Tag Archives: Simply Ned

Cheltenham Festival 2017 – Countdown

Cheltenham Festival 2017 – Countdown

I’m glad to say that the blog will be back next week for daily previews from National Hunt racing’s greatest festival.

The countdown is truly on today with the release of the first 5 day declarations for Tuesday’s opening card

I will be back on Monday afternoon for a full preview of that days racing. Then as in previous years, I will hope to post each evening my thoughts for the following day’s card (hopefully in advance of the Pricewise selections being released at 7pm each evening)

Like myself, many will have put in hard study already. For those who haven’t and who want to burn the midnight oil between now and next week here’s a few pointers based on my own experience….and a few decent priced early fancies to get the ball rolling.

I’ve been watching this meeting with relish from the mid 1970s and the formbook was my earliest friend. Statistics, times and race reading have all been added as other tools to try to find the winners in the interim. Nowadays, with social media it’s never been so easy to find a wealth of information to help with the quest.

Twitter in particular is a marvellous tool to pick out information and get ahead of market moves if you can follow the right people and pick out the right information.

For anyone wanting to delve further in statistics I have listed some important ones in posts from previous years. Some races are more dependent on these than others. I won’t have time to list all of them next week but there are sites where that job has already been done for me. In particular I must recommend as an excellent tool to keep in the arsenal. The writer has put a lot of work into this and if you find it as useful as I do be sure to make a donation to the charity he is supporting.

Every year there seem to be more and more Cheltenham preview nights across the UK and Ireland and it’s very hard to keep track of them all. Unless you are refreshing Twitter every 30 minutes, most of the information can be found here

Be warned for these that it’s sometimes what you don’t hear rather than what you do hear that can be the most interesting.

A common thread amongst nearly all previews this year is the opposition to the favourite Might Bite in Wednesday’s RSA Chase. I can’t say I’d want to be backing a nervous horse like him on a track that probably won’t suit either. If you do fancy him though, the mass of opposition on these evenings in probably an indicator that all firms will be out to lay him next week and you will get a much bigger price then than now!

The ground is currently Good to Soft (Soft in places) but with a decent forecast ahead we should be looking at Good to Soft as the going on Day 1

Odds on many of the races are looking a bit skinny right now and I think we can expect better on many next week (with better place terms also). With so many firms offering ‘Non Runner No Bet’ and many horses still not having definitive targets the layers have been erring more on the side of caution with their odds.


Here’s a few big prices during the week to get things started

Wednesday – Neptune Novices Hurdle

SHATTERED LOVE 25/1 (e/w 1/5 odds 123 Sporting Bet)

1 pt ew

This is probably the hottest novices hurdle of the week. Both Neon Wolf and Finians Oscar at the head of the betting look to have loads of potential and are unbeaten this season. It is worth noting though that the mares in Ireland have been very successful in this sphere this season and the selection has already proved herself close to the best of them.

shattered love

She runs for the Gigginstown/Gordon Elliott team here when they could have run their other star novice Death Duty. I think it’s noticeable that they have kept relatively tight-lipped about her chances while she has been quietly backed in the last week. The slight increase in trip looks bound to suit her and I think she could easily be half of these odds come the day of the race


Wednesday – Queen Mother Champion Chase

SIMPLY NED 66/1 (e/w 1/5 odds 123 Betfair Sportsbook)

0.5 pts ew


First thing to note here – and probably a strange thing to say – is that this is an unlikely winner. The value for me is all in the place part of this each way bet though.

Douvan is a short priced favourite and looks a good thing but there have to be 2 horses filling the frame behind him.

If you look in current lists you will find many who won’t actually run – Altior, Un De Sceaux, Vroum Vroum Mag and Uxizandre are all very likely to go for different races, even Fox Norton and Gods Own have other possible engagements although this looks more likely for them. Sire Du Grugy is by no means a certain starter either after recent negative comments from his stable. There is a strong likelihood of a small field though with the hot favourite frightening many off. There could well be less than 8 runners and that will mean that three places won’t be paid on the day.

The selection is an old favourite of mine and his optimum conditions are a fast pace over 2 miles on decent ground. He was better fancied for this race 2 years ago but made a crucial mistake as the race began to hot up and was always on the back foot after and finished 5th.

Yes he has been beaten by Fox Norton already over this course but that was on soft ground and conditions should be much more to his liking here.

