AYR 3.55 THE SCOTTISH GRAND NATIONAL
LAST 20 RUNNINGS
Fav won twice and second fav won 3
Winners at 66/1, 40/1, 33/1 & 25/1. The other 16 were priced 20/1 or less.
18 past winners came from the first 15 in thebetting – no great clue there!
I would tend towards those priced 20/1 or less but, given some off the prices of past winners, if all other trends pointed towards them, i wouldn't let the price put me off.
ALL carried 10-00 – 11-12
19 carried 11-10 or less
Official Rating (OR)
19 ran off 148 or less while 18 had an OR of 146-
18 ran off 133+
ALL aged 7-11
Best are 8yo's with 7 wins from 111 runners (6%)
Next best are 11yo's with 3-61 (5%)
7, 9 & 10yo's are all on 4% with 3-73, 4-100 & 3-84 respectively
ALL ran 2-8 times over the last year
19 ran 1-6 times that season
19 finished in the first 6 last time (6 won)
Non completers last time 0-80
19 had won over 3m plus
19 had run over 3m 1f
ALL ran 120 days ago or less
One horse has won it twice – Merigo. Not back to back though as Vicene tries
Of trainers with runners tomorrow, Paul Nicholls has won this twice
He also has his horses in good form lately with 14 winners from his 48 runners over the past 14 days. His record at the course over the past 5 years is 8-28 but best with his hurdlers.
His three runners are Vivalda Collonges, who is high in the weight with an atypiclly high OR and pulled up last time, so not a trends horse. Vicente fell last time, so ditto. But his other runer, Arpege D'Alene ticks all the boxes other than age and last time win and is shortlisted. Were he an 8 or 11yo he would only need a last time win for a perect profile.
His champion trainer rival, Nicky Henderson also has his horses in fine fettle with 12/31 in the last two weeks. He also runs 3. Premier Bond is 9/1 fav and ticks all the boxes. Another 7yo without a win last time, he has a near perfect profile and is another for the shortlist. Lessons in Milan ran eigth last time but Sugar Baron is worth shortlisting as he has exactly the same profile as the other Henderson horse.
Mark Walford's yard is in red hot form with 3 winners from just 7 runners the past fortnight.he is also 2-4 at Ayr with one of his two chasers winning. His only runner is Trustan Times who, as an 11yo who won last time has to be of interest. Though he has never won beyond 2m 7f under rules, he was beaten less than 2L in this in 2014 (though pulled up in this last year when badly hampered 4 out on much faster ground and pulled up) The forecast Good to Soft going should suit and another for the shortlist. The one slight drawback is his 132 OR, which is 1 lb lower than ideal (though two previous winners won off lower marks)
Evan Williams hasn't sent many here over the past 5 years, but of the 8 he has sent, 5 have won – 2/3 of them chasers. However, the form figures PP8 for Firebird Flyer are not those of a typical Scottish National winner.
Fergal O'Brien is 2-4 here and 1-3 with his chasers;. He runs the 12yo Alvarado who pulled up last time.
Finally, Wayne Hutchinson has a 1/3 record riding for Polly Gundry and the 8yo Dawson City looks interesting. This one has the perfect profile.
The Nicholls 7yo ARPEGE D'ALLENE definitely has the class
2 of Henderson's 3 have big trends chances- the two 7yo's PREMIER BARON & SUGAR BARON
Eider Chase close third and 10L third to Grand National winner before that, SHOTGUN PADDY, has great recent form and ticks all the boxes except not the ideal age at 10 and, again, no win last time.
HENRI PARRY MORGAN's 3Lsecond to this years Gold Cup third, Native River in last years G1 Mildmay Chase at Aintree (with Grand National placed Blaklion back in third) reads well for a horse running off just 135 today. But that is because he has only once ran within 15 lbs of his 160 RPR that day in 8 subsequent runs. He is also over raced, with 7 runs this season, for a typical winner of this.
TRUSTAN TIMES record in this race and his trainer stats plus his damn near perfect trends record (only that slightly worse record of 11yo's viz 8yo"s and the 1lb lower than ideal OR goes slightly against him) make him one of my two selections. With just 2 runs in two years he may just be under cooked. His last run before his 2 runs this season was in April 2015 for the Easterbys, before switching to Wlaford's yard in December that year. He won a hurdle last time to protect his chase ratings and looks like a long time in planning plot horse to me.16/1 is widely available.
My other choice is the DAWSON CITY, who simply has the perfect trends profile and the jockey stat helps too. This one is widely available at 33/1.
THE IRISH GRAND NATIONAL
LAST 20 RUNNINGS
2 favs won and 2 second favs
Winners at 50/1, 33/1 x 3 & 25/1
19 winners of this came from the first 20 in the betting
No guide whatsoever!
