Cheltenham Handicap Chases
As with the handicap hurdles I have had a look at the handicap chases. There are a few more areas that I dived into that I hadn’t with the hurdlers that you may find interesting.
Finding micro-angles has been tricky but I have uncovered something which can be found at the bottom of the post and I plan to keep looking…
Headline stats 2010-
625 / 30 wins / average nearly 21 runners per race
(when you see ‘places’ below, that figure means all wins and places combined)
Again it is wise not to get too creative with odds, however bigger priced horses appear to do better than hurdlers. However, there have been no winners priced over 50/1 ISP: 46 bets / 0 wins / 1 place.
Those priced between 20/1 and 50/1 : 290 bets / 7 wins / 37 places / AE 0.69
Those priced 18/1 or below: 289 bets / 23 wins / 81 places / AE 0.82
Unsurprisingly perhaps it is best to concentrate on those priced 18/1 or under. However, when placing bets you don’t know what price they will go off at so this is only a guide. For the purposes of what follows I am just going to exclude those priced above 50/1…
Unsurprisingly perhaps Irish breds, followed by British breds do best over fences here…
Irish: 319 bets / 20 wins / 64 places / AE 0.91
British: 100 bets / 6 wins / 25 places / AE 0.94
Indeed if you had backed both blind since 2010 you would be showing a profit to BFSP of nearly 70 points. (although most of that down to a couple of winners no doubt)
USA breds are: 16 bets / 0 winners/ 4 places
German Breds: 6 bets / 1 winner / 2 places
It is the French breds which we should be wary of, especially their performance against market expectation: 132 bets / 3 wins / 22 places / AE 0.36. They have drawn a complete blank at the 2013 and 2014 festivals, 0/29 and 0/25 respectively. They were also 0/27 in 2010
Don’t go too young and don’t go too old would be the advice here.
5 year olds are: 10 bets / 0 wins / 1 place so far and although a limited sample I would be wary of the young ones. This may be a trend that changes and is worth keeping an eye on.
At the other end those 11 or over are: 80 bets / 1 win / 15 places / AE 0.22 . That 1 win for 11yo’s was in the Cross Country and if you exclude that race those older than 10 are: 43 bets / 0 wins / 6 places
On the stats, represented by win strike rate, place strike rate and AE there isn’t much to choose between those aged 6,7,8,9,10….
Total: 489 bets / 29 wins / 102 places / AE 0.88
From now on I will exclude the cross country race by adding in a distance filter. This is a very unique test so for now I will leave it out. It is generally contested by older more exposed horses which may or may not skew the following stats…
There isn’t much of note here. There is a spread with horses with 3 career runs (2/ 4) and those with 30, 31, 40, 46 winning races. There is no logical way to divide up career runs so for now I will leave this one. I was hoping (more for ease of finding some micro angles) that there may be clear divide between more unexposed and exposed runners but that doesn’t appear to be the case.
A bit more interesting I suppose.
Those with 9 or more career wins to their name: 29 bets / 0 wins / 6 places
And indeed those with 8 career wins are 29 bets / 1 win / 3 places . Given those with 7 are 38 bets and 4 wins this could be a useful cut off.
So, those with 8 or more career wins (indicating they may more exposed than ideal and clearly not likely to improve at all) are: 58 bets / 1 win / 9 places / AE 0.39
Those with 0 career wins are 0 from 3. Not much to go on but I don’t think I could personally back a horse at the Festival that has never won.
So those with between 1 and 7 career wins to their name: 444 bets / 24 wins / 89 places /AE 0.82
Career Wins in a Handicap
Unlike with the hurdlers this section is not so fascinating. Again there is an even spread on all the figures and no real ‘way in’. . Those with 7 or 8 wins in handicaps are 0/10 and 3 places but they are not sound numbers on which to base a betting decision.
Those with 0 career wins in a Handicap are: 134 bets / 8 wins / 32 places AE 0.87
And in fact those with 0 or 1 wins in handicaps are: 254 bets / 14 wins / 54 places / AE 0.81
Those with 2-6 career wins in handicaps are: 241 bets / 11 wins / 42 places / AE 0.78
So actually, not much to go on there at all!
