Cheltenham Day 2: Preview and Tips

Day 1 Re Cap (feel free to skip to my Day 2 bets below!) 

Day 1 Formline…

9 (Free bet), 8, 11 , 4 , 5 , 3 , 4

A 7 point loss on the day wasn’t the ideal start but in general I was happy with how the selections performed.

Maybe not so in the 2.40 where I/we didn’t get much of a run and they both disappointed a bit.

I should have just focused on those selections that the Micro System threw up, which was based on myextensive research into those handicaps. The shortlist of 6 for the 2.40 included the winner at 8/1 and the second at 25/1. The Druids Nephew became the first winner in 25 years to have also run in this season’s Hennessy. So much for stats (although as I said I am not sure how big the sample was) 1 run in the last 90 days also put me off and the weight he had, in the context of his price. I also wasn’t truly convinced by his jumping but he put in a great round. He continued the fine record of those near the top of the market. Of those at the top end of the market I preferred Ned Stark but in the end his lack of experience told. That is now two years in a row that the ratings and weight band has been smashed to smithereens. I was happy to take a chance on Theatre Guide at 20s and he traveled well for the most part but couldn’t get involved near the business end. Other horses mentioned on the shortlist filled the remaining places. My antenna wasn’t totally off, even though I couldn’t snare the winner.

Sego Success and Perfect Gentleman ran perfectly well and finished 4th and 5th. No excuses, just outstayed by better horses on the day. It was nice to see Cause of Causes get his head in front at the 11th time of asking over fences. I backed PG at 20s with 3 places Ante Post but hopefully any of you that backed him got 4 places with various bookies on the morning of racing (but at 12s).

I was rather pleased with my assessment of the 5.15 and I filled the places again with a close 3rd and 4th. It looked very good for a long way with Horizontal Speed but he struggled to get up the hill. Thomas Crapper ran well for second and I thought he would give the selections most to do. Unfortunately for me Irish Cavalier found the necessary improvement to reverse form with Generous Ransom. Pounds and Lengths punters will say that the 6lb swing made the difference but I don’t think that was the telling factor. He won fair and square. Anyway, happy enough although close placed horses don’t pay the bills. 


Summary of Day 2 bets 

Race 1 – No Bet (Nichols Canyon or the Hendo horse for interest) 

Race 2 – Southfield Theatre – 2 points win 15/2 

Race 3 – Baradari 1 point win 18/1… / Blackmail 1 point win 18/1 

Race 4 – No Bet (stick a pin in 🙂 – Dodging Bullets on what he has done so far ) 

Race 5 – Quantitativeeasing 1 point win 10/1 

Race 6 – All Yours 1/2 point win 14/1 …. / Qualando 1/2 point win 20/1 

Race 6 – No Idea (maybe the Pipe horse for fun) 


System Selections 

Micro 1 –

2.40 Aux Ptits Soins 


4.40 All Yours / Qualando 


Micro 2 

2.40 Dell Arca (falls down on trend for race, had 6 starts this season I think, they are 0/78 in last 17 years)


Micro 5 (Grade 1 Chase Profile)

Many….. 2.05… If In Doubt, The Young Master….

3.20 – most of the field… Champagne F, DB, Mr M, Savello, Simply Ned, SDG, Special Tiara, Sprinter



Last year the winner of the RSA got me back on track after a previous blank day. However, if you thought Day 1 was tricky, Day 2 looks rather more challenging to my eye…

Race 1

No Bet

  • Only 1 winner aged over 6 since 1974
  • 30/31 1st or 2nd last time out
  • 16 of last 18 win and placed horses were first 4 in the betting
  • 15/17 had experienced a graded hurdle, 12 had won one.

Ignoring the market for the moment I believe that leaves a shortlist of Nichols Canyon, Ordo Ab Chao, Vyta Du Roc and Windsor Park.

Take your pick! King and connections have always said Ordo likes to get his toe in so that would put me off him, but he is a nice price. Nichols Canyon thumped Windsor Park last time and I can’t see a reason why he won’t do so again.

For me Nichols Canyon or Vyta Du Roc will be winning this race, for trainers who have decent records in this race. I expect Ruby may try and make all again. Vyta is proven at the course and will relish this test on this ground, and as such will overturn the form with Parlour Games. I am torn. Vyta is around 7/1 whereas Nichols Canyon is 4s. Whichever one I pick I will no doubt get it wrong so I will leave that to you! And of course there could well be a trends buster.

I may have a play at something but not a confident one. Do I really want to take on Mullins again?? 


