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Stat of the Day: 2nd May 2012
A changing of the guard on SotD, with Chris taking a well earned rest and me (Matt) stepping back into the chair.
I’ll start my stint with an up and coming trainer who places his horses very well indeed so far, and he knows today’s game better than most. We’re heading for the Cotswolds and the
Fergal O’Brien may not be a name you’re familiar with, unless you’re a fan of snooker! The 1999 Open Championship’s racing namesake is an up and coming trainer, who learnt his business with Nigel Twiston-Davies, before becoming a successful trainer of point-to-point horses.
Since then, he’s made an enviable start to a career handling National Hunt horses under rules, but it’s back to his roots he’ll go tonight.
Specifically, he runs just one horse – Bradley – in the Champion Hunters Chase this evening.
O’Brien has a fine record at this meeting: three winners and another horse placed, from seven runners over the last two years; and a level stakes profit of 28 points.
Bradley himself has course ‘previous’, having won at this meeting in 2010 (at 16/1!), before running a fine eighth in the Foxhunters at the Cheltenham Festival.
He followed that up last time out with a clear second behind Ashkazar, who returned to somewhere close to his best, in a Class 2 handicap chase. That race was over the same course, distance, and soft going as tonight’s so there will be nothing unknown about the conditions.
This Class 4 hunter is competitive enough, as you’d expect for a Cheltenham Champion version (it’s been won by Earth Mover, Take The Stand, Torduff Express and Templer in recent years). But O’Brien’s rising star – still only eight – might have too much toe for the more established old guard.
At least, that’s what I’ll be wagering, and at around 11/4 on Betfair currently (no early odds yet available), I think he’s a great chance.
As ever, to check the latest odds…