Hi everyone, do not adjust your calendars: we know it's only Tuesday!
But, as it's Cheltenham time: Mal has brought his weekly "Well, I Declare" feature forward to take in the whole of the festival in addition to the usual rundown of all the other meetings.
So, without further idle chatter: let's see what the maestro has for us this week:
1.30--‘Supreme Novices‘: Alan King’s only runner in the last six years was Medermit who was narrowly beaten in the race three years ago. Alan had previously saddled My Way de Solzen in the contest who went on to win the World Hurdle and the ‘Arkle’ at the festival. Alan is represented by Montbazon who has done little wrong to date. Just three of the last eighteen favourites (sixteen year period) have won. Six-year-olds lead the five-year-old 7-5 via the last sixteen contests.
2.05--‘Arkle’: Only six of the last sixteen favourites have finished in the frame, stats which include just two favourites. Paul Nicholls has saddled nineteen runners via the last thirteen renewals of the Arkle, snaring two gold medals and a total of five toteplacepot ‘successes’ in the process. Paul saddles Al Ferof on this occasion, though Sprinter Scare won in facile fashion at Newbury last time but still recorded a sensational time in doing so.
2.40--Grade 3 Handicap Chase over 3 miles: Just one favourite has obliged via twenty representatives during the last sixteen years during which time, seven gold medallists have emerged via the front three horses in the betting. Twelve of the last thirteen winners carried 10-12 or less.
3.20--Champion Hurdle: Hurricane Fly has recorded seven successive Grade 1 victories though six and seven-year-olds have held sway during the study period. Hurricane Fly is an eight-year-old, the vintage recording just five toteplacepot successes (three winners during the last sixteen contests) in the race via five thirty-five representatives (14.3%). Six and seven-year-olds have won eleven contests between them by comparison, notwithstanding an additional eighteen horses to have finished in the frame (33.4% toteplacepot record).
4.00--Cross Country: The unique cross country event was the first race to be added to the fixture in order to create a fourth day of the meeting back in 2005. The race has been won by an Irish trainer in each of the seven years to date, whilst favourites have won two of the seven contests to date (five of the other six market leaders finished out of the frame). Six of the seven winners emerged from the front three in the betting.
4.40--‘David Nicholson Mares’: QUEVEGA is fast becoming the queen of Prestbury Park and but for Big Buck’s hogging the limelight in recent years, the eight-year-old mare would have been the star of several shows. Having won the race in each of the last three years, it seems that nothing can stop the popular mare from recording another facile success. WHAT A CHARM won the ‘Fred Winter’ on her only previous Cheltenham assignment whereby the five-year-old could reach the frame at rewarding odds. The four favourites have snared three gold and one bronze medal to date.
5.15--Listed Novice Handicap Chase: Seven-year-olds have won five of the seven contests thus far during which time, just one (9/2) favourite has prevailed.
General stats: George Bewley has saddled two of his six runners to winning effect at Sedgefield and course and distance winner Teerie Express is the only stable representative on the card
1.45: Although only one favourite has scored to date, the biggest priced winner via five renewals to date was returned at just 3/1.
2.20: Four favourites have prevailed via five contests, with five of the six market leaders securing toteplacepot positions.
3.35: Six-year-olds have won six of the last nine renewals, with vintage representatives coming into the contest on a five timer.
4.15: We still await the first successful market leader following five renewals. Only one favourite has secured a toteplacepot position thus far.
5.25: Four-year-olds have won three of the five renewals to date.
General stats: Cloudy Start is Jamie Osborne’s only runner on the card and having saddled three of his last six runners to winning effect, Jamie can build on his 24% strike rate at the venue in recent times.
1.30--4 mile NH Chase: Seven-year-olds have won five of the last seven contests whilst just two favourites have prevailed in the last seventeen years. Horses in the first three in the betting have a poor record in the race. Fifty one relevant horses have lined up during the study period producing just five winners and nine place positions, leaving thirty-seven representatives finishing out with the washing.
2.05--2 mile 5 furlong Grade 1 ‘Baring Bingham’: Five and six-year-olds have secured fifteen of the last seventeen renewals of this event, securing an additional twenty-nine toteplacepot positions for good measure. Five favourites have won during the period though the figure only extends to eight when taking the first three market leaders into account.