Career Wins in Handicap Chases
This is probably worth looking at…I hope so anyway. As with the hurdle piece I am researching and writing this ‘live’ so to speak…
Those with 0 wins in handicap chases are: 206 bets / 13 wins / 52 places / AE 0.92
1 or 2 wins in handicap chases are: 221 bets / 9 wins / 33 places AE 0.65
3 or more wins in handicap chases: 78 bets / 3 wins / 14 places / AE 0.77
Now, with races that are 2m5f or below there is a fairly even spread.
But, in the two handicap chases above this distance (exc Cross Country)…
Those with 2 or more wins in handicap chases are: 70 bets / 1 win / 5 places/ AE 0.28
0 wins in Handicap Chases fair best: 75 bets / 6 wins / 23 places / AE 1.26
1 win: 65 bets / 3 wins / 12 places / AE 0.67
So, for the chase on Day 1 at 2.40 and the Kim Muir on Day 3 I wouldn’t want to be with those with 2 or more career wins in Handicap Chases
Horses Wins in Chases (all inc Novice)
0 chase wins: 24 bets/ 1 win / 11 places/ 0.62
1 chase win: 113 bets / 10 wins / 26 places / 1.16
2 or 3 chase win: 264 bets / 11 wins / 46 places / AE 0.64
4 chase wins +: 104 bets / 3 wins / 16 places / AE 0.65
So, those with just 1 chase win: 40% of winners from just 22% of runners. And certainly it looks best to stick with those that are more unexposed over fences, 1-3 chase wins.
Highest Class Run
Not much here, but those that have never run above C3 in their career are: 28 bets / 1 win / 2 places
Horse Places Higher Distance
Those horses that have placed 3 or more times at a higher distance than today’s race are: 121 bets / 4 wins / 24 places/ AE 0.55
0 places are: 205 bets / 9 wins / 38 places AE 0.68
1 or 2 places are: 179 bets / 12 wins / 37 places AE 1.05
So clearly placing at a higher distance, 1 or 2 times, is a positive. This would make sense given the pace of these races and ability to stay is clearly very important. However, those that have placed 3 or more times at a higher distance are maybe running at the wrong distance and simply do not have the speed for the race they are competing in. Nothing too concrete but interesting nonetheless.
Horses Runs in 90 Days
Nothing stands out in the sense that we can automatically exclude those with x amount of runs but it is clear that the more race fit you are, the better the performance.
0, 1 or 2 runs in past 90 days: 362 bets / 14 wins / 72 places / AE 0.59
3 or 4 runs: 137 bets / 11 wins / 27 places / AE 1.41
So, being ‘hard fit’ is no bad thing and actually they provide 44% of all winners from just 27.5% of all runners. Something to keep in mind anyway. While that couldn’t be the basis for a micro angle (although we may be able to dig into the ‘hard fit winners’) don’t be put off by those that have had a few races in the previous 3 months. There have only been a handful of bets with 5 or more runs so they shouldn’t be excluded, although no winners as yet.
Days Since Run
0-5 days: 4 bets / 1 win / 1 place
6-15 days: 34 bets / 0 wins / 2 places!
16-45 days: 288 bets / 19 wins / 56 places / AE 1.09
46- 120 days: 160 bets / 5 wins / 36 places / AE 0.43
121 days+ : 19 bets / 0 wins / 4 places
So, outside of 16-45 days, the stats are: 217 bets / 6 wins (2.7%) / 43 places
Quite incredibly, 3 of the 5 winners to return 46 days+ are from DAVID PIPE. 3/17 with such chasers. That is rather impressive. Henderson 0/20, Nicholls 0/10 (no places) ; Jonjo 0/13; NTD 0/8 . Culloty and Martin provided the other two. It will be interesting to see how this develops moving forward.
Season Runs + Wins
Season Runs…those with 0 season runs are 0/6. 2 places.
Those with 8 or more season’s runs are: 33 bets / 0 wins / 6 places
All wins come in the 1 to 7 runs range although there is an even spread. For what can only be an anomaly those with 3 runs this season are: 104 bets / 1 win / 21 places. The number of places suggests this is just one of those things. 4 runs for example is 9/107… 7 runs 4/28. One of those things or is there a logical reason? Something to dwell on as they are not doing too well.
Those with 3 or more wins this season are: 46 bets / 1 win / 8 places / AE 0.32. 6 wins this season are 1/1.
There is a fairly even spread from those with 0 (9 wins), 1 (8 wins) and 2 (7 wins) wins this season.
