It’s the first of the big Cheltenham Meetings this week – with the three day Paddy Power Gold Cup fixture starting on Friday and Andy Newton’s got six big yards that don’t do as well as you might think with their runners at Prestbury Park.
CHARLIE LONGSDON (1 winner from their last 62 Cheltenham runners, 2%) – Certainly having a great start to the season with over 40 winners so far and considering they managed 54 in the whole of 2012-13, and 69 is their best yet (2011-12), then they will be hoping to take this form into this week’s big meeting. However, with just 1 winner from their last 62 runners at the track we might want to air on the side of caution. That sole winner came with a hurdler, but they are still just 1 from 33 in that sphere and, therefore, 0 from 23 with their chasers and 0 from 6 with their NH flat runners. Some will argue that they’ve not really had the top quality horses to compete with some of the other yards at this track, and that’s a valid point, but until we see a change of fortune at the track then a watching brief is advised.
ALAN KING (10 winners from their last 188 Cheltenham runners, 5%) – The breakdown here is that they’ve had 5 hurdles winners, 4 over fences and 1 NH Flat winner. Overall with their last 188 runners they are also showing a -£72 loss at level stakes. They are another yard that seem to have their horses in decent form with over 35 winners already this term and a +£12 level stakes profit from their runners this season. They will have plenty of runners over the three days to look out for, and potentially avoid based on those stats – we’ll see!
VENETIA WILLIAMS (7 winners from their last 130 Cheltenham runners, 5%) – It seems to be a common theme this week as the Venetia Williams yard are also another that are going very well at present – but with just 7 winners at Prestbury Park in recent years then they you might not want to wade in head first with their weekend runners just yet. Of their 7 Cheltenham winners 4 have been with their hurdlers and 3 with their chasers, but I guess what is surprising is that despite only having 7 winners at the track from 130 runners their overall profit and loss is just -£2, mainly due to 1 or 2 big-priced Cheltenham Festival winners from memory.
TIM VAUGHAN (0 winners from their last 91 Cheltenham runners, 0%) – So far they are on 33 winners this season so are well on their way to getting near the 100 mark again – 102 is their best finish yet in 2011-12. In my opinion they are a bit like the Charlie Longsdon yard that it is surprising that they’ve not had much success at the track as they are a big yard, but in recent years – Like Longsdon – they’ve probably lacked some horses at the top level that they can really go to war with at the November, December and main March festivals. I’m sure it won’t be long before they get this Cheltenham monkey off their back, but, again, it’s just something to take into account when looking out for their runners at the track this weekend.
EVAN WILLIAMS (3 winners from their last 76 Cheltenham runners, 4%) – The second of the big Welsh-based yards to figure this week with not the best Cheltenham record to shout about. Of their 3 winners, 2 have been over hurdles and 1 over fences. They are ticking along nicely with 28 winners so far this season and almost £250,000 banked in total prize money too – 90 was their best finish in 2010-11. They are arguably another yard that lack horses at the top level, but they might have a chance to put that straight with Court Minstrel – who could be heading for the Greatwood Hurdle with a decent chance on Sunday.
DONALD McCAIN (7 winners from their last 103 Cheltenham runners, 7%) – Cinders and Ashes, Son Of Flicka and Peddlers Cross have been excellent Cheltenham Festival winners for the McCain yard in recent years so I’m sure they are not moaning too much. However, with just 7 overall winners at the track then I’m sure they’d like to improve those figures. Four of those 7 winners have been with their hurdlers, while 3 have been with their chasers, and they are 0 from 5 with their NH Flat runners. So far this season they’ve sent out 43 winners so will need to probably step it up a gear in the coming weeks if they want to get near the 153 and 141 of the last two seasons.
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