Welcome to the BetBright STATZONE, where we give you the stats and you make the decisions!
The tapes go up for the opening day of the 2017 Cheltenham December Meeting this Friday (15th December) with FOUR LIVE ITV races from Prestbury Park.
Four competitive races to look forward to, including the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase – a race Irish trainer Enda Bolger has won a staggering 7 times in the last 13 years.
So, as always, we’ve got it all covered here on STATZONE with all the key trends, plus our verdict, on each of the LIVE ITV races – we’re confident these trends will point you in the direction of a few winners, or at least help narrow down some of the field to highlight the horses that fit the best profile of past winners – So, let’s get cracking!
Cheltenham Horse Racing Trends (LIVE RUK/ITV)
1:55 – CF Roberts Electrical + Mechanical Services Mares’ Handicap Chase Cl3 2m5f ITV4
One previous run
Trainer Michael Scudamore has just a 19% record with his chasers at the track
Trainer Warren Greatrex is 0 from 17 record with his chasers at the track
Trainer Tim Vaughan is 0 from 23 with his chasers at the track
Jockey Robert Dunne has a 40% (2 from 5) record riding over fences at the track
STATZONE VERDICT: Not a lot to go on when it comes to the past trends as only one previous run, but there are a few standout trainer stats that are worth noting. The Warren Greatrex camp, surprisingly, are 0 from 17 with their chasers at the course so their well-touted Theatre Territory will have this against him. This 7 year-old was, however, a recent second at Huntingdon on his first start for the yard (was with Nicky Henderson) and is sure to still be popular. It’s worth pointing out though he’s raced here twice before (hurdles, NH Flat) and been beaten both times. Tom George’s consistent Song Saa will be another that punters are sure to latch onto after a string of placed runs. She looks likely to play a big part but is still 12lbs higher than her last win so despite running well around this mark hasn’t won off it yet. Ms Parfois is another sort that rarely runs a bad race and should find this drop back in trip more to her likely after running over 3m last time. She’s only had once run over fences though so although there is likely to be more to come her lack of experience over these tricky fences would be a negative. She’s also closely-matched with Sparkling River after this Henry Oliver-trained 7 year-old beat her just ¾ of a length last time at Warwick. There shouldn’t be a lot between them again here. But the value call here is TWENTY EIGHT GUNS (e/w). The Michael Scudamore yard have a decent 19% record with their chasers here, while jockey Robbie Dunne also does well here when riding over fences (40%). This 7 year-old also heads here off the back of a much-improved run when fourth of 8 at Wetherby. Dropped a pound for that, while the longer trip and softer ground are both further pluses.
2.30 – December Handicap Chase (Grade 3) Cl1 3m1f110y ITV4
13/15 – Had won over at least 3m (fences) before
13/15 – Raced within the last 4 weeks
12/15 – Had run over fences at Cheltenham before (5 won)
11/15 – Had won at least 3 times over fences before
10/15 – Returned 13/2 or shorter in the betting
10/15 – Aged 8 or younger
9/15 – Placed favourites
9/15 – Went onto run at the Cheltenham Festival that season (none won)
9/15 – Carried 11-0 or more in weight
8/15 – Placed in the top 3 last time out
8/15 – Irish bred
7/15 – Aged 7 or 8 years-old
6/15 – Won last time out
5/15 – Won by the Pipe stable
4/15 – Winning favourites
The average winning SP in the last 10 runnings is 15/2
Theatre Guide (15/2) won the race 12 months ago
STATZONE VERDICT: The Pipe camp have a cracking record in this race – winning 5 of the last 15 – so despite being the outsider of the six runners, ABRACADABRA SIVOLA (e/w) – is certainly worth a small interest. Yes, this 7 year-old has a bit to find on recent form, but the first-time cheekpieces are an interesting addition and with just 10-7 to carry has a very light weight. Southfield Theatre is often well-fancied in his races but, for me, has a bit to prove at the moment. Connections reach for the first-time blinkers which might help but I’d like to see more on the track really. Mysteree did well last season for the Scudamore yard and will relish the test after winning over 4m in the Eider Chase last season and also being second in the Midlands National. He’s up another 5lbs though so more is needed, but despite a 272 day break who fresh first time out last season. Shanroe Santos would have claims if putting it’s recent unseat behind itself, while Wotzizname looks a big player based on his recent win at Exeter. A 5lb rise looks fair for this 7 year-old, but with the Harry Fry horses a tiny bit out of form at present that would be a concern for me. So, the call here is ROBINSFIRTH. This 8 year-old ticks a lot of the main trends and with the Colin Tizzard yard operating at a 21% strike-rate at present then their horses are clearly in decent order. After two runs this season the horse should be spot-on for this and he’s also run very well at the track in the past. The soft/heavy ground is ideal and off a mark of 142 looks weighted to go well. Robbie Power rides.
