Friday , December 3 2021

Cheltenham Special – Friday

I sincerely hope you have enjoyed what has been provided to you this week. It genuinely is 16/17 hour days doing this, trying to tie everything up and then posting it up to you in a format that makes sense and, produces profit.

It has been a very good 2021 for my subscribed members, despite Covid putting a spanner in the works to a great extent. I wanted to make sure I got my members banks in place before the Festival and we did that when PYRAMID PLACE won at Catterick. I know of one member that actually drove down to the track that day, stood by the two furlong marker and shouted him home.

Once that was done, it was then all about finding THE ONE….that too was achieved and I’ll say again, I’ve not felt pressure like that before, in all the time I’ve been doing this….nearly 20 years now. GALVIN didn’t let me down…or you….and after it passed the post I could tell Karen just how much we had riding on that result. I had been placing bets on that monthly, since October last year. I’ll not promise I’ll do the same again this October but, I’ll maybe give it a shot….as you get older, an adrenalin rush like that gave me, was fun! I’m pretty sure I’d have needed a bloke with paddles, shouting “CLEAR”, if he’d been beaten.

I have to be pleased with how things went today, ALLAHO 3/1 and FLOORING PORTER 12/1 landing the dutch in the two big races this afternoon. I honestly felt Rachel had gone to fast on ALLAHO and she seemed to be having trouble holding him….even sent Sean a message saying I’d be very surprised if he got home….but get home he did!

THE BOSSES OSCAR was definitely the best horse in his race at the weights and he didn’t disappoint me at all, ran a cracker to finish second, as did FARCLAS, who clipped heels going to the second last, lost several places and then ran a blinder to chase home the “plot” horse.

The Mares Hurdle saw yet another superb ride by Rachel Blackmore in a race I had a small 20/80 on the OMM and the finale was the weirdest race I have ever seen. My Profiling selection MOUNT IDA, was tailed off by 20 lengths after two or three, jumping high, way to the right and I expected it to be pulled up.

Pleased it wasn’t!!….easy 8/1 > 3/1 winner!

Hopefully the final day is as good.

CHELTENHAM SPECIAL – DAY 4

TRIUMPH HURDLE

I did some digging after that 80/1 winner on Tuesday and quickly realised, it could have been found. It was simply massively overpriced but I missed it….as did many others. Look at it’s run before coming to Cheltenham and you’ll see it was beaten less than nine lengths by the favourite for this race, ZANAHAYIR, having gone into that race following a near two month break. Less than three lengths in front of it was the horse that finished second on Tuesday, SAINT SAM, who went off the 9/2 favourite? So, why the price discrepancy? He was entitled to finish closer to….or beat….SAINT SAM.

We are all Einstein after an event.

What this all tells me is that Irish form is light years ahead of ours in the novice division. Look at the form of our main hope, TRITONIC. He has twice beaten the same horse CASA LOUPI. That horse was given a “gimme” a couple of days ago, went off 8/15….and got beaten.

The Irish horse, ZANAHIYR, looks the stronger in what looks a disappointing Triumph Hurdle. His hurdling technique is also better than TRITONIC’s and the Sneezy Elliott trained runner has been my pick for this race since I saw him win on debut at Ballinrobe.

Stats are of limited use here so Profiling a race in which all are four year olds, carrying the same weight (with the exception of the ladies), isn’t possible.

The only winner in here, on ground as currently described, is HISTORIC HEART, the 150/1 outsider. The only winner over the track is ADAGIO….who is 0-1 on the ground.

I am already on ZANAHIYR and if I was looking for a horse to play for the Exacta, it would be QUILIXIOS, the former stable companion of the favourite. He arrives 4-4 at the trip but if you were to use the form of their respective beatings of SAINT SAM, then ZANAHIYR is the superior horse.

MY PLAY

ZANAHIYR – STRAIGHT WIN

COUNTY HURDLE

I was absolutely convinced BLUE LORD, who fell at the last in the Supreme on Tuesday, when a clear second, would have won this race pulling double. I’ve been looking for the reason Mullins did that and it would appear to be GANAPATHI.

We shall see, what we shall see.