Race 2

Southfield Theatre 2 points win 15/2 Paddy Power

  • 19/22 were novice hurdling the previous season
  • 12/12 placed at worst in a G1 and G2 chase
  • 12/12 started career over fences at no further than 2m5f
  • 13/15 were 7yo
    • 2/17 5 or 6yo from 44 runners
    • Only 3 winners younger than 7 since 1978
  • 0/15 had run less than 3 times over fences
  • ALL of the last 51 winners had run in same calendar year
  • 17/17 ran 16-60 days ago
  • 16/18 Irish Bred


Don Poli is 6 and hasn’t run this calendar year. I want to be against in. Now, this is an unusually small field which may render a lot of those stats irrelevant. With larger fields they no doubt go a stronger pace with more emphasis on accurate jumping and stamina. Hence the record of inexperienced 5 and 6 year olds. It could well be that the bull that is Don Poli isnt found wanting, but he has been well found in the market. I am happy to take him on.

Of those aged 7+, the only one to have ran and placed in a G1 or G2 chase is Southfield Theatre. Quite simply he ticks all the boxes. The only concern is Paul Nicholls and his ongoing poor record in chases at the Festival. He has had 1 winner from 50+ handicap chasers since 2007 and is now 37+ losing sequence in Grade 1 Chases at the Festival since 2010. However, with Mullins breaking his own Grade 1 Chase hoodoo today, I am banking on Paul to get me out of a hole. He hasn’t forgotten how to train top class chasers, as his record this year in the big Saturday races shows.

His horse here has a fantastic Cheltenham record to boot reading… 4, 1, 3, 4, 2… beaten 4 lengths, neck, 1.5 lengths, nose in last year’s pertemps final to Fingal Bay.

Whats more Nicholls has won this race twice in 2006 and 2007. If he is to get back on track in the big chases here I am hoping its with this lad. He will stay every inch, will relish the decent ground and likes the track. We should get a very good run for our money and hopefully for the second year in a row the RSA gets me into profit!

Of the rest Kings Palace may get an easy lead but as yet hasn’t proved himself at the necessary level. (at least historically..i dont think his class is undoubted,but will be be good enough- not on what he has shown to date) It may not matter but I want to go with the proven class horse. (in terms of the races he has ran in) The Young Master keeps defying expectations and he may well do so again but he has age and a lack of run this year against him as well.  If In Doubt and The Ould Lad will really have to step up on what they have done to date.


And now it gets really really tricky…


Race 3

Baradari 1 point win 18/1 (skybet/BV)

Blackmail 1 point win 18/1 (Paddy Power)

I won’t list all the stats, just the ones I have used to narrow down the field…

  • 16/17 5-8 yo (9yo 1/42 3 places)
  • 16/17 No more than 4 runs ONLY this season
    • 5 runs 1/49. 6+ 0/78
  • 12/14 Won no more than 1 handicap
  • 15/20 won earlier in the season

To my eye that would leave a shortlist of…

Blackmail, Zabana, Goodwood Mirage, Baradari, Vasco Du Ronceray, Ttebbob, Aux Ptits Soins

Look you could make a case for any number of these and I will just focus on why I have selected the two above.

Obviously they have a decent fit with the stats above. Given Henderson’s record with this type of runner in handicap hurdles you have to be weary of his runners too. 

Baradari caught my eye, before the trends analysis, as he comes up on another micro system I built when I did all of that research on the blog – that I so blissfully ignored on Day 1! (maybe this ‘profiling’ approach is better than using trends…) It looks at 5 year old handicap hurdlers, 20/1 or under, 1 run in last 90 days, ran 21-60 days ago. Since 2009 the stats are 13 bets / 5 winners / 6 wins or places /+57 ISP. A small sample yes, but it has been remarkably consistent over the last 5 years. 

So, he ticks that box and is a trends fit. Venetia Williams had the winner of this in 2005. Aidan Coleman has a poor record so far at the Festival but he is a decent jockey and I won’t let that put me off at the odds. The horse came a decent 5th in last season’s Fred Winter so he has Festival form. This trip on this ground has long been thought to be the key from trainer comments. After the Fred Winter on good ground the immediate thoughts were that he needed to be stepped up. I find it interesting that they only stepped him up in trip on his last start, on inadequate ground. There is plenty of improvement in him and given all of the above I had to back him.

Blackmail looks like a typical Martin plot job and I suspect this has been the plan for some time. Martin has saddled a winner and a third from his 5 runners in this.  His horse also wears a hood/headgear for the first time and this angle has already struck at this year’s festival after much success last year. There is no way we have seen the best of him and he ran in 2013’s Champion Bumper. He led well over 2f from home before fading quickly. He is very lightly raced and with luck in running must have a big chance. He was off for over  a year before his last run and while technically doesnt qualify on the last trend my instinct and price says he is interesting. They were thinking of him as a Cheltenham horse during 2013 and I see no reason why that would have changed. 

