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MONDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2010

Bar One Racing Handicap Hurdle - Fairyhouse, November 27th

• 10 of the last 11 winners have been aged between four and six.
•Willie Mullins is the clear pick among trainers; since 2000, he has had 3 winners and 2 runners-up including Thousand Stars last year who went on to win the County Hurdle.
• The betting has been an excellent guide with the favourite winning 7 of the last 10 renewals with three more winners returning in the front five in the betting.
• Unexposed handicappers are the ones to concentrate on; 10 of the last 11 winners had 6 or fewer runs in handicaps with 6 having their first or second run in a handicap.
 
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2010

Troytown Handicap Chase - Navan, November 21st

•  This is one of the strongest trends races on the national hunt calendar and should be approached in the same manner as the other top staying chases: concentrate on young chasers on the up.
•  With the exception of subsequent Grade 1 winner Notre Pere who won this with 11-7 yet was still obviously well-treated off 138, this has been a race for the light-weights. Three miles in winter ground at Navan takes plenty of getting and 10 of the last 11 winners carried 10-9 or less before their jockey's claims were considered. By the same token, only 3 placed horses since 1999 have carried more than 11-0.
•  No horse older than nine has won this race since 1992 which is as far as my records go back so concentrate on younger animals, particularly those aged six and seven. From 37% of the runners in the last 10 renewals they have had 6 winners and 6 runners-up.
•  Putting Paul Townend up on Beroni ahead of Ruby Walsh last year amounted to little more than a stroke but the Willie Mullins punters certainly backed the real first string and sent the winner off just behind the three co-favourites at 7/1. That was in keeping with the market's good record in the race: just 1 of the last 11 winners was sent off a double-figure price.
•  Horses with a recent run do best which could count against some of those returning directly from their summer break on Sunday. 7 of the last 8 winners had run in the previous month while the exception was last seen in the Kerry National.
•  Give preference to lightly-raced handicappers. Cloudy Bays won this after 9 handicap chase runs but he started from a very low base but none of the other winners since 1999 had more than 6 runs in handicaps. Only 4 recent winners had already won a handicap chase before this, none winning more than once.
•  As with races like the Paddy Power and Thyestes, second-season chasers are the way to go. Of the last 11 winners, 9 were just out of their novice season while the 2 exceptions were lightly-raced third season chasers.
•  Proven stamina over 3 miles isn't an absolute must and wasn't last year with Beroni but look for your fancy to have won over at least an extended two and a half miles; all the last 10 winners had won over at least twenty-two furlongs.

 

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2010

Ladbrokes.com Munster National - Limerick, October 10th

•  From 60% of the runners since 1999, horses aged between six and eight have won 9 times and supplied 16 placed horses. A ten-year-old won the race in both 2002 and 2003 but there were extenuating circumstances; only 2 horses younger than nine took their chance when More Than A Stroll won in 2002 while Brownie Returns won a farcical renewal in 2003 when almost half the field were disqualified for taking the wrong course.
•  The last 8 winners carried 10-12 or less.
•  No horse rated higher than 142 has won in the last 11 years.
•  Among the trainers, Mouse Morris has won the race thrice since 1996. In the last 11 years, Noel Meade has had a winner and 3 runners-up from 10 attempts.
•  The lack of a recent run need not be a negative here as 7 of the last 11 winners were having their first run since June.

 