We have had three x 8-y-o’s winning this in the last decade but generally you are safe working with five and six year olds, who have won seven of those 10. I should point out though that 8-y-o’s do most definitely over achieve, given the low number of runners from that age group. In those 10 running’s we’ve seen just 27 aged eight taking this race in, producing three winners and two placed horses. Compare that to five year olds….75 runners, four winners, 10 placed.

Four of the first five home last season though, were aged five or six, the winner being a five year old.

First shortlist:

  • CAYD BAY
  • CHAMPAGNE GOLD
  • THIRD TIME LUCKI
  • WOLF PRINCE
  • THYME WHITE
  • CIEL DE NEIGE
  • GANAPATHI
  • SAINT D’OROUX
  • GOWEL ROAD
  • ANNA BUNINA
  • FIFTY BALL
  • CAPTAIN KANGAROO
  • BELFAST BANTER

Straight into the weight ranges again and here it’s again 10st 6lb – 11st 6lb….nine of the last 10 winners would have been found in there so I can now look at pruning that first list:

  • CAYD BAY
  • CHAMPAGNE GOLD
  • THIRD TIME LUCKI
  • WOLF PRINCE
  • THYME WHITE
  • CIEL DE NEIGE
  • GANAPATHI
  • SAINT D’OROUX
  • GOWEL ROAD
  • ANNA BUNINA
  • FIFTY BALL

Just two gone.

We have seen winners of this at 33/1, 25/1 and a pair at 20/1 in the last decade but the stat to work with is nothing bigger than 20/1. In the last five years four winners have been in the front six on the tissue but we’ll just cut those priced bigger than 20/1 for now.

  • CHAMPAGNE GOLD
  • THIRD TIME LUCKI
  • THYME WHITE
  • GANAPATHI
  • GOWEL ROAD
  • FIFTY BALL

Now getting there and down to a manageable six.

Seven of the last 10 winners arrived having won or placed and so I’ll now snip out those that failed to hit the frame before heading here for this race:

  • CHAMPAGNE GOLD
  • GOWEL ROAD
  • FIFTY BALL

That then, is my dutch.

If Skelton or Mullins continue to dominate this then I’ll lose money. They have won the last five running’s between them and seven of the last 10 but the fact of the matter is the last 10 winners of this arrived with a last time out form figure reading 1, 0, 3, 1, p, 2, 2, 3, 2, 1 and so it looks, right now, a serious stat to work with.

Sean Trivass put up GOWEL ROAD as his Dark Horse in our final Cheltenham Podcast but all week my eyes have been drawn to the stat relating to Twiston-Davies (Sam), and his riding record at Cheltenham in the last five years. Before today, he has had 61 Festival rides in that time, and not ridden a winner. I’m seeing 25 of those rides being for his dad…0-25….obviously.

Nigel has saddled 17 in handicaps in those five years…nothing.

I have to row in with CHAMPAGNE GOLD, who arrives totally unexposed and who has yet to finish out of the frame since going hurdling, and ran a huge race in the Ladbroke at Leopardstown in February. He also runs for the Irish and with the week they are having, I must keep him onside.

DUTCH 

  • CHAMPAGNE GOLD
  • GOWEL ROAD
  • FIFTY BALL

20/80

CHAMPAGNE GOLD

ALBERT BARTLETT

I put STATTLER up for this in my ante-post Portfolio @ 12/1 so I’m a) pleased to see he’s still in and b) pleased to see he’s now the 4/1 favourite!

Will the stats back up my “opinion”?

Six and seven year olds dominate here….in fact, ideally a six year old required as they have won six of the last 10 running’s and three of the last four. I’ll run with both age groups though and use that 6-y-o stat as a tie-breaker, if required.

It would appear trainers have cottoned on to this being a “fact” and all runners qualify by virtue of age so, as they all carry the exact same weight and my first two ports of call are now about as useful as a chocolate teapot, I’ll move to the markets.

In the last 10 Albert Bartlett’s on three occasions the favourite failed to finish but, in six of the other seven running’s the winner was located in the front four on the tissue producing and so I’ll not try to bore you with stats, any more than I have to. First four (currently), on the tissue are:

  • STATTLER
  • FAKIERA
  • BARBADOS BUCKS
  • TORYGRAPH

All are six year olds and so, I do not need a tie breaker.

