Tag Archives: trial race

King George Tips

A big days racing today with the highlight being the King George Chase.

Tomorrow we have the Welsh National to look forward to.

Nick Hardman (http://bettinginsiders.com) looks at both races and gives his selections.
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Last week we landed 2 winners from 4 selections at SP’s of 15/2 and 7/4.

This week we turn our attention to the two big races over the Xmas period – the King George VI Chase and the Welsh National.

I have covered both races in detail in the latest issue of the Betting Insiders Magazine and my opinion for the King George has not changed in that Silviniaco Conti is the best staying chaser in training right now.

I put him up as an ante-post tip in the Betting Insiders December issue @4/1.

He is now a best priced 5/2 and if you think that is value then back him.

Cue Card has disappointed this season and was out-stayed by Silviniaco Conti in last year’s King George and I cannot see him reversing that form. Champagne Fever had a hit-and-miss novice season. He was beaten in both the Leopardstown Xmas festival and Punchestowns Festival and arguably his best performance was his 2nd place finish in the Arkle. He was impressive on his seasonal reappearance when he beat Alderwood over 2 ½ miles.

The King George is much tougher and he is too short in my opinion at 10/3.

Al Ferof easily won the Amlin Chase over 2m 3f at Ascot in November and was third in the King George last year (beaten 14 ½ lengths). He has won 5 of his 11 chase starts but has come up short tackling 3 miles in the past. He was slammed 25 lengths by Harry Topper in the Betfair Denman Chase at Newbury last February over 3 miles and followed that up with a disappointing 5th in the Ryanair.

I think his form flatters to deceive and I cannot see him winning this year’s King George.

I think Dynaste is a much better each-way proposition as he definitely gets the 3 mile trip and ran Silviniaco Conti to within 1 ¼ lengths in the Grade 1 Betfred Bowl at Aintree in April. Beaten 10 lengths by Silviniaco Conti in November’s Betfair Chase was a decent effort first time out this season and I think he rates a danger to the favourite.

He is one for the each-way backers @14/1 or those who want to play the place market.

King George VI Chase:

Selection: Silviniaco Conti @5/2
Each-way alternative: Dynaste @8/1

The Welsh National is a great race for trends analysis and this is the typical profile:

• Aged 7yo or 8yo
• A top 4 finish LTO
• Carrying 10-09 or less (10-0 or 10-01 if the going is heavy)
• Had last raced 16 – 60 days previously
• Had 1 or 2 runs in the current season
• Had previously raced over 3m 5 ½ furlongs of further (preferably 4+ miles)

Those that currently fit the profile are Global Power, Amigo and Emperor’s Choice.

It remains to be seen if any make the final cut.

Amigo for David Pipe was runner up in the trial race 3 weeks ago and finished 7th in this last year. He has winning form at Chepstow over 3 miles and acts on the ground.

Oliver Sherwood’s Global Power has bits and pieces of form over staying trips including a 4th place finish in 2013 Midlands National and a win in the Cumberland Handicap Chase over 3m 2f on heavy ground in 2013 and a 2nd place finish in the same race 12 months later.

Emperor’s Choice for Venetia Williams won the 2013 Surrey National over 3m 4f on heavy ground and followed that up with a win in the West Wales National in 2014 over 3m 4f. His chase form on heavy going reads 2111612. A thorough stayer if ever there was one.

Welsh National trends horses:

Global Power @25/1
Emperor’s Choice @25/1
Amigo @14/1

Breeders Cup Tips

It's Friday and so we have our regular look at the weekend racing from Nick Hardman of Betting School Insiders (http://dailypunt.com/nickhardman )

We had another decent return last week with Kleo faring best of our Cumani runners at Doncaster, winning her race at 11/2. Wishfull Thinking (adv 14/1) was one of our each-way alternatives in the Old Roan Chase with the caveat his chances would increase with the arrival of any rain.

As it happens he bolted up on good ground with not a drop of rain in sight. This Friday we will take a look at the Breeders’ Cup and we have a selection from the Charlie Hall Chase meeting from Wetherby.

To me the Breeders’ Cup is one of those meetings where a small wager can increase your enjoyment of watching it, rather than it being a serious punting mission like Royal Ascot or the Cheltenham Festival. The main action takes place on Saturday but one horse I like runs on Friday in the Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Much is often made of the European runners being better on turf than their American counterparts but on this occasion I am siding with the home filly Lady Eli. Unbeaten in two starts she has had the same prep as her trainer’s previous winner in this race, namely Maram in 2008, including a win in the recognised trial race The Miss Grillo Stakes at Belmont. She has the finishing kick to go close here. Osaila looks the best of the Europeans.

Goldencents looks to have a massive chance in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and I am happy to have him onside at 5/4. He has most things in his favour here and for once I will side with a favourite as he bids to defend his crown.

