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Monday's pick was...

3.30 Naas : Hong Kong @ 10/3 BOG 10th at 3/1 (A little slow into stride, mid-division early, 8th approaching halfway, pushed along straight, tight for room on inner over 2f out, soon one paced) I'm certainly finding the Irish racing much harder to read.

Tuesday's pick runs in the...

5.00 Clonmel :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.15am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Frontal Assault @ 11/4 BOG

...in a 12-runner, INH Flat race for 5-7yo over 2m2½f on Soft To Heavy ground worth £5,575 to the winner...

Why?...

Timeform say this looks an above-average bumper with our pick setting the standard having finished behind a pair of subsequent winners when third at Fairyhouse last month, one of which was Ferny Hollow, who went on to win the Champion Bumper at Cheltenham.

Now, as usual, full honest disclosure from me, I don't bet much in Irish races (although that's changing by the day) and I don't get involved in Bumpers too often either, so you can imagine how often I play in Irish Bumpers! That said, I do adopt a quality over quantity position regarding the INH Flat races and one of my starting points are horses trained by Gordon Elliott and ridden by Mr JJ Codd (who is in good form right now, as it happens).

I'm particularly interested in the Elliott/Codd bumper runners deemed to "have a shout" by the market, as those sent off shorter than 6/1 are 59 from 156 (37.8% SR) for 3.2pts (+2.1% ROI) profit since the start of 2016. Yes, a whole 2.1% profit! However (a) that's blind profit and (b) a starting point from which I'd always want at least one (if not more) of the following five angles to be at play...

  • 5/6 yr olds are 38/91 (41.8%) for 16.32pts (+17.9%)
  • those finishing in the first four home LTO are 36/85 (42.4%) for 13.4pts (+15.7%)
  • in fields of 10-14 runners, they are 29/63 (46%) for 16.14pts (+25.6%)
  • those rested for 3 weeks to 5 months are 24/57 (42.1%) for 10.61pts (+18.6%)
  • whilst those racing beyond 2m2f are 9/19 (47.4%) for 13.93pts (+73.3%)

...suggesting...a 1pt win bet on Frontal Assault @ 11/4 BOG as was offered by BetVictor & Hills at 8.00am Tuesday, but as always please check your BOG status. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting...

...click here for the betting on the 5.00 Clonmel

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!

Saturday's pick was...

3.10 Thurles : Sizing Pottsie @ 9/4 BOG fell at 9/4 (Led, mistake 7th and slight mistake next, pushed along and joined when fell 2 out) Aside from the fall, the jumping wasn't really up to scratch for this level.

Monday's pick runs in the...

3.30 Naas :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.15am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Hong Kong @ 10/3 BOG

...in a 14-runner, Flat Handicap for 3yo over 7f on heavy ground worth £26,549 to the winner...

Why?...

This 3 yr old colt has already won in the mud here at Naas when scoring by two lengths over 6f last October and his breeding suggests he'll be better in time than his current mark of 88 would intimate.

He is trained by household name, AP O'Brien, who has won this race twice in the last seven runnings and is also 55 from 170 (32.4% SR) for 36.5pts (+21.5% ROI) here at Naas on the Flat with horses sent off at 7/1 and shorter over the last three seasons, including...

  • 37/111 (33.3%) for 38.8pts (+35%) over 6f to 1m
  • 24/78 (30.8%) for 25.5pts (+32.7%) with 3 yr olds
  • 19/68 (27.9%) for 17pts (+25%) in big (ie 12+) fields
  • and 7/19 (36.8%) for 12.6pts (+66.2%) on Soft to Heavy/Heavy ground

...whilst for a broad AP/Naas micro, try 2 & 3 yr olds @ 6f-1m in fields of 7-16 runners = 28/75 (37.3% SR) for 47.1pts (+62.8% ROI).

And that's possibly/probably enough to justify the selection today, but as Hong Kong is now returning from Group 3 action at Newmarket to make a handicap debut here, it's also worth looking at AP's runners making a handicap debut on the Flat and if we do that we see 38 winners from 164 (23.2% SR) for 105.4pts (+64.3% ROI) over the last six seasons, including of note/relevance today...

  • 34/122 (27.9%) for 102.2pts (+83.8%) at odds of Evens to 10/1
  • 28/116 (24.1%) for 85.7pts (+73.9%) with male runners
  • 26/110 (23.6%) for 95.7pts (+87%) with 3 yr olds
  • 19/65 (29.2%) for 91.4pts (+140.6%) over the last two seasons
  • 17/62 (27.4%) for 83.3pts (+134.4%) in races worth £13-75k
  • 9/26 (34.6%) for 37.8pts (+145.4%) at 7f
  • 7/23 (30.4%) for 28.3pts (+122.9%) here at Naas
  • and 5/25 (20%) for 32.3pts (+129.2%) under today's jockey, Seamie Heffernan

...and an AP/hcp debut micro? 3yo males at Evs to 10/1 over last two seasons = 8/23 (34.8% SR) for 28.3pts (+123.1% ROI)...

...but first...a 1pt win bet on Hong Kong @ 10/3 BOG as was offered by BetVictor, Hills & Ladbrokes at 8.05am Monday whilst Coral were a fraction longer, but as always please check your BOG status. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting...

...click here for the betting on the 3.30 Naas

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!

Friday's pick was...

4.00 Dundalk : Cautious Approach @ 7/2 BOG Race Void (Injured rider on track forced a stoppage)

Saturday's pick runs in the...

3.10 Thurles :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.15am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Sizing Pottsie @ 9/4 BOG

...in the 9-runner, Pierce Molony Memorial Novice Chase (Grade 3) for 5yo+ over 2m2f on soft ground worth £29,204 to the winner... 

Why?...

Might be a predictable looking pick, but (a) I've not many races to go at, (b) there's a host of stats to support the pick and (c) I expect to have a winner here and I suppose that's the most important right now!

He's a hat-trick seeking 6 yr old gelding who won a similar Grade 3 Novice Chase at Navan under today's jockey last time out. That was 18 days ago over 2m on heavy ground taking his chase record to 2 from 3, having already previously won over 2m1.5f on heavy ground (also under today's rider).

He clearly has the ability to go in again, won't mind the trip or the going and obviously gets on well with jockey Robbie Power, who's in good nick of late having won 9 of 42 (21.4% SR) of rides over the last month. Those are good numbers, but even more so when you consider he was 0 from 15 at Cheltenham (now 0/40 there over three years).

So if we consider just his rides here in Ireland, he's 8 from 25 (32% SR) over the past month, including 7 from 18 (38.9%) for today's trainer, Mrs John (aka Jessica) Harrington and that includes 4 winners from 6 (66.6%) over fences.

Whilst, since the start of 2016, Robbie is 8 from 28 (28.6% SR) for 6.28pts (+22.4% ROI) over fences here at Thurles and these include...

  • 7/18 (38.9%) at odds shorter than 5/1
  • 6/20 (30%) for Mrs H
  • 6/17 (35.3%) on male runners
  • 6/14 (42.9%) with soft in the going description
  • 5/12 (41.7%) over this 2m2f course and distance
  • and 3/9 (33.3%) on 6 yr olds...

...whilst trainer Mrs Harrington's chasers are 8 from 28 (28.6% SR) for 2.23pts (+8% ROI) backed blindly here at Thurles since the start of 2017. I accept that 8% isn't massive, but the strike rate is good from blind backing and when filtered, those runners include...

  • 8/22 (36.4%) for 8.23pts (+37.4%) with 5-7 yr olds
  • 8/22 (36.4%) for 8.23pts (+37.4%) in fields of 6 or more runners
  • 8/21 (38.1%) for 9.23pts (+44%) at odds of 7/1 and shorter
  • 7/19 (36.8%) for 9.93pts (+52.3%) with horses rested for up to 25 days
  • 6/20 (30%) for 5.4pts (+27%) with jockey Robbie Power, as above
  • 6/12 (50%) for 12.27pts (+102.3%) on ground with soft in the official description
  • and 4/13 (30.8%) for 5.32pts (+40.9%) over this 2m2f course and distance...

...whilst from the original 8 from 28 record, 5-7 yr olds at 7/1 and shorter in 6+ runner races at 1-25 dslr = 7/11 (63.6% SR) for 17.94 pts (+163.1% ROI) and these include...

  • 6/9 for Robbie Power
  • 5/7 with soft featured in the going
  • 5/7 for Robbie with soft mentioned
  • 4/6 over C&D
  • 4/6 for Robbie over C&D
  • 4/5 over C&D with soft mentioned
  • and 4/5 for Robbie over C&D with the word soft in the going description

...giving us...a 1pt win bet on Sizing Pottsie @ 9/4 BOG as was quite widely available at 8.15am Saturday, but as always please check your BOG status. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting...

...click here for the betting on the 3.10 Thurles

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!

Tuesday's pick was...

3.25 Taunton : Seeanythingyoulike @ 7/2 BOG 7th at 7/2 (Chased leaders, awkward 5th, weakened before 4 out)

Friday's pick runs in the...

4.00 Dundalk :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.15am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Cautious Approach @ 7/2 BOG

...in a 13-runner, A/W Handicap for 4yo+ over 1m4f on polytrack worth 7,080 Euros to the winner...

Why?...

Firstly a caveat, Irish racing isn't really my thing, but stats are stats, I suppose! And the show must go on where possible.

So I'm going with 5 yr old mare who has four wins and two places from her last nine starts including finishing third when beaten by just two necks over course and distance in a better race than this one. She runs at the same mark today, but has the benefit of a jockey claiming three pounds, so I expect another good run from her.

Her record here at Dundalk is good at 4/11 (36.4% SR) for 38.9pts (+353.7% ROI) including of note today...

  • 4/9 (44.4%) for 40.9pts (+454.5%) in races worth the equivalent of £4-8k
  • 3/9 (33.3%) for 33.1pts (+368%) in handicaps
  • 3/7 (42.9%) for 35.1pts (+502%) in fields of more than 10 runners
  • 3/6 (50%) for 36.1pts (+602%) in the last 180 days
  • 3/6 (50%) for 15.35pts (+255.8%) after a top 3 finish LTO
  • 2/3 (66.6%) for 33.3pts (+1111%) in Feb/March
  • 2/3 (66.6%) for 9.4pts (+312%) at odds of 4/1 and shorter
  • 1/3 (33.3%) for 25.6pts (+851.7%) over this 1m4f course and distance
  • and 1/2 950%) for 26.6pts (+1328%) under today's jockey, Donagh O'Connor...

...who himself is in good touch right now, having ridden four winners from seven (51.7% SR) for 32pts (+457.4% ROI) over the past three weeks, including 3 from 3 at 1m2.5f-1m4f and 2 from 2 for today's trainer, Richard John O'Brien...

...whose 4 to 7 yr old handicappers are 12 from 68 (17.7% SR) for 56.6pts (+83.3% ROI) here at Dundalk, including of relevance here...