Let’s start with horses runs at the track…
Let’s look at those that had run at the track in their entire career to date (in whatever race type)…
0 runs at track: 113 bets / 4 wins / 19 places / AE 0.54
1 run at the track: 101 bets / 9 wins / 22 places / AE 1.23
2-4 runs at track: 172 bets / 8 wins / 36 places / AE 0.78
5 or more runs: 106 bets / 4 wins / 21 places / AE 0.63
So, it is clear that those with some experience, but not too much (indicating they are more exposed?) do rather well. Certainly 1 run at the track previously is a good thing.
Rather fascinatingly, if we take those with 1-4 career runs at the track we can have a look at those that have ran over FENCES here..
0 chase runs: 86 bets/ 6 wins/ 22 places / AE 0.96
1 chase run: 102 bets / 9 wins / 20 places / AE 1.39
2 chase runs: 50 bets / 2 wins / 10 places / AE 0.73
3 or more (3 or 4,no more than that): 38 bets / 0 wins / 6 places
Now, how many times a horse previously won a CHASE at Cheltenham? This surprised me…
Those with 1 win or more in Chases (all chases, not just handicaps)
114 bet / 1 win / 20 places / AE 0.14
(Those with 1 win are 1/92)
That means those that have never won at the track in a chase are: 391 bets / 24 wins / 79 places / 0.97
Now, Horses RUNs at Track in Chases
Those never to have ran in a chase here (0 runs) are: 198 bets / 10 wins / 42 places /AE 0.73
1 run in chases here: 108 bets / 10 wins / 22 places / AE 1.45
2 runs: 57 bets / 2 wins / 10 places / AE 0.58
(nothing much there…but don’t be put off by those never to have ran here over fences – but clearly a run in a NHF or Hurdle is a positive looking at the earlier stats)
Those with 3 or more runs in chases at Chelteham are: 142 bets / 3 wins / 25 places / AE 0.38
I did think that maybe the more experience the better, but clearly not. The number of places is solid enough and with a couple more winners the stats would start to take on a different complexion.
So, 0 or 1 run here over fences provide 80% of winners from 60% of runners.
Those with 2 or more wins at the Track (all race types) are: 44 bets / 0 wins / 5 places
Those with 2 or more RUNS over the course and distance (over fences) are: 78 bets/ 1 win/ 11 places / AE 0.27
In fact 24 of the 25 winners have never won over the Course and Distance they are competing over.
Those with 1 or more wins over course and distance are: 48 bets / 1 win / 7 places / AE 0.35.
In HRB these fences are categorised as VERY STIFF. 3 tracks are recorded as being very stiff. Aintree ( I think the GN, although that is debateable now), Haydock and Cheltenham.
Those with 1 or more WINS over VERY STIFF fences are only: 133 bets / 1 win/ 23 places / 0.12
That would indicate that a previous win at Cheltenham or Haydock over fences is far from desirable. Not sure how useful that is but interesting nonetheless. Maybe just an anomaly.
Those that had placed at Cheltenham in chases 2 or more times are: 96 bets / 1 win / 17 places / AE 0.16
Those that had PLACED over course and distance (chases) 1 or more times are : 105 bets / 1 win / 15 places / AE 0.16
When looking at a chaser I would have been encouraged if they had placed over CD before but clearly this isn’t the massive positive I thought it may be.
It is difficult to know what to read into that. Firstly don’t be put off by those that have no experience of fences at Cheltenham.
Then it appears the more experience you have the worse you do. I suppose there are horses improving for the experience of the track and race conditions, more so than those that have experienced them a few times before.
And actually don’t be put off by those never to have placed at the track in any race type…
Those that had placed at the track, in whatever race type (NHF/Hurdle/Chase, non hncp/hncp)…
0 places ever at the track: 253 bets / 15 wins / 47 places / AE 0.99
1 place: 121 bets / 6 win / 28 places / AE 0.76
2 or 3 places: 94 bets / 4 wins / 17 places / AE 0.6
4 places or above: 40 runs / 0 wins / 7 places
Horse Places over the same course and distance …
Those that had placed over the same course and distance 1 or more times: 116 bets / 1 win/ 18 places/ AE 0.15
Those that had never (0) placed over the course and distance: 389 bets / 24 wins / 81 places / AE 0.96
Not as much here as with the hurdlers…
However those dropping 2 or 3 classes from last run are: 40 bets / 1 win / 9 places / AE 0.42
Nothing stands out with the other class moves.
