If you've got any spare time over the weekend, dear reader, you may very well be spending it poring over the form for next week's monster monster Cheltenham Festival 2011.
I've already started a couple of days ago, and I'm starting to formulate my ideas on the likely winners and best value outsiders. I actually have high hopes of winning next week at Cheltenham.
If you can't readily say the same, then I'd strongly recommend you taking a look at Gavin Priestley's excellent, fantastic, and otherwise different class Cheltenham Festival Trends manual (if you haven't already).
Now in the interests of full disclosure, I should tell you that Gavin is my best friend, and that I am godfather (not in theÂ Don Corleone way!) to his son, Dylan. That's not the reason I'm telling you about Festival Trends (or FT for short).
FT is, quite simply, the best researched, best laid out, most comprehensive race by race analysis available. And I use that phrase advisedly as I've seen all of them. I've got all of them.
For each race at Cheltenham, the layout is as follows:
- Race History
- Recent Trends
- Interesting trends facts
- How the top fancies fit the profile (easy to view grid)
- Breakdown of recent winners (last decade)
- Age, favourites, and pace analysis
- Breeding analysis
- Trainer analysis
- Key trials and a review of who did what in each
- The final 'eliminator' to leave a best trends selection and a 'Nag Ratings' top three or so
In total it amounts to around 130 pages when the elimination element is added in. And that's another point about FT. It's not a static document. Once you download all of the above info, there are updates each night before the next day's racing, where Gavin adds his final thoughts, as well as his placepot perms for each day of the Festival.
And in the members' area right now there's also his ante-post four to follow. Bizarrely, and this is almost unheard of, I actually agree with him on three of them! Normally, when we agree on the same horses we're not far wide of the mark. Like I say, it doesn't happen very often...
The cost of Festival Trends is Â£24.95 (Gavin, probably quite rightly, doesn't believe in the fad for using 7's in his prices. He's more interesting in an excellent value product at a sensible price.)
You can read all about FT here, including what a whole bunch of real people thought about the big priced winners they bagged using Gavin's info.
[Incidentally, FT is not just for Cheltenham. Gavin profiles all of the major flat and jumps races throughout the season, and there are options for those who'd like to get this sort of comprehensive know-how on a longer term basis]
Oh, and if you want an insight into what FT looks like, Gavin is offering a free download of the Triumph Hurdle. No opt in, no payment details. Just click this link to see what all the fuss is about.
I strongly recommend Festival Trends as THE profiling tool to take to the Cheltenham trenches with you next week. Grab your copy here.
One of the other things I was doing t'other day was playing around with Cheltenham handicaps because I convinced myself in the bath (don't ask!) that backing all horses in these races would yield a profit. Well, I looked a bit more deeply into it and I wasn't far wrong.
Specifically, sticking to the non-novice handicaps, a win bet on all horses would have yielded a loss of 19.5% at SP. Each way bets on all horses would have lost just 2.5% of stakes. Still a loss.
However, Betfair SP would convert that win loss into a profit of around 30% on stakes. I had a look at various angles to see if I could legitimately improve this figure, and I added in the following filters:
- non-novice handicaps at the Cheltenham Festival
- 20 or more runners (big field handicaps can lead to big priced winners)
- double figure odds (we're looking for value plays here, so no sense backing 4/1 shots in 20+ runner handicaps!)
- last ran 10-40 days ago (not knackered from their last run, but still race fit)
- not wearing any kind of special equipment, i.e. blinkers, visor, tongue tie, cheek pieces (no horse starts its career with this stuff on, trainers do it when the horse is not performing. We don't want non-performing horses in our corner).
The results of these system rules are as follows:
19 winners from 306 runners, and a return at Betfair SP of... 688 points!!!
2007 was a losing Festival for the system but all others would have at least doubled your investment. Now the strike rate is obviously low (at 6.2%) because we're backing more than one horse in a race.
This is a fun system that can be played to small stakes in the big handicaps at the Festival. Even at bookie SP it returned 232 points profit in those seven years.
So look to the genuine, fit, horses in the biggest field handicaps!
Now then, the closing date for the Cheltenham tickets prize draw was yesterday, and we have some winners. Thanks to everyone who entered. There were over 100 of you each day, which given the logistics of getting to the track etc was no mean feat.
I will definitely be running more competitions in the future, as I've got all sorts of goodies to give away. 🙂
Anyway, congratulations and have a great day to the following:
Tuesday - Mr J Evans, Aberystwyth
Wednesday - Mr B Williamson, Radcliffe
Thursday - Mr E Doughty, Chesterfield
Friday - Mr C Nott, Cardiff
Your tickets will be winging their way to you as soon as I receive them.
Finally today, I'm delighted to welcome Ross Birkett onto the staff at Geegeez. Ross is the son of Julia Feilden, our Geegeez Racing Club trainer, and he is also a fully qualified journalist. He's recently returned from a stint in the Emirates where he was working in the production team for Sunset and Vine (responsible for much of BBC's tv content), and is currently seeking media opportunities back here in Blighty.
While he's looking for the right role, he'll be keeping his arm in by posting his thoughts here at Geegeez. As someone based in Newmarket at a stable, he has a few connections, and it will be interesting to see how Ross mixes news content with his own editorial and observations. I'm sure you'll join me in welcoming Ross to the team of scribblers!
Have a great weekend, and get those spare hourse filled with Cheltenham study! This will help you.