CHELTENHAM ONE WEEK AHEAD: Starting today for Tuesday’s opening day at Cheltenham next week, Daqman reveals stats and facts for all four days at the festival. See how they won, where the winners came from in terms of trainers, ratings and form.
MORE ANTE-POST BETDAQ BETS: Daqman’s Fortune Cookies and early ante-post bets have already been published. But now he spots odds on the BETDAQ BETTING EXCHANGE which are value and targets the races where you have lays potential to oppose the favourite.
THE FESTIVAL FANTASTIKAS
⚠️ Here’s Daqman’s stats-and-facts survey of every race at next week’s Cheltenham Festival, starting with Champion Hurdle day one week today, next Tuesday. It’s your guide to ratings, trainers, form, age, weight and favourites.
ANTE-POST: 1.20 Tuesday, El Fabiolo 15.0 BETDAQ Sportsbook; 2.50 Tuesday, Fantastikas (17.0); 4.50 Tuesday, Forever Blessed 37.0; 5.30 Thursday, Cat Tiger 17.0.
LAYS LOGIC: Poor returns for favourites of 4-1 or shorter in the 1.20 and 5.30 next Tuesday suggest a potential for lays.
⭕ 1.20 Cheltenham, Tuesday, March 15 (Supreme Novices Hurdle) Only two outright favourites have won in 12 years but only one winner was bigger than 10-1. Winning ages: 5 and 6 are 11/12. Ratings (last seven years): 155, 155, 144, 150, 154, 153, 153.
Willie Mullins has won this seven times among 13 Irish winners out of the last 21 (15 had raced in bumpers); 21 of the last 23 winners won the last day; nine out of the last 12 had won a Graded contest.
ANTE-POST: Now that rain is forecast, El Fabiolo could be one of the Willie Mullins runners. In a different league to his rivals at Tramore on the first day of the year, ‘he’s up there with some of my best novice hurdlers of the past,’ says trainer Willie Mullins, who is likely to throw plenty at the Nicky Henderson favourites for the Supreme. Unexposed and one to follow.
LAYS were possible on losing SP favourites in last six five years: Min (2016) 2nd 15-8; Getabird (2018) 11th 7-4; Asterion Forlonge (2010) 4th 9-4.
⭕ 2.10 Cheltenham, Tuesday, March 15 (Arkle Challenge Trophy) SP: Seven odds-on favourites have won in the last 11 seasons. Winning ages: 6 and 7. Ratings: 166, 161, 170, 162, 151, 144, 164.
Nicky Henderson has won four in the last 10 years; Willie Mullins is four from seven. Some 13 out of 14 Arkle heroes had won or been placed over at least 19 furlongs.
Nine out of 11 had between three and five chase races, always in the first two. *Not a lays race.
⭕ 2.50 Cheltenham, Tuesday, March 15 (Ultima Handicap Chase) Only one successful SP favourite in 11 seasons; but 5-1 to 11-1 traps eight of the 11 winners. Ages: 7 and 8 seven out of 11
Ratings: 146, 148, 155, 142, 151, 139, 143. Trainers: David Pipe (2) and Jonjo O’Neill (2) since 2012.
Ten winners of the last 11 had run at a previous Cheltenham festival; nine out of 11 had won over at least 3m.
ANTE-POST: My ante-post bets are for horses I expect to be winning this Spring. Cat Tiger has needed a test; jumps superbly and Paul Nicholls will be hoping he gets into the Ultima or the Kim Muir (17.0).
Still ‘ifs and buts’ at this stage, but BETDAQ Sportsbook bets are ’non-runner money back’ and it seems that Nigel Twiston-Davies has decided to swerve the strong-quality 3m 6f race (90.0 for the 5.30) today for the 3m 1f Ultima (17.0 for the 2.50) with Fantastikas, a fine stayer and jumper, purpose built for Cheltenham.
*Not a lays race.
⭕ 3.30 Cheltenham, Tuesday, March 15 (Champion Hurdle) SP: Seven winning favourites since 2010. Ages: 6 and 7 nine out of 12.
Ratings: 169, 162, 157, 169, 162, 159, 161. Trainers: Henderson 5, Mullins 4 in the last 12 years (Ireland 7 out of 11). Ten winners out of 12 had won a Grade-1 hurdle.
*Not a lays race.
⭕ 4.10 Cheltenham, Tuesday, March 15 (Mares’ Hurdle) SP: Six favourites scored out of 11. Ages: no winners older than 7 unless a previous winner of the race.