Breeders Cup Friday
Juvenile Fillies Turf – Lady Eli @13/2
Dirt Mile – Goldencents @5/4

On Saturday Silviniaco Conti should win the Charlie Hall Chase in what is an above average renewal, but 5/4 is plenty short enough for what is essentially a prep run.

Earlier on the card I will have a couple of quid on Aurore D’Estruval in the mares hurdle. She is a course and distance winner and acquitted herself well in two subsequent starts at Haydock (subsequent Fred Winter winner Hawk High tailed off in last place) and at Aintree when 5th in a Grade 1 won by Guitar Pete. This is a Listed race and back against her own sex she can go well.

Back to the USA and I make Dank the standout bet in the Filly and Mare Turf. She has been kept in training this season with this race her prime objective. Not only will she get her firm ground but she will once again have the services of Ryan Moore, undoubtedly the best jockey on the planet right now. Add to that the positive vibes from the Stoute yard about her well-being and she has to be top of most people’s shortlist. I make her my NAP for Saturday’s action.

Elsewhere, Daredevil could take some pegging back in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and 3/1 looks a fair price.

Saturday

Wetherby 2.05pm – Aurore D’Estruval

Breeders’ Cup
Filly and Mare Turf – Dank @9/4
Juvenile – Daredevil @3/1

Cesarewitch Tips

Today we have our weekly look at the weekends racing action from Nick Hardman of Betting Insiders (http://dailypunt.com/nickhardman)

Nick has set us up with some nice winners this season and today he tries to find us the winner of the Cesarewitch to add to his tally…

Last week we highlighted in-form trainer Charlie Longsdon. He bagged us a winner that day and has followed up with another in midweek. He is still a trainer I want to keep on-side in the early part of the season and he sends a few runners to Carlisle today.

He has a decent strike rate at the track too with 6 winners from 19 runners. He has the following entries on Friday:

Charlie Longsdon Carlisle runners Friday 10/10/2014

3.10pm Drop Out Joe
3.45pm Orange Nassau
4.20pm Simply The West
5.20pm Deadly Move

Cesarewitch Tips

On to Saturday and we have the last of the big handicaps in the Cesarewitch.

Having already landed the Ebor and Cambridgeshire it is a tall order to land the hat-trick but I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t at least share my thoughts.

This race has gone to some big priced winners in recent times including winners at 66/1, 66/1 and 25/1 in the last three renewals.

Weight and official ratings do not tell us much regarding potential winners but, with the exception of Scatter Dice last year, the previous 10 winners had winning form over 2m or further.

Hurdlers have finished in the top two in 13 of the last 17 renewals. Other strong trends include a top 4 finish last time out and no more than 7 runs in the season. That helps reduce the field to 9.

One who ticks plenty of boxes is Big Easy for Philip Hobbs and the trainer knows what it take to win this having done so with Detroit City in 2006.

Big Easy looks to have solid credentials having finished runner-up in the trial race 3 weeks ago. That was his first flat run of the season and he should come on bundle for the run and he has a nice draw in stall 2.

Another who is guaranteed to stay is Chester Cup winner Suegioo. He last two runs have been over trips shorter than 2 miles and I think he will relish every yard of this trip. He was also a fine 2nd in the Northumberland Plate over 2 miles and that race is a good pointer for horses who run well in the Cesarewitch.

Another with solid prospects is Swnymor who has to turn the form around with hotpot favourite Quick Jack, but he takes him on here on much better terms (16lbs better to be exact).

My only concern is his wide draw in stall 34 but with several bookmakers paying 6 places he is still worth an each-way interest.

If you fancy taking something at a bigger price then the ultra-consistent Noble Silk, a good 4th in the Northumberland Plate, should give you a run for your money 33/1.

Nicky Henderson trained the winner of this in 2008 and Kieron Fallon rode the winner in 2012. They team up on Earth Amber @33/1 and any rain would help his cause, although he is another from our short list who has been done no favours by the draw (stall 33).

Saturday Newmarket 3.50pm

Trends horses: Big Easy @12/1 & Suegioo @16/1

Alternatives: Swnymor @16/1, Earth Amber @33/1 & Noble Silk @33/1

Why Hurricane Fly has to be layed in the Champion Hurdle

With Cheltenham just around the corner I'm very pleased to have secured the services of Mark Foley to guide us through the festival.

Mark is a stats and trends supremo and is in rude profit at his Trainer Trends tipping service.

He will be the brains behind a tipping service for the festival but in the lead up we have some of his thoughts on the ante post markets.

Why Hurricane Fly has to be layed in the Champion Hurdle:

Recommendations:
Grandouet 11/2 EW (Paddy Power)
Lay Hurricane Fly to win.

