CHELTENHAM HERE WE COME: DAY 2: Daqman’s preview for all four days at the Cheltenham Festival continues with the Wednesday card one week in advance. See how they won.
DRUMS BEAT FOR DAQMAN NAP: The nap, Navy Drums (WON 4-5), returned Daqman to winning form at Lingfield yesterday but today’s remaining meetings were subject to inspections, putting the guesswork back into the frame! Catterick is abandoned
A LAYS DAY AT CHELTENHAM
FESTIVAL COUNTDOWN: WEDNESDAY: Here’s Daqman’s stats-and-facts survey for next Wednesday at Cheltenham, with ratings, trainers, form, age, weight and favourites.
LAYS LOGIC: I shall potentially lay favourites of 9-2 or shorter in both the 3.30 and 4.50.
⭕ 1.30 Cheltenham, Wednesday, March 15 (Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle) Four favourites up out of five, three of them odds on; and only one winner’s SP in double figures since 2012. Ages: Just two horses older than six have won since 1974.
Ratings (last eight years): 146, 155, 147, 155, 147, 156, 150, 151. Trainers; Irish 8 out of 9, including Willie Mullins (3).
The last 13 winners started out in Irish Points or in bumpers. Ten had won over at least 2m 4f and taken a Graded hurdle.
⭕ 2.10 Cheltenham, Wednesday, March 15 (Brown Advisory Novices Chase) Five favourites up out of the last eight; plus two at 4-1 SP in that time.
Ages: 13 out of the last 16 were aged 7; and 13 out of the last 15 had won a Graded race; 10 had already won at Cheltenham.
Ratings: 156, 150, 154, 158, 155, 153, 164, 159. Trainers: Nicky Henderson (3); four Irish winners in 10 years.
⭕ 2.50 Cheltenham, Wednesday, March 15 (Coral Cup) 18 of the last 19 favourites have been beaten, with 12 of the 14 most recent winners at double-figure odds up to 33-1 and 50-1 in the last two seasons.
Just four in 22 years have won when above the age of seven, and 12 of the last 13 had raced over hurdles no more than 10 times, 10 out of the last 13 at 2m 2f or further.
Ratings: 139, 149, 148, 143, 151, 140, 138, 152. Trainers: Nicky Henderson (4), Ireland (5) in last 11 years. Weights: 10st 12lb to 11st 5lb have won five of the last seven
LAYS LOGIC: Losing favourites odds off-putting; 9-2 last year and recent best before that Tombstone (2017) at 7-2. But you may still feel that those are good odds among 18 losers!
⭕ 3.30 Cheltenham, Wednesday, March 15 (Champion Chase) Four favourites have won in the last 10 years; only one winner of double-figure SP. Ages: all between 7 and 10.
Trainers: Nicky Henderson (5 out of 11), Henry De Bromhead (3), Paul Nicholls (2), Willie Mullins just the one last year. Ratings: 171, 170, 159, 170, 175, 165, 156, 175.
Some 18 out of 20 winners had scored at least five times over fences and 17 run at Cheltenham before; 11 of the last 13 had won a Grade 1. Irish or French bred took the prize in 14 out of 20 years.
LAYS LOGIC: Five out of seven strikes! Shishkin (2021), p/u 5-6 fav; Un De Sceaux (2016) 2nd 4-6; Douvan (2017) 7th 2-9; Altior WON 1-1 fav (2018); Altior WON 4-11 fav (2019); Defi Du Seuil 4th 2-5 fav, Chacun Pour Soi 3rd 8-13 fav.
⭕ 4.10 Cheltenham, Wednesday, March 15 (Cross-Country) In the last 10 years has produced winner (twice), second and third (third) in the Grand National.
Favourites: three out of 11 but outsiders at 14-1, 16-1 and 25-1. Ages: between 8, 9 10 won 10 out of 11. Horses aged 12+ have failed in 11 years out of 14.
Ratings: 134, 148, 142, 150, 159, 152, 166, 160. Trainers: Gordon Elliott (5), Enda Bolger (3).