  • 10/53 (18.9%) for 31.1pts (+58.6%) in races worth the equivalent of £4-8k
  • 10/38 (26.3%) for 69.8pts (+183.7%) at 11-30 dslr
  • 8/35 (22.9%) for 41.4pts (+118.2%) during the first quarter of the year
  • 7/43 (16.3%) for 21.9pts (+50.9%) in fields of 13/14 runners
  • 6/16 (37.5%) for 15.3pts (+95.6%) at odds of 5/2 to 5/1
  • 4/15 (26.7%) for 28.5pts (+189.9%) over 1m2.5f to 1m4f
  • 4/12 (33.3%) for 32.5pts (+270.8%) with female runners
  • 3/7 (42.9%) for 13.1pts (+187.3%) with those placed third LTO
  • 2/5 (40%) for 27.5pts (+550%) this year
  • and 2/3 (66.6%) 29.5pts (+982.9%) using jockey Donagh O'Connor...

...all of which suggests...a 1pt win bet on Cautious Approach @ 7/2 BOG as was available from 888Sport, Unibet & Hills at 8.30am Friday with plenty of 10/3 BOG elsewhere, but as always please check your BOG status. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting...

...click here for the betting on the 4.00 Dundalk

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!

Monday's pick was...

3.40 Kelso : Calle Malva @ 4/1 BOG 2nd at 7/2 (Held up in 5th, outpaced after 3 out, rallied chasing leaders before last, went right and every chance last, ridden and no extra run-in, beaten by 2 lengths)

Tuesday's pick runs in the...

3.25 Taunton :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.15am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Seeanythingyoulike @ 7/2 BOG

...in an 8-runner, Class 4, Novices Handicap Chase for 5yo+ over 2m2f on soft ground worth £5,458 to the winner...

Why?...

On a dismal-looking day of racing with small fields on poor ground, I see a lot of fancied runners at such short prices that they offer little value to us and I admit to having scratched around a little looking for a selection, but this horse just kept popping up on my lists of angles qualifiers.

There's precious little decent form on offer from any of the runners here, but our pick did at least win by 21 lengths three starts ago on New Year's Eve on similarly soft ground. He was 3rd of 12 last time out, but that's a little flattering, as he was actually beaten by 28 lengths that day, but I feel it might have been one race too many as it was his third in a month, which might have been too much for a 9 yr old on constantly poor ground.

Now rested for 44 days and eased 3lbs by the assessor, I'd expect a better show today, especially with him appearing in many of my daily stat lists and here are just a handful of those angles...

1. Trainer Jeremy Scott's runners are 13 from 30 (43.3% SR) for 20.9pts (+69.7% ROI) here at Taunton when sent off at Evens to 6/1 since the start of 2016.

2. Of those 30 runners, today's jockey, Matt Griffiths has 6 wins from 14 (42.9% SR) for 12.2pts (+87.3% ROI)

3. In fact, Jeremy only sends on average three handicap chasers per year to this track (19 since the start of 2014) and aside from being 0/1 here so far this year, he has had a winner in each of the last six years in a record reading 6/19 (31.6% SR) for 27.1pts (+142.8% ROI), including..

  • 5/13 (38.5%) for 14.6pts (+112.3%) at odds of 6/4 to 6/1
  • 3/7 (42.9%) for 14pts (+200%) for Matt Griffiths
  • and 3/6 (50%) for 15pts (+250%) for Matt Griffiths at 6/4 to 6/1

4. More generally in that same 2014-20 period, Jeremy Scott's Class 4 handicap chasers sent off at 4/1 and shorter are 27 /75 (36% SR) for 31.1pts (+41.5% ROI)

5. Whilst since the start of 2017, his NH handicappers sent off at 5/1 or shorter on soft or worse ground are 27 from 86 (+31.4% SR) for 23.6pts (+27.5% ROI)

...all of which led me to...a 1pt win bet on Seeanythingyoulike @ 7/2 BOG as was available from BetVictor & Hills at 8.10am Tuesday with plenty of 10/3 BOG elsewhere, but as always please check your BOG status. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting...

...click here for the betting on the 3.25 Taunton

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!

Saturday's pick was...

4.00 Fontwell : Jimmy @ 3/1 BOG PU at 7/4 (Chased leaders on inside, switched outside before 4th, reminders and not travel well after next, reluctant and dropped out quickly after 9th, soon pulled up)

Monday's pick runs in the...

3.40 Kelso :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.15am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Calle Malva @ 4/1 BOG

...in a 7-runner, Class 4, Mares Novices Handicap Hurdle for 4yo+ over 2m6½f on heavy ground worth £4,289 to the winner...

Why?...

This 5 yr old mare has won one of her four starts to date, another Class 4 hurdle on heavy ground at relatively nearby Hexham, so conditions won't be too unfamiliar today. That win is the only win recorded by any of the runners in this contest, as her six rivals have only mustered a combined 4 places from 21 runs to date.

Regular jockey Blair Campbell  is the saddle again today, once more hoping to use his 3lb claim effectively enough to land another Kelso winner for trainer Lucinda Russell, who is 30 from 117 (25.6% SR) for 60.5pts (+51.7% ROI) with horses sent off in the Evens to 8/1 price bracket in handicaps at this venue since the start of 2015. These include of relevance today...

  • 28/103 (27.2%) for 67.1pts (+65.1%) at Classes 3 & 4
  • 18/74 (24.3%) for 46.7pts (+63.2%) with horses unplaced last time out
  • 18/74 (24.3%) for 33.6pts (+45.3%) at Class 4
  • 18/56 (32.1%) for 54.7pts (+97.6%) in fields of 6-8 runners
  • 14/43 (32.6%) for 29.9pts (+69.5%) during March to May
  • 13/45 (28.9%) for 46.1pts (+102.4%) with a jockey claiming 3-6lbs
  • 12/36 (33.3%) for 41.3pts (+114.6%) over hurdles
  • 9/31 (29%) for 9.6pts (+31%) on heavy ground
  • 8/18 (44.4%) for 19.9pts (+110.8%) in March
  • 7/20 (35%) for 17.7pts (+88.5%) with Blair Campbell in the saddle
  • and 7/16 (43.75%) for 31pts (+193.9%) with female runners...

...whilst risking diluting the data too far...those unplaced LTO and now running at Class 3/4 in fields of 4-7 in March are 5 from 9 (55.6% SR) for 15.66pts (+174% ROI) profit...

...giving us...a 1pt win bet on Calle Malva @ 4/1 BOG as was available from Bet365, BetVictor & Hills at 8.00am Monday with plenty of 7/2 BOG elsewhere, but as always please check your BOG status. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting...

...click here for the betting on the 3.40 Kelso

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!

Friday's pick was...

6.00 Southwell : Gorgeous General @ 7/2 BOG 5th at 9/2 (Led, headed over 3f out, weakened inside final furlong) :  another poor show in what has been a wretched week, if I'm honest.

Saturday's pick runs in the...

4.00 Fontwell :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.15am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Jimmy @ 3/1 BOG

...in a 7-runner, Class 4, Handicap Hurdle for 4yo+ over 3m2f on soft ground worth £3,671 to the winner...

Why?...

Firstly, trainer Chris Gordon is in decent form right now, aside from a longshot that was expectedly well beaten at Cheltenham this week, his runners have 3 wins and 2 places from 10 starts this month and his name cropped up in a couple of angles I have stored, starting with...

...Chris Gordon + handicap hurdles + Evens to 10/1 + soft or softer + 2016-20 = 22/107 (20.6% SR) for 45.4pts (+42.4% ROI), from which...

  • 18/74 (24.3%) for 56pts (+75.7%) in fields of 7-12 runners
  • 4/10 (40%) for 23.4pts (+234%) at 3m1.5f/3m2f
  • and 3/6 (50%) for 25.32pts (+422%) in fields of 7-12 over 3m1.5f/3m2f

The second angle is a little more general , as Chris' "winter" (ie Oct-April) runners over 3m1f to 3m3f are 14/66 (21.2% SR) for 60.4pts (+91.5% ROI) including the following of relevance today...

  • 14/64 (21.9%) for 62.4pts (+97.5%) in handicaps
  • 14/64 (21.9%) for 62.4pts (+97.5%) with male runners
  • 10/40 (25%) for 27pts (+67.5%) over hurdles
  • 9/29 (31%) for 35.3pts (+121.8%) in races worth less than £4k
  • 6/21 (28.6%) for 32.3pts (+153.8%) with horses rested for 4-9 weeks
  • 6/18 (33.3%) for 15.8pts (+87.6%) during Feb/March
  • and 5/15 (33.3%) for 16.4pts (+109.2%) at Fontwell

...whilst male handicap hurdlers competing for less than £4k after less than 9 weeks rest are 7/18 (38.9% SR) for 26.6pts (+147.7% ROI) and these include...

  • 5/8 (62.5%) for 21.4pts (+267.1%) during Feb/March
  • 3/4 (75%) for 9.4pts (+234.4%) here at Fontwell
  • and 2/2 (100%) for 4.9pts (+245%) here at Fontwell in Feb/March

...giving us...a 1pt win bet on Jimmy @ 3/1 BOG as was available from Bet365, BetVictor, Hills & 888Sport at 8.50am Saturday with plenty of 11/4 BOG elsewhere, but as always please check your BOG status. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting...

...click here for the betting on the 4.00 Fontwell

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!

It's always a bit quiet this weekend with the Cheltenham hangovers, but there is still ITV Racing to take in with the cameras heading to Uttoxeter, with the Midlands National the feature, while they are also at Kempton Park.

As always, we are  on hand with all the key trends and stats for the LIVE ITV races. Use these to whittle down the runners and find the best profiles of past winners.

Uttoxeter Horse Racing Trends

2.25 - 1834 Novices' Handicap Chase Cl2 3m ITV

13/16 – Aged 8 or younger
13/16 – Carried 10-9 or more
11/16 – Had raced within the last 4 weeks
11/16 – Had won between 1-2 times over fences before
10/16 – Had won over at least 3m (chases) before
10/16 – Placed last time out
10/16 – Never raced at Uttoxeter before
10/16 – Came from the top 3 in the betting
11/16 – Returned 7/1 or less
8/16 – Unplaced favourites
8/16 – Aged 7 years-old
5/16 – Won last time out
2/16 – Trained by Alan King
2/16 – Trained by Harry Fry (two of last three runnings)
2/16 – Ridden by Daryl Jacob
2/16 – Winning favourites
De Rasher Counter (4/1) won the race in 2019

 

 

3.00 - Burton Handicap Hurdle Cl2 2m4f ITV

Only 8 Previous Runnings
7/8 – Carried 10-13 or more in weight
6/8 – Returned 10/1 or shorter in the betting
3/8 – Winning favourites
3/8 – Aged 8 years-old
Poker Play (16/1) won the race in 2019

 

3.35 - Marston's 61 Deep Midlands Grand National Chase Handicap (Listed Race) Cl1 4m1f110y ITV

Your first 30 days for just £1

15/16 – Aged 9 or younger
14/16 – Had won between 1-4 times over fences before
14/16 – Carried 10-12 or less
14/16 – Had won over at least 3m (fences) before
13/16 – Had raced within the last 8 weeks
12/16 – Won by an Irish bred horse
12/16 – Had never run at Uttoxeter before
12/16 – Unplaced favourites
11/16 – Officially rated 135 or less
10/16 – Carried 10-9 or less
10/16 – Finished in the top 3 last time out
9/16 – Returned a double-figure-price in the betting
8/16 – Aged 7 or 8 years-old
8/16 – Came from the top 3 in the betting
5/16 – Won last time out
4/16 – Trained by David Pipe
3/16 – Won by an Irish-trained horse
2/16 – Winning favourites
The average winning SP in the last 16 years is 11.6/1

 

Kempton Park Horse Racing Trends

 

2.40 – Paddy Power Silver Plate Handicap Hurdle Cl2 2m5f ITV

Only 6 previous runnings
Nicky Henderson has won 2 of the last 6 runnings
No winning favourite yet from the last 6 runnings
5 of last 6 previous winners carried 11-12 or more
Wicked Willy (20/1) won the race in 2019

 

 

3.15 – Paddy Power Silver Bowl (A Handicap Chase) Cl2 2m4f110y ITV

Only 6 previous running
1 winning favourite (co) from the last 6 runnings
5 of the last 6 winners carried 11-2 or more
Trainers Charlie Longsdon, Venetia William, Tom George, Ian Williams, Paul Nicholls, Tom George and Jonjo O’Neill have won the race so far
Forth Bridge (7/1) won the race in 2019

 

 

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Thursday's pick was...

