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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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Friday 10 December 2021

Saturday 11th December - Racing Post (handicap) Chase at Cheltenham

Talk about feast and famine.  
Last week we had more decent racing than we knew what to do with, and we made hay! The blog looked at 6 races and found the winners of 4 at odds of 9/1, 4/1, 3/1 and 13/8 - some readers posted the outcome of some tasty multiples!
This week, we have 3 meetings at Cheltenham, Doncaster and Hereford, and (apart from the feature race at Cheltenham) I'm struggling to find a race to have a wager on. It is very disappointing.
As such, I'm sticking to the Racing Post Gold Cup (handicap) Chase over 2m 4f & 127 yards.
There are 15 runners going to post and - to be honest - the race looks weak. 
The race has been on the calendar since 1963 under various names, and in all those years the last time a horse aged 9yo or older won was in 1993 (Fragrant Dawn): so why the 9yo Lalor is the 4/1 fav at the time of writing is beyond me.  This race is won year after year by a young, under-exposed, (rapidly) improving chaser - so why should it be different in 2021? That said, I expect Lalor to be placed, but he will need a career-best effort to win this off OR151.
Silver Hallmark (odds of 6/1) has only had 3 chase races, but he has shown potential to be capable off OR145, but I feel his best form has been on softer ground than he will encounter on Saturday.
Dostal Phil (odds of 7/1) was the first horse I considered for this race, but I've passed him over as his style of racing (held-up) suggests trips of 2m6f+ will be his best; but he won't be far away.
Beakstown (odds of 8/1) has yet to win a chase, but he has been highly tried. But I don't think he's improving and the winner of this race will out-perform their official rating.
Midnight Shadow (odds of 8/1) won the "Paddy Power" LTO and went up 7lb in the handicap as a result. There have been winners of this race that have won the "Paddy Power", but not many and OR154 may well prove too much for this horse.
Farinet (odds of 8/1) was due to run in the "Paddy Power" but was withdrawn due to the ground - and he may find this ground (on the good side if good-to-soft) too lively for him to run to his best. I also think he needs to have improved +10lb on his LTO win at Sandown in March if he's to win this.
And that brings me to the horse that I think will win this: FUSIL RAFFLES (odds of 9/1). There was no disgrace in finding it impossible to concede 12lb to Bravemansgame in October; but he ran better than OR152 in the process. Then, he was the best of the finishers in the 3-mile "Charlie Hall" at Wetherby, and I think he's not a proper 3-mile chaser.  Fusil Raffles ran a cracker in the 2m4f novices Marsh Chase (Grade 1) at the Festival when 2nd to Chantry House, and I think he's a 7lb better horse on what we've seen this season.  I'll be honest; I took 10/1 with Paddy Power and Bet Victor on Thursday evening with both offering 5th odds to 4-places eachway (there are only 15 runners remember!).
The 10yo Coole Cody (odds of 9/1) was running well till falling in the "Paddy Power", but he was being ridden and he fell 2-out - and that is the sign of a tiring horse, and he's gone up 2lbs in the handicap to OR143. 
Cepage (16/1) pulled-up in this race last year on his seasonal debut; and none of the other runners look capable of featuring in the race.  Zanza (odds of 11/1) ran well in the "Paddy Power", but his last 3 wins have been at Newbury, and that's probably where he will win his next race, not undulating Cheltenham. 

I contributed to a podcast with WRAP (What's Racing About Podcast) hosted by Peter Bell and discussed the race and my thoughts on FUSIL RAFFLES on Thursday evening: 

My wager tomorrow is just on the one race:
Cheltenham 1:50pm
FUSIL RAFFLES: £5 eachway @ 9/1 (Paddy Power & Bet Victor, 5th odds 4-places)
and £5 win @ 9/1 
Total staked = £15

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