ALL carried 10 stone to 11-4
18 carried 10-13 or less
Official Rating (OR)
Last 19 ( Mudahim, back in 1997, didn't have a rating as he wasn't Irish trained) had an OR between 115-142
17 were rated 121-137
7 yo's are best with 7 wins from 99 runs (7%)
8yo's are next best with 6-122 (5%)
6 & 10yo's are on 1-25 (4%) and 3-84 (4%) respectively
11 yo's scored 1-36 (3%) times while 9 yo's won 2-110 (2%)
No horse older than 11 has won this, though only 13 have tried
17 had 4-9 runs in the preceding year
17 had 3-8 runs that season
16 of the 18 to complete last time finished inthe first 9
Unseated rider last time are 1-14 (7%), which compares well with other finishing positions.
There are no last time fallers but those who pulled up have not won this from 26 to try
17 had won over 3 miles plus
19 had ran over 3m +
17 last ran 16-60 days ago
'Mouse' Morris has won this twice (including last year) as has Jonjo O'Neill .
Mrs Harrington's horses continue their fine run with 2 wins from 6 runners over the last two weeks. She runs 11/2 fav Our Duke who would need to beat the highest previous winning handicap mark, in the period we are, looking at by 11lbs.
Willie Mullins' yard is not exactly flying at present but he is still in with a chance of being the champion Irish trainers. What interests me is his 3 runners in this are all below the maximum 142 OR.
He has a very good record at the track with 28% winners and 24 of his 72 chasers winning over the last 5 years.
Sabremount pulled up last time so this 331 shot is passed over. But the other two are very interesting.
Ruby Walsh, who has a 38% strike rate riding for Mullins, rides 12/1 fourth fav, Haymount He ticks all other boxes having finished a very close third in the four miler at Cheltenham lat time. Never won beyond two and a half mile but unexposed and shortlisted.
The other is the Paul Townend ridden Arbre de Vie. This one unseated last time but, as mentioned above, this is no trends negative. Another with no 3m plus win but was staying on well at Cheltenham in the G1 Albert Bartlett over 3 miles when a close fourth last season. Well beaten in the race where Haymount finished third, the Cheltenham four miler, last time, when unseating three out.
The OR's are mercilessly strict in this race.
NO winner was rated above 142
17 were rated 137 or less, which would make this a two horse race on the trends!
Given that one of the bottom two is a 12yo and the other one an 8yo who has never won further than two and a half miles (nor looking like a stayer on the 3 ocasions he has tried 3 miles plus), i think we will concentrate on those rated 142 or less.
Ideally, we want a 7, 8 or 10yo who has had 3-9 runs in the last year, 3-8 runs this season, has won over 3miles plus (or at leasr run over that trip) and who posted a first 9 finish last time.
The two Mullins horses lack one or more of these.
HAYMOUNT is very tempting and 8yo's have the second best record in this but has not win beyond 3 miles (though ran a cracker over 4m last time)
ARBRE DE VIE is from the best age (7) but is well held by the above in the above race and has not won over 3m plus either.
Judging off jockey bookings, Gordon Elliott has his best chance with the lower rated GENERAL PRINCIPLE who, though pushing the number of runs trends (8 this season and 9 the last year) has won over 3 miles, last time. He missed Cheltenham and looks to have been laid out for this (like so many others!)
DEDIGOUT is an 11yo who could outrun his price of 66/1; But, were he to win, he would be the biggest priced winner in over 20 years.
In view of the above I am putting two up against the field in a race which could make one of these trainers the Irish Champion:
Wille Mullins' HAYMOUNT who is 12/1 generally
Gordon Elliott's GENERAL PRINCIPLE who is 20/1 with 365, Corals and Paddy Power.
THE TOPHAM CHASE
LAST 20 RUNNINGS
2 winning favs and 2 winning second favs
15 winners came from the first 9 in the betting
Winners at 50/1, 33/1, 25/1 and 22/1 twice. All the rest, corresponding with the above stat, were returned 16/1 or less
ALL carried 10-00 to 11-8
18 were rated at least 126
All the last 11 had an OR of 129+
19 of the ages represented in the race were 6 to 10yo's
6yo's have by far the best strike rate with 2 wins from 23 runs (9%)
Clear second best are 10yo's with 6-123 (5%)
9 yo's with 5-134 (4%) have roughly the same record as 8yo's who are 3-103 (3%)
7yo's are worse of the qualifying age group with just 1-60 (2%)
19 ran 3-9 times in the preceding year
18 ran 3-7 times that season
18 had won over 2m 3f or further
19 had run at 2m 5f and 18 had run over further
10 had WON over further
Only 3 distance winners!
ALL ran 90 days ago or less
17 ran 30 days ago or less (MUCH higher strike rate!)
17 of the 19 to complete last time finished in the first 9
Poor race for those who failed to complete least time with just 1-84 winning
Peter Bowen has won this 4 times including 3 wins on the trot with Always Waining.
Nicky Henderson has won 4 too (3 consecutively) but with 4 different horses. However, they are both 7 yo's who have only won this once from over 100 to try.
Jonjo O'Neil has won it twice including the last running. For sequence followers this could be significant as the two trainers above won it 3 times on the bounce each for the preceding 6 years! His Go Conquer has a near perfect profile and he is shortlisted
Hobbs and Martin Pipe won this twice each but that was back in the late 90's/early noughties
Mullins yard is bang in form with 8 winners from 15 runners over the past 14 days. His top weight would have to break the weight carry_ing and handicap mark record ovver the past 20 years to win tomorrow.