3.45 Doncaster : Premier D'Troice @ 11/4 BOG PU at 2/1 (Raced wide and keen, tracked leader until 4th, chased leaders, lost place and struggling 6th, weakened quickly before 4 out, tailed off and pulled up before 2 out

Friday's pick runs in the...

6.00 Southwell :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.15am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Gorgeous General @ 7/2 BOG

...in a 12-runner, Class 6, A/W Handicap for 4yo+ over 6f on fibresand worth £2,782 to the winner...

Why?...

Well, today's pick contains more than a passing nod to the Geegeez Horses for Courses report, that highlighted the potential suitability of the task ahead for this 5 yr old gelding who comes here in great form having won both his last two outings.

Both wins were here at Southwell, both in Class 6 handicaps and both under today's jockey, William Carver who again claims a useful 5lbs. The only difference between the two wins was that the first (30 days ago) was over 5f, whilst 16 days ago it was a 6f course and distance win.

With so much in common between those wins and today's contest, I'd fully expect similar tactics to employed here and with a draw in the higher half of numbers, the Geegeez Pace/Draw tab is quite enlightening...

Now back to the horse's suitability today...

He comes here not only in good recent form, but also boasting a record of 6 wins from 16 (37.5% SR) for profits of 12.92pts (+180.8% ROI) in A/W handicaps since the start of 2019 and having made the frame a total of 12 times (75%) in those races, he really has been a model of consistency with a string of results that include of relevance today...

  • 6/15 940%) for 13.92pts (+92.8%) at Class 6
  • 6/14 (42.9%) for 14.92pts (+106.6%) without headgear
  • 5/11 (45.5%) for 6pts (+54.5%) here at Southwell
  • 5/10 (50%) for 14.31pts (+143.1%) after less than 3 weeks rest
  • 5/8 (62.5%) for 9pts (+112.5%) under jockey William Carver
  • 5/8 (62.5%) for 9pts (+112.5%) at odds of Evens to 4/1
  • 3/5 (60%) for 11.88pts (+237.6%) after a win LTO
  • and 2/5 (40%) for 2.43pts (+48.6%) going left handed ie over course and distance...

...whilst sent off at Evens to 4/1 at Class 6 here at Southwell without headgear under William Carver after less than three weeks rest, he is 4 from 5 (80% SR) for 7.39pts (+147.8% ROI) including 2 from 3 after a win LTO and 2 from 2 over this 6f course and distance.

Trainer Liam Mullaney is another of those "small string trainers" that I turn to quite often for SotD and aside from today's pick, he has done well with his other runners at this venue, albeit from a very small sample size. Numerically we're looking at 4 winners from 6 (66.6% SR) for 8.67pts (+144.5% ROI) with his other Class 6 runners here at Southwell that were sent off shorter than 5/1 since 2015.

Of those six runners, he is...

  • 3/3 (100%) for 5.62pts (+187.5% ROI) with males
  • 3/3 (100%) for 5.62pts (+187.5% ROI) with those aged over 4
  • 2/2 (100%) for 4.24pts (+212%) with LTO winners

...and 2/2 (100%) for 4.24pts (+212%) with make LTO winners aged over 4. This admittedly small number of runners allied to the performance of today's pick should be enough to suggest a decent run for our money here...

...leading to...a 1pt win bet on Gorgeous General @ 7/2 BOG as was available from Bet365, BetVictor & SkyBet at 8.05am Friday with plenty of 10/3 BOG elsewhere, but as always please check your BOG status. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting...

...click here for the betting on the 6.00 Southwell

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!

Wednesday's pick was...

1.55 Lingfield : Subliminal @ 13/2 BOG 4th at 7/2 (Close up, pushed along and headway 2f out, ridden to chase winner when edged left inside final furlong, no extra and lost two places close home

Thursday's pick runs in the...

3.45 Doncaster :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.15am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Premier D'Troice @ 11/4 BOG

...in a 7-runner, Class 4, Handicap Hurdle for 4yo+ over 3m84yds on good ground worth £3,769 to the winner...

Why?...

This 6 yr old gelding comes here on a hat-trick after winning over 2m4f at Punchestown on his last run for Sean Thomas Doyle, ahead of scoring in a Class 4, 3 mile contest on his yard debut for Archie Watson almost 4 weeks ago at Fakenham under today's jockey Brodie Hampson.

This horse now has 2 wins and a place from 3 efforts in handicap hurdle races, including a win and a place at 3 miles.

His trainer, Archie Watson, is probably best known for his exploits on level ground, but his small string of hurdlers are 5 from 11 (45.5% SR) for 16.56pts (+150.6% ROI) over trips of 2m4f to 3m1f, all of which were males ridden by Brodie Hampson and also include of note here...

  • 5/9 (55.6%) for 18.56pts (+206.3%) with 6 yr olds
  • 5/8 (62.5%) for 19.56pts (+244.5%) finished in the first three home LTO
  • 5/6 (83.3%) for 21.56pts (+359.3%) at 70-170 miles from home
  • 4/10 (40%) for 15.33pts (+153.3%) in handicaps
  • 4/7 (57.1%) for 6.22pts (+88.9%) at Evens to 4/1
  • 4/6 (66.6%) for 17.59pts (+293.2%) at Class 4
  • 3/5 (60%) for 17.7pts (+354%) during February to April
  • 3/5 (60%) for 3.94pts (+78.8%) in races worth less than £4,000
  • and 2/5 (40%) for 11.08pts (+221.6%) with LTO winners...

...whilst 6 yr olds travelling 70-170 miles to run in Class 4 handicaps after a top 3 finish LTO are 3 from 3, including 2 LTO winners, 2 at Evs to 4/1 and 2 in Feb-April...

...giving us...a 1pt win bet on Premier D'Troice @ 11/4 BOG as was available from BetVictor, Betway, SkyBet & Marathon* at 8.05am Thursday, but as always please check your BOG status. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting...

...click here for the betting on the 3.45 Doncaster

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!

Each day of the 2020 Cheltenham Festival our horse racing trends experts here at GeeGeez.co.uk will give you all the quick-fire positive and negative stats for EVERY race. Apply these to the final cards and you will build up a picture and a profile of which horses have historically done the best in recent renewals.

We hope they help narrow down the fields and also help pin-point plenty of winners at the 2020 Cheltenham Festival for you!

 

DAY FOUR: Friday 13th March 2020

 

13:30 JCB Triumph Hurdle   2m 1f

2019 Winner: PENTLAND HILLS (20/1)
Trainer – Nicky Henderson
Jockey – Nico de Boinville

Pluses…..

  • 20 of the last 26 winners won last time out
  • 7 of the last 11 winners were unbeaten over hurdles
  • Irish have won 4 of the last 7 runnings
  • French-breds have filled 9 of the last 15 places (last 5 runnings)
  • 11 of the last 15 came from the top 4 in the betting
  • 10 of the last 12 winners returned 13/2 or shorter in the betting
  • Respect Henderson (7 winners), Nicholls, Hobbs and King-trained runners
  • 7 of the last 16 first ran over hurdles by November (5 of the last 8 by mid-Nov)
  • 10 of the last 14 winners returned 13/2 or shorter
  • The Spring Juvenile Hurdle is a good guide
  • 9 of the last 10 winners ran in the Finesse, Adonis or Spring Juvenile Hurdles last time
  • 6 of the last 11 winners had run in France before
  • Nicky Henderson has trained 7 winners of the race
  • Gordon Elliott has had 2 wins and 2 seconds in the last 6 years

Negatives….

  • Take on horses that have won at 2m2f or further in the past
  • Avoid horses that last ran 56 days or longer ago
  • Avoid horses that had run 3 or more times over hurdles
  • Be careful of horses rated 138 or lower – no winner in the last 12
  • Willie Mullins has a poor record – currently 0-from-27


14:10 Randox Health County Handicap Hurdle   2m 1f

2020 Winner: CH’TIBELLO (12/1)
Trainer – Dan Skelton
Jockey – Harry Skelton

Pluses….

  • The Irish have won 8 of the last 13 runnings
  • 4 of the last 12 winners ran in that season’s Coral.ie Hurdle (Leopardsotwn)
  • 13 of the last 14 winners were rated in the 130’s
  • 7 of the last 12 winners returned 20/1 or bigger
  • 5 of the last 11 winners had run in 6 or less hurdles races
  • 10 of the last 14 winners were aged 5 or 6 years-old
  • 12 of the last 14 winners were priced in double-figures
  • 12 of the last 16 winners began their careers on the flat
  • Look for Mullins, Martins & Nicholls-trained runners
  • Respect the Imperial Cup (Sandown Park) winner
  • 9 winners since 2002 ran in the Ladbrokes or Betfair Hurdles that season
  • 10 of the last 19 winners came from the top 5 in the betting
  • 13 of the last 16 winners were 1st or 2nd season hurdlers
  • 11 of the last 13 winners DIDN’T win last time out
  • Paul Nicholls is 4 from 28 (+18pts)
  • Willie Mullins is 4 from 33 (+46pts)
  • Trainer Dan Skelton has trained 3 of the last 4 renewals (last 2)

Negatives….

  • Strangely, previous course winners have a bad record
  • Since 1960 only 5 winners carried more than 11st 2lb
  • Since 1961, only 9 winners had run at the Festival before
  • Since 2005, just one winner rated 140+ (146 runners)
  • Avoid runners that hadn’t raced at least 4 times that season
  • Avoid horses making their handicap debuts

 

14:50 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle   3m

2019 Winner: MINELLA INDO (50/1)
Trainer – Henry De Bromhead
Jockey – Rachael Blackmore

Pluses….

  • 9 of the last 15 winners had run at Cheltenham over hurdles before
  • 14 of the last 15 winners contested a Graded Hurdle last time out
  • All of the last 15 winners won or placed in a Graded Novice before
  • 5 of the last 8 winners had won a Point
  • 8 of the last 15 came from the top 5 in the betting
  • 9 of the last 15 winner ran 47 days (or more) ago
  • 13 of the last 15 had run in a race over 3m
  • 12 of the last 15 winners were aged 6 or 7 years-old
  • 12 of the last 15 winners were 1st or 2nd last time out
  • 11 of the last 15 winners had 4+ runs over hurdles
  • 13 of the last 14 winners finished in the top 3 last time out
  • 4 of the last 14 favourites won
  • Respect Jonjo O’Neill runners (2 wins)

Negatives….

