Well after some close 2nd’s on Day 1 and a blow out yesterday, we got off the mark with SAMCRO winning a tight finish with Faugheen and Melon. I hope you got the 5/1 as he was strong all day in the markets. I was also pleased we opposed Paisley Park in the Stayer’s Hurdle and although Summerville Boy was back in 5th, there was no way I could have fancied Lisnagar Oscar, Ronald Pump or Bacardys.
Cheltenham Gold Cup Day 2020
On to today and the big race that the week has been building up to, the Cheltenham Gold Cup, but we also have the Triumph Hurdle and Albert Bartlett too, so plenty to go at today.
1:30 Triumph Hurdle – 2m
There is only one horse for me in this year’s Triumph and that is SOLO from Paul Nicholls stable. He joined the stable at the end of January and had his first outing at Kempton in the Adonis Hurdle last month where he dominated the field to win by 13 lengths. He went into my notebook for this race and I expect him to improve even further today.
RP TIP: 2pts win at 5/1
2:50 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle
Another that I feel is open to more improvement today and has already proven he can compete with the very best is Philip Hobbs’ THYME HILL who was third in last year’s Champion Bumper but has since won all three of his hurdles races, including the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle at Newbury in December. He has been lightly raced and clearly aimed squarley at this race today. Grab the 5/1 while you can, as I recommended with Samcro yesterday.
RP TIP: 2pts win at 5/1
3:30 Cheltenham Gold Cup 2020
I am sticking with LOSTINTRANSLATION for this year’s Gold Cup. After his 2nd last year to Defi Du Seuil in the JLT and then winning at Aintree in the Mildmay before reappearing to win at Carlisle and then again at Haydock in the Betfair Chase, his only blot on his copy book was his run at Kempton in the King George where he appeared to be struggling to breath and was pulled up three out. He has since had a wind operation and also has a tongue tie to help, so I fully expect him to bounce back and put in a strong run today. At the price he is a good each way option.
Well so close to a nice each way landing with Bachasson finishing in 6th, just missing out at 25/1. The big disappointment has to be in DEFI DU SEUIL though, the odds on him had already taken a battering with Altior and then Chacun Pour Soi being withdrawn, the two main competitors, it should have left it as an open goal for Defi, but he never travelled in the race and was being pushed along way out. It was a huge disappointment and far from what I expected.
Onto Thursday and it is probably my least favourite day over the years, with plenty of big fields, it is a day for the bookies and not the punter. However I have a couple I really like today.
1:30 Marsh Novices Chase – 2m 3f
A decent renewal with some top Novice Chasers involved including Itchy Feet and “the machine” Faugheen who is now 12yrs old but still got plenty of class and found a new lease of life over fences. However, my bet is going to be on SAMCRO at 5/1 who is a class act and despite losing to Faugheen, has had another wind operation to help him finish off his races. He could take all the beating here.
RP TIP: 2pts each way at 5/1
3:30 Stayers’ Hurdle – 2m 7f
I am a massive Paisley Park fan and can see why he is such a short priced favourite, but I can not take the price and would rather oppose with an old friend of mine SUMMERVILLE BOY, who won the Supreme Novice Hurdle for me in 2018 and has started to look like he is back in that sort of form this year with a nice win here in the Relkeel Hurdle on New Year’s Day followed by a battling performance to chase home Paisley Park in the Cleeve Hurdle. He loves Cheltenham and at 9/1 he is the bet for me in the race.
Well two 2nd’s on our first day of The Festival and I have to be honest and say that as they turned in in the Supreme Novices I felt that ABACADABRAS had the race, but fair play to Shishkin who used all his pace to narrow the gap bit by bit and just get his nose ahead at the line. A great race and one where you come away just having known you got beaten. We then took on Notebook in the Arkle with Fakir D’oudairies and again as they turned in, our main rival was being pushed along and I felt confident we could take the race, only for a 16/1 shot to spoil the party. As for my bigger priced bet on Pentland Hills, the overnight rain did not aid his cause and he never really got involved with the favourite Epatante a worthy winner of the Champion Hurdle.
On to Day 2 and a couple that I really like, one short price and one big price.
