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2010-2011 Jump Season

Welsh National Preview

22 Dec 10 11:44
The first National of the season is upon us, so lets hope it goes ahead at some point. Below are my initial thoughts. I'll approach it to begin with from a statistical approach as always.

Age 6-9
OR 131-152
11st Max
1-2 runs season
14+ runs total
Won at Chepstow if run there
Won over 3m+
Won 2-5 Chases
Won MAX 2 chases
Run in class2+ season
Placed in a graded chase
If run in handicaps placed in a graded one
Placed in a 26f+ handicap
140+ Chase RPR
20-54 day break
Top 4 last time out
Not out of the top 4 this season
Placed in 17+ field
Run over 30f+
2nd/3rd season chaser

Of these 20 stats, all of the last 10 winners have scored at least 17. The top scores for this year are as follows;

18 - Bluesea Cracker
17 - Arbor Supreme, Ballyfitz
16 - Dream Alliance
15 - Synchronised, Dance Island, Maktu, Hello Bud, Lochan Laca, Royal Rosa, Silver by Nature

Synchronised + Watamu Bay

Personally find it hard to see Synchronised winning off this weight. To put in into perspective the only horses to carry at least this much weight to victory in the races history were Carvill's Hill, Bonanza Boy and Master Oats. All three were grade one class on the day, and in fact the latter won the Gold Cup 3 months later. Also all three had won the rehearsal chase that season over the course (since moved to Newcastle and abandoned this season).

Looking at it from an RPR perspective all the last 10 winners (bar the Irish Trained Notre Pere) had achieved an RPR of at least 6lbs in excess of it's OR, Synchronised has not. Also All the last 10 winners have run an RPR in this race of at least 13lbs above it's OR. To do this Synchronised would have to run to a mark of 169, which to be honest seems unlikely.

The race that Synchronised won as novice, has a very good record for those in their first season chasing so it wasn't the biggest shock to see him win. He needed reminders throughout the race so perhaps the drop in trip by half a mile won't be in his favour either. It must be also noted that there were big question marks over his jumping before that run, so there still has to be a slight doubt in that regard. Also he's not overly big, so giving weight away to quality animal could be hard work for him.

He's a very ground dependent horse, the more bottomless the better, and although I have no idea how the ground will end up, it's only officially good to soft at Chepstow at the moment so this has to be a worry. At the prices there are more than enough reasons to take him on.

I'd have similar worries with regards to Watamu Bay in how well handicapped he is. He also will have a big weight on his back (11st 3) and using typical RPRs he'd have to run to 161+ to win an average Welsh National, on just his 4th start over fences this looks a nigh on impossible task for a horse who's 3 chase RPRs have been 129, 140, 144. In his one start at the course he lost to Balthazar King whilst getting 6lbs from that horse, which is nowhere near to the quality needed to win this race. Since then he's only won a 3 and 5 runner race, both odds on. Over hurdles he only ran one RPR greater than 118. At 12/1 he has to rate at poor value also.

Shortlist

My shortlist are the top three in my ratings - Bluesea Cracker (14/1), Arbor Supreme (25/1) and Ballyfitz (33/1).

First of all looking at them at RPRs they have all already achieved an RPR of at least 6lbs in excess of their OR - Arbor Supreme (10), Bluesea Cracker (7), Ballyfitz (18!).

So theoretically Ballyfitz has already run 3 races in his lifetime good enough to win an average Welsh National of this mark, there is also obvious hope for the others to improve. Arbor Supreme ran his mark over 21f which is obviously an inadequate trip for him, so if he produces that kind of performance over this kind of trip (has won over marathon trips before) he can easily find the 4lbs or so improvement needed. Bluesea Cracker won the Irish National last year more easily than the margin suggests, and that being only her 3rd run out of novice company there is surely more to come. Now going through them one by one.

Arbor Supreme (25/1) - Hard to get right, but if he puts his best foot forward he'll definitely be there thereabouts. A winner twice over Marathon trips in Ireland (29f on soft and 30f on good) he should get the trip well and is adaptable with regards to ground. He's falls down on 2 of his 3 stats because of his poor run first time out. However, he wasn't great first time out last season and also even though he won first time out 2 seasons ago Mullins didn't think he had him fully fit, so you'd be inclined to forgive him the run. His form over 3m4f+ over regulation fences is 24110, and was fancied for the Grand National off a similar mark last year before unseating at the chair. Adaptable with regards to ground, with a slightly lower weight than usual, if he's sent over he's sure to run a nice race.

