horse racing

Cheltenham’s April Meeting: 4 trainers to have on your side…

Cheltenham’s 2 day April meeting clearly doesn’t hold as much sway as some of the more illustrious meetings held at the track, however, that doesn’t stop a number of trainers taking aim at some of the valuable prizes on offer.

Lets take a look at a clutch of trainers that we should keep a keen eye on over Wednesday and Thursday –

Figures from seasons 2007 – 2012 and sourced from the excellent ProForm database

Paul Nicholls

No surprise to see Nicholls top of the list with regards to most winners trained at this meeting. His runners fire at a healthy rate at this 2 day meeting and surprisingly they are slightly actually over-performing, using the market as a guide –

15/68 | 22% | +£2.13 BFLSP – Win & Place 29/68 | 43% S/R

You won’t get rich backing all the Nicholls runners over the 2 days but his squad do return a level stakes profit. If we dig just a little bit deeper we can see the strong points for his April Cheltenham runners –

  • 14/15 started in the top 2 of the betting (+£23.05 BFLSP if you had backed them all)
  • 11/15 were ridden by Ruby Walsh
  • 8/15 came in novice events
  • He has saddled at least 1 winner at the past 6 April Cheltenham meetings

It is no surprise to see Ruby Walsh riding the majority of the winners but the stats are solid and are well worth a closer look…

Walsh/Nicholls | Cheltenham April meeting – 11/34 | 32% | +£14.45 BFLSP – Win & Place – 18/34 | 53% S/R

If we add in the ‘started in the top 2 of the market’ filter then things look even stronger…

Walsh/Nicholls | Chelt April meet | Top 2 in betting – 11/21 | 52% | +£27.45 BFLSP – Win & Place – 17/21 | 81% S/R

Obvious maybe but with a 52% Win strike-rate and a mammoth 81% Win & Place strike-rate I’m more than happy to keep the obvious on-side!


Philip Hobbs

Hobbs has been overshadowed quite substantially in recent seasons by the power duo of Nicholls & Henderson but this meeting has been kind to him and only Nicholls has recorded more winners than him –

12/59 | 20% | +£24.97 BFLSP – 19/59 | 32% S/R | Win & Place 19/59 | 32% S/R

All solid figures from Hobbs and like Nicholls his runners also out-perform based on market expectations.

The jockey angle is again the route to go to improve things and once more it is the stable jockey angle that pulls in healthier figures…

Hobbs/Richard Johnson | Chelt April Meeting – 11/38 | 29% S/R | +£41.50 BFLSP – Win & Place 13/38 | 34% S/R

The fact 11 of the 12 Hobbs winners have come via Johnson perhaps not surprising but the figures are really healthy and shouldn’t be ignored.


Nicky Henderson

There is no show without punch these days and it would have been a shocker if Hendo hadn’t been popping up on this list –

9/46 | 20% S/R | +£5.96 BFLSP – Win & Place 18/46 | 39% S/R

Once again we are pulled down the stable jockey route in search of stronger figures…

Henderson/Barry Geraghty | Chelt April Meeting – 7/21 | 33% S/R | +£14.80 BFLSP – Win & Place 10/21 | 48% S/R

With 1 in 3 of the partnerships runners winning it would be folly to ignore them from calculations.


Venetia Williams

Venetia doesn’t fire as many at this meeting as the previously mentioned trio but here record is solid and is well worth highlighting –

5/23 | 22% S/R | +£32.35 BFLSP – Win & Place 13/23 | 57% S/R

The 22% win strike-rate is lofty enough but it is the 57% Win & Place strike-rate that really gets me interested. Obviously here string are bouncing fit for these 2 days and more often than not they will end up in the places.

Interestingly she had no runners at the meeting in 2011 & 2012 but prior to that she had saddled at least 1 winner in each of the 4 previous seasons.


Although 3 of this quartet may be erring on the obvious side it doesn’t mean we should ignore them and look elsewhere. Sometimes we as punters can wrap ourselves in knots looking for that elusive angle that will bring in the multitude of fortunes that others have overlooked. In some instances that is the correct approach to take, however, for these 2 days of April the figures are telling us that keeping it simple should bear enough fruit to keep us in the black.

Best of luck if you plan to get involved over the 2 day Cheltenham April meeting (Wednesday 17th & Thursday 18th of April).

Ben (NTF)

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