Plenty to look forward to this week as the tapes go up for the opening day of the 2018 Cheltenham December Meeting on Friday (14th 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 14 years.
So, as always, we’ve got it all covered here on JUICESTORM 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 going!
Cheltenham Horse Racing Trends (LIVE RUK/ITV)
1:55 – CF Roberts Electrical + Mechanical Services Mares’ Handicap Chase Cl3 2m5f ITV4
Two previous runs
Both winners carried 11-3 or more in weight
Both winners aged between 6-8 years-old
Trainer Evan Williams won the race in 2016
Trainer Gordon Elliott has a 16% record with this chasers at the track
Trainer Henry Daly is just 1 from 19 with his chasers at the track
The Gordon Elliott-trained Synopsis is sure to be popular if making the trip over from Ireland with the yard having a decent 16% record with their chasers at the track. Only two previous runnings of this but trainer Evan Williams won the race in 2016 so anything he runs should be noted – he’s got Skewiff and recent Sedgefield scorer Inch Lala entered at this stage. Silent Steps with a light weight and the consistent Rebel Yeats are others to note. Pulling Power is another that a case can be made for but does have a bit to prove off this mark. THE BAY BIRCH (e/w) could be the answer though. This 7 year-old was a much-improved third last time out at Newbury in what looked a slightly better race than this and is only a pound higher. He won’t mind any give underfoot and we know he stays a bit further than this 2m 4 1/2f trip which will be a plus up the Cheltenham hill. Add in that he’s also run well over fences at the track then that course experience gives him another thumbs-up.
2.30 – CF Roberts 25 Years Of Sponsorship Handicap Chase (Grade 3) Cl1 3m1f110y ITV4
14/16 – Raced within the last 4 weeks
13/16 – Had won over at least 3m (fences) before
13/16 – Had run over fences at Cheltenham before (5 won)
11/16 – Had won at least 3 times over fences before
11/16 – Returned 13/2 or shorter in the betting
11/16 – Aged 8 or younger
10/16 – Carried 11-0 or more in weight
9/16 – Placed favourites
9/16 – Went onto run at the Cheltenham Festival that season (none won)
9/16 – Placed in the top 3 last time out
9/16 – Irish bred
8/16 – Aged 7 or 8 years-old
6/16 – Won last time out
5/16 – Won by the Pipe stable
4/16 – Winning favourites
2/16 – Trained by Colin Tizzard (last two runnings)
The average winning SP in the last 10 runnings is 15/2
Robinsfirth (7/4) won the race 12 months ago
Plenty of old faces here in a race that will have many chances. 14 of the last 16 winners had raced in the last 4 weeks though, while previous course experience is another plus. 11 of the last 16 winners have also been aged 8 or younger so there’s plenty to like about last season’s Ultima Chase winner at the Festival COO STAR SIVOLA (e/w). His form at the track is decent 2-3-1-6-4-3-2-4-1, plus any further rain won’t be an issue. After two recent runs he should be spot-on for this and Lizzie Kelly is able to also claim a handy 3lbs. Singlefarmpayment is always popular in races like this at the track but just doesn’t win enough for me. The consistent Theatre Territory is another to consider with a light weight and should have a say, but the other one of interest is the Alan King-trained KERROW (e/w), who was set to win last time out until falling at Bangor. He’s up 5lbs for that but is lightly-raced over fences (5 runs) and the way he travelled into that race suggests there’s more to come.
3.05 –Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase Cl2 3m7f ITV4
13/14 – Raced within the last 4 weeks
13/14 – Had run over the Cheltenham Cross Country course before
12/14 – Went onto run at that season’s Cheltenham Festival (3 won)
11/14 – Returned 7/1 or shorter in the betting
10/14 – Ran at Cheltenham last time out
10/14 – Placed 1st, 2nd or 3rd last time out
10/14 – Won by an Irish-trained horse
9/14 – Aged 9 or older
8/14 – Aged in double-figures
7/14 – Had won over the Cheltenham Cross Country course before
7/14 – Trained by Enda Bolger
7/14 – Placed favourites
5/14 – Carried 11-12
5/14 – French bred
5/14 – Won last time out
The average winning SP in the last 10 runnings is 6/1
Bless The Wings (12/1) won the race 12 months ago
Josie’s Orders won the race in 2015
Another race with plenty of old faces for this Cross-Country contest. Bless The Wings took this in 2017 and often goes well in these events. Even at the age of 13 he’s respected and looks a solid each-way call after blowing away the cobwebs to be fifth here last month. JOSIE’S ORDERS took this race in 2015 and represents the powerful Enda Bolger yard that have a great record in the race. He beat Fact Of The Matter by ¾ of a length last time out and based on that running should be a leading player again and rates the safest option. Bolger could also run My Hometown, who gets in with just 10-1 and could be dangerous – any support in the betting should be noted. Fact Of The Matter was having his first competitive race over these fences so can be expected to improve for the experience so can’t be ruled out for the Jamie Snowden team either, while Ballycasey could be interesting for Willie Mullins is taking to the course. These races generally go to those with proven experience though so Josies get the nod.
3.40 – Citipost Handicap Hurdle Cl2 3m ITV4
12/15 – Had raced at Cheltenham before
12/15 – Carried 11-2 or less
12/15 – Aged 7 or younger
11/15 – Had won between 1-3 times over hurdles before
11/15 – Irish bred
11/15 – Ran within the last 6 weeks
10/15 – Unplaced favourites
9/15 – Priced 8/1 or bigger in the betting
9/15 – Rated between 128 and 137
8/15 – Ran at Cheltenham last time out
7/15 – Winners that went onto run at the Cheltenham Festival that season (one winner)
7/15 – Had won over at least 3m (hurdles) before
5/15 – Won last time out
3/15 – Winning favourites
3/15 – Trained by Philip Hobbs
2/15 – Trained by Jonjo O’Neill
The average winning SP in the last 10 runnings is 9/1
The interesting one here is the Paul Nicholls-trained WORTHY FARM, who gets in with a very light weight and looks unexposed. This 5 year-old won at Taunton last time out despite hanging left in the closing stages. He did it that day with 11-10 on his back but will have a lot less to lump round in this better race and with only three runs over hurdles will have more to come. Yes, that hanging last time is a slight concern, but connections are sure to have worked on that since – there is every chance he is much better than his current handicap mark of just 124 – Harry Cobden, who rode him last time too, continues in the saddle. The in-form Nicholls, who won this race in 2011, also has proven course and distance winner – The Eaglehaslanded – in the race and can’t be ruled out either. Great Trango is an interesting Irish runner that had only finished outside the top three once from seven starts over hurdles, but the other of interest is the Nigel Twiston-Davies-trained GOODBYE DANCER (e/w). The yard took this race 12 months ago so clearly like to target it and a recent third at the track was a sign that this 7 year-old is running into form. He gets in here off the same mark, so another bold bid looks on the cards.
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