I have spent the morning watching every race from last year’s festival – firstly with the aim of making notes about pace on the two different tracks and trying to put some meat on the bones of what I learnt at the preview evening (ie Old Course it is best to be held up mid div – certainly not be leading, and New Course it is best to lead/track pace, first 1/4 or 1/3rd of runners)
So, I will go through each race with some abbreviated notes. In the meantime, a horse I backed last year, who was unlucky, has emerged as a must bet – there is no way on earth if he lines up next week in this race that he wont be a tip I don’t think, even without analysing the opposition. So, in an unprecedented move, I am advising one now…
Cheltenham Day 3 – Thursday 17th March 4.10 – Stable Plate MONETAIRE – 1 point win – 16/1
NOT DECLARED: Very odd, if you ask me! Free bet awaits.
(bet with Paddy Power if you can. Non Runner No Bet, + money back if second – assume most are all NRNB now but please check and only place bet with a NRNB bookie. 16/1 also available with boylesports and William Hill)
If this horse lines up and he is expected to go well – he wont be 16/1. If he drifts, given the Pipe’s record with those going off over 20/1, then it is most likely 1 point lost. That is the chance I am taking at this ‘early’ stage.
This horse was second in this race last year, carrying my money, not beaten far. Any stats/trends guides users will note that he ticks every box on the profile I highlighted for this race. Indeed I think his only stats chink is a lack of top 3 finish on any of his last 3 runs – they are 1/66, 7 places in this – I can overlook that at 16/1, and it isn’t a barrier. So, profile wise he is fine and he is sitting in the perfect ratings band – funny that, from the master plotters!!
Surely to high heavens after that run, in this race last year, this was penciled in as the target again. He was unlucky there. They messed up the start – one of those stupid standing start jobs and he got left behind – took him ages to get going and at various stages he had to use up energy to close, hold his position etc. He also clouted a few fences – scrappy errors, losing his momentum a few times – that is a concern, but again, the price is big. The race was also run at a bit of a crawl and the winner, Darna, was in the perfect place for this New Course – you guessed it, just tracking the pace. 1st and 3rd were always in the top 5, 4th and 5th. They didn’t go quick here, which inconvenienced him even more from behind (that comment is based on visuals and comment of the RUK chap about the race time, post race – slowly run)
GOING – he is versatile – equally at home on good and soft, so I don’t think it will make a difference what the weather does – I wont be using that as an excuse in any case.
So, IF he gets a better track position (and the hope has to be Tom Scu tracks the pace,4th/5th) and keeps the errors down, with luck in running – he looks sure to run a belter. In terms of his own profile – he has has the same prep as last year.(beaten under 2l) They clearly didn’t want his mark to go up so his two runs this season should be noted, and are not concerning. He ran ok, in the context that I am assuming they have had their eyes on this for some time! (the ‘story’ makes sense) He is also best fresh and he fits the Pipe’s profile for their Festival Handicap Chase plotters…
David Pipe: 20/1 or shorter: 0 or 1 run in last 90 days (ran 111 days ago) since 2011: 18 bets / 4 wins / 10 places. Lovely.
I haven’t even touched on their record in this race. ‘Team Pipe’ are 7/48, 11 places in this race – David is 3/20, 5 places with all his runners to date. We also have the benefit of the team finally hitting some form – better late than never!
I don’t think there is much more that I can say. Off the same mark last year I would like to think this is a cracking bet, on paper! He could have an awful lot in hand in a strongly run race and with better track position.
He ticks every box. Considering I would have come to this conclusion next week, where he may be 12/1 or even 10/1 if being declared, I thought it stupid to delay. But, it is up to you. Clearly I haven’t gone through my thorough checklist, so you can wait until I go through the race properly – but he is going to be on any shortlist and everything points to a massive run. He will be recorded at 16/1 when he romps to victory. Let’s hope he is declared and Tom Scu is on his back. He is entered in two other races but this must be the target, surely. In any case we get our money back as a free bet if he doesn’t line up – which I will use for something else on here.
CHELTENHAM 2015 NOTES
So, I have gone through and watched each race and what follows are a few notes of things that caught my eye…
(with view that over Old Course you want those kept off the pace, and New Course you want to be closer to the pace/on the speed)
Day 1 (Old Course)
R1 – Won by Douvan – was mid division – in truth these races which are more about class/turn of gears and raw ability, track position may matter less. Watching this race it was clear why closers do best over the Old Course. It is tighter than the New Course, but still galloping – but they dont half rattle down the hill, before turning in and facing that climb. I could see what Charlie Longsdon was talking about – many near the front going too quick, picking up too much speed down the hill and running out of gas to get back up it – generally.
R2 – UDS, the class horse, won as he pleased from the front. Interesting that Gods Own was way out back and was only one really able to close. The run of Josses Hill has to catch the eye, running on well. He does look interesting for The Ryanair.
R3 – Druids Nephew tracked the pace/mid division. The two to chase him home came further back – Indian Castle and Gallant Oscar who was held up. DN clearly had plenty in hand, making track position less important- bar a fall and bad luck was no doubt going to win regardless. Interesting that those to take them along, in front of Druids, all faded.
R5- National Hunt Chase – 1st and 2nd both held up mid division/rear. Cause of Causes won this well – without looking at stats no reason why he wont give it a good go again. Broadway Buffalo is interesting for the Pipes – He clouted a few in here, at crucial times, but ran a cracker. He has had the same prep run as he did before last year’s Festival and it will be interesting to see where he turns up. He is currently 20/1 for the Kim Muir – no doubt Katy will ride. Interesting.