2.40--RSA Chase: Seven-year-olds rule supreme in the ‘Sun Alliance’ having won twelve of the last seventeen contests. Vintage representative has secured an additional fifteen toteplacepot positions down the years for good measure. Only four favourites have won during the study period and just seven when extending the stats by taking the first three horses in the betting into account in the relevant races.
3.20--Queen Mother Champion Chase: Nine of the last twelve winners of the ‘Queen Mother’ have emerged from the front three horses in the betting, whilst five favourites have won via the last seventeen renewals.
4.00--Coral Cup: Nine of the last eleven winners of the Coral Cup have carried weights of eleven stones or less whilst just one favourite has scored since 1993. Only four winners have emerged during the period from the front three horses in the market.
4.40--’Fred Winter’: Two favourites have won via just seven renewals, though readers should be aware that other gold medallists have prevailed at odds of 40/1--20/1--14/1--11/1--9/1. Six of the seven winners have carried a maximum burden of 11-4.
5.15--’Championship Bumper’: Six renewals have slipped by without a winning favourite being registered. Cue Card stamped himself as a decent horse when winning this event as a four-year-old two years ago as five and six-year-olds tend to dominate the contest. Five-year-olds have particularly held the edge of late, vintage representatives having secured six victories during the last decade.
General stats: Venetia Williams boasts the highest LSP figure (forty-five points) of the potentially represented trainers at Huntingdon on Wednesday. Nicky Henderson also had entries at the venue at the time of writing and having saddled more winners at the track (39--next best is Alan King on 33) than any of the other handlers due to be represented, his inmates demand plenty of respect.
Three mile handicap chase scheduled to be contested at 2.55: Just one favourite has scored via seven renewals. Other gold medallists were sent off at 25/1--20/1--16/1--10/1--8/1--7/2. Three of the seven marker leaders have secured toteplacepot positions thus far. It’s worth noting that the toteplacepot pools for the other meetings during Cheltenham Festival week also take a hike if you are interested in the wager.
Two mile five furlong handicap hurdle scheduled for 3.35: Six-year-olds have secured three of the four contests.
Three and a quarter-mile handicap hurdle scheduled for 4.15: Eight of the last nine winners carried a minimum burden of eleven stones, whilst the same number of gold medallists started at odds of 5/1 or less (two winning favourites).
Four-year-olds come into the closing bumper event (scheduled for 5.30) on a four timer. Only one of the last five favourites have prevailed, the other winners being returned at 100/1--22/1--5/1--4/1 in recent years.
General stats: Richard Hannon is just two short of a century of winners at Kempton in the last five years and with the flat season (proper) just around the corner, Richard will be taking life more seriously from here on in. If Hannon decides to let either of his potential runners loose at Kempton on Wednesday, they deserve a second glance at the very least.
General stats: David Nicholls boast an incredible 157 LSP figure at Southwell in recent years whereby either of his runners should be kept on the right side if offered the green light by the trainer.
1.30--’Jewson’ Novice Chase: For the record, the first three horses in the betting dominated last year’s event (favourite finished second) in a race which has been changed around via terms and conditions.
2.05--‘Pertemps Final’: The last eight favourites have been beaten with just one market leader finishing in the frame. Going back further in time, only one favourite has prevailed during the last fifteen years, whilst seven of the last eight gold medallists carried weights of 10-9 or less as have twenty-three of the thirty-two horses to have secured toteplacepot positions during the period. Only one five-year-old winner has been recorded in the last thirty-seven years.
2.40--Ryanair Chase: Albertas Run potentially comes to the gig on a hat trick for Jonjo O’Neill having scored at 14/1 and 6/1 on good ground on both occasions. Only one (joint) favourite has prevailed via seven contests though that said, six of the winners scored at odds of 6/1 or less. Paul Nicholls is the other trainer to have won the race on two occasions.
3.20--World Hurdle: Seven favourites have won via the last seventeen contests during which time, twelve gold medallists emerged from the front three horses in the betting. Big Bucks has won his last fifteen races since beaten in the Hennessy Gold Cup, stats which include the last three renewals of this prestigious event. The biggest priced winner during the last decade was returned at 8/1.