THURSDAY, JUNE 24, 2010

National Lottery Sweepstakes Race - Curragh, June 27th

•  3yos are the dominant age-group with 13 wins in the last 18 renewals. In the last decade, they have made up 22% of the total runners but had 7 winners. Since 1991, only 1 horse older than 5 has won the race and that was when it was run on bottomless ground in 2007 when relative stamina (which comes with age) came into play. From the 53 runners aged six or more to run here since 2000, 1 has won, 3 have finished second, 1 came third while 2 were fourth.
•  Since 1999, 9 of the 11 winners made the first four last time.
•  In the 19 runnings since 1991, only 2 winners have carried more than 9-3 to victory. 14 of the winners in that time carried 9-0 or less.
•  This race is run over six furlongs and sixty-three yards but form at six furlongs has been key; 9 of the last 10 winners had already scored over six and indeed had been remarkably consistent at that trip. Taking out Machinist in 2007 (a very exposed type who won on heavy ground), the 9 other winners 2000 had run 23 times as a group over six furlongs, winning 12 times, finishing second 7 times and only once finishing out of the four.
•  Runners unexposed in handicaps have done best; of the last 12 winners, only 2 had more than 4 runs in handicaps.
•  Course form should be noted. While only 3 of the last 13 winners had won at the Curragh, 9 more had finished in the first four at the Kildare track.
•  English raiders tend to do well in Irish sprints but this race has been unkind to them with only 1 winner in the last 19 years. They are worth opposing as they tend to take up a chunk of the market as was again the case last year when Something was an unplaced 9/2 favourite.
•  Kevin Prendergast has won the race 4 times since 1991 and in the last 6 years he has had 2 wins, a second and a third. Jim Bolger is another with a fine record with 4 wins since 2001.
For an in-depth trends analysis of the Irish Derby, see my Horse Racing Statistics article on Betfair's Irish horse racing betting blog .

 

TUESDAY, JUNE 15, 2010

Specsavers 2 for 1 Ulster Derby - Down Royal, June 19th

•  Since this race became an all-aged handicap in 1994, 3yos and 4yos have won all bar one renewal. The classic generations have a particularly fine record in the last decade when their 19 runners (16% of the total runners) have produced 5 winners, a second and a third. There are three 3yos in this year's race: Bright Horizon, Ghetto Gospel and Mianach.
•  Horses carrying big weights should be opposed. All of the last 10 winners have received at least 15lbs from the top-weight (before claims were taken into account) while no winner since 2000 has carried more than 8-9.
•  The 3yo winners since 2000 have been rated 101, 95 and 92 (thrice) but no older winner of the race in that period were higher than 85.
•  Dual-purpose trainers have won 6 of the last 8 renewals and Jessica Harrington has a particularly good record; she won the race in 2008 and had runners-up in 2003, 2005 and 2006.
•  4 of the last 6 winners won their most recent start. Of this year's entries, Grand Admiral, Ceannline, Fisher Bridge, Bright Horizon, Ghetto Gospel and Mianach all won last time.
MONDAY, MARCH 29, 2010

Ladbrokes.com Handicap Hurdle - Fairyhouse, April 6th

•  The weight trend is strong here; only 1 of the last 11 winners, the subsequent triple Grade 1 winner Macs Joy, carried more than 10-4 to victory. Last year's renewal was a case in point as the first three home carried 9-11, 9-10 and 10-0 respectively.
•  No winner since 1999 has been rated higher than 124. There are 13 such horses in this year's race at the time of writing.
•  Since 1999, 10 of the 11 renewals have fallen to horses aged five, six or seven. In the same period, 27 of the 31 placed horses have emerged from the same age spread.
•  Leopardstown handicap hurdle form has a habit of working out well. The winners of the race in both 2001 and 2002 improved on top five finishes in the MCR Hurdle and 5 other winners since 1999 have emerged from two mile handicap hurdles run at the Foxrock track since the turn of the year. This year's MCR Hurdle was won by Puyol and has worked out extremely well (the first five home are all entered here) while the races won by Moville on February 7 th and Tarkari on February 28 th may also be worth looking at.
•  None of the last 9 winners had more than 4 runs in handicap hurdles.
For an in-depth trends analysis of the Irish Grand National, see my Horse Racing Statistics article on Betfair's Irish horse racing betting blog .

 

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 3, 2010

Hennessy Chase - Leopardstown, February 7th

•  Official ratings have been a fabulous guide here. 10 of the last 12 winners here were rated at least 160 with one of the exceptions, Beef Or Salmon in 2003, yet to have been given a handicap mark; he had however won the Lexus on his most recent start achieving a Racing Post Rating of 163+.
•  The Lexus has been the key trial. 7 of the last 8 winners ran in the December 28th race (or 29th in 2009!) over the same course-and-distance finishing:F321F13. All of the last 12 winners were previous Grade 1 winners and all bar Beef Or Salmon in 2003 had won at least two Grade 1s. In a similar vein, every winner since 1998 had won a Grade 1 chase.
•  Proven stamina is a must; only 2002 winner Alexander Banquet had yet to win over at least three miles in the past 12 years.
For a more in-depth analysis of this race, see my Horse Racing Statistics article on Betfair's Irish horse racing betting blog .
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2009