The Nicholls stable is flying too with 10/26 the past fortnight. As De Mee is a 7yo, who have an awful record in this but the other one, Bouvreuil, is a 6yo who has a near perfect trends profile and is shortlisted.
Harry Fry is 6/16 over the past two weeks. His Thomas Brown offends against the 60 days or less since its last run stat, but the other, Henryville has aa good trends profile and is also shortlisted.
Because of the wide weight and ratings band there are 5 on the shortlist, in card order:
BOUVREUIL who – as a 6yo, represents an age group who have the best strike rate in this – has a near perfect profile. My only reservation is his lack of a run over further (as 18 previous winners had). He has won over 2m 3f and been placed at todays trip.
As well as the trends profile though, the Nicholls yard is bang in form and this one looks to have been laid out for this by his in form trainer.
MR DIABLO This 8yo (the fourth best age) won over slightly further than this last time in a 26K Leopardstwon handicap over 2m 5.5f
HENRYVILLE has never won beyond 2m 3f but has gone close at distances up to 3 miles. 9yo's have the third best record but not much above 8yos, though both are well behind 6 & 10yo's on strike rate
GO CONQUER hails for last years winning Jonjo O'Neill yard. Another 8yo, he has won over 2m 3f but no further. He has though gone close over 3 miles since that win.
SEEFOOD is another two and a half miles winner who has gone close over further – 2m 7f in this case. This one though has the trends advantage of being a 10yo. Thier strike rate is a poor, but clear, second to 6yo's, but their 6 wins are from 123 runs (5%) rtaher than the 23 runs from which the 6yo's have 2 winners (9%).
We have to split them somehow and i am going to use age.
The 6yo BOUVREUIL is available at 12/1 generally and the 10yo SEEFOOD is widely available at 10/1
RED RUM HANDICAP CHASE
LAST 20 RUNNINGS
Fav won 5 renewals and second fav won twice
1st 10 in betting won 17 of which 14 came from the first 6
Winners at 33/1, 25/1, & 20/1 three times.
15 were returned 16/1 or less
ALL carried 10-00 to 12-00
17 carried 11-1 or less
18 carried 10-2 or more
Official Rating (OR)
ALL were rated 129 -154
18 had an OR of 143 or less
19 were aged 5 to 9 (one 11yo won from 12 runners and that was the only winner aged 10 or more from 32 to try)
5yo's have the best strike rate but from a small sample – 1 winner from 5 runners
9yo's are 6-67 (9%)
7 and 6yo's are next best on 8% with 5-63 & 2-25 respectively
8yo's have done only slightly worse with 5-67 (7%)
On the whole, my only trends concern would be with those aged 10 or more.
18 ran between 1 and 8 times in the preceding year
ALL ran 1-9 times that season
16 had ran over 2m 3f or further
18 had won over further (two miles and half a furlong +)
15 were distance winners
ALL ran 8-365 days ago
17 had their last run between 8 and 60 days ago
14 of the 15 to complete last time finished in the first 6
Last run fallers are by no means a forlorn hope with 3-13 (23%) winning
Paul Nicholls yard is in cracking form with 10/26 winners in the last 14 days. He runs Romain de Semain who finished outdside the last 6 last time, though his age of 5 is a plus.
Dan Skelton is also going through a purple patch with 12-40 winners in the last 14 days. His 9yo; Yorkist would be only the third winner to have had more than a 60 day break before taking this.
Paul Henderson's yard is flying with 3 winners from 5 runners the past fortnight and his Doitforthevillage has a lot going for it. With 8 runs this season he is pushing the boundaries in terms of numbers of runs, but his win over 2m 3f is a plus. His current odds of 22/1 would make him the third longest priced winner in the last 20 years. Though i wouldn't want to put off each way backers.
All 3 have perfect profiles and i can't separate them. At 14/1, 8/1 & 16/1, i will back the three to win.
THE GRAND NATIONAL
LAST 20 RUNNINGS
4 favs and just 1 second fav won
Other than that, market position hasn't been much help as there have been winners all the way out to the 32nd in the betting !
The nearest thing to a narrowing down stat is that 16 came from the firsts 16 in the betting
Winners at 100/1, 66/1 and 33/1 three times illustrate the above quandary. The remaining 15 were returned 25/1 or less.
Basically, three quarters of the time, the winner has been 25/1 or less, but in a quarter of races there have been more or less big shock results.
ALL 10-00 to 11-9
The ultra brave and sadly departed Many Clouds carried the biggest weight to victory when winning this with 11-9 on his back in 2015. This is the horse who died beating the top class Thistlecraft recently.
The next highest weight carrier was Neptune Collonges who carried 11-6 back in 2012. This horse had finished a close third in that classic Gold Cup when Denman beat Kauto Star.
Looking at Saturday's top weights, there is nothing in that class. The remaining 18 winners carried 11-1 or less.
