has been running at the top level, but has been running of soft and heavy ground. Champagne Court  is out of form this season. The Unit is pretty consistent and has been kept to mainly better ground

Of the older horses. Mr Whitaker, Paddy's Poem and Dead Right all have form on good ground.

There isn't a bet on the youngsters at a price, with The Shunter & Farclas up there and nothing too exciting on the ground. Mr Whitaker loves the track and after not getting 3 miles, he's back to his proper trip.


BET

MR WHITAKER @ 16/1, 5 places



Parnell Properties Mares' Novices' Hurdle


Hook Up was 4th to Appreciate It last time and the 3rd was booked for second on tuesday before falling at the last. He doesn't tick lots of boxes, but it is an embryonic race still. Willie Mullins has won them all, but all bar one is a single figure price this time. Tellmesomethinggirl is Irish trained, by Henry De Bromhead, and ticks more boxes than Hook Up. She ws 3 1/2 lengths behind Heaven Help Us (bolted up yesterday). Royal Kahala seems at home on softer ground and that has to be a worry, as does Skyace. The Glancing Queen ran well here in the bumper and runs well without winning, ground will be ok. Pont Aval is Mullins, but will need to find more here.

Can't see myself having a bet at the moment, but the strong form of Hook Up and Tellmesomethinggirl sways me towards those.


Fulke Walwyn/Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase


A few renew their rivalry here. Kifilium Cross (2nd), Bob Mahler (3rd), Plan Of Attack (4th) and Diese Aba (5th) the ones at the business end 12 months ago. They are all lower in the handicap, apart from Diese Aba (same). Kilfilium Cross (age) and Bob Mahler (chase runs) have just tipped over the edge for a strong punt. Plan Of Attack is still on trend, but isn't hidden in the market. Hold The Note (still a novice), perfect here but is also a single digit price.

Mount Ida, Musical Slave and Morning Vicar haven't run over 3 miles yet and have to be opposed in this stamina test.

French-Bred's don't have a good record and this rules out these two. Cobolobo and Didero Vallis.

Sizing at Midnight hasn't completed the last twice.


Purely on their race last year, and their prices

BET

KILFILUM CROSS @ 18/1, Skybet 6 places

BOB MAHLER @ 22/1, WH or 5 places (20/1 Skybet, 6 places)







Wednesday, 17 March 2021

 Ballymore Novices' Hurdle


No bet here, but preference is for Bob Olinger over Bravemansgame. 

Gaillard Du Mesnil is a 5yo and they have a terrible record in this race. Bear Ghylls is a nice horse too, but no each way here.



Brown Advisory Novices' Chase


Another easy race. Monkfish should win.


Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle


Finally, a race to lose some money on.  Red horses here are those that didn't run in a hurdle last time and will be discounted regardless.

The pin came down on 4 horses, Grand Roi (11/2), however he's a little short, and we haven't seen a Gordon Elliott, sorry Sneezy Foster horse challenge the scorers yet. 

The other three are all Nicky Henderson trained and he has an excellent record in this race, saddling the last 2 winners.

 Janika has had just the one run this season, after a wind operation. He was well beaten that day, but will have needed the run. He was thumped by Craigneiche (15/2) and he also on the shortlist. Perfect on trends. Shame about the price as he was double that as well. 

The last one is Monte Cristo, another offering perfect trends.


BETS

Monte Cristo (12/1) - Bet365, Coral

Janika (33/1) - Bet365, Coral


Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase


Chacan Pour Soi should really be winning this one. He's perfect on the trends. People will talk about his lack of Cheltenham form, however Leopardstown is pretty testing at the finish and he handles that well. I don't really think anyone should be near him at the end. First Flow won't be liking the drying ground, so unfortunately he's passed over. One who will like the drying ground is Rouge Vif  and he is of each-way interest.


BET, if ground dries to good ground.

Rouge Vif (25/1) - Bet365, PP


Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase


This revolves around whether Easysland is in the same form as last year. His only run this  season was here when he failed to finish. I'm not taking that price about him. I think Tiger Roll is gone at the game now.  Some Neck is of each way interested, winning the handicap version at the course in December.

At the moment, there is no bet/ If Some Neck gets to 12/1 again, then that will be a bet.



Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase



This is now run on the Old Course on the Wednesday, having been shunted from being the get-out stakes on the friday and then the penultimate race for a couple of years. Trends may not quite have the same relevance on this speedier course.

Last year's winner, Chosen Mate, is the obvious place to start. He's a decent price here, though bigger yesterday. Still ticks plenty of the boxes too and should run well. 

6 of the last 10 winners had previously run in this race. The only other from last season is Us And Them this year. He's a little more exposed than your usual winner and his form figures of 08F7 don't inspire confidence either, but he's one to consider on this ground. 

Glen Forsa (u/r) and Bun Doran (2nd) ran in 2019.

