CHELTENHAM - DECEMBER 16
Last year’s corresponding toteplacepot dividend:
2016: £119.70 (7 favourites - 3 winners - 2 placed - 2 unplaced)
Saturday's Placepot permutation at Cheltenham:
Leg 1 (12.10): 3 (Apple’s Shikari) & 2 (Nube Negra)
Leg 2 (12.45): 4 (Movewiththetimes), 1 (Jameson) & 3 (Coo Star Sivola)
Leg 3 (1.20): 6 (Bentelimar), 2 (Gino Trail) & 4 (Grey Gold)
Leg 4 (1.55): 1 (Clan Des Obeaux), 11 (Guitar Pete) & 8 (King’s Odyssey)
Leg 5 (2.30): 1 (Count Meribel), 3 (Equus Secretus) & 2 (Aye Aye Charlie)
Leg 6 (3.05): 2 (The New One) & 1 (Melon)
Suggested stake: 324 bets to 10p stakes
Overview for Saturday - please scroll down to the bottom of the page
12.10: The last five horses saddled by Paul Nicholls in this opening event have secured two gold medals and two of the silver variety between them, the only problem being the defeat of a 2/7 chance during the period. Paul secured an 84/1 four timer on the card six years ago, having saddled 38 winners at the two day fixture during the last eight years. You might imagine than I am particularly frustrated that Paul is not represented this time around, though I have left the stats in for you in terms of next year’s contest! Upwards and onward by suggesting that old rival Nicky Henderson looks to have found a real star in APPLE’S SHIKARA and the obstacles look more of a threat than any of his rivals here. NUBE NEGRA should prove to be the pick of the other three entries but if Dan Skelton’s raider gets within 10 lengths of the favourites, the Skelton team will probably be happy enough, especially as Dan’s Market Rasen debut winner is asked to give the filly four pounds!
Favourite factor: 63/65 horses which were sent off at 11/1 or more were beaten during the study period which suggests we should keep fancied horses on the right side, despite a 33/1 chance upsetting the apple-cart four years ago. 14 of the last 17 winners have been returned at 6/1 or less, statistics which includes six successful favourites. 14 of the last 18 market leaders have secured Placepot positions. That said, ‘only’ five of the nine odds on favourites have won during the last 16 years.
Record of the course winner in the opening race:
1/1—Apple’s Shakira (soft)
12.45: Six-year-olds have won seven of the last 14 renewals during which time, six clear market leaders and one joint favourite have obliged. The vintage record is especially impressive given that the vintage was not represented five years ago. Two six-year-olds enter the equation with MOVEWITHTHE TIMES demanding centre stage over Kalondra. I prefer JAMESON and course winner COO STAR SIVOLA as the main threats to the market leader on this occasion, casting aside the other six-year-old in the field.
Favourite factor: Going back a little further in time, 12 of the 17 favourites have secured toteplacepot positions via 16 renewals, statistics which include nine winners.
Record of the course winner in the second event on the card:
1/6—Coo Star Sivola
1.20: Eight-year-olds have won five of the last eleven renewals of this handicap steeplechase event over Cheltenham’s minimum trip, whilst favourites have won four of the last seven contests at 5/1-4/1-11/4-11/4**. BENTELIMAR is the lone vintage representative this time around and having finished ‘in the three’ six times from ten starts on soft ground (winning three of those assignments), Charlie Longsdon’s Beneficial gelding is the each way call. Kerry Lee will be in confident mode coming into this event because not only does the trainer have the current second favourite in the line up in GINO TRAIL, Kerry has also declared GREY GOLD with live win and place claims off a featherweight. The twelve-year-old is no back number as yet from my viewpoint and with a five pound claimer booked, GREY GOLD receives over two and a half stones from former champion Sire De Grugy. PEARLS LEGEND has his ground but despite having finished in the three 22/33 times in and around this trip, he is not quite the force of old. That said, this race has ‘bookmaker’s result’ written all over it according to the gospel of yours truly.
Favourite factor: The previous 11 winners had been sent off at a top price of 13/2 before last year’s 33/1 winner reared its ugly head. It’s worth noting that only five market leaders (includes four winners of their respective events) have finished in the frame during the recent period, negative figures which include two pairs of joint favourites in two of the last three years.
