I apologise for the delay in this preview this morning. You may be aware that there have been some major ground condition changes and in order to make sure our information was accurate we needed to update all our ratings this morning. As you know I’ve been very excited about this festival and I’m going to do my best to make sure that we find you the winning horses in todays Cheltenham Festival races. As always this competition is going to be extremely tough but we aim to come out at the end of the week in a profit and will be following all of these selections ourselves.
We are going to be using a combination of our own ratings and software mixed with some statistics for each race during our analysis.
1:30 William Hill Supreme Novices Hurdle
From a stats point of view, five and six year olds have dominated this race in the past. Having had a recent run is important and we want to focus on runners who have raced in the last 90 days, however over-racing is also detrimental and any runner who has had more than four races in the last 90 days is unlikely to be able to contend here today.
My Tent Or Yours is looking to be a very strong contender in this race and has been racing against similar quality contenders recently. He is a distance winner and has had a good race within the last thirty days where he won by five lengths at Newbury. He has won 57% of all his races, which is a very good figure although not the best in this race, and Nicky Henderson has a 25% strike rate on this course and distance. This makes it very hard to remove him from the contenders. There is some concern over his performance on soft ground.
Jezki, while not having such good figures as My Tent Or Yours, has won 71% of his races and looks to have potential today. He may also find the ground conditions tough but has the class to be able to make through them. Champagne Fever also has some potential in this race, winning 67% of his races and having had a good race within the last 30 days. Not as good looking as some runners he is a course and distance winner and his trainer, W P Mullins, has made a positive ROI over todays course and distance. The big concern is Mullins low 6% strike rate. While this could offer some value it does give us concern during festival racing. Pique Sous is an interesting runner and one that I think could have potential as an each-way, particularly if you can get some good place position offers. While not as strong as the others if we ignore the last race on the all weather then there have been some strong runs here and with the ground condition playing up it is possible that he may be in for a chance.
It’s a tough race and I’m going to be backing on My Tent Or Yours to win and having a place bet on Pique Sous.
Selection: My Tent Or Yours to win and Pique Sous to place.
2:05 Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy
In the most prestigious race of the year for novice chasers and the winner is unlikely to be a five year old. The weight concession for these runners was removed four years ago and they have struggled since. The market is usually a good predictor in this race and runners going off at 9/1 or less win significantly more often than those which are higher. As in the previous race we are looking for horses that have had a run recently and proven they can perform by winning it or coming second.
For me this race is between Simonsig and Overturn. Simonsig is, of course, an exceptional horse and is likely to run a very good race. However the race that Overturn put in at Sandown last year was superb and gives me reason to possibly err on the side of this runner instead. At odds of 8/13 Simonsig is the clear favourite but this means that the odds on Overturn are looking strong at 9/2. Other the other runners Arvika Ligeonniere is the best looking but has some making up to do to catch the front runners.
I will be surprised if either Simonsig or Overturn don’t take the winning position. I will favour Overturn because the odds on Smonsig are just too low for me. However Ladbrokes are offering all losing bets on Simonsig back to the value of £25 which makes us able to put a great bet together. You can get this at…
Ladbrokes offer up £25 back on all losing bets placed on Simonsig here
Selection: Simonsig to win on Ladbrokes, Overturn to place and a reverse forecast on Simonsig and Overturn
2:40 JLT Speciality Handicap Chase
It is very important that a horse comes into this race in good form, after all it is run over 3 miles! Unlike the Racing Post Arkle Challenge, the market is not good at assessing this race and short-priced favourites are something to be wary of. Due to the distance, and the current ground conditions, too much weight in this race is going to be severely hampering to any runner and we would want to look for horses that are carrying less than eleven stone. Experience of winning is important and we want a horse that has won a good number of races, and ideally won one recently as well as having previously won a chase race.
With 24 declared runners who are racing over three miles, this is going to be a race where only the strongest survive. In races such as these almost anything can happen and for this reason I will not be going for any horses that have comparatively low odds. Cloudy Too has got good form figures, although the competition is much stiffer this time, and good collateral figures. He has won 29% of his races and had a good race just 23 days ago. While there is a rise in class I feel that he can still be competitive in this race.