2 winners had run in the County Hurdle. Again this may not have the relevence on the New Course, but for reference, they are Embittered (3rd) and Zanza (21st)

Second-season chasers have a good record in this (and many races at the festival). 2 who tick plenty of boxes are Moonlighter and On The Slopes. The latter ran in a Jumpers BUmper last time, which I don't like so is passed over for a bet.

As i suspect the ground will have dried out by this time, Moonlighter is the e/w pick with bits and pieces of form on better ground.


BET

Moonlighter (16/1) - general

Us And Them (14/1) - Bet365, WH




Weatherbys Champion Bumper


Looks a match between Kilcruit and Sir Gerhard. Preference is for the former, who looks the more typical Willie Mullins type. 

Mares with Graded/Listed form have to be respected and that throws Elle Est Belle and Grangee into the mix, and I will side with Grangee, trained by Mullins as a strong each way pick.


BET
Grangee (22/1) - Bet365, WH, PP


Tuesday, 16 March 2021

 Skybet Supreme Novices' Hurdle


This looks like a battle between the Leopardstown Festival form and the UK form with Metier (Tolworth) and Soaring Glory (Betfair).

Appreciate It won The Leopardstown race easily, beating Ballyadam and Blue Lord, with Irracible in 5th. He looks the one to beat, being a 7yo is a negative, but offers the best form. Ballyadam was closing before whacking the last, but he's been beaten twice now.

Metier will be happy if it starts soft, but ex flat horses don't have a great record in this any more.

Betfair winner sdon't have a great win record, but often run into a place, so Soaring Glory can't be ruled out.

I'm going to give Grumpy Charley a shout for a place. He's run well at Chepstow and will improve here, however this looks between the top 3 in the market. It a no bet from me.


Likely winner: Appreciate It

Possible E/W:  Grumpy Charley

NO BET


Sporting Life Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices' Chase

Allmankind to go off with Numitor like the clappers, Shishkin sits in and picks them up and wins. Next.

Probably not as easy as that and the otrhers are decent horses in their own right. Franco De Port is a Grade 1 winner after all. Apparently Eldorado Allen was supposed to run elsewher, but they left him in the wrong race.


Likely winner: Shishkin

NO BET


Ultima Handicap Chase


Plenty to like about Aye Right, who runs well, but isn't getting a break from the handicapper. He's a little high in the weights but should give a good account of himself. Form is rock solid with places in the CHarlie Hall, Hennessy/Ladbroke and Skybet Chase.

Alnadam gets 5 stars, however his 3 mile win was in a Point To Point and his best form has been over shorter. (similar to The Druid's Nephew in 2015). Into 8/1 this morning, so not an e/w bet.

Happygolucky beat a closing in The Mighty Don (runs in last race). The Racing Post are all over that race, so if he goes in here, The Mighty Don may be of interest, stepped up in trip.

One For The Team has been running well without troubling the judges. Hes a bit short for that form and can't be advised.

Of the outsiders, The Wolf ticks a lot of boxes, but needs a lot more to get involved.

Another race without anything to recommend, however I will suggest 

Likely Winner: AYE RIGHT 

Bet: AYE RIGHT (11/2) - general


Unibet Champion Hurdle

Should be a cracker.


Basically Honeysuckle is perfect and has a big chance after here Irish Champion Hurldle win last time. She's not my kind of price to bet. 

Sharjah ran really well last year and could do so again, especially if the ground dries a little. He's 11/1 at the moment, and my e/w minimum is always 12/1.


Likeliest winner:  Honeysuckle
Possible Each-Way:    Sharjah


Close Brothers Mares' Hurdle


The market has it correct. No bet here. Of the rest Indfatigable won he Martin Pipe last year, steaming up the hill, but has not hit those heights this season.

Likely Winner: Concertista

Possible e/w: Indefatigable


NO BET


Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle



The Fred Winter/Boodles is always a tricky handicap, with the trainer who can hide their horses ability from the handicapper the best, the likeliest winner.

Nassalam had Triumph Hurdle aims until he wasn't good enough, he's top weight, but that is almost irrelvant here. I would'nt rule him out, but there's likely to be a lurker further down.

Willie Mullins has Saint Sam at the top of the market, Willie hasn't had a good record in the race, probably because he doesn't hide his horses. He's one to take on.


Houx Gris ticks lots of boxes, but hasn't run for 2 months. That's usually a negative in this and he's short enough.

Busselton shouldn't be left out, I could see him winning, and there's nothing wrong with a 9/1 winner.


It's a bit of a lottery, but the shortlist is:

Hell Red - Paul Nicholls has a good record in this and this horse has had wind surgey after being pulled-up. His first run back was ok if you are trying to get into this.

Her Indoors - Not that great on the flat, however the form of all 3 of his races look rock solid and I think she can run well. Fillies have a good record in the race, so don't be put off.

