What day it was yesterday we brought ourselves into profit and even found the winner Carrickboy who had a BSP of 66.23 and went as high as 100 in-running. I know there were some readers who were on this selection each-way and I hope that you are enjoying the winnings.
Today is the last day of the festival and lets hope that we can finish it with a bang.
1.30 – JCB TRIUMPH HURDLE
The first race of the day gives us lots of trends to be able to start narrowing down this 17 runner hurdles race. We are looking for runners that have raced recently, ideally in the last 90 days, and have won in the last race or very recently.
Of those remaining I am unsure about Far West who although having performed well under similar conditions and winning at Cheltenham in December, has not been producing the figures that he used to. His performances are quite volatile so he may well come back today but I don’t like betting on volatile horses.
Somemothersdohaveem is at huge odds but has been a consistent performer. The rise in class though is significant and this is likely to go against this runner. It is a similar story for Hidden Justice who could go well but may struggle to match the class of the other runners. Rolling Star and Our Connor are both threats in this race. They are classy horses who have been running well and are coming here with the aim to win. They must not be ignored in the final decision.
We should note that Alan King has shown a very good strike rate in this race and his runner today is King Of Dudes. A consistent improver but again facing a big rise in class which may be too much to get him to the wire.
Selection: I am going to have to side with the market in this race and dutch Rolling Star and Our Connor.
2.05 – VINCENT O’BRIEN COUNTY HANDICAP HURDLE
A race that used to be the last race of the festival until a couple of yeas ago. Established in 1920 and with 28 runners, this is a cavalry charge. We are going to use trends to knock down the number of contenders to a more manageable size.
Statistically it is interesting to note that while the odds of the winner are almost always under 20/1, the majority of horses placing in this race is above 20/1. Those runners carrying more than 11-2 are likely to be struggling in this race. Removing them gives us 5 less runners but I want to look closer at Edgardo Sol so have chosen to keep this runner in our list for the time being.
Every winner of this race since 1997 has finished in the top four in one of their last three races. This removes another 5 runners but we are still left with nineteen potential contenders. We don’t want our horses to be over raced and so shall look for those who have raced more than once but less than four times in the last ninety days and proof of a win over hurdles is also important.
Unfortunately this still leaves us with thirteen potential contenders, even after I have removed those which have not performed well for a year or longer. There is no doubt that this race is going to be very competitive and any of a number of runners could take it.
Those that are of particular interest are Kian’s Delight who has not only been improving but doing it in great style. I would expect him to be fighting to bring this home. Edgardo Sol has been a consistent performer over hurdles and there is no reason he won’t be contending today. Tanerko Emery would have been a runner that I had some doubts on but the last race at Sandown on the 9th March was superb and it was over softer ground than today. There is definitely a preference by this horse for softer ground and todays could be a little on the firm side. Finally Ifbutwhynot I think has the potential to do well. Although racing against better class horses, this race will be a challenge that he may rise to meet.
Selection: A very tough race where any number of runners could take first place. Ordinarily I wouldn’t be betting in this race but with my separate festival bankroll I will be going for Egdardo Sol, Kian’s Delight, Ifandbutwhynot and Tanerko Emery in an each-way dutch.
2.40 – ALBERT BARTLETT NOVICES’ HURDLE
This three mile hurdle race is going to be a test of stamina and we want to be looking for runners that have proven they can cope with it. The market is a very good predictor in this race and all but one winner has come from the top five in the market historically. Perhaps the most notable stat is that the race has only been won by six and seven year olds. This would remove seven runners from contention but I am going to keep Superior Quality in to look at in more detail later.
We are only interested in horses that have experience over hurdles and so we want them to have run hurdles races a minimum of three times and with 85% of the winners and placed horses have coming in the top two last time out we shall also remove those that don’t meet this criteria.
Of those runners remaining the three that interest me the most are Aaim To Prosper, At Fishers Cross and I Shot The Sheriff. Aaim To Prosper looks to be the one to beat with a superb performance at Doncaster on the 2nd March. This race indicated that the distance won’t be a problem for this runner and when we combine that with the continual improvement we have been seeing it is hard to consider going into this race without covering this runner even though there is a rise in class
There are some concerns over At Fishers Cross but the last two races have been on Heavy ground conditions which could account for the worse figures that have been put in even though winning both races. I Shot The Sheriff still has to prove that he can win at this distance and so I will be removing him from my contenders.
Selection: I am going to go against the market, which could be a dangerous thing in this race, with an each-way bet on Aaim To Prosper who I feel has great potential and should be able to get into the frame today.
