(you can skip straight to the selections below!)
Happy with my own bank balance, annoyed that with hindsight the blog could have come out with +30 points profit with some braver staking. I suppose what most annoys me is the fact I should/could have made Nicholls first winner a 1 point win bet (not a throwaway saver bet) and an extra 1/2 point on Qualando. Rather naively I was put off by Nicholls negative comments on his blog – he was positive on all three of his Fred Winter runners. But, that is easy to say after they have won isnt it! That is the best day of ‘information’ I have ever provided with a blog post. System bets going in (all that hard work/research has paid off now), shortlisted horses winning, Dodging Bullets winning, the Pipe bumper horse winning, and great runs from Southfield Theatre (bumped into a good’un) and Quantitativeeasing who was sure to play a role in the finish before being carried out. I backed Dodging Bullets (not confidently, small stakes) the first of Nicholls winners at 10/1, Qualando at 25s and 30s and Pipes bumper winner at 9s.(again small stakes for fun) It was a good day, I just wish I had advised 1 point on them all 🙂 At least they were all given mentions, most of them positive enough, in the extended write ups.
(Whats more Jonjo had a 5/1 handicap chase winner at Huntingdon for those following his March Chasers 🙂 )
I was ahead by the time the Fred Winter started so had an extra half point on the winner at BFSP 29/1. One reader emailed to say they got 47/1 on betfair and the Tote paid 39/1. I hope many of you were on and your faith was rewarded…to an extent..
Arguably my lack of conviction with staking and decision making (maybe due to a poor couple of months on here and a poor day 1) means it was technically a 7 point profit day on what i advised. As such we are back to square one! Pros will often say winning at this game is as much about your staking as picking the right horses in the first place. It was a day of what might have been, but still a good day nonetheless.
Moving on as there is no time to dwell in this game, and especially at The Festival..
System bets will be included in the race analysis below
an 8 point day awaits…
(use oddschecker to get best odds, below are available at time of writing)
Race 1 – Apache Stronghold 11/2 – 1 point win
Race 2 – Unique De Cotte 16/1 – 1 point win
Run Ructionns Run 20/1 1/2 point EW 5 places (mainly because she is a mare..more below)
Race 3 – Balder Succes 8/1 – 1 point win
Race 4 – Saphir Du Rheu 6/1 – 1 point win
Race 5 – Montaire – 7/1 – 1 point win (shovel more – another 1/2 point – on if ahead,very exciting horse given connections concerned)
Race 6 – Clondaw Knight 20/1 – 1 point win *
Buddy Bolero 20/1 1 point win – possible small bet on Vintage Star at BFSP if any money left (comes up on system)
*both on the systems shortlist and strong reasons to discount others as you will see below. My systems/profiles have found The Druids Nephew (didnt back!!), and both of Paul Nicholls hurdle winners at 10/1 and 25/1.
This will follow. It is 21.37 and I need to place my bets and have a cup of tea. Blog will either be finished tonight or after The Morning Line tomorrow, before 10.30.
Apache Stronghold 1 point win 11/2
(also a saver bet for me as explained below)
A few things to go on here although this is only the 5th running of the race! 3 of the 4 winners were trained in Ireland and 8 of the 12 top 3 finishers won on their previous start.
Of the last 68 Novice Chases at the Festival (before this year) run up to 3m1/2f only 4 winners failed to finish in the top 2 last time out.
There is not much point in using trends but those above would lead you to Vautour, the selection and Valseur Lido. The Favourite will take a lot of beating but much like a day 1 bookie I will continue to take these Mullins shorties on. It is wise? Probably not. But I can’t start changing my approach to betting. There looks to be a few front runners in here and at the end of the day they are Novices that could make jumping errors..
I was torn between backing the selection (who does not come up in my Grade 1 profiles) and Valseur Lido. Their form is so closely matched that you could make a case for either. You cant fancy one without liking the other and as such I may have a saver on VL just to cover my stake. I believe Apache is the better horse and if he puts it all together he should run a cracker. He jumped poorly last time (as he has done before) and slowly warmed up. If he jumps well I expect him to finish ahead of VL again, even though that horse was coming back after a couple of months off when they last met.
I expect Carberry to drop him in and try to get him jumping. It will be clear after a few jumps where we stand. As i said there is quite a bit of pace in this on paper so he should get a good lead into the race, if good enough.
Finally, the last thing I wrote down on Wednesday morning when I had a cursory glance was that if Don Poli ran well, then back him! He finished behind the future Gold Cup winner a couple of starts ago and ran well, his stamina just being stretched. I think he has a decent chance if his jumping holds and 11/2 is fair.
Unique De Cotte 1 point win
Run Ructions Run 1/2 point EW (5 places)
The first of the Micro 2 System bets (as always check previous posts for the background to these)…
This system (10 winners from last 15 races since 2010) throws up…
Regal Encore ; Run Ructions Run ; Sybarite ; Unique De Cotte; The Toured Man
I think they all have chances and hopefully the winner is in there, but I cant back them all. I could have gone through every runner and used other trends as a starting point but the systems/profiles have done well so far so I am just going to stick with them. I would bet gutted if one came in and I hadn’t considered it. And in truth form can go out the window in races such as this as it is a plotters paradise.
Now, only 2 of the last 18 winners had won a qualifier for this. That would get rid of both Regal Encore and Sybarite. The Toured Man is interesting. King is 0/10 and 2 places in this race and it is his first experience of the track. That was enough to just put me off, but he should go well.
By process of elimination that leaves the selections. There are no other major trends that would ‘rule them out’ and I expect some entertainment at the odds. I have gone EW on RRR because she is a mare and they are 0/18 (1 place) in the last 17 years in this. I think there will be loads of pace which she will relish and has the best man on board for a patient hold up ride. She has been very consistent and I hope she runs a cracker and gets placed money at worse. Tim Easterby is 1/4 with his hurdlers here, which would also make Trustan Times interesting.