Leopardstown Hurdle - Leopardstown, January 10th

•  12 of the last 14 winners have carried 10-11 or less before their jockey's claim was taken into account.
•  No winner has been rated higher than 127 since 1996. 6 of the last 18 winners were rated between 114 and 119.
•  In the thirteen renewals since 1997, only one five-year-old has won. In that time period, the winner have been aged six (five times), seven (five times) or eight (twice).
•  In-form horses dominate; the last 10 winners all finished in first four last time out.
•  Unexposed runners do best; none of the winners since 1996 had run more than 9 times over hurdles or 6 times in handicap hurdles. That said, we should avoid handicap debutantes as only 1 of the last 14 winners was having his first run in a handicap here.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2009

December Festival Hurdle - Leopardstown, December 29th

•  The Morgiana has been the best recent trial, throwing up 5 of the last 9 winners. They finished:31321 at Punchestown.
•  Noel Meade tends to have a strong hand in the 2-mile division but his record in this race is disappointing and is without a win here since 1992. In the past decade, he has managed just one placed runner and has been responsible for 3 of the last 4 beaten favourites, 2 of which were odds on (Iktitaf at 4/6 in 2006 and Harchibald at 9/10 in 2005).
•  Brave Inca has given Colm Murphy a strong recent record in the race (2 wins and 2 places in the last 5 years) and Voler La Vedette is an intriguing entry from the same yard this year.
•  Of the recent winners to complete the course on their last start, all made the first four. Surprisingly, only 1 won last time out.
•  Course form, whether over jumps or on the level, should be respected. Of the last 10 winners, 7 had already won at Leopardstown while two others had come second twice at the track.
For a trends analysis of the Paddy Power Chase at the same meeting, see my Horse Racing Statistics article on Betfair's Irish horse racing betting blog .
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 23, 2009

Bar One Racing Handicap Hurdle - Fairyhouse, November 28th

•  83% of the winners and placed horses have been aged between four and six; only one horse older than six has placed since 2002.
• Willie Mullins leads the line amongst the trainers; he's had 2 winners and 2 runners-up since 2000.
• The market has been very accurate here; the favourite has won 6 of the last 10 renewals with three more winners emerging from the first five in the betting. Only 1 winner since 1999 was returned any bigger than 6/1.
• Lightly raced in handicaps is the way to go; 9 of the last 10 winners had 6 or fewer runs in handicaps with 6 having their first or second run in a handicap including each of the last four.
MONDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2009

Troytown Handicap Chase - Navan, November 22nd

•  In one of the strongest trends races of the season, the general approach to staying handicap chases still applies: concentrate on young, unexposed types.
•  Notre Pere defied a burden of 11-7 to win last year but subsequent events showed that a mark of 138 severely underestimated the Welsh National and Punchestown Gold Cup winner and the general pattern has been towards lightly-weighted runners; of the 9 winners prior to last year, none carried more than 10-9 before jockeys claims. In the last decade, only 3 of the 21 placed horses had more than 11-0 on their back.
•  All of the winners in the last decade were aged between six and nine but in terms of strike-rate the 6yos and 7yos are the ones to be with; from a third of the runners since 1999 they have had 60% of the winners and 43% of the places. 8yos perform in line with the percentage of the runners they've made up while there is a significant drop-off as we get to the older horses; 9yos perform about half as well as you'd expect on the law of averages while none of the 17 horses aged ten or more have managed to win.
•  The market invariably gets this race pretty much right. Only 1 winners since 1999 was returned at a double-figure price (Cane Brake at 10/1 in 2006) while 9 of the last 10 winners emerged from the front four in the betting.
•  Summer jumpers tend to the struggle here against the better winter types; just 1 of the last 10 winners had run more than twice since Punchestown and that was the very well-treated Cloudy Bays in 2003, a Charles Byrnes special who won this off 119 but finished the season rated 152.
•  Respect horses that have had a recent run. Lyreen Wonder won this on his seasonal reappearance in both 2000 and 2001 but the other 8 winners in the last decade all had a recent outing, 7 in the previous month. Most acquitted themselves well.
•  Give preference to lightly-raced handicappers. Cloudy Bays won this after 9 handicap chase runs but he started from a very low base but none of the other winners since 1999 had more than 6 runs in handicaps. Only 4 recent winners had already won a handicap chase before this, none winning more than once.
•  As with races like the Paddy Power and Thyestes, second-season chasers are the way to go. Of the last 10 winners, 8 were just out of their novice season while the 2 exceptions were lightly-raced third season chasers.
•  Horses with course form should be upgraded. 7 of the last 9 winners had already won around the track while another had finished second.
•  Proven stamina over 3 miles isn't an absolute must but expect your fancy to have won over at least an extended two and a half miles; all the last 10 winners had won over at least twenty-two furlongs.
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2009

