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18th July 2024

Free Horse Racing Tips and Trends: Sat 11th Dec 2021

Plenty to look forward to this weekend as we've one of the jump season highlights this Saturday with Cheltenham's final day of their December Meeting (The International). A bumper day at Prestbury Park with the newly-sponsored Racing Post Gold Cup and the Unibet International Hurdle two of the highlights - the ITV4 cameras will be showing us four LIVE races from Prestbury Park.

The LIVE ITV action doesn't end at Cheltenham though as they are also at Doncaster to take in three races so we'll be praying the worst of the weather also bypasses them.

So, as always, we’ve got it all covered here on TQ with all the key trends, plus our verdict, on each of the LIVE ITV races - we’re confident these trends will point you in the direction of a few winners, or at least help narrow down some of the field to highlight the horses that fit the best profile of past winners – So, let’s get going!


Cheltenham Horse Racing Trends (ITV/RacingTV)

1.50 – Racing Post Gold Cup (Handicap Chase) (Grade 3) Cl1 2m5f ITV4

19/19 – Aged 8 or younger
17/19 – Ran within the last 6 weeks
15/19 – Had won over at least 2m4f (fences) before
15/19 – Placed in the top 3 last time out
14/19 - Went onto run at the Cheltenham Festival later that season (1 winner, Frodon – Ryanair Chase)
14/19 – Had won between 2-4 times over fences before
13/19 – Had raced at Cheltenham (fences) before (5 won)
13/19 – Returned 9/1 or shorter in the betting
12/19 – Aged 6 or 7 years-old
12/19 – Officially rated 141 or higher
11/19 – French bred
11/19 – Unplaced favourites
8/19 – Carried 10-13 or more
8/19 – Ran at Cheltenham last time out
8/19 – Ran in the Paddy Power (Nov) Gold Cup last time out (1 won)
6/19 – Finished in the top 5 in the Paddy Power Gold Cup last time out
5/19 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
5/19 – Won last time out
3/19 – Trained by Nicky Henderson
3/19 – Went to an Irish-trained horse
2/19 – Trained by David Pipe
2/19 – Ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies
1/19 – Winning favourites
The average winning SP in the last 19 runnings is 10/1

Midnight Shadow was a nice winner of the Paddy Power Gold Cup here last month and despite being 7lbs higher will be a popular choice to go in again, with the form of that race boosted by the win of Protektorat last weekend at Aintree. It’s a race the Paul Nicholls camp have done well in recently too - winning 5 of the last 19 and three of the last five - they run LALOR, who also ran well (3rd) in the aforementioned Paddy Power Gold Cup. He was staying on well that day to take the bronze medal but is now 5lbs better off with the winner too. He’s a proven course winner here too and the first-time cheekpieces are also on today, while that last run was also his first back from a wind op so we can expect a bit more improvement. Others of interest, that also ran in last month’s Paddy Power Gold Cup are DOSTAL PHIL (4th), Zanza (6th), Deyrann De Carjac (11th) and Coole Cody, who fell. Of that bunch, Dostal Phil is interesting, having also stayed on well that day. He’s 6lbs better off with Midnight Shadow here and with that run coming off a 7-month break then he can be expected to also improve for it. The Hobbs yard took this in 2015 as well and jockey Aidan Coleman, who was on last time, keeps the ride. Of the rest, the Henderson camp are always feared here - they run Fusil Raffles, who was last seen winning the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby. However, he was a lucky winner that day really, having been 20 lengths down when the leader Shan Blue fell three out. CD winners, Siruh Du Lac and Cepage are others to not rule out, while jockey Rachael Blackmore catches the eye riding for the Venetia Williams yard - Fairinet - that won this race in 2014.


2.25 - Albert Bartlett Novices´ Hurdle (Registered as The Bristol Novices´ Hurdle) (Grade 2) Cl1 3m ITV4

17/17 – Finished 1st or 2nd last time out
16/17 – Raced within the last 6 weeks
15/17 – Had won between 1-2 times over hurdles before
15/17 – Aged 6 or younger
14/17 – Winning distance 1 ¼ lengths or more
13/17 – Placed favourites
13/17 – Returned 4/1 or shorter in the betting
13/17 – Went on run in the Albert Bartlett (3 won) at the Cheltenham Festival
10/17 – Winning favourite (1 co, 1 joint)
10/17 – Ran at Cheltenham last time out
10/17 – Won last time out
10/17 – Irish bred
9/17 – Returned 2/1 or shorter in the betting
9/17 – Went onto finish in the top 4 in a Cheltenham Festival race that season
8/17 – Had won at Cheltenham before
8/17 – Won over 3m (hurdles) before
3/17 – Trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies
2/17 – Trained by Jonjo O’Neill
9 of the last 12 winners returned 3/1 or shorter in the betting
8 of the last 10 winners were aged 5 years-old

