Everyone loves a stat – that’s a fact. And over the years, statistics and trends have played an ever increasing part in the way form students analyse races at the Cheltenham Festival.
We’ve used four angles from Festival years gone by to pick out four ante-post selections that are worth backing in the market.
If you’re feeling fruity, put them in a Yankee bet and dream of what transpire.
*ELEGANT ESCAPE – NATIONAL HUNT CHASE 7/1*
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Back Elegant Chase to Win the National Hunt Chase at 7/1 with Bet365.
Horses that have tasted Grade One level are always underrated by the market. *From the last 16 runners to have run at the top level ahead of the National Hunt Chase*, four have ended up winning, which has resulted in a big profit margin for its backers.
Elegant Escape looks to have solid claims in the four-miler anyway but to see that he fills the above criteria is no harm either when he ran Black Corton close in the Grade One Feltham Chase at Kempton.
Hopefully, Colin Tizzard decides this race is the one for him.
Don’t fear though, as with most ante-post bets you can take advantage of the non-runner, no-bet, stipulation if he runs in the RSA instead.
*MONALEE – RSA CHASE 3/1*
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Back Monalee to Win the RSA Chase at 3/1 with Bet365.
It’s no secret that you need a warrior for this test of attrition – one that has been there before and tested his mettle.
Therefore, it’s no surprise to note *that from the last 20 runners to have ran in the previous seasons Albert Bartlett – a similar stamina sapping test over hurdles – five have gone onto win the RSA*.
Four of the last nine winners have also ran in the Flogas Novices Chase at Leopardstown and this year’s renewal, won by Monalee, was arguably the strongest race from a form perspective over the two days of that meeting.
*ACT OF VALOUR – FRED WINTER JUVUNILE HURDLE 12/1*
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Back Act of Valour to Win the Fred Winter at 12/1 with Bet365.
Paul Nicholls has become the master of this handicap for four-year-old juvenile hurdlers in recent years.
Since his numbers of top-class horses have dwindled, Nicholls has begun focusing more on targeting a horse for a handicap and this race has been especially good to him. *He’s won three of the last eight renewals but intriguingly he’s manage to saddle seven horses to place (including four seconds) from his last 15 runners*.
The noises surrounding Act Of Valour’s chances this year have been strong following three runs in juvenile hurdles, where he’s been by all accounts disappointing considering his make-up for hurdling.
However, dropped back into handicap company on spring ground looks set to be the key to this horse.
*FOX NORTON – RYANAIR CHASE 5/1*
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Back Fox Norton to Win the Ryanair Chase at 5/1 with Bet365.
It’s paid to back horses going back down in trip from three miles rather than ones stepping up from two miles for this intermediate test on the Thursday.
*From the last 25 runners to have run both in the King George – the showpiece three mile chase at Christmas at Kempton Park – and the Ryanair, seven have won*, including Vautour, Cue Card and Riverside Theatre – all very classy operators over three miles when on song.
Fox Norton without question fits in that classy operator bracket – although he didn’t show it when pulling up on his first start over three miles in the King George.
That run can be scratched from your minds, he wouldn’t have won at any distance that day.
It came at a time when Tizzard’s yard was under a cloud and the horse himself may have not fully recovered from a hard race in the Tingle Creek.
The Ryanair Chase looks tailor-made for him.
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