Balko Saint - Perfect on trends. Form is decent. 


Each-Way

Hell Red (40/1) - general

Her Indoors (33/1) - Betvictor, 28/1, Bet365

Balko Saint (33/1) - Bet365



Sam Vestey National Hunt Challenge Cup Novices' Chase


I'll keep this short and sweet:

Next Destiniation only has 2 starts, that's a big negative. He was a really good hurdler, but needs experience here.

Galvin is really good, but he's been off for 4 months and he's got soft ground anyway.

Escaria Ten is perfect, he's 4/1 and I won't put you off. However the form of his last 2 races is unknown, with only 2 horses racing since his December win.

Remastered really good Grade 2 win last time. 

Likeliest winner:  Remastered (11/2) Paddypower, Betfred, Boyles

Likeliest e/w:  Snow Leopardess (16/1) - Unibet, 14/1 general


BOTH ARE BETS


Friday, 13 March 2020

Cheltenham 2020 - Day Four

 
JCB TRIUMPH HURDLE
2 Miles 179 Yards, Grade 1 4yo Hurdle

Overview
Pentland Hills bust all the trends last year (most due to his only run being 18 days before). I didn’t rule him out thankfully, but the sad death of Sir Erec put a dampener on the day for all those involved in racing.


Last 10 Winners- average 4.5 stars
2019  **        Pentland Hills (20/1)
2018  ****    Farclas (9/1)
2017  *****  Defi Du Seuil (5/2 fav)
2016  *****  Ivanovich Gorbatov (9/2 fav)
2015  *****  Peace And Co (2/1 fav)
2014  *****  Tiger Roll (10/1)
2013  *****  Our Conor (4/1)
2012  ****    Countrywide Flame (33/1)
2011  *****  Zarkandar (13/2)
2010  *****  Soldatino (6/1)


10-Year Trends
10/10 Had raced within the last 49 days.
  9/10 Had an OR of 84+ on the flat, or did not race on the flat. [Pentland Hills (73)]
  9/10 Were rated within 6lbs of the RPR top rated. [Pentland Hills (21lbs)]
  9/10 Had an Adjusted RPR of at least 149. [OR 140] [Pentland Hills (139]
  9/10 Had won at least 50% of their hurdle races. [Farclas, 2 seconds last year.]
  8/10 Had won a Grade 1 or 2 Hurdle or were 2nd in a Grade 1. [Ivanovich Gorbatov was, a 9 length, 4th in a Grade 1, Pentland Hills won his only start in a Maiden]
  8/10 Had raced over hurdles at least twice. 6 had run either 2 or 3 times. [Zarkandar and Pentland Hills, once]
  8/10 Had won one of their last 2 starts. 6 won their last start. [Exceptions form was ‘23’ and ‘22’ ]
  8/10 Were from a flat Group 1 sire. [1 Exception was a Group 2 sire]
  8/10 Made their hurdles début after November 9th. [Exceptions, Jul 16th and Oct 15th]


Additionally
27 of the last 29 winners had at least 2 runs over hurdles.
20 of the last 26 winners had won last time out.
19 of the last 26 winners had won at least twice over hurdles.
Only 2 winners was rated lower than 80 on the flat since 1996.
11 of the last 15 winners (since the introduction of the Fred Winter) came from the first 4 in the betting.


Trainers (Wins-Places-Runners)
Paul Nicholls 1-2-19
Willie Mullins (Ire) 0-5-20
Joseph O’Brien (Ire) 0-1-3 and 1 under his father’s licence
Alan King 0-1-13


Contenders



Conclusion
Allmankind, Aspire Tower, Goshen and Solo all set the standard here, Solo is top rated and has had the most recent run of the 4. You’d like to see Allmankind run since Christmas and Aspire Tower, since his final flight fall. Sir Psycho seems awfully short on what he’s done so far. Never do Nothing, at a big price, has won a Grade 2, but hasn’t been seen since before Christmas, so fitness would have to be taken on trust. The filly, Burning Victory has one start, they threw her into a Grade 3 first time, and she won. Can’t put you off any at the top of the market, with preference for Solo and Goshen and e/w Burning Victory.


Selections
BURNING VICTORY @ 16/1, Bet365, Betfair/Paddy Power




RANDOX HEALTH COUNTY HANDICAP HURDLE
2 Miles 179 Yards, Grade 3 Handicap Hurdle


Overview
The last 4 winners have come off of a break of at least 80 days. 3 were trained by Dan Skelton. He runs only Mohaayed (won in 2018). He’s dropped down the handicap and is 3lb higher than 2 years ago and has had a wind operation. Done.. yeah? Ok, maybe Willie Mullins then. We’d best go through all the horses, before coming back and backing one of these trainers.


