Cheltenham Day 1 Betting Advice

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One race today for the free blog.

CHELTENHAM 2.40

William Hill Trophy Handicap Chase
Grade 3 (CLASS 1) (5yo+) 3m110y

5/1 Bensalem, 11/2 The Package, 10/1 Character Building
10/1 Theatrical Moment, 12/1 Exmoor Ranger, 12/1 Ogee
14/1 The Tother One, 16/1 Casey Jones, 16/1 Niche Market
16/1 Razor Royale, 20/1 Kicks For Free, 20/1 Nenuphar Collonges
25/1 New Alco, 25/1 Officier De Reserve, 28/1 Chief Dan George 33/1
Beat The Boys, 33/1 Joe Lively, 33/1 Offshore Account 33/1 Tatenen,
50/1 Comply Or Die, 50/1 Knowhere 66/1 Bible Lord, 66/1 Stan, 100/1 Ollie Magern.

The ante post chatter in this race has been dominated by
two seemingly well handicapped horses in BENSALEM
and THE PACKAGE dominating the front of the market.

* THE PACKAGE has been saved for this race
* He has not run for 95 days to protect his handicap mark
* Personally I am happy to accept he is well handicapped
* I dont think its as obvious as many think though
* The issue for me is will he defy an absence of 95 days
* Statistically I would have to say no for these reasons
* Cheltenham has had 132 Handicaps since 1993
* Thats 132 Handicaps at any distance – hurdle or chase
* Thats every handicap run at the festival in 17 years
* I looked at horses that were absent 80 + days
* I then look at those like THE PACKAGE with 13 + runs
* There were 8 winners that did that
* None were aged 6 or 7 as THE PACKAGE is
* What I did find was the 8 winners had 1 think in common
* They had all ran in a Grade 1 or Grade 2 race
* 7 of the 8 winners had Grade 1 form and all 8 had Grade 1-2
* THE PACKAGE has not got that
* Therefore no horse like him won a handicap with that break
* None with 13 + runs won absent 80 + days
* Not without a run in Grade 2 or better and he doesnt
* Thats what puts me off THE PACKAGE in this race

* BENSALEM is light on experience with 4 Chase starts
* He fell in one of those but last years winner did 3 chase runs
* I think you can overlook that because of last years winner
* That said last years winner had the ride of the season
* He looked easily beaten before a brilliant ride won it
* I dont mind that he has no handicap form
* His Jumping is the main problem though
* He makes several mistakes and isnt a fluent jumper
* He has never run in a Chase with more than 5 runners either
* BENSALEM has not raced on ground as fast as this
* His chance depends on how well he jumps
* Especially in a big field on ground thats not very soft
* I see risks in THE PACKAGE and BENSALEM
* I think I would rather bet BENSALEM of the pair
* I see BENSALEM as a Saver bet

* NICHE MARKET is pretty exposed with 17 chase starts
* That would worry me about a horse with 11st 6lbs
* The last 10 winners and 14 of the last 16 had less weight
* He isnt like any past winner that had a large weight
* He comes from a Grade 2 Chase last time out
* All 28 horses doing that in this race lost
* Its not a good preparation for a handicap here
* I looked at every Handicap Chase run at the festival since 1993
* Thats every Handicap over any distance
* Horses coming from Grade 1 or Grade 2 chases were poor
* Those with 10st 11lbs or more had a 1-135 record
* That horse was far less exposed and much younger
* This has never really been his track
* He has run well here before but both wins were right handed
* He could also have Aintree in mind rather than today
* I think he has an unimpressive profile

* THEATRICAL MOMENT has 4 Chase starts
* He has a nasty 78 day absence though
* It strikes me that if you want a horse with 4 chase starts
* Wouldnt you rather have Bensalem ?
* He has a much more recent run
* He has Graded form and THEATRICAL MOMENT doesnt
* He is only carrying 1lbs more weight
* That tells me THEATRICAL MOMENT has a bit to do
* Bought for good money by Jonjo O’Neil
* Improved since a Breathing operation
* His chance in perspective to Bensalem does put me off
* I gave an interesting stat when looking at The Package
* No Cheltenham Handicap of any kind went to this type
* Absence of 80 + days – 13 + carrer starts – No Grade 1/2 form
* Thats any of Cheltenhams 132 handicaps since 1993
* THEATRICAL MOMENT only just scraped through that stat
* Had he been absent a further 4 days he would have failed it
* Horses absent 7 weeks or more in this race have won
* However they all had form in a Grade 1 race before
* THEATRICAL MOMENT hasnt ran in any Graded race
* He is light on chasing experience with 4 runs
* There was a winner from a Novice Chase with no Graded form
* That was Fork Lightening (2004) but he had a recent run
* THEATRICAL MOMENT doesnt come out good enough