The Olly Murphy runner - Barony Legends - was a nice winner at Lingfield last time out, but it’s hard to know what he beat that day. He could be anything and certainly looks to have plenty of ability, but you are rather taking it on trust that he’s up to this rise in grade. The same applies to 3-time winning Pointer - Ballygriffincottage - who is having his debut for the Dan Skelton yard. He’s another that heads here with a tall reputation despite not racing under rules and it certainly wouldn’t be a shock if he’s good enough, with his connections clearly thinking he’s up to this level already. But the safer form line looks to be to stick with BLAZING KHAL, Gelino Bello and Current Mood, who finished 1st, 2nd and 3rd here at the track last month. The Charles Byrnes-trained BLAZING KHAL won that race by 2 ½ lengths that day and stayed on really well to suggest more improvement is likely over this slightly longer trip. Yes, he’s got to give away 5lbs to the Nicholls horse - Gelino Bello - and a massive 8lbs to Current Mood, but I think he’s up to the task and can make it 3-from-3 over hurdles.


3.00 – Unibet International Hurdle (Grade 2) Cl1 2m1f ITV4

18/18 – Raced over hurdles at Cheltenham previously
16/18 – Placed in the top 3 in their latest race
16/18 – Raced within the last 6 weeks
15/18 – Won over 2m1f+ (hurdles) previously
15/18 – Won 4 or more times over hurdles previously
14/18 – Won by a horse aged 7 years-old or younger
14/18 – Ran in the Champion Hurdle later that season (5 placed)
13/18 –  Favourites placed
12/18 – Favourites that won (1 joint)
12/18 – Priced 5/2 or shorter
11/18 – Won their latest race
11/18 – Won over hurdles at Cheltenham previously
9/18 – Won by a horse aged either 4 or 5 years-old
9/18 – Rated 162 or higher
7/18 – Winning distance:  4+ lengths
6/18 – Won the Greatwood Hurdle (Cheltenham) last time out
5/18 – Won by a French-bred horse
5/18 – Won by trainer Nicky Henderson
4/18 – Ridden by jockey Richard Johnson
4/18 – Trained by Nigel Twiston-Davies
3/18 – Trained by Philip Hobbs
3/18 – Ridden by jockey Sam Twiston-Davies
3/18 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
3/18 – Won by an Irish-trained horse
1/18 – Won the Champion Hurdle later that season (Rooster Booster 2002)
Song For Someone (6/1) won the race 12 months go
The average winning SP in the last 10 runnings is 10/3

Song For Someone, who won this race last year, will be looking to follow in the hoofprints of The New One and defend his title in this race. He’s got a big chance and returned to the track last month with a fine second in the Coral Hurdle at Ascot. He’ll be much better for that and that also came off the back of a wind operation. Those against him though will look to the fact he’s not won a race since taking this 12 months ago and with that in mind I’m happy to stick with the likable SCEAU ROYAL, who has been a busy boy this season. He’s already won twice over hurdles this term and wasn’t disgraced when a close third in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle at Newcastle a few weeks ago. He’s the top-rated in the field (158) and was a fair fourth in this race last season on ground that was probably a bit too soft. If the rain stays away that will help his chance and despite being a 9 year-old now, has shown this season he retains all his ability. Of the rest, one of the Irish challenges comes from the Henry De Bromhead-trained Ballyadam, who is back over hurdles after not quick taking to fences the last twice - the worry would be that he’s not won now in his last 6 starts. You feel Wilde About Oscar, Guard Your Dreams and Hunters Call all have a bit to find on these terms, so the danger to the pick can come from another Irish runner in the race - HEAVEN HELP US (e/w). This mare gets a handy 9lbs from both Song For Someone and Sceau Royal, but returns to the scene of her Coral Cup win last season here at the Festival. We know the track suits and even though she’s not won since she’s interesting back in trip and should also be much fitter for her return run at Punchestown last month - Danny Mullins comes over for the ride.


3.35 – Close Brothers Mares’ Handicap Hurdle Cl2 (4yo+) 2m4 1/2f ITV4

Just 6 previous runnings
All six winners returned 4/1 or shorter in the betting
5/6 - Winners carried 10-11 or more
5/6 - Aged 7 or younger
4/6 - Aged 5 or 6 years-old
2/6 – Winning favourites
Trainers, Lucy Wadham, Nicky Henderson, Dan Skelton, Noel Williams (2), Anthony Honeyball have won the race in the past

The Jonjo O’Neill runner - Trapista - heads here 2-from-2 over hurdles and was a nice winner on her UK debut at Huntingdon at the end of October. The form of that race though has taken a few knocks since and even though she looks progressive, her inexperience in a race like this isn’t ideal. Recent winners - Runasimi River and Wynn House - come here in good form and both get in with light weights to warrant respect. Of the two, the Alan King runner - WYNN HOUSE (e/w) - is worth some support, being up just 3lbs for that last win, while the King yard also run previous course winner - Her Indoors. Henderson won this in 2019 and try again with Lust For Glory, but she’s got a bit to prove having run out and unseated in recent runs. The top-rated Indefatigable won the 2020 Martin Pipe Hurdle here at the Festival and with overall form figures at the track reading 5-1-2-1-4, then she’s got a big chance. But she was very poor last time at Newbury in the Long Distance Hurdle so needs to bounce back - that’s certainly possible, however, back at this track. The main call though is for the Lucy Wadham yard to win this race again - having landed the pot 12 months ago. They try this time with MARTELLO SKY. This 5 year-old was a nice winner at Market Rasen in October and wasn’t disgraced in the Class 2 Hurdle at Aintree (4th) last time out. She’s a proven CD winner here too and having won 4 of her 6 runs over hurdles knows how to get her head in front.


