After a week away, the blog is back.
We ended February with a profit of 5.925pts, which added to January’s 2.08pt profit. For December, the blog broke even, and in November we lost 1.40pts. So, for the jumps season to-date, the blog is 6.605pts in profit on a total investment of 54pts; that’s an ROI of 12.23%. From the 47 selections advised, there has been a profit made on 15 of them, which is a strikerate of 31.9% (7 winners and 8 placed as eachway selections).
On the run-up to the Cheltenham Festival which starts a week tomorrow, I will be concentrating on the Festival itself aiming to focus the antepost book that has already been started and added to throughout the season so far.
We had a bit of a blow yesterday with the withdrawal thru’ injury of RIVERSIDE THEATRE from the Ryanair, and the horse has been retired for the season. Not an individual wager, RIVERSIDE THEATRE was part of my 2 eachway “yankees” placed in mid-January. Another leading Gold Cup fancy withdrawn last week was DIAMOND HARRY who won the Hennessey Gold Cup LTO. Of all the runners opposing the “Big 3” in the Gold Cup, it was Diamond Harry that was giving me most sleepless nights. Apparently, trainer Nick Williams is now regretting he did not give the horse more racing this season. All horses are at risk of injury at the track or on the training ground, and when a horse is fit and well it should be raced. You only get one chance in racing, and you should always grab it with both hands.
One advantage of a week’s holiday was being able to read the Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide written by Paul Jones. No doubt about it, this is a great read with plenty to stimulate the mind. Something that many writers have jumped on is that LONG RUN would be the first 6yo to win a Gold Cup since 1963 (Mill House) if he succeeds next week. This is countered by the fact that only 3 x 6yo’s have run in the race since then, but they included The Fellow who was 2nd btn only a short-head by Garrison Savanah in the 1991 Gold Cup, and Gloria Victis was running well enough to be placed in the 2000 Gold Cup when falling at the 2nd-last. In other words, only the best 6yo's run in the Gold Cup. However, having read the Paul Jones guide I think you have to expand the parameters of 6yo chasers, given that so few have contested the Gold Cup in the past 40 years. In the National Hunt Chase over 4-mile, since 1989 there has been just 1 winning 6yo from 62 (6yo’s or younger) contesting the race. In the RSA Chase over 3-mile 110 yards, there has been just 2 winning 6yo’s since 1978 and there have been some cracking good horses amongst those beaten 6yo’s too. In chases over 3-mile-plus at the Festival, 6yo's have a terrible strikerate, and that must be due to their relative immaturity and experience. There is no way I could wager on LONG RUN at his current odds of just 5/1 as the quality in depth of this year’s Gold Cup field is just too strong. The best performance I’ve witnessed this season was from Denman when 3rd in the Hennessey GC. My opinion of Imperial Commander's run at Haydock LTO was that it wasn’t far short of 170. I thought Kauto Star ran too bad to be true in the KGVI, but he does not like it when he cannot get his own way in a race and he won’t next week with Denman in the field. I rate Denman a 4/1 chance, and Imperial Commander should be 5/2. I would have Kauto Star at 7’s (he’s fallen 3 times in the UK, twice at Cheltenham at the Festival) and Long Run at 8’s. I expect that by Friday next week, the Irish will have plenty of winnings to play with and there will be a lot of money on both Kempes and Pandorama, with the latter at 10’s or shorter on the day.
There are now many bookmakers going “non-runner = no bet” on the Cheltenham Festival (or at least on the major races at the Festiva). They include, Paddy Power, Stan James, Corals, Bet365, Boylesports, Sportingodds, Skybet and Ladbrokes. Even so, some odds on the leading contenders look mighty skinny to me – Time For Rupert at 9/4 for the RSA looks daft in what is a very competitive field. Medermit at 3/1 for the ‘Arkle’ given he’s not won at Cheltenham in 5 tries there is no value at all (all wins on flat tracks). I usually leave my biggest wagers till the days of the Festival itself and try and pull off an eachway double in the handicaps.
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Thank you.daily insight into the sport of Horseracing and advising selections on which to wager, since March 2010.