November Handicap - Leopardstown, November 1st

•  Only 1 of the last 10 winners has carried more than 9-1 (before jockeys' claims).
•  Age seems irrelevant here as horses aged between 3 and 11 have won in the past decade.
•  Highly-rated 3yos do win this – Lounaos won off 98 in 2006 while Enzeli defied a mark of 102 in 1998 – but none of 9 older horses to win in past decade was rated higher than 89.
•  5 of the last 7 winners were rated between 86 and 89.
•  Scottish Memories hadn't run since the Champion Hurdle in March when landing this race in 2003 but preference should be given to race-fit runners; 9 of the last 10 winners had an outing in the previous 7 weeks.
•  Respect in-form horses. Of the 9 winners to have had a recent outing, only 1 finished out of the first six. 4 were last time out winners.
•  Athlumney Lad was a total trends-buster when winning this race in 2007 having had 34 previous handicap starts but it was a return to the status quo with Solwhit last year who was having only his second handicap run; 9 of the last 10 winners had run no more than 7 times in handicap company. 7 of the last 10 winners had already won a handicap in the season of their victory.
•  Look out for classy jumps performers. Of the last 8 winners, 6 had a published national hunt rating of 117 or more.
•  Proven stamina is a massive plus – 7 of the last 10 winners had won over at least 14f on the level. Of the exceptions, Scottish Memories was a multiple graded winner over hurdles while Calladine had won a 3-mile handicap hurdle.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2009

Munster National - Limerick, October 11th

•  From 60% of the runners in the past decade, horses aged between six and eight have won 8 times and supplied 13 placed horses. A ten-year-old won the race in both 2002 and 2003 but there were extenuating circumstances; only 2 horses younger than nine took their chance when More Than A Stroll won in 2002 while Brownie Returns won a farcical renewal in 2003 when almost half the field were disqualified for taking the wrong course.
•  8 of the last 10 winners carried 10-12 or less to victory.
•  No horse rated higher than 142 has won in the last 10 years.
•  Among the trainers, Davy Fitzgerald is a name to note with his runners in the last 4 years running:2312. Noel Meade has had a winner and 3 runners-up from 9 attempts.
•  The lack of a recent run need not be a negative here as 6 of the last 10 winners were having their first run since around the time of the Punchestown Festival.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2009

Hacketts Boomakers Irish Cesarewitch - The Curragh, September 27th

• Four-year-olds are the age-group to note; from 24% of the runners since 1999, they've had 5 winners and 9 placed horses.
• No winner in last decade was rated higher than 95.
• 7 of the last 9 winners had 5 or fewer runs in handicaps.
• Course form should be respected; 6 of the last 10 winners had won at the Curragh while 2 more had placed at the track.
• The September Handicap has been the single best trial with 4 recent winners having their most recent outing the race; this year's renewal was won by Silverhand with Essex, Majestic Concorde and Cybersnow filling the frame.
TUESDAY, JULY 7, 2009

Rockingham Handicap - The Curragh, July 12th

- These sprint handicaps are supposed to be impossible for punters but this has been a good race for backing the favourite; 5 of the last 10 market leaders have won.
- Timote won this as a 3yo in 1999 but the last 9 winners have all been four or older. Only one 3yo has managed a place since 2005.
- It's been very difficult for hold-up horses to win over this speed-emphasising trip – of the last 9 winners, 8 were up with the pace throughout.
- 8 of the past 10 winners finished first, second or third on their most recent start.
- Course form is important here. 7 of the last 10 winners had finished third at worst at the Curragh while 7 of the last 9 winners had their last outing at the track