* CHIEF DAN GEORGE isnt out of this statistically
* There are a lot worse profiles than he has
* My biggest problem with him is the track
* I think he is best on a Flatter track
* I think the Scottish National is a better option

* RAZOR ROYALE won the Racing Post Chase last time
* He had a hard race last doing that 17 days ago
* That said two past winners were 1st and 2nd in that race
* They both won this. Malborough was the same age in 2000
* He did have a lot less weight though
* Statistically there’s no reason why he shouldnt do the double
* His weight of 11st 3lbs is higher than ideal
* The last 10 winners and 14 of the last 16 had less weight
* He has also been on the go since September
* Very few past winners ran as early in the year as that
* He has more runs this year than most winners
* There are some concerns and it wont be easy for him

* OGEE has 4 chase runs and is a little inexperienced
* He comes from a Novice Chase
* Only 2 past winners came from a Novice Chase
* They were both 8 year olds and he is a 7yo
* I looked at 7 year olds from Novice Chases
* Those with 10st 9lbs or less were 0-5
* They did have a second in 2000 but he had more experience
* I can’t match OGEE perfectly but it’s not a bad profile
* I think there has to be a worry about the track
* He has lots of form on sharp tracks and flat tracks
* He goes well left handed and has run well on other tracks
* It would be a worry but its far from certain to be a problem
* Its also interesting very few winners had Flat careers

I will be amazed if CHARACTER BUILDING can win this
race with just 1 run this season and a career high mark. I
would not want him at twice his price. COMPLY OR DIE
is rejected for the similar reasons. THE TOTHER ONE is
also rejected. I could not have any horse with 11st 12lbs
absent 78 days. I looked at all the handicaps run at this
festival since 1993 and no horse had been absent  more
than 7 weeks with 11st10lbs or more and he should have
too much to do. I looked at every handicap Chase run at
the Festival before at any distance. There were very few
seasonal debutants win. None were aged 8 (0-48) and
None did it without Grade 1 or Grade 2 form before so
OFFICIER DE RESERVE has to go. No horse has won
any handicap chase absent like NEW ALCO over two
seasons and he is being aimed at the National.

OLLIE MAGERN isnt up to this now. STAN has poor
recent form and a miserable preparation. BIBLE LORD
hates big fields and isnt fanciable. KNOWHERE looks
vulnerable now he takes on younger horses after his
Veterans Chase run. OFFSHORE ACCOUNT has not
been the same horse since Injury forced him to have
a long break and he has not done much since and he
looks a horse aimed at the Aintree Grand National.

BEAT THE BOYS has been off 95 days and as he is
also lacking Grade 1 form and has 13 or more career
runs he is another horse like The Package that fails
the statistic showing no horse has won a Handicap
at the festival before absent that long like him. I am
against JOE LIVELY too old for his weight and with
the wrong type of preparation. I wouldnt want a 6yo
like TATENEN and he doesnt look right at all.

* CASEY JONES problem is his weight of 11st 5lbs
* There were 2 winners that had 11st 3lbs or more
* Both had 5 or more runs this year and a recent run
* CASEY JONES has just 2 runs and a long absence
* No winner like him came from a Grade 1 or Grade 2 race
* I think his weight and absence really hurt him
* There is evidence this may not be his track

STRONG PROFILES

* NENUPHAR COLLONGES is worth considering
* He is a previous Festival winner
* I shortlisted him in the Hennessy last time
* I shortlisted him in this race last year
* He was beaten less than a length in this race last year
* He has got an absence of 108 days
* That said he has won fresh before
* On his profile he is interesting
* Horses absent more than 10 weeks
* Previous run in a Grade 1 race
* 2-3-4 runs this season
* 13 or more career starts
* Weight of no more than 10st 11lbs
* Horses in this race with that profile were 2-5
* Joes Edge (2007) had that profile
* Wichita Lineman (2009) also had that profile
* I would have liked a more recent run
* I would have liked