Tanya Stevenson
Tanya Stevenson's Racing UK Blog
Thursday 13th March 2014
Racing UK
Cyclone Can Blow Through Cheltenham

I have finally sat down in the press room to type this at 7pm on Wednesday evening!  What a day. I feel exhausted and I haven’t been even standing on a bookmaker’s pitch. 

After results on day two there could be some pitches vacant for Thursday.  It was a bruiser.  A monumental gamble on Faugheen paid dividends and some for punters the cheers were still ringing out for Ruby Walsh as they were circling the paddock for the RSA Chase!

As an aside lookout for Killala Quay at Aintree, he ran a blinder to storm up the hill in fourth.  He came with such commitment and conviction he could well have been closer, even second! 

Ballyalton thrived on the return to the ground he loves and Rathvinden found traffic problems.  

Connections of O’Faolains Boy quite rightly are now dreaming of Gold Cups after his win in the RSA Chase, especially if it comes up the same surface in 12 months. 

Whisper was a late gamble in the ring, and then on the exchanges, in the Coral Cup. I haven’t had a chance to review the replay on here to see who could go to Aintree and pick up a race, mainly because I was caught up in the emotion for poor old Get Me Out Of Here. He finished second for the fourth time in five visits to the Festival, which is an amazing achievement in itself.

Then there was an inward satisfaction of watching Sire De Grugy win the Queen Mother. 

Congratulations to team Moore, and the owners. It is a real fairytale that has come true.

Another little diamond of a horse is Balthazar King, who landed his second Cheltenham Festival Cross Country win and seventh at the course.  The crowd love him and gave an extra cheer when he hit the front a full four fences out.  In hindsight he did well to hang on as he did. 

After coming off air I disappeared to the Centaur stand to soak up the atmosphere and watch the bets being struck on the Geoff Banks and Pat Whelan pitches.  A real eye-opener and a few nervy moments for all concerned as they jumped the last.  I think I might have had to delve into my pockets to help out if Katgary had won!

On to Thursday and I am down, but not by much thanks to Vautour and Balthazar King so I’m going to have a speculative wager on National hopeful Pineau De Re in the Pertemps.  In November he ran a stormer when fifth in a handicap hurdle on good ground and since then he has been mixing it over hurdles and chase fences. 

Hidden Cyclone in the Ryanair Chase is the pick for me. He will appreciate being back on a left-handed course, he also ran well in November in the BetVictor Gold Cup and his form at Ascot to Sire De Grugy now reads very well.

Finally Tap Night in the Byrne Group Plate, who is not the selection of AP McCoy but don’t worry I have given up on my AP McCoy bet to be top jockey as he is having a frustrating week, to say the least. 

Tap Night gave a big nudge to his wellbeing when third to Wishfull Thinking in January.

However an amusing little anecdote is that some of the bookmakers’ PR reps are betting between themselves on the colour of coat I wear each day! Better dig in the car boot to see if I have any left!

Forgive me I almost forgot to mention Annie Power v Big Buck’s heart says latter, while pocket and head say Annie Power.

Big Bucks to win - 9/2 at Coral

Tanya's Cheltenham Thursday tips:

2.05 Cheltenham: Pineau De Re at 40-1 with Coral

2.40 Cheltenham: Hidden Cyclone at 10-1 with BetVictor

4.00 Cheltenham: Tap Night at 12-1 with Paddy Power

Tanya's Cheltenham Thursday Pointers:


All five of Nicky Henderson’s runners in the race have been beaten including three priced 7-1 or lower

Wonderful Charm has won three of his four chase races

Felix Yonger has finished in the first two in all five of his chase races

This will be a third visit to Festival for Felix Yonger, 21st in the Champion Bumper and runner-up to Simonsig in the Neptune last year

Oscar Whisky has only won one of his five runs in March

Oscar Whisky’s record at Cheltenham from 12 runs inc six wins, two second and a third


Eight of the last ten winners carried 10-11 or less (but now the handicap is so condensed only four of the 24 runners carried under 11stone)

Since 1996 there have been 47 runners aged ten or over only one has won, Buena Vista in 2011. 

Only one winning five-year-old in forty years

Only one winner out of the handicap since 1974

The last ten winners have been priced in double figures

Only six winning favourites in the forty year history

The last favourite to win was Inching Closer at 6-1 back in 2003, since then all the remaining winners have been no better than fifth in the betting

Since 1996 51 horses have worn blinkers managing only two have won, two seconds and three thirds

FingalBay has only ever once finished out of the first two in ten runs, inc seven wins

Irish challengers have only won the race twice in the last ten years and five times overall in forty years


A grey has yet to win

Eight of the last nine winners had previously run at the Festival

Six of the last nine winners had previously run three times at the Festival

As yet no Irish-trained winner

All of the last six winners had run in that seasons King George

The Peterborough Chase is a poor guide as the best effort is just a placing

Eight of the nine winners have been priced 6-1 or shorter

Eight of the nine winners have come from the first three in the betting

Seven of the nine finished in the first three last time out

The favourite has only won twice in nine runnings

Eight of the last nine winners had previously won at Cheltenham

Three of the four Ascot Chase winners have been beaten


Solwhit was the first Irish-trained winner since Doran’s Pride in 1995

No five-year-old has ever won

Every winner since 2000 has been no bigger winning price than than 17-2

Horses aged nine and over are two from 72 since 1988

Crimson Embers is the only winner aged over nine since 1972

Big Buck’s is attempting to win the race for a fifth time

AP McCoy’s last 13 rides have all been beaten including three favourites

All of the last ten winners finished first or second last time out

All of Willie Mullins 15 runners have been beaten but he has only had three priced in single figures


Nine of the last ten winners were 12-1 or bigger

Only four horses since 1994 have carried 11-0 or more to victory

Eight of the last ten carried 10-10 or less

Since 2000 the Favourite has been second five times and won once

Ignoring last year’s gamble on Salut Flo the previous ten years the shortest priced winner has been fifth in the betting

AP McCoy is one from five on favourites in the Byrne Plate

Seventeen of the last 20 winners had previously run at the Cheltenham Festival

Just one Irish-trained winner since 1951

Fifteen runners for Nicky Henderson since 2003 have resulted in, two winners, one second, three thirds (he has won the race four times overall)

Venetia Williams has had three winners in the last seven years

There have been 54 runners aged 10 or over in the last ten years only two have won