Nicholls lightly raced Aux Ptits Soins is interesting but he has been quite negative in his Betfair column and for a trainer that usually plays a straight bat with his comments, that put me off. It may not stop me having a saver on him mind as he fits the profile of the type of handicap hurdle winner he has here.

Given my start to the Festival no doubt something else on the shortlist will go in 🙂 (or something nowhere near it!) 

Race 4

No Bet

The only possible bet for me in this is Dodging Bullets. He arguably has the least to prove, and that is saying something. I have no idea how anyone can have an overly strong opinion on this. Every horse has major questions to answer. DB normally goes off the boil at this time of year but apparently he worked the house down during his last piece of serious exercise.

I am just going to watch this and enjoy it. I would like to see Sprinter win and it would be some training performance. But, much like my heart wanted The New One to win, I just can’t see it. SDG ran in a handicap last time which is a negative. You could make a case for some of the others.

I could spend hours on this race and just go round in circles.


Race 5

Quantitativeeasing – 1 point win 10/1

(William Hill, using my Free Bet from race 1 on Tuesday. I don’t get the stake back so this is effectively a 9/1 shot)

Experience of these fences is usually crucial and my shortlist consisted of Any Currency, Hey Big Spender, Uncle Junior, Sire Collonges, Duke of Lucca and Chicago Grey. The form of the race over these fences in December could prove decisive. The selection gets a 10lb pull with Any Currency for coming second. That may not mean anything come the end of the race over this distance, but it may. I was encouraged by that run and it was about time the trainer and jockey had another winner in this race. 10s is decent and we should get a decent run for our money. Based on his last run I can’t see him being out of the top 4.

15/17 winners were top 3 in the betting and you could make a case for many that have experience of these fences. Only 1 winner in the last 33 races was making their course debut.


Race 6

All Yours ½ point win 14/1 PP

Qualando ½ point win 20/1 PP


I am not sure if there is any point using trends with horses that are so lightly raced. However one stat that catches the eye is that no winner had failed to run in February or March. That stat would do for the favourite.

Quite simply I am going with two ‘profile’ horses that are a result of Micro System 1. This system, based on stats since 2010, looks at unexposed handicap hurdlers from the 3 big guns. Now, it has dawned on me that HorseRaceBase does not include French form so technically on the rules of the system (1-3 career runs, 1-2 career wins) they would not qualify.(a few runs in France between them) However the historic results of the system/profiles are based on UK runs and on that basis they qualify. I hope that makes sense. No doubt if I have made any money by this point I will probably put another ½ point on each.

Souriyan is interesting at the odds, but you could say that about all of these.

Alan King ‘let me down’ today and I am hoping that Nicholls can set alight Wednesday.


Race 7

No Idea.

It will probably be the standard ‘why didn’t I back the Mullins 16/1 shot’. I really couldn’t add anything of value here. The highest rates horse on BHA figures has a good record here (3 of last 12, which is good given it must be a small sample!), as do horses not to have run in the same calendar year. That would point to Moon Racer and he will probably carry some pennies of mine.


So, really this day hangs around Southfield Theatre. It could well be a long old meeting for me if he doesn’t go in where I will be chasing to recover losses! I couldn’t honestly say I am confident of backing the winner of those hurdle races but having ignored the shortlist from a micro system on day 1 I had to go with them this time. 

As always, good luck with your punting and I hope you had a better day 1 than I did. I would love to hear about your winners 🙂



Running Total – 7 points 

Day 2 = 6 points bet 


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Do join in the conversation below, we're a friendly bunch.. all questions welcome, and do share your selections or thoughts

5 Responses

  1. Hi Josh, Irish Cavalier has set me up! Paul To riding for RC is worth noting. Duke of Lucca EW is the nap tomorrow! Love the blog.

    1. Well done Chris…yep can see exactly why you would have picked him out. If you fancied Generous Ransom which I did then he also had to come into reckoning and as you say, those two building up a decent relationship. Certainly worth keeping them onside. Yes DoL – no reason he wont run his race if he stays on his feet. Glad you enjoy it – meant to be interesting, if not profitable 🙂

  2. I worked out the unexposed hurdle races myself and backed aux ptits soins that won @ 10 & all yours, but did not select qualando as had more than 3 races
    counting french. pity because was 39 to 1 on tote! I have now noted your comments about uk races, so will select that type next time. will also check with you first!

  3. Cracking day today Jim, A worthy one after a sticky Feb. Roll on tomorrow and let’s see if you can pick out a few beauties again!

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