Official Rating (OR)
The same two horses who carried the top two weights were rated 160 and 157 respectively. All the rest were rated 153 or less, which would exclude the current top 9 in the weights (i am writing this on Monday, some may drop out).
This would exclude the current top 9 in the betting
ALL were aged 8 to 12
9, 10 & 11yo's have the best strike rate, all on 3%
9 yo's have won 7 times from 214, 10yo's 6-189 & 11yo's 4-127
8 & 11yo's are statistically a third less likely to win, with their strike rate of 2%
They are 2-120 & 1-59 respectively
ALL had 3-10 runs in the preceding year
ALL had 3-10 runs that season
18 had run 3-7 times that season
ALL the 18 who completed last time finished in the first 8
15 posted a first 5 finish last time
Of those who didn't complete, those who pulled up last time have a really bad record with just 1 winner from 114 attempts (1%). Those that fell last time are 1-16 (7%)
19 had won over at least 3 miles
ALL had ran over 3m 1f
ALL last ran 16-60 days ago
Nigel Twiston-Davies has won this twice wiith Earth Summit in 1998 and Bindaree in 2002
Looking at todqys race timesthe going is Good.
Here is my long provisional shortlist which i have split into three.The first are currenltly 25/1 or less, fit all the above trends and are in the ideal age group of 9, 10 & 11yo's, while the second group are the same but 8yo's (i have left out 12yo's as they have only 1 win in the last 20 runnings).
The third group are as above but, in the event of a big priced surprise, are the most likely, from a trends angle, to capitalise.
GROUP 1 – PERFECT TRENDS & AGE
14) CAUSE OF CAUSES 12/1
21) PLEASANT COMPANY 14/1
GROUP 2 – PERFECT TRENDS BUT 8yo's
17) DEFINITLY RED 12/1
10) BLAKLION 14/1
GROUP 3 – Perfect trends, aged 8 to 11 but over 25/1
20) HOUBLON DES OBEAUX 33/1
27) LORD WINDERMERE 50/1
28) SAINT ARE 40/1
30) JUST A PAR 33/1
34) ROGUE ANGEL 33/1
38) GAS LINE BOY 80/1
THE LINCOLN HANDICAP
LAST 19 RUNNINGS
Fav has won 6 but the second fav just 1
18 came from the first 12 in the betting
Those returned 4/1 or less are 2/6 (fav is forecast 4/1)
Winners at 33/1, 25/1 & 22/1. The other 16 were all returned 20/1 or shorter
ALL carried 8-4 to 9-10
18 carried 9-5 or lighter
18 carried 8-6 or more
Official Rating (OR)
ALL were rated 86-107
18 had an OR of 104 or less
Dominated by 4, 5 & 6YO's
4yo's are best with 8-139 (6%)
Next best are 6yo's with 5-99 (5%)
Then 5yo's with 6-136 (4%)
Only 1 horse older than 6 has won out of 75 to try
18 had 3-10 runs in the preceding year
16 posted a first 9 run last time of which 7 won
Clue to recent all weather runners: 4-49 (8%) last ran 8-15 days ago
Clue to last time turf runners: 16-252 last ran 121-365 days ago
17 had already won over 7 furlongs plus
15 had won over a mile or more
3 had RAN over 1 mile+ with 16 having run over further up to 1m 6f
Richard Fahey has won this twice in the last 5 runnings. He is mob handed in this with 5 runners!
Gabriel is an 8yo and he and Third Time Lucky are too high in the weights to be trends picks.
Heavens Guest is a 7yo and Withernsea has never won beyond 7 furlongs. His one attempt over a mile saw him beaten 13.5L.
His only other runner, however, Dolphin Vista, has a perfect profile and it is interesting that Paul Hanagan rides him.
Karl Burke's horses are well forward with 3 wins from 9 runs in the past fortnight. His You're Fired is a little high in the weights and would be the highest rated winner in the past 20 years off an OR of 107.
Amanda Perrett has had 2 winners from 5 runners the last 14 days and her Zhui Feng looks interesting, though running off a 1lb higher mark than is typical and looking a little over raced for this with 12 runs in the past year.
George Scott has a terrific record at Doncaster with 2 winners from 7 runners over the last 5 years and 2-4 of those aged 4yo plus.Unfortunately his runner, George Cinq, doesn't have the profile his trainer has. A 7yo who has never won beyond 7 furlongs is an unpromising trends profile.
DOLPHIN VISTA has the perfect trends profile, having won a 28K handicap at Beverly oover 10 furlongs on his penultimate start last season (you need to stay every yard of a fast run mile to win this) and is the selection at a best priced 14/1.
His trainer's recent record in this race instils confidence and he is available at 14/1 with Hills and Paddy Power.