Simply Ned

His running style is to sit behind and to pick others off and that could be very suitable to get him in the frame here as others try to attack the favourite earlier (and probably pay for that effort)


FRIDAY – Triumph Hurdle

FORTH BRIDGE 33/1 (ew ¼ odds 123 Stan James)

0.5 pts ew

A rare runner for the Queen at Cheltenham but this big horse was always a bit too backward to do himself justice on the flat (where he was a similar level to Master Blueeyes – much shorter odds in the same race)


After a narrow defeat in his first venture over hurdles he’s improved with each race since. On both occasions he hasn’t won by any more than he had to but he has looked like he had more in him if required. His has shown quite an efficient hurdling technique so far which should stand him in good stead here. While his most recent form has been over a sharp track, I also think that as a stayer on the flat this course should bring about improvement.

There are flashier types in the field who have better form but I just think there is potential here for this one to mix it with them and his odds shouldn’t be quite as high as they are.


That’s the early selections for now. I will also have a natural bias to support Ch’tibello in the Champion Hurdle on Tuesday. One of the owners is the Trading Director where I work and the whole office will be shouting this one home. I will spare him the added weight of putting him up as another bet but hope his slick jumping on decent ground will see him into a place. If he does win, Tuesday night’s blog may be a little late!


I will be back again on Monday

thanks for reading – comments are always welcomed




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Aintree – Day 2

Aintree – Day 2

Day 1 of the Aintree Festival wasn’t a great day at the office.
Hargam was very well backed but ran poorly and the Aintree veteran Big Fella Thanks travelled well to a point but was a bit disappointing behind an impressive win fpor On the Fringe and Nina Carberry . The last selection of the day Bellenos ran well and led into the straight before holding on to secure some place money.
So with the 9pts staked on Thursday the place returned 3.62 pts, a loss of 5.38 pts on the day
The best sight of the day was to see Arctic Fire get up safely after a horrid looking fall in the main event.
Onto tomorrows fare – we might get some watering to the course tonight but we can expect similar decent ground:

1.40 2ml 4fur hcap hurdle
Firms have been  very slow to price this race up on Thursday – having said that it is a very tricky affair.
A few notes on some but If I have any selections it will probably be tomorrow now
Mijhaar has seldom shown the talent we know he has but he’s back on the course where he showed his best piece of form this season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him run well here but he’s just too frustrating to tip.
Baradari never got into the race at all at Cheltenham and could still be spotted full of running in last place 3 hurdles out. He was too far back to make any impression but is capable of better.
I thought Some Buckle had an attractive mark at Sandown last timewhere he ran well despite some very testing conditions and he’s another for the shortlist but interesting that Paddy Brennan elects to ride stablemate Olofi instead
At 9 he’s the veteran in the field but has shown enough in non handicap races this season to make me think he retains all of his old ability – he’s certainly very nicely in on his 4th to Rock on Ruby at Cheltenham in January. The worry is that the ground may just have turned that little bit quick for him
A Gordon Elliott runner with a low weight and winning recent form immediately stands out in a contest like this and no surprise to see Knights Parade as an early favourite
For now it’s a NO BET race

2.15 2mile novice hurdle
Glingerburn has improved consistently through the season and must be considered the top novice hurdle in the North of England right now. He bypassed Cheltenham for this and is the one to beat with a potent turn of foot.
Qewy ran 5th in the Supreme Novices at Cheltenham, albeit someway behind the front 4. With McCoy on board he looks the stable first string but I am more drawn to his stablemate Commissioned who has been waiting for good ground to return.
It had been reported before his last race at Cheltenham that he disliked soft ground so I’m not really sure why they ran him on it. I’m happy to draw a line through that disappointing run.
He had had a break but was impressive on good ground on his reappearance at Cheltenham – he also ran well at this meeting last year
Commissioned is the marginal selection for now but I’m waiting to see more strength in this market also and maybe a few more firms offering ¼ odds a place before making a bet – check back tomorrow!

2.40 Mildmay Novice Chase 3ml 1fur
This principally revolves around whether World Hurdle runner –up Saphir Du Rheu will reddem himself over the larger obstacles. He went back over hurdles after two non completions in novice chasing earlier this season.
He is surely the best horse in the race but the jumping issue prevents me from getting involved in this race – I would like to see him establish himself as a Gold Cup contender for next season though

3.25 Melling Chase 2ml 4fur
Hard to rule out anything completely here.
Sire De Grugy would be a highly popular victor but this trip is unknown territory for the former two-mile champ and the ground maybe quick enough for him.
Balder Succes seems to prefer single figure fields. Don Cossack and Champagne Fever looked like they were going to run close at Thurles earlier in the season before the former fell 2 out and are tightly matched.
Cue Card has the best form prior to this season – but nothing has really gone right for him and it remains to be seen if he retains all of his old ability.
Simply Ned was 7 lengths behind Sire De Grugy at Cheltenham but was always on the back foot after a bad mistake at the top of the hill when the race was just starting to develop.
I think he’s the value outsider – he’ll like the ground and has run well at this meeting last year. Stamina isn’t proven but he’s starting to look like he needs further than 2 miles as he gets older.