Bluesea Cracker (14/1) - Out of the 3 I've shortlist she's the most consistent as so probably has to rate the most likely winner. Stats she falls down are not out of top 4 this season (unplaced in hurdle prep first time out) and the fact she hasn't run over 30f. It seems a bit harsh to mark her down on this though as she's won an Irish National over 29f on soft ground! She's only up 9lbs for that and it seems more than fair for an unexposed horse over these distances who was also a grade 2 winner as a novice. She ran a great race off a 1lb higher mark at Cheltenham last time, travelling visibly well (travelling miles better than anything else bar Midnight Chase) before blowing up. Obviously much better than that she will run a massive race if she turns up.

Ballyfitz (33/1) - Very in and out horse but if he gets soft ground he'll be a horse to be reckoned with off this declining mark. Loves it soft, with his last 6 runs on ground quicker than soft reading PP0F84. Very well handicapped on his novice chase form there was also room for encouragement last year. Beaten 10l off a 12lb higher mark in Paddy Power on soft ground, staying on over a trip too short (RPR good enough to win this of this mark). He then won on heavy over hurdles at Sandown off a 8lb higher mark. He then ran in this race off a 10lb higher mark last year, beaten 20l. This was especially encouraging as he made a shocking blunder down the back straight and did well to get back into it. He's weighted to beat Silver by Nature on that form and be close to Dream Alliance, and those 2 are much shorter int he betting even though they have shown nothing since. His run first time out can be excused because of the ground and his 4th at Haydock was very promising (off a 14lb higher mark) finishing only behind the exciting trio of Grand Crus, Barafundle (won since) and Peveril. He's obviously likely to hit one but if he doesn't or doesn't make too many mistakes he will go very close off this lenient mark of 134.

It's hard to know yet who will run/what the ground will be/how badly the trainers have been held back with the weather, so I haven't placed any bets yet but will keep this page updated through the week if i do.
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Hennessy Gold Cup Preview

26 Nov 10 23:21
One of the finest Hennessy's of recent years will be run tomorrow, but can Denman win it for a record third year? Below are my trends.

. Age 6-7
. 140+ OR
. Max 1 run season
. Max 1 run in handicap
. Won over 25f+
. 2+ Chase wins
. Won a handicap if run in one
. Run in Grade2+ Chase
. Won at least class 2 chase
. Placed off highest mark ever run off
. 147+ RPR in lifetime
. Won at Newbury if run
. Run in class 2+ last time
. Top 2 lto
. 2nd season chaser
. Won 14+ field


The top scorers were as followed;

16 - Weird Al, Burton Port
15 - Diamond Harry, Pandorama
14 - Hey Big Spender

To be honest the results aren't surprising with all the second season chasers coming out at the top the pile.

Selections


Diamond Harry


For me if his jumping is good, the most obvious winner in the race. He is deadly fresh and he sure to appreciate the ground/trip as well. Also he has a very good record at the course. The one horse who has form with all the English Novices last year is Knockara Beau, and through him, Diamond Harry comes out easily top at the weights. First time last year he also hammered Burton Port giving him tonnes of weight. What makes him so potentially well weight compared to the others is his Hurdle form. Over hurdles he would be running off a 12lb higher mark, and if his jumping sticks there's no reason why he can't be just as good a chaser as a hurdler.

Denman


Some horses often prove exception to statistics, and Denman is a definitely one of them. One of the greatest steeplechasers of our generation and he is sure to be there thereabouts tomorrow. 5/1 seems a fair price considering much of the field are out of the handicap and running 'wrong'. If the novices get into a  rhythm then it's not hard to see them going close, but on the other hand Denman could easily just get into a rhythm out in front and put their jumping under pressure. Weird Al/Diamond Harry have never run in big fields and Pandaroma wasn't the best jumper in his 3 starts last term, and if they don't jump (like Long Run in the Paddy Power) they simply won't get near Denman. Paul Nicholls says he's as good as he's ever had him and seems to the think the main danger might come in the form of his stable mate, Taranis.

