Tanya Stevenson
Tanya Stevenson's Racing UK Blog
Friday 12th December 2014

Racing UK

All too Easy for Hobbs runner at Cheltenham

I'm back at Cheltenham and I can’t wait for the first race to start. 

As I type this posting from Cheltenham’s press room there is so much going on in preparation for Friday’s meeting. The sky is clear and no wind as yet, not even a gentle breeze, but I hate to tempt fate. 

I have my normal position in the press room; creatures of habit all of us. 

I could have gone around and labelled every seating position with the relevant media person's name and I don’t think there would have been many I’d have got wrong. 

I can’t say the same about picking the winners. Dawalan helped me out of the mire last Saturday and until the last few strides it didn’t look as though he was going to pick up Bear's Affair in the handicap hurdle at Aintree. 

Big Easy
© Racehorse Photos

Big Easy
After a couple of monumental efforts this season Big Easy, the Cesarewitch winner, deserves one over hurdles on the the Friday card at Cheltenham. He was very heavily backed to beat Katkeau at the November meeting and just held Invicta Lake, who re-opposes back in third.

Next up he was the only horse to trouble Aubusson at Haydock over the Fixed Brush Hurdles. Back at Cheltenham he can make amends. 

On Thursday I was off to the Ladbrokes shop in Cheltenham run by Betting Shop Manager of the Year, Adam Hurley. What a welcome. The customers were great fun and primed, the staff tremendous and the banter fantastic. There was plenty of well deserved stick coming my way - all good natured, and the piece about Adam and the shop should air in Friday’s Channel 4 Racing programme. Adam is due to appear on the Morning Line

We are a nation of gamblers and the reality is that although there is the facility to bet around the clock now across many technological platforms, there are still nearly 9,000 betting shops and the performance of racing as a product within them to help fund our sport makes a manager's job quite important. 

In my time in Adam’s shop, which was a good three hours, 20+ people came in and only one went on an Fixed Odds Betting Terminal. Go into a shop in a different area and that ratio will change.

In that time many races were run, yet there was nothing exceptional to make any certain race or price change different from a virtual race.

The sport needs to extricate itself from the routine - it is quickly becoming lost or passed over. Customers want immediacy and excitement. 

They’ll get both with Cheltenham and Doncaster but the other meetings, good in their own right, may get lost due to the enormity of the big two and that’s where the sport needs help.

Tanya's Friday tip:

3.15 Cheltenham: Big Easy at 7-2 with William Hill and Paddy Power

Tanya Stevenson's big-race pointers:

1.40 Cheltenham - CF Roberts Electrical + Mechanical Services Handicap Hurdle:

Nine of the last ten winners had no more than two runs in the current season.

Nine of the last ten winners came from the first four in the betting.

Eight of the last ten winners carried 11 stone or more.

Seven of the last ten winners had run no more than five times over hurdles previously.

2.10 Cheltenham - Majordomo Hospitality Handicap Chase

From Nicky Henderson’s last 12 runners he has had three winners, and two thirds.

Nine of the last ten winners were aged between seven and nine.

Seven of the last ten winners came from the first three in the betting.

Venetia Williams with just eight runners since 2000 has had two winners and two seconds.

David Pipe has had three winners of the race from just seven runners.

2.40 Cheltenham - Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase:

Enda Bolger has won five of the last nine runnings and runs Quantitiveeasing and Keep On Track.

Seven of the last nine winners were Irish-trained.

Six of the last nine winners were owned by JP McManus.

Eight of the 11 winners carried 11 stone or more.

Ten of the eleven winners were a single figure price.

Mr P W Mullins has ridden Uncle Junior 14 times, to five wins, two seconds and a third.

3.15 Cheltenham - Citipost Handicap Hurdle:

Eight of the last ten winners were no older than seven.

Eight of the last ten came from the first five in the betting.

Seven of the last ten winners carried 10-13 or less.

Five of the last seven winners had run at the Paddy Power meeting.