LAST 15 RUNNINGS
Good guide with 5 winning favs and one second fav winning
12 came from the first 7 in the betting
Some big priced winners at 22/1,18/1, 14/1 & 12/1 but the other 11 were returned 8/1 or less
ALL carried 10-1 to 11-12
14 carried 11-5 or lower, which would lose the top 3 in the weights
Official Rating (OR)
ALL rated 128 – 155
14 were rated 149 or less
12 had an OR of 145 or less, which knocks out the top weight
6, 7 & 8yo's have dominated this with 13 wins from 81 runners at strike rates of 16%, 17% & 16% respectively
ALL had 3-10 runs in the preceding year
13 had 3-8 runs in the preceding year
ALL had 2-7 runs that season
11 of the 12 to complete last time finished in the first 5 last time
Only 1 won last time
12 had won over 2m 3f or further
14 had ran over 2m 4.5f plus
10 had won over further than today's two and a half mile trip
9 were distance winners
14 had their last run 60 days ago or less
Paul Nicolls has won more than half (8) of all the runnings of this race and 4 of the last 6, he runs two;
Ulck Du Lin is a year too old for a typical winner but his 8yo, Warrior's Tale, has an almost perfect profile and is shortlisted
Robert Walford's horses seem to be in good form with 2/4 winning in the last 14 days but his Walk in the Mill could only manage a ninth last time
Kerry Lee is 2/6 with her chasers at Newbury over the past 5 years. Her top weight, Grey Gold has age (12) against him as well as the trends re those carrying more than 11-5 and those rated 145+. No horse aged 12 or older has won, but just 5 have tried.
The trends narrow it down to just two: AQUA DUDE, who is 0-5 so far in chases but won over 2m 4.5f over hurdles. Beaten just a short head last time over two and a half miles at Haydock, in a 9K Novice Handicap Chase. The winner was a 22/1 shot for the Novice Handicap chase at the Cheltenham festival but pulled up. However, the third franked the form big style (admittedly improved effort) when hosing up in a class 3, 8K, handicap chase next time by 27 lengths. This one has a perfect profile and would normally be the sole selection.
But, i can't ignore the record of Paul Nicholls in this race and his 8yo WARRIORS TALE has only one blot on his copybook which is,strangely, he won last time – something only one former winner did!
With 10 previous winners having won over further, his novice win over 3 miles on fastish ground at Perth looks handy and he won easily over C/D on tomorrow's similar Good to Soft going last time, recording his best ever RPR
I am going to back them both (currently 7/1 with Hills). The former is the definite trends horse – but only on account of not winning last time. But the latter has both trends and an amazing trainer stat on his side.
DAY 1 Tuesday
1.30 SUPREME NOVICE HURDLE
LAIBAK won it well at 25/1 ISP for Gordon Elliott, ridden by Jack Kennedy and owned by Aidan Ryan
Our selection, given out of Twitter, was Ballyandy who finished 4th @ 3/1JF ISP
2.10 THE ARKLE CHASE
Won , as expected by ALTIOR trained by Nicky Henderson, ridden by Nico de Boiville and owned by Mrs Patricia Pugh. Not as impressive as expected but the time was only a tenth of a second slower than the Champion Chase – suggesting he may have won that had he competed. Perhaps we are underestimating the second, Cloudy Dream who was 9 lengths clear of the third.
He was our TV Service Bet and given out on twitter too. Returned 1/4 ISP. Banker in our multiples.
2.50 ULTIMA HANDICAP CHASE
Won by UN TEMPS POUT TOUT at 9/1 ISP, trained by David Pipe, ridden by Tom Scudamore and owned by Professor Caroline Tisdall & Bryan Drew
Without wanting to take anything from the winner, this one did ours (SINGLEFARMPAYMENT), advised at 9/1 in the trends guide) by a short head.
A very brave effort from both horses and neither deserved to lose.
3.30 CHAMPION HURDLE
First of the championship races and won, i thought, impressively, by Nicky Henderson's BOUVEUR D'AIR at 5/1. He was only disregarded on trends due to his rating of 152 falling a pound shot of the necessary 153. Ridden by Noel Fehily and owned by JP McManus
Our trends pick was PETIT MOUCHOIR who was 3rd @ 6/1
4.10 MARES HURDLE
Won bravely by APPLES JADE @ 9/2. Her win confirmed to me my preliminary thoughts on the going, ie, it wasn't anything with Soft in it. Gordon Elliott's second winner and Bryan Cooper's first. Owned by Gigginstown.
The TV Service bet was LIMINI who didn't seem as home on the Good ground as the first two home and finished a close third @ 6/4F ISP
DAY ONE BALANCE SHEET
Just one winner, ALTIOR from 3 TV bets = 1.25 pts returned for 3 staked = minus 1.75 points
Two trends races produced a 5/1 very close second in SINGLEFARMPAYMENT @ 5/1 and a third @ 6/1, PETIT MOUCHOIR
Minus 2 points if backing to win but a profit if backing each way.
Let down by BALLYANDY in the first or we would have had an each way 5-fold, Minus £2
Down 1.75 points on the TV Service
Down 2 pts if backing the trends selections win only
TOTAL = minus 3.75 pts on the day
Twitter bets = minus £2 on the day
DAY 2 Wednesday
1.30 NEPTUNE HURDLE
Won by 14/1 shot WILLOUGHBY COURT, which was annoying as he was on my shortlist of 2! There were a lot of unproven stayers in the race that, in the past, had been won by horses who had won over at least 2m 3.5f. Taken with other trends, this narrowed it down to the winner and our selection – and TV Service bet – NEON WOLF who landed awkwardly at the last and failed by just a head to catch the brave and strong finishing front runner.