The Tother One


Considering he's one of the field who's got form of the kind of handicap mark it's not hard to see him going running a nice race. He's only going to have 9st9 on his back which equates to 151. He was only beaten by The Package (now 15lbs higher) at Cheltenham last December off a 1lb higher mark and if he runs to that kind of form he'll be close. His first start this year was in the Charlie Hall and he only finished 4l behind Nacarat. He's still relatively unexposed with only 6 finishs over fences and has only been unplaced on 2 of his 13 starts.

Selections

1.5pt E/W Diamond Harry - 9/1 William Hill (BOG)
1pt Win Denman - 5/1 William Hill (BOG)
0.5pt E/W The Tother One - 33/1 William Hill (BOG)
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Gerry Feilden Preview

26 Nov 10 23:19
A cracking back up card takes place at Newbury tomorrow, and the race that takes my eye for a bet is the Gerry Feilden, a 2 mile handicap hurdle.

. Age 4-6
. 11st Max
. Max 130 OR
. 0-1 Runs season
. 4-10 Runs hurdle
. 10+ runs total
. Not won this season
. Won 1-2 hurdles
. Not won a handicap hurdle
. 3+ wins total
. Best RPR over 2 miles
. 119-128 Best RPR over 2 miles
. Run very well at course if run there before



12 - Advisor, Praxitiles
11 - Dr Livingstone, Stormy Weather
10 - Kauto Relko, Rebel Dancer, Forty Thirty, The Betchworth Kid

Quite a tricky race to weigh up but there seems to be a bit of value around. Quickly I'll just list the reasons why I've disregarded a few of them;

Advisor - Nicholls says he won't be wound up.
Dr Livingstone, Kauto Relko and Forty Thirty - All don't look good enough.
Stormy Weather - Looks like he needs further and also doesn't look overally well handicapped.

Praxitiles

Dotted up 2 of his last 3 starts and tongue tie seems to have made the world of difference and if he's still on the upward curve he'll take the world of beating. Bred out of the blue, being a full brother to Islington and Greek Dance, he was ultra impressive at Aintree with good form tieing in with Heron bay who's a solid yardstick. Also he's one of the few in the field who will be up there, and so might get the run of things in front and be able to outsprint them being flat bred. The one worry is the ground, which would stop me getting too involved but hopefully it won't be too soft.

The Betchworth Kid

Seems reasonably rated off 138 and his chance is there for everyone to see. Has form linking in with Kind Edmund, Quantitiveeasing and Tito Bustillo, which makes his mark off 138 look workable as does his flat form. His last run over jumps can be forgiven as he lost shoes and was struck into. He also had a good winter on the flat culminating in a 2nd in the November Handicap, and with the King string in better form than this time last year he should go close.

Rebel Dancer

Seems very progressive since joining the Ian Williams yard. Would have run close to Nearby on his last run but for falling at the last, and that form has been franked no end since. From his action/ flat form there's no reason why he shouldn't handle slightly softer ground. The one worry is he's up 12lbs (combination of hike up in weights/out of handicap), but at 14/1 it's worth risking he can overcome it.

Selection

Rebel Dancer - 1pt E/W 14/1 Paddy Power (BOG)
The Betchworth Kid - 2pt Win 11/2 William Hill (BOG)
Praxitilies - 1pt Win SP
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Had a quick look at this and below will give a short write up on my thoughts. The trends are;

. Age 7-8
. OR 118-135
. Max 11st
. 1-2 runs in current season
. 6+ chase runs
. Max 4 handicap chase runs
. 14+ lifetime runs
. Won over 22f+
. Not won a handicap chase in current season
. Won a chase
. Won 3+ race in lifetime
. Placed in 17k+ handicap if run in handicaps
. Completed maximum 3 times in 3m+ handicap chases
. Placed within 5lbs of current mark if run in handicaps
. 125+ RPR season
. 135+ RPR lifetime
. Won at navan, if run
. Top last time out if finished
. 2nd season chaser
. Won in 14 + field

Of the above 20 stats, all of the last 10 winners scored on at least 15, with 9 of them scoring at least 16.