R6 – 3 of front 4 (inc first 3) were kept off the pace, mid division/held up.
Day 2 (Old Course)
R2 – RSA – More about class again – Don Poli tracked three horses in front of him – but another kept off the pace. You have to like the way he won this, pricking his ears over the last two suggesting plenty in the tank. He did have to be niggled at times but that is him – he jumped very well and just relishes that hill – he was pulling away here. You can only think the extra 2f of the Gold Cup will suit him- He also got racing with Kings Palace from a long way out and nothing could live with him here. I am really starting to believe this one could win it for Mullins. Bar a fall any backers should get a run for their money. I remember someone judge saying that he comes alive at the Festival – the buzz etc – and is less hard work than at other tracks. In a race full of horses who have stamina questions, I am fairly sure he wont be found wanting. Hmmm.
R3 -Coral Cup -Winner tracked the pace, just off the front runners. The second led – at what to me looked like an ordinary pace – so on this occasion coming from the back wasnt an advantage. Taglietelle came from the clouds for Gordon Elliot – held up too far back given the way the race played out. Was off OR 140 there, runs off OR 154 here – last run at Muss suggests this mark may be within range and if running closer to pace/getting a stronger pace to aim at, may be interesting next week. One to note. He has progressed since that run last year, just whether something has a lot more in hand as to his chances I suspect.
R6 – Fred Winter – The Top 3 were all held up quite a way back off the pace. Top 5 who lead/pushed pace all faded tamely up the hill.
R7 – Bumper – Winner was held up mid division and the horse to chase him home was held up right out the back. Supersundae ran a fine race from the front all things considered – another to watch this week – Charlie Longsdon game him a mention at the preview – although as he did tweet me – Trainers are the worst Tipsters!
SO, Days 1 and 2 would seem to confirm that in general you dont want to be engaging in a pace battle at this track. Sitting 1/3rd of the way back or further seems best. However – all races need to be assessed on pace grounds. If there is only 1 front runner say, the pace could be slower than normal, and you never want to be too far back in that situation – unless you are on a superior horse with plenty of gears- this can make that less relevant.
Day 3 (New Course) (suits being up there?)
(was run on good ground, before the deluge)
R1 -JLT – Winner made all- class horse in race – 2nd was held up although had moved into second before they turned in.
R2- Pertemps – 1st 3 all tracked the pace fairly closely – not much got in it from mid division/out back. Call the Cops / Unique De Cotte and The Tourard Man were never far away from the action. Call the Cops sat in 4th for most of the way.
R3 -Ryanair – Winner did it from the front, leading all the way. Don Cossack never far away – much like in the King George he made the odd error when under pressure and trying to close. Even a couple when not under pressure. I would be concerned about his ability to hit a fence – has done it in both of those G1s – this race last year, and KG where it proved race ending. He will have to make a move and close this infront at some point and I wouldn’t bank on a clean round – this could well be key to his chances – jumps and he may not be far away.
R4 – World Hurdle – won from the front, winner leading all the way. The second was never far from leader either.
R5 – Stable Plate – Winner, Darna, tracked leaders – 5th early, and never too far away from the pace. Monetaire, due to a poor start, never had a good position but cut through the field well and was arguably unlucky. The 3rd raced next to the winner for most of the way – it paid to have good track position in this race.
R7 – Kim Muir – The winner, The Package, was never far away, in front 1/4 of field, tracking pace – he led before 2 out and that was that.
Day 3, on good ground, suggested that in general you want to be on something in the front 3rd of runners. This day was no place for hold up out the back types.
Day 4 (New Course, turned to Soft)
R1 – Triumph – Top 3 tracked the pace and were never far away. They were in the Top 5 from the off pretty much.
R2 – County – Winner was held up here, bucking the trend. The second was a bit closer throughout. Pace collapsed suggesting it may have been run too quickly – which in a big field, if there are lots of pace pushers, will happen – regardless of the track.
R3 – Albert Bartlett – Top 2 here were in the top 2 all the way round, from the off.
R4 – Gold Cup – won from the front. 2nd and 3rd were never too far away either.
R5 – Fox Hunters – Winner was mid div, came to lead three out – was just much better/quicker than these. The 4th placed horse led most of the way and managed to cling on for a place.
R6 – Martin Pipe – Those in top 4 were held up/mid division – winner was just classier also, position didnt matter so much, he dominated turning in. The leader, Shelford, managed to hold on for a distant 5th. It suggests a fairly strong pace and the ground may have had something to do with it – or it was just how this race panned out. Nothing to read into it.
R7 – Grand Annual – Winner led or was in second for most of the way round. Eastlake came from out the clouds – i backed him and he was held up for too long. This was McCoy’s last ride and I do think Carberry may have been waiting to see if McCoy was going to win – when it was clear he may not the turbos didn’t half kick in. He could be an interesting runner this year, albeit some Ps to overlook – but under Barry, if h rides, and closer to the pace, if he runs like last year he will be right in the mix. As, in fairness should be the winner, Next Sensation.
That is just a few observations and I though I would share what is on my notepad. In general the theory did pan out. Over the Old Course, being up there and pushing the pace is far from ideal. Much better to be mid-division/held up – albeit I would never want to be on one right out the back I don’t think. Likewise when it comes to The New Course you need to be on or near the speed – front 3rd as a minimum. There will be exceptions to these ‘rules’ but they are worth knowing. The actual pace/shape of the race should never be ignored also.
That is all for this post.