Last 10 Winners- average 4.4 stars
2019  ***      Ch’tibello (12/1)
2018  *****  Mohaayed (33/1)
2017  ***      Arctic Fire (20/1)
2016  *****  Superb Story (8/1)
2015  ***      Wicklow Brave (25/1)
2014  *****  Lac Fontana (11/1)
2013  *****  Ted Veale (10/1)
2012  *****  Alderwood (20/1)
2011  *****  Final Approach (10/1)
2010  *****  Thousand Stars (20/1)


10-Year Trends
10/10 Had ran in a handicap. 9 placed.
10/10 Had achieved a RPR of 139 or more on a Left-Handed course.
10/10 Were aged between 5 and 8.
  9/10 Had finished in the top 4 in either of their last 2 starts. [Wicklow Brave swerved at the start and was pulled-up just 6 days previous.]
  8/10 Had between 4 and 14 hurdle races. [Arctic Fire (17) and Ch’tibello (19)]
  8/10 Were rated between 134 and 139 by the handicapper. [Arctic Fire (158) and Ch’tibello (146)]
  8/10 Ran on the flat.
  7/10 Had carried less than 11-01 [Exceptions 11-4, 11-5 and 11-12]
  7/10 Had at least 4 runs in the season.
  7/10 Were top 2 in at least 40% of their seasonal hurdles runs.


Additionally
53 of the last 58 winners had carried less than 11-03.
52 of the last 59 winners were younger than 8.
The last 24 winners had handicap experience. Thumbs Up in 1993 the last not to.
21 of the last 26 winners has raced at least 4 times in the season.
18 of the last 25 winners had raced within the last 5 weeks.
Jockeys claiming 5lbs or more are 0/71 in the last 18 renewals.


Ages (Wins-Places-Runners)
  5yo 3-10-71
  6yo 4-8-72
  7yo 0-6-61
  8yo 3-2-28
  9yo 0-3-15
10yo 0-1-11
11yo 0-0-1


Trainers (Wins-Places-Runners)
Willie Mullins (Ire) 4-6-30
Dan Skelton 3-0-8
Paul Nicholls 2-1-16
Philip Hobbs 0-6-16
Nicky Henderson 0-3-18
Gordon Elliott (Ire) 0-2-15


Contenders


Conclusion
I think my trends are wrong. This is a changing handicap. Ive got Aramon, a Grade 1 winner in his novice campaign, last season, rated as no chance and a load of donkeys at the bottom, only getting a stone from him rated much higher. Aramon’s problem is its his handicap debut, inexperience of the big fields. He’s been poor this season (why he’s in a handicap) but still. He’s a bit of Arctic Fire about him, but he’s no Arctic Fire. Saint Roi is favourite, he’s had 3 runs, and won 1 maiden. I can’t have him, what’s he done to warrant such high esteem. My trends aren’t that bad, are they? Righto, Mohaayed. I just don’t think he’s the right fit any more, he’s just a bit more exposed, a bit more out of form. He could have had a wind-op 2 years ago before winning, just to make sure he was more likely to win. I just don’t know. 2 I would like on board though are.
Stolen Silver, Grade 2 winner 2 runs ago, before a creditable 8th in the Betfair Hurdle (handicap debut). He was also 2nd to Chantry House (3rd Supreme) earlier in the season. Thatsy is Elliott/Russell, so expect it to shorten in the day. Another who’s last run could’ve been better, but you need luck in running in big handicaps and there no-one better than Davy Russell at finding them. Russell wasn’t on his last 2 races and must go close today.


Selections
STOLEN SILVER @ 14/1, bet365, Skybet (6pl)
THATSY @ 12/1, general. 6 places around.




ALBERT BARTLETT NOVICES’ HURDLE
(REGISTERED AS THE SPA NOVICES’ HURDLE)
2 Miles 7 Furlongs, 213 Yards, Grade 1 Novice Hurdle


Overview
The 6th double figure SP winner in a row. A trends-buster in Minella Indo, who hadn’t shown too much in either of his 2 hurdles starts.


Last 10 Winners- average 3.6 stars
2014  *          Minella Indo (50/1)
2018  *****  Kilbricken Storm (33/1)
2017  *****  Penhill (16/1)
2016  ****    Unowhatimeanharry(11/1)
2015  *****  Martello Tower (14/1)
2014  *          Very Wood (33/1)
2013  *****  At Fishers Cross (11/8 fav)
2012  ****    Brindisi Breeze (7/1)
2011  ****    Bobs Worth (15/8 fav)
2010  **        Berties Dream (33/1)