Day 2 – Champion Chase Day
2:50 Coral Cup Hurdle – 2m 5f
A 26 runner handicap is probably not where you would expect to find an angle, but with BACHASSON in this race, I think there is a real opportunity for some value. At 20/1 I think he is a cracking each way bet for this today and for good reason. He looked a real star in the making when winning his first four races for the stable in 2015 and he rose to a mark of 151 over hurdles before swithing to fences to continue his progression to a chase mark of 159 and even an entry in the Gold Cup in 2018. He then had a couple of runs before a long break off the track, only to reappear at Navan in the Grade 2 Boyne Hurdle and show he had lost none of his talent, finishing ahead of the favourite Kilfenora and behind Penhill in 3rd. He loved the heavy ground that day and kept going well, for his first race back and to be on a mark of only 148 for this race, he has to be one for the shortlist and can go close at a big price.
RP TIP: 1pt each way at 20/1
VIDEO – Using Race Trends On Day 2
3:30 Champion Chase – 2m
A small field and with the loss of Altior yesterday, it is difficult to get away from my bet of the week which is DEFI DU SEUIL who is nailed on for this race and a horse I had backed Antepost already for a large bet, but now will lump on again. He is bang in form and the way he beat Un De Sceaux in the Tingle Creek and then again in the Clarence House at Ascot, there is little in the field to worry him here other than Chacun Pour Soi who beat him at Punchestown on far better ground. Soft and heavy conditions are perfect for Defi and he will put that defeat behind him here today.
Well after what seems like a long wet winter we are finally heading to Prestbury Park for the Cheltenham Festival 2020. I have also taken some time off from tipping and my backing service, to focus on my trading and laying, with 3 or 4 back bets a week.
We start the week on the Old course and I thought I would share a few bets this week with you and hope you enjoy a few winners, these are horse I have been tracking across the season and expect to run well this week.
1:30 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle – 2m 1/2f
As all of you who have known me over the past 10 years will know, this is a race I spend plenty of time on and have a great strike rate with 4 winners in Menorah at 14/1, Champagne Fever at 5/1, Altior at 6/1 and Summerville Boy at 10/1. A race that Willie Mullins targets to get his week off to a flyer, he heads the market with Mrs J Donnelly’s Asterion Forlonge with the same owner also owning the Nicky Henderson trained Shishkin who is 2nd favourite and won impressively by 11 lengths at Huntingdon last month in a decent listed hurdle. However my money is on ABACADABRAS who will love conditions and the form of his 2nd to Envoi Allen in the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse in December was impressive. If you can get 7/1 then grab it 🙂
VIDEO – Using Form & Race Trends To Find Day 1 Festival Winners
2:10 Arkle Novices’ Chase – 2m
An open looking renewal this year after a number of years with short priced favourites such as Footpad, Altior, Douvan and Un De Sceaux dominating. Notebook is a worthy favourite having beaten both Fakir D’oudairies and Cash Back over the past few months. Although the win over the later horse was less than a length and so it would be no surprise to see that overturned this time. However I do question the temprement of the favourite and can see the crowd, the noise and the occasion getting to him at Cheltenham. So my money is going on FAKIR D’OUDAIRIES at 9/2 who was a good 4th here in the Supreme last year and has looked even better since switching to fences, including beating Melon by 3 lengths at Navan in November.
3:30 Champion Hurdle – 2m
The mighty Buveur D’Air won this two years in a row for Nicky Henderson and he has also won it with Binocular, so it is no surprise to see Henderson with four entries again this year. Epatante is the choice of Barry Geraghty, which is usually a strong indication of the best horse, but she was disappointing last year when going off favourite in the Mares’ Novice Hurdle and although she won the Christmas Hurdle in good style, she benefited from the Mare’s allowance. Cilaos Emery was off the track for a couple of years and has come back to be a decent chaser, however he showed he had plenty to offer over hurdles when winning at Gowran Park last month and deserves respect. Supasundae won the Coral Cup here in 2017, finished 2nd behind Penhill in the Stayer’s Hurdle in 2018 and beat the afore mentioned Buveur D’Air at Aintree last year in the Aintree Hurdle, so 11/1 could be a great price. I am sticking with PENTLAND HILLS who won twice for me last year in the Triumph Hurdle and then at Aintree in the Juvenile Hurdle beating Fakir D’oudairies. He will get a stronger pace in this race and has had a wind op since his Haydock 2nd to Ballyandy and can make amends here.
Have a great Day 1 and talk tomorrow with my pick for the Champion Chase.