The age factor in the Champion hurdle:

The Imperial Cup at Sandown is raced a week before the Cheltenham festival and back in 2007 the run up to the race was dominated by the argument about whether Gaspara could overcome one of the longest running age stats in racing and become the first 4 yo winner of the race in over 60 years.

Gaspara won easily by six lengths and I asked myself if it was just a blip or whether, as I had suspected for a while horses were maturing younger.

The French influence has been far more prevalent over the past couple of decades in National Hunt racing with the vogue led by Martin Pipe, towards French bred horses, who seemed to mature earlier and were bred for speed rather than stamina.

The Champion hurdle may well have been affected by this growing French influence more than any other major race. Irish bred runners dominated during the Nineties and the early Noughties; between 1998 and 2006 Irish bred runners won all but two of the renewals, but that has all changed in recent years, we have seen two French Bred Champions and they have also claimed a third of the total places available.

This despite the fact that six of the French bred runners aged 8 or older failed to make the frame, whereas the runners aged 7 or younger won 2 renewals with a further 4 making the frame from a total of only 15 runners.

Most importantly, from a punting point of view it’s interesting to see that the younger French bred horses still manage to slip under the radar. Thousand Stars was 4th at 33/1 in 2011; Binocular won at 9/1 in 2010 and Zaynar was 3rd (15/2) and of course Sublimity won the 2007 renewal at 16/1.

Fancied 8 year olds

Since 2007 twelve 8 year olds have run in the Champion Hurdle and all 12 have been beaten with only 3 of them making the frame. It wasn’t as if they weren’t fancied either, as mentioned already Hurricane Fly added his name to this illustrious list last year after starting at odds on following on from Binocular the year before.

Ah, but Hurricane Fly is a class above the others, I hear you say, yet he failed last year as an 8yo when many believed he only had to turn up to win. Time waits for no man, (or horse) just ask Harchibald, Brave Inca, Hardy Eustace and even the great Istabraq.

Rooster Booster did it in 2003 as a 9yo, but that was arguably the weakest Champion Hurdle in a long time, in a race where there were only 3 horses rated 160 plus. To put that into context, all but one of the 10 runners last year were rated 160 plus; there were 8 in the 2011 race and 9 when Binocular won in 2009.

Rooster Booster’s only three serious rivals in that 2003 renewal were Intersky Falcon, Rhinestone Cowboy and Like a Butterfly, hardly names that will go down in the annals of racing history.

The French influence.

Horses would appear to mature at a younger age now; the Triumph (The 4 year old championship race) used to have a reputation for bottoming horses and ruining them during their 5 yo season and was given as one of the main reasons for the 5yo’s poor 1 from 50 record in the Champion Hurdle the following season.

However, I always dismiss a stat until I’ve seen the SP’s of the runners involved; if all 50 of the youngsters went off at 100/1 then even with just the one winner they would have punched above their weight. Since 1997 only nine of the 5 yos have gone off in single figures and on the whole the runners that went off in single figures have performed well, especially in recent years.

How the 5 yos performed in the Champion Hurdle.

The 2007 renewal saw the one disappointing well supported 5yo; Detroit City, who won the Triumph then became the first 4yo for 27 year to complete the Cheltenham/Aintree double. (He also took the Cesarawich on the flat for good measure).

He won the Greatwood by 14 lengths on his seasonal reappearance as a 5yo and after he took the scalp of Hardy Eustace he went into the Champion hurdle as a worthy favourite on the back on 8 hurdles runs undefeated. He was never going on the day and finished 6th (28/1 shot, the 5yo Afsoun was just touched off for 2nd place and had been beaten 14 lengths by Detroit City in the Triumph.)

Katchit became the first Triumph Hurdle winner to win the Champion Hurdle since Persian War in 1968 (73 five-year-olds had been beaten in the race since the 5 yo See You Then triumphed back in 1985) and it’s often said that it was a very soft Champions race that Katchit won but there were 6 runners rated 160 plus in that 2008 renewal including defending Champion Sublimity, Afsoun, Sizing Europe, Harchibald and Ebizyan, who had won last year’s Supreme Novice. Not a vintage renewal, but certainly not a poor one.

For the 2009 Champion Hurdle Binocular, who had side stepped the Triumph (finished 2nd in the Supreme) went off as favourite after beating beat Triumph winner Celestial Halo at Aintree by 7l. Nicky Henderson made the cardinal sin of not getting a recent run into him before the Champion hurdle race; the First six home were aged 5 or 6 that year a half a length separated the first 3 home; the 2nd, 3rd and 4th were all 5 yos.

The following year Triumph winner Zaynar finished 3rd after winning the Triumph. The message would appear to be that 4 and 5 yo runners are more robust than they used to be 10 to 15 years ago and more capable of recovering in time from a punishing race like the Triumph to do themselves justice in the Champion Hurdle.

