With Cheltenham just around the corner, we’re keeping tabs on a number of festival previews. Paul Jones comes with a good reputation and we’ll be previewing his antepost service and Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide in our February edition.
Paul has kindly sent us an extract from his Cheltenham Festival guide, focusing on the Fred Winter Novices’ handicap. The full book is available at www.bettrends.co.uk and costs £12.95 + £2 post and packaging. We hope to preview the full book in the February edition. Here’s the excerpt with analysis of the Fred Winter taking place on Wednesday the 16th.
FRED WINTER JUVENILE HANDICAP HURDLE
Although the ‘Fred Winter’ is developing a number of very strong patterns so early in its existence (remarkably I’ve found as many as 12 worthy of being listed in the Trends Summary), I am aware that this may come across as a blatantly obvious statement but, trying to finding the handicap blot is key here and, boy, was there one last season as Sanctuaire left his rivals stone motherless dead. Paul Nicholls knew it beforehand. All he would say when discussing the race at the Sandown Preview Evening was: “He’ll win” and not a word more. French-bred hurdlers have really come to the fore in this race but take note of the top-rated horses from the Flat too as they have won or finished second in three of the six runnings. No new trends to add this season, only a strengthening of existing ones which is what I like for winner-finding purposes and Sanctuaire ticked virtually every main box 12 months ago hitting the crucial ones square on the head.
THE LAST 5 WINNERS WON LAST TIME OUT
Yet another 1-2 for last-time-out winners in last year’s race so that is three years in succession now, and the fifth consecutive year that the winner had also won its previous outing. In fact, the only ‘Fred Winter’ winner not to have been successful on its previous start was Dabiroun in the inaugural running (and he was beaten in a Grade 2 hurdle) but the race has now found its feet. On average, one-third of the field come into this race off the back of a win so it is not like the Weatherbys Champion Bumper, for example, where most contenders are coming off the back of a victory so I will be making this my number-one priority before I start looking at other factors. The success rate of last-time-out winners is also very much in-keeping with the Festival handicap hurdles in general since 1993 where almost half of such races (27-55) were won by last-time-out winners from under 20% representation.
ALL 6 WINNERS WERE BEATEN ON THEIR FIRST TWO STARTS OVER HURDLES
Sanctuaire fitted the profile on so many factors last season, another being the curious stat that every ‘Fred Winter’ winner had been beaten on its first two starts over hurdles. In fact, the first three horses home last season had been beaten on their first two juvenile hurdle races. That’s some stat when we consider that five of those six winners then won on their final start before the Festival which is remarkably similar to the chasing equivalent race at this meeting, the Cententary Novices’ Handicap Chase (formerly the ‘Jewson’). Perhaps it is not so curious a stat given that well-handicapped horses tend Continue reading