This winter season I’ve licensed Gavin Priestley’s Winter & Festival Trends content. 11 meetings will be covered before the end of 2021. Moving into 2022 they’ll be a focus on the four Festival ‘trial’ meetings, and then the two big UK Festivals at Cheltenham and Aintree.
Below you can find Gavin’s stats and trends research. There’s an in-depth focus on x3 races, and notes/other pointers for the rest. Hopefully these may help in your own deliberations/shortlisting etc. Or you may just enjoy flicking through.
What follows is the main reason for including Gavin’s content this season, as I simply don’t have the capacity to do so and I do enjoy how he presents a ‘stats/trends’ profile for a race, and the information included. When it comes to the big ITV handicaps/festivals, I will look at adding my own ‘shortlists’, using Gavin’s trends.
Gavin provides his own previews and selections (in italics below), and these are included below also, and will keep you updated within the Members Daily Posts. Again, you’re free to ponder these and use as you please. I do not have any historical results available for Gavin’s ‘tips’ and he’s doing things a bit differently again this year. He will find some decent priced winners and I will keep tabs on results to BFSP, which may be useful moving forwards. If Gavin continues his Festival Trends approach into future seasons, they will keep appearing on here.
I think this information fits well in the RTP ‘portfolio’ and the ‘menu of options’ I like to provide. As with everything on this site you’re free to dip into and use the bits you enjoy and that are most use to you. It also allows me to focus as much as I can on my own tips in 2m7f+ jumps races, which with any luck will have a positive impact long term.
Friday 8th October
1.00 Novice Hurdle (2m)
6 renewals but 2 divisions in both 2018 & 2020. All 7 winners who had raced under rules had been rested at least 150 days. 6 of the 8 winners were aged 5yo. 6 of the 8 winners had yet to race over hurdles. 5 of the last 8 winners last ran in a NH Flat race. 6 winners were Irish Bred, 2 were French bred. Horses that last ran in Listed company or above have finished 131132P21
As an Irish bred 5yo who won a Grade 2 NH Flat race at Aintree at the end of last season I think this pretty much points to KNAPPERS HILL as having a very strong profile for this race. His NH Flat form is far superior to anything else in the race and he will be very tough to beat.
SELECTION: KNAPPERS HILL
1.35 Novice Chase (2m 7 1/2f)
First year run as a class 2 novice chase.
Only 4 runners but it’s a very tight betting race with all of the field having shown a good standard of hurdling ability. The best of the four according to official ratings is HONEST VIC who looked an exciting staying hurdle prospect when winning a Cheltenham handicap last Season before running 5th in the Long Distance hurdle. Something wasn’t quite right with his run on the Kempton All weather in February which meant he missed the subsequent Festivals. He’s had a decent break and, if over whatever was troubling him that day and taking to fences, should be ready to resume his upward progression.
SELECTION: HONEST VIC
2.10 Veterans H’Cap Chase
There’s only been 6 renewals of this race but 10yo’s have won 5 of the 6 (exception 11yo). All 6 winners had their last run in a handicap over 3m+. All 8 topweights (11-10+) have finished unplaced. 4 winners were making their seasonal debut. 3 winners had pulled up last time out.
SOME CHAOS began last Season brightly and won a decent handicap at Kelso on his third start before running 5th in a Listed chase at Wincanton. He was then off a few months before returning over hurdles in preparation for the Scottish National. That didn’t really go to plan as he pulled up at the third last having made early mistakes and was readily outpaced from five out. He’s had wind surgery during the Summer and as one of the younger runners in the field who was showing decent form at around this time last year (including at this meeting) he looks the pick here.
SELECTION: SOME CHAOS
2.45 Persian War Novice Hurdle (Grade 2)
Covered in trends report above.
I think we need a fancied 4-6yo with experience over hurdles and a recent win.
