The Weekend Bulletin (Sat 18th Feb’17)
Last weekend’s free tips came courtesy of our resident Big Race Guru, Nick Hardman, and all three ran solid races in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury. Clyne (3rd 6/1) deserves plenty of credit having chased the strong early gallop whilst Song Light (adv EW) grabbed place spoils after moving well under a ground-saving ride and only found a trio of well-handicapped performers too good. Boite was prominent for a long way and wasn’t beaten far in 8th place.
As we often say you can’t win them all but Nick’s followers still enjoyed a bumper weekend with seven winners/placers from the 22 that ran and over 80pts profit to advised stakes and quoted odds. Of course we recognise that different folk will have obtained different totals depending on which books they have to work with etc. With that in mind we noted the readily available prices (at least 3 different mainstream bookies) at 8am on both Sat/Sun and even where the original top price may have been trimmed (although Perfect Candidate drifted to 12/1) from the night before when Nick posted up the selections you could still have achieved over 65pts profit.
So plenty to go around whichever way you cut it and if that has piqued your interest you may like to watch this video which describes Nick’s methods in detail.
The coming weekend sees some decent jumps racing from Ascot and Haydock and it is at the latter that we turn our attention to with Nick’s Big Race Trends for the Betfred Grand National Trial:-
Grand National Trial (Grade 3 handicap chase; 3m 5f); Haydock 3.15pm Sat
The first thing to note is that 9 of the last 11 renewals have been run on going officially described as heavy and have favoured those carrying lighter weights. This time around the forecast going is good-soft so it may not have as much bearing as previous recent runnings.
There have been 3 winning favourites since 1997 and a further 3 who were second favourite. Two of those winning fav’s came in 2013 (Well Refreshed) and in 2012 (Giles Cross). Despite that, this does appeal as a race for the each-way player with 12 of the last 19 coming from those horses who were between 5th and 8th in the betting. This is reflected by the SPs of the winners with 8 of the last 14 victorious horses being sent off at odds of 10/1 to 18/1. In recent times, Rambling Minster was the biggest priced winner at 18/1 in 2009, followed by Rigadin de Beauchene @16/1 in 2014 and Ossmoses @14/1 in 2006. Horses sent off at 14/1 to 20/1 are 3-52 and those sent off at the really big prices (22/1 or higher) are 0-55.
Since the turn of the millennium the younger horses have been largely put in their place by their older counterparts with just two 7yo and three 8yo winners. Five of the last 6 have all been aged 9yo or older and the age bracket 9yo – 11yo has provided us with 11 of the last 16 winners. Another interesting statistic is that a break of at least 1 month (31 days) has benefited 15 of the last 19 winners. The number of runs in the current season appears to have little bearing on the chances of winning this race. Three horses have taken this on their seasonal bow (from the 10 that tried to do so) and horses have won this on their 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and even their 6th run of the season.
When it comes to training a staying chaser then Venetia Williams is up there with the best. She trained the 1-2 in this race in 2014 to add to her impressive record that has seen her train the runner-up in 2013 and 2008 and the third placed horse in 2007. Not surprisingly, Paul Nicholls has a decent record in the race having trained the winner Shotgun Willy in 2003 and has since followed that with a 4th in 2005, 2nd in 2007, 3rd in 2008 and 2nd again in 2012. One trainer we have to throw into the mix is Kerry Lee who took this race last year along with the 2015 Welsh National and the 2016 Classic Chase at Warwick.
All bar four of the winners since 1997 had previously raced over 3m 5f or further and 16 of the last 19 had won a race over at least 3 miles. Fourteen of the last 19 had finished in the top two last time out so it may pay to side with a horse with excellent recent form. Those that completed their last start but finished outside the top three are 1-84. There are no firm trends with regards to official ratings (OR) with horses taking this race with an OR as low as 121 and as high as 151. However the last 8 winners were all rated 129+. All that gives us a nice profile of the typical winner:
• Carrying 11-0 or less (10-0 to 10-05 if the going is heavy)
• Rated 129+
• Top two finish LTO
• Odds between 10/1 to 18/1
• Aged 9yo to 11yo
• Not raced in last 31 days
• Won a race over 3m or further
• Raced over 3m 5f or further
• Trained by Venetia Williams, Lucinda Russell or Kerry Lee
Nick will be using the above trends to help with his deliberations and to find out his final selection(s) for the big race click here to read on:-
Nick Hardman’s Big Race Selections – Sat 18th Feb
Vintage Clouds was in the process of running a stormer from 6lb out of the handicap in the Peter Marsh Chase behind Bristol De Mai and Otago Trail and compensation could await. Kruzhlinin has improved remarkably since switching to Phillip Hobbs and can also go well. He won a stamina sapping hurdles race here when only a handful finished and that bodes well for this trip.
Vintage Clouds @8/1 Gen
Kruzhlinin @15/2 Gen
Together We Can Win
Darren & Steve