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Let’s start with some basic figures to help us find a winner:

  • 6 of the last 10 winners have been trained in Britain
  • 7-year-olds have won 15 of the last 20 running’s
  • Willie Mullins is the leading trainer with 5 wins in the race
  • 9 of the last 10 winners had previous experience running at Cheltenham
  • All the last 5 favourites finished in the first 3
  • The handicapper has rated the last 5 winners between 161-165

 

Finding the Winner

This race follows a similar pattern to the Ballymore and has been relatively kind to punters in recent seasons. All the last 5 favourites have finished in the 1,2,3 and the £4.50 return on Champ (2020) is the highest price of any of those 5 winners, that would suggest that the market generally has this race right. 7-year-olds have dominated this race in recent years, with 15 of the last 20 winners being that age and we should also look to the previous year’s Cheltenham festival for clues. Presenting Percy won the Pertemps final the year before he won in 2018, Topofthegame had finished 2nd in the Coral Cup, Champ was 2nd in the Ballymore and Monkfish had won the Albert Bartlett. Galopin des Champs is an obvious selection if his connections choose to come here instead of the Turners, even if he is a 6-year old, but the stats would also bring in Bravemansgame and Stattler, with the lack of Cheltenham experience an obvious concern for fans of Ahoy Senor.

 

Place Betting

In a race that favors the front of the market, it can be a difficult for each-way punters to try to find an angle. An extremely quiet ride on Fiddlerontheroof by Harry Cobden 12-months ago did help to increase the average with a solid £15.40, but that was the exception rather than the rule. Indeed, in 2020, when Champ beat Minella Indo and Allaho, they returned place premiums of £1.90, £1.50, and £1.40 respectively. Although we don’t yet know the confirmed lineup for this year’s race, there do look to be several horses at the head of the market with solid claims and so it could pay to focus more on the exotic bets for a chance of a higher return.

 

Exotic

There could well be a banker this year if Galopin des Champs is sent over the 3-mile trip and as with last year’s race, the presence of a short-priced winner can still leave an angle with the exacta/trifecta markets. Monkfish got the better of Fiddlerontheroof and the Big Breakaway, which returned an Exacta of £8.90 and a Trifecta of £31.10. In 2019 and 2020 the first 3 in the markets filled the places, yet the Trifecta returned £33.50 and £60.80, higher than the industry tricast on both occasions too. If we do have a short-priced favourite, then the key could be to focus on the horses who will be ridden to gain the best position, rather than those who may take him on and struggle to climb the famous hill. Last year is a great example of a solid return by focusing on a horse like Fiddlerontheroof who was ridden with the aim of picking up the pieces once they turned for home.

 

Placepot

There is an advantage to the opening 2 races being solid contests for favourite backers and that comes in the Placepot. Wednesday can be a very difficult race for the placepot, with the 20+ runners in both the Coral Cup and the Grand Annual needing a few perms to get through each year. With that in mind, the probability of a well fancied horse hitting the frame in this race can leave open the option of the “banker” to keep the perms to a manageable level. As an example, in 2017 the favourite for this race Might Bite, despite his quirks, would have got you through on route to a placepot premium of £3255.40


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