4.00--Grade 3 Byrne Group Plate: Always remembered as the ‘Mildmay of Flete’ by old-timers, Majadou was the last recorded winning favourite for Martin Pipe back in 1999. No other market leader has prevailed during the last twenty-nine years! Although eight-year-olds have ‘only’ won four of the last thirteen renewals, vintage representatives have secured twenty-one of the last thirty-nine available toteplacepot positions.
4.40--’Kim Muir’ Chase: Nine-year-olds have won eight of the last thirteen contests whilst claiming nineteen of the last available forty-four toteplacepot positions. Eleven of the last fourteen renewals have been secured by horses carrying 10-13 or more, as have thirty of the last forty-three available toteplacepot positions.
General stats: Maurice Barnes has just one horse entered all week whereby Overpriced (due to contest the 1.45 event) is of each way interest. Maurice boasts an LSP figure of 132 points for the record!
Class 4 novice hurdle event due to be contested at 2.55: Three of the four market leaders have prevailed (5/6--5/6--10/11), the other market leader having been beaten ‘three parts’ at odds of 11/8 two years ago.
Four mile handicap chase scheduled for 3.35: Just one favourite has obliged via the last nine renewals during which time, horses carrying weights of 11-2 or less have secured eight contests.
Three mile handicap hurdle scheduled for 4.15: Six of the last nine contests have been secured by market leaders, with seven-year-olds leading the eight-year-olds 4-3 during the period. The last five winners have carried a minimum burden of 11-2.
Two and a half mile handicap chase scheduled for 4.55: The last seven winners have carried a maximum weight of eleven stones.
General stats: King Fingal (potential runner in the 3.05 event) represents John Quinn who has saddled three of his five runners at Towcester to winning effect.
Two mile five furlong novice hurdle event scheduled for 1.55: Six-year-olds have secured five of the six contests during which time, the biggest priced winner was returned at 13/2 (three successful market leaders).
Three mile handicap chase due to be contested at 2.30: Two clear and two joint favourites have prevailed via six renewals.
Class 4 two-mile handicap hurdle scheduled for 4.25: Five-year-olds come to the gig on a hat trick having secured three of the last five contests. We still await the first successful market leader following six renewals, though three of the last four favourites secured toteplacepot positions.
Closing conditional jockeys event scheduled for 5.35: The last four winners have scored at 16/1--14/1--12/1--15/2 following the successful inaugural (5/4) market leader back in 2004.
General stats: Joe Fanning is riding as well as ever whereby the jockey had forty ‘booked’ rides for the week at the time of writing. Stable jockeys to Mark Johnston invariably have a great number of double bookings, such is Mark’s thirst for winners but with Joe boasting an LSP figure of over sixty points at Wolverhampton, we have to take all of his eventual mounts seriously.
1.30--Triumph Hurdle: Four of the last thirteen favourites have obliged which not a bad record considering the competitive nature of this opening event. Eight market leaders finished in the frame during the study period.
2.05--County Hurdle: Although backed up by only three placed representatives in the last twelve contests, five-year-olds have won this competitive event no less than eight times during the period. Forty of the last forty-nine winners hailed from the five and six-year-old vintages which should sway you towards younger horses in the contest. Horses carrying a maximum weight of eleven stones have won ten of the last thirteen renewals.
2.40--’Albert Bartlett’: Favourites have won three of the seven renewals whilst market leaders have secured six toteplacepot positions. Six and seven-year-old have (equally) shared six renewals to date. It’s worth noting that Willie Mullins held eight entries at the time of writing, despite the inclusion of the 7/4 ante post favourite Boston Bob.
3.20--Cheltenham Gold Cup: Six of the last nine market leaders have won the ‘Blue Riband’ with Kauto Star being a beaten favourite on two occasions. Seven of the nine favourites finished in the frame. Midnight Chase is (arguably) the best jumper of a fence in this year’s field and if allowed to dominate up front, a surprise result could be on the cards, especially as this is Neil Mulholland’s only entry for Cheltenham this week despite the yard being in great form.
4.00--Foxhunters Chase: Three market leaders have won via the last thirteen contests, the figure increasing to six during the period when taking the first three horses in the betting into account. Four of the last six winners have scored at 33/1 (twice) and 20/1 (twice).
4.40--’Martin Pipe’ Conditionals: Two of the three favourites have finished in the money to date (one winner).
