Friday , December 3 2021

Cheltenham Special – Wednesday

THE ONE – GALVIN – WON 7/2….three proposals of marriage within the 15 minutes after it passed the post in front.

I think everyone knew what was going to happen in the Supreme and, it duly happened. All season I’ve been saying that nothing is a stronger indicator of a winner than the market and when I got up this morning and saw APPRECIATE IT trading odds on, it was clear only one horse was winning that race.

SHISHKIN did what was expected of him. HONEYSUCKLE produced the goods yet again (thought that was a poor ride given to EPATANTE, mind), and the layers will have breathed a sigh of relief when CONCERISTA got nutted on the line.

It is an unusual Cheltenham, as we’ve been saying. Sean Trivass and I were discussing before racing even started that these small fields and short priced favourites might be good for acca players, but we need to be looking for horses to give us a run for our money, at prices the working man wants to play at. Like you will read below, any fool can tip up horses like MONKFISH but where is the fun in that?

I also mentioned that so dominant are the Irish horses that it now feels (with the very odd exception), that our top trainers are left to try and plot handicap coups!

I get no pleasure in stats being right about a 1/2 shot and so tomorrow I’ve looked at a couple I hope can hit the frame at decent place odds. Feel free to bang those shorties in accas, if that is your game.

If anyone punted that 80/1 winner, let me know, and I’ll put your name up in lights.

Keep a very close eye on the OMM’s in your morning Newsletter. Today they performed well enough although again, they simply mirrored the players opinion that the good things were good things.

Don’t focus purely on Cheltenham, either. You will have noted (I hope!), that the Sedgefield top three in that 4-05pm event, produced a near 80/1 Tricast, coming home 1st, 2nd and 3rd @ 8/15, 6/1 & 50/1.

Job done today….the rest of this week is paid for.

CHELTENHAM SPECIAL – DAY 2

BALLYMORE NOVICES’ HURDLE

I didn’t exactly pull a rabbit from a hat in selecting ENVOI ALLEN to win this last year, did I! No bragging rights over that one.

It is another very disappointing field size for this race, just seven going to post at the time of writing. All I can do is what I do with every race I profile although “shortlists” are going to be very short here!

AGE GROUPINGS

No point at all looking at anything other than the six year old’s. In the last 10 years only one 5-y-o has pulled this off, THE NEW ONE in 2013….and if you arrive older than six, forget it. We have had 16 seven year old giving it a shot and only four have managed even a place.

  • BEAR GHYLLS
  • BOB OLINGER
  • BRAVEMANSGAME
  • DOES HE KNOW
  • KESKONRISK

That rules out the Mullins trained 5-y-o GAILLARD DU MESNIL, who also happens to be….just….the highest rated horse (151), and again, I’ll point out that stats could be blown out of the water with these small fields but, we’ shall see.

They all race off the same weight and so, I’ll go straight to the market and it’s a pointless exercise looking outside the front four on the tissue because that’s where nine of the last 10 winners could be found. From that first shortlist we have:

  • BEAR GHYLLS
  • BOB OLINGER
  • BRAVEMANSGAME

Continuing with the market thread, I can only see one horse that managed to win this when going off a double figure price and so with BEAR GHYLLS trading 10/1, I’m left with a pair:

  • BOB OLINGER
  • BRAVEMANSGAME

You could dutch to make a small profit but I know everyone just wants to back the winner of this and so with both coming from the Bumper field (important as 20 of the last 22 winners did so…flat breds have no chance, ISTABRAQ was th last to do that), I’m looking to the Irish trained runner, BOB OLINGER, to bring home the Dunmow Flitch. They have supplied the winner of this six times in the last seven years. No brainer, really.

DUTCH

  • BOB OLINGER
  • BRAVEMANSGAME

STRAIGHT WIN

BOB OLINGER

BROWN ADVISORY NOVICES’ CHASE

The RSA in another form but just six going to post (how disappointing is that!), and a pretty pointless task trying to get MONKFISH beaten. I could have taken 7/1 about this horse winning any race he went for at Cheltenham at the start of the season….but didn’t. Dope!

I’m not going to tell anyone to punt a 4/9 shot in a novice chase though but with just two places up for grabs, what can we do?

Seven year old’s usually win this….seven of the last 10 running’s have gone to horses of that age so:

  • MONKFISH
  • EKLAT DE RIRE
  • FIDDLERONTHEROOF

They all carry 11st 4lb so it’s just the market place to work with next. This is where (usually), we’d have a chance of getting the favourite beaten. Only three of the last 10 favourites have succeeded and, if I also tell you at this point that Willie Mullins has only had one winner of this in the last decade, all those of you hat have lumped on at odds on, are now reaching for a stiff drink! He has saddled 17 runners in this race but 12 have not even hit the frame.

