Night will do more than a Tap at 25-1
Over the last five years ten horses to run on Festival Trials Day have gone on to win at the Cheltenham Festival, nine have finished runner-up come March, seven have finished third and ten came fourth. It means 36 horses went on to win or be placed at the Festival from the Trials Day meeting. It’s the last chance to attend or watch Cheltenham before the big one.
Notebooks at the ready then for a day across Cheltenham, Doncaster, Navan and don’t forget Sunday at Leopardstown which is bursting with clues.
Djakadam set the ideal Gold Cup marker on Thursday in the Thyestes Chase to those set to run in the Betbright Cup Chase on Saturday. Djakadam did at least drag me out of negative equity, having backed him to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup prior to the Hennessy.
What an opportunity for Tom Cannon aboard The Giant Bolster, who runs in the BetBright? The horse is attempting a fourth win on this very day. And sometimes it is not always the best horse who wins, but those who can adapt best to the conditions and circumstances in a race.
Despite the fact that my conscience niggling at me and telling me that Smad Place is set for a big run I’m going to take a chance on The Giant Bolster.
My selection best selection of the day is Tap Night in the Freebets.com Trophy Chase. He has been kept to hurdles so far this season yet wind back the clock 12 months and he was six lengths third to Wishfull Thinking in the race. He has slid down the weights and now lingers on a handy mark.
Of the novice hurdlers Peace And Co and Value At Risk stick out respectively in the JCB Triumph Hurdle Trial and the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle, but their prices will be too short and rightly so.
As for the galliardhomes.com Cleeve Hurdle the flow seems to be with Saphir Du Rheu, under the presumption he will be like Big Buck’s. I’m taking a chance Saphir Du Rheu will need a run back over hurdles, and instead go for Un Temps Pour Tout.
Does the cold have an effect on horses?
My back garden is white with frost. It was so cold through Thursday night and Friday morning that I could strap on ice skates to get to the local shops. How good are the covers on racecourses? They have saved many a meeting that would have been doomed in years past.
How does cold weather affect the horses? I use to own a greyhound who, in cold weather, could not win the worst grade. He even refused to come out of his kennel and had to be near-on dragged to the traps. Yet the bookmakers would insist on pricing him up a short-priced favourite as he would drop in grade, without even considering the reasoning for his poor runs. Come a rise in the temperatures he would be virtually top grade. Other greyhounds I owned, say those lighter in weight, would be at a disadvantage on heavy ground unless they led and a few would not be affected by any conditions at all.
Racing is a sport with such deep analysis that I wonder if such a study has been done in relation to the weather.
We have their performances in the various ground descriptions, but has there ever been any form or statistics aligned to weather? There is often mention of “spring” horses, is this just a reflection on their preference to warmer weather?
You could even go further. There were greyhounds who would run differently in the afternoon compared to the evening, and of course then they would not kennel well so a run nearer the first race was often more preferable.
I note an interview with Julia Fielden in the week at Lingfield where she stated one of her horses not keen to be in a racecourse stable for too long. With so many horses in training across the country surely she isn’t alone?
We place our money on horses, yet do we really appreciate all the elements that have to fall into place for the race eventuality to be a happy one? Or am I over-analysing and making the search for the winner too intense.
Movement of July Cup is to be applauded.
Flat racing’s tectonic plates have moved this week. Newmarket, the epicentre, is attempting to rejig the July Cup from its contentious Saturday slot for bargaining power over Future Champions Day.
Decisions such as these should be commended and time should not be wasted on bemoaning what now is planning to be undone.
Instead this should be lauded as a refreshing change to do what is best for the sport, and at the same time proving if there is an opportunity to try something new, if it doesn’t work, you can always go back.
If anything it releases the pressure on what is a congested Saturday with York, Ascot, Chester and evening meetings at Hamilton and Salisbury. It frees jockeys up to take their usual retained mounts and it maximises turnover for those meetings that were lost in the melee.
The outcome of further discussions on the matter will be keenly awaited but I for one always extol the virtues of the best of both worlds.
Money back if beaten into 2nd in any Ch4 race
Bet refunded as a Free Bet
Applies to win singles & win part of e/w singles only. For bets placed through the Boylesports Mobile/Tablet App on Saturday 24th January.
Tanya Stevenson's Saturday tips:
2.25 Cheltenham: Tap Night at 25-1 with bet365
3.35 Cheltenham: Un Temps Pour Tout at 11-4 with Coral
Tanya Stevenson's big-race pointers:
The last favourite to win was Cyfor Malta back in 1999! In fact the favourite has finished second six times in the last nine years.
Sibton Abbey is the last horse to complete the Hennessy Gold Cup/Betbright Cup double in 1993.
The Giant Bolster will try and emulate See More Business and win the Betbright Cup twice.
Exotic Dancer back in 2007 was the last horse to finish second in the King George and come on to win this. Dynaste bids to change that.
Seven of the last ten winners went on to run in the Gold Cup. Exotic Dancer finished best when second in 2007.
The last horse to do the Betbright Cup/Gold Cup double was 2000 Looks Like Trouble. Prior to that it was Master Oats in 1995.
The Giant Bolster is hoping to win for a fourth time on this day.
Eight of the last ten winners were aged nine or over.
Only two of the last ten winners had won on their most recent run.
From 17 runners Paul Nicholls has had five winners, four seconds and three thirds.
2.25 Cheltenham - freebets.com Trophy Chase
Since 1990 (22 runnings) there have been nine winning favourites.
Only two horses have been priced in double figures have won 2000 Makounji & 2004 Hunters Tweed.
Seven of 22 have carried 11st or more.
Paul Nicholls' last 15 runners have all been beaten, including two favourites, Aerial 2012 & Le Duc 2005.
Since 2000 four winners of the race have gone on to win at the Cheltenham Festival.
All winners of the race since 2000 have been no older than six.
Seven of the last nine winners had finished no worse than second that season.
Seven of the last nine winners came from the first three in the betting.
Reve De Sivola has run 14 times at Cheltenham with two wins, three seconds and three thirds.
Daryl Jacob and Reve De Sivola have teamed up 19 times for five wins, five seconds and five thirds.
Eight of the last ten winners have gone on to run in the World Hurdle, three have won, one second and one third.
Five of the last six winners had run over fences in their career.
Seven of the last ten winners finished no worse than second on their previous run.
Only one of the last nine winners had won on their most recent run – 2012 Calgary Bay.
Only one of the last nine winners managed to carry more than 11-2 to victory – 2012 Calgary Bay.
Only one of the last ten winners was aged older than nine – 2014 The Rainbow Hunter.
Seven of the last nine winners had won over at least three miles previously.
An Accordian won both the SkyBet Chase and at the Cheltenham Festival in 2008.
Only one of the last nine favourites have won.
Sue Smith’s strike rate 6 from 17 - 35% (four runners on Friday at Donny).
Eight of the last 12 favourites have won the Irish Champion Hurdle.
Hurricane Fly is attempting his fifth straight win in the race.
Hurricane Fly is unbeaten in nine races at Leopardstown.