 

TUESDAY, JUNE 23, 2009

Dubai Duty Free Finest Surprise Scurry Handicap - The Curragh, June 28th

- 3yos have dominated this race, winning 13 of the last 17 renewals.
- Only 1 horse older than 5 has won since 1991.
- In the 17 runnings since 1991, just 1 winner has carried more than 9-3.
- 8 of the last 10 winners finished in the first four on their last outing with 4 winning.
- Unexposed types have a fine record – only 2 of the last 12 winners had more than 4 runs in handicaps.
- Decent form at the track should be viewed positively; though only one of the last 12 winners had previously won at the Curragh, 10 of the others had a top four finish at the track under their belts.
- Jim Bolger has an excellent record in the race with 4 wins since 2001 while Kevin Prendergast does well too – he's had 2 winners and a second in the past 5 years. Of the smaller yards, Joanna Morgan is a name to note as 5 of her last 6 runners have made the four.

For a more in-depth analysis of the Irish Derby, see my Horse Racing Statistics article on   Betfair's Irish horse racing betting blog .

 

MONDAY, APRIL 27, 2009

Rabobank Champion Hurdle - Punchestown, May 1st: The Key Trends

-   Noel Meade has a poor record in the race ; his 8 runners have ran:45672444 with the second being a 4/6 favourite.
- Of all the age-groups, 7yos have the best record with 6 winners and 3 runners-up   from a third of the total runners.
-   Only 3 of the last 10 winners had already won an open Grade 1 hurdle race .
-   6 of the last 8 winners were second-season hurdlers .
-   8 winners in the past decade had already won at Punchestown   while 6 had won at the Festival meeting.
- The last 10 winners were ridden no further back than tracking the leaders.
-   No favourite has won since 1999 .  
For a more in-depth analysis of the big Punchestown races, see my Horse Racing Statistics article   on   Betfair's Irish horse racing betting blog   or the   Stats Guides   on the   At The Races Punchestown website .

MONDAY, MARCH 30, 2009

Irish Grand National - Fairyhouse, April 13th: The Key Trends

- The weight trend here is very strong; only 1 of the last 10 winner carried more than 10-12 to victory while 28 of the 30 placed horses since 1999 have carried 11-0 or less.
- 8 of the last 9 winners have been rated between 125 and 136.
- 6yos and 7yos seriously out-perform older horses here; from 22% of the total runners since 1999, they've had 5 winners and 6 runners-up. Only 1 runner aged in double figures has placed since 2005.
- Of the last 9 winners to complete the course, none finished worse than seventh.
- Last year's winner Hear The Echo was an extreme example of how lightly-raced have come to the fore here as he was having his first run since Christmas. The last 7 winners had no more than 2 outings since the turn of the year.
- Concentrate on unexposed handicappers as none of the last 10 winners had more than 8 runs in handicap chases.
For a more in-depth analysis of this topic, see my Horse Racing Statistics article on Betfair's Irish horse racing betting blog .
THURSDAY, MARCH 19, 2009