Ratings: 150, 154, 153, 147, 142, 158, 148. Trainers: Willie Mullins 9 out of 13.
*Not a lays race.
⭕ 4.50 Cheltenham, Tuesday, March 15 (Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle) Only one winning favourite in 11 years with most winners at enormous prices: 80-1, 40-1, 33-1 (three times) and 25-1 (twice) and that’s only since 2012. Ages: 4yo race.
Trainers: Paul Nicholls (3). Ratings: 131, 133, 134, 129, 139, 138, 125 with winning weights from 10st 6lb to 11st 8lb.
ANTE-POST: I toyed with one or two ideas for this, including Forever Blessed and Ben Siegel, and Forever Blessed (BETDAQ Sportsbook 37.0) certainly looks big for his capable trainer. I can see Harry Fry getting on to my big-odds winners list one way or another (see Monday in the Archive).
Noel Meade is quoted as saying Ben Siegel needs top of the ground. In any event, the big-odds winners seem to be those which are ignored on the day itself.
*Not recommended as a lays race with recent favourites up to 15-2, but anything 3-1 or shorter is in our range and worth a pot shot.
⭕ 5.30 Cheltenham, Tuesday, March 15 (NH Challenge Cup) In the four years 2015 to 2018, this 4m amateurs’ chase produced a Grand National winner, second and third in Tiger Roll, Cause Of Causes and Rathvinden. But in 2020 the race was reduced to 3m 6f.
Three SP favourites won (2011-13) but none since. Ages: 7 and 8 seven out of 11. Nine out of 12 had won over at least 3m. Ratings: 146, 143, 152, 150, 145, 142, 152
LAYS possible after these losing favourites in the last six years: A Genie In A Bottle (2017) 5th at 4-1; Jury Road (2018) UR at 4-1; Ballyward (2019) fell at 9-4; Carefully Selected fell 10-11 (2020) and Escaria Ten 3rd 11-4 last year.
WHO DARES BINS THE CASH
⭕ 2.55 Sandown today I hope there’s some Esher turf left intact for one of my favourite races, the Imperial Cup, at Sandown on Saturday.
It was muddy there for this handicap chase in 2019 when Darebin ground it out in his usual manner to win for Gary Moore.
Darebin loves Sandown, where his local owners will be hoping to line their pockets for Cheltenham. He won off 109 in 2018 and, four years on, needs only cope with a similar mark (110).
What he takes to post today over and above his previous form this season is the sudden super-form of his Gary Moore stable, on 10-34 since February 24 from a double at Huntingdon, a four-timer at Fontwell and strikes at Plumpton, Lingfield, Kempton and Newbury.
Darebin gets around a stone each from Galop De Chasse, still a novice but high in the handicap, Another Crick who seemed back to form but has now to wear cheekpieces, and Katpoli, who looks dangerous dropped a few pounds, with Dr Richard Newman just now finding a bit of form.
Doukarov is hard to settle in a small field. Sabbatical is a basic ‘fun’ animal who has run chases and hurdles off the same mark, always thereabouts, since last year at this time.
⭕ 3.30 Sandown (Grand Military Gold Cup) Rolling Dylan came back to Philip Hobbs from a spell Pointing with Laura Parker and won the Royal Artillery Gold Cup over today’s CD for rider, and the combo can add another gold to the sideboard this afternoon.
⭕ 4.05 Sandown Dan Skelton thought about the Imperial Cup for West To The Bridge but Tristan Durrell, hot from success for Skelton on the first day of the month at Leicester, could add together youthful enthusiasm and a 7lb claim to help Bridge the gap between a double and hat-trick here.
West To The Bridge has got where he is front-running in soft ground and, at a difference of a couple of pounds, could spoil Git Maker’s own hat-trick bid over hurdles after a double in novice company.
Course-winner Benson (Dr Richard Newland again) is down the handicap but a beaten favourite the last day. Dual-purpose Fifty Ball, a winner here before trying Graded company and fences, looks interesting for that man Gary Moore.
2.55 Sandown (win 10)
BET 3.5pts win DAREBIN
3.30 Sandown (win 10, nap)
BET 10pts win ROLLING DYLAN
4.05 Sandown (win 10)
BET 2.5pts win WEST TO THE BRIDGE
What are points? Points facilitate a staking plan, which is the secret to creating profit. One point is whatever you choose: a pound, a euro, or whatever ….
Start with a bank and decide how much you can afford to lose over a period of time, and determine the size of your bets accordingly. Daqman makes this variation every day.