Cheltenham Special Review – Day 1

I had a profitable Cheltenham Festival working with both Profiling and Ratings. Of the 28 races I bet on 19 and secured profit from 12.

The first day was very good but had I opted to advise RAVENHILL as “the one”, as I should have done, I’d have been turning down offers of marriage from grown men again. Hopefully next year I have to disappoint them.

Once I have reviewed all four days, I will offer up opinions as to potential ante-post bets for next year.

Meanwhile, if you disagree with my opinion of each race, I’ll see you on the Forum for a good old debate!

CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL – DAY 1 REVIEW

SUPREME NOVICES’ HURDLE

Last season we got off to a flier with KLASSICAL DREAM winning for us @ 6/1 and a good start always gets the confidence up.

I’m changing absolutely nothing with regards Profiling any race at the Festival this week and we’ll win, lose, or draw….no guarantees because it’s the most competitive racing of the year and every single horse will be trying.

My first shortlist for this race consists of five and six year olds. They have won the last 10 running’s of this, between them….five apiece.

ABACADABRAS
ALART
ASTERION FORLONGE
BERKSHIRE ROYAL
CAPTAIN GUINNESS
CHANTRY HOUSE
EDWARDSTONE
ELIXIR D’AINAY
FIDDLERONTHEROOF
HOLLOW SOUND
MARIO DE PAIL
SHISHKIN
SOVIET PIMPERNEL
WHATSNOTTOKNOW
HEAVEN HELP US

Weight ranges would be my next port of call, when weight ranges are a factor but here we have just the mare at the bottom of that list carrying less than 11st 7lb and we’ll drop here at this point:

ABACADABRAS
ALART
ASTERION FORLONGE
BERKSHIRE ROYAL
CAPTAIN GUINNESS
CHANTRY HOUSE
EDWARDSTONE
ELIXIR D’AINAY
FIDDLERONTHEROOF
HOLLOW SOUND
MARIO DE PAIL
SHISHKIN
SOVIET PIMPERNEL
WHATSNOTTOKNOW

The market very rarely gets this wrong and save for the freak result caused by LABAIK (25/1), the winner will normally be sited in the top six in the betting so we’ll pluck those horses from that list above:

ABACADABRAS
ASTERION FORLONGE
CAPTAIN GUINNESS
CHANTRY HOUSE
FIDDLERONTHEROOF
SHISHKIN

We will return to the Market again in a moment.

RPR Ratings suggest that anything rated below 155 has a job on and six of the last 10 winners of this had ratings of 157, 161, 156, 157, 157, 160.

Five of the last seven Supremes have been won by horses with that higher RPR.

Here we lose CAPTAIN GUINNESS and CHANTRY HOUSE, who arrive with RPR’s of 154 and 147 respectively.

ABACADABRAS
ASTERION FORLONGE
FIDDLERONTHEROOF
SHISHKIN

Down to four.

Here I return to the market and suggest we leave the current favourite alone, as only two of the last 10 winners of this went off favourite.

Right now, that horse is ASTERION FORLONGE and as good as he looked when he won last time out (and that earned him the best RPR rating in this of 163), I have to follow Profiling and drop it here.

MY DUTCH

SHISHKIN (RPR 161)
ABADADABRAS (RPR 158)
FIDDLERONTHEHOOF (RPR 159)

MY 20/80

Most people reading this will be looking for just one horse to work with and that horse is SHISHKIN

The ground may well be on the soft side for ABACADABRAS but, for sure, his form is as good as anything in here and had it been quicker I’d have made him my pick.

In the same ownership as ASTERION FORLONGE, SHISHKIN keeps a much straighter line over his hurdles than the Mullins horse, who goes out right at every obstacle. That might be his undoing.

FIDDLERONTHEHOOF is more than decent and looks a good 20/80 too. I recall Tizzard saying they could not understand how they managed to get him beaten on seasonal debut as they thought he was a certainty but whilst the ground is going to be right for him if they get the overnight rain there, I still feel something with a bit more toe will beat him.

