horse racing

Perth Festival Pointers: 5 trainers you NEED on your side…

The Perth Festival – 24th, 25th & 26th of April

Perth’s April Festival is unashamedly one of my favourite festivals of the entire National Hunt year. If you have never sampled the delights of this 3 day meeting then make sure you make a point of going at some stage in the near future.

If I’m 100% honest Perth racecourse was not always a happy punting ground for me. Probably because it falls in the gap between the high profile meetings of the Scottish National at Ayr and the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown as well as signifying that the National Hunt game is starting to morph into Summer Jumping mode (something I now play much more in than I ever used to). That used to mean for me 2 or 3 days of letting my hair down, having a few (quite a few!!) drinks with mates and throwing some hopeful punts at a couple of long-shots or tasty looking outsiders. Thankfully I can now say I’m just that bit more disciplined than my student days (just a wee bit!!) and my punting cap is a much snugger fit for these 3 days and not loosened by the excesses of copious amounts of alcohol & partying (oh to have those days back…just for a day or two…)!

Here are some ‘Perth Festival pointers’ that will hopefully also give you guys a fighting chance of turning a profit over the 3 days –

The following figures have been sourced from the excellent ProForm database and look at the 2007 to 2012 Perth Festivals (118 races)


The Perth festival is not a place to be relying upon fancy priced outsiders…

At the past 6 Perth Festivals there have only been 4 horses that have won with an sp of 20-1 or bigger. Take a look at the overall figures of horses with an sp of 20-1 or larger –

4 winners from 406 qualifiers | 1% S/R | -£251.25 BFLSP – Win & Place 35/406 | 9% S/R

The facts are the big outsiders very rarely win at this meeting. The majority of the bigger priced horses come from the smaller yards and they really struggle to match the firepower of some of the bigger yards that tend to make the journey north for this 3 day extravaganza.

The figures look even worse when we look at the really big outsiders; those horses priced at larger than 33/1 –

0/204| 0% S/R | -£204.00 BFLSP – Win & Place 7/204 | 3% S/R

Zero winners priced at an SP of above 33/1! These horses can (and will) run into the places (although the strike-rate is barely improved upon in that respect) but if you are relying on one of them stonking home in-front to dig you out of a hole then it may be wise to think again!  I’m sure there will be 1 or 2 that do manage to stroll into the winners enclosure from these lofty prices at some stage in the next…eh…5 years but at the moment the figures suggest a vast majority of the outsiders can be overlooked when searching for Perth Festival winners. It may also be a good way to attack the placepot? With very few of these ‘no-hopers’ landing in the places it could significantly cut your options for runners to include in your placepot permutations…


The 5 trainers you want on your side…

Gordon Elliott

An obvious one to start with maybe but his record is so strong at this meeting that it is impossible to ignore –

14/49 | 29% S/R | +£19.28 BFLSP – Win & Place 27/49 | 55% S/R

  • 10/14 winners came over hurdles – Overall hurdle record of 10/30 | 33% S/R | +£25.43 BFLSP – Win & Place 18/30 | 60% S/R
  • 12/14 were (IRE) bred
  • 9/14 started as SP fav
  • 7/14 were ridden by Jason Maguire

Gordon Elliot mini-angle

Elliott runners | (IRE) bred | Top 2 in the market

10/14 | 71% S/R | +£17.72 BFLSP – Win & Place 12/14 | 86% S/R


Nigel Twiston-Davies

This used to be one of the favourite hunting grounds for ‘The Twister team’ until Elliott decided to target his runners at the track. That certainly doesn’t mean Twiston-Davies has stepped aside though and he still fires in some solid figures (including 3 winners from 8 runners last season) –

14/61 | 23%% S/R | +£29.08 BFLSP – Win & Place 26/61 | 43% S/R

  • 13/14 winners started in the top 4 of the betting (as well as 24 of the 26 win & place horses)
  • 11/14 winners were aged 6 or younger
  • NTD has recorded at least 2 winners at the past 5 Perth Festivals

NTD mini-angle

Twiston-Davies runners | Aged 6 or less | Top 4 in the market

10/26 | 38% S/R | +£26.19 BFLSP – Win & Place 16/26 | 62% S/R


Donald McCain

Interestingly McCain only saddled his first runners at this 3 day meeting LAST YEAR! In typical style, however, he didn’t waste anytime and duly fired in 3 winners from 5 runners! I would expect McCain to be challenging the power axis of NTD & Elliott for the role of King of Perth sooner rather than later…

3/5 | 60% S/R | +£6.91 BFLSP Win & Place 5/5 | 100% S/R


Venetia Williams

Venetia is fairly selective with her runners that make the trip up here but when they do embark on the lengthy journey from her Kings Caple base they are well worth noting –

7/26 | 27% S/R | +£19.61 BFLSP – Win & Place 12/26 | 46% S/R

  • 7/7 winners had their last start in a Handicap race
  • 5/7 winners came over hurdles
  • 5/7 winners came in handicaps
  • Her runners that had their last start at Cheltenham have an excellent record – 4/4 | 100% S/R | +£26.93 BFLSP

Venetia Williams mini-angle

V Williams runners | Hurdle races | Ran in a handicap on their last start and finished in the top 4

5/8 | 63% S/R | +£22.40 BFLSP – Win & Place 5/8 | 63% S/R 


Victor Dartnall

Dartnall has been besieged by problems this season and although they are not fully firing on all cylinders there have been hints that his string are slowly finding their feet again. Dartnall is pretty selective with his runners at this meeting but when he goes to the bother of embarking on the mammoth trip (500 miles+ ONE-WAY!) it is safe to say we should take note –