This year's top scorers are;

17 - Hangover
16 - Siegemaster
15 - Got Attitude, Jack The Bus, Hold The Pin

Selections


Siegemaster


My main selection for the race, the main negative against him is his weight/rating but he has a handy 5lb claimer to help him out. Already placed in 2 similar races last year including off a 1lb lower mark (both races the form has been franked). Had other bits of great form last year including when not too far away in a grade 1 at punchestown. He was only 4l behind Denman and Cooldine and gets in off a mark of 145 here (140 if you take his claimer). Started this season very well when not too far behind China Rock/Sizing Europe first time out. Those two have of course gone on to frank the form when only being beaten around 4l by Kauto Star on their next start. That race was over an inadequate trip and on ground quicker than ideal and is said to have put him 'spot on' for this. He too also has good course form winning a grade 2 novice chase over course and distance on testing ground. Back with cheek pieces on that he didn't have first time out he's sure to go close.

Hangover


Can't leave him out being top on the stats, has some good form in the past including being closing tied in with the main selection Siegemaster behind Whinestone Boy last year. Also you would have thought Davy Russell could have ridden Siegemaster if he wanted so he is off obvious interest. Interestingly too he has won on his 3rd start on all of his 3 seasons so far, so maybe he just needs a few runs to get going?

Jack the Bus

Of the ones down the bottom my fancy would be this lad. He's relatively unexposed over the trip with only 3 runs over 23f or more. On the first in a novice hurdle he beat the smart Oscar Time by 2l giving him 8lbs. Then when stepped up in trip over fences he found only the very unexposed saddlers storm too good in a field of 20. Then last time he came 5th when connections said he would have come 2nd but for a mistake 2 out. That was over 3m4f and the drop back to 3 miles off the same mark should see him run a big race.

Bets


Siegemaster 1.5pt E/W 16/1 Victor Chandler
Hangover 1pt Win 20/1 Stan James
Jack The Bus 1pt Win SP

HANGOVER NR

Updated Bets

Siegemaster 1.5pt E/W 16/1 VC
Jack the Bus 1pt Win SP, 0.5pt E/W 14-1 Ladbrokes

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Beecher Chase Preview

21 Nov 10 13:18
The second big handicap I'll be looking at in detail this season is the Beecher Chase at Aintree over the big fences this sunday. This year it looks as competitive as ever with the bookmakers going 8/1 to the field.

. Age 8-10
. Max 1 run this season
. 10+ runs lifetime
. Won over fences
. 4+ Wins lifetime
. Placed in class 2+ chase
. Placed in Class 2+ Handicap chase, or in highest grade handicap chase tried
. 140+ RPR over fences
. 132+ RPR this season if run
. Run 17+ days ago
. Top 4 last time out (unless graded race)

Using these trends all of the last ten winners scored at least 9 out of 11, with all but one of them scoring 10+ out of 11.

The top scorers this year are as follows:

11 - Notre Pere, Whatuthink
10 - Hello Bud, Maljimar
9 - Royal Rosa

Hello Bud

Has an obvious chance of his rapidly declining mark, but I'd be inclined to take him on on his first run of the season being 12 going on 13. He won first time out 2 years ago, but apart from that he has generally needed it first time out. He has also faded badly on his 2 runs over the course which is surprising given he's won a Scottish National. Given these two points and the fact the ground would be softer than he cares for, there are surely better priced selections than this one at near favouritism.

Maljimar

Another one who's up there in the betting and who goes well fresh. However he still probably has question marks over the distance and is probably better at a shorter trip. There too has always been slight question marks over his jumping with 4 fall/unseats to his name in his chasing career, including over these big fences. Also his mark doesn't seem overally kind considering his form off a higher mark than his 2nd in the 2009 Will Hill Chase (arguably his best run) is U7P25F (excluding his X-C run). He has one win to his name since March 2007 and that was off a 16lb lower mark and so has to being taken on too.

Claiming Jockeys

Although they have had 2 winners in the last 10 years inexperienced jockeys don't have a great record in the race. One winner was Ardent Scout and Dom Elsworth who had already finished the course twice (the other was Liam Heard and Eurotrek).