Do I think MONKFISH will lose? Nope….but for fun I’m going to have a couple of quid on FIDDLERONTHEROOF in the place market on Betfair, to three places. It’s a “for interest” only punt but he was a top quality hurdler, winning the Tolworth and last time out he looked, for a split second, like he might beat NEXT DESTINATION….but stopped and was beaten just over a length. That horse was second favourite for this race before they opted for the NH Chase on Day 1….and at that time the Tizzard horses were clearly suffering from something, and have been until this last week, when they have started to get winners again.

I know they have THE BIG BREAKAWAY in here, too and he’s trading a quarter of the price FIDDLERONTHEROOF is (28/1), but he’s a six year old and only one of that age gas won this in the last 10 years (DON POLI in 2015).

I think MONKFISH wins this pulling a caravan but if Robbie Power can get mine into the first three, I’ll be chuffed.

MY PLAY

PLACE ONLY TO THREE PLACES – FIDDLERONTHEROOF

CORAL CUP

The last 10 winners of this went off 16/1, 16/1, 33/1, 14/1, 9/1, 12/1, 16/1, 20/1, 28/1 and last year we saw the first winning favourite since Nelson lost an eye!

Nicky Henderson has done well in this race though, winning the last two and also 11 years ago with SPIRIT RIVER (14/1).

I want to start by doing things a little differently here because I expect to find the winner of this, as much as I would expect to find snow in Hades but hey, it’s Cheltenham and I’ve a few shekels for fun punting….enough serious stuff going on in other races.

Those horses trained by Henderson, Nicholls, Mullins and Elliott (Sneezy to his mates now) hit the first shortlist because between them, they have produced the winner of nine of the last 11 running’s.

  • GRAND ROI
  • KOSHARI
  • JANIKA
  • MONTE CRISTO
  • BIRCHDALE
  • SAYO
  • SAINT SONNET
  • CRAIGNEICHE
  • BLUE SARI
  • DYSART DIAMOND

Now I revert (or try to), back to “normal” and start with age groupings. Six of the last 10 winners were aged seven or older, and that includes the last five winners so, anything younger than seven goes at this point:

  • KOSHARI
  • JANIKA
  • BIRCHDALE
  • SAYO
  • CRAIGNEI

We lost the favourite there, GRAND ROI, a 5-y-o trained by Elliott (I mean, of course, Sneezy), and he used to be trained by Henderson but I’m down to five for my fun bet and if that thing wins it, I lose a couple of quid but then, with the Coral Cup, that’ll be nothing new!

Next I’ll look at weight ranges and seven of the last 10 winners carried 11st or more to victory so I’ll cut loose any of the five that don’t:

  • KOSHARI
  • JANIKA
  • BIRCHDALE
  • SAYO

Down to four…two Mullins, two Henderson.

Market next but it could well be I’ve already named the winner and cut it out.

I do not want one trading a single figure price but then, neither do I want one trading bigger than 20/1. Only two of each have won this in the last 10 years so from a purely stats point of view, I want something 10/1 – 20/1:

Only one qualifier

BIRCHDALE

He ran well in this last year, finishing eighth of a 2lb higher mark beaten less than 10 lengths by his stable companion and this will have been the plan. He had won over this course (and very nearly this distance), in the January of 2019, by 18 lengths and so we know he handles the track.

A sporting 20/80

QUEEN MOTHER CHAMPION CHASE

It is simply another race that looks to have a “certainty” running in it. CHACUN POUR SOI is odds on right now and it’s 7/1 bar.

I think, as I do with MONKFISH, that the favourite wins this head in chest….I’ve certainly not seen a two miler in his class this season.

What might be trading at decent odds, that might be worth a place punt?

It was sad to hear ALTIOR would not be running. Not that I felt he had a chance of winning this year….he didn’t….it’s just great seeing those old brilliant horses….and why I love NH and why I can take or leave flat racing.

I’m going to work with nine year old’s. They have won four of the last 10 running’s and, they have won the last two:

  • CHACUN POUR SOI
  • CILAOS EMERY
  • FIRST FLOW
  • SCEAU ROYAL

Weight is immaterial but they rule out PUT THE KETTLE ON, because a mare winning this is as rare as hens teeth.

Market position then.

There are actually very few “very good” horses and you can usually find the winner of this in the front three on the tissue….eight of the last 10 winners were.

Of that quartet though, the only qualifier is CHACUN POUR SOI but I know this horse will win the race (all things being equal), and all I want is one to hit the frame. By the way, if the favourite does win he’ll be the first Mullins winner in the last 10 years….he’s had just two place from eight entries in that last decade. Horses trained on the mainland are where I’m going because eight of the last 10 winners were:

  • FIRST FLOW
  • SCEAU ROYAL

One of that pair, to place only on Betfair….that’ll do….but which one?