7/21 | 33% S/R | +£12.58 BFLSP – Win & Place 11/21 | 52% S/R

  • 7/7 winners came over hurdles
  • 7/7 winners came over 20f or further
  • 5/7 winners came in Novice events

Victor Dartnall mini-angle

Victor Dartnall Hurdlers | 2m4f or further

7/12 | 58% S/R | +£21.58 BFLSP – Win & Place 7/12 | 58% S/R


If jockey angles are more your thing…

…then there really is only 1 man you want on your side for this 3 day meet; Jason Maguire. He has the power-duo of McCain & Elliott feeding him a ready stream of winners and boy does he take full advantage –

10/22 | 45% S/R | +£37.18 BFLSP – Win & Place 15/22 | 68% S/R

That is one hefty set of figures from the man that sits 2nd in the jockeys championship.

The area he really excels in at this meeting comes over timber –

Maguire record over Hurdles at the Perth Festival – 8/15 | 53% S/R | +£35.24 BFLSP – Win & Place 12/15 | 80% S/R

Managing to park 80% of his mounts in the win & place slots is not something to be ignored!

He is a master round this track and gets the ammo to prove it!


As always I would never suggest taking these types of stats as gospel but they are a good pointer as to which yards are likely to be targeting the meeting and which yards maybe don’t have the correct ammo for Perth in the springtime.

Best of luck if you are having a punt at the Perth Festival 🙂


Ayr Scottish National Meeting Trends

Before I leave you today it’s a good time to do a bit of housekeeping on the Ayr Scottish Grand National Meeting trends. To be fair they bumbled their way through the 2 days! In all honesty though there weren’t really a great many qualifiers on our angles and not too many that should really have been tickling our fancy…

Ferdy Murphy – 2 runners but only 1 fitting the ‘Outwith the top 2 in the market’ filter, HOLLO LADIES who ran an OK 5th

Nicky Henderson – 5 runners – 1 winner

Age 7 or less filter – 1/4 (2/4 Win & Place) +£0.23 BFLSP

Ridden by Barry G filter – 0/3 (1/3 Win & Place)

Top 2 in the betting filter – 1/4 (2/4 Win & Place) +£0.23 BFLSP

Top 3 LTO filter – 1/2 (2/2 Win & Place)

Bumper runners – 1 runner, 2nd at 2.00

Henderson didn’t seem to attack this meeting with quite as much gusto as usual, a tad disappointing.

Pauline Robson – 3 runners and not a sniff

Nigel Twiston Davies – 4 runners but only really 1 of any interest for us on the stats…

3m+ filter – 0/1 (1/1 Win & Place) TOUR DES CHAMPS, ran 4th in the Scottish National at 25/1

Paul Nicholls – 4 runners from 3 horses – 0 winners (1 runner ran twice – Rebel Rebellion, who is not at his best left-handed)

Top 2 in market filter – 0/2 (Win & Place 1/2)

DSLR 32+ filter – 0/1 (1/1 Win & Place – Sametegal in Scottish Champion Hurdle)

Ridden by Ruby Walsh filter – 0/4 (1/4 Win & Place)

Top 2 in market LTO filter – 0/2 (0/2 Win & Place)

Walsh/Nicholls mini-angle – 1 qualifier, finishing 2nd in Scottish Champion Hurdle (Sametegal) – This keeps up the 100% Win & Place strike rate of the angle

Like Henderson Nicholls didn’t seem to attack this meeting with the same enthusiasm as he usually does.

Timmy Murphy – 2 rides – on the 2nd 1 he suffered a hefty fall that rules him out for the end of the season!

Ferdy Murphy + Henderson & Nicholls really didn’t attack this 2 day meeting with their usual vim and vigor and that certainly showed up come the end of racing. The Henderson & Nicholls runners seemed a bit flat, maybe they have their minds focused more on Punchestown this week? Ferdy, unfortunately, does not seem to have the firepower of recent seasons and that was also clear to see with his lack of entries. He has really failed to kick into gear this season, something I can relate to all too well!!

Anyway no time to wallow, the Perth Festival is almost upon us and last year the trends highlighted on the Blog held up supremely well. Fingers crossed they supercharge us through the next 3 days as well…


Ben (NTF)

Figures sourced from the excellent Proform Racing database


6 responses to “Perth Festival Pointers: 5 trainers you NEED on your side…”

    • Thanks Tony, much appreciated. Hopefully the above trends will help you wade through the Perth Festival 🙂

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

  1. Another good day! Seebright (V Dartnall) 11/4 from 4/1, Bar de Ligne (J Maguire) 6/1 from 12/1. Keep up the good work!

    • Hi Jack

      Yep Dartnall is dynamite with his hurdlers at the meeting, a fine winner today. Maguire in the last was a good one to get on the board, well backed as you point out. Elliott has been noticeable in his absence at the meeting, not like him, does have one tomorrow though…

      Thanks for the comment

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

  2. Ben

    You were pretty well on the mark with trainers to watch, but just to prove what a moving feast trends can be, Gordon Elliott only had the one runner at Perth! That was Jimmy The Hat who looked a bit wayward in his behaviour and will be tough to place.
    It will be interesting to see if Elliot brings over a full raiding party for the upcoming meetings at The Scone.


    • Hi Rob

      Yeah I was shocked Elliott only had the 1 runner!! I guess it could be the signal that he has stepped up a rung or 2 and was concentrating on the valuable Punchestown races instead of the relatively ‘easy pickings’ at Perth.

      Surely he will be back at the track in force during the summer….

      Cheers – Ben (NTF)

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