10-Year Trends
10/10 Hadn't run for at least 27 days. Last 10 winners had also ran within the last 78.
  9/10 Had raced over hurdles at least 3 times. [Minella Indo, twice]
  9/10 Were aged between 6 and 8. [Very Wood (5yo)]
  9/10 Had placed at Cheltenham during the season (4 won) or had been running in Ireland (4). [Brindisi Breeze an exception]
  8/10 Had an Adjusted RPR of 150 or more. [Very Wood (143) & Minella Indo (147)]
  8/10 Were rated within 12lbs or the RP Top Rated. [Very Wood (18) & Minella Indo (13)]
  8/10 Had won at 3 miles (including Point-to-Points). [Exceptions won over 2m41/2f]
  7/10 Had won a Graded Hurdle. [Exceptions all Irish trained]
  7/10 Had finished top 3 in a Grade 1 or 2 Hurdle last time. [Exceptions were 4th (Grade 2), won a Class 2 Handicap and 2nd in a Grade 3]


Additionally
14 of the 15 winners were aged 5-7.
13 of the 15 winners finished top 4 in a Grade 1 or 2 hurdle last time.
14 of the 15 winners had won over 2m4f+.
13 of the last 14 winners finished in the top 3 last time.
13 of the 15 winners had run in a 3m Hurdle.
11 of the last 14 winners had won a Graded Hurdle.
35 of the 43 placed horses finish in the top 2 last time.


Ages (Wins-Places-Runners)
5yo 1-5-38
6yo 5-11-100
7yo 3-2-31
8yo 1-2-11
9yo 0-0-1


Trainers (Wins-Places-Runners)
Willie Mullins (Ire) 1-4-32
Nicky Henderson 1-3-14
Henry De Bromhead 1-1-3
Colin Tizzard 1-1-9
Gordon Elliott (Ire) 0-3-7
Nigel Twiston-Davies 0-2-8


Contenders



Conclusion
Lets start by concentrating on the Graded form. We’ll assume Minella Indo (also with 2 runs) was a blip! Monkfish, Sempo, Cobbler’s Way, no Graded win, not for me, let them win. Thyme Hill, the best horse in the Ballymore if Envoi Allen was winning the Supreme, is in the slog. He’s not a slogger, he’s better than that. His Graded successes (3 of them) are all at the Ballymore distance. There’s plenty in here that can out stay him and I’m not confident. Drying conditions will suit, but hmmm. Redford Road has a Grade 2, here (new Course) over 3 miles under his belt. Its his only try at the distance, but he was poor last time over shorter and those in both races have hardly franked the form. Its a race for big priced winners, so don’t rule him out. Harry Senior should stay, but that’s taken on trust. He won a Ballymore Trial here, before bottling a race v Envoi Allen too. Fury Road will be popular for Elliott/Russell, but was beaten by Latest Exhibition at the Dublin Festival. He has loved it since stepping up to 2m4f and then 2m6f last time and ticks most boxes.

This is a race for the experienced, get the job done, no frills brigade. This is a job for RAMSES DE TEILLEE, Older than your average winner, but you don’t get many like him in this. 2nd in the Welsh Grand National, 3 wins over fences and he made his hurdles debut in December 2016. He’s won all 3 starts back over hurdles, including 2 Grade 2s. He probably hasn’t beaten too much but he stays all day and will be a popular winner.


Selection
RAMSES DE TEILLEE @ 14/1 e/w , William Hill (3 places) or 12/1 general (4 places)




MAGNERS CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP CHASE
3 Miles 2 Furlongs, 70 Yards, Grade 1 Chase


Overview
We bagged the winner last year, and he’s had the same preparation this season. Its hard to go back to back, let’s see if he can.


Last 10 Winners- average 4.2 stars
2019  ***      Al Boum Photo (12/1)
2018  *****  Native River (5/1)
2017  *****  Sizing John (7/1)
2016  ****    Don Cossack (9/4 fav)
2015  *****  Coneygree (7/1)
2014  ***      Lord Windermere (20/1)
2013  *****  Bobs Worth (11/4 fav)
2012  ****    Synchronised (8/1)
2011  *****  Long Run (7/2 fav)
2010  ***      Imperial Commander (7/1)


10-Year Trends
10/10 Had a Grade 1 Chase win under their belt. 8 at 3 miles or more.
10/10 Were aged between 6 and 9 years old.
  9/10 Had an Adjusted RPR of 172+ for this race.[OR 164] [Lord Windermere (161/OR152)]
  8/10 Had won a chase over 3 miles or more. [Imperial Commander won a 3m PtP., Al Boum Photo ran out at the last whilst a likely winner]
  8/10 Had raced fewer than 4 times that season. [Exceptions, 4 & 5]
  8/10 Had won last time out. [Exceptions 5th and 6th in a Grade 1.]
  8/10 Were rated within 12lbs of the RP Top Rated. [Exceptions, 15 & 24lbs]
  8/10 Had less than 11 Chase starts. [Exceptions 12, 18 & previous winner, 20 ]
  7/10 Had recorded a seasonal Graded Chase win. [Exceptions were 2nd & 6th in a Grade 1, and a Listed winner on only run.]
  7/10 Had been placed at a previous festival, 4 in the RSA Chase. [2 exceptions fell, the other hadn’t been to the festival]