Looking closer though they have a very poor record at completing the course, which surely has to be something to be considered for anyone thinking of backing such a jockey.

In the last 10 years 124 horses have run with non claiming jockeys on, of these 42 fell or unseat = 34%

However in the same period 26 have run with claiming jockey, of which 16 fell or unseat = 62%.

Horses ridden in the race this year by claimers are;  Gullible Gordon (9/1), Whatuthink (16/1), One Cool Cookie (25/1), Meanus Dandy (8/1), Hello Bud (9/1), Au Courant (66/1). As you can see 3 of these are in the top 6 in the betting, the past suggests only one of these will complete.

Selections

Notre Pere

Has been entered in the national the last couple of years I believe, so connections have obviously always thought he'd hopefully take to these fences. This time last year he was rated 167, yet he gets to run of 151 on Sunday. Had a poor season last year, but looked to be creeping back to his best on his seasonal debut a few weeks back. He travelled well before blowing up and staying on again over an inadequate trip. The big weight should hopefully not bee too much of a problem as 3 times in the last 10 years the top weights have managed to outclass them (Eurotrek, Vic Venturi and Young Kenny). Interestingly also the last 2 winners have both been Irish trained and wearing cheek pieces, which he does. The one worry is the ground. At the moment it's soft with heavy places around the Canal Turn, however, with 2 dry days predicted for Liverpool you can't be sure what it will be like. I've already backed him at 14/1 last night, but would leave him alone at 9/1 for the time being until we know what the weather will be like.

Whatuthink

The other horse with the full stats profile, however you have to be worried about his jumping especially with a 7lb claimer on. However, he has gone well for the jockey before when 3rd in the Irish National and taking into account the jockey he'll only be carrying 10st 8.He too is Irish Trained and came 2nd in the race that last years winner Vic Venturi won as his prep. With his touch of class (placed in grade 1 over hurdles/won a grade 2) and his stamina (3rd in an Irish National) he has to go very close off 10st 8 if he gets around. Another one who is adaptable with regards to ground, but he needs at least some cut.

Royal Rosa

Came 3rd in this race but there are a few reasons to think he can go a bit better this year.

1. He's running of a 3lb lower mark
2. Ran much his best seasonal debut for a while this season and he always improves for his first run. Last year he ran to an RPR of 116 on his first run then 128 in this. This year he ran to a 11lb higher mark (127) and if he got anywhere that much improvement he should go very close.
3. Has cheekpieces back on. Although he failed to improve for them when he first wore them a while back, he's said to keep a bit to himself these days, so hopefully they might bring out a bit of improvement.
4. Usually comes from behind - this year there are 8 runners compared to 17, so hopefully with a bit of stronger pace, he should be able to stay on well.

This horse has never fallen and off 10st he should hopefully being staying on well at the business end off his feather weight.

Bets

Royal Rosa - 1pt E/W 20/1 - Will Hill
Whatuthink - 1pt Win 16/1 - Ladbrokes
Notre Pere - To be confirmed when the state of the ground is known on sunday.

FINAL BETS

Royal Rosa - 1pt E/W 20/1 Will Hill, 0.5pt E/W 16/1 Freely available
Whatuthink - 1pt Win 16/1 Ladbrokes
Notre Pere - 1pt Win 10/1 Ladbrokes
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The seasons first big handicap chase is upon us, the Paddy Power Gold Cup. I've approached it from mainly a stats point of view and below is my main summary.


Through looking at the last 10 years, I have come up with the following stats.

Age 6-8
OR 136-154
11st 3 Max
Max 1 race this season
Run in Max 2 handicap chases
Max win around 2m5 (give half a point for anything further)
Won 2+ Chases
Won max 1 handicap chase
Run in class a chase
Won at least a class 2+ chase
Placed in class a+ handicap chase if run in a handicap
Won over 2 and half miles
145+ RPR if run this season
140+ RPR lifetime over fences
Form over CD
2-3 seasons chasing
Won this season if run

Using this 9/10 winners have scored at least 14.5/17, the exception being the evergreen Cyfor Malta.