Here I’m pinning my hopes on the ground drying out to good to soft and if it does, I’m going place only SCEAU ROYAL. His best form has come on good to soft or good, whilst I’m thinking FIRST FLOW wants to get his toe in. All of his wins have come on soft or heavy, and his only run on good to soft came in a Bumper way back in 2017 and he got stuffed. The only time he raced at Cheltenham, he pulled up.

MY PLAY

SCEAU ROYAL – PLACE ONLY TO THREE PLACES ON BETFAIR

CROSS COUNTRY CHASE

I would ban this race from the Festival. I’ll tell you what I have got and then tell you straight, I’ll never bet a penny piece on such a race.

Eight of the last 10 winners were aged younger than 10 but only one younger than aged eight….and that is tomorrow’s odds on favourite EASYSLAND, who won it as a six year old last year.

Similarly, you do not want to be looking for something at a silly price either, because eight of the last 10 winners have been priced 7/1 or shorter but it’s 11/1 bar two, neither of which fit the age profile.

The only runner outside the front two that could be even thought of, is LE BEUIL….and I’d not be with a horse that has only won twice over fences and last won in 2019.

No bet race for me but those having punted EASYSLAND can probably sleep easy.

GRAND ANNUAL

I have put up EMBITTERED for this, as one of my four in the “one-a-day-acca”….let’s see what the runes say.

We have enjoyed success in this, we suffered losses but when ALDERWOOD won it in 2013, he put me personally in credit with this race for the rest of my “natural”. The following year we got “snipered” by Tony Martin, who took THE ONE out, ran it as a no-hoper in the Arkle, then won this race with SAVELLO, who was punted from 33/1 > 16/1 on the afternoon of the race.

That’s racing.

Seven of the last 10 winners of this went of 40/1, 20/1, 16/1, 16/1, 28/1 and 66/1….but those races won by the 40/1, 20/1 and 28/1 shots, saw Tizzard, Henderson and Nicholls collecting the trophy.

I want nothing younger than seven years of age, and nothing older than nine racing for me:

  • DUC DE GENIEVRES
  • SIZING POTTSIE
  • CHOSEN MATE
  • IBLEO
  • SKY PIRATE
  • US AND THEM
  • MOONLIGHTER
  • GLEN FORSA
  • AMOOLA GOLD
  • EMBITTERED
  • ZANZA
  • ENTOUCAS
  • ON THE SLOPES
  • ASHUTOR
  • NOT THAT FUISSE
  • CAPUCCIMIX
  • OR JUANE DE SOMOZA

Next we’ll look at the weights and I want nothing carrying more than 11st 6lb or less that 10st 6lb so, shears out, let’s prune:

  • SKY PIRATE
  • US AND THEM
  • MOONLIGHTER
  • GLEN FORSA
  • AMOOLA GOLD
  • EMBITTERED
  • ZANZA
  • ENTOUCAS
  • ON THE SLOPES
  • ASHUTOR

Market next, as usual, and seven of the last 10 winners were outside the front five on the tissue and seven of those winners were also priced no bigger than 20/1, so I can work with that to produce the following:

  • US AND THEM (16/1)
  • AMOOLA GOLD (20/1)

That just leaves me a pair to work with and the first named is trained by the bloke that trains my Podcast selection….Joseph O’Brien….who also just happens to train the front two on the tissue.

They are a pair of sporting 20/80’s in a race as likely to throw up a shock result, as it is a predictable one.

If I were to point to one of that pair I’m expecting to be the better, statistically, then it would be US AND THEM.

He arrives having finished outside the first three last time out and that carries some significance and applies to five of the last seven winners.

DUTCH

  • US AND THEM (16/1)
  • AMOOLA GOLD (20/1)

20/80

US AND THEM

THE BUMPER

I still dine out on RELEGATE, who won this at 25/1 for us in 2018….some year, that was.

This is the only Bumper I take seriously and only then because I’m looking for next years top hurdlers. I bet such races to pennies, as opposed to £’s.

It has become quite clear in recent times that you want a five year old, trained by Mullins of Elliott, who have won six of the last nine running’s of this between them, five of those being aged five.

Ridiculously, they train seven of the first eight on the tissue tomorrow, their front two on that tissue being six year old’s. Sitting third favourite is a Sneezy Elliott trained five year old, THREE STRIPE LIFE, and I’m just going to have a small 20/80 that one.

I’ll have pen and paper ready, with notes made for my review, and horses earmarked for races next year, as opposed to this.

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