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Monday, 14 March 2011

It's Time for Cheltenham...

Written by the popular blog: Wayward Lad

Perhaps the greatest single sporting event of the year takes place this week, the Cheltenham Festival, and this is its Centenary Year. Prior to finding a permanent home at Prestbury Park 100 years ago, the National Hunt Horseracing Festival was staged at different tracks each year.

With about 70,000 spectators on-course for every day of the 4-day meeting and perhaps another couple of million watching live on TV, this is the equivalent of jump racings FA Cup Final and for lots of people it is one of the only times of the year when they have a “proper” bet. There are 26 races over the entire meeting and finding the winner of just one of those races is hard enough, so contemplating the meeting as a whole is particularly daunting.

One of the best ways I find of reducing the numbers of participants to something that can be easily assessed is by considering only those horses that won last time out (LTO, for short). Over the past 14 years (in 2001, the meeting did not take place due to the foot & mouth incident) 55% of all races have been won by a horse that won its previous race – that is 168 winners from 303 races. Being an LTO winner means that the horse comes to the Festival on high, and if it is running in a handicap race then the likelihood is that it is improving and so, under-rated by the handicapper.

For instance, last year in the opening Supreme Novices Hurdle 4 of the 1st-5 home won LTO, and later on that day’s card in (what was the William Hill Handicap) what this year is the Stewart Family Handicap Chase only 5 horses came into this race with a win LTO (from 24 runners) and 3 of those filled the 1st-3 places! The winner CHIEF DAN GEORGE carrying 10st 10lb. CHIEF DAN GEORGE was the 6th winner of the race to have won LTO from the previous 8 years the race has been run.

A 2nd factor which is especially useful in producing a shortlist of horses to consider is weight. In handicap chases, 42 of the last 51 handicap chase winners carried no more than 11st in weight. In handicap hurdles, 35 of the last 40 Handicap Hurdle winners carried no more than 11st 3lb. In these competitive handicaps run at a frenetic pace, weight stops horses – fact.

So, you can see that by combining these 2 important factors of:-

(a) being a Last Time Out winner, and

(b) carrying less than 11st in handicap chases, or less than 11st 3lb in handicap hurdles

And you could be ending the week in profit.

Using these factors, horses that I will be seriously considering this week are:-

Tuesday – Stewart Family H’cap Chase


Wednesday – Coral Cup H’cap Hurdle


Good luck this week Wayward Lad

Visit Wayward Lads Blog for the latest Cheltenham ACTION!

HCE: I would like to thank Ian for allowing us to use this article. It is very much appreciated

Update: A great day for Wayward Lad blog with more winners. Make sure you take a look as Cheltenham could be something to saviour.