horse racing

Off to Chepstow we go……..

Today’s Chepstow meeting signifies one thing and one thing only; National Hunt 2011/12 is almost upon us!

In today’s Blog post I enlist the service’s of 2 men to provide analysis on the Chepstow card; Dave Massey of the wonderful One Late, Last, Lung… Blog and Racing UK’s Andy Richmond who once again delves into the world of in-running betting and pinpoints and alternative angle to attack the days racing.

What is fascinatingly interesting is that both these guys (both of whom’s opinion I respect greatly) have decided to go after the same race at Chepstow – the 3m Handicap Chase at 5.50. Personally I think this is a good thing as this is a great way to highlight the diversity in which you can tackle any race on any day of the week.

Lets get stuck in……

Andy Richmond’s In-Running Analysis – Chepstow 5.50

Although it is often easy to pick out a horses or horses as ones to back-to-lay or lay in-running, or any combination of those tactics the best way prepare for a race is to be aware of how a race will pan out in terms of pace and tactics and the individuals traits of the horses within the race.

To this end I have taken a look at the handicap chase today over 3M on the excellent Chepstow card and highlighted the usual running style and in-running traits of all the runners as well as detailing their records when trading at or below 2.0 IR and their records when they trade at 75% less than their Betfair SP (BSP). Those two measures are my way of seeing how they perform under pressure at the business end of the race and are the two figures immediately after the horse’s name.

Reve De Sivola – (4/8 trades at 2.0 or less) (4/8 trades at 75% of BSP) – a very interesting runner who usually tracks the leaders but can hit flat spots in his races and comes off the bridle, generally at around the mid-point of the race, this is exemplified by his four NH wins coming at IR prices of 46 (4.48 BSP), 32 (3.6), 100 (2.96) and 4.4 (2.18) – so not one to give up on during a race and one of the stouter stayers in this race. Not one that I would be backing at around the 4.5 available this morning but a definite IR play at big odds, or a possible lay-to-back option.

Ouzbeck – (7/8) (7/9) – this is Ouzbeck’s first run at Chepstow and I have doubt about him handling the ground, he’s one of the hold-up horses in this race and on a going day he has a smooth style of running which sees him trade not that much above his SP. On better ground and a different track a horse that I like to use as a back-to-lay option especially with his good conversion rates but he is reluctantly passed over here. One to watch for the future.

Swincombe Rock – (3/3) (3/3) – has a couple of styles of running but I feel he is much better when he is ridden just behind the leader rather than held-up. The grade could well be right for him to bounce back here – one point that I would note is that in all of his wins he has found for pressure and I would be wary about laying him at bigger prices if he is still in contention. Riding style is important here and he will only be of interest if he is ridden behind the leaders.

Le Beau Bai – (7/9) (7/11) – will need to be ridden prominently here to make use of his stamina and there will be a few up there taking him on and that won’t be ideal. When he was in better form he was one who found for pressure and you would have felt confident at backing at bigger prices IR but although he has a good Chepstow record (7313) his form is questionable recently and he is likely to be outpaced here although his role should be to add to a decent pace up front.

Born Again – (2/4) (2/5) – inexperience is the worry but he does have the assistance of McCoy and his mark of 133 looks tough enough. I can see him being settled in midfield who travels ok could provide one of the back-to-lay vehicles in the race as he generally travels well enough into a race and has displayed a tenacious nature during his races – especially at the finish.

Templer – (8/15) (8/14) – not an out-and-out front runner but one who should be suited by a strong pace and I’d like to see him settled in behind the leaders here on a course where he has a good record (221224)- he was second in this last year. All of his wins have come when ridden semi-positively and given those tactics and his decent conversion rates he looks a possible one to use in a back-to-lay capacity without being able to gain the ultimate prize in this race. If those positive tactics are employed he should give a reasonable account here.

Pilgrims Lane – (8/12) (8/18) – his hold-up style will make things tough for him here especially as his displays have been of a lacklustre nature of late. Given his style he is always going to trade at a bigger price IR and has done so for all his wins and back in the right grade he becomes a tradable proposition but not one that I would be rushing to take a pop at if trading big prices today. His form a Chepstow is also questionable and only reads 96.

Five Dream – (4/8) (4/8) – usually one of those that travels well behind a strong pace and over this trip I wonder if we will see him ridden even more conservatively over a distance that will look to test his stamina (not won over more than a trip of 2M 2F), that could mean that he trades short IR without being able to convert and if I was a backer of Five Dream I would be looking to at least save my stakes on the horse at 50 less than the price that I backed him at. Conversely if I was looking for one to lay at short prices IR then Five Dream would be very much among the candidates.

Bellflower Boy – (4/4) (4/7) – not the most fluent of jumpers over the larger obstacles, couple that with his hold-up style of running and you quickly have a horse who can trade at big prices early in a race, something that he did when winning at Ffos Las, where he hit a high of 15.0 (6.15 BSP) and more notably when finishing third at Cheltenham on his last outing. Looking to be sulking there and jumping sluggishly he hit the top price of 1000 but those backers were nearly rewarded as he traded at a low of 2.14 before fading late on. So here we have a horse that it can to pay to take a chance on IR – I wouldn’t be backing him pre-race but IR he is one to watch an dhe can quickly engage forward gear and put himself in the mood. Lay him at big prices at your peril.