UDC is in the could be anything category and has no doubt been aimed at this. If relishing the ground and trip there is no doubt in my mind he is well handicapped. McManus loves having the winner of this (normally for Jonjo) but the Pipes have a decent record as well. I would have to fear the King horse as from a profile angle he fits and bar the trainer record there is no real reason to exclude him. Maybe another one of those savers on him 🙂
You could back both EW 5 places I will leave that up to you.
Balder Succes 1 point win
A tricky one but I have stuck with a proven Grade 1 winner who is open to any amount of further improvement now he has found his trip. There are valid excuses for his poor form at the track. If he gets round he will be right there. He also fits the perfect profile for Alan King winners at the Festival in the last 8 years. Form behind Gods Own, Special Tiara and Dodging Bullets has also been franked this week. He is a very good horse.
Trends are a bit thin on the ground because this race was changed to a Grade 1 7 years ago thus rendering everything before a bit pointless.
Using a few pointers I got this down to the selection, Don Cossak and Johns Spirit. I think Don Cossak has a very solid chance but I dont think BS should be twice the price. I may have another saver on the fav at 4s, depending on how the first two have gone!
Johns Spirit also fits the profile of a typical Jonjo Festival winner of recent years and I do fear him. I was put off my the fact that his form around the New Course is nowhere near as good as the Old Course (although he has had only 3 tries here and there could be reasons for each of those runs) but also because he has yet to prove himself in a Grade 1 chase. I prefer to back proven Grade 1 winners in Grade 1 races.
I would be slightly surprised if the winner didnt come from those three but it is Cheltenham after all and you could no doubt give a few others a chance.
Saphir Du Rheu 1 point win
I was slightly surprised to see him as big as 6/1. The trainer knows how to win this race. He proved the conditions are no problem with his win last time out and he has so so much more to come.
Slight caution…I have to be honest with you, I havent looked at this race in as much depth as I should have. I used some strong trends which got rid of half the field and went from there.
All of the last 14 winners were top 4 in the betting so you could use that as a starting point. And, the last winner to finish outside the first 2 in the previous years race was in 1981. That stat would do for Zarkander.
I hope he wins this and wins it well. Jetson looked an interesting EW bet given his festival form and he ties in with Lieutenant Colonel. In truth having got a rather long shortlist I went with my instinct, which says he has a great chance and 6s is too big.
I would like to think the two Paul Nicholls horses could be fighting this out. As such a small forecast on Zarkander to beat SDR may be an interesting play to have another base covered.
Monetaire 1 point win
The Pipes have won this race with two horses with near identical profiles to this one.
25 of the last 27 winners were officially rated no higher than 141.
Only 2 of that last 20 carried more than 11st.
Only 1 Irish trained winner in the races history.
French Breds have a great record in this.
He has no doubt been plotted up for this and I think he is the only real ‘could be anything’ horse in this race. So many are out of form and quite exposed that I had to be with this horse. This step up in trip could turn in a level of improvement that will leave his rivals for dead.
Now, he is young, and inexperienced. The big field may get to him and affect his jumping. The atmosphere may get to him. But, I had to back him as he will probably go off at 9/2 and I would be sick, given his profile, if he were to romp home.
I tried but I couldnt make a really strong case for anything else.
Attaglance will run another big race but is still a chase maiden. However he has festival form and maybe should have won last year. He should be in the places given that and the form of the trainer. If the selections falls he could pick up the pieces. At a monster price I think the Hobbs horse, Filbert, could run a decent race but is a bit exposed and needs to improve. If I am up at this point I may not be able to resist £2.50 on each at BFSP.
Clondaw Knight 1 point win
Buddy Bolero 1 point win
I have put half my stake with a bookie and half at BFSP as I do not think they will shorten and could be much bigger on the exchanges.
It is back to a system/profile again. The one that found Druids Nephew (now 6 years in a row) and has found every winner of this race for the last 5 years. It couldn’t do it again could it?
The system shortlist is: The two selections, Just A Par, Vintage Star..and Masters Hill (removing one of the stats about age of horse when had first run)
Now, the last winner NOT to run in a handicap last time out was in 1985. On that basis I am happy to discount Just A Par and Masters Hill. Paul Nicholls has also had only 1 place from 16 runners in this.
Also, non claiming jockeys have won 7 of the last 10 and the last 6 winners all carried 11st 6lb+
On the two selections we have jockeys that know how to win and have experience of the track. In a way, because they fit the system, their form is irrelevant, given that those systems are ‘profile’ based. Buddy Bolero was formerly with Pipe and is now with Tony Martin. He is still unexposed to an extent and has ran very well at the track before. The slight concern is he could get outpaced on this good ground but at the odds I am happy to play.
Clondaw Knight is a very interesting horse. Young and unexposed he must have a great chance in this. There isn’t much more to say about him. He ticks plenty of boxes and should run a good race if handling the atmosphere and the rough nature of a race like this.
There is no real reason to oppose Vintage Star either. The trainer has a poor record here (not that she would have sent many with chances) and he may prefer softer ground, but he ticks the system box. Another saver (they are adding up) depending on how the day has gone.
Again, given the prices, you could back them EW if you prefer. I am going the foolhardy route.
Bally Oliver came up on the ‘Hard Fit Chasers’ micro system but he has never won above class 3 and he is 11 now. He is a monster price though and is maybe another for a small ‘fun’ interest if we have any money left at this point!
Hopefully, much like yesterday, we have a storming end to the day.
As ever good luck with your bets!
Running Total: Officially… 0, back where we started.