The Lincoln - The Curragh, March 22nd: The Key Trends

- A few of the bigger yards have pretty poor records in the first big handicap of the flat season. Kevin Prendergast has managed just a fourth place finish from 15 runners since 1999 while Jim Bolger has had only a third from 9 runners in the same time period. Ger Lyons is without a place from 8 attempts.
- 4yos make up the bulk of the field but their overall strike-rate isn't great. If you're backing a 4yo make sure it's a particular type, namely an unexposed type that was lightly raced in handicaps at three. The four winning four-year-olds since 1998 (Deauville Vision, Bawaader, Tolpuddle & Tarry Flynn) had just 4 runs in handicaps between them and all were to finish the season rated over 100 and running in pattern races.
- This race can turn into a real slog (all of the last 10 renewals have been run on yielding-soft or worse, though the weather forecast suggests it could be slightly quicker this year) and older horses that have developed stamina with age win more than their share. From just 17% of the total runners, horses aged between seven and nine have supplied 40% of the winners as well as 7 places.
- Throw out unproven stayers without a second thought. All of the last 10 winners had previously won over at least a mile while many had shown form over further; Crooked Throw, Victram, Atlantic Rhapsody and Wray had all won over hurdles while Tolpuddle, Livadiya and Tarry Flynn had won over nine furlongs or further.
- 8 of the last 10 winners carried 9-0 or less to victory and the place stats are similar – 24 of the 30 horses hitting the frame had 9-0 or less on their backs.
- 7 of the last 10 winners were rated between 87 and 92.
- The draw is crucial here and horses drawn in the middle third have little chance. 9 of the last 10 winners (and 24 of the last 30 placed horses) were drawn within 8 stalls of either rail. In an average year, about 24 horses go to post so this stat should allow you to knock out a third of the field.
- Front-runners and prominent racers should be opposed relentlessly. Since 1999, 5 of the winners were held up, 3 raced in mid-division and 4 tracked the pace while just 4 of the 30 placed horses raced prominently and none finished better than third.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2009

Deloitte Novice Hurdle - Leopardstown 8th: The Key Trends

- Six-year-olds have dominated this race with 7 of the last 10 winners as well as 9 of the 13 placed horses.
- This is one of the best races in the calendar for backing the favourite; the market leader has won 8 of the last 10 renewals.
- Just 1 of the past 10 winners (Forpadydeplasterer in 2008) failed to win their most recent start.
- Solerina was an atypical winner of this in 2003 as she was having her ninth run of the season; on the whole relative freshness has been important and no other recent winner had run in the previous 4 weeks.
- The Future Champions Novice Hurdle has been the best trial supplying 5 of the last 9 winners. The winners finished:21111 and this year's renewal was won by Hurricane Fly.
- Graded form figures prominently among the recent winners' profiles; all but 1 of the last 10 winners had already run in a graded novice while 7 had won one.
- Proven stamina is crucial with 9 of the last 10 winners having won over at least 19 furlongs.
- Respect course form as 6 of the past 9 winners had already won at Leopardstown.
- There are few more consistently fruitful sources of future winners and stars than this race and it has thrown up the likes of Sackville, Native Upmanship, Hardy Eustace, Solerina and Brave Inca recently. A bet on each of the first three home on their next three outings would return 32 winners from 87 bets (37% strike-rate) for a level-stakes profit of over €14.
SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2009

The Hennessy, Leopardstown February 8th 2009 - The Key Trends

- Official ratings have been a fabulous guide here. 9 of the last 11 winners here were rated at least 160 with one of the exceptions, Beef Or Salmon in 2003, yet to have been given a handicap mark; he had however won the Lexus on his most recent start achieving a Racing Post Rating of 163+.
- The last 10 winners have been aged between 7 and 12 which is hardly much of a help. 9yos have won been the most productive age-group though with 5 wins in 11 eleven years.
- Respect the market. 10 of the past 11 winners have been sent off favourite or second-favourite. Neptune Collonges and Exotic Dancer are almost sure to head the betting in 2009.
- Don't look beyond the obvious contenders on recent form; 8 winners in past decade made the three last time while the 2 exceptions fell.
- The Lexus has been the key trial. 6 of the last 7 winners ran in the December 28th race over the same course-and-distance finishing: 321F13. The impressive 20l winner Exotic Dancer and the faller Neptune Collonges will be the best representatives of the form.
- All of the last 11 winners were previous Grade 1 winners and all bar Beef Or Salmon in 2003 had won at least two Grade 1s. In a similar vein, every winner since 1998 had won a Grade 1 chase.
- Proven stamina is a must; only 2002 winner Alexander Banquet had yet to win over at least three miles in the past 11 years.
- Every winner since 1998 had already won at Leopardstown while 7 could be justifiably described as course specialists having won at least thrice at the track. Neptune Collonges, who fell on his sole course run, fails this criterion.
- Willie Mullins (6 wins and 3 places) and Michael Hourigan (3 wins and 2 places) have absolutely carved this race up in the last decade with only two other Irish trainers managing even a placed runner in that timeframe. However, the tide has almost certainly swung towards the English trainers for now ; they had a one-two last season and raiders have won all three of our Grade 1 chases over 2m4f and further in 2008/9 with Kauto Star in the Nicholson, Noland in the John Durkan and Exotic Dancer in the Lexus.
TUESDAY, JANUARY 13, 2009