The winner was Bne Pauling's first Cheltenham winner, ridden by David Bass and owned by the Rooneys.
2.10 The RSA Chase
Won by Nicky Henderson and Nico de Boinville with MIGHT BITE, who was also a TV Service bet. Returned at 7/2 and owned by the Knott Partnership, he contributed to the most dramatic finish off the week. Sent to the front and way in front turning for home, he veered badly right when at least 10 lengths ahead at the last, giving Whisper in second the lead but rallying again (helpred by a loose horse) to get up in the last stride. Would have been unlucky to lose, but i think he needs some ear plugs – especially as he fell at the last at Kempton the time before. This horse could be a force if his quirks are sorted out.
2.50 THE CORAL CUP
Won by SUPASUNDAE at 16/1. First of the Jessica Harrington/Alan Potts/Robbie Power double.
Our trends selection, TOMBSTONE, held the winner on two mile form but, upped in trip and held up at the back, he never got in it and didn't look to stay. This was the one that got away from Gordon Elliott in punting terms as it was backed in from 16/1 at the five day stage to 7/2 fav on the day! A dissappointment for handicap trends backers.
3.30 CHAMPION CHASE
DOUVAN, our trends and TV Service selection, had everything going for him but finished lame back in seventh. Lets's hope we see him again.
That's to take nothing away from the game, front running winner, SPECIAL TIARA, who, having twice placed in this race, held on to win at 11/1 this time. All credit to Henry de Bromhead (and the other runners) for taking on the 1/4 fav, and, this time it payed off.
Another one for Noel Fehily and a winner for the owner Mrs Rowley-Williams
4.10 THE CROSS COUNTRY
The TV Service trends threw up 9/4 fav CANTLOW. But age stats and trying to win the race for the third time put me off and i backed CAUSE OF CAUSES who won, returned 4/1 for Gordon Elliott (again), Mr J Codd and another for JP McManus.
Having utterly flopped in his first effort (at Punchestown from memory?) in a cross country chase, he had obviously been thoroughly schooled for this.
DAY 2 BALANCE SHEET
MIGHT BITE was the only winning selection from the 4 TV Service bets leaving us 0.5 pts down on the day and 2.25 pts down overall
Both trends selections flopped putting us a further 2 pts down on minus 4
The list below was sent on twitter and we covered the 10 doubles. So we had MIGHT BITE doubled up with CAUSE OF CAUSES for a £1 winning double, which paid £22.50
So, at the end of day 2, we were 2.25 pts down on the TV Service
4 pts down on the trends
But £8.50 up on the twitter bets
DAY 3 THURSDAY
1.30 THE JLT CHASE
YORKHILL, returned 6/4 fav, confounded the doubters (including this one) to hold off our selection, TOP NOTCH by a length. The first winner of the meeting for Mullins and Walsh and one for Graham Wylie.
2.10 PERTEMPS HURDLE FINAL
PRESENTING PERCY, trained by Patrick Kelly and ridden by Davy Russel, landed this one at 16/1. The owner is Philip J Reynolds.
The third leg of our trends multiple ran in this and i think was the only Mullins/Walsh runner to lose that day! ISLEOFHOPEANDREAMS was never in it really. According to the Racing Post race reader: "Held up, not fluent 1st, steady headway approaching 2 out, no impression and never reached leaders, weakened run in"
2.50 THE RYANAIR CHASE
UN DE SCEUX, one of our two TV Service bets, put in a great front running display to win this well.Another for Mullins & Walsh – this time for owner Edward O'Connel.
3.30 STAYERS HURDLE
Other than the young lad who won the bumper, which wasn't on terrestial TV, i thought this was the ride of the meeting.
We were very confident of the chances of UKNOWHATIMEANHARRY and, though, through a line through the second, LIL ROCKEFELLER, ours seemed to run about half a stone below his best (or did the other horse improve half a stone on the faster ground?), Ruby showed everyone how to ride a maybe stayer.
NICHOLLS CANYON was held up at the back to get the trip, Ruby let some rein out on this classy (this one was his eighth Grade 1 win including being the only one to beat Faugheen) horse 2 out, stalked the leading pair (LIL ROCKEFELLER had kicked for home), he saw a gap on the rails and, without his horse having to move off a straight line, took over at the last and stayed on storngly to hold the runner up by 3/4 of a length.
UKNOWHWATIMEANHARRY, was the TV Service and trends selection but i think the fastish ground didn't suit and he finished a gallant third.
4.10 BROWN ADVISORY HANDICAP CHASE
ROAD TO REPECT's victory in this was possibly the most impressive performance of the week. To win an open handicap like this (5/1 the field) by 6 lengths was amazing to watch. Especially when our fourth leg in the trends handicap multiple was sent off 6/1 second fav and finished fith "Held up towards rear, slightly hampered 10th, headway after 3 out, slightly hampered next, stayed on from last but never threatened to get on terms" according to the Post. Some bookies (Corals was one) paid out on the first 5 so check your account or any betting slips you still have.