5.15--’Grand Annual’: First and foremost let me say, that Toubab (backed at 16/1) is my ‘get out of jail free card’ in the closing event of the Cheltenham Festival 2012. Seven renewals have slipped by since Paul Nicholls saddled St Pirran to win at 4/1 back in 2004 (the last successful favourite) whereby if Paul scores with Toubab at around the same price, a profit during the festival will have been secured. Upwards and onwards by declaring that every winner during the last decade carried a maximum burden of 10-13, whilst seven gold medallists carried 10-7 or less, the exact mark of Toubab at the time of writing.
General stats: Sam Thomas is the jockey to home in on at Fakenham on Friday for more than one reason. Sam boasts a strike rate of 41% at the track in recent times, whilst potentially riding away from Cheltenham, the scene of his greatest triumph to date when booting home Denman to win the Cheltenham Gold Cup on this day four years ago. How times change.
Three mile beginners’ chase event scheduled for 2.55: Favourites have won five of the eight contests during which time, the biggest priced winner was returned at 9/2.
Two mile five furlong handicap chase scheduled for 3.35: Eight of the last ten winners have carried a minimum burden of eleven stones, whilst six market leaders have obliged. Favourites come into the contest on a hat trick with the biggest priced winner during the last decade having scored at just 13/2.
Foxhunters event due to be contested at 4.15: Four favourites have prevailed via the last nine contests, eight winners of which started at 9/2 or less. Nine-year-olds have secured three of the last four renewals.
Class 3 handicap hurdle scheduled for 4.55: Six-year-olds have won four of the last five (and six of the last ten) contests. Four favourites have obliged in the last nine years.
Closing conditional jockey’s event scheduled for 5.10: Last year’s 9/4 second favourite ended a run of four successive victories in another event at Fakenham that layers will want to forget. The ‘away bookmakers’ must have registered superior ‘ledgers’ than those betting on the Fakenham card, as highlighted by the fact that the biggest priced winner in this event via the last ten contests was returned at just 4/1.
General stats: Tom Dascombe had saddled two of his last three runners to winning effect at the time of writing and the trainer held one entry at Lingfield on Friday. Juno The Muffinman was due to represent the stable in the scheduled 5.40 contest at a venue where Tom boasts a 27% strike rate which is backed up by an LSP figure of sixty-six points.
General stats: Silver Native (scheduled to contest the 6.20 contest) was Keiran O’Neill’s only booked ride at the meeting at the time of writing, the underrated jockey boasting an 18% strike rate which equals the figure of Joe Fanning at the track which is a fact worth flagging up.
General stats: Lawney Hill boasts a 60% record at the track (3/5) whilst Nicky Henderson’s 37% strike rate takes some beating given the number of runners he saddled at racecourses all over the country. Nicky’ stats at Ffos Las stands at 16/43.
General stats: Jim Best (5/16 at the venue) potentially saddles his Towcester winner Western High in the scheduled 1.45 contest.
General stats: David O’Meara has ‘recently’ turned his attention to the NH sector of the sport to decent effect. David held three options for Saturday’s card at Newcastle where the trainer has saddled three of his twelve runners to winning effect.
General stats: Omaruru potentially represents Renee Robeson who boasts an LSP figure of sixty-six points at Gosforth Park via a 24% strike rate (11/45).
Two mile handicap hurdle scheduled for 2.10: We still await the first winning favourite following five renewals. The gold medallists have scored at 28/1--20/1--14/1--9/1--5/1 thus far.
Eight of the last nine winners of the Midlands Grand National (scheduled to be contested at 3.20) have carried weights of 10-9 or less. Just one favourite has prevailed during the study period.
Three mile handicap chase scheduled for 3.55: Seven-year-olds lead the eight-year-olds 4-3 via the last nine contests. Six renewals have slipped by since a winning favourite was registered.
Four and five-year-old have (equally) shared the six renewals of the closing bumper event during which time, two favourites have obliged. The biggest priced winner to date was returned at 7/1, whilst Alan King has saddled two of the last three winners. Alan held two options (newcomers) earlier in the week.
General stats: Michael Bell’s 24 winners at Wolverhampton include fourteen three-year-old raiders, one of which (Bridgehampton) is due to make his seasonal debut in the scheduled 8.50 event.