10th March 2017
In this week’s issue….
Tomorrow’s Imperial Cup at Sandown (3.00) offers punters a final opportunity to load up the war chest ahead of the Festival.
Last year we got a placer at 33s in the shape of Spice Fair. It would be nice to go one better this time round. A smaller field than usual goes to post. Just 13 on ground described as soft.
The traditional ‘bonus’ is back in place. Matchbook are putting up £50,000 if tomorrow’s winner goes on to win a Festival race. You can be sure connections of horses with Festival entries will be out for the lot.
Three horses have won the bonus previously – all running out of the Pipe yard. Can the Pond House team do it this year with Max Do Brazil?
We’ll get to my thoughts shortly. First, a few words on statements of the bleeding obvious….
The Racing Post ran a piece last night – outlining 4 men who might have a good Festival….
As statements of the bleeding obvious go, it would take some beating. The four men were JP McManus, Mark Walsh, Colin Tizzard and Gordon Elliott….
So, to recap: that’s the biggest owner in the game who targets the meeting; the guy who’ll be riding for him; the trainer with the front two in the Gold Cup betting and the guy at the top of the Trainer standings in Ireland….
The writer can’t go far wrong, can he? He’s playing it really safe. His editor must have told him his job is on the line….
This is a guy who doesn’t get involved in a poker hand unless he’s dealt a pair of Aces. This is a guy who will probably back the favourites in next week’s big handicaps….
And, let’s hope he does. Because he’ll get what he deserves for serving up copy with no more spine than a jellyfish….
The last 166 favourites in Festival handicaps produced 20 winners and losses of 52.1 points to levels.
184 2nd-favs produced 21 winners and losses of 23 points. 180 bets on 3rd-favs produced 15 winners and losses of 38.5 points….
Short-priced Festival handicappers have always been profitable for bookmakers. Never more so than recently….
Last year there were no winning favourites in Festival handicaps. Only one hit the frame….
It was a similar story the previous year – no winning jollies and just two placing.
The last outright favourite to win a Festival handicap was Fingal Bay in 2014 – and he was the only one that year.
The conclusion is crystal-clear: Follow the market in Festival handicaps and you get smashed.
There are no guarantees, however you play the handicaps….
You can take the short horses on and still get smashed-up. No doubt about it. The handicaps are so competitive that a horse can run the race of its life and not even place….
It’s a similar story for punters. The Festival handicaps represent a hostile betting environment.
Fav-backers play it safe. They dance about and try and stay out of trouble – hoping to land a good shot and stay in the fight.
Fair enough. That’s their business. But I don’t bet that way. I’m up for a dog-fight. I’m out for a proper tear-up. I’m not going to get beaten on points. It’s knock-out or get knocked-out for me. I’ll go out swinging….
In next week’s handicaps, I’ll be taking on the fancied horses – across the board.
The shorties are bad bets. But they produce value further down the betting list and that’s what I’ll be targeting – value. I’ll be seeking out the right horses at the wrong prices….
I’m looking to get a couple of big ones in. I’m looking for a couple of winners at really big prices. I’m looking to smash the bookies.
There are no guarantees, of course. But if I’m going to go down, I’ll go down throwing shots. Not making statements of the bleeding obvious like some Racing Post feature writer….
I’m two-against-the-field for tomorrow’s Imperial Cup – there are only 3 places up for grabs so I’m backing both my selections win-only and looking for one of them to come out on top.
First-up is Gary Moore’s NOT ANOTHER MUDDLE at a general 10s. He’s the least exposed horse in the field having had only 3 runs. He ran well at Plumpton on his debut for Moore. He showed he has some ability at Fontwell next time out and he kept on well last time – again at Fontwell.
I know Gary Moore thinks a lot of this horse and sees it as one with a big future. Unexposed types tend to win the Imperial Cup. There aren’t many of those in tomorrow’s line-up and I think this one is a nice price for a horse who hasn’t shown anywhere near his full potential yet.
The other one I’m going to back is KAYF BLANCO. He’s a bit more experienced than would ordinarily be desirable in this race. But this is not an ordinary renewal and he could very well outrun the general 12s you can get about him this afternoon.
He went nicely – albeit in defeat – at Newbury last time in a good handicap and up against some very smart performers.
This might well be an easier assignment. We know he’s fit and firing and the first-time addition of hood and tongue-tie could help him surpass anything he’s shown before. He’s a decent bet at double-figures.
That’s all from me. Enjoy your weekend….
We’ve got tons of bet-finding data for next week’s Festival in the Archive on the ATC website. You can get immediate access to it all right now....
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