Hill can reach Gold Cup Summit for Twiston-Davies

All eyes will be on Cheltenham this weekend, and today’s piece focuses on Saturday’s BetVictor Gold Cup.

The Grade Three began life as the Mackeson Gold Cup and was first run in 1960. Starting as a two-mile chase, the trip was upped to 2m4f in the late 60s. Martin Pipe is the most successful trainer with eight victories, seven of those coming in a devastating spell from 1996 to 2005.

In recent years Jonjo O’Neill (3 wins), Nigel Twiston-Davies (2) and Paul Nicholls (2) have all enjoyed plenty of success in the race. Seven-year-olds have a terrific record of late, with six wins from the last 10. Indeed, the race tends to go to a progressive young chaser, often in their second season over the larger obstacles.

Despite the race often attracting a large field, upsets have proved rare. Only one of the last 10 winners could be described as unfancied, though in that period only one favourite has struck gold. As is often the case at the Home of Jump racing, previous track experience is a huge positive. Seven of the past 10 winners had previously won at Cheltenham. This racecourse is a unique test, and many horses fail the strenuous examination.

The favourite for Saturday’s renewal is top-weight Kylemore Lough, now trained by Harry Fry. Lumping just shy of 12 stone is often a reason to dismiss a horse in such handicaps, but last year’s winner carried 11-11, and four of the last 12 winners have coped with more than 11 stone on their back. This fella has enough Cheltenham experience, and appears to act on the track, though he’s finished fifth in his last two visits. He came close to winning the Caspian Caviar Chase last December (now 2lb lower), and a repeat of that performance would see him go extremely close. Can Fry get more out of him than Kerry Lee? I’m a fan, and I fancy he’ll run well.

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The Alan Fleming-trained Tully East is next best in the betting. A second-season chaser, he won at the Cheltenham Festival in March, when ridden beautifully by Denis O’Regan. He travelled like a dream that day and appeared to win with something to spare. Nevertheless, he’s 10lb higher in the handicap, and though he has the right profile, he’ll find this race much tougher to win. He’s a player, though I worry about that handicap mark. Another concern is the poor record of Irish raiders.

Paul Nicholls has a couple of entrants, and both are prominent in the betting. Le Prezien has track winning form, though was runner-up on his last visit, when finding Foxtail Hill impossible to pass. The pair had a mighty tussle in October at two-miles, though the extra half-a-mile should prove no obstacle. The pair are handicapped to finish side by side again, and you’d fancy both will go close. They’re tough to separate.

Nicholls’ other hope is five-year-old Romain De Senam. He’s won his last two, but is up 6lbs and will find this tough. He was runner-up in the Fred Winter of 2016, and probably should have won that day. The track and trip look ideal, and Nicholls took this race in 2014 with Caid Du Berlais, also aged five. I can see him getting outpaced coming down the hill, but I fancy he’ll be finishing well. He has the right amount of experience, but I worry he’ll have too much to do turning for home.

Ballyalton is an interesting contender. Back from injury, the Ian Williams-trained 10-year-old tuned up for this with a promising run over hurdles at Aintree. He won over course and distance at the Cheltenham Festival of 2016, and clearly enjoys his trips to Prestbury Park. He’s on a competitive mark, though his age is a negative based on the trends. Only three horses over nine have won the race.

The Pipe team have an outstanding record, though David has only managed the one success. Starchitect is two from seven over fences, and has a fair bit to find on Foxtail Hill, from their run at the course in April. Though talented, I don’t think this fella is quite good enough to win in this company.

One that is on a steep-upward curve is Jamie Snowdon’s Double Treasure. The six-year-old beat Two Taffs last time, though the runner-up was having his first outing of the campaign. He’s progressed dramatically over the Summer, but needs to find more if he is to be competitive here. Despite his four wins on the bounce, I fancy this could be a step too far.

There’s a couple I quite like at a price for the each-way punters out there. Theinval is trained by Nicky Henderson and was incredibly consistent during his first season over fences. He has some decent pieces of form to his name, especially the second-place finish to Cloudy Dream at Ayr in April. The sensational Fondmort won this race for Henderson in 2003, and this fella has a far better chance than his 25/1 odds suggest.

Another that interests me is the Twiston-Davies second string Splash Of Ginge. He rarely wins over fences, but his handicap mark has fell through the floor since the dizzy heights of 2015. He’s run well at Cheltenham in the past, and his last performance was encouraging. More rain would help, though I’m still tempted.

Greedy I know, but I’ll be backing three in the race. I fancy Nigel Twiston-Davies could have a day to remember, and I’ll be taking Foxtail Hill to win. He looks incredibly tough and is two from four in recent visits to the track. I’ll also have a little on Splash Of Ginge in the hope that the track and an eye-catching handicap mark spark a revival. Finally, I’ll be putting a couple of quid on Henderson’s seven-year-old Theinval. I’m convinced he’ll go close, though I do worry about his ability to cope with the famous hill.

Best of luck to all those having a punt.

Stat of the Day, 17th December 2015

Stat of the Day, 17th December 2015

Wednesday's Result :

1.05 Lingfield : New Rich @ 11/2 BOG 5th at 4/1 (Towards rear, ridden halfway, stayed on final furlong, nearest at finish, beaten by 4 lengths)

Thursday's selection runs in the...