  • Horses that ran in the last 23 days haven’t fared well
  • Avoid horses that DIDN’T finish 1st or 2nd last time out
  • Be wary of horses that have raced less than 3 times over hurdles
  • Willie Mullins is 1 from 35 in the race
  • 5 year-olds have a poor record
  • Only 4 of the last 15 winners hadn’t raced that calendar year
Your first 30 days for just £1

 

15:30 Magners Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase   3m 2½f

2019 Winner: AL BOUM PHOTO (12/1)
Trainer – Willie Mullins
Jockey – Paul Townend

Pluses….

  • 16 of the last 20 winners ran in the Savills Chase or King George that season
  • 17 of the last 19 finished 1st or 2nd last time out
  • 17 of the last 20 winners were 2nd or 3rd season chasers
  • 10 of the last 14 winners had run 9 or less times over fences
  • All of the last 20 winners were Grade 1 winners
  • 15 of the last 19 had won or placed at the Festival before
  • 16 of the last 19 winners hailed from the top 3 in the betting
  • 18 of the last 19 winners had raced no more than 12 times over fences
  • 11 of the last 12 winners ran 3 or less times that season
  • 16 of the last 23 winners were bred in Ireland
  • 11 of the last 14 winners won last time out
  • 5 of the last 14 favourites won
  • ALL of the last 20 winners were aged 9 or younger
  • Horses placed in a previous Supreme Novices’ Hurdle have a good record

 

Negatives….

  • Non-Grade One winners have a poor record
  • No winner older than 10 years-old since 1969 (0 from 71)
  • Horses rated 166 or less are only 5 from last 33
  • Avoid horses that had run on ‘heavy’ ground that season
  • Horses wearing headgear have a bad recent record
  • Willie Mullins has only won the race once (2019), 1 from 30 (had last 4 of the last 7 seconds and the 2019 winner though)
  • Only 2 winners since 2000 returned 9/1 or bigger
  • Just 1 of the last 12 winners had raced more than 3 times that season
  • Horses that were beaten in their first Gold Cup don’t fare well

 

16:10 St James’ Place Foxhunter Chase   3m 2½f

2019 Winner: HAZEL HILL (7/2 fav)
Trainer – Philip Rowley
Jockey – Mr Alex Edwards

Pluses…..

  • 25 of the last 29 winners were aged under 11 years-old
  • 25 of the last 34 won last time out
  • 6 of the last 10 winners finished in the top 5 in the race last year
  • 8 of the last 11 winners came from the first 4 in the betting
  • 27 of the last 31 started out in point-to-point races
  • 11 of the last 14 winners ran 34 days or less ago
  • Respect the Irish runners (won 6 of last 9)
  • 5 of the last 8 winners ran in the Leopardstown Inn Hunters’ Chase
  • 9 of the last 14 winners were aged 8-10 years-old
  • 8 of the last 11 winners returned 15/2 or shorter
  • 11 of the last 12 winners finished in the top 3 last time out
  • 9 of the last 10 winners rated 134 or higher (6 of last 7, rated 138+)

Negatives….

  • Horses that ran in a handicap race that season haven’t got a good record
  • Avoid horses that hadn’t won a race under rules
  • Just 2 winners in the last 43 years aged 12 or older
  • 26 of the last 28 horses aged 11+ (priced in single figures) have lost – but the 2019 winner – Hazel Hill – defied this trend
  • Avoid ex-handicappers rated 140+ in their careers
  • Avoid horses that raced 35 days or longer ago
  • Just 1 winner since 2000 hadn’t run within the last 53 days
  • Horses aged 11+ are just 5 from 236 since 1990
  • Just 3 winners since 2000 didn’t finish in the top 3 last time out

16:50 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase   2m ½f

2019 Winner: CROCO BAY (66/1)
Trainer – Ben Case
Jockey – Kielan Woods

Pluses….

  • 16 of the last 20 winners carried 11st or less
  • 14 of the last 16 winners had run at the Festival before
  • 8 of the last 16 winners ran in the previous renewal
  • Irish have won 3 of the last 7 runnings
  • 8 of the last 10 winners came from outside the top 5 in the betting
  • 11 of the last 16 winners were aged 8 or older
  • Henderson, Nicholls, King-trained horses are respected
  • Respect JP McManus-owned horses (4 winners, 9 placed)
  • The last 9 winners were rated at least 138
  • 5 year-olds have a good record (from few runners of that age that have run)
  • Novices have won 5 of the last 11 runnings
  • 6 of the last 9 winners were rated between 140-147
  • 7 of the last 9 winners carried 10-11 or more in weight
  • 18 of the last 20 winners had run no more than 12 times over fences

Negatives….

  • Horses aged 10+ are just 2 win from the last 24 runnings
  • Horses that last ran 45 days or more ago have seen just 7 winners since 1990
  • Last time out winners are just 1 from last 14
  • Horses aged 6 or younger (from top 3 in the market) are just 1 from 28 since 2005
  • Just 2 winners rated 147+ since 1992
  • Horses that won a handicap chase that season have a bad recent record

 

 

17:30 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle   2m 4½f

2019 Winner: EARLY DOORS (5/1)
Trainer – Joseph O’Brien
Jockey – Jonjo O’Neill

Pluses….

  • 10 of the last 11 winners were 2nd season-hurdlers
  • 8 of the last 9 winners placed in the top 3 last time
  • All of the last 11 winners carried 11-1 or more
  • 10 of the last 11 winners had 8 or less runs over hurdles
  • 4 of the last 6 winners were Irish-based Novices
  • Irish have won 6 of the last 9 (5 making handicap debuts)
  • 31 of the 33 win and place horses were 1st or 2nd season hurdlers
  • Look for Henderson, Nicholls, Mullins, Elliot-trained horses
  • 9 of the 11 winners were placed in the top 4 last time out
  • 5 of the 11 winners won last time out
  • 5 of the last 6 winners had run over a longer trip that season
  • 7 of the 11 winners were rated 133-139
  • 7 of the 11 winners returned at a double-figure price (9 of the last 11 were 16/1 or less)
  • 5 and 6 year-old have won 10 of last 11 runnings
  • Look for jockeys that have ridden 20+ winners
  • Willie Mullins is 3 from 16 runners in the race (won 3 of the last 9 runnings)
  • Respect any Gigginstown House Stud-owned runners (4 winners, 5 places)
  • Paul Nicholls has won the race twice in the last 7 years
  • Gordon Elliott has won 2 of the last 3 runnings

Negatives….

  • Despite being named after his father the David Pipe stable has a poor record so far (0 from 19, inc 3 favs)
  • Just 1 winning fav in the 11-year history (7/10 returned in double-figures)
  • Horses in headgear are currently 1 from 54
  • Only 3 winners have previous Festival experience
  • Horses with 11st or less are currently 0-from-87

 

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Cheltenham Festival 2020: Day Four Preview, Tips

It's Friday 13th, Gold Cup Day, the last of four glorious afternoons in the Cotswolds for the 2020 Cheltenham Festival. As well as the Blue Riband itself, there are further Grade 1's in the form of the Triumph and Albert Bartlett Hurdles, devilish handicaps and a hunter chase! It all starts with the juniors in the...

1.30 Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1, 2m1f)

As fascinating a Triumph Hurdle as I can remember, with established Grade 1 horses, uber-impressive ungraded winners, and a Johnny Come Lately catapulted to favouritism.

Let's start with Johnny, or maybe Jeannie - the ex-French Solo. Trained by Paul Nicholls, he burst onto the scene with a visually stunning performance in the Grade 2 Adonis at Kempton last month. That recognised trial saw him put 13 lengths between himself and Fujimoto Flyer, the latter considered a Triumph contender when the tapes rose but perhaps not as they passed the jam stick.

So, yes, visually impressive; but the race time was the slowest of three on the card over that two mile trip, and there was little to encourage in Solo's sectional splits. He's entitled to improve and will shock nobody if he wins but I'm not quite believing it yet.

Vying for market primacy is the win beast, Goshen. In three goes over hurdles, he's won by 23 lengths, 34 lengths and 11 lengths. Prior to that he'd won his three flat handicaps by 12 lengths, nine lengths and seven lengths. The form of his most recent hurdle start was franked when the second, Nordano, waltzed home by 16 lengths in a competitive-looking Class 2 handicap at Ascot.

Goshen has yet to race in a Graded heat, and he does jump markedly right sometimes, but he's very, very good.

And then there's Allmankind, another talented but mild headcase. He won the Grade 1 Finale Juvenile Hurdle at Chepstow last time, but that was in late December. Here we are, eleven weeks later, and the Dan Skelton-trained son of Sea The Moon has not been sighted since. That won't necessarily stop him, of course, and he has a win at Cheltenham previously, too. He is a bold front-runner and, unlike Goshen - who also likes to go from the front, he probably needs to lead.

Aspire Tower is another who has both been ante post favourite for the Triumph, like all those mentioned so far, and generally races front rank, like all bar Solo of those mentioned so far. He was in a scrap when coming down at the last in the Grade 1 Spring Juvenile Hurdle but had previously looked very impressive in turning away Wolf Prince by 18 lengths in a Grade 2.

The chief beneficiary of Aspire's last day tumble was A Wave Of The Sea, who repelled Wolf Prince by just a length and a quarter. Given that he was 35 lengths behind Aspire Tower in that previous G2 and that Wolf was 18 lengths back that day, it is fair to assume that Aspire Tower did not bring his A game. If that's right, and his previous form can be believed, then he is a certain player in this field. A Wave Of The Sea meanwhile has had many tries and looks vulnerable in what is, ostensibly at least, a deep field.

Sir Psycho and the rest look to have a heck of a lot to find.

Triumph Hurdle Pace Map

Plenty of pace with Allmankind likely to prove the 'speed of the speed'. Goshen and Aspire Tower will be bang there if recent evidence is any guide.

Triumph Hurdle Selection

I've backed Goshen at a good price and I hope - obvs! - that he wins. I think if he can settle behind Allmankind in the early stages he'll have a solid chance, though I am a little concerned about the drying ground. I don't want to be with Allmankind for all that I respect what he's done so far and I think Solo is pretty short though he may improve again - which would see him take plenty of beating. Perhaps the forgotten horse, if there is one, is Aspire Tower, whose form prior to his last flight fall last time was much the best in Ireland. His trainer, Henry de Bromhead, is having a terrific Festival.

Suggestion: Consider backing Aspire Tower at 6/1 general.

*

2.10 County Hurdle (Grade 3 Handicap, 2m1f)

Too difficult. Way too difficult. But there is an interesting stat relating to trainers of recent winners: since 2004, the surnames Nicholls, Mullins, and Skelton have won 13 of 16 renewals of the County Hurdle!

Paul Nicholls has four, Willie Mullins has four also, Dan Skelton has three (in the last four years), and Tom and Tony Mullins have one apiece in that time frame. Given how many runners there are in this race, that is a remarkable stat, to my eye at least.