Additionally
28 of the last 32 winners were top 4 last time
24 of the last 26 winners were aged 7 to 9.
25 of the last 29 winners had raced at least twice that season.
The last 19 winners had all won a Grade 1 Chase.
19 of the last 21 winners had won that season.
17 of the last 20 winners had an OR of 166 or more.
17 of the last 19 winners had finished top 2 last time.
16 of the last 19 winners were all from the front 3 in the betting.
17 of the last 22 winners were placed at a previous festival.
14 of the last 18 winners had been off for 65 days or less.
13 of the last 18 winners had finished top two at a festival
15 of the last 28 winners were second season chasers.
97 of the last 100 horses beaten in the race, were beaten again. [Native River (3rd in 2017), Kauto Star (regaining the trophy) and See More Business (c/o)]
No horse aged 11 or more has won since 1969.
Only 3 horses have won with less than 6 Chase starts since 1963.
No winner has run on heavy ground in his winning season this century.


Ages (Wins-Places-Runners)
  6yo 1-1-3
  7yo 2-7-22
  8yo 4-4-37
  9yo 3-3-38
10yo 0-3-19
11yo 0-2-8
12yo 0-0-2


Trainers (Wins-Places-Runners)
Nicky Henderson 2-3-10
Willie Mullins (Ire) 1-5-20
Jonjo O’Neill 1-1-4
Nigel Twiston-Davies 1-1-4
Colin Tizzard 1-1-7
Paul Nicholls 0-3-17
David Bridgwater 0-2-4


Contenders



Conclusion
This looks a cracking renewal, and I’d say that all bar 2 could win. I was worried that the perfect horse, Delta Work, wouldn’t get his ground, but its gonna be a dry day and he needs to see good-soft in the going description for me to recommend. Al Boum Photo has had the same season as last year, but without the blips and should run well again. But winning Gold Cups does take it out of you. Presenting Percy has actually had a proper season for once and will be up and around. Clan Des Obeaux is a year stronger and can improve on last year. Santini still hasn’t won a Grade 1, yet is 2nd favourite. Lostintranslation, disappointing in the King George has had a wind-op and can’t be ruled out. Monalee will plod on and stays. Bristol De Mai’s 3rd last year was excellent, but I can’t see him there this year. Of course I haven’t even mentioned Kemboy, last years 1st fence faller. He had a great season last year (bar this). His not looked his old self in 2 runs (Delta Work beat him in both), but still has ability, maybe Aintree is his track though. Chris’s Dream could be the fly in the ointment, but hasn’t done it at the highest level so far.


Selections
DELTA WORK @ 5/1, Coral, Ladbrokes, William Hill, Bet365




ST JAMES’S PLACE FOXHUNTER CHALLENGE CUP
OPEN HUNTERS’ CHASE
3 Miles 2 Furlongs, 70 Yards, Class 2 Chase


Overview
The Gold Cup for amateur jockeys. There are classier horses running in it now, though like last year a classy Hunter Chaser can still win. Hazel Hill became the 5th ten year old (or older) in a row to win, after younger horses had dominated for a bit and aged has never been a barrier to success with Earthmover winning aged 13 just in 2004.


Last 10 Winners- average 4.0 stars
2019  *****  Hazel Hill (7/2 fav)
2018  ****    Pacha Du Polder (25/1)
2017  ***     Pacha Du Polder (16/1)
2016  ****    On The Fringe (13/8 fav)
2015  *****  On The Fringe (6/1)
2014  *****  Tammys Hill (15/2)
2013  *****  Salsify (2/1 fav)
2012  ***     Salsify (7/1)
2011  ****    Zemsky (33/1)
2010  ****    Baby Run (9/2 jt fav)


10-Year Trends
10/10 Sire or DamSire’s Stamina Index was 12.0 or more. The last 9 winners (13.1f)
10/10 Had achieved a rating of 134+ over fences.
10/10 Had run within the last 53 days.
10/10 Had raced over at least 17 races in career.
  9/10 Had won over 3 miles or more. [Pacha Du Polder (2016) was 3rd over 3m3f]
  9/10 Top 3 last time out. [On The Fringe, 7th]
  9/10 Were aged between 8 and 11. [Salsify was 7.]
  7/10 Started their career in either Point-to-Points or Hunter Chases. [Exceptions, 2 flat runners and a bumper]
  7/10 Were rated within 9lbs of the Adjusted RPR. [Including the last 7]


Additionally
25 of the last 26 winners had won under rules.
41 of the last 43 winners were aged 11 or less.
26 of the last 30 winners started their career in Point to Points or Hunter Chases.
25 of the last 34 winners had won last time.


