In this week’s post I am going to have a look at some stats for next weekend’s Cheltenham Open Meeting. This week’s tracker horse, looks on a competitive handicap mark and can win a handicap chase in the coming weeks. You can find all that inside, as well as my Monday selection….
Remembering Our Equine Heroes
Well it was Remembrance Sunday and this year’s had an extra poignancy as it was the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1. I suspect you might like horses if you read this blog.
So, I thought I would begin this week by highlighting those equine heroes who gave their lives for the British Empire.
The number of equine casualties was truly shocking. At the Battle of Verdun, in 1916, some 7,000 horses were killed by shelling. By 1917 Britain alone had over million horses in service. By the end of the war we had lost over 480,000 horses. Some 8 million horses died during the Great War. Many where not killed in battle but died as a result of the terrible conditions on the front through exhaustion and disease.
Most of you will probably have seen the film War Horse. Well when your putting on your bets today maybe you can pause for a few seconds to remember all those horses who gave their lives in World War 1.
Henderson’s Blue Hurdle Hope
It was Badger Ales Day at Wincanton on Saturday. The feature race of the card. For the second successive year the Badger Ales Trophy Handicap Chase was won by the Paul Nicholls trained Present Man.
The performance of the day arguably came from Verdana Blue in winning the Grade 2 Unibet Elite Hurdle. On paper the race looked an above average renewal with the likes of If The Cap Fits and We Have A Dream both making their seasonal returns. Both were not a match for recent Kempton winner Verdana Blue.
The Nicky Henderson trained 6-year-old looks a much-improved horse this season. The mare travelled really well throughout the race. After the last she only had to be pushed out for a comfortable 2 ¼ length win over If The Cap Fits with a further 7 lengths back to stablemate We Have A Dream.
At her best on a sound surface, her trainer could bring her out for next Sunday’s Greatwood Handicap Hurdle at Cheltenham. As long as the ground isn’t soft. After her win Henderson told the Racing Post “She will end up going for the Champion Hurdle in the spring if the ground allows”.
Warrior’s Tale, trained by Paul Nicholls, was having his first start since pulling up in last season's Grand National. The 9-year-old looked before the race like he would come on for the run and so it showed during the race. He got outpaced and lost his place five out but stayed on steadily enough to finish 4th on Saturday. The 2m 4f trip is too short for the gelding these days, he stays 3m, especially on good ground and on a track like Aintree.
The son of Midnight Legend didn’t win last season but in two good efforts when beaten just a neck by Gold Present at Newbury last December and ran even better when beaten just a head by Wakanda in the 3m Sky Bet Handicap Chase at Doncaster.
Four of his five career wins have come when running 16 to 30 days since his last run. Although, his best RPR came in the Sky Bet race his next five best RPR’s have come at Newbury, a track he goes really well at. Indeed, his form figures at Newbury are 225112.
Warrior’s Tale seems at his best on good to soft or soft ground and can surely win a handicap chase when racing back over 2m 6f+.
Cheltenham’s Open Meeting Stats:
An early look at Cheltenham's Open Meeting. Here are few interesting stats for the three day meeting which begins on Friday.
The figures are from 2012 to 2017 and the results consist of 114 winners from 1309 runners:
62% of the winners were in the first three in the betting from 28% of the total runners
41% of the winners had won their last start from 30% of the total runners
The top trainers numerically are:
Philip Hobbs – 14 winners from 60 runners 23% +23.84 A/E 1.33 28 placed 47%
All his runners at this meeting need respecting but if you focus on those ridden by Richard Johnson and racing over 2m & 2m 1f have produced 8 winners from 16 runners 50% +28.27 A/E 1.99 10 Placed 63%
David Pipe – 14 winners from 82 runners 17% +45.13 A/E 1.27 28 placed 34%
Note any of his 6yo & 7yo’s returning from a 150+day break – 7 winners from 18 runners 39% +20.88 A/E 1.89 8 placed 44%. Fifty percent of the winners from 22% of his runners had those two traits.
Last Monday’s selection Podemos finished 3rd to land the each-way money. This week selection runs at Carlisle.
3:10 – Calivigny, remains 0 wins from 15 start over fences. But there is no doubting he’s on a winnable mark based on his best form over C&D, including a six length second back in December off 10lb higher.
The 9-year-old is ground versatile. This is his first run since a wind operation but the 180-day absence shouldn’t be too much of an issue for the gelding as his form figures when returning from a 150+ day layoff are 152.
Calivigny – 11/2 or bigger
Until next week
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