Those vying for favouritism are trained by Willie (Ciel De Neige and Aramon, plus four others) and Dan (Mohaayed), with Paul Nicholls' pair, Christopher Wood and Scaramanga bigger prices.

Skelton's winners were 8/1, 12/1 and 33/1, the 33/1 shot - Mohaayed - being 9/1 this time in spite of no obvious recent form and looking a plot. Nicholls' winners were 4/1, 7/1, 11/1 and 20/1, while Willie's winners were 10/1, 20/1 twice and 25/1.

So I want to risk a Willie wunner at a pwice. It's that sort of wace.

His fancied horse, Aramon, sets the form standard on a fifth place in the Irish Champion Hurdle, form advertised since by both the winner, Honeysuckle - winner of the Mares' Hurdle, and the second, Darver Star - third in the Champion Hurdle. He has a lot of weight but that didn't stop Arctic Fire for the same team three years ago. Paul Townend, winner in 2017 and 2015, rides.

Ciel De Neige was second at Newbury in the Betfair Hurdle. Whilst he has more progression and fits the unexposed five-year-old route into the race, he's got a fair bit to find with Aramon. He might find it but Barry Geraghty, who presumably had the pick, has opted for Saint Roi, another in the Willie camp. That one was third in a Listed race at Auteuil on his second run and has since scored in maiden company to show the requisite level for a rating eligible for this. He's very much at the right end of the handicap but whether he quite has the experience for a County shemozzle I don't know: he's a player if he does.

Mohaayed has had a wind op since last seen 83 days ago. He was a nine length seventh in this last year off an 11lb higher mark and this has been the plan, plain and simple, for a team who have made this race their own in recent times. I'll be looking elsewhere though more fool me if he wins.

As usual, lots more with chances.

County Hurdle Pace Map

Not too intensive a pace by the look of things, but that can change in the cauldron of a race like the County. An even gallop is the percentage play.

County Hurdle Selection

Very tricky stuff, and I think I'll side - for beer money only - with Aramon. I like his class, that Irish Champion Hurdle form looking bulletproof if he can handle the war that is a County Hurdle scrap.

Suggestion: Back Aramon each way at 9/1 (six places) 888sport

*

2.50 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1, 3m)

The Albert Bartlett is the race at which to take a swing at the Festival. It is habitually won by horses who can travel and stay off a strong gallop, and the top of the market is habitually framed around horses that have shown class rather than stamina/resolution in small field jigjogs (relatively).

Since At Fisher's Cross in 2013, who won as the 11/8 favourite, we have now witnessed six double-digit odds winners in a row, including 33/1 and 50/1 scorers in the past two years, a 33/1 winner in 2014, as well as a 33/1 winner in 2010. Go long!

Naturally, there are obvious form cases to be made for those near the head of affairs, most notably perhaps Thyme Hill, who has hinted at wanting a greater stamina test throughout his novice hurdles career to date. Hinted at it but not yet proven his aptitude for it.

So here's a little micro angle: horses that finished top four in a Graded race last time and were priced between 16/1 and 50/1 for the Albert Bartlett won five from 31, placed another four times, and netted 139 points of SP profit. Four of them were trained in Ireland. Back-fitted? A bit. Vague underlying logic? Yes'm.

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Those at double-digit prices roughly fitting the bill include Cobbler's Way, Fury Road and Ramses De Teillee. Cobbler's Way was second to Latest Exhibition in the Nathaniel Lacy last month: having led, he got outpaced before coming back at the winner after the last, going down by two lengths. This stiffer test looks up his street.

Fury Road, like Cobbler's owned by Gigginstown, was the winner of a heavy ground near-three mile Grade 2 prior to being outpaced in the same race as Cobbler's. He too will prefer this test.

Ramses De Teillee is a typically hard-knocking type who has largely plied his trade in handicap chases. This season, switching to timber, he's three from three, all at three miles, two of them on heavy ground, and two in Grade 2 company. A win on good to soft demonstrates versatility in terms of the going, and there are many who have long held a candle for his chance.

The one at bigger prices is House Island. I'm not sure he'll stay for all that he might have just got outpaced the last twice in Grade 2's; but most of his racing has been on flat tracks.

Latest Exhibition is a more obvious form chance, having beaten both Cobbler's and Fury last time; so too Harry Senior, who beat House Island last time. That, of course, is well reflected in their odds.

Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle Pace Map

This could be fast early, which would make for slow motion stuff at the other end. Any or all of House Island, Aione, Cat Tiger, Cobbler's Way and Ramses De Teillee are perennial pace pushers, with another five or so generally prominent. No hiding place looks the likely call.

Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle Selection

I want to take two at longer prices against those at the head of the betting, for all that it's a strategy that will fail at some point soon. My pair are Ramses De Teillee, for whom this test is demonstrably his cup of tea; and Cobbler's Way, who has more to come and might find it for the stiffer demands.

Suggestion: Back Ramses De Teillee at 12/1 and/or Cobbler's Way at 14/1.

*

3.30 Cheltenham Gold Cup (Grade 1, 3m 2 1/2f)

A dozen head to post for a cracking Gold Cup where established players, including the defending champion, take on the next generation of aspirants.

The champ is Al Boum Photo, an eight-year-old trained by Willie Mullins. He gave Mullins a maiden Gold Cup win last term and won the same Tramore Grade 3 on New Year's Day as he did last year en route to victory. We know he's well and we know he's at the same level as last year. If he can traverse the obstacles error-free - a fair 'if' - he has a really good chance of doubling up.

The fact that no horse has won back-to-back Gold Cups since Best Mate rounded out a hat-trick in 2004 attests to the difficulty of defending the title, and there are plenty of legitimate rivals throwing their hats into the ring. Santini, last year's RSA Chase runner-up, is perhaps foremost among them.

Nicky Henderson's charge had an interrupted preparation ahead of last year's Festival but has sailed serenely to the starting line (so far) this term. He has enhanced his claims with a pair of small field wins, first at Sandown where he made hard work of despatching Now McGinty, and then in the Cotswold Chase across these undulations when barreling away from Bristol De Mai. That form showed that staying is Santini's strong suit, but it also showed that he can take a liberty or two on the way round.

A couple of lengths behind Santini in last year's RSA was Delta Work, whose 2019/20 campaign has seen him win the Grade 1 Savills Chase and Irish Gold Cup. With Al Boum Photo in absentia on both occasions, Delta Work has staked his claim to be the best of the rest of the Irish, seeing off the re-opposing Monalee, Kemboy and Presenting Percy.

But there were barely four lengths from first to fifth-placed Percy there, which equates to a single mistake out in the country during the more than three and a quarter miles of the Gold Cup trip; and that brings in those last day vanquished.

Monalee was closest, just a head behind, and that after jockey Rachael Blackmore lost an iron on the run in, a very rare missed cue from a brilliant rider. She'll be keen to make amends but Monalee may have stamina limitations over this test.

Kemboy has had an interesting year, with his ownership being disputed through the courts as a syndicate turned out to be a Ponzi scheme. On the track, he's twice been close behind Delta Work since winning at both Aintree and Punchestown last spring. All four of those runs were in Grade 1's, but he didn't get beyond the first fence in last year's Gold Cup where he unshipped David Mullins. The odd sticky jump is a feature of his game though he generally gets around and often wins.

Presenting Percy has looked a lost soul in the last couple of seasons but he came back to close to his best in that Irish Gold Cup, for all that he has five lengths to find with Delta Work. The proximity of the above quartet leads me to believe this year's Gold Cup will either be won by something else, or it's a very competitive renewal. Probably, though not definitely, the latter.

I'm a fan of Clan Des Obeaux, but not in the context of a Gold Cup. He's got plenty of speed, as shown in two King George victories, but he seemed to run out of puff as they passed the three mile marker in this last year. A different prep, with two fewer battles, this season may offer a touch more late-race energy but I feel there are stronger stayers in the field.

Colin Tizzard is always to be respected with staying types and he saddles Lostintranslation. Hailed by many as the most likely Gold Cup winner in the early part of the season, he has not run since pulling up in the King George. There he couldn't go the pace, something which may be less of a concern in a field not loaded with early sizzle; but he's bidding to be the first winner to have pulled up last time since Cool Dawn in 1998.

Henry de Bromhead's team are in excellent fettle and he runs Chris's Dream. A near ten length winner of the big field Troytown Handicap Chase advertised his top drawer credentials, which he's subsequently rubber stamped by winning the Red Mills Chase, a Grade 2 over an inadequate two and a half miles. A second season chaser, he'll have to improve a good bit again, but he's risen from 146 to 160 to 165 in his last three starts, stays and jumps well, and handles all ground.

For all that I don't want to back him, I wouldn't put anyone off a small each way tickle on Bristol De Mai. Second in the Cotswold Chase behind Santini, he was third in this last year, and second to Lostintranslation in between times. If you like either of Santini or Lostintranslation, you have to give this nine-year-old a place squeak at least.

Real Steel and Elegant Escape don't look good enough, though the latter is a strong stayer.

Cheltenham Gold Cup Pace Map

Kemboy is the most likely to lead but, given that he didn't get further than the first last year, Bristol De Mai could also be bang there. Clan may be ridden to get the trip which would see him less handy than is often the case, but Monalee and Santini are expected to be nearer first than last.

Cheltenham Gold Cup Selection

A compelling puzzle but not an easy one to solve. The first route in is to say that Al Boum Photo just wins. That's possible but he's got to be the first to do a 'Best Mate' in more than fifteen years. The second is to rate the form of the Henderson yard and the Henderson horse, Santini, as the most progressive. I quite like that though I worry he might blunder his chance away late. The third is to favour the Irish Gold Cup form, which gives Delta Work nothing of note on Monalee, Presenting Percy and Kemboy. A fourth is to believe in the more measured season of Clan Des Obeaux to provide that one some extra pep in the late furlongs; and a fifth might be to play the Hail Mary of Chris's Dream improving over the top of all of them at a huge price. It's a puzzle all right!

I've already backed Santini, and I'm going for the big hit - which I might need to get me out of jail by this point - on Chris's Dream, whose progression I like.

Suggestion: Back Santini at 4/1 general and consider a small Hail Mary play on Chris's Dream each way at 25/1 general.

*

4.10 The Foxhunter Challenge Cup Open Hunters' Chase (Class 2, 3m 2 1/2f)

The amateur riders' Gold Cup over the same track and trip as the main event 40 minutes or so earlier. It's a wide open contest this season, with bookies offering close to 5/1 the field.

One of those on or around 5/1 is last year's winner, Hazel Hill. He was brilliant at Warwick prior to Cheltenham glory in 2019, whereas this season - now twelve years old - he was beaten by the occasionally very talented Minella Rocco. I feel he retains most of his ability but he will need all of it to double up as the oldest winner since Earthmover in 2004.

Minella Rocco has seemingly been revitalised by the change to hunter chases, scoring not just against Hazel Hill but also in the Warwick race Hazel  took en route to Foxhunters' glory last year. He's not reliable, as form in 2019 of 59PPPP8 betrays, but this is a different game entirely. Perhaps it's the key.

Ireland's hopes are headed by the Willie Mullins-trained Billaway, winner of the Naas Hunter Chase in late January. Given connections, it's very likely he will be a) well backed and b) have a good chance, but the form of that defeat of Staker Wallace is difficult to weigh up. Willie ran three in the race between 2004 and 2012, Bothar Na finishing fourth in 2006.