Ages (Wins-Places-Runners)
  6yo 0-0-3
  7yo 1-0-16
  8yo 2-3-32
  9yo 1-6-41
10yo 3-5-47
11yo 3-5-55
12yo 0-2-31
13yo 0-0-8
14yo 0-0-3


Trainers (Wins-Places-Runners)
Enda Bolger (Ire) 2-1-7
Paul Nicholls 2-1-13
Philip Rowley 1-2-6
Kelly Morgan  0-2-2


Contenders


Conclusion
There doesn’t look much value in the market. Minella Rocco (2nd in 2017 Gold Cup) obviously is the class angle here. He was bigger in the week, and does seem to save his best running for here (won the 4 Miler the year before). He’s perfect on the trends and should go close. But. He couldn’t ever jump well, probably why he’s gone Hunter Chasing. The slower pace of that probably suits him, he may not get that here. Since that Gold Cup his record was 4P4F59PPPP8. Hazel Hill is now12 and was beaten by Minella Rocco last time. That’s on the old side, but he still fares well on the trends and I wouldn’t put you off. Billaway and Staker Wallace are 2 prominent in the market. I’m absolutely certain because of who is on board. Billaway beat Staker Wallace last time, giving weight, so I’ve no idea why the last named is just 6/1. Purely the Jamie Codd factor. Must be. Both are unproven over the Gold Cup distance and are short enough. Shantou Flyer was 2nd last year, and could be a year stronger, he’s 2 from 2 this season and should run well again.. An each way angle could be Caid Du Berlais, but he’s had his chances in this and failed to deliver. Don Poli (3rd in a Gold Cup and festival winner) could be the each way. Ran in the Grand National last year, but might not be the same horse any more, though he’s won both his races this season. 2 at massive prices, Mr Mercurial for trainer/owner/jockey/bottle-washer, will like better ground, he’s a little old but does stay. Sausalito Sunrise, also 12, does have staying form on the course, but is a bit hit and miss. Stick with the one-two from last year.


Selections
HAZEL HILL @ 6/1, Boylesports
SHANTOU FLYER @ 15/2, Ladbrokes, Coral, 888bet, Boylesports





JOHNNY HENDERSON GRAND ANNUAL
CHALLENGE CUP HANDICAP CHASE
2 Miles 62 Yards, Grade 3 Handicap Chase


Overview
The best race for previous festival and especially previous Grand Annual form. Croco Bay won as a 12 year old, off for a year @ 66/1. Trends buster. But he had fallen and finished 5 in 2016/2017. We go again.


Last 10 Winners- average 3.5 stars
2019  ***      Croco Bay (66/1)
2018  ***      Le Prezien (15/2)
2017  ***      Rock The World (10/1)
2016  *****  Solar Impulse (28/1)
2015  ****    Next Sensation (16/1)
2014  ***      Savello (16/1)
2013  ****    Alderwood (3/1 fav)
2012  ****    Bellvano (20/1)
2011  ***      Oiseau Du Nuit (40/1)
2010  ***      Pigeon Island (16/1)


10-Year Trends
10/10 Had won over 2 miles 1 furlong or more.
  9/10 Were aged between 6 and 9 years old. [Croco Bay was 12]
  9/10 Had raced at a previous festival. [5 in this race, plus another who was a NR]
  8/10 Had raced less than 13 times over fences. [Oiseau Du Nuit (20) and Croco Bay (25)]
  8/10 Finished in the top 3 in one of their last 2 completed races.
  8/10 Hadn’t won this season. [both exceptions won Novice Chases]
  8/10 Were officially rated between 138 and 147. [The last 9 rated 138-150]
  8/10 Hadn’t raced more than 4 times since August.
  7/10 Carried less than 11-03. [Exceptions: 11-8, 11-6, 11-5]

Additionally
19 of the last 21 winners had raced less than 13 times over fences.
18 of the last 20 winners were aged 10 or less.
16 of the last 20 winners had carried under 11-01 (incl claimers)
22 of the last 29 winners had raced within 45 days.


Ages (Wins-Places-Runners)
  5yo 0-1-6
  6yo 1-1-17
  7yo 2-10-47
  8yo 3-9-61
  9yo 3-2-40
10yo 0-2-28
11yo 0-3-14
12yo 1-0-4


Trainers (Wins-Places-Runners)
Paul Nicholls 2-1-16
Nicky Henderson 1-6-24
Michael Scudamore 1-1-3
Jessica Harrington (Ire) 1-1-5
Colin Tizzard 1-1-10
Nigel Twiston-Davies 1-0-8
Noel Meade (Ire) 0-2-2
Arthur Moore (Ire) 0-2-3
Kerry Lee 0-2-5
David Pipe 0-2-7
Venetia Williams 0-2-13
Alan King 0-1-9