SHISHKIN for me – WON 6/1

REVIEW: I always like to start the Festival with a winner and SHISHKIN went in at a huge price. I’d noted how badly right ASTERION FORLONGE goes and he was the worst he has ever been in this race. The first two home are classy and I’m thinking that whilst this years Champion hurdle was a dogs backside in terms of quality, if those novices all stayed over hurdles (and I include GOSHEN and ENVOI ALLEN in that sentence), then the 2021 race will be an absolute doozie. Of course, it won’t happen.

ARKLE TROPHY

Always relatively simple to solve and this was my play last year

POST RACING DUTCH:

GLEN FORSA
DUC DE GENIEVRES

I’m looking for that solo play now and for me it has to be the Irish horse. Having an official mark over hurdles of over 140 seems a “must” as 17 of the last 18 winners of this had run to a mark in excess of 140….and GLEN FORSA was rated just 120 over the smaller obstacles.

POST RACING SELECTION:

DUC DE GENIEVRES 20/80 – WON 11/2

I had a right old spring in my step after the first two races last year, right enough!

Nine of the last 10 winners of this have been six and seven year olds….only three five year olds have tried to win this in the last decade and one has placed.

I am a huge fan of FAKIR D’OUDAIRIES but he’s only won two of his five races over fences and one of those came over 20 furlongs….and he got beaten by NOTEBOOK fair and square.

First short list:

NOTEBOOK
BREWIN’UPASTORM
ESPIRIT DU LARGE
ROUGE VIF
AL DANCER
PUT THE KETTLE ON

Only one of the last 10 winners came home a bigger price than 6/1, WESTERN WARHORSE springing a huge surprise @ 33/1 in 2014.

I’m therefore eliminating anything priced bigger than 6/1

NOTEBOOK
BREWIN’UPASTORM

As with last year I have a two horse dutch:

MY DUTCH

NOTEBOOK
BREWIN’UPASTORM

MY 20/80

NOTEBOOK

Seven of the last 10 winners had an RPR in excess of 170 and NOTEBOOK’s 174, compared to the other horses 168 points us in his direction.

REVIEW: I would never, in a million years, have suggested a mare for this race…even next year, and the year after….they simply do not win it. NOTEBOOK was all fizzed up and I doubt very much they’ll travel that horse again. We had five fall or unseat, the third lost a shoe, and you just look at this result and think it’s not a good one. I don’t see a QM winner in there!

ULTIMA HANDICAP CHASE

We want to be with seven, eight and nine year olds here. Only one six year old, and one horse older than nine, has managed to win this in the last decade.

Here we go:

VINNDICATION
BRAVE EAGLE
CEPAGE
MAISTER MALARKY
KILDISART
DISCORAMA
WHO DARES WINS
ATLANTA ABLAZE
MULCAHYS HILL
BURBANK
TOWNSHEND
COBRA DE MAI
THE CONDITIONAL
SOUPY SOUPS
QUARENTA
NO COMMENT
VIVAS
ICE COOL CHAMPS

A handicap….love them….my bread and butter.

I only want horses carrying 11st or more onside, as six of the last 10, and four of the last five, have carried carried that weight.

VINNDICATION
BRAVE EAGLE
CEPAGE
MISTER MALARKY
KILDISART
DISCORAMA
WHO DARES WINS

That’s age and weight sorted out….now onto the Market.

Not many priced “silly” win this, we are looking for nothing priced bigger than 14/1 and as the current favourite is 7/1, that will give us a relatively short shortlist now:

VINNDICATION
MISTER MALARKY
KILDISART
DISCORAMA
WHO DARES WINS

Just five left now and what I’ll do at this point is rule out the horse I like a heck of a lot, VINNDICATION.

Only one favourite has managed to win this and, only one horse carrying 11st 12lb has won this in the last decade, too:

MISTER MALARKY
KILDISART
DISCORAMA
WHO DARES WINS

If you fancied a four horse dutch to clear a profit….and if I’ve profiled this correctly….then feel free but….and this kills me because I’ve felt this horse has been laid out for this, but the Irish have an awful record in this….not a single winner in the last 10 seasons.

DISCORAMA has to go, for that reason alone.