Doncaster Horse Racing Trends (ITV4/ATR)


12.55 – bet365 December Novices´ Chase (Grade 2) Cl1 3m ITV4

11/11 – Placed 1st or 2nd last time out
10/11 – Won between 0-2 times over fences
10/11 – Had raced in the last 6 weeks
9/11 – Priced 5/2 or shorter in the betting
7/11 – French (2) or Irish (5) bred
7/11 – Aged 5 or 6 years-old
6/11 – Placed favourites
5/11 – Winning favourites
5/11 – Won last time out
3/11 – Ran at Haydock last time out
3 of the last 8 runnings have been won by trainer Paul Nicholls
The last 9 winners returned 5/1 or shorter in the betting

Note: from 2013 back the race was run at Lingfield Park

Emitom has made a fair start to his chasing career, but is still yet to win a race over the bigger obstacles from three tries. Fantastikas would have a chance too after taking well to fences on debut at Lingfield last month - winning by 7 ½ lengths - but it’s hard to get away from the chance of the Paul Nicholls runner - THREEUNDERTHRUFIVE - who has won his last two over fences, including a nice success at Cheltenham last time out. He’s got to give 3lbs away to the others but with the Nicholls camp also liking to target this race - 3 wins in the last 8 - he’s taken to continue his rise up the Novice Chasing ranks.


2.40 – Bet365 Summit Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 2) (3yo) Cl1 2m110y ITV4

11/11 – Placed in the top 3 last time out
9/11 – Carried 11-2 or more in weight
9/11 – Favourites placed in the top 3
8/11 – Had won just once before over hurdles
9/11 – Raced in the last 5 weeks
8/11 – Irish (3) or French (5) bred
7/11 – Won last time out
5/11 – Winning favourites
3/11 - Trained by Paul Nicholls
2/11 – Ran at Market Rasen last time out
2/11 - Ridden by Harry Cobden
2/11 – Trained by John Quinn
2/11 – Trained by Nicky Henderson
Peace and Co won the race in 2014 and went onto with the Triumph Hurdle

We’ve seen some nice horses take this race in recent years, and with the Nicholls and Henderson yards having won 5 of the last 7 runnings between them, then their Magistrato and Impulsive One will be popular. The McCain yard are another that have won this race in the past (2019) and run Sacre Pierre. Knight Salute has done little wrong in winning all three starts, including beating Impulsive One at Kempton in October and winning a Grade Two Hurdle at Cheltenham last time out - it’s hard to crab his chance. The same can be said for Too Friendly, who has won both starts over hurdles in good fashion, but the call is to side with the Gary Moore runner - PORTICELLO. This 3 year-old won on debut when trained in France and backed that up on his first UK run with a smooth success at Wetherby at the end of October. Connections have taken their time with him since and that day he also had Sacre Pierre back in third. He won that Listed Hurdle going away by an easy 3 ¾ lengths and is already figuring prominently in the betting for the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.


3.15 – bet365 Handicap Chase (4 yo+) Cl2 3m ITV4

11/12 – Had raced in the last 6 weeks
10/12 – Had won no more than 2 times over fences
10/12 – Returned 9/1 or shorter in the betting
9/12 – Aged 8 or younger
9/12 – Carried 10-10 or more in weight
9/12 – Unplaced last time out
9/12 – Irish bred
8/12 – Had won over 3m+ (fences) before
6/12 – Aged 7 years-old
6/12 – Ran at Doncaster before
2/12 – Trained by Emma Lavelle
2/12 – Winning favourites
3 of the last 7 winners were rated 139
The average winning SP in the last 10 runnings is 13/2

The Kim Bailey yard won this race in 2020 and look to have another leading chance here with TWO FOR GOLD. This 8 year-old was last seen unseating David Bass in the Topham Chase at Aintree over the National fences but before that had some nice form over fences to his name. He’s hit the first three 8 times from his 10 races over the bigger obstacles and will head here freshened up after around 8 months off. Add in that he’s also a proven course winner here at Doncaster - albeit in a NH Flat race - then we know he’s familiar with surroundings. Of the rest, the Olly Murphy yard are double-handed with Jett and The Wolf. The former was formerly trained by Jessie Harrington in Ireland and over the years has some nice form to his name but at the age of 10 (almost 11) he’s no spring chicken. FIDUX looks the safer bet as the danger, having run a close third at Haydock last month. He’s only a pound higher here but should be coming to the boil now with two improved efforts this season. Jockey Tom Bellamy has also won on the horse in the past.