This year’s renewal.
There are 4 French bred younger horses that fit the bill in this year’s renewal.
Grandouet OR 166.
Zaidpour OR 158.
Trifolium OR 147.
Balder Success OR 145.

Bearing in mind that this is a race for Champions, you would have needed to be rated 156 to place in recent years and unless Trifolium or Balder Success can show drastic improvement in the next seven weeks they look unlikely to be good enough this year.

Zaidpour would be interesting if the race was run on Heavy ground, but when you consider that since 1997 the ground has only been Soft once and the drainage system at Cheltenham is possibly the best in the country, that seems unlikely.

Which leaves us with Grandouet who has a liking for Cheltenham; he was runner up in only his 2nd career race in the Triumph trial and then finished 3rd to Zarkander in the Triumph.

He then went on to win the Irish Juvenile and returned to Prestbury Park just before Xmas to take the Grade 2 Stan James hurdle.

Injury forced him to miss the rest last season and he returned to defend his Stan James crown last month and made a most satisfactory return, going down 2 lengths to old rival Zarkander and beating last year’s Champion Hurdle winner Rock on Ruby on heavy ground. When you consider that Zarkander had the benefit of a recent run and was getting 4lb off Grandouet it is easy to envisage him reversing the placings come May on better ground.

The Nicky Henderson factor.

Since 2007 Nicky Henderson has had 11 runners in the Champion Hurdle; 2 have won and 5 have placed.
With what we know it should come as no surprise to find that the three 7 and 8 yo runners all failed to place.
The eight 5 and 6 yo runners won 2 renewals and only one of the 8 runners failed to make the frame.
All four 5yo runners placed without winning.
Two of the 6yo runners won.

The message is clear- in recent years Nicky Henderson doesn’t enter a young runner in the Champion Hurdle unless he believes they have a realistic chance of at least making the frame.

This year he has eight entries: Khyber Kim, Punjabi, Binocular, General Miller and Oscar Whiskey are all at least 8yo.
Cash and Go and Grandouet are all 6yos; Grandouet is rated 166; Cash and Go at 145 would need to improve 10lb to even be considered as place material.

Can market leader Hurricane Fly be beaten?

I opposed Hurricane fly in this race last year as an 8 yo and apart from his age I thought he might struggle off a stronger pace than when taking this race the year before and he finished third after a strong early pace.

Once again he has looked imperious in small fields on bad ground this year, where the pace has been far from electric. With Overturn and Rock on Ruby both likely to crank it up from some way out it would come as no surprise to see him struggle again in a truly run race.

In the championship races at the festival, the most prestigious British race so far that season has been a good marker.
In the last 10 years half of the Gold Cup winners also won the King George; the Long Walk has provided the World Hurdle winner 4 times and the winner of the Tingle Creek has won the Champion Chase twice in the last 10 years.

The exception in the Champion hurdle; no winner of the Christmas Hurdle has won the Champion Hurdle in the last decade and the other two main trials, The Bula and The Fighting Fifth have only produced one winner each. Half of the last 10 Champion Hurdle winners have been Irish and the best Irish 2m hurdlers don’t often contest the British trials, as the equivalent trials are often held in close proximity to their British counterparts.

Furthermore, unlike the other 3 championship races, the Champion Hurdle trials tend not to be run at a true pace and the recent prolonged bad ground has just made the crawl longer and the sprint shorter in the trial races. Patrick Veitch made the point that the reason recent form so often goes out of the window in the Championship races is that they are run at an increased pace for far longer than even in most Grade 1 races, sprinting off a slow pace is a different ballgame to quickening off an end-to-end gallop.

That’s the reason why previous festival form in the Grade 1 races is so important and last year’s renewal is often the best trial at a festival race as the horse has already proved that it can handle the increased pace under similar conditions.

When Hurricane Fly won this race in 2011, the time was 3:51.71, and it wasn’t one of the faster races in recent years. A year later on the same Going the winning time was 3:50.1, almost 2 seconds quicker and Hurricane Fly was beaten 5 lengths.

The clock says he ran his race and his time was similar to his winning time a year earlier, the English trained front two were superior horses on the day, which casts doubt on the merit of his 2011 win. Can he equal those performance as a 9yo? history tells us that the answer is no and that he is past his prime.

With the last 4 winners currently entered along with the best of the younger generation The Hurricane would need to achieve a feat that Istabraq, Hardy Eustace and Brave Inca found beyond them. That was during a period when the Irish hurdlers totally dominated their English counterparts.

It would appear that hurdlers reach their prime as either a 6 or 7 yo these days and in a vintage looking year I would be very surprised to see Hurricane Fly win.

Grandouet on the other hand has a lot going for him and it will be disappointing if he doesn’t make the frame at the very least.

Today's Selection courtesy of Trainer Trends

Catterick 2.05 Abbey Storm – win bet

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