I’m looking at that quartet now and checking their stables of origin. I’m doing that because the Irish trained runners have won five of the last seven running’s of the race, including three of the last four and so my dutch will revolve around:

  • STATTLER
  • FAKIERA
  • TORYGRAPH

BARBADOS BUCKS would have left the building now because of his trainer’s record in the race. In the last 10 years Paul Nicholls has saddled five runners in this and not a single one has hit the frame.

I’m on STATTLER @ 12/1 and so I’ll be looking for one of the other pair to run for me and a second 20/80.

Both are trained by Sneezy Elliott but two things have me believing TORYGRAPH is the one to work with (if you do not have 12/1 STATTLER!).  First off, you need to be arriving here having won or finished in the first three last time out. The form figures of the last 10 winners, on their final run before the Festival read: 1, 1, 1, 3, 2, 1, 1, 3, 2, 1….no good trying to plot one for this, you need to be arriving a good horse, and in form.

TORYGRAPH has first time cheekpieces and Jack Kennedy up and, unlike FAKIERA, he’s a winner over this trip.

DUTCH

  • STATTLER
  • FAKIERA
  • TORYGRAPH

20/80 

TORYGRAPH

THE GOLD CUP

I’m not sensing we have a genuine superstar in the staying ranks right now and so I’m just going to work this race as I would any other and we’ll just see what comes out of the hat.

Seven, eight and nine year olds have won nine of the last 10 running’s  and so….:

  • AL BOUM PHOTO
  • A PLUS TARD
  • CHAMP
  • FRODON
  • KEMBOY
  • LOSTINTRANSLATION
  • MINELLA INDO
  • ROYAL PAGAILLE
  • SANTINI

No point, obviously, looking at weight ranges.

The market comes next then.

The winner has been in the front five on the tissue in eight of the last 10 of these and when they were not, they were sixth and seventh best so whilst it’s entirely possible one might win at a silly price (LOSTINTRANSLATION is massive @ 25/1), the likelihood is you are guaranteed to lose money betting them.

  • AL BOUM PHOTO – 11/4
  • A PLUS TARD – 9/2
  • CHAMP – 5/1
  • ROYALE PAGAILLE – 8/1
  • FRODON – 12/1
  • KEMBOY – 12/1
  • MINELLA INDO – 12/1
  • SANTINI – 12/1

They are running SANTINI in a first time visor but he has no gears and would be more suited to the Grand National. I love the horse but, he cannot quicken.

ROYALE PAGAILLE is a second season novice who has been ultra impressive on heavy and soft ground twice winning around the near greyhound track that is Haydock. This will be an entirely different test to anything he has faced before.

When A PLUS TARD beat KEMBOY at Leopardstown in December, I said he wouldn’t stay the trip here and I stick by that. That was A PLUS TARD’S first victory beyond 2 miles 4 furlongs

I felt in beating SANTINI a neck in last seasons Gold Cup, AL BOUM PHOTO won perhaps the weakest Gold Cup in a long time and I honestly feel he’s lucky to be around at the same time that we have a very weak staying chase division. That is still the case and he might well rattle up the hat-trick

CHAMP….I thought he ran a blinder on seasonal debut and the one that beat him would have most likely won the QM yesterday, had he not been brought to his knees losing many lengths and momentum. So that run over a trip well short of his best, after an absence 347 was awesome. He also jumped a heck of a lot better than I have ever seen him jump before, too.

FRODON….I simply cannot see him making all, over this trip, at this track. Love the horse but if he wins this, I’ll be stunned. His Grade 1 wins at this track have all come over shorter.

I have a feeling KEMBOY will reverse placings with A PLUS TARD tomorrow, over this trip. Thing is, he failed to get home last year and has never won beyond three miles. I don’t think he prefers racing if double figure field sizes either, his last three wins were against 5, 7 and 4 other runners.

MINELLA INDO….I like this horse and his Cheltenham form figures read 2, 1….and I still feel he should have beaten CHAMP in the RSA last season. He has been unlucky in his last two runs and was favourite to beat A PLUS TARD at Leopardstown in December but fell. He as also the choice of Rachel Blackmore that day and I think she may well regret having dumped him.

My three against the field here are:

  • AL BOUM PHOTO
  • CHAMP
  • MINELLA INDO

I’ll dutch but for my 20/80, it’s CHAMP.