This is a very competitive looking race and surprising that so many firms are quoting 1/5th odds a place right now so ew backers should look to use firms offering 1/4 odds where feasible


0.5 pts ew Simply Ned 20/1 (Skybet, Stan James)

4.05 Crabbies Topham Chase 2ml5fur
The ‘Mini Grand National’ is run over the same big fences but a much shorter trip and draws a 30 runner field.
I was a bit disappointed with Rajdhani Express’s 8th at the Cheltenham Festival where conditions all looked to be in his favour. Ground and trip should be right again but he just appears a bit too short a price hereafter that last run
Eastlake was 3rd here last year giving the impression he stayed this trip – something he hasn’t done since. He still looks like he would prefer a strongly run two miles to me
Bennys Mist has run this course well twice before when the ground is decent (1 length ahead of Eastlake in this race last year and only 1lb worse off). He should be prominent once more but is a few pounds higher in the handicap now and that could just make the difference between a win and a place. I don’t really see why he should be a bit bigger than Eastlake in the markets currently though and take him to confirm that form.
At a bigger price still I like Rathlin who has come down the handicap a bit this season but has performed at the highest level in the past.

He ran well at this meeting this year behind Boston Bob (Rajdhani Express 7 lengths behind him and 2lbs worse off today). He’s been largely disappointing this season on soft ground until showing some sparkle last time.
I think he needs this better ground and represents the best value in the race
Search for firms offering 5 places for a start!
1 pt ew each
Rathlin 33/1 (365)
Bennys Mist 16/1 (Tote/Betfred, BetVictor, Paddy Power)

4.40 Doom Bar Sefton Novices Hurdle 3ml
It would be great to see a win for Coneygree’s younger brother Flintham but the ground isn’t anywhere soft enough to favour this one.
Minella Rocco has looked a bright prospect this season but I wonder if he’s ready yet for this kind of level with a big field on much quicker ground than he’s used to.
Vyta Du Roc is more streetwise and would have finished closer at Cheltenham but for a last hurdle blunder (holds Ordo Ab Chao on that run). He’s closely matched on previous season form with Blaklion but the latter was very disappointing at the Festival
There’s a few potential improvers at bigger prices and there have been some turn ups in this race in the past.
Foryourinformation looked a much better horse on decent ground last time and promises to be better still over this longer trip
Our Kaempfer went straight into my notebook after a close third to Red Sherlock in a Cheltenham bumper last season. He ran much too freely when down the field at the Festival that season and has been slow to show his potential again. The penny seems to be dropping in his latest two runs. This 3 mile trip is new and a bit of a question mark but he’s still overpriced for me


0.5pts ew each

Foryourinformation 18/1 (365)

Our Kaempfer 33/1 (365, Stan James)

(both firms offering 1/4 odds a place 123

5.15 2ml 1fur Bumper
Often a race to sport a star of the future but too many unknowns for me.
I like the way Barters Hill beat off all comers in his Newbury win (Buveur D’Air still a promising 2nd) but the ground will be something quicker than he and many others in the field have so far experienced
I’m too in the dark to be placing a bet on this race

Thanks for reading the blog once more

If you agree or strongly disagree with anything please feel free to leave a comment

Good luck!



A disappointing day in general with the lack of enhanced place terms being offered on some races for such a big meeting. While it can be mathematical suicide for the bookies to give too much away it’s a bit of a shock to see so many still offering 1/5th ods on the main race of the day the 3.25. There isn’t one of the 10 runners you could rule ourt completely and far worse races have been offered with 1/4 odds in the past.

Todays extra bets:

1.40 0.5 pts ew Baradari @20/1 (Skybet, BetVictor). 5 places would have been nice but everyone is paying first 4. I backed this one at Cheltenham where he was given far too much to do and  am expecting better today. The quicker ground shouldnt be a problem as he ran well on it at Ascot before Christmas

2.15 As previously mentioned I like Commissioned’s chances back on ground that suits and he ran well at this meeting last year. I am fearful of the favourite Glingerburn so I think the bet to be had lies in the ‘betting without the favourite’ market

1pt ew Commissioned (w/o Glingerburn) @9/1 (ladbrokes)

(he is as low as 10/1 with some firms to win the race with Glingerburn included)

Friday selections = 10pts staked

UPDATE; Friday results had Rathlin 33/1 and Our Kaempfer 33/1 (but with 20p Rule 4) both placed,  resulting in returns of 13.05 pts – a 3.05 pt profit on the day

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Posted by on April 9, 2015 in Aintree, Horse Racing


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