MY DUTCH

MISTER MALARKY
KILDISART
WHO DARES WINS

MY 20/80

KILDISART – 2ND 10/1

Won and placed at Cheltenham and has also won or placed in five of his nine races over fences.

They have put first time cheekpieces on him tomorrow and his racing weight is perfect….six of the last 10 winners not trying to cart more than 11st 3lb around this track/trip.

REVIEW: I firmly believe that ridden a little more positively, KILDISART would have won this race. The winner made a mistake two out but because Jacob was sitting still and just looking to pop the last two, he didn’t take advantage of that mistake. It was only after the last that Jacob got busy on the runner up and he failed by just a neck to win it.

Just my opinion, of course but a profit made regardless.

CHAMPION HURDLE

The weakest Champion Hurdle I can remember.

All I can do is work as normal, even if the races feels anything but “normal”….17 runners, for a start!

You have to an exceptional horse to win this if arriving aged eight, or older. Only ANNIE POWER and HURRICANE FLY have managed that in the last 10 seasons and nothing here could hold a candle to either of those two.

Similarly, anything aged five is binned too….only one horse aged five has won this in that same 10 year period, last years winner, ESPOIR D’ALLEN.

Before that you had to go back to KATCHIT in 2008, who became the first 5-y-o to win it since SEE YOU THEN in 1985….as rare as rocking horse poop they are.

CALL ME LORD
COUER SUBLIME
CORNERSTONE LAD
DARASSO
GUMBALL
SHARJAH
SILVER STREAK
EPATANTE

Market next, even though something daft could actually happen here, with a more staying type coming from off the pace as the ones that have gone off fast up front, regardless of how good they might be, lose their legs up the hill.

If you’ve looked outside the front four on the tissue in the last 10 years, you’ve definitely lost on eight of those occasions.

EPATANTE

Just one horse stands its ground, even at this early stage.

It is, as explained, simply by virtue of this being a shocker of a Champion Hurdle.

Fits the bill in that she arrives here having won last time out, as did eight of the last 10 winners, and the last five winners, too.

She is currently favourite which, again, is a plus, as five of the last nine favourites did the job.

The only “?” is her run here last season. But then, if you look at the second favourite, PENTLAND HILLS, he looked a non-stayer last time out, having looked likely to cruise home.

Third favourite CILAOS EMERY….wears a hood because it gets all spooked and SUPASUNDAE, a 10 year old sitting fourth best on the tissue, who has not won over two miles since April 2018

Most of these will be ridden to place and if they can nick it, all fine and dandy.

Feels like the Henderson horse wins by default.

MY PLAY

EPATANTE – STRAIGHT WIN – WON 2/1

REVIEW: Only one horse could win this and Profiling called it spot on. That made out two winners and a runner up from the first four races and comfortably up on the day regardless of what happened after this race.

CLOSE BROTHERS MARES HURDLE

Not really a race that lends itself to Profiling in the normal sense as it’s a race Willie Mullins farms and he would have made it nine winners from the last 10 running’s, had BENIE DES DIEUX not fallen at the last.

The same horse is long odds on to win tomorrow and it’s 12/1 bar two horses, the other being HONEYSUCKLE, who was taken out of the Champion Hurdle because she would have struggled for pace over the two miles of that race.

A race I’m more than happy to just watch without betting on.

REVIEW: A no bet race but without a doubt, the runner up was the “winner”. Rachel Blackmore gave HONEYSUCKLE an absolute peach of a race whilst the Mullins horses got their tactics horribly wrong. I’d be on the runner up all day long if they ever meet again.

NORTHERN TRUST NOVICES’ CHASE

Won last year by the handicap blot A PLUS TARD, who made my work on the race completely worthless.

I had that winner ruled out at the very first stage, age grouping, as he became the first five year old to win it.

One of the hazard of trying to work with Novice events.

Profiling though, is Profiling and they are the runes I work with, to try and determine the winners of horse races, at Festival meetings.

Let’s see what the bones say here.

I’m sticking to my “age group” guns because whilst stats are there to be beaten….and were last year, the “norm” will always remain the “norm”.

