The Racing Horse has made claims that the big four will win half of the 28 races at this year's Cheltenham Festival and on this page we will monitor the scores on a race by race basis. Members will note we have given our 12 trainers a ranking based on anticipated success regarding winners and placed horses.
The Irish will almost certainly clean up in the major handicap hurdle races like they have for the past 10 years, why that is so is open to discussion, but the performance of Irish horses in handicap chase events is nowhere near as impressive. Those hurdle wins come at 75% more frequently than bare chance says they ought to. This is down to the fact that 14 of the 20 of those wins produced by Irish-trained horses in handicap hurdle events were trained by either Gordon Elliott or Willie Mullins.
The table below will be updated immediately after each race so that we monitor proceedings in a cold and calculated manner. In the hullabaloo of the Festival it is so easy to lose discipline, lost discipline equals lost money. It is always hard to resist fun/recreational bets at a Festival but that is our intention. Anyway, it is our belief the table will provide an ongoing common sense rationale if one accepts the content of our 35, now 36 pieces.
2020 Cheltenham Festival Results (1) Willie Mullins (IRE): 7 (2) Nicky Henderson: 4 (3) Gordon Elliott (IRE): 7 (4) Paul Nicholls: 1 Wins from Top 4: 19 (5) Henry De Bromhead (IRE): 2 (6) Colin Tizzard 0-12 (7) Dan Skelton: 0-13 (8) Philip Hobbs: 0-9 (9) Joseph O'Brien (IRE): 0-4 (10) N Twiston-Davies: 0-13 (11) Alan King: 0-9 (12) Fergal O'Brien: 0-8 Wins from 5-12: 2 Trainers outside top 12: 6 Cross Country race not included in our numbers FAVOURTES (inc jf & cf) WINNERS: 8-27 for 30% (+10.17) The Racing Horse Cheltenham WINNERS: 5-26 for 19% (+1.25)
20.14: Review to follow on Sunday but we made a profit and hope our members did too!
17.40: Willie Mullins is top trainer and Paul Townend top jockey, pity about the Benie Des Dieux ride. Worthy winners!
17.27: Willie Mullins 7 v Gordon Elliott 7 - one race to go!
16.27: In sport nothing is ever due but we were wondering when a big priced winner would find a way and a 66/1 shot stops a Willie Mullins 5-timer.
15.58: First Benie Des Dieux and now Santini. Slow run race did not help us then checked/switched behind Lostintranslation sealed our fate. No loss incurred but would have been a fabulous Pacafi winner! Four from four today and now 20-23 from our top five trainers as predicted.
15.26: Now three in a row for Mullins, takes the lead in the trainer's table. Need Nicky to stop Willie getting 4 in a row.
13.46: Deepest sympathies to the connections, Willie Mullins picks up the pieces and moves to 4 winners.
10.31: Looking at the scoreboard it could be that the big four ALL add to their tallies making it 18 winners in total.
10.20: Before we enter the final day our first choice nominations show 4-19 for 21% and a profit of +2.25. Had our reader backed all of our first and second choices it shows 8-39 for 21% and a profit of +1.25. We have not managed yet to find a bigger price winner than 6/1. Of course our Pacafi today is a 11/2 shot with William Hill (5/1 best price guaranteed recorded) and that would rescue our efforts somewhat. In context 98% of those who bet lose. The favourites are currently 4-20 for 20% and show a small loss.
10.05: Colin Tizzard has disappointed again and we thought he would at least rattle the crossbar!
09.57: Just to underline something we knew was going to happen. Above there are 7 trainers who would have been preparing for a year, getting excited and now reflecting what a bummer everything has been. There is still time for one of them to make a mark but their horses currently stand at 0-68 and not even close! By the way, when we analyse our final plus and minus to a £1 level stake we are not going to include Philip Hobbs horse Defi De Seuil, there was no way we would advise him at 4/11. Chacum Pour Soi was our Pacafi and the Hobbs horse was named for second place.
09.52: Joseph O'Brien, who has been quiet this Festival has his best horses and best chances of a winner today, certainly a number of each-way chances.
(5) Henry De Bromhead: B16518020304 so 2-12 for 17%.
(4) Paul Nicholls: 120074P so 1-7 for 14%
(3) Gordon Elliott: 2F0211242492349138530 1216850001 so 6-31 for 19%
(2) Nicky Henderson: 1350P1900FPPP11807P040P97so 4-25 for 16%
(1) Willie Mullins: 40FF24235U33UF600PFP120235815P300845210 so now 3-39 for 8%
08.49: We are exceptionally keen on the chances of Santini today and made him a Pacafi with a stake saver on big danger Al Boum Photo. Surely it is between these two?