⭕ 4.50 Cheltenham, Wednesday, March 15 (Grand Annual Challenge Cup) Only two favourites have won in 11 years and most winners have been enormous prices: 66-1, 40-1, 28-1 (twice), 20- and 16-1 (twice). Ages: 7, 8, 9 (10 out of 13)
Ratings: 143, 140, 147, 150, 139, 147, 152, 136. Trainers: Paul Nicholls (2).
Eight of the last 10 winners had not scored over fences that season.
LAYS last seven years: Rock The World (2016) 3rd 9-2 fav; Le Prezien (2017) 8th 7-2 fav; Magic Saint (2019) 10th 9-2 fav; Chosen Mate (2020) WON 7-2 fav, Embittered (2021) 9-2 fav fell; Andy Dufresne (2022) 2nd 10-3 fav. Note that Rock The World and Le Prezien both won the following year.
⭕ 5.30 Cheltenham, Wednesday, March 16 (Champion Bumper) SP: Three favourites have won in eight seasons and the trend is away from a run of big prices to short SPs, with six of the eight in single figures.
The double-figure winners (11-1 and 25-1) are both down to Willie Mullins, who also won 10 years ago at 25-1.
Every winner had scored last time out 13-13. Ages 5 and 6 have won the last 12.
PYRAMID GOOD FOR A PLACE
⭕ 3.10 Fontwell Lifetime Legend is the form nap, according to Spotlight in the Racing Post. He may win but, after success at Catterick following 21 consecutive defeats, looks no way a legend to me. He is up 7lb and raised two grades.
Kotmask should run well for the local hero, Gary Moore, but is typical of a five-year-old who did well at four and couldn’t cope with the handicap mark he got for doing so.
A third five-year-old, Forever Blessed, was made favourite twice after his four-year-olds-only hit at Sandown: pulled up and 23-lengths ninth!
Krypton Gold is yet another example of the hangover faced by five-year-olds. Since winning last March, his handicap marks between 114 and 116 have yielded only missed strikes: 3222300, though the last run was down to class 6.
One of the five-year-olds may spark back but you can’t bet on which one; it’s a lottery.
Of the others, Maclaine has won on the course and is unexposed but Pyramid Place looks better: down in grade to the level of his win at Wetherby.
Betdaq Betting Exchange 6.0 Pyramid Place 12 Maclaine
A PAULING BIG-ODDS WINNER!
⭕ 3.40 and 4.10 Fontwell Ben Pauling always hits form before Cheltenham and his current 28% strike-rate suggests we should beware of his runners at Prestbury Park.
He has scored with three outsiders at the festival (14-1 twice and 28-1) and has 26 race-entries there next week currently being quoted from 20-1 to 200-1!
Ben today sends out the hurdles winner at this level, The Grey Falco (3.40) – believe it or not, he’s a Falco grey – first run for the yard in first-time cheekpieces.
The Pauling maiden runner, Sound And Fury (4.10) isn’t a maiden. He’s an Irish Points winner by Milan.
BETDAQ value 3.85 The Grey Falco, 2.72 Sound And Fury
AN EARLY TONIK AT LINGFIELD
⭕ TODAY’S NAP (2.00 Lingfield): Peter Chapple-Hyam defies all form assessment; to say that the Derby-winning trainer still wins when he wants to is put to the test today.
As he prepares Crystallium for the 1,000 Guineas (yes, the real racing is just around the corner), one who has helped his plans on the gallops is Chester Tonik (BETDAQ 3.5).
Headgear has proved the answer in his early work at Newmarket, since being moved from Stan Moore, and the close third in a Newbury nursery is already better class than these, if the handicapper has it right.
2.00 Lingfield (win 10, nap)
BET 4pts win CHESTER TONIK
3.10 Fontwell (win 20, win 12)
BET 4pts win PYRAMID PLACE
BET 1pt win MACLAINE
3.40 Fontwell (win 10)
BET 3.5pts win THE GREY FALCO
4.10 Fontwell (win 10)
BET 5.75pts win SOUND AND FURY
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