Contenders


Conclusion
Horses without a season win (in handicaps) have a great record, hide that form boys. There’s lots to dislike about every single one of the buggers. Someone will win. Chosen Mate is 2nd favourite for Elliott/Russell. He’s a novice, which is fine but he has no festival form and all the previous winners had won over an extended 2 miles. He’s flopped when doing this. His 11 length 3rd to Melon (2nd Marsh yesterday) may boost the form, but I’m still worried about the finish. Favourite Greaneteen, for Paul Nicholls is up and coming, but winning lower level handicaps, doesn’t prepare you for the manic pace of this race. One for the future? Maybe next year with festival form in the book.
The horse I’m picking is the best on trends, but you’d be worried about the trainers form. 1 win in the last 25 or so this month. Alan King doesn’t get the horses he used to. He’s just 1 place from 9 runners in the last ten years in this. Lisp is a good young novice chaser. He ws 5th in the County Hurdle last season. I’d be more sure if he had a different trainer. There isn’t too much Grand Annual form this season, Croco Bay, Gino Trail and Theinval have the best. The last 2 should have won in their youth. Caid Du Lin and Marracudja raced last season, maybe they can do better this time. Us And Them was 2nd in he Arkle last season, but has been awful this year. He could come alive here again.


Selections
LISP @ 7/1, general




MARTIN PIPE CONDITIONAL JOCKEYS’
HANDICAP HURDLE
2 Miles 4 Furlongs, 56 Yards, Class 2 Handicap Hurdle


Overview
Usually the Gigginstown benefit gig. They have Column of Fire and Assemble. It’s been a good race with some Grade 1 winners of the future.


Last 10 Winners- average 4.2 stars
2019  **        Early Doors (5/1)
2018  ****    Blow By Blow (11/1)
2017  *****  Champagne Classic (12/1)
2016  ****    Ibis Du Rheu (14/1)
2015  *****  Killultagh Vic (7/1)
2014  *****  Don Poli (12/1)
2013  *****  Salubrious (16/1)
2012  ****    Attaglance (20/1)
2011  ****    Sir Des Champs (9/2 fav)
2010  ****    Pause And Clause (14/1)


10-Year Trends
10/10 Were officially rated between 134 and 145.
10/10 Had achieved an RPR of at least 137.
  9/10 Had run within the last 52 days. [Early Doors, 77 days]
  9/10 Carried a weight within 10lbs of the bottom weight. [Early Doors, 19lbs]
  9/10 Were aged either 5 or 6. [Blow By Blow was 7]
  9/10 Had less than 10 hurdles starts. [All below 14 starts]
  9/10 Were 1st/2nd season hurdlers. [Exception, Ibis Du Rheu had 2 late runs in France before moving to Paul Nicholls]
  9/10 Had finished in the top 3 in one of their last two starts. [Pause And Clause was out of the frame on all 4 runs that season]
  8/10 Had won over 2m21/2f [Exceptions: Won over 2m1/2f and 2m11/2f]


Additionally
35 of the 44 horses in the top 4 were 1st/2nd season hurdlers.
David Pipe is 0/19 in the race named after his father. [1 place]
Horses in headgear are 1/53. [Blow By Blow broke the duck last year]


Ages (Wins-Places-Runners)
  4yo 0-1-1
  5yo 3-9-65
  6yo 6-11-77
  7yo 1-6-50
  8yo 0-2-25
  9yo 0-0-9
10yo 0-0-6


Trainers (Wins-Places-Runners)
Willie Mullins (Ire) 3-2-19
Gordon Elliott (Ire) 2-5-17
Paul Nicholls 2-3-18
Joseph O’Brien (Ire) 1-1-2
Nicky Henderson 0-4-25
Nigel Twiston-Davies 0-2-7
Philip Hobbs 0-2-13


Contenders


Conclusion
With the trends throwing up 5 perfect horses, its probably best to have that as the short-list. I’m adding in Pileon too, he fails by 1 the Best RPR stat and has one of the best jockeys in the race in Ben Jones. The other is Jonjo O’Neill jr on favourite, Front View, who I’d have preferred to have won over a bit further than he has (beaten by Five O’Clock over 2m5 last time).

The 2 Gigginstown horses, Column Of Fire and Assemble have better form on softer ground, and I think if its good-soft at the end of the day, we won’t see them at their best. The list has become shorter.

Pileon’s, one weakness. No experience of a big field, so far. He could be fine, but we don’t know.

Escaria Ten has won over 3 miles on heavy, so he may find this a bit tough.

We now have 2 horses, the aforementioned Five O’Clock and Espoir De Romay. Both won’t mind the drying conditions and are the picks.


Selections
FIVE O’CLOCK @ 17/2, Betfair/PaddyPower, Betfred.
ESPOIR DE ROMAY @ 25/1 e/w, Bet365.