I don't think ours would have beaten this well handicapped and impressive winner but he may well, with a little more luck in running, have grabbed a place proper.
ROAD TO RICHES and his connections, Noel Meade, Bryan Cooper and Gigginstown deserve great crediit for landing such a handicap in such a fashion.
DAY 3 BALANCE SHEET
1 out of 2 for the TV Service @ 7/4 SP = 0.75 pts up on the day & minus 1.5 overall
The trends runners were 0/3 so down 3pts on the day and minus 7 pts on the week
10 x £1 win doubles and a £2 EW 5-fold bit the dust in the Twitter tips, leaving us £5.50 down on the week
1.30 THE TRIUMPH HURDLE
I missed the first 3 races as i had to go to the opticians. But i saw the replay and DEFI DU SEUIL looked mighty impressive! This one was one of two TV Service bets and won at 5/2 ISP. Trained by Philip Hobbs, ridden by Richard Johnson and owned by JP McManus, this one looks like he could have a big future if he develops from 4 to 5.
2.10 RANDOX COUNTY HURDLE
Last leg of the trends multiple and DIEGO DU CHARMIL ran well for a long way, fading just before the last. Not disgraced but you have to stay, even over 2miles, at the Cheltenham Festival. He won last years Fred Winter though. Not the best of weeks for Paul Nicholls and his yard didn't seem to peak this festival as it has in the past.In fact he had just one winner and one placed from 25 runners at the festival. This is unheard of by his high standards.
The winner, who had been a length and a half second to Faugheen in the 2015 Champion Hurdle, and twice G1 winner (once beating Hurricane Fly at Leopardstown), ARCTIC FIRE, turned out to be well handicapped running off a mark of 158. In fact Willie Mullins said afterwards he thought he had 6lbs in hand. Swooped fast and late to pass the fast finishing L'Ami Serge.
Ridden by Paul Townend and owned by Wicklow Bloodstock. Yet another for Ireland and another one for comeback kid Willie Mullins who didn't have winner till day 3.
2.50 THE ALBERT BARTLETT
Another one i watched later. Mullins & Townend strike again!
This stable second string, PENHILL, seemed to appreciate the trip and the better going. So much so, connections are eyeing up cup races at Ascot for him – even the Melbourne Cup is being talked about!
Just the opposite for the other TV Service selection, DEATH DUTY, who seemed to dislike the Good going and was a beaten fifth when unseating at the last.
3.30 THE GOLD CUP
For a long time now, no horse priced 8/1 or longer, and/or none outside the first 3 in the betting had won this. Also proven stamina was the norm with a win over 3 miles plus a must. The first 3 in the betting were beaten but the 8/1 trend held as Jessica Harrington's SIZING JOHN, previously thought a doubtful stayer, outstayed such stamina laden horses as our trends selection, NATIVE RIVER to win nearly 3 lengths powering up the hill.
Given a great ride by Robbie Power this 7yo doesn't have too many miles on the clock and will, no doubt, be back next year. But winning a Gold Cup seems to take it out of a horse and only an all time great like Kauto Star, or a great, but carefully campaigned horse like Best Mate, have repeated the dose in the last 20 years.
A second win for his owner, Alan Potts.
4.10 THE FOXHUNTERS CHASE
My moment of fame! I took 22/1 in the morning against PACHA DU POLDA. He was on my trends shortlist and I remembered him nearly carrying athlete Victoria Pendleton to victory in this race last year. Had he won then it would have been despite the jockey not because of her!
This year he had the assistance of a very good amateur, Bridget Frost, and i thought the price was crazy as he only had to run last years race for at least a place.
Sure enough, she always had him just off the pace but close enough to take second 2 out then lead at the last and then hold off his fast finishing stablemate WONDERFUL CHARM by a neck.
DAY 4 FINAL BALANCE
A 2.5 point profit on the day for the TV Service made it plus 1 point for the week at ISP
A further 2 point loss (to win) made it a disappointing Cheltenham for the trends selections, though, from the 9 races we got, in race order: a 5/1 second, a 6/1 third, unplaced, unplaced, unplaced, a 5/6 third, a 6/1 fifth (for some!), unplaced and a 7/2 third in the Gold Cup to finish. So 4 (possibly 5 for those who got that concession for the 6/1 Startichect) were placed. Some may have made a small profit backing each way.
Last but not least was a final day 79.5/1 double on twitter which returned me £80.50 to £1 stakes, putting us £75 up on the week with the Twitter bets.
ALTIOR @ 2/7 – TV SERVICE
MIGHT BITE @ 7/2 – TV SERVICE
CAUSE OF CAUSES @ 4/1 – Twitter pick
UN DE SCEAUX @ 7/4 – TV SERVICE
DEFI DU SEUIL @ 5/2 – TV SERVICE
PACHA DU POLDER @ 22/1 – Twitter pick
So, from 20 bets, we had 6 winners and 4 or 5 placed – a win and place strike rate of 50 – 55%. Not bad in such a competitive festival. Without the big priced winner we have 17.03 points returned from 20 pts returned, backing a point level stakes. Add Pacha Du Polder and we have a 40.03 pts profit.