Le Burf – (3/5) (3/8) – all of his wins have been gained right-handed and that straight away tempers any enthusiasm for Le Burf and he will also be taken on for the lead and that won’t suit him and that really is the nail in the coffin for any interest that Le Burf holds today as a selection.

No Panic – (8/13) (8/16) – he’s been busy over the Summer but will face competition for the pace making role here and like Le Burf that will hamper his chance of a trading opportunity, although he does appear in better form than the other pace setters, however, given that all of his best form is good ground or better if he did get loose in front I would be looking to take him on at shorter prices IR.

Cold Harbour – (4/4) (4/7) – one if you are going to take a position on to wait and see how he is ridden as all of his best runs have been when racing up with the pace and getting his own way and that looks unlikely here. Has a fourth at the course to his name but this still looks a tough task and enthusiasm for his chance is tempered here by the other pace setters and the class of the race.

Ethiopia – (6/8) (6/11) – blinkers have really sparked him back to life and he has a decent record at the track (106), the change to a prominent style also appears to have helped him and although this looks a tough task from out of the handicap he could hold modest back-to-lay potential. I would certainly be interested in him and that way of playing him back at a slightly lesser level and I shall be keeping a close eye on him today.

So we should have a competitive race run at a sound gallop today and you now have the running styles and traits of all the horses in the race, therefore you know what to expect and know how horses have reacted in the past and conditions that suit them.

Personally, I would be most interested laying Reve De Sivola at his current price (4.5) and looking to back him back IR as I really don’t believe that he won’t trade bigger IR than his current price, alternatively if you are looking to back the horse do so IR at a far better price. Of the back-to-lay options I believe that Templer given his record around here offers plenty of what I like to term “price elasticity”.

Without offering a plethora of options, IR is all about what you feel comfortable with so I will offer a further couple of thoughts – Bellflower Boy is not one to give up on a long prices and could offer some entertainment while Five Dream looks a traveller who it may well be worth opposing at short prices given the stamina doubts and the Walsh style of riding.

Once again I’m indebted to the Proform Professional database ( and the soon to be released IR Module for all of the data and research. Once again if you have any IR questions or comments I will be more than happy to answer them via the website or follow me on Twitter (@bickley14).


Chutney Dave’s Chepstow Analysis

For most jumping enthusiasts, today sees the start of the jumps season proper as Chepstow stages its first meeting of the season. And as always, Paul Nicholls sends out a strong looking team from Ditcheat, including the exciting Silviano Conti, who makes his chasing debut in what looks a fascinating Novice Chase against one of the real talking horses of last season, the Colin Tizzard trained Cue Card. He came to most people’s attention after running away with the Cheltenham bumper the previous season and looked a very exciting prospect as he demolished his rivals in novice hurdles. However, when push came to shove against the very best, he was just found wanting a little and I just think he might find Silviano Conti too hot to handle tomorrow. Let’s not forget – this horse slammed future Arkle winner Captain Chris fifteen lengths off level weights (over C & D) last season and was only half a length behind Cue Card in the International at Cheltenham (giving him 4lb too) and this trip looks like it will be ideal for him. As far as tomorrow is concerned, I would readily prefer Silviano Conti over Cue Card – who for me, still has one or two questions to answer.

However, backing short-priced horses isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, and for those looking for a bet at a better price tomorrow then the staying handicap chase at 5.50 might offer more opportunities. The two I like for the race are Templer, who is following virtually the same path as last year, namely a warm up race a couple of weeks ago before a crack at this – he finished 2nd last year off a 5lb lower mark and you feel won’t be far away. My only concern would be the ground – he just about gets away with good to soft but wouldn’t want it any worse. However, that can’t be said for my selection, Le Beau Bai, who certainly doesn’t mind it when the mud is flying. It’s easy to argue this trip is too short for him these days, but his last two wins have both come at this trip, and with Robert Thornton taking over in the saddle he’ll get maximum assistance. Although he’s never won off a break, he has run well before and with his trainer having a winner this week, and track and ground to suit, back off what looks a good mark he must have every chance of adding to his nine victories here.

Of the rest, Reve de Sivola became disappointing last season for me, he never really got his season going and his trainer is having a quiet start. Ouzbeck seemingly is best on quicker ground. Swincombe Rock had an abbreviated season last year but was quite highly tried, and as it’s the time of year Nigel Twiston-Davies has winners he has to be respected. Strictly on form, Born Again has plenty on but there’s bound to be improvement. His price will reflect his connections rather than his form though. Pilgrims Lane and No Panic are better on quicker ground, and No Panic is a summer horse to boot. Le Burf is capable of a good run on his day, often when you least expect it, but looks difficult to win with. You can apply similar comments to the Nicholls representative here, Five Dream, who is well handicapped but seems to have forgotten how to win. Bellflower Boy is a lovely sort, game and genuine but is maybe a little high in the handicap here.

Selection – Le Beau Bai

There is more analysis from Dave today on his own Blog –


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Many thanks to Dave and Andy for there hugely interesting articles today and if you would like to follow these 2 on Twitter (highly recommended in my opinion) then have a look out for @chutneydave and @bickley14.

Ben (NTF)

One response to “Off to Chepstow we go……..”

  1. Well done, Ben, a thoroughgoing analysis. To see the reasons for a selection is much more interesting than simply being given the horse. The dosage system is something I’m really excited about; a further piece of ammunition. Thank you.

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