3.20 – TOTESPORT CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP
The race that we have been waiting for all week! With Sunnhillboy and Bog Warrior as non-runners we are down to a race with just nine in it. There are some very strong trends in this race including…
- All but 2 winners have been aged between seven and nine
- All but one winner has raced within the last ninety days
- Nine winners won last time out
- Every winner since 2000 has come from the first three in the betting market
However, whatever way you look at this race it is going to be, as always, ultra competitive. Cape Tribulation and Wayward Prince were both beaten by Silviniaco Conti at Wetherby on the 3rd November. And again, Silviniaco Conti beat both Long Run and The Giant Bolster at Haydock and Newbury respectively towards the end of last year. There is no reason this shouldn’t happen again and means we have to give a slight edge to Silviniaco Conti against these runners.
It is going to be very difficult to choose between Bobs Worth, Sir Des Champs and Silviniaco Conti. Bobs Worth is the only course and distance winner amongst them which definitely gives him a slight advantage.
Selection: I think that any of these three runners could take the race today but I am going to go with Bobs Worth to win.
4.00 – CHRISTIE’S FOXHUNTER CHASE CHALLENGE CUP
A race with twenty four runners that could be taken by a large number of them. I am going to start by removing any runner who hasn’t had a good race in 299 days or more and then those that have been showing a declining performance. This leaves us with seven contenders in Creevytennant, Dante’s Storm, Chapoturgeon, Merchant Royal, Salsify, Cottage Oak and Current Exchange.
Of these Merchant Royal was beaten by both Salsify and Chapoturgeon at Cheltenham last year and so I am going to remove him from our list of possible contenders. Dante’s Storm has a big rise in class to compete today and this could prove to be too big a leap for him, while Creevytennant has to prove himself over this considerably longer distance.
Cottage Oak could be a threat if it was possible to get back to the performance in June last year at Perth, but the one to beat looks to be Salsify who although not performing as well as in the past could be looking to have a good run today.
Selection: Current odds on Salsify don’t allow an each-way bet so back to win but if odds go above 5/1 I will be betting each-way
4.40 MARTIN PIPE CONDITIONAL JOCKEYS’ HANDICAP HURDLE
There are no trends worth mentioning for this race unfortunately, which in a field of 24 runners leaves a lot to remove to find our contenders. I am going to use a slightly different approach in this race and reduce the field by focusing on those runners which are proven under similar conditions.
Double Roses beat Black Benny at Cheltenham in November and so I’m going to remove the latter. Of those remaining, Harr Hunt, Art Professor, Double Ross, Edeymi, Loch Ard, Kells Belle and Bourne all look to have potential. Of these I have a preference for Harry Hunt, Double Ross and Kells Belle.
Harry Hunt is rising in class but put in good figures over the same distance and ground conditions at Market Rasen recently. His odds are currently high enough that I feel he is offering a lot of potential value. Kells Belle could be the one to beat after winning at Cheltenham in April last year in a race that was one furlong longer than today. Double Ross is a consistent performer and could be the dark horse that puts in a strong race.
Selections: In other situations this would be a race to stay away from as a betting proposition but for the festival I will each-way dutching Harry Hunt, Double Ross and Kells Belle.
5.15 – JOHNNY HENDERSON GRAND ANNUAL CHASE CHALLENGE CUP
This is not only the oldest race at the Cheltenham Festival, but it is also the oldest race in the entire National Hunt calendar having been run since 1834.
We will use trends to narrow down the field. To do this we are looking for runners that are younger than 10 years old, are carrying less than eleven stone, are rated 128 or higher and finished in the top three last time out. This reduces the field to a much better nine runners.
Unsurprisingly the festival is finishing off with another ultra competitive race and one that under normal circumstances I would not be betting in. However of those Rody, Drumshambo, Viva Colonia and Marshal Zhukov all look strong under these race conditions.
Rody has been showing steady improvement and put in a good run at Warwick in January. There is some concern over Drumshambo’s last performance at Ludlow in January where, although winning, the figures he produced were not what we would have liked to see. Viva Colonia performed poorly in her last Class 3 race but has improved since then and may be better prepared for this class rise than she was before, although the rise is greater. Marshal Zhukov was a strong runner at Ascot in November and that performance indicates he could be a threat today.
Selection: Rody and Marshal Zhukov each-way
Please let me know your thoughts and who you’re going to be betting on in the last day of the Cheltenham Festival 2013 by leaving a comment below.