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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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Saturday, 9 January 2016
Mid-season review and look-ahead to the Welsh National
Looking back at my own performance, there are a couple of changes that I made this season that have been significant:- (1) being very ruthless with my alert list following the end of the 2014-15 season and reducing it from about 240 horses to just 99; and (2) making an early decision to concentrate on only Class 3 races or better and thus avoiding the lower-quality racing where results are more unpredictable.
What I haven't done - and this is something which I should have done - is exploit my advantage by increasing stakes placed. There have been a couple of instances when I have been very confident about my selection, but I've merely maintained my level of stake - whereas I should have increased it to reflect my own confidence. As such, you will likely see increased stakes on the 2nd half of the season.
Looking at the jump season as a campaign, now is the time when we should be starting to focus on the coming Cheltenham Festival in March. At the Festival, 95% of race winners will have run their previous race between Christmas Day (25th December 2015) and Valentines Day (14th February 2016). Normally, horses do best with up to 28-days rest between races but it's not the same for the Cheltenham Festival. For that meeting, race winners generally need to come into the Festival fresh, with at least 28-days rest but (most importantly) no more than 84-days rest. Very few races at the Cheltenham Festival are won by horses that have been off the track more than 12 weeks (84 days). So right now, you should be ensuring that you are focusing on race-form and making your shortlist of potential Festival winners.
Looking at the influential Kempton meeting on Boxing Day, while I was cheering loudly for Cue Card to get up and win the "King George", I was very impressed with the run of Vautour. You have to remember this was the first time the horse had run over 3-miles - and he was pipped on the post! For me, the horse looks every inch a potential Gold Cup winner and if Ruby Walsh is in the saddle on the day then I can see him starting a lot shorter than his current best odds of 10/1 for the race. Those bookies going non-runner = no bet (NRNB) only offer 6/1 at best.
Onto Saturday, and the Chepstow meeting (with feature race the Welsh National) is being run on heavy ground. This means the Welsh National has been pulled forward to at start time of 1:45pm hopefully avoid the race being cancelled. This race has some strong trends worth taking note of; (1) to win this race carrying a weight more than 11st the horse must be capable of winning a Cheltenham Gold Cup, and (2) horses of 10yo and older have a very poor record in the race. The race-fav Upswing holds a fair chance as he's fairly treated at the weights and the heavy ground will hold no fears for him. He may have only had 4 chase runs but he's potentially a 150+ horse. The 2nd-fav is Cogry who was 3rd behind Upswing LTO on what was his seasonal debut. The heavy ground and trip wont faze him either. Mountainous is too old at 11yo;and last seasons winner Emperor's Choice has too much weight running off OR141. The same can be said for Shotgun Paddy, who was 5th in the race involving Upswing and Cogry. He lost his way last season but, if he comes on for the run LTO, he could well be in the mix, even off 11st 5lb. Tour Des Champs beat our selection LTO, but I've never thought of him as a potential Welsh National winner. Bob Ford seems to save his best for Ffos Las and will likely only win if he's the last horse standing. In this race last season, Woodford County started joint-fav despite only having had 6 starts. He ran 7th and the effort left its mark for the remainder of the season and, as such, he started this one well handicapped. He needed the run at Sedgefield in October, and romped home LTO at Exeter over 3m6f on heavy ground. He is 16/1 for this race and looks a stronger horse this year. Of the others only Firebird Flyer is capable of making an impression, but he seems to need everything to fall right. At the odds, I cannot ignore the chance of WOODFORD COUNTY and 16/1 is too generous to miss, especially with Paddy Power going 5-places at quarter-odds (Stan James are 20/1 but only offer 4 places eachway).
This is my only wager of the day and this race is likely to be gruelling.
Chepstow 1:45pm WOODFORD COUNTY; £5 eachway AND £5 win @ 16/1 with Paddy Power (quarter-odds a place, 1,2,3,4,5)