08.46: Our genuine hope is that the information we gave ahead of time, combined with this live log timeline has concentrated our member's minds. As we enter the last day our trainers numbered 6-12 have not had a winner, we saw it happening especially this year. We will shortly give them a wins to runs number on our leader board.
FRIDAY 08.30: A little bit to talk about as we reach the last day of the Festival. We were wrong when we claimed the top four trainers would train at least half of the winners at the Cheltenham Festival by close of play at 5.45pm today IT HAS HAPPENED ALREADY! Of the 20 races we have covered the top four have won 14 of them for a massive strike rate of 70%. Had you included our comments regarding seed no 5 Henry De Bromhead those figures show 16-20 for 80%. After the event there will be many saying "yeh - we knew that would happen" but we already know for sure that was not reflected in their betting!
17.00: You beauty! We enjoyed the win of Concertista and another win from Mullins.
15.58: Top four now 12-17 for 71% and top five 14-17 for 82%.
15.49: The Racing Horse has been a regular visitor to the Rebecca Curtis yard over the years but have not gone this season, we knew of the horse and his problems but did not think it possible for hers to win. Thought very early something did not look right about Paisley Park so surprised to hear Aidan think he was OK. Thought Emma was very good in front of the camera.
15.20: Two more for Elliott and one more for Mullins, the top four have taken a stranglehold on the Festival! Now need Emma to do the business with our Pacafi...
11.50: We had taken 8/11 about Paisley Park and asked ourselves is that value? On form and ratings it is but this is the Cheltenham Festival. After spending all last night and this morning thinking about our next Pacafi, this looks to be it but now 4/6.
08.58: Willie Mullins finally opened his festival account for the year with Ferny Hollow's impressive win in the Champion Bumper. We had backed the second, also trainer by Mullins, but did have a stake saver and regret not reminding our members to do likewise. Having struck the woodwork with Sharjah and Benie Des Dieux on day one and lost star striker Chacun Pour Soi during the warm up for day two, things had not exactly gone to plan for Mullins. Ferny Hollow handed him a 10th triumph in the race.
08.50: Just to confirm, 206 horses have ran in 13 races but just 5 trainers have won 11 of those races. At the outset we anticipated the BIG FOUR to win half of the races and that looks more than likely this morning. Imagine all those wagers backing other trainers in the vain hope of something or other...
08.30: Willie Mullins is now 40FF24235U33UF600PFP120 so now 1-23 for 4%. Nicky Henderson is 1350P1900FPPP11807P0 so 4-20 for 16%. Gordon Elliott is 2F0211242492349138530 so 3-21 for 14%. Paul Nicholls entered the game on Wednesday (no runners on Tuesday) then scored right away, now 1200 so 1-4 for 25%. Henry De Bromhead is now B1651802 so 2-8 for 25%.
THURSDAY 08.11: At the half way stage our overview of the meeting and our BIG FOUR claims looks very accurate indeed. Of the 13 races so far 9 have been won by the top four for 69% whilst our top five have won 11 of the 13 for 85%. Every year all trainers/owners dream of having a winner at the Cheltenham Festival but they meet this impenetrable barrier.
It had to happen, Willie Mullins wins the last race but not with his more fancied runner and a losing Pacafi. That hurt...
Willie Mullins is YET to have a winner, to date his horses have finished 40FF24235U so 0-10 and three beaten favourites. Paul Nicholls is yet to have a runner. Nicky Henderson's runners finished 1350P1900FP so 2-11 for 18% and Gordon Elliott finished 2F021 so 1-5 for 20%. As expected Henry De Bromhead came to the party and recorded B165180 so 2-7 for 28%. Our BIG FOUR/FIVE has made the anticipated start and we expect more of the same today.
16.58: With a third Elliott winner this means that our top 5 has won 10 of the 12 races for a strike rate of 83%. We have our Pacafi coming up next, can Willie Mullins get on the board in the last race of the second day? Appreciate It looks a solid 7/4 chance at the moment.
16.39: We opted out of the Cross Country Race and will not record it.
16.00: Paul Nicholls strikes and comes onto our leader board. Things fell a little nicely for him with the race totally falling apart but all part of the game.
