22 days until the greatest show on earth!? Zoinks!!!
The 2013 Cheltenham Festival is viciously hurtling towards us at a blistering rate of knots. From now until that famous roar reverberates around Prestbury Park on the 12th of March I’ll be delving into the facts and figures for some of the key trainers and jockeys that are likely to play a major role in the March jumping showpiece.
On the jockey front there is really no place better to start than the Silver Fox himself; RUBY WALSH…
#Figures sourced from the excellent Proform database – Figures from the 2007 – 2012 Festivals
NTF Festival Files: Ruby Walsh
The bare figures…
23/121 | 19% S/R | -£5.41 BFLSP – Win & Place 46/121 | 38% S/R
The simple facts are Ruby Walsh is, based on number of winners ridden, the most successful jockey at the past 6 Cheltenham Festivals. He has ridden 9 more winners than his nearest rival (Barry Geraghty) and 14 more than the next best (A P McCoy). Yes he has the uber-powerful duo of Paul Nicholls and Willie Mullins supplying him with the best equine talent from both sides of the Irish Sea but he still has to ride those winners to victory, and ride them he does!
But what are Ruby’s strong points at the Festival and where, if any, are his weak areas?
Let’s start digging…
The market (unsurprisingly) is a good guide for Ruby…
Ruby Walsh’s mounts can probably fall into the category of ‘slightly over-bet’ but even with that in mind it is still worthwhile taking a market check on his mounts.
A mammoth 22 of his 23 festival winners have started in the top 4 of the betting…
Ruby Walsh runners in the top 4 of the market – 22/88 | 25% S/R | +£6.33 BFLSP – Win & Place 38/88 | 43% S/R
If we then take that group and look at those that WON on their final start before the festival we get the following…
Ruby Walsh runners in the top 4 of the market that WON LTO – 19/49 | 39% S/R | +£28.97 BFLSP – Win & Place 30/49 | 61% S/R
Ruby Walsh runners that won last time out (and start in the top 4 of the market) will inevitably be well supported but they are actually outperforming market expectation and the figures tell us they are worthy of following at the Festival.
Ruby is much more effective in Non-Handicap races…
This isn’t too much of a shock given that the horses he rides in handicaps are unlikely to be too far (if at all) ahead of the handicapper. Around 94% of his Festival rides are for Nicholls or Mullins and the chances of them coming to the Festival with a well handicapped horse is on the slim side. Nevertheless the figures are worth noting…
Ruby Walsh Handicap rides – 3/44 | 7% S/R | -£4.93 BFLSP – Win & Place 11/44 | 25% S/R
Ruby Walsh Non-Handicap rides – 20/77 | 26% S/R | -£0.61 BFLSP – Win & Place 35/77 | 45% S/R
The handicaps at the festival are some of the most competitive you will see all season so even the great Ruby Walsh has his work cut-out to get his mount home in front on a regular basis. It is, however, probably worth noting that Ruby is marginally under-performing in handicaps (based on market expectation) and slightly over-performing in the non-handicaps (again based on market expectation).
Looking at the handicap figures there are a couple of extra points worth noting…
- All 3 festival handicap victories have come over hurdles – 3/22 in hurdles | 0/22 in chases
- All 3 festival handicap victories have come over 16 or 17 furlongs – 3/16 17f or less | 0/28 20f or further
- All 3 festival handicap victories have come on horses aged 4 or 5 – 3/14 on 5yo or younger | 0/30 on 6yo or older
On the face of it those figures may not mean much but one could assume that hurdlers have shown less of a hand to the handicapper than chasers (potentially more chance of being ahead of the handicapper?) and 4 and 5 yo’s have also had less time to show their full hand to the handicapper than 6yo’s+ (again they may have more chance of being ahead of the handicapper?).
I won’t be hanging my hat on those 3 ‘sub-stats’ but they are worthy of keeping in mind.
Ruby is more prolific over the smaller obstacles…
Ruby Walsh Festival Bumper record – 0/6 | 0% S/R | -£6.00 BFLSP – Win & Place 2/6 | 33% S/R
Ruby Walsh Festival Hurdles record – 16/63 | 25% S/R | +£29.82 BFLSP – Win & Place 28/63 | 44% S/R
Ruby Walsh Festival Chase record – 7/52 | 13% S/R | -£29.36 BFLSP – Win & Place 16/52 | 31% S/R
When you think of all the talent Ruby has sat on over fences in the past few season’s it is perhaps surprising that his chase record isn’t a touch better than it is.
Within those wider chase starts there are a couple of interesting nuggets to concentrate on…
- All 7 winners were ridden by Ruby himself last time out (18 chasers had a different pilot last time out and all failed to win with Ruby on-board at the Festival, only 3 placing).
- All 7 winners won last time out
If we take those 2 angles into account we can significantly improve Ruby’s festival chase record…
Ruby Walsh Festival Chasers | Ridden by Ruby LTO and Won LTO – 7/22 | 32% S/R | +£0.64 BFLSP – Win & Place 10/22 | 45% S/R
It certainly won’t make you rich but it does put winners on the board for Ruby!
Looking at his hurdle record in isolation it is again the ‘last time out winner’ angle that bolsters things…
Ruby Walsh Festival Hurdlers | Won LTO – 12/32 | 40% S/R | +£25.33 BFLSP – Win & Place 20/30 | 67% S/R
If Ruby is on a last time out hurdle winner then it would be prudent to sit up and take note.
Ruby Walsh – Cheltenham Festival: The Money Shot!
It would be rude of me not to end each ‘Festival File’ by highlighting a strong mini-angle, or as I have christened it ‘The Money Shot’!
Taking all of my in-depth Proform searching into account I’ve come up with the following Ruby ‘Money Shot’…
Cheltenham Festival | Ruby Walsh | Non-Hcp races | Top 3 in market | 1st LTO
17/37 | 46% S/R | +£23.03 BFLSP – Win & Place 28/37 | 76% S/R
A 46% WIN S/R and a 76% Win & Place S/R is pretty damn tasty!!
*Figures for this article have been sourced from the brilliant Proform Professional Database.
Check out their website >> http://www.proformracing.com/
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