My first shortlist consists of six and seven year olds because they have won seven of the last 10 running’s of the race:

PRECIOUS CARGO
HOLD THE NOTE
ESPOIR DE GUYE
KNIGHT IN DUBAI
JARVEYS PLATE
CHAMPAGNE MYSTERY
IMPERIAL AURA
CHAMPAGNE COURT
GALVIN
PAINT THE DREAM
HIGHEST SUN
EARLOFTHECOTSWOLDS
BEAKSTOWN
MITCHOUKA
DALY TIGER
LORD SCHNITZEL

A list…not a short one though and weight ranges helps not a bit, because what I would have told you is that nothing carrying less than 11st would stand its ground, neither would anything carrying less than 11st 10lb….they all fall into that weight range.

So, next we go to Market.

Eight of the last 10 winners could be located in the front five on the tissue.

HOLD THE NOTE
ESPOIR DE GUYE
IMPERIAL AURA
GALVIN

Only two of the last 10 winners went off favourite (including that spanner in the works last year), so with eight favourites not winning, I’m removing IMPERIAL AURA at this point:

MY DUTCH

HOLD THE NOTE
ESPOIR DE GUYE
GALVIN

MY 20/80

All three have a stat in their favour, that being you arrive here having won or come home second last time out….but one of that trio is catching my eye….

GALVIN – 2ND 13/2 > 4/1

Two of the last three winners of this were Irish trained, and both arrived having finished a runner up on their last racecourse appearance before this race….so has GALVIN….and he’s Irish trained.

REVIEW: All the way round I was willing the rider of GALVIN to get him closer to the pace. He was always going comfortably and when he came with his run, I thought he’d get there. The winner is a very good horse and I doubt that ridden differently, or having his jockey not drop his reigns after the last, would have made a difference….the best horse won this race.

NATIONAL HUNT CHASE

I came so close to putting up RAVENHILL as “the one”, following the injury to CHAMPAGNE CLASSIC, who would have won this for the same yard, doing handsprings, but they have moved him from the Kim Muir, which I thought he would win, to this race.

If Profiling likes him, I’ll be in like Flynn.

Seven and eight year olds hold the secret to this race so, first shortlist:

CAREFULLY SELECTED
FORZA MILAN
LAMANVER PIPPIN
LORD DU MESNIL
NEWTIDE
OCEAN CAVE
REDZOR
SMOKING GUN
SOME CAN DANCE
SPRINGFIELD FOX
THE HOLLOW GINGE

As a 10 year old, RAVENHILL has gone.

If you have backed him, the plusses are:

Trained by Elliott, who has trained three of the last nine winners
Jamie Codd rides
In the front five on the tissue
Only seven 10 year olds have run in this in the last 10 seasons, one won, two placed

Now we look at the Market because they all carry 11st 6lb

I’d not be interested in anything outside the front five on the tissue. Eight of the last 10 winners were fancied and three favourites have won in that decade, although none since 2013.

CAREFULLY SELECTED
FORZA MILAN
LORD DU MESNIL
SPRINGFIELD FOX

The one I drop here is SPRINGFIELD FOX.

He has only had two previous runs over fences and the last 10 winners of this had seen fences at least three times prior to co9ming for this.

MY DUTCH

CAREFULLY SELECTED
FORZA MILAN
LORD DU MESNIL

MY 20/80

I’m not sure I want to be with a maiden over fences in a race like this so, despite the fact he’s ridden by Derek O’Connor, I’ll drop FORZA MILAN.

CAREFULLY SELECTED is unbeaten in three runs over fences but the trip is an unknown, whilst LORD DU MESNIL will be ridden by an amateur who has not had a winner in a long time.

I have to run with the blatantly obvious:

CAREFULLY SELECTED – UR

REVIEW: CAREFULLY SELECTED was ridden like a horse they didn’t trust to jump around. He ridden with kid gloves the whole way, never put into the race and that he eventually got rid of his jockey, having already belted a couple on the way round, was no surprise at all.

You all know I should have been shouting the name of RAVENHILL from the rooftops and I’m absolutely gutted I didn’t. I do know several of you did back him and got 20/1 for this race, when he was just 7/1 for the Kim Muir.

About Ron.Robinson

Ron.Robinson

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