15.10: Yet another for Nicky Henderson and a 5/1 favourite at that. The Queen Mother Champion Chase was expected to be the race of the Cheltenham Festival, but with Chacun Pour Soi joining two-time champion Altior on the list of late absentees, the dynamic of the race has changed significantly and offers a penalty kick to Defi Du Seuil. We know there is no such thing as a certainty but realistically a kind trip to win! We considered what perceived value for this race is but we doubt it is the current 4/11 on offer, so a non-betting race which will be followed by the circus race. Sigh...
14.20: Nicky Henderson goes top trainer with a third win re Champ, thought for a while Mullins was going to get off the mark, but no. If he gets one winner he will probably get two within an hour. To confirm, 7 of the first 9 races for 78% were won by our top 5 trainers. Today is UK 1 Ireland 1 so far making the score UK 4 Ireland 4 overall, Ireland to take the lead by the close of play?
13.50: Another winner for Gordon Elliott, our price was 5/4 but the SP paid 4/7. Our trainer form information is beginning to take shape with the top 5 scoring 6 from 8 for 75%.
09.19: Willie Mullins is YET to have a winner, to date his horses have finished 40FF24235U so 0-10 and three beaten favourites. Paul Nicholls is yet to have a runner. Nicky Henderson's runners finished 1350P1900FP so 2-11 for 18% and Gordon Elliott finished 2F021 so 1-5 for 20%. As expected Henry De Bromhead came to the party and recorded B165180 so 2-7 for 28%. Our BIG FOUR/FIVE has made the anticipated start and we expect more of the same today.
08.37: We got the 4-3 UK v Ireland score spot on yesterday but we fully expect the Irish winning today and that reflects in our nominations. Looking at yesterday's nominations had we placed £10 win on all of our first and second preferences we would have scored with Shishkin 6/1, Epatante 2/1, Honeysuckle 9/4 and Imperial Aura 4/1 to SP, resulting in a profit of +£42.50. Today is another day of course...
WEDNESDAY 08.18 UPDATE: Yesterday was a general disappointment for us results-wise as the going conditions changed more than anticipated, however we had some joy. Shishkin was a Pacafi and won at 6/1, and we lost nothing on the Champion Hurdle with Epatante winning. Nick Henderson made sure we had a a winning day winning two races and we had backed both. Our third Pacafi Benie Des Dieux should have won but for severe jockey error and Willie Mullins confirmed our view shortly after. Robbie Power, on board the Mullins-trained Stormy Ireland, left a gap on his inside as they turned for home, which Rachael Blackmore capitalised on to surge to the front on Honeysuckle. Mullins told us: "He just gifted the winner a huge gap while Paul was going on the outside. We won't want to watch it again."
Ruby Walsh went further in criticising not only Power but Townend, who he told ITV viewers should have held his rivals in and "closed the door." He said: "Paul Townend should have shoved Robert Power in and closed the door on Honeysuckle there, and make her come back around, instead Rachael Blackmore gets a dream run through. That's the saving of two lengths and she only wins by one. Worry about it afterwards but close the door."
Walsh did not spare former weighing room colleague Power, who he said had abandoned the basic principle in allowing Blackmore up his inner. "Letting the horse through on your inside it's irritating, especially with a guy coming round. It was a rule when I was a kid you didn’t let anybody through on your inside. You stuck to the rail when you had it and made everyone come around you. It's the basics of race-riding!" Sense we have not heard the last of this but for the second year running we heavily backed Benie Des Dieux at great prices and got beat, when we easily had the best horse. A result that hurts...
17.50: Gordon Elliott obliges in the last with a 12/1 winner and the first day ended as predicted UK 4 Ireland 3. We expect the Irish to win tomorrow and for Willie Mullins to hit the score board...
16.22: Jockey error by Paul Townsend costs us dear with Benie Des Dieux being the best mare in the race but getting beat! Hard to take. Five races in and no winners from Mullins or Elliott, now overdue...
15.47: Four races in and 0 winners for Mullins, Elliott and Nicholls. Only a matter of time. Our saver to the Pacafi gave us a break-even figure so no damage in that department. No view on Pentland Hills at this stage!
13.48: What a start as our first of three Pacafi wins at 6/1 under a brilliant ride from Nico de Boinville! Just great to get off to a winning start and just seen an interview with Nico regarding Pentland Hills and the ground and it was encouraging.
UPDATE TUESDAY 10 MARCH 2020 at 11.55: We have lost Altior from our bankers and that will negatively impact on our forecasts. Not only that but both Shishkin and Pentland Hills are drifting in the market giving some cause for concern. Of course we would have preferred good to soft ground for our horse so this rain has not helped us.
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