That comeback run was huge, and having seen the way he finished up the hill last season, I’ve no doubt at all he’ll be accelerating when others are stopping.

DUTCH

  • AL BOUM PHOTO
  • CHAMP
  • MINELLA INDO

20/80

CHAMP

THE HUNTER CHASE

I have never been an aficionado of Hunter Chases as, usually, the horses are ridden by jockeys that, in the main, are gasping for oxygen by half way or cannot race ride.

This year is different but to say I have a blind clue about the majority of these horses  would be a lie.

Last years winner won @ 66/1, in 2018 it was 25/1, in 2017 16/1, and we had a 33/1 winner in 2011. However, I’m going in….cover me!

Age groupings and weight ranges simply do not apply….not in the normal sense, anyway. Another problem I have is that, in the past, “specialists” in this discipline have won two years on the bounce…. SALSIFY, IN THE FRINGE, PACHA DU POLDER and they spog up the age stats something chronic.

I’m going to look at the market for guidance and I see that over the last decade the winner was in the front six on the tissue seven times:

  • BILLAWAY
  • BOB AND CO
  • IT CAME TO PASS
  • RED INDIAN
  • STAKER WALLACE
  • STAND UP AND FIGHT

If you fancy BILLAWAY, the favourite, then a 20/80 is the order of the day, to four places. It has finished 4, 2, 1, 5, 3, 1, 4, 0, 1, 2 in the last 10 running’s so, expect it to be bang there. Similarly, you look for horses trained by Nicholls and Enda Bolger. They have trained two winners apiece in that time span.

I guess I cannot ignore two stats….one is, you generally need to be coming here having won or placed last time out. The other is, age is  no barrier….the last five winners aged 10 or 11 years of age.

It’s hard to be pedantic about anything regarding this race, not least because it is not the race it usually is, as the “pros” are riding but the three from that list I’ll dutch are:

  • BILLAWAY
  • BOB AND CO
  • STAKER WALLACE

PADDY POWER MARES’ CHASE

This race has never been run before and it will be a few years before how I work produces much of anything. However, the best form is held…clearly….by ELIMAY….which is why it trades 11/8 and clear favourite.

MARTIN PIPE CONDITIONAL JOCKEYS’ HANDICAP HURDLE

Another race that, on another day, I’d ignore completely as I do not get involved in Conditional Jockeys events.

We saw a 25/1 winner last season and that would be one of seven double figure priced horses we’ve seen in the last decade.

The last 10 winners have been aged five (3), six (5) and seven (2). Those two seven year olds have actually accounted for two of the last three.

First shortlist contains horses of those ages:

  • FLOUEUR
  • EGLANTINE DU SEUIL
  • GALOPIN DES CHAMPS
  • GABYNAKO
  • GENTLEMAN DE MEE
  • FIRE ATTACK
  • COMMANDINGPRESENCE
  • FIRST LORD DU CUET
  • WHATSUPWITHYOU
  • FRONTAL ASSAULT
  • ADJALI
  • LANGER DAN
  • GOLDEN TAIPAN
  • MARTINHAL
  • FOLCANO

From the point of view of weight, it’s muddy waters….all 10 winners since 2011 have carried more than 11st so next I’m looking at form coming into the race.

I see that six of the last 10 winners, including last years winner, arrived having won last time out:

  • GENTLEMAN DE MEE
  • FIRST LORD DU CUET
  • FRONTAL ASSAULT
  • LANGER DAN
  • MARTINHAL
  • FOLCANO

I’m swiftly down to six.

Despite those double figure priced winners, I’m noting that six of the last 10 winners were trading in the top six on the tissue and so heading back to market again:

  • GENTLEMAN DE MEE
  • LANGER DAN
  • FOLCANO

That’s my dutch for the final race of the Festival…but a 20/80?

It has to be LANGER DAN. I advised him as the play in last weekend’s Imperial Cup and he absolutely hosed up. They needed 24 to come out of this for him to get in….and it has happened. He is officially 5lb well in here and they will be looking to do a “Martin Pipe” and secure the bonus that comes with winning both races.

DUTCH

  • GENTLEMAN DE MEE
  • LANGER DAN
  • FOLCANO

20/80

LANGER DAN

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