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Between March 2010 and April 2017, this blog recommended wagers on 520 individual races on Jump Racing in the UK, resulting in a PROFIT of £1,525.39 on cumulative stakes of £5,726 - this is equivalent to a Return On Investment of 26.60%.
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Monday, 17 March 2014
Cheltenham 2014 - only the bookies were smiling!
That wager was very nearly eclipsed on Friday when DEPUTY DAN - advised at 16/1 - went over 3-lengths clear on the run-up to the final flight in the Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle. However, his rider possibly went for it too soon as his "tank" was empty jumping the final flight and he had nothing left to hold off the staying-on winner.
Friday was all about the Gold Cup - and there were plenty of reputations left in tatters after that race. It would seem that some trainers held in high esteem may need to go back to the drawing-board when planning campaign's for next season. I know when I was in my 20's it was not difficult for me to run 2 or 3 miles at a good pace, or play an hour's football without any training. Thru' my 30's it would usually take a game or two to get me to peak fitness. But, into my 40's, it became more necessary to work at my training in order to maintain a level of ability. My opinion is that the Gold Cup fav Bobs Worth just wasn't fit enough to win this year - and you cannot get a horse to peak race fitness on the gallops. He's not been within 10lb of the form he showed when winning the Gold Cup in 2013 in his 3 runs since this season and, had he gone on to run at Aintree or Punchestown after winning the Gold Cup, he may well have run to an even higher level of form.
My selection in the race Silviniaco Conti, possibly lost his chance of winning when Cue Card was withdrawn from the race on 25th Feb. As was shown in the KGVI, the strong pace set by Cue Card is perfect for the one-paced Silviniaco Conti as he has the high cruising speed to keep up, and the stamina to keep going when Cue Card empties out. I was hoping (before the race) that his jockey would make his move early, possibly 6-out, and really stretch the field making full use of his stamina. He needed to be at least 5-lengths clear at the final fence to maintain a winning advantage. He's not a Gold Cup horse, but he could well win a Grand National.
You cannot take anything away from the winner LORD WINDERMERE and it was tremendously brave of the connections to allow the horse to take part given that, before the race, he looked to be outclassed. And that is the lesson we have to draw from this race! When stood in the stands with my mate "The Wad" before the race, we both agreed that the field in its entirety was nowhere near as strong as it had been a few years ago. He had placed wagers on a couple in the Gld Cup, but his wager on the day was on the possibly improving 7yo Triolo D'Alene. I know from old that "The Wad" places a lot respect on Hennessy form but, personally, I thought the latest Hennessy (run at Newbury) was a poor one. The results since appear to have backed that opinion up with LORD WINDERMERE becoming only the 3rd horse to win from the 16 that finished (the other two being Cloudy Too and Houblon Des Obeaux) that day. The Gold Cup winner clearly relishes running at Cheltenham in March and it's possible that his RSA triumph in 2013 was underrated. The form of that RSA Novice Chase has worked out well, with the runner-up Lyreen Legend running 6th in the Gold Cup finishing just under 7-lengths behind the winner. It is through Lyreen Legend that I have rated the Gold Cup of 2014. With a rating of OR153, my rating of Lyreen Legend was at 154 - and that puts the Gold Cup winner LORD WINDERMERE on 161. Racing Post Ratings (RPR) have the winner at 170, which I feel is a bit rich especially as the race-time was 7.69secs slower that that of Synchronised winning in 2012 on very similar ground. If LORD WINDERMERE is on 161, it means that runner-up ON HIS OWN matched his Bobbyjo Chase winning performance of 22-Feb. It also suggests that 3rd-placed THE GIANT BOLSTER ran to his official rating of OR160.
The result just goes to show that race-reading is as just as much part of finding the winner as reading the form. Knowing what they do now, I'm sure that connections of the main contenders would do things differently. Bobs Worth would almost certainly have had another run between the Lexus and Cheltenham, possibly the "Denman" at Newbury; and Paul Nicholls would have instructed Noel Fehily on Silviniaco Conti to really push the pace as soon as he felt the front-runners were starting to paddle.
What of the rest of the Festival? I'll be looking at it in more detail over the coming weeks and months. Regular blog readers will know that I take a back-seat with punting during the flat season, and I'll be using the time during the summer to re-assess the form in the light of the Aintree and Punchestown festiva;s which are still to come.
What I'm thinking of doing with regards to Cheltenham is revamping my approach and the how I present my Cheltenham Bulletin for 2015. The "trends" for the Festival are well known now, and there are many ways of finding out which trends match which races. What there isn't (yet) as far as I know is a service that provides a shortlist based on the trends that matter.
As for the Gold Cup for 2015, I've taken a leaf out of my mates textbook. I did write above that "The Wad" had placed a couple of wagers on the Gold Cup, one on the day on Triolo D'Alene and the other 12-months ago - a speculative antepost wager on the winner of the RSA Chase LORD WINDERMERE. Tho' as he said before the race on Friday, were Lord Windermere being offered at 125/1 he wouldn't have a wager on it. As such, I've taken the 20/1 on O'Faolains Boy, the 25/1 on Smad Place, and I've also taken the 25/1 about Dynaste who I thought put up a performance that would have won the Gold Cup had he gone for that instead of the Ryanair.