David Maxwell, a pilot who gets plenty of practice by spending plenty of money on decent horses he then rides himself, will try to go one better than last year aboard Shantou Flyer. The Flyer has a phenomenal Cheltenham record: 1F142222. That string includes second places at the last two Festivals, initially in the Ultima and then in this race a year ago. He looked as good as ever last time, albeit in a weak Fakenham hunter chase which he took out by 23 lengths, and his owner/rider has plumped for this one over the smart Bob And Co, who waits for Aintree.

The other one worth a mention is Caid Du Berlais. Trained by Rose Loxton, like Shantou Flyer, Caid was fifth in this in 2018 and pulled up last year. He wasn't really travelling then and proved it to be a false measure of his ability by hacking up in the Punchestown Champion Hunters Chase. The track is the issue, though: since going chasing he's run 1P309F5P. That '1' was in the Paddy Power Gold Cup of 2014. It's 2020 now, in case you hadn't noticed and much muddy form water has passed under the bridge in the interim.

If the ground dried out, which it very well might, seven-year-old Law Of Gold commands a second glance. Winner of the Champion Novices' Hunter Chase at Stratford last May, he's run up a sequence between the flags in between. What that form is worth I don't know, but at 20/1 or so I might buy a small ticket to find out.

Foxhunter Chase Pace Map

Amateurs and rushes of blood are commonplace in the Foxhunters', and who can blame them? The map below shows only Rules form - your guess is as good as mine regarding how they've gone between the flags.

Foxhunter Chase Selection

Hazel Hill is not getting any younger - very few of these are - but he ought to be thereabouts. Minella Rocco has been on going days since hunter chasing and represents last year's winning prep race form. Billaway could sink me but I just can't weigh that form up, so I'm rooting for Shantou Flyer to finally convert a 2 into a 1. At any rate, he's an each way price and that's the way to back him. I'll have a tiny bit on Law Of Gold 'just in case' as well.

Suggestion: Back Shantou Flyer each way at 9/1 with as many extra places as you can find; likewise, and for smaller money, have a look at 20/1 general Law Of Gold.

*

4.50 Grand Annual Chase (Grade 3 Handicap, 2m 1/2f)

I have backed the winner of this many times. Let me clarify: I had backed Croco Bay many times in this before he won at 66/1 last year!

Age is actually not a factor in this, two winners (from seven runners) having been twelve and one aged five since 1997. The last five winners have been rested at least 90 days; four of the last five winners had run in the race at least once previously, normally achieving a close up finish.

The one with the best fit is last year's winner, Croco Bay. Aargh. Now 13, he's looooong in the tooth but that didn't stop him winning twelve months ago when he was merely looong in the tooth. His record in the race is 3F51 and he's got to be backed, for pennies at least. Aged 13, racing on Friday 13th, he may come in 13th place... :-/

Marracudja ran down the field last year, but has some high class form since. As a result of that, however, he's now rated 15 pounds higher than a year ago. It will be some training performance if he wins.

Gino Trail pulled up in this last year, having finished second in 2018. A recent move to Fergal O'Brien elicited an easy win a fortnight ago and, while that's not the normal prep for this, he is another old-timer with prospects.

A relative young gun at just ten years of age, Theinval represents Nicky Henderson's bid to win the race named in honour of his old man. He sneaks in at the bottom of the handicap and fits the 90 day layoff angle. He was fourth in this in 2018 and third in 2017.

Grand Annual Pace Map

Gino Trail and Paddy Brennan, if he's fit enough to ride after a fall earlier in the week, are fast and they'll make a bold bid from the front. Close up are expected to be McGroarty, Jan Maat, Adrrastos and, if he gets a run from the first reserve slot, Delire d'Estruval.

Grand Annual Selection

I'm playing a couple of former placed horses against the field in Croco Bay and Theinval. I might chuck in Gino Trail, too, though I think that recent easy win may have taken more out of him than met the eye.

Suggestion: Try Croco Bay and Theinval both at 25/1 with five places

*

5.30 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3, 2m 4 1/2f)

The last race. It's impossible. It has been an Irish benefit since 2013 when Paul Nicholls (twice) hasn't won it, and that looks a sensible focus. Gordon Elliott famously worked for Martin Pipe, in whose name this race is run, and his Column Of Fire, one of four he saddles in the race - five if the first reserve gets in - looks a player.

He was a closing third when given enough to do in a 28 runner handicap hurdle at Punchestown last time, having previously won an 18 runner maiden hurdle. The big field won't trouble him.

Joseph O'Brien won the race last year, chinning my Gordon Elliott bet, and he saddles a horse I had backed at massive prices for the Albert Bartlett called Assemble. Assemble has form with plenty of Grade 1 types, notably Latest Exhibition and Cobbler's Way. He's just the type dropping into handicaps from Graded races.

22 other possibles but this is a time for licking wounds/counting winnings.

Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle Pace Map

Similarly to the Foxhunters', there are plenty of inexperienced riders in the 'boys' race'. On known form, Espoir De Romay and Thomas MacDonagh are the two to take them along in what might be a contested pace battle. The winner will likely be minded until fairly late on.

Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle Selection

I want to back the two Gigginstown horses in the field. Their trainers have won the last three renewals so know exactly what is needed.

Suggestion: Back Column Of Fire to win at 13/2 Hills and Assemble each way at 25/1 Hills.

Tuesday's pick was...

3.15 Sedgefield : Roxyfet @ 9/2 BOG 2nd at 11/4 (Held up and behind, good headway on outside chasing leaders 4 out, 2nd 2 out, ridden and stayed on run-in, always held

Wednesday's pick runs in the...

1.55 Lingfield :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.15am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Subliminal @ 13/2 BOG

...in a 12-runner, Class 6, A/W Handicap for 4yo+ over 1m2f on polytrack worth £2,782 to the winner... 

Why?...

This 5 yr old gelding won this race last year and aside from that, he became of immediate interest due to his overall record which includes the following under today's conditions...

  • 3 wins and 6 places from 13 here at Lingfield
  • 3 wins and 3 places from 8 over this 1m2f trip
  • 3 wins and 3 places from 6 over course and distance
  • 2 wins and 2 places from 4 under jockey Luke Morris
  • 2 wins from 2 under Luke over C&D
  • 2 wins and a place from 5 in cheekpieces
  • 2 from 2 in cheekpieces over C&D
  • 2 wins and a place from 5 this year
  • 2 from 2 over C&D this year
  • and 2 from 2 under Luke Morris over C&D this year whilst wearing cheekpieces...

Luke Morris also does well on trainer Simon Dow's other horses, clocking up 10 winners from 47 (21.3% SR) for 17.3pts (+36.9% ROI) and here's another of my baker's dozens of relevant profitable angles...

  • 10/46 (21.7%) for 18.3pts (+39.9%) on the A/W
  • 10/45 (22.2%) for 19.3pts (+43%) on males
  • 10/45 (22.2%) for 19.3pts (+43%) in handicaps
  • 10/45 (22.2%) for 19.3pts (+43%) on Polytrack
  • 9/35 (25.7%) for 24.3pts (+69.3%) with 4-6 yr olds
  • 9/33 (27.3%) for 29.1pts (+88.3%) within 30 days of their last run
  • 9/32 (28.1%) for 28.2pts (+88.1%) in fields of 9-13 runners
  • 9/31 (29%) for 31.1pts (+100.4%) at odds of 9/4 to 11/1
  • 7/29 (24.1%) for 23.4pts (+80.6%) in races worth less than £4,000
  • 7/24 (29.2%) for 28.4pts (+118.2%) at Class 6
  • 6/23 (26.1%) for 20.3pts (+88%) here at Lingfield
  • 5/15 (33.3%) for 13.7pts (+91.2%) on those with 1-3 previous C&D wins
  • and 4/11 (36.4%) for 18.1pts (+164.1%) over trips of 1m2f to 1m6f...

...whilst Simon + Luke + 3-6 yr old male A/W (Polytrack) handicappers + 9/4 to 11/1 + 1-30 dslr = 8/13 (61.5% SR) for 45pts (+346.1% ROI) and these include 5 winners from 9 (55.6%) for 30.1pts (+334.6%) in Class 6 contests worth less than £4k here at Lingfield...

...pointing towards...a 1pt win bet on Subliminal @ 13/2 BOG as was available from Bet365, Coral & Ladbrokes amongst others at 8.10am Wednesday, but as always please check your BOG status. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting...

...click here for the betting on the 1.55 Lingfield

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!

Cheltenham Festival 2020: Day 3 Preview, Tips

The second two quarters are upon us and, for many, the weakest day, from a quality perspective, is Thursday, Day 3 of the Cheltenham Festival. But last year was a sizzler with that brilliant Frodon Ryanair and the equally emotional Paisley Park Stayers' Hurdle. Both are back to defend their crowns, each with numerous challengers. We start as always at 1.30 with a name change...

1.30 Marsh Chase (Grade 1, 2m 4f)

A new name but the same deal: horses lacking the speed for the Arkle and/or the stamina for the RSA; or, some might say, lacking the class for either. Looking at the roll of honour, which includes Defi Du Seuil, Yorkhill, Vautour and Sir Des Champs from just nine renewals to date, that seems like typical racing snobbery. This newish race is up to par already from a standing start.

All that said, it's a wide open race this season and might be one of the less compelling from a quality perspective. As ever, that tends to mean it's a fiendish betting puzzle.

Itchy Feet is the favourite, Olly Murphy's six-year-old arriving here off the back of Sandown Grade 1 Scilly Isles success, the same path trodden by last year's winner, Defi Du Seuil. Before Defi, Terrefort, Top Notch and Bristol De Mail all finished second in the Marsh/JLT having won at Sandown. Simply, it is a very strong trial for this.

Itchy's form isn't all about that one race, either, as he was third to Klassical Dream in last year's Supreme, and is unbeaten in his two chase starts. The horse closest to him at Sandown was Midnight Shadow, himself previously the main beneficiary of Champ's late tumble in the Dipper Novices' Chase. Things are nicely corroborated by that line and Olly's horse must have a great chance.

The one for money this past week has been Mister Fisher, trained by Nicky Henderson. The record of the master of Seven Barrows is not great in this: he's nought from ten, three places - silvers for Terrefort and Top Notch, and bronze for L'Ami Serge.

The case for Mister Fisher is made off the back of two small field novice chase wins, the latter in the Grade 2 Lightning Novices' Chase where he beat Al Dancer. That one was 20/1 in the Arkle while Mister Fisher is around a quarter of those odds for this. Strictly speaking that doesn't make him good enough. He had previously beaten Good Boy Bobby at Cheltenham, a race from which he is the only winner eight subsequent runs. He is also the only one to place from that race - not promising.

The Irish team are headed by Samcro, Faugheen and Melon. Ireland has won seven of the nine JLT/Marsh's to date so their entries have to be taken seriously. Samcro, once vaunted as being of invincible ability, has not been able to vindicate that reputation on the track. Indeed he's been sent off no bigger than 13/8 in a 14 race career that has yielded eight wins, but only one from his last seven starts. That was at 1/3 in a Down Royal beginners' chase.