Take your time to watch the video through and work your way through the field and make yourself a shortlist of the main contenders.
As you can see the key is to use the wealth of historical data, race trends and statistics to narrow down the field from 40 horses to the key contenders for the race each year. This is my favourite method to approach the race each year and some years I have had a list of 6 horses with four of them filling the top 4 places. So it is worth the effort.
Top 10 for Finding The Winner Of The Grand National 2019
1. Weight – Look at the Top Weight – Winners generally carry less than 11st 1lb. Over the past 30 years there have only been two winners to carry more. Don’t Push It in 2010 and Neptune Collonges in 2012. Minimum Weight of 10 st – Only 2 winners in the past 25 years have carried the minimum 10 st – so again you can safely exclude any horses on minimum weight.
2. Age – The sweet spot for a winner’s age is between 8 – 12yrs old. All of the past 25 winners have fallen in this age group. Over the past 5 years the race has been dominated by 10 / 11 yo. Avoid Younger horses of 6 / 7 yrs old, as they do not tend to have the experience or stamina to win the race. So dismiss all horses under 8yrs old or older than 12yrs old.
3. Sex – The last mare to win the race was Nickel Coin in 1951 – so avoid female horses.
4. Stamina – Proven stamina – the past 20 winners have all won a race over 3m or more in that season. Even Mon Mome, the 100/1 winner in 2009 had won a race over 3m in December 2008.
5. Experience – Naturally horses with more experience do well at Aintree, as the jumping test demands it. All of the last 25 winners have run at least 10 times over fences before competing in the Grand National. Check back in the horse form and make sure they have at least 10 chase runs.
6. Greys – Only 2 grey horses in the history of the Grand National have won the race. The last was Nicolaus Silver in 1961.
7. Blinkers – In the past 40 yrs only 2 horses have won wearing blinkers. Comply or Die in 2008 and Earth Summit in 1998. So avoid horses with blinkers.
8. Odds – The market tends to get the race correct. Particularly when there has been little rain and the ground is good. The big priced winners tend to come when the ground is soft and it becomes a real stamina test. Focus on the 7/1 – 16/1 price range in the market – 17 winners from the past 25 years have come from this price range.
NOTE: This stat has been overturned in the past 3 years, although 2 of those years were on softer ground – with Neptune Collonges in 2012 at 33/1, Auroras Encore 2013 at 66/1 and Pineau De Re in 2014 at 25/1. So the odds on the 2015 winner to be over 16/1 in the market are slim, particualarly with the forecast Good ground.
9. One Win – Only 1 horse of the last 25 winners have recorded more than one win in the season, that was Ballabriggs the 2011 winner. So you can safely discount horses with multiple wins that season.
10. Previous Winner – Only Red Rum has ever won the Grand National more than once, so any returning winners can be discounted from your shortlist.
So go through the list of runners and put a line through each of them if they do not fit the criteria. Be ruthless and see what you have left on your list at the end. You will be surprised.
My Top 5 2019 Shortlist
Here are the horses that I have on my shortlist, after going through this process.
Rathvinden – 9/1 – Has been kept fresh for this race with just the one run in February at Fairyhouse, winning over 3m 1f beating a decent Grade 3 field including Alpha Des Obeaux. The pick of Ruby Walsh and tops my list of selections for the race.
Vintage Clouds – 16/1 – fits all the stats and from Sue Smith’s yard who won the race in 2013 with Auroras Encore. He won over 3m 1f at Haydock in November and has been taken care of since then, being pulled up at Chepstow in the Welsh National before heading to the Festival at Cheltenham and finishing a good 2nd. A great each way bet to place.
Rock The Kasbah – 18/1 – three runs this season including a win over 3m 3f at Cheltenham in a Grade 3 Chase in November. The choice of champion jockey Richard Johnson and has a great chance. Another good each way bet.
Dounikos – 28/1 – Not the most reliable but he fits all the stats of a winner and the way he won over 3m 4f at Punchestown in February would give him a great shout in this race, as he looked to be getting stronger the further he went. At the price he has to be worth a look for a place.
Walk In The Mill – 28/1 – winner of the Becher Chase in December over the National fences, he is a strong jumper and another who has plenty of stamina. He fits all the stats and looks a great each way bet too.
Of the others Jury Duty fitted all the stats apart from winning twice in a season, but he is in strong form and I would not put anyone off backing him.