3.05 –Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase Cl2 3m7f ITV4
12/13 – Raced within the last 4 weeks
12/13 – Had run over the Cheltenham Cross Country course before
11/13 – Returned 7/1 or shorter in the betting
11/13 – Went onto run at that season’s Cheltenham Festival (3 won)
10/13 – Ran at Cheltenham last time out
10/13 – Placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd last time out
9/13 – Aged 9 or older
9/13 – Won by an Irish-trained horse
7/13 – Had won over the Cheltenham Cross Country course before
7/13 – Aged in double-figures
7/13 – Trained by Enda Bolger
6/13 – Placed favourites
5/13 – Carried 11-12
5/13 – French bred
5/12 – Won last time out
The average winning SP in the last 10 runnings is 5/1
Cantlow (13/8 fav) won the race 12 months ago
STATZONE VERDICT: Kingswell Theatre was a surprise winner of the Cross Country race at the November meeting and with that winning experience over the course he’ll be popular again. But a 6lb rise makes life harder, while this race looks harder. Mtada Supreme looks a player too after beating Josies Orders at Punchestown last time. But there was only a nose between them that day and we can expect that run to have brought JOSIES ORDER on a lot. The Enda Bolder team have a cracking record in the race – winning 7 of the last 13 – and being this 9 year-old is 3-from-3 here over the Cross Country course then his record speaks for itself. He won this race in 2015 too and it’s clearly been a target of the season and with Mark Walsh booked looks the Bolger number one. They also have last year’s winner – Cantlow – in the race and is certainly a player too. They help this 12 year-old with a 5lb claiming conditional riding to help reduce the weight. He should be a lot fitter for a recent fourth here at the November Meeting and is down 2lbs. Add in the 5lbs jockey claim and he’s 7lbs lower which should see him finish a lot closer than the 10 lengths he was behind last time. But with Mark Walsh – who rode that day – choosing to ride Josies Order then we should take the hint. Tiger Roll and More Of That are interesting alternatives, who have both won at Cheltenham before, but not over this tricky Cross Country course so a certain amount of trust has to be taken on that front.
3.40 – Citipost Handicap Hurdle Cl2 3m ITV4
12/14 – Had raced at Cheltenham before
11/14 – Carried 11-2 or less
11/14 – Aged 7 or younger
10/14 – Had won between 1-3 times over hurdles before
10/14 – Irish bred
10/14 – Ran within the last 6 weeks
9/14 – Priced 8/1 or bigger in the betting
9/14 – Unplaced favourites
8/14 – Rated between 128 and 137
8/14 – Ran at Cheltenham last time out
7/14 – Winners that went onto run at the Cheltenham Festival that season (one winner)
7/14 – Had won over at least 3m (hurdles) before
4/14 – Won last time out
3/14 – Winning favourites
3/14 – Trained by Philip Hobbs
2/14 – Trained by Jonjo O’Neill
Call To Order (11/2) won the race 12 months ago
The average winning SP in the last 10 runnings is 9/1
STATZONE VERDICT: A tough handicap to end day one, but several key trends will hopefully help. 11 of the last 14 winners carried 11-2 or less in weight and were also aged 7 or younger. Add in that 12 of the last 14 winners had raced at Cheltenham before too and 10 of the last 14 had run in the last 6 weeks then this should provide further clues. Champers On Ice should be better for his recent fifth at Haydock and often runs well at the track so is certainly one to consider. The Kim Bailey-trained Rocky’s Treasure is also sure to attract attention after a decent third here last time out and gets in off the same mark, but at 6 years-old does fall down on the age trend. Arthur’s Gift is another 6 year-old in the race that will catch punter’s eyes after two good wins at Worcester and Market Rasen. He’s up 9lbs here though and this is a much harder race so needs another step forward. But this Twiston-Davies runner stayed on really well last time after looking in trouble half a mile out. The stiffer finish should suit and he does look a fast-improving hurdler. Course winner Rons Dream often runs his race and is starting to look well-handicapped. Any more rain would be a big plus as he likes it soft, but has gone well in heavy ground too. But the one that ticks a fair few trends is SYKES (e/w). An easy winner last time out at Ffos Las in heavy ground so we know conditions will suit. Yes, up another 9lbs here makes life harder but the way he won that day suggests he’s worth a crack in this better race. He had a promising reputation when with Philip Hobbs, but the switch to the Nicky Martin yard seems to have sparked him back into life. The other one of interest is ANTEROS (e/w), who rarely runs a bad race. This 9 year-old was an excellent second to the classy Thomas Campbell last time out here and is only 4lbs higher. Trip, track and ground are all perfect and he was also a fair fifth in the race 12 months ago off this exact mark.
That should be all you need, if you can’t make the right decisions with all that info, there’s no helping you!