Racing Insights

Racing Insights, 1st January 2022

It was nice to end 2021 with a few nice results, but now we turn our attentions to what will hopefully be a better year for all concerned.

Saturday's free feature is always the Trainer/Jockey Combo (TJC) report, bringing together the form of trainers and jockeys into a single composite report that has produced excellent results for users. Quite simply, some trainers turn to specific riders when they have one ‘ready to win’. This report quickly identifies the most profitable combinations and clicking on any row will reveal the entries for that trainer/jockey pairing : clicking on the entry will open the race in a new tab.

HINT: Look for a good sample size – ideally five or more – combined with a decent win percentage (30%+), and a positive figure in the profit column.

[Please refer to our User Guide for further information]
In addition to a daily free feature, we also have a selection of full free racecards open to non-Gold subscribers and with it being a busy day of racing, we've half a dozen free ones to consider...
  • 12.15 Cheltenham
  • 1.15 Exeter
  • 1.30 Fairyhouse
  • 2.15 Catterick
  • 2.18 Southwell
  • 3.10 Cheltenham
The last of those six interests me the most, so we'll take a look at the 3.10 Cheltenham. It's the Grade 2 Relkeel Hurdle where seven 5yo+ runners will go left handed over ten hurdles on soft ground. The trip is 2m4½f and these are the competitors seeking to land almost £40k...

Brewingupastorm is easily the best off at the weight based on handicap marks and is therefore probably the one to beat. A winner of three from four outings this year, including the Grade 2 National Spirit hurdle at Fontwell ten months ago, he defied a 212 day absence to win at Aintree last time out and although this is a tougher ask back up in class, he did win easily that day, but there are concerns over the yard's form after just 1 winner from 30 in the past fortnight (prior to Friday's racing, where both were beaten).

Guard Your Dreams has made the frame in six of his ten efforts over hurdles, winning five of them, including a Grade 2 success on this very track just three weeks ago taking his record here to 2 from 3. That was easily his best effort to date and more is needed here but he has already made the frame in a Grade 1 contest over this trip at Liverpool back in April and his trainer/jockey have excellent records here at HQ...

McFabulous is rated as being a pound better than when he won this race last season for his current yard/rider when the race was ran at Kempton. He has only raced twice since, finishing behind Brewinupastorm on both occasions by 5.5 lengths in the Gr2 National Spirit (they were 1st & 2nd) at Fontwell in February and then by 2.75 lengths in the Gr1 Aintree Hurdle (5th & 8th) at Liverpool in April. He seems to be held by Brewinupastorm on that evidence and a 268-day absence is another cause for concern, but he has had a wind op in that time and his trainer and jockey are both in decent form.

Dans Le Vent is only 3 from 21 over hurdles during the past 51 months, but has 2 wins and 2 runner-up finishes from 7 starts over the last 55 weeks, suggesting that the penny might just have taken a while to drop with him. His last three runs have seen him finish 2nd of 22 in a Gr3 at Aintree back in April, 2nd of 12 at Ffos Las in October after a 190-day break and he then won next/last time out, landing a 12-runner Grade 3 Stayers Hurdle at Haydock six weeks ago. He might not have the best strike rate of this field, but he's definitely on his best form right now.

On The Blind Side is a decent enough hurdler (5 wins and 5 places from 14) and was second in this event behind McFabulous last season at Kempton. It might well have been a different story had Cheltenham hosted the race, as he has two wins and a runner-up finish from three efforts over hurdles here. He was a valiant runner in a Gr2 at Newbury in November, but was only 6th of 8 beaten by 22 lengths at Ascot last time out, albeit in a Grade 1 contest. My concern here is that the trip won't be long enough for him, his last ten races over hurdles have been at longer trips than today with seven of them being at 2m7½f or further.

Indefatigable is now a non-runner, which is a pity, as she has a good record on soft ground, has dome well here at HQ in the past and has had enjoyed some good results at this level, winning a grade 2 just 2 starts and 2 months ago.

Stormy Ireland is a likeable mare who landed back to back Gr2 then Gr1 contests in Ireland back in April/May of 2021 before taking a six month break. On her return in late-November she was well beaten (36 lengths as 6th of 8) in another Gr1 at Fairyhouse. This is, of course, not quite as difficult on paper and she can be expected to come on for having had the run, but of her overall 8 from 21 record, she's 0 from 7 in the UK including four visits to Cheltenham.

Essentially, we've half a dozen quality horses here who could all land this based on their past performances, but Instant Expert can show us exactly how they score over the conditions they're expected to face here...

Field size is of no concern to any of these runners, they've all won their fair share of small filed contests and all bar Dans Le Vent have a good record at this trip. That said, aside from winning 3 of 7 in small fields, Dans Le Vent's numbers just don't stack up against the rest of them and I'm going to drop him from the reckoning here. The remaining five runners all have at least three blocks of green with both Guard Your Dreams and McFabulous only missing out on Class and Course respectively.

McFabulous has only raced here once, so it was always going to be 0% or 100% and his sole run here was a Listed Bumper over three years ago, so it's not entirely relevant. Guard Your Dreams is only 1 from 3 on soft ground, but did win his only start on heavy, so with rain forecast, he should be fine there and as for being 1 from 5 at Class 1, he has also been a runner-up at Grade 1.

A small field on a big wide track like Cheltenham might lead this to be a tactical affair and in similar contests here...

...we're advised that being held up isn't going to do you any favours, which would have been another nail in the coffin of Dans Le Vent's chances, had I not already discarded that one...

The likely favourite Brewingupastorm has been held up in two of his last three runs too and this might pose a problem for him here, but based on their last three outings there's a suggestion that four of them will want to make this a pretty pacy affair.

Summary

Brewinupastorm is best off at the weights, comes here in good form, but steps up in class, his yard are out of form, he might left wanting rom the back of the field and neither he nor his stablemates have a particularly good record here at Cheltenham. He's failed to complete 2 of 3 runs here and was unplaced in the other, whilst Olly Murphy's record isn't good at just 2 wins from 50 on this track, so at odds of around 11/8, I just can't back him.

That said, he seems to have the measure of McFabulous, who he has beaten twice and the latter will probably need the run after nine months away from the track. Stormy Ireland was well beaten last time out although down from Gr1 to Gr2 with a run under the belt, 36 lengths is till a lot (too much for me) to find. She's likely to set the pace, making herself a target for one of the prominent runners to aim at.

On The Blind Side loves it here at Cheltenham and ran a good race in this contest last season, but he's better suited to staying hurdles in my opinion and had this been three (or more) furlongs further, then he'd have been ticking plenty of boxes for me, but it isn't and he therefore doesn't, bringing us finally to Guard Your Dreams, who likes it here and has won at this level here. His trainer and jockey both have good records at this venue and the horse will relish underfoot conditions. Just as I don't see the fav justifying being as short as 5/4 in places, nor do I see why this one is as long as 5/1 in places.

I don't fancy Stormy Ireland or On the Blind Side under these conditions and I think McFabulous probably won't beat Brewinupastorm, which puts the fav as runner-up here at worst. And I think that's where I have him (just!) Guard Your Dreams makes much more sense at the odds, so I'll take the 5's on offer from Bet365/888Sport.

Happy New year everyone,
Chris

 

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