This year the top scorers are;

17 - Great Endeavour
16 - Sunnyhillboy
15 - Little Josh

However, being  a bit more lenient (for example I upgraded Pigeon Island on the critera "max run in 2 handicap chases", because he's run in 3 but in one of them he fell and he didn't have blinkers on, so it was hard for the handicapper to assess him") the results are as follows...

17 - Great Endeavour and Sunnyhillboy
15.5 - Little Josh
14.5 - Long Run, Edgebriar, Catch Me, Pigeon Island, Fisher Bridge


Dealing with a few of the main contenders first...

Long Run

Could easily bolt up but is very hard to put up at the price (3/1f) in such a competitive handicap as it's hard not to seeing him hit a fence or two.

His runs over British fences last season earned him the following comments....

"not fluent at many fences"
"not fluent 5th, hit next"
"blundered 6th, mistakes 12th, 16th and 2 out"

Also added to that the fact that 5 year olds have a poor record in the race, especially jumping round with Chapoturgeon, Tatenen, Granit Jack and Taranis all coming to grief when fancied 5yos recently - it's very hard to see him putting in a perfect round of jumping. As such, he really can't be put up as a bet. Also the finishing position of those running off an OR of 155+ in the last 10 years is 60PP60F54.

Sunnyhillboy

I would really fancy this one apart from the lack of run. The trainer has described him as 'being in badly need of a run' and his trainer has had 10 winners in the last fortnight but none of them have been first time out and I'm struggling to think of any first time out winners he's had this season (bar a few NHF races). Also he's drifting in the market which isn't encouraging and is easily enough passed over. However, i'd say he's the most likely winner of the **** at this point.

Little Josh

Had a hard race under a fortnight ago and still even though his jumping was good there it is still a question mark. Also he front runs and there could be a lot of competition for that role in this race with Max Max, Tchico Polos, Fingeronthepulse, The Sawyer and Pickamus all liking to role on in front. His trainer also stated a while back that Pigeon Island was one of his selections for the race.

Selections



Great Endeavour

Not hard to see why he's a selection being the ultimate stats pick, being an unexposed 2nd season chaser with form all ready over the CD. Won far easier than the margin suggests at the festival, travelling like the best horse by far before idling, and is only raised 7lbs for that (seems fair considering Edgebriar has gone up 8lbs for his october run). Form hasn't worked out too badly, with Fromdawntodusk franking it massively at the Aintree festival. Is said to have progressed since the spring and his trainer's family have a cracking record in this race so will surely be spot on. Off 10st 4lbs he is sure to go very very close.



Pigeon Island

The last 10 winners in running descriptions have been...

. Held up in midfield
. Chased leaders
. Held up in rear
. Held up in last place
. Pressed leader
. Held up in last place
. Held up in midfield
. In touch
. Behind
. Held up in rear

Seems it pays to be held up and especially in this years race with all the pace in it I definitely would mind to be on one popping round the back. The obvious ones are Can't Buy Time, Long Run and Pigeon Island.

There are many things going for Pigeon Island

. Loves the track and has tonnes of experience over it - He won the grand annual and his form over fences here is F222F13

. Step up in trip from last 3 runs should help. Just about got away with it in the GA, but has struggled last 2 runs. his form over 2 and a half read 31321113322F.

. Runs off a feather weight - Not sure who rides it yet - but i'd guess either Sam will ride it and it'll be off 9st 11 or Paddy will sweat down to his min weight (10st), if he does i'd definitely take note.

. Doesn't look horrendously handicapped, being off a mark only 6lbs higher than GA (though will running off 9lbs higher as he'll be out of the handicap by 3lbs). At his peak was rated 9lbs higher over hurdles.

. Trainer has a great record at this meeting, and stated a while back this was Pigeon Island's aim and it was his main hope. Also you'd expect the blinkers to be back on.

It's not hard to see him popping round the back off a feather weight, and with the nature of the race he is a massive price at 30s on betfair. The other non stats horse to note could be Can't Buy Time especially if AP is on.

Suggestions

1.5pt E/W Great Endeavour 5/1 (1/4, 1-2-3-4) Coral
1 pt E/W Pigeon Island Betfair - Win 30, Place 5.3
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