In his defence, he was running a bold race in the Grade 1 Drinmore, falling at the second last when upsides Fakir d'Oudairies spotting that one eight pounds. A subsequent ten-length second to the resurgent veteran Faugheen pegs his prospects somewhat.

What of twelve-year-old Faugheen? The former Champion Hurdler has looked good, really good, in winning three novice chases, two of them Grade 1's. Most horses his age are lobbing around in hunter chases, the better ones in veterans' chases, and yet here he is a first season chaser, and winning the big pots! He's a legend of a horse and quite hard to write off. Most people will be sufficiently invested emotionally in his success: if there's one horse you'd let beat you and still cheer, it's surely this bloke.

So, while it kind of feels like he should be watching daytime TV in a retirement home somewhere, his track form has been a genuine joy to behold this season. He was unambiguous in slamming Samcro, and gallant in repelling Easy Game: in spite of his age, he has genuine win prospects.

Melon has looked a hurdler and he's looked a two-miler. While his record at the Festival is quietly impressive in defeat (222 in the Supreme and two Champion Hurdles), I'm not at all convinced his conversion to fences.

Marsh Chase Pace Map

Faugheen looks set to bowl along in front and he's going to be great fun to watch.

Marsh Chase Selection

As always it comes down to whether the Irish or the British are the better crop. At this stage (written before Tuesday's racing), it looks like the Brits might hold sway - in this interim distance division at least. The Scilly Isles is a rock solid trial for the Marsh and Itchy Feet was a good winner, beating a reliable yardstick. I quite like him.

As fine a story as Olly winning his first Festival race would be, how awesome would it be if former Champion Hurdler Faugheen prevailed? Well, although that question was initially rhetorical, let me tell you, in the words of Michael Caine: it would blow the bloody doors off!

Suggestion: Back Itchy Feet to win at 7/2 general. Consider a saver to allow you to scream home Faugheen at 6/1 general

*

2.10 Pertemps Final (Grade 3 handicap, 3m)

Three miles, 24 runners, a handicap: let's keep this brief.

The last four winners were Irish-trained, the last two by Gordon Elliott. Davy Russell, as good a waiting rider as there is, has ridden three of the last four winners, which is quite remarkable, especially when you consider he didn't have a run the other year!

Last time out winners are 10/100 since 1997 and have by far the best win and place strike rate. What is surprising is that they've also been profitable to back at starting price. Those rested between one and three months have the best win and place strike rates.

Looking at well-rested last day winners leaves two: Third Wind and Skandiburg.

Skandiburg is up only a stone for a second and two wins in handicap company, the most recent of which was over course and distance. A win for him would make it the ultimate 'happy hour' for owners Kate and Andrew Brooks and trainer Olly Murphy.

Hughie Morrison's second season hurdler, Third Wind, hasn't looked back since an aborted a novice chase campaign. He won the novices' handicap hurdle final at Sandown this time last year (soft), and has most recently won a heavy ground qualifier on heavy. Clearly, then, juice in the turf is no issue. A rise of four pounds may also not stop him and, if it is deep on the New Course on Thursday, he looks set to run well.

The pick of the Irish could be The Storyteller. Trained by Gordon Elliott and ridden by Davy Russell, he has the right connections. A sixth place in the Leopardstown Pertemps qualifier last time was the optimal qualifying effort - you have to be sixth or better! - and he'd previously beaten Mary Frances, herself the winner of the Punchestown qualifier thereafter. The Storyteller won the Festival Plate in 2018 under Davy Russell, and was pulled up in the Ryanair last year.

Pertemps Final Pace Map

Not bundles of pace here, but a few likely to take things along at a good even gallop.

Pertemps Final Selection

7/1 about The Storyteller is not a massive bargain but he looks sure to run well. The above named pair of British-trained horses are all vaguely statistically interesting, and both are backable prices.

Suggestion: Back The Storyteller win only at 7/1, and either or both of Third Wind (16/1 general) and Skandiburg (12/1) each way with as many places as you can get.

*

2.50 Ryanair Chase (Grade 1, 2m 4 1/2f)

Just eight go to post for this year's Ryanair. If that seems a little underwhelming, the clash between A Plus Tard, Min, and last year's winner, Frodon, is far from it.

Bryony's ride, and her subsequent interviews, when winning last season will live long in the memory. She was plastered all over the front pages of the next day's newspapers, something which is an all too rare occurrence - in a positive light at least - for the sport. Frodon came into that race off the back of two impressive course wins and was a slightly generous (especially with the benefit of hindsight) 9/2 chance.

Your first 30 days for just £1

This time he's about the same price but with no such recent form to support the case. Of course, he does have last year's triumph, which was against a deep-looking field. This term, Frodon has played away matches only, at Aintree, Haydock and Kempton, and not quite set the world alight. He was good enough to win the Grade 2 Silviniaco Conti Chase in his final prep and a return to the slopes of Cleeve Hill can be expected to bring about a chunk of seasonal improvement.

But here he faces two tough rivals - one emergent, the other established, both Irish - in the form of A Plus Tard and Min. The former was sent off 5/1 favourite in the novices' handicap chase at last year's Festival and duly obliged... by sixteen lengths! In a Festival handicap! An immediate class elevation followed, and A Plus Tard ran a respectable third to Delta Work in a Grade 1 at Punchestown.

This season he's been second to Ballyoisin in the Fortria Chase (G2) at Navan and then beat Chacun Pour Soi in a Grade 1 at Leopardstown over Christmas. I, like everyone else, was spellbound by that novices' handicap chase win last March, but I've not been nearly so sold on his two runs since: I can't shake the perception that Chacun might have been undercooked at Christmas and that that form line may not be all it seems. There is also the fact that it was achieved at two miles, whereas this is two and a half.

Betwixt Frodon and A Plus Tard in the betting is Min, a Festival hardy perennial who steps up in trip for this fourth visit. Previously, Min was second to Altior in the 2016 Supreme, second to Altior in the 2018 Champion Chase, and only fifth to, you guessed it, Altior in last year's Champion Chase. Those races were all at two miles, but his form at this 2m4f range is 12111, a string that includes Grade 1 successes at Aintree and Punchestown twice. It feels very much like this is his trip.

He was recently beaten about the same margin by Chacun Pour Soi as that one was beaten by A Plus Tard at Christmas, which gives him six or seven collateral lengths to find; but I perceive that Willie's Dublin Racing Festival team was a lot closer to readiness than his Leopardstown Christmas team, a contention that makes me wary of these collateral lines. Regardless, I don't think there's much between them.

Of the rest, Riders Onthe Storm is unbeaten in his last four completed starts, though did fall behind A Plus Tard in the novices' handicap chase last season and pulled up in a similar race at the Fairyhouse Easter Festival thereafter. Soft ground suits but he has maybe seven pounds to find with the pick of these. As a progressive seven-year-old he may find them.

Aso has no such progress in him but he does have a fine record in this race. Last year, in spite of more feted rivals, he got closest to Frodon; and he was third in the 2017 Ryanair, too. Now ten years old, he might just have lost a bit of his ability, but he is a more interesting longshot than many across the four days.

Both Duc Des Genievres and Shattered Love are previous Cheltenham Festival winners, Duc in last year's Arkle and Shattered Love in the previous year's JLT/Marsh. The last named seems a touch lost in the wilderness and couldn't be countenanced, but Duc Des Genievres has not been so obviously regressive. That said, it is still too big a leap of faith to envisage a second Festival win.

Saint Calvados is a bit more credible than the two former winners, his new held up tactics proving more successful than the absolutely bonkers lead-at-all-costs approach taken in his abortive 2018 Arkle bid. He was most recently beaten the narrowest of margins, a nose, in a Grade 3 handicap chase over course and distance and, if Frodon and Min did here what Saint C and Petit Mouchoir did in 'that' Arkle, Harry Whittington's runner could hit the board. Owned by the Brooks' - who also have Itchy Feet and Skandiburg - it could truly be a red letter day for them.

Ryanair Chase Pace Map

Frodon will make a bold bid from the front again, with Min in close pursuit. There should be no hard luck stories from a pace perspective.

Ryanair Chase Selection

I've backed Min. I think it's taken connections a long time to realise his best trip, and I think he has the best form. So far. It is perfectly possible that A Plus Tard can improve past Min's level, though that eventuality seems well factored into his odds. Frodon will be a terrific result for the reporters - and for the sport - with a gushing Bryony a thing of beauty, but I have to let him, and her, beat me. Saint Calvados is probably the most credible of the rest, especially if ridden to pick up pieces.

Suggestion: Back Min at 11/4 general

*

3.30 Stayers' Hurdle (Grade 1, 3m)

The Thursday feature, and another defending champion in the form of Paisley Park, trained by Emma Lavelle, ridden by Aidan Coleman, and owned by the excellent Andrew Gemmell. 'Double P' comes here unbeaten in his last seven, six of which have been by less than three lengths: he gives his rivals a sniff and then slams the door in their faces. What a devil!

He's a top price of 4/6 which implies he's a certainty, but is that really true? The level of his form in last year's Cleeve was much higher than the level he achieved in this year's renewal of the same race. That was in large part a factor of the way the race was run, comments which apply similarly to his previous start this season, in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury.

Of course, the argument goes, he won despite the steady pace and he can be marked up accordingly. That is entirely plausible but, as punters, we have to be forensic, all the more so when faced with what is ostensibly being presented as an 'open and shut' case. The fact is that, for whatever reason, Paisley Park's form this season is a seven pounds below his form of January and March last year. It doesn't mean he can't rediscover that prior level, it just means I don't want to take odds on about it.

The next question is who might be able to step in should PP come up short in the Stayers' Hurdle, this year sponsored by PP? That is a tougher one to answer, though the rewards for a correct response would be far greater. Those lovely bookie types have Summerville Boy and Emitom as the most likely pair to lower the champ's colours.

Summerville Boy got closest last time, in that steadily run Cleeve, and he'd previously beaten Roksana et al in the Relkeel over two and a half miles here. Like so many who end up in the Stayers' those form lines appear after a failed novice chase campaign.

Emitom is a horse I love. He's a strong travelling high class animal who was second to Champ in a Grade 1 novice hurdle at Aintree last spring. This season, he flunked desperately on his debut behind Summerville Boy but proved that to be all wrong when bolting up in the Rendlesham at Haydock. That was on heavy but he does not look ground dependent and is not slow.

The pace will likely be dictated by Apple's Jade, a mare whose popularity is well deserved but whose ability has been on the wane for some time. The horses she beat in the Grade 1 at Christmas - two of which, Penhill and Bacardys, re-oppose here - have looked shy of top class and/or regressive. She's been third and sixth at the last two Cheltenham Festivals and I don't see her on the podium.

Last year's Ballymore winner, City Island, arrives here off a failed novice chasing programme. In his favour he is a Grade 1 winner here, and he has the sort of tactical speed that is often the hallmark of a Stayers' Hurdle winner. But his last hurdle run was ten months ago.

Penhill is a dual winner at the Festival, first when scoring in the 2017 Albert Bartlett and then in this race two years ago. Having missed all of last season, Willie Mullins' nine-year-old has managed to race four times this term - the same as his last two campaigns combined - but he's yet to get his head in front. It seems clear that this has been the target all along, and Penhill has run acceptably in defeat; it wouldn't be the biggest shock if he went close but he's not for me.

