The Weekend Bulletin (Sat 3rd Dec’16)
Last time around we were able to share our Big Race Guru, Nick Hardman’s, key trends and stats for the Hennessy Gold Cup which took place at Newbury on the Saturday. Nick incorporates these into his approach when tackling the big races and festivals and just before we move on to how his final selections for the Hennessy fared you may be interested to view this video that shows how he goes about his business.
The Hennessy Gold Cup (Sat 26th Nov – Newbury 15.10pm)
The main event and a race we looked at in the Betting Insiders Report for November. The trends qualifiers are Native River and Un Temps Pour Tout. The former makes more appeal off 11-01. Stablemate Theatre Guide has finished 2nd and 3rd on his previous two starts in this race and could give each-way backers a run for their money. At bigger prices Vicente seems to have been a bit ignored in the betting. He is 4 from 8 over fences and is a thorough stayer. He also fits the bill in terms of age, OR and winning form over 3m+. Could go well at a decent price.
Native River @6/1 Gen
Theatre Guide @18/1 Each-Way (1/4 odds, 4 places, BFsb) or 16/1 (1/5 odds, 5 places,PP)
Vicente @20/1 Each-Way (1/4 odds, 6 places, Skybet) or (1/5 odds, 5 places, PP)
In the race itself Theatre Guide looked to be getting in to a challenging position by the 14th fence but couldn’t sustain it and weakened 2 out. Similar comments could be applied to Vicente although he fell 2 out, meanwhile the well backed Native River was always to the fore and despite idling after the last he stayed on well to take the winners plaudits!
For the coming weekend there is, weather permitting, a cracking card on Saturday at Aintree which features the Betfred Becher Handicap Chase and here are Nick’s key notes on the big race:-
Betfred Becher Handicap Chase (13.35 Aintree)
I absolutely love this race as it is run over the Grand National fences and almost always attracts a bumper field. The key trainer amongst the entries is Nigel Twiston-Davies who has won this three times since 1998 (twice with Hello Bud).
There have been just 3 winning favourites since 1997 and all bar 5 of the last 19 winners came from the top 9 in the market. That can usually take out half the field, but be aware that the last two winners went in at 20/1 and 25/1. We have also had a couple of winners at 33/1 and another at 25/1 since 2001 so this is definitely a race where you can take two or three against the field. From an age perspective we have seen some real old boys win this recently in Oscar Time (13yo) and Hello Bud (as a 12yo and a 14yo). Those aside, the dominant age group is 8yo to 10yo with 14 of the last 19 winners. They do, however, make up the majority of the runners. The 9yo to 10yo age bracket have the best strike rate, combining for 11 winners since 1998.
Interestingly, all bar 1 winner since 1997 managed a top 5 finish in their last outing or were pulled up or unseated their rider. Given that a lot of horses may have had their last run in the Grand National I would not be put off by one that fell into the latter two categories. In fact, 9 previous winners since 1997 had contested the Grand National so that is a pretty decent pointer. All bar three winners in that time had raced over at least 3m 5f so this really is a stayers’ race.
Going on the most recent trends (since 2008) we have quite a narrow official ratings band that has produced 7 of the last 8 winners. That band is from 130 – 137, the exception being the 148 rated Vic Venturi who won this in 2009. He also carried a big weight of 11st 12lbs in the process and that also stands out amongst the recent winners. The other 7 winners since 2008 all carried under 11st. Horses that raced in the 15 days prior to the Becher Chase should be avoided as they have an overall record of 0-73. A break of 16 – 60 days looks ideal for those horses that have had a run in the current season and those that have had that kind of break have produced 10 winners in the last 19 renewals. A further 6 winners took this on their seasonal reappearance and so lack of a recent run is not a concern. In fact, seasonal debutants are 6-55 (11% strike rate) which is far better than those with a run under their belts. A win over 3 miles or further also looks like a good statistic and accounts for no fewer than 14 of the 19 winners since 1997.
Given the special nature of these fences, I tend to look for any horse that has run over them before. That is usually the Grand National or a previous appearance in the Becher Chase itself. I also sit up and take note of whichever horse Sam Waley-Cohen is set to ride. For an amateur he has an exceptional record at Aintree. He has ridden 6 winners from 36 rides there for a level stakes profit of £33.33 and ridden a further 9 into the places which increases profit to £63.55.
Here is the trends profile for the past winners of the Becher Chase:
• Aged 8yo or 10yo
• Top 5 finish LTO, or pulled up or unseated
• Top 9 in the betting
• Rated 130 – 137
• Carrying under 11st
• A break of 16 – 60 days or seasonal reappearance
• Ran in the Grand National
• Completed over the Grand National fences
• Raced over 3m 5f or further
• Nigel Twiston-Davies
• Ridden by Sam Waley-Cohen
Nick will be taking the above into the mix when he assesses the main contenders and to find his final selection(s) click here to read on:-
Nick Hardman’s Big Race Selections – Sat 3rd Dec
The Becher Chase is one of the races we covered in the November Insiders Report. This year is a bit of a mixed bag in terms of horses ticking all the right boxes but the one who ticks plenty and is well handicapped is Alvarado and he goes on the short list. Highland Lodge is being offered up at big price with PaddyPower and although 5lb higher he is still at the right end of weights and ratings scale of previous winners. Vieux Lion Rouge is the final selection who ran well in the Grand National and goes well fresh. Again, he has a nice weight.
Alvarado @10/1 e/w (1/4 odds, 5 places, BV)
Highland Lodge @20/1 e/w (1/4 odds, 5 places, PP/SJ)
Vieux Lion Rouge @11/1 e/w (1/4 odds, 4 places, WH)
All that remains is to wish you a great weekend from the Betting Insiders team!
Together We Can Win
Darren & Steve