Those dropping down in distance from their last run by 1 furlong or more are : 99 bets / 0 wins / 19 places.
Those stepping up in distance by 2 furlongs or more are: 104 bets / 2 wins / 17 places / AE 0.31
So, optimum conditions appear to be those moving down by 0.5, running at same distance or moving up by 0.5f: 219 bets / 19 wins / 48 places / AE 1.33
Those moving up by 1f to 1.5f are: 84 bets / 4 wins / 15 places / AE 0.78
So, it looks like it is best to avoid those taking a drop by 1f or more or going up by 2 or more furlongs. Asking a horse to do something too different from its last run clearly doesn’t work that well?
Finishing Position Last Time Out
1st LTO: 125 bets / 9 wins / 24 places / AE 0.89
2nd: 70 bets / 3 wins / 18 places / AE 0.54
3rd : 69 bets / 2 wins / 12 places / AE 0.49
The only thing of note really is that last time out winners do well. 36% of winners from 24.7% of runners.
Those that Fell LTO are 0/13 and those that were Pulled Up are 2/31
There will no doubt be strong trends for certain races.
Track Last Time Out
Some interesting observations, especially for those tracks that have struggled to produce Festival winners…
Ascot 0/40 ; Leopardstown 1/25 ; Newbury 1/45 ; Sandown 1/41; Muss 1/17
4 of the 25 winners ran over hurdles last time out from 51 runners.
Position in Odds Market Last Time Out
Top 2 last time out: 194 bets / 12 wins / 47 places / AE 0.8
3rd or 4th in market lto: 117 bets / 7 wins/ 21 places / AE 0.99
Those that were 5th in the market or lower lto: 194 bets 6 wins / 31 places / AE 0.61
So, focusing on those that were fairly well fancied last time out looks wise.
Class of last career win
Interestingly horses who last won a Class 1 race, who are running in a handicap here, are: 87 bets / 0 wins / 22 places /
Those whose last win was in a C4 race: 52 bets / 2 wins / 8 places / AE 0.53
All other 20 winners last won in a C2 or C3 race.
Looking at it more closely, those whose last win was in a Grade 1, 2, 3 or Listed race are: 103 bets / 0 wins / 23 places . Maybe these horses have regressed, and a Cheltenham Handicap is no place to recapture form. Or, they are still in form but are still too high in the handicap from that previous win in a decent race.
Those horses whose last win was in a race worth £17001+ are: 135 bets / 2 wins / 29 places / AE 0.25
Interestingly, those horses who last won in race with 11 or more runners are: 157 bets / 3 wins / 37 places / AE 0.29
I am not sure what this demonstrates and am still thinking it through! Or it is just one of those things. You would think a horse’s last win, in what would most likely be a competitive race with 11 or more runners, would be a positive.
Horses 1st EVER run…
Those running in a handicap chase here that had their 1st ever run on the flat, (flat turf and AW): 49 bets / 2 wins / 12 places / AE 0.72
Those who made their debut aged 2 or 3 : 80 bets / 2 wins / 15 places / AE 0.42
From this top set of data nothing really stands out. Winners at most weights. Those carrying 11-11 or 11-12 are 2/28, 9 places.
If you look at those carrying 11-9 or more: 60 bets / 3 wins / 16 places / AE 0.71
I have removed the odds cap for this just so we can see their overall record. (still excluding cross country)
Those with 2 or more wins: Henderson (2/51); ONeill (3/27); Pipe (4/47); Tizzard (2/18); NTD (2/27)
1 win: Burke (1/3); Culloty (1/1); Hobbs (1/19); King (1/20); McCain (1/14); Moffatt (1/2); T Mullins (1/3); F Murphy (1/18); Rodford (1/1) Snowden (1/1); V Williams (1/29)
Notable poor records…
Paul Nicholls: 0/23 0 places! Best stick to his hurdlers then, at least in handicaps.
Mullins 0/8, 3 places. Not as bad as Nicholls mind.
- Notable all his chase winners have been 3m+. 3/17, 5 places. He is 0/10, 2 places, below 3m.
- All three of those were Irish or GB bred, and were moving up 0.5 to 1.5f. 3/7 4 places.
- Opposite to Jonjo, both Henderson’s winners have come 2m4.5f or below. He is 0/20 (3 places) 2m5+ . His winners were GB and German bred. He is 0/19 Irish or French but maybe best not to read too much into that?