Paul Nicholls is the trainer to note but his runner doesn’t have the profile of his recent winners who had all had plenty of hurdles experience. The one I’m drawn to is Phillip Hobbs’ LUTRELL LAD who was a decent bumper horse who rounded off his debut season finishing 4th to (our selection in the first) Knappers Hill at Aintree. He scored comfortably on his hurdles debut at Worcester last month and, although it wasn’t a great race, he did win it well and the front two pulled well clear of the remainder. His trainer has won the race twice in the last decade and I think he could go very well against some promising early season novices.
SELECTION: LUTRELL LAD
3.20 4yo Limited Handicap
All of the last 10 winners were rated 122+. All of the last 10 winners had been rested at least 75 days since their last run. All of the last 10 winners raced over 2m1f or less last time out. 6 of the last 10 winners raced in non-handicap company last time out. 9 of the last 12 winners were French breds (3 exceptions were Irish bred). Paul Nicholls has won the race 8 times this century including 6 of the last 11. 5 of the last 11 winners carried 11-10.
When trying to sort this race out the first place to look is at the Nicholls runner which means HELL RED must be high on anyone’s shortlist. He came over from France with a big reputation and scored easily at this meeting last year before flopping in a Grade 2 at Cheltenham on his next start. It was reported that he had some sort of respiratory problem that day so underwent wind surgery which didn’t immediately solve the problem as he got turned over at 4/11 on heavy ground at Wincanton three months later. He did however run much better in the Boodles Handicap at the Cheltenham Festival where he travelled into the race going beautifully before weakening up the run in to finish a respectable 9th from a 1lb higher mark than he races off here. An end of season confidence booster saw him win unchallenged in a novice hurdle at Newton Abbot and gives him an obvious form chance to go with his perfect trends profile and trainer credentials.
SELECTION: HELL RED
3.55 Mares NH Novice Hurdle
6 renewals. All 6 winners were 5yo. 5 of the 6 winners were making their seasonal debut (exception unraced). All of the 5 winners to have raced previously had their last run in a NH Flat race over 2m-2m2f. 4 of the 5 winners that had run finished Top 2 last time out. Paul Nicholls has won with 3 of his 4 runners. The three runners that had their last run at Sandown have finished 121.
Paul Nicholls is once again the trainer to fear here but his 4yo runner Mondora hardly set the world alight in three NH flat starts and I prefer to look elsewhere. Nina The Terrier left her flat form behind to win over hurdles last time out but a 7lb penalty is going to make things tough here and so I’m going to chance MANSOLINE who won first time up at 100/1 in a Warwick bumper (form has worked out fairly well) before running down the field in a Grade 2 at Aintree. This isn’t the strongest mares hurdle race ever run and I think the selection might just have a bit of class about her.
4.25 Conditional Jockeys Handicap Chase
New race in 2020
Katy Price’s CLONDAW RIGGER hasn’t won for a while but has pretty decent course form and was still well in contention when falling at the last at this course back in April. After two defeats at Ffos Las this Season he’s been falling down the handicap and now sits on the same mark as that last course fall and 10lb lower than his last winning mark. With those two runs under his belt I fancy him to go close returning to Chepstow off his new rating.
SELECTION: CLONDAW RIGGER (EW)
Saturday 10th October
(any selections/preview notes from Gavin to follow)
1.15 Juvenile Hurdle
All of the last 10 winners were making their debut over hurdles (7) or had finished Top 4 in a single hurdle run (3). Paul Nicholls has won 5 of the last 10 renewals plus 2 places from 9 runners. They finished 115112241
It’s quite obvious that Paul Nicholls really targets this meeting and this is yet another race which he has an excellent record in. With the ex UK flat horses not really looking like world beaters it will probably pay to side with him again. He runs the French import MAGISTRATO who made a promising debut when second in a French Hurdle back in April and I think we can expect him to be pretty straight for this race.
1.50 Handicap Hurdle (2m)
There’s been 6 renewals of this race with 5 and 6yo’s winning the first 5 (8yo winner in 2020). All 6 winners finished top 4 last time out. All 6 winners were 8/1 or shorter. 5 of the 6 winners raced in class 2 or 3 company last time out. 4 of the 6 winners carried 11-01+ from a rating of 130+.
