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advising selections on which to wager, since March 2010.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Queen Mother Champion Chase antepost advice

Since Sprinter Sacre lost his unbeaten record (in completed races) last Saturday, much has been written speculating that the horse is but a shadow of his former self. His continued presence at the head of the Queen Mother Champion Chase market, for which he is best-priced at 11/4 in the Non-Runner, no-bet category (NRNB), suggests that if you don’t consider the horse can find some improvement between now and then, that there is plenty of value in the betting for the race.
So then – is SPRINTER SACRE past it?

You can view the race via this link:-

I watched the race live on tv, and I’ve watched it a number of times since. I’m also a big fan of the winner of Saturdays race Dodging Bullets and, as such, I think I’m able to give an unbiased opinion of the race and the horses involved.
Let’s consider the winner, DODGING BULLETS. He was a promising novice chaser, but he didn’t follow thru’ in the Arkle at last March’s Festival and came home a lacklustre 4th of 9, beaten 5-lengths. I thought that was about as good as he was going to get at the time, and it was probably a very good run considering his best form is during the winter months and not in the spring-time. Saturdays win was the 1st time he’d won in the post-New Year period from 8 races whereas pre-New Year he is 6 wins from 8 races. He’s certainly improved since last March, but probably not as much as the handicapper thinks, and I have him at 163+. If you compare the speed-ratings for Saturdays race with last years race, won by Sire De Grugy, then the winning performance is very comparable.
Considering it was his first race (if you ignore pulling-up in December 2013) since 23rd April 2013, I thought SPRINTER SACRE ran very well, as he was always going easy on the bridle behind a strong lead from Somersby (who still retains a fair amount of ability). He took up the lead - without jockey Geraghty having to use his persuader – at the 2nd-last and tho’ he was quickly passed by the eventual winner, that one was under a hard drive. Without being put under any pressure, he ran on well to be beaten only 3-lengths with the OR165 rated Twinlight toiling in 3rd another 5-lengths back.
On the basis of this performance, I’m of the opinion that Sprinter Sacre would have the potential to reverse places with Dodging Bullets should they meet in March, as he must be capable of finding about 7lbs or more of improvement. By my ratings, his performance was only 3lb short of what he ran when winning the Tingle Creek in December 2012.

If Sprinter Sacre can find another 7lb of improvement, then there is only one horse he will need to be afraid of. No not Sire De Grugy, as he’s but a 164 chaser at best on my ratings, it will be AL FEROF who has the 2nd-highest official rating of the entries at OR168 (Sprinter Sacre’s rating has been wiped off the record). Not only that, but AL FEROF is in the form of his life this season, and goes to Cheltenham as a previous Festival winner. He ticks a lot of the QMCC trends, and the current odds of 9/1 NRNB being offered by Bet365 and BetVictor look very generous, as I’d have him on a par with his stablemate Dodging Bullets at 5/1. He could well start at odds under 5/1 on the day, especially if one of either Sire De Grugy or Sprinter Sacre do not turn up.

I certainly cannot resist those odds and I’m on eachway. My suggestion is that you also take advantage as this could be a weak race.

Advised antepost wager
Queen Mother Champion Chase at Cheltenham on 11th March 2015
AL FEROF : £6.16 eachway @ 9/1 AND £7.68 to win @ 9/1
(with either Bet365 or Bet Victor who both go NRNB and quarter-odds a place 1,2,3)

Total = £20 staked

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