So that's it, dear reader, for the preamble, and now the actors have completed their dress rehearsals, we're all set for the performance proper. Curtain up is two weeks tomorrow, and I'm as excited as Sam Thomas would be if he was told he was riding Denman in the Gold Cup!
In truth, there was little additional meat put on our knowledge gathering bone over the past weekend, though the facile victory of Tranquil Sea in the Grade 2 Newlands Chase underlines his wellbeing ahead of a tilt at the Ryanair Chase at the Festival.
I'll hopefully find time to do one more trends analysis later this week - probably the RSA Chase - but if you want full chapter and verse on the Festival, then there's one publication that stands absolutely head and shoulders above anything else out there, in my opinion.
In its debut at last season's Festival, this trends encyclopedia produced by my good friend and stat demon, Gavin Priestley, didn't just limply nominate 33/1 winner Something Wells on a shortlist for the race.
Rather, he shouted it from the rafters. This is what he said:
'We strongly fancy Something Wells today in the 4.00. Ladbrokes go 33/1 about the Venetia Williams trained 8-y-o and he is recommended as our best handicap each way bet of the meeting.'
The horse was available at 42 Betfair SP, and was well backed by plenty of very happy Nag3 and Geegeez readers.
That was one of a series of winners for Festival Trends at Cheltenham last season and, having seen this year's guide, I'm confident there's plenty more where that came from.
Get Cheltenham Festival Trends here.
It currently runs to a whopping 128 pages and - unlike other inferior versions - there's absolutely no fluff here. Each of the 26 races has been dissected, decomposed, deconstructed, and numerous other words beginning with 'd' that imply harcore analysis!
As a value proposition, there's nothing to touch it, and if you want to do your own study ahead of the Festival, now is the time to do it.
There's a fortnight to go, very few horses will race again between now and then, so the form will settle. Horses' preferred races are firming up rapidly, and Festival Trends is going to reduce your legwork by a ton.
For each race, as well as an introduction of the history of the contest, you'll find the following information:
- Recent trends covering age, class, betting clues, distance and previous runs breakdown over the last ten years or so
- A handy tick box grid illustrating how the leading contenders fit those trends
- Records of the top trainers (note, they're not always positive!)
- Past winners chart for the last ten years, showing - at a glance - age, form, number of runs, weight, odds and trainer
- Analysis of the age of all runners and their respective age group performance (wins, places, runners)
- 'Fate of the Favourite' - how the market leader has fared, and how you'd have fared if you'd backed the 'jolly' in each race
- Pace of the Race - how the first three home ran their races. Find out which races favour being close to the speed, and which require a horse to be held up
- Country of Origin - where horses were bred (runners to winners and places), and percentages to see at a glance which type of stock tends to do well.
- Performance of the Irish trained runners
- Analysis of the key race trials, and which horses this year ran in those trials
Blimey! That's a serious amount of statistical power bundled up in a single package.
Get Cheltenham Festival Trends here.
But, actually, that's not the best part. (Well, for many it might be, but not for all)...
If you're too busy to wade through all that info (not everyone is as addicted to information as me and Gavin!), then you'll find a couple of handy sections at the end, where the work has been done for you.
You'll find an 'Applying The Trends' section, where a first and second choice are nominated.
And there's also an exclusive ratings section, where a more form based selection has been made.
It's important to remember that interpreting the data is sometimes a personal choice as to which are the most material elements, and if you'd rather do that for yourself, then great! All the knowledge is there, and you can use it as you see fit. If you'd rather use the ratings, that's fine too. In fact, that's why they're there! 🙂
As goldmines go, I'll wager there are more nuggets in this one than any other you'll find for sale. And I include Weatherbys decent but statistically far inferior manual, and Racing Post's opinion overload (a bit stats light) version as well.
Oh yes, I almost forgot. You don't just get the manual. You'll also receive the following gratis, as a Cheltenham Festival Trends subscriber:
Free Updates on the latest runners and riders
Daily Updates throughout the Cheltenham Festival (This is where Festival Trends re-enforced their belief that Something Wells was a great each-way bet)
The NagNagNag Daily Placepot selections.
This is what subscribers had to say about last year's Festival Trends publications:
Gavin, Yours is without doubt the best racing analysis I have ever come across. Thanks for a really thorough and positive insight into how good statistics can make racing special for the punter. PLEASE keep me informed of future offerings
Regards, David D
Hi What can I say! I have in the past subscribed to many Cheltenham publications such as Marten Julian, Timeform etc. all costing loads more than your excellent preview. I have never had anything like the success I have had these past 3 days. The icing on the cake has just been watching Something Wells winning @33/1 carrying my Â£5 e/way. I am not a big punter but have had tremendous fun, and indeed profit from reading your articles.
many many thanks John M
So, to recap, that's 128+ pages of premium research, with a shortcut to 'the juice' if you don't have time to pan for gold yourself; free access to the members' area from where you can catch the latest Festival updates; and, placepot selections during the Festival meeting itself.
The price? Â£19.95. That's about 75p per race.
If you're betting on the Cheltenham Festival this year (and which of us isn't?!), then I would go so far as to suggest you NEED this guide.
I'm off to Lingfield this afternoon, to watch the race horse that runs in the colours of this website, Always De One.
- Geegeez Club horse, Always De One
That's how it appears in today's Racing Post, for the 4.10 race at Lingfield.
But of course, that's not what you want to know, is it? You want to know if she's going to win... Well, I'm afraid I can't tell you that. Not because it's a secret, or a carefully crafted plot which would be blown if I shared the details.
The reality is a little more everyday than that. It's simply that I don't know. She has done well for us in her one race, where she might have won but for being badly impeded in her run.
Jimmy Quinn, one of the strongest chaps in the weighing room, knows she needs a bit of rousting early on, and stays on when pressure is applied, and so I'd not expect him to be cruising into the straight today.
But, if they go a good lick, which they ought to do with both a decent sized field, some keen going sorts, and a few inexperienced jocks, then she'll be staying on when most have had enough.
Whether that's good enough to win remains to be seen. As ever - and it's starting to get expensive now! - I'll be backing her with (misplaced) confidence...
Lastly, a quick update on Betfair Conspiracy. Yesterday was a frustrating day, due to the somewhat arbitrary placement of my personal betting threshold, which I put at 1.25. It then followed that two horses won, at 1.24 and 1.23 Betfair SP, and one lost at 1.31!
Today's races for me are Lingfield 2.10, and Leicester 4.20.
I'm off to 'Leafy' now, to cheer on Always!
p.s. Make sure you grab your copy of Cheltenham Festival Trends today! The link, including my affiliate code (yes, I'll make nine pounds if you buy through this link :)) is here: http://www.festivaltrends.co.uk/amember/go.php?r=6&i=l13