Festival clues - race-specific field splitters for the handicap chase events....

Friday, 5th March 2021

Festival clues - race-specific field splitters for the handicap chase events….

I’m having two bets this weekend….

I’m on a progressive horse that’s underestimated in the Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury (1.50) tomorrow afternoon. He’s primed and weighted to go well at a double-figure price, and I expect a big run….

Up at Kelso in the Morebattle Hurdle (3.15) I’m hoping to catch a falling knife. I’m on a class-horse that might just be on the verge of bouncing back with a bit of spring sunshine on his withers and some better ground underfoot….

You get immediate access to this weekend’s selections when you take a 90-day trial of my ATC service. Do that here….

  • Focusing on the Cheltenham Festival….

The start of the Cheltenham Festival is just over a week away – and that’s the focus on ATC Extra today….

On Wednesday, I covered the strongest field-splitting stats for each of the four handicap hurdle events I always target at the Festival. If you missed that, catch-up here….

Today, we move on to the four big chase events I always target at the meeting – the Ultima, the Paddy Power Plate, the Grand Annual and the Kim Muir….

I like big-field handicaps because the market can make mistakes in those kinds of races – over-estimating this horse and under-estimating that one.

In that kind of environment you can get on plenty of ‘live’ contenders at long shot prices….

How to find such horses is the bugbear. But the stats can help. What happened in the same race in previous years can tell you a fair bit about the kind of horses you might want to take an interest in this time around….

There’s quite a bit of nitty-gritty. So, let’s get straight to it….

  • Key stats for the Ultima....

Run on Day 1, the G3 Ultima Handicap Chase is contested over the 25f trip on the Old course....

Keep it in mind that 16 of the last 20 editions of the race were won by novice or second-season chasers....

And that 25 of the previous 29 race winners had already won or placed 2nd during the current season....

And that all winners of the race since the turn of the century had recorded their best chasing RPR over 3+ miles – and that the career-best of those horses amounted to at least 143....

Fav-backers should be warned that the race has produced just two winning favourites since 1994....

And punters who rely on Paul Nicholls to know the time of day should take note of the fact that his last 23 runners in the race have drawn a blank....

42 of the last 46 winners were aged 7- to 10-years-old....

Only 2 of the last 49 runners aged 11+ managed to hit the frame....

8 of the last 9 winners wore headgear of some description....

11 of the last 13 winners had already registered a victory over 3m+….

10 of the last 13 had run within the last 45 days….

Irish trainers have won 2 renewals since 2000. David Pipe has won 3 times since 2008 from just 13 runners....

Prior to 2018 and 2019 it was 30+ years since a 150+ rated horse won the race....

  • Key stats in the Grand Annual....

Run on Day 2 for the first time in 2021, the G3 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase is contested over the 16f trip on the New course....

Punters should take note that 26 of the last 30 race winners were younger than 10....

And that 20 of the last 22 winners had raced no more than 12 times over fences....

And that only one of the last 37 winners was carrying a claimer....

And that 14 of the last 17 winners had appeared at a previous Festival – albeit none winning a chase event....

Also, that 22 of the last 25 winners had produced a top-3 finish in at least one of its last two starts....

10 of the last 11 winners  were officially rated 138 to 147. Six of the last 7 winners had carried at least 11-00 to post....

8 of the last 16 winners had appeared in a previous renewal of the race....

JP McManus has won the race 4 times and placed with 8 additional participants....

Only 7 winners since 1990 had been off for 45+ days....

  • Key stats for the Paddy Power Plate

Run on Day 3, the G3 Paddy Power Plate is contested over the extended 20f trip on the New course....

Irish yards have won 3 of the last five renewals of the race, but prior to that the Irish had drawn a blank for 34-years....

It should be noted that 20 of the last 25 winners carried no more than 10-13....

And that 27 of the last 33 winners were officially rated no higher than 141....

And that there have been just three winning favourites this century....

21 of the last 22 winners had raced 3 to 16 times over fences....

23 of the last 23 winners had already won a chase over a trip between 19f and 21f....

Only one 5yo has won the race....

The Pipe family has a history of targeting the race effectively – Martin Pipe winning it 4 times and David Pipe winning it 3 times to date (and producing 4 placers)....

Venetia Williams is another handler with a potent record – her last 28 participants produced 3 wins and 5 additional places....

Nicky Henderson is another name worth noting with his last 31 runners producing 2 winners and six additional placers....

  • Key stats for the Kim Muir....

Run on Day 3, the C2 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase is contested over the 26f trip on the New course....

17 of the last 19 winners were aged no younger than 7 and no older than 9. Since 1992, only 3 horses aged older than 9 have won....

18 of the last 21  winners had raced over the 3m+ last time out....

Only one of the last 16  winners had won last time out....

Rider Jamie Codd has won the event 4 times since 2009 – and placed once....

9 of the last 10 winners wore headgear of some description....

The last four David Pipe trained horses finishing 1st or 2nd had been off 75+ days....

Derek O'Connor had finished runner-up 3 times before winning the race on Any Second Now in 2019. Only three claimers have managed to place in the first 3 over the last 12 years....

All the last 17 winners had raced at least twice that term....

Since 2009, every winner has carried 11-00+ (5 carried 11-09+)....

10 of the last 12 winners came from out of the top 6 in the betting at the off....

Gordon Elliott is a man with a record to be reckoned with – if he or his horses turn up. His ten runners in the race produced 2 winners and 4 places....

  • How the stats can help…. 

Those are just about the strongest stats throw-up by previous renewals of the handicap chase events that will be run at the Festival....

There’s no right or wrong way to use them….

They might assist you with scratching unqualified horses….

They might help you compile a shortlist of contenders worthy of further investigation….

They might help you decide whether to bet one horse over another....

They might assist you in the search for value – pinpointing runners that tick the right boxes but which are available back at attractive prices that underestimate their true chances of winning....

  • The final word….

That’s all from me for today….

Like I say, I’m on two horses in big handicaps this weekend. They’re in the ATC archive now. Get access here….

I’ll be back in your inbox on Monday when I’ll share some interesting news about this year’s Cheltenham Festival – and all the big meetings set to be run across the rest of the year….

I’m going to be doing something very different at those meetings – something I’ve never done before.

It might be something that changes the way you approach those meetings….

More on Monday. Look out for me. Meanwhile….

Anything to report? Anything to say? Anything to share? Contact me at: nick.pullen@oxonpress.co.uk

Until next time. Stay tuned.

Nick Pullen

Against the Crowd

P.S. On ATC we’ve been prepping for Cheltenham for a few weeks. There’s a fair bit of material in the archive. You get instant access when you put the service to the test….