Midnight Chase and Quartz De Thaix are both course and distance winners which gives them an advantage. However they are both carrying more weight today and this could hamper their performances.
Selection: I will be going for an each-way bet on Cloudy Too
3:20 Stan James Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy
Another race where the market struggles and favourites have historically performed poorly. As with most of the races today we want horses that are proven performers, not those that are looking to improve. For this reason we want the horses to have had a good race recently. In fact, all but three winners have won their last race. While not crucial, course and distance form is also a bonus in this race.
The majority of runners in this race are course and distance winners so this is not going to help us unfortunately. However not many have had a good race recently. Of those that have Hurricane Fly and Zarkander have won 88% and 78% of all their races. These are also the top two in the market, which historically has not been a good sign but today I think we will need to overlook this.
Of these two Hurricane Fly looks to be the strongest and has good figures over similar ground conditions. There is however less confidence in Zarkander’s ability in this class and with a recent decline in performance and at current odds of 7/2 he would not be for me.
Rock On Ruby cannot be ignored either having had recent good races and winning 50% of all his races. He also beat Hurricane Fly at Cheltenham last year.
Although historically the market has not been accurate for this race, I am finding it hard to get away from Hurricane Fly, who is looking the best in this race today.
Selection: Hurricane Fly
4:00 Glenfarclas Handicap Chase
A very long race, at 3 miles and 7 furlongs, makes weight an incredibly important factor here. Every pound is going to add more strain over this distance but, having said that, we also want to be aware that runners carrying to little are unlikely to have the ability to seriously contend. The market is a very good predictor and the winner usually comes from the first three but we want a jockey that has performed well at this course previously as their experience is crucial. It is also important to note that a common trend for this race is to focus on older runners. However, the winners are getting younger and we now want to focus on runners ten or younger.
The most enduring race of the day where, like the 2:40, anything could happen. Removing all runners who have not had a good race in the last 90 days and looking at those remaining who have a good strike rate highlights Outlaw Pete as a strong contender. He is currently second in the market, which also ties in nicely with the previous market trends. Carrying 11-2 he is also well weighted to put in a strong race today. Although rising in class he is also a course and distance winner and J Halley has an excellent strike rate on these conditions, both of which are strongly in his favour.
Arabella Boy is also of interest and could put in an excellent performance today, especially carrying just 10-9. However still has to prove his performance over this distance and I prefer to go with a runner who has already shown they can do it. Of the rest Uncle Junior is interesting and could perform well but 11-12 in weight is a lot to carry over this distance and I think he could show difficulties towards the end of the race.
Selection: Outlaw Pete each-way
4:40 OBLG MaresHurdle
The sixth time this race is being run makes any trends pretty much valueless as their is not enough statistically significant data to back them up. Ruby Walsh has won this race on Quevega four times, and that is about the only trend worth pointing out.
Having won this race four times, Quevaga is the odds-on favourite in this with Walsh riding again. However this is the first race since the 26th April last year and that worries me. Combined with the odds I am going to be opposing this runner with someone else as the market has been pushed out on the others.
Swing Bowler and Une Artiste both look interesting runners. While Une Artiste is a course and distance winner, my preference goes towards Swing Bowler who looks to be the classier horse and has won 83% of his races. He has shown that he has the ability to win this race and could be the one to beat.
Selection: Swing Bowler each-way
5:15 Rewards4Racing Novices Handicap Chase
The last race of the day and, as with the other races, we are looking for proven performers. This means we want runners who have raced, and contended, recently. Distance performance is likely to be important today and we can use the market to assist us in our narrowing down of the field as they accurately assess this race with all but one winner having come from the first five in the betting previously.
There is not much to separate the runners in this race and making a choice is going to be difficult. Vulcanite looks to have the potential to be a strong contender. He has good form and class and has produced good speed figures over similar distances. He has run a good race recently and looks to be fit enough to compete today.
Arthurs Pass, Hazy Tom and Shangani all also look to have potential in this race and is likely to be close to the wire. There is not much to choose between any of these runners and at the time of writing a dutch bet would return a 95% profit if any of these runners won.
Selection: A race that is probably best left alone but I will be dutching Vulcanite, Arthurs Pass, Hazy Tom and Shangani.
Leave a comment to let me know who you’re going to be betting on today!
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