Record of the course winner in the third contest:
1/5—Sire De Grugy (good)
1/3—Pearls Legend (soft)
1.55: Paul Nicholls saddles CLAN DES OBEAUX, LE PREZIEN and ROMAIN DE SENAM in an attempt to win the race for the fifth time in nine years. Seven-year-old’s lead the six-year-olds 5-4 during the last 14 years, whilst five of the last ten gold medallists carried weights of 11-4 or more to victory. GUITAR PETE is the lone seven-year-old in the line up, whilst KING’S ODYSSEY was still going plenty well enough in this event last year when capsizing just as the taps were being turned on. This pair represent each way value, though whether they can master CLAN DES OBEAUX is another matter entirely. No horse has represented this columnist better than Splash Of Ginge down the years but Twisty’s grand warrior had a tough race when scoring last time out and others look better weighted on this occasion.
Favourite factor: A fancied horse - if not the favourite - usually wins this event, with 35 victors having been returned at single-figure odds, including 15 of the last 20 gold medallists. In 2007, Tamarinbleu became the longest priced winner in the contest’s history when scoring at 22/1. Just seven market leaders have finished in the frame during the last 15 years. Indeed, seven renewals have slipped by since the last market leader prevailed.
Record of the course winner in the fourth race:
1/4—Le Prezien (soft)
2/6—Foxhill Trail (good & soft)
1/4—Long House Hill (good)
2/6—Ballyalton (good & good to soft)
1/3—King’s Odyssey (heavy)
3/11—Splash Of Ginge (2 x soft & good to soft)
2.30: Five-year-olds lead the six-year-olds 6-3 via the last 11 contests, having secured six of the last eight events, whilst Nigel Twiston-Davies has saddled two of the last three winners. Nigel has declared COUNT MERIBEL with an obvious chance on behalf of the five-year-olds, albeit fellow vintage representative EQUUS SECRETUS looks a live threat. All would be done and dusted for the event had Fergal O’Brien not entered two potential jokers in the pack, the pick of which might prove to be the outsider of the pair, namely AYE AYE CHARLIE.
Favourite factor: Market leaders (of one description or another) have secured ten of the 13 renewals thus far, whilst 13 of the last 16 favourites have finished in the frame.
3.05: Considering that favourites tend to dominate this toteplacepot finale, it remains interesting that five-year-olds have won three of the last seven (and four of the last ten) contests. MELON is the lone vintage representative and with Willie Mullins sending over his runners for more than just ‘travel experience’, Willie’s Medicean gelding is the danger in stopping THE NEW ONE bringing the house down at Presbury Park this afternoon. Nigel’s grand servant goes for a 4/4 record in the contest and if there is one horse at Cheltenham today that is just about guaranteed to give its running, THE NEW ONE is that thoroughbred. An extremely good judge suggests that John Constable is not one to write off at this level.
Favourite factor: 12 favourites have won during the last 16 years, whilst 13 of the 18 market leaders have finished in the frame.
Record of the course winner in the International Hurdle:
6/13—The New One (4 x good to soft – good – soft)
3/8—Old Guard (good – good to soft – soft)
1/9—Dell ‘Arca (good)
All place details offered on my pages relate to an 'exact science', whereby horses that finish third in 5/6/7 runner races (and other such scenarios) are not 'placed' regarding my statistics.
Trainers with their relevant number of runners (two or more) on the Cheltenham card on Saturday followed by their total number of winners (in brackets) on the corresponding day at Cheltenham during the last five years
5 runners—Paul Nicholls (5)
5—Nigel Twiston-Davies (6)
2—Nicky Henderson (2)
2—David Pipe (3)
2—Evan Williams (1)
+ 26 different trainers who each saddle just one runner on the card
53 declared runners
General overview - Corresponding Placepot dividends from last year:
Doncaster: £1,638.10 – 7 favourites – 2 winners & 5 unplaced
Hereford: This is a new fixture on the racing calendar
Newcastle (A/W): £25.60 – 8 favourites – 2 winners – 3 placed – 3 unplaced
Wolverhampton: £106.40 – 6 favourites – 1 winner – 2 placed – 3 unplaced