- All of his winners so far had been off the track between 31-120 days. They were also either moving down .5f through to up 1.5f. 4/16 7 places. Dealing with small numbers for the distance move though so I wouldn’t read too much into this.
I am not sure how much to read into this, given we are dealing with the most competitive racing of the year.
But for interest…
Jockeys of interest (negative) Aiden Coleman (0/14); BJ Geraghty (0/19); Hutchinson (0/9); Maguire (0/12); Jaimie Moore (0/10); ORegan (0/9); Sam TD (0/15); Ruby Walsh (0/12 – 0 plces);
Given who some of those jockeys are associated with their records are more likely to do with the trainer’s record?
Finding any ‘ways in’ is proving a bit tricky but here goes..
‘Hard Fit Chasers’
- Chases (exc Cross Country- although no qualifiers anyway in that race)
- GB/Irish Bred (German breds yet to have qualifier under conditions)
- 50/1 or under
- Horse Runs In last 90 days: 3 or 4 ONLY
- 1 or more runs at track previously
- 1 or more wins in handicap company
- 0 wins in chases at the track (1 or more only 0/6 no places)
Without adding ‘distance move’ criteria the stats are
45 bets / 10 wins / 15 places / +158 SP / +211 BFSP / AE 3.92
This is a decent enough starting point for further research. However we know, in general, not moving too far in distance from your last run is ideal..
- Distance move from last run: Down 0.5f, Same, Up 0.5f
Results: 17 bets / 8 wins / 10 places / +131.5 SP / +174.11 BFSP / AE 6.45
Dropping down more than this is 0/4 no places. The two other winners from the original set were moving up by 4f, and by 1m4f.
Pipe is 0/2 in the above and both of his were returning within 30 days. We know all of his chase winners so far have had longer than this off the track. Nicholls has had 1 runner under the above conditions.
This does give 32% of total winners from just 3.3% of runners. Based on all of the stats previously discussed there is logic etc to every rule. A ‘hard fit’ horse (3/4 runs 90 days), with experience of the track, a win in a handicap, racing over a distance it is used to (distance move). They are also unexposed over fences at this track and haven’t shown their hand.
Of more interest, having just looked….
If we take the first set of stats, with no distance move….there have been no winners, from 11 runners, of the Kim Muir Amateur Riders race…this is seen as a weak trends race, and one of the weakest races at the meeting.
Ignoring distance move, and a race distance at all (but excluding that race), it would include a winner of the Cross Country and leave…
Implementing the distance move stats above would leave the same 8/17 as above.
So, actually, that looks to me like an exciting little approach, especially EW. Let’s see how well it does this year!
Venetia Williams is responsible for Carrick Boy who won at monster odds. However, if you just look at those priced 28/1 or under the stats are 9/22, 11 places. So, a bit to aim at there.
I will keep looking for more ‘ways’ in and add an update if I can come up with anything…
Well I thought I would look at the two chases that are around the 3m1-2f mark. The 2.40 on day 1 and the 4.40 on day 3.
Rather unintentionally I have managed to find the profile of every winner of those races since 2010 (10 winners) from just 28 bets. Surely this is not going to be repeated, and surely it is just a statistical anomaly. Indeed 2005-2009 was 0/18 5 places, so it may be one of those things, but let’s see…
1. Distance 3m-3m3f (just to ensure I cover both of those races)
2. GB + Irish Bred
3. 33/1 or under ISP
4. Distance Move: 0.5f to 4f UP in Distance (same or down in dist 0/8 1 place / up 4.5f+ 0/9 1 place)
5. At least 1 run in the last 90 days
6. At least 12 career runs
7. 1-3 Chase wins in their career
8. 0 wins at Cheltenham in Chases
9. Aged between 3-5 when making racing debut under rules (only 0/7, 2 places, outside of this mind)
Anyway that profile…A hardy horse (career runs), that is a fit (run in 90 days) unexposed chaser (1-3 chase wins) that is improving for the step up in trip has…covers every winner of those 10 races in total since 2010.
Jonjo is 3/4 all 4 placed under those conditions.
Interestingly those 10 winners only include 2 of the winners from the first system. So, together they have found 16 winners of the handicap chases. It would be great if they could find some winners this year and whether these profiles stand up. They could of course find nothing but it will be interesting and exciting to find out.