Ellen Construction Thyestes Chase, Gowran Park, January 22nd - The Key Trends

- A weight trend is dominant here; no winner since 2000 has carried more than 10-11 to victory before jockeys' claims were taken into account. In the same timeframe, no horse with more than 10-13 made the first three.
- Official ratings are available for this race since 1997 and no horse has won off a mark higher than 133.
- Track specialist Bob Treacy won this as a 12yo in 2001 but the general tendency since the millennium has been towards the younger horses; seven-, eight- and nine-year-olds have won every other renewal since 2000. 8yos lead the way with 4 of the last 9 winners as well as 7 placed horses in the same period.
- A recent run is a must – all of the last 10 winners had run in the previous month. Where they finished seems not so important with one winning, three placing, three finishing unplaced, two being pulled up and another falling.
- As so often, respect unexposed horses: 9 of the last 11 winners had no more than 5 outings in handicap chases.
- In a similar pattern, concentrate on novices and second-season chasers. 9 of the last 11 winners were in their first or second season over fences with one of the exceptions being Dun Doire who was a third-season chaser in name only.
- Preists Leap looked suspiciously like a freak winner as a 20/1 shot last term; certainly he had nothing like the proven stamina of the previous winners. With the 10 winners prior to him all having won over at least 3 miles (7 had won over further), we can reasonably expect staying power to come to the fore again.
- Only Willie Mullins has won this race more than once in recent times with 3 winners since 2000. He's also had a pair of runners-up and a third and given his current form it would be no surprise to see his runners involved again.
- Course form around Gowran Park should not be underestimated
7 of the last 10 winners had made the frame at the track already.
SUNDAY, JANUARY 4, 2009

Leopardstown Chase - Leopardstown, January 11th: The Key Trends

- The ground has been no faster than yielding-soft in the past 10 years.
- Arthur Moore is a trainer to note. He has saddled 2 winners and 4 placed horse in the past decade including the second and third last year.
- Unlike many of the top staying handicaps, weight seems not to matter and there is no reason why lightly-weighted contenders should be given preference. The top-weight has won the last 2 renewals while winners in the preceding 8 years carried 12-0, 11-11 and 11-1 to victory.
- 7 of the last 9 winners have been rated between 134 and 144.
- 9yos are the dominant age-group with 6 winners and 5 runners-up since 1999. Horses in double figures can and do win this as What A Native (10yo) and Buck Rogers (11yo) have shown but both were very lightly raced for their age having had just 9 and 10 chase starts respectively and as a rule I'd be against very exposed horses.
- The market was a fine guide between 1999 and 2006 with every winner returned at 7/1 or shorter but its efficiency hasn't been great lately with 14/1 shots winning the last 2 runnings.
- Concentrate on in-form horses; 8 of the last 9 winners had finished in the first four on their last completed start.
- Of the big winter handicaps, the Troytown has been a much better guide than the Paddy Power. Half of the winners in the last decade ran in the Navan race, finishing:11423, while only two had run in the December 27th event, one being brought down and the other finishing eleventh. No surprise there as the Leopardstown Chase and Troytown share much in common being classy affairs contested by much smaller fields (only one field of more than 15 since 1999) than the Paddy Power which is more of a lottery. And yes, I've never backed the winner of it!
- 9 of the last 10 winners ran in the previous 6 weeks.
- Focus on unexposed horses. Of the last 10 winners, only Cloudy Bays (a Charles Byrnes special) had more than 9 starts in handicap chases.
- In the same vein, second- and third-season chasers dominate. The aforementioned What A Native and Buck Rogers may have had their chase runs spread out due to injuries but they were second- and third-season chasers in all but name like the all the other recent winners.
- Proven stamina isn't a pre-requisite for success as 3 of the recent winners had yet to win over 3 miles. All had previously won over at least 2m5f though.