2.50 Exeter :

Before I post the daily selection, just a quick reminder of how I operate the service. Generally, I'll identify and share the selection in the evening before the following day's race and I then add a detailed write-up later on that night/next morning.

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.


Tolkeins Tango @ 5/2 BOG


Tolkeins Tango is 3 from 11 over fences to date and was a decent if tired 3rd at Chepstow last time out. He was beaten by less than three lengths that day and actually finished second before a stewards' room demotion bumped him down a place and halved his prize money! All things considered, it was a decent effort over 2m 3.5f  on heavy ground after no run in 271 days and she should strip fitter for the outing 289 days ago off the same 118 mark as today.

He's 2 from 6 here at Exeter and has finished 1st & 3rd in two chase outings here, including a win over 2m 3.5f, a trip where he is 2 from 4 with finishes of 3113. He's trained by Vic Dartnall, who was back amongst the winners on Wednesday and has a good recent record here at Exeter, with 25 winners from 147 (17% SR) runners here saince the start of 2009 that have produced level stakes profits of 31.2pts at an ROI of 21.2%.

With today's race firmly in mind, my top 10 stats about those 147 runners are as follows...

  1. Males are 22/125 (17.6% SR) for 35.5pts (+28.4% ROI)
  2. 6/7 yr olds are 18/81 (22.2% SR) for 57.1pts (+70.5% ROI)
  3. Class 4 runners are 15/79 (19% SR) for 11pts (+14% ROI)
  4. Handicappers are 17/75 (22.7% SR) for 29.4pts (+39.3% ROI)
  5. Those priced 7/4 to 7/1 are 19/60 (31.7% SR) for 46.4pts (+77.3% ROI)
  6. Those running at the same trip as LTO or dropping by up to 3f are 16/57 (28.1% SR) for 41.9pts (+73.4% ROI)
  7. Chasers are 9.46 (19.6% SR) for 12.1pts (+26.3% ROI)
  8. In fields of 8 runners or less : 13/45 (28.9% SR) for 41.6pts (+92.5% ROI)
  9. Ridden by Denis O'Regan : 5/22 (22.7% SR) for 17.6pts (+79.8% ROI)
  10. Racing 21 to 30 after their last run : 5/19 (26.3% SR) for 9.38pts (+49.4% ROI)

And my recommended bet, based on the above and at prices available at 7.45pm?

A 1pt win bet on Tolkeins Tango @ 5/2 BOG with any one of four firms, so to see what your preferred bookie is offering... here for the betting on the 2.50 Exeter

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

just click here for more details.


Here is today's racecard.

Stat of the Day, 8th January 2014

Stat of the Day

Stat of the Day

Stat of the Day, 8th January 2014

Advised at 4/1 and backed in to 5/2 favouritism, Renard Dirlande looked a good bet in the early stages of yesterday's encounter, but a mistake at the 6th fence caused him to unseat Aidan Coleman, denying us of the opportunity to continue our recent fine run.

Today, however, is a whole new day and I'm taking a crack at the...

12.10 Doncaster:

John Ferguson has had a pretty successful start to life as a trainer, with a near 23% strike rate already amassed from his 363 runners. Backing them blindly at SP results in a small loss, but this generally means that BOG backers would have made a modest profit throughout.

Of his 363 runners to date, just 17 have run here at Town Moor, but a return of 6 winners and 5 placers makes good reading. The 35.3% strike rate (64.7% placed) can be further improved by ignoring the runners we tend not to go for here at SotD.

To which end, his stats are five winners (35.7% SR) and 4 placers (64.3% placed) from 14 runners, when we discard the odds on / double-digit odds runners. And whilst the returned profits of 3.15pts (+22.50% ROI) aren't spectacular, they're a starting point that would no doubt be bettered by using the BOG bookmakers.

John has just the one runner today in the shape of Namibian, who was a decent runner on the Flat in 2011 for Mark Johnston, being placed in a couple of listed events, before tasting success in consecutive outings at Group 3 level over 2 miles (Good to Soft) and 1m4f, meaning that he should have enough stamina coupled with speed between the hurdles providing he gets round today.

He suffered from colic and was absent from the track for 16 months (he was also gelded during his layoff), before taking to hurdling on his return at Huntingdon four weeks ago. He clearly needed the run that day, but his jumping held up well for a hurdling debut. He tailed off fairly quickly late on and his jockey (Denis O'Regan who rides again today) eased him down once the race had gone.

He'll improve for having had a pipe-opener and the declared good to soft ground should suit him here today. It's actually soft in places and more rain likely, it could get boggier, which could help us with a horse who is 1/1 on soft ground and has a won and a place to his name from four races on Good to Soft.

Had this been a flat race, he'd have been pretty short and I was hoping/expecting we'd get around 5/1 today. I was therefore, pleasantly surprised to see Coral offering 8/1 BOG. That means it's now a safety-first approach for me with a 0.5pts E/W bet on Namibian at 8/1 BOG with Coral. To see what prices are available elsewhere...

Click here for the latest betting on the 12.10 Doncaster

Don't forget, we offer a full interactive racecard service every day,
just click here for more details.

Here is today's racecard!

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