In this the third part of my Racing Profits Guide To The Cheltenham Festival we look at the major races on Day 2 of the festival at Cheltenham racecourse.
It is the busiest day of the four for Grade 1 races – the Neptune Investment Novice Hurdle, the RSA Chase, the big race of the day the Queen Mother Champion Chase and to finish the day we have the Champion Bumper.
Remember to view the video full screen to get the most out of it
The main aim of the video is to help you narrow down the fields in each of the races of Day 2. Remember that, as in Day 1, the races are run over the old course at Cheltenham racecourse. If there has been no rain overnight the ground can be drying out by now and getting a little quicker, so your starting point must be to get an accurate picture of the going.
Neptune Investment Novice Hurdle – 2m 5f – 4yo+
The Neptune is the 2nd race on the card on Day 2 and has been won by an Irish trained horse in 4 out of the last 6 years. Willie Mullins focuses on this race and the day as a whole, so his horses should be your starting point. The key stats to look for are:
- Previous Race Form – 27 of the last 28 winners have finished either 1st or 2nd in their previous run.
- Top 6 in the Market – 24 of the last 26 winners have come from the top 6 in the betting, so focus your attention on here.
- Age – Forget 7 yrs or older horses. Only 1 winner since 1974 has won at this age. Focus on the younger horses.
- Graded Class Hurdle Form – You are looking for horses that have proven their class. 12 of the last 14 winners have already competed in a Graded hurdle before going to the Neptune.
- Ex-Bumper Horses – Have won the past 11 of 13 races – ex-flat horses have only won 2.
- Negative is Nicky Henderson – 1 from 24 in this race. Simonsig won in 2012 for him.
- Trials Races – the Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown and Navan Novices Hurdle.
RSA Chase – 3m
As you would expect in a stayers chase of this nature the RSA is dominated by older horses, big chase races such as this require experience to win.
- Older Horses – 10 of the last 12 have been 7 or 8yrs old, with the last 7 winners being 7yr olds – so focus on the 7yr olds in the race. Be aware that no 9 yr old has even placed since 1993.
- Previous Race Form – Only one of the last 24 winners failed to finish 1st or 2nd last time out.
- Experience – The last 13 winners have had at least 3 runs over fences.
- Run This Year – The last 48 Winners have all had a run in that calendar year.
- Irish Trained - 3 winners from last 4 have been Irish trained. Bob’s Worth in 2012 was the exception.
- Trials Races – Dr P.J Moriarty Novice Chase at Leopardstown is a big clue to the Irish challenge. Reynoldstown Novice Chase at Ascot. Major negative is the Feltham Novices at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Queen Mother Champion Chase – 2m
The showpiece of Day 2 with £180k prize money. Run over 2m on the old course, the same as the Arkle from Day 1. Here are the trends to look for to help you narrow down the filed in the Queen Mother Champion Chase:
- Festival Form – 20 of the last 27 winners have won or placed at the festival in previous years – obviously horses who have perfomred well in the Arkle in previous years and are proven around Cheltenham are the key contenders to look out for.
- Irish Trained – Again Irish trained horses have won 5 of the last 9 runnings of the Queen Mother Chase.
- Market Price – 29 of the last 30 winners have been at 11/1 or less – so focus your attention on the top of the market – usually the top 4 or 5 horses. Indeed 10 of the last 13 were under 5/1.
- Age – Only one horse since 1997 has been older than 9 yrs old.
- French Bred Chasers – 6 of the last 11 winners have been french bred.
- Trials Races – the Tingle Creek in December at Sandown is one of the biggest pointers to the Queen Mother Chase with 8 of the last 11 winners coming out of the race. As we said earlier, look for previous strong runs in the Arkle from the previous year and also the Queen Mother Chase. Also the Tied Cottage Chase in Punchestown.
The final race on Wednesday’s card and a great race to analyse, as it can give real clues to the following year’s Cheltenham festival and National Hunt season horses to watch. Here are the trends to consider for the Champion Bumper:
- Willie Mullins – Another race which Willie tends to target with strong horses including Champagne Fever in 2012 at 16/1. The Irish had won 14 out of 17 up to 2010.
- Previous Race Win – Only 2 of the last 19 winners did not win their previous race to the Champion Bumper and the last 4 out of 5 have been unbeaten.
- Top 6 In The Market – 16 of 19 winners have come from the top 6 in the betting, so focus your efforts on the top horses.
- Negative – French Breds – Only 1 winner from last 25 has been a french bred horse.
- Age – Focus on 5 & 6 yr olds – they are 11 wins from the last 12 races.
- Trials Races – Usually most horses coming to the Champion Bumper are very lightly raced, having run 3 or 4 times maximum before.
- Big Field Bumpers – Look for horses who have won in large field bumpers 14 or more runners. 16 of the last 19 winners have won a bumper with 14 or more runners previous to going to Cheltenham.
Day 2 is a busy day at Cheltenham racecourse with the four Grade 1 races on offer, so take your time and work your way slowly through each race, narrowing down the field and making yourself a shortlist of the most likely winners.