It's 20/1 bar those, with the likes of Bacardys - who has suckered cash from me in this race in the past - usually giving himself too much to do from the back of the field. It's not impossible I will be mugged into another small bet but I couldn't possibly suggest anyone else do likewise!

Stayers' Hurdle Pace Map

Apple's Jade is very likely to lead but she may not have it all her own way with Summerville Boy and perhaps Donna's Diamond handy racers. Paisley Park will be ridden midfield probably.

Stayers' Hurdle Selecton

I want to be against Paisley Park but it's really not easy to find one to beat him. The way to play might be 'without the favourite' and in that context I'll happily have a go at Emitom and, less happily, at City Island.

Suggestion: Back Emitom and/or City Island without the favourite

*

4.10 Festival Plate (Grade 3 handicap, 2m 4 1/2f)

The last two winners of this handicap chase were price 5/1 or shorter, the previous five were 12/1 or bigger. Ireland used to have a dreadful record but have won three of the last four, their sequence broken last year here their two runners, both 33/1 shots, were unsighted. They are represented sixfold this year, with Ben Dundee - another for the Elliott/Russell axis - the main market hope.

Third in the novices' handicap chase last year off 141, Ben Dundee ran top four in two valuable handicap chases since prior to an eye-catching effort when seventh of 25 in a two mile handicap hurdle. Wrong code, wrong trip, right prep and a mark of 147 doesn't look unduly punitive.

Nick Williams won this last year and he has an excellent record in Festival handicaps. Siruh Du Lac won this last year, the final leg of a handicap chase four-timer. Since then, his only seasonal start was when pulled up in the BetVictor Gold Cup over this sort of distance on the Old Course in November. Connections are respected but it's asking an awful lot to win off an extended layoff and from a nine pound higher mark than twelve months ago.

Loads more with chances. Obviously.

Festival Plate Pace Map

Last year's winner, Siruh Du Lac, will bid to make all again. There doesn't look to be much competition for the lead which should help him - and Lizzie - to stay there for a long way.

Festival Plate Selection

I haven't really got a clue in here, if I'm honest, and I'll have a small 'clueless' bet on Ben Dundee for a bunch of people who know far better than me how to find the winner of this.

Suggestion: Put the kettle on. Or back Ben Dundee for a small interest at 10/1

*

4.50 Mares' Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2, 2m 1f)

Won by Willie Mullins all four times it's been run to date, last year was a bit of a shock insofar as, for the first time, it wasn't the short priced favourite who passed the post first. Rather, 50/1 Eglantine Du Seuil beat the same stable's Concertista, herself a 66/1 chance. Epatante, Champion Hurdle favourite this year, was the beaten jolly in this last season.

Mullins is clearly the man then and he saddles four this time around. Colreevy is the shortest, her defeat of Abacadabras in a Grade 1 bumper reading very well. She's most recently been turned over in a seven-runner mares' Grade 3 by today's jolly, Minella Melody, but it is possible she didn't appreciate the steady tempo in that short field. With 22 runners here it's likely to be faster and that is likely to set up better.

Minella Melody has to be respected: she's won her last three, all in smallish fields, on varying ground. But she wasn't quite as good as the Mullins mare in bumpers and she's yet to score above G3 company.

Nicky Henderson saddles Floressa, a mare who has good form in open mares' company, for all that she too has to prove she handles the hustle of a big field over hurdles. That said, she was second of 15 in a Grade 2 bumper here last spring, and outclassed a field of modest maidens at Worcester in October.

Last year's second, and still a novice, Concertista returns to try to go one better. The pick of her form is in big fields, as evidenced by a good third in a 27-runner handicap hurdle last time. The slight drop in trip looks good for her, and she's a fair price given conditions are proven.

A handful of other interesting novice mares but this isn't especially a race that excites me.

Mares' Novices' Hurdle Pace Map

This is quite pacy and I'm hoping Colreevy doesn't take too much contention for the lead. If she does it will likely compromise her chance, but she'll be tough to beat if getting it nearly her own way.

Mares' Novices' Hurdle Selection

Not one to go mad in, I don't think. Willie Mullins' record is clearly worthy of respect and there are grounds to believe Colreevy can reverse form with Minella Melody. Concertista, second last year, also looks set to run well again.

Suggestion: Back Colreevy 7/1 general and/or Concertista 12/1 each way.

*

5.30 Kim Muir Challenge Cup Chase (Class 2 Handicap, 3m2f)

Amateur riders in a 24-runner handicap chase. Ouch. The best riders tend to win this year after year, with Jamie Codd having an especially impressive record (three wins). Codd rides top weight and last year's National Hunt Chase winner, Le Breuil, who sneaks in here off 145 having dropped the requisite five pounds in two fair chase efforts this term. Lugging top weight won't be easy but Ben Pauling's charge has shown he handles the track and has class, and he looks fairly treated.

Derek O'Connor rides Champagne Platinum. Nicky Henderson trains, and J P McManus owns so he has the right connections. A promising novice hurdler last season, he ran a bold third to Itchy Feet in the Grade 1 Scilly Isles last time and drops into handicap company for only the second time. Cheekpieces for the first time and steps up six furlongs in trip. He's by Stowaway out of a Roselier mere, which is a good pedigree for stamina.

There are more than twenty further chances in a race where I'm not trying too hard to be clever.

Kim Muir Pace Map

A massive field and it could get messy. Not oodles of pace but enough for an end to end gallop. Derek O'Connor on Champagne Platinum will be playing late.

Kim Muir Selection

I've not looked deeply at the form, so even more caveat emptor than usual applies. I like the plotty look of Champagne Platinum, a horse who was third in a Grade 1 last time and who steps up markedly in trip for Champions League connections.

Suggestion: Back Champagne Platinum for a bit of interest at 8/1 general

*

It's a trappy Thursday and maybe not one to go mad for. But if we're lucky enough to get one and a half winners we should be close to level as we head into Friday, Gold Cup day.

Good luck!

Matt

Monday's pick was...

5.40 Wolverhampton : Nezar @ 7/1 BOG 9th at 11/1 (Took keen hold, prominent, lost place over 1f out) : got that one very wrong.

Tuesday's pick runs in the...

3.15 Sedgefield :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection between 8.00am and 8.15am and I then add a more detailed write-up later within an hour or so of going "live".

Those happy to take the early price on trust can do so, whilst some might prefer to wait for my reasoning. As I fit the early service in around my family life, I can't give an exact timing on the posts, so I suggest you follow us on Twitter and/or Facebook for instant notifications of a published pick.

Who?

Roxyfet @ 9/2 BOG

...in a 10-runner, Class 5, Handicap Chase for 4yo+ over 2m½f on soft ground worth £2,989 to the winner... 

Why?...

Very number heavy today, so I'll break it down in to four sections, starting with...

...the horse, a 10 yr old gelding showing no signs of slowing down. A winner of 3 of his last four starts, having finished 221P11 in his last six (all here over C&D) and now seeks a hat-trick to add to an already decent 12 wins and 13 places from 71 that includes of note today...

  • 11 w, 12pl from 64 going left handed
  • 12+11/57 without headgear
  • 9+10/37 here at Sedgefield
  • 9+8/33 over 2m0.5f-2m1f
  • 9+8/32 at Class 5 for less than £3,500
  • 9+7/30 at 6/1 or shorter
  • 7+5/24 in Feb/March
  • 6+7/24 over fences at C&D
  • 6+8/29 on soft ground
  • and 3 wins from 4 under today's jockey...

...Emma Chaston-Smith, whose career record to date stands at 14 wins from 98 (+14.3% SR) for 18pts (+18.4% ROI), and those include of relevance here...

  • 13/82 (15.9%) for 26.1pts (+31.9%) since the start of 2018
  • 11/51 (21.6%) for 42.1pts (+82.5%) for trainer Micky Hammond (more on him very shortly)
  • 5/18 (27.8%) for 21.2pts (+117.6%) over fences
  • and 4/20 (20%) for 11.2pts (+56%) here at Sedgefield.

Now back to trainer Micky Hammond, because his handicap chasers are 16 from 60 (26.7% SR) for 15.2pts (+25.4% ROI) when sent off at 7/1 or shorter here at Sedgefield since the start of 2015, all males and with the following results under today's conditions...

  • 15/50 (30%) for 22.6pts (+45.2%) with those rested for 6-45 days
  • 14/52 (26.9%) for 17pts (+32.7%) with 7-10 yr olds
  • 9/36 (25%) for 8.68pts (+24.1%) on soft or worse ground
  • 8/20 (40%) for 21.5pts (+107.5%) in Feb/March
  • 8/30 (26.7%) for 14.1pts (+47%) in races worth less than £4,000
  • 7/26 (26.9%) for 14.6pts (+56.1%) at Class 5
  • 5/21 (23.8%) for 6.88pts (+32.7%) over this 2m0.5f C&D
  • and 3/10 (30%) for 2.03pts (+20.3%) with LTO winners

And then, it makes sense (to me at least) with round off with a look at the trainer/jockey combination, as Micky & Emma are 11/46 (23.9% SR) for 47.1pts (+102.4% ROI) when teaming up in handicaps, from which the following baker's dozen of profitable angles are all at play...

  • 10/41 (24.4%) for 48.8pts (+119.1%) with male runners
  • 10/39 (25.6%) for 50.8pts (+130.3%) in Feb/March
  • 8/31 (25.8%) for 46.2pts (+149.1%) on soft or worse ground
  • 8/28 (28.6%) for 45.7pts (+163.1%) in 8-12 runner contests
  • 8/26 (30.8%) for 44.8pts (+172.5%) with 8-10 yr olds
  • 8/25 (32%) for 46.7pts (+186.8%) at Class 5
  • 6/14 (42.9%) for 29.6pts (+211.4%) at odds of 4/1 to 7/1
  • 5/20 (25%) for 28.4pts (+142%) in races worth less than £4k
  • 5/20 (25%) for 13.6pts (+68%) when Emma claims 7lbs
  • 5/14 (35.7%) for 26.9pts (+192.2%) with horses rested for less than three weeks
  • 4/16 (25%) for 15.2pts (+94.9%) here at Sedgefield
  • 4/9 (44.4%) for 16.5pts (+183%) over 2m0.5f-2m1f
  • and 3/10 (30%) for 14.12pts (+141.2%) over fences

Congratulations if you've made it all the way through those numbers, I realise that not everyone is as interested as I am in them, but hopefully your patience will be rewarded...

...if you decide to place...a 1pt win bet on Roxyfet @ 9/2 BOG as was available from Betfair, BetVictor, Hills, Unibet & Paddy Power at 8.05am Tuesday, but as always please check your BOG status. To see what your preferred bookie is quoting...

...click here for the betting on the 3.15 Sedgefield

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day!

REMINDER: THERE IS NO STAT OF THE DAY ON SUNDAYS

Here is today's racecard

P.S. all P/L returns quoted in the stats above are to Betfair SP, as I NEVER bet to ISP and neither should you. I always use BOG bookies for SotD, wherever possible, but I use BFSP for the stats as it is the nearest approximation I can give, so I actually expect to beat the returns I use to support my picks. If that's unclear, please ask!