horse racing

What you should have learned from the 2014 Cheltenham Open Meeting…

Hobbs/Johnson. ‘Nuff said. They owned that mofo!

Six of the 17 races they could have had runners in were won by the combo, with Johnson firing in an extra winner in the final race just to make sure people knew who was the boss.

Whilst McCoy is away Dickie will play…

Although Hobbs & Johnson were clearly the headline acts over the three days there was plenty else going on and here are just some of the vital facts and figures that you need to take away from the 2014 Paddy Power Cheltenham Open Meeting…

*figures sourced from the excellent Proform Professional Database


2014 Cheltenham Open Meeting: The Fallout…

15 of the 19 winners could be found in the top 3 in the market…

For what seemed like a tricky old meeting you didn’t actually need to look all that far for the majority of winners.

Top 3 in the market – 15/65 | 23% S/R | +£14.42 BFLPS – Win & Place 35/65 | 54% S/R – 13% above expectation

4th or below in the market – 4/144 | 3% S/R | -£78.96 BFLSP – Win & Place 18/144 | 13% S/R – 33% below expectation

Could have made a handy little profit concentrating on the front end of the market over the three days, who would have knew?!

For the record the two winners of the feature races – CAID DU BERLAIS & GARDE LA VICTOIRE – were both outside of the front three in the market, highlighting the competitiveness of those two races, races that should both be worth following.

Sometimes it pays to not get too fancy and not look too far outwith the ‘obvious’. 


Aidan Coleman once again proved he is a jockey to avoid at this meeting…

I like Coleman, he’s a bloody fine jockey, but for some reason he has a stinker at this meeting year after year.

This year he returned figures of…

0/10 | 0% S/R | -£10.00 BFLSP – Win & Place 0/10 | 0% S/R


In fairness to the jockey he didn’t have many fancied runners over the three days, however, it did add to his already pretty average figures at the meeting…

Aidan Coleman at Cheltenham in November…

0/33 | 0% S/R | -£33.00 BFLSP – Win & Place 2/33 | 6% S/R – 

…and at the track in general…

Aidan Coleman at Cheltenham…

10/204 | 5% S/R | -£77.46 BFLSP – Win & Place 38/204 | 19% S/R 

There are two potential reasons for this poor record.

It’s either his riding style really doesn’t suit the demanding track or it’s a by-product of the stables he rides for.

What makes me think it could be the stables that he rides for comes from the monthly splits for the jockey at the track.

In the October – December period (during the past six years) Coleman has the following figures…

0/72 | 0% S/R | -£72.00 BFLSP – Win & Place 7/72 | 10% S/R 

Oof! That’s nasty.

In January, at the trials meeting, he returns…

5/36 | 14% S/R | +£12.64 BFLSP – Win & Place 14/36 | 39% S/R

That’s better.

Then at the Festivals he’s back to a misfiring…

1/64 | 1.5% S/R | -£44.95 BFLSP – Win & Place 7/64 | 11% S/R

Eek! That don’t look great.

He does, however, redeem himself a little at the April meeting…

4/32 | 12.50% S/R | +£26.85 BFLSP – Win & Place 10/32 | 31% S/R

So he CAN ride winners at the track but a lot of the time it’s just not happening for him, most likely down to the yards he riding for than the jockey himself.

If it was just down to Coleman having a bit of a blind spot at the track then he wouldn’t have those two ‘stronger’ months intermixed with the blindingly miserable months.

October to December and the Festival in March are nightmare periods for Coleman at Cheltenham – Beware!


Hobbs and Johnson have a live Triumph Hurdle contender in the shape of the German bred GOLDEN DOYEN…

…well they don’t really, do they?

If you are a long-term NTF follower you may think I’ve gone mad. The clue is in the title really. Think about about…that’s it…you got it…yep…it won’t win the Triumph Hurdle, it’s a German (GER) bred hurdler!!

As impressive as Golden Doyen was in digging deep up the Cheltenham hill and battling back to grab victory in the Grade 2 Triumph Hurdle Trial, I just can’t have him as a contender for March.

Since 2004 German (GER) bred Hurdlers at the Cheltenham Festival have returned the following figures…

0/89 | 0% S/R | -£89.00 BFLSP – Win & Place 11/89 | 12% S/R


That’s a long time to draw a blank and there is something the Germans just don’t enjoy about the Festival environment.

I’ve said that plenty times in the past and I’ll probably keep on saying it; It’s a broken record I really don’t mind playing.

I do like Golden Doyen, he should win more races, just not at the Festival.

As always; beware of those (GER) bred hurdlers at the Festival in March.


Horses returning within three weeks (21 days) struggled to land a serious blow…

This isn’t really a meeting where it pay’s to have a recent warm up race. You either have a run and give adequate recovery time or you come here bang fresh. There are some serious pots on offer here and a vast majority of runners are targeted and primed to the minute, a recent run doesn’t give you all that much time for recovery and a serious re-tune up.

21 day or less returners at this years meeting returned the following…

1/54 | 2% S/R | -£51.36 BFLSP – Win & Place 9/54 | 17% S/R

Interestingly that one winner was Golden Doyen in the Juvenile race. It could well be that experience proved more vital there than freshness.

In the past six seasons at the Open Meeting those running within the 3 week period have returned…

22/437 | 5% S/R -£268.84 BFLSP – Win & Place 94/437 | 21.5% S/R

Whilst those returning after a break of more than 3 weeks returned…

85/857 | 10% S/R | +£0.02 BFLSP – Win & Place 227/857 | 26.5% S/R

It’s not an angle to live and die by but it’s well worth keeping in mind.

Beware of those 21 day or less returners at the Cheltenham Open Meeting.


We still don’t really know where we stand with VANITEUX…

Yes, second in a competitive contest like the Greatwood Hurdle from a mark of OR 147 is not to be sniffed at, far from it. But was that Champion Hurdle potential on show or a horse at his limit and in need of fences?

The ground may have been too testing for him and yes he was beaten by a horse who was a prime fit for the race and who had already had a run, but a Champion Hurdler would have been winning that off OR 147, wouldn’t he?

He ran to an RPR rating of 154 here. That was a career best, but still some way short of what is needed to land a Champion Hurdle. He has time, of course, to build on that, but build on it he will most certainly have to do.

I’m certainly not ruling him out of the Champion Hurdle picture off the back of that but we do need to see plenty more from him.

The Fighting Fifth at Newcastle may well be on the agenda next…

I’m still open on Vaniteux, how about you guys? 

Ben (NTF)

With thanks to…

Proform Racing | The professional Formbook

5 responses to “What you should have learned from the 2014 Cheltenham Open Meeting…”

  1. Great stuff Ben, also, I recall reading something about winners at the Open meeting having a terrible record at the Festival in March, is that correct or not?

    • Hi Paul

      Yes the record of winners at the Open Meeting has been pretty average in recent years. It has produced a handful of winners so I wouldn’t dismiss them completely out of hand but on the other hand I certainly wouldn’t be relying too heavily on the winning form either.

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

  2. Venetia Williams has a really poor record at the open meeting if I’m not mistaken which would answer why Aidan Coleman has been so poor too?

    • Hi Joe

      Very much so. Venetia has a very average record at this meeting and does go a long way to explain Aidan Coleman’s poor record at the meeting.

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

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