Considering only 5 of the favs in the 20 TV races won, all in all, a decent Cheltenham festival.
MIDLANDS GRAND NATIONAL
Fav has won 4, second fav 6 and third fav 2, therefore the first 3 in the betting have won 12
On the other hand, there is a wide spread of SP's. Winners at 25/1, 16/1 twice,14/1 & 12/1
ALL 10-00 to 11-6
15 carried 10-12 or less but this would narrow it down to just the bottom 3
Official Rating (OR)
ALL 140 or less which knocks out the top weight
Weight and OR and not much help here
This is the trend that narrows things down.
NO horse older than 9 has won this in the period. 10yo+ are 0-91
This leaves just 8 and 9 yo's in today's renewal, who are:
8yo 7 wins from 62 runs (11%)
9yo are 5-74 (7%)
18 ran 1-8 timesin the preceding year
ALL had 2-6 runs that season
All 14 to complete last time posted a first 5 finish last time – 6 won
18 had won over 3 miles plus
17 had ran over 3m 1.5f
ALL had their last run 8-90 days ago
David Pipe has trained the winner 4 times in the last 6 runnings. His Gevrey Chambertin lacks the trends stamina credentials.
Sue Smith's yard is going great guns with 5 wins from 16 runs in the last 14 days. She runs Blakemount who ticks all the boxes and is shortlisted
Warren Greatrex runners have a good record here with 15/45 winning over the past 5 years and 3/8 with his chasers. Out Sam is another to fall short on the wins over 3m and runs over 3m 1.5f trend and Warrantor finished 7th last time.
Kerry Lee's runners at Uttoxeter have netted 3 wins from 9 runners since 2013. However, as a 12yo, Alfie Spinner, is not a trends runner
The 8yo's all have negatives:
On the win 3m+ and/or ran 3m 1.5f trend, Final Nudge and Out Sam fall down;
Cogry has had 7 runs this season (6 max) and Warrantor completed, but finished outside the first 5 last time.
This leaves the 9yo's and there are 2 on the shortist who fit all the trends :
The in-form Sue Smith's BLAKEMOUNT and MYSTEREE are my two against the field
The former is 25/1 at Hills, Ladbroke and Coral (though Bet365 go 16/1)
The latter is generally available as 8/1 second fav
Should one of the 8yo's run, i think COGRY's 7 runs is the least problematic trends wise.
THE GOLD CUP
LAST 19 RUNNINGS
Fav won 8 and second favs won 3
First 3 in the betting won 15
Winners at 25/1, 20/1 twice & 16/1. The other 15 had SP's of 8/1 or less
Only 1 of the above 4 big priced winners occurred in the last 16 runnings
15 of the last 16 renewals were won by horses returned at 8/1 or less
Official Rating (OR)
15 had an OR of which al were rated 152+
14 of the 15 and all the last 10 winners, were rated 166 or more
1 winning 6yo from just 5 to try is good news for Bristol de Mai
1 winning 10yo from 48 for 10yo's is not so good news for Smad Place
0-22 for 11yo's isn't encouraging for Cue Card's trends chances.
In fact, of 81 runners aged 10 or older, just 1 won and that was the longest priced winner, Cool Dawn way back in 1998 at 25/1.
7, 8 & 9yo's have dominated this, taking 17 of the 19 renewals between them.
9yo's and 7 yo's have the edge with 7-65 -11%) and 4-39 (10%) respectively
8yo's aren't far behind with 6-76 (8%)
ALL had run no more than 6 times in the last year
ALL 19 had no more than 5 runs that season
All 17 to complete last time posted a first 7 finish last time out
15 finished in the first 3 in their last run
15 had already won over 3 miles plus
18 had RAN over 3 miles or more
17 had their last run 31-90 days ago
PAUL Nicholls has won this 4 times
Given that 15 of the last 19 runnings were won by a horse from the first 3 in the betting and/or with an SP of 8/1 or less, this looks the place to start.
CUE CARD's age goes against him and i am yet to be convinced this is his trip (though he was going well when falling 3 out in this last year). He has also become an in and out runner since last Spring, posting RPR's of 163, 165, 180, 167 & 177.
He is also right on the max for runs in the past year (6) and runs this season (5). Not for me.
DJAKADAM has twice been runner up in this and, if the going has as much give in it as they are saying, this may be his best chance yet. The one trend against him though is his OR of 165. Only one horse has won this with a lower mark than 166. Other than that – big chance.
The one that ticks all the boxes – even the less important one here of age – is Cue Card's stable mate- NATIVE RIVER.
This Hennessy winner off 155 has a perfect trends profile.
When you consider that former Hennessy/Gold Cup winners that same season, won their Hennessys off 160 (Bobsworth) & 161 (Denman), you have to think this winner of the Welsh National off 11-12, has a great chance.
Currently vying for favouritism (which would be a big trends plus!) he is best priced 7/2 at present with most major bookies.