A cracking renewal of this handicap hurdle with the classy ALLMANKIND heading the weights. He spent last season novice chasing and was a joy to watch with his bold front running style which saw him win 4 of his 5 chase starts and finish 4th at Cheltenham on his other run. He was no slouch over hurdles either, winning a Grade 1 and Grade 2 as well as finishing 3rd in the Triumph Hurdle in 2019, but gets to race over hurdles off a mark 10lb lower than his chase mark. I think he’s good value for an all the way win.
2.25 Handicap Chase
All of the last 10 winners were aged 7-9yo’s. All of the last 10 winners had their last run over 2m6f+. 9 of the last 10 winners had their last run in a handicap chase. 6 of the last 10 winners had their last run in a Graded race. All of the last 7 winners were making their seasonal debut. Nigel Twiston-Davies has one win and 3 places from his last 8 runners.
THE MIGHTY DON was a fairly decent hurdler on his day and began his chasing career in the best possible way when winning over course and distance at this meeting last year. He then struggled in novice company under a penalty and again when raised in class later in the season. He rounded off his year looking a little unlucky in a Cheltenham handicap when his rider lost his irons between the last two fences and couldn’t quite recover before going down by around 8 lengths. On the whole he’s a sound jumper and from a mark 1lb higher than Cheltenham he should give a good account of himself.
SELECTION: THE MIGHTY DON
3.00 Novice Chase (Listed)
Covered in trends report above.
That looks like TEA CLIPPER to me who won the big handicap hurdle at this meeting last year and has the added bonus of having run at Aintree last time out.
SELECTION: TEA CLIPPER
3.30 Silver Trophy Handicap Hurdle (Group 3)
Covered in trends report above.
A lightly raced 4-8yo carrying 11-02 or less who last raced over hurdles is a great place to start and reduces the field to a handful of possibles.
Phillip Hobbs won this race twice at the start of the last decade and has had plenty of placed runners since so his ORBYS LEGEND is of great interest on his first run in handicap company. A winner of two of his three starts with a third to a decent David Pipe horse in between he gets in here off a mark of 130 which could be seen as quite lenient given he beat a 125 rated Henderson horse by over 16 lengths off level weights on the second of those wins. In a tough contest he could offer some real each way value.
SELECTION: ORBYS LEGEND
4.05 Handicap Chase
Another race with just 6 renewals. There’s been a 5,6,7,8 and 9yo (x2) winner. All of the 6 winners ran over 2m7f or less last time out. All of the last 6 winners raced in a handicap last time out. 5 of the 6 winners carried 10-13 or less (exception 11-12). 4 of the 6 winners were making their seasonal debut. All 21 runners that had their last run in Graded company have been beaten here. All 3 of Tom George’s runners have finished in the frame. 3 out of 4 of Colin Tizzard’s runners have placed.
Lowly weighted horses have tended to do well here as do those who raced outside of Graded company last time out. Tom George has an interesting record with his runners in the race and this year he runs ESPOIR DE TEILLEE. He picked up a couple of chases last season before being sent to France to contest a Grade 2 Hurdle. That didn’t go so well and neither did his comeback run over fences in the Summer following a third wind op. A long break and a wind op had proved successful on two previous occasions so it was rather disappointing to see him drop out quickly on that run in August. He did get hampered early on there which seemed to knock him off his stride so I’m going to take a bit of a chance that his trainer has got him back to where he would like him to be and make him a speculative each way bet.
SELECTION: ESPOIR DE TEILLEE
4.40 NH Flat Race
Anthony Honeyball has won with both his runners. All 7 winners had raced 0-2 times. All 4 winners that had raced previously finished Top 2 last time out and had been rested at least 120 days. 6 of the 7 winners were Irish Bred.
With no Honeyball runner to latch onto and the Nicholls horse shouldering a 7lb penalty for an easy win in a poor bumper I’m going to take a small stab in the dark with the unraced Irish bred Tizzard 4yo, WEST ORCHARD.
SELECTION: WEST ORCHARD
This post is now complete… Gavin’s preview notes/tips for Friday’s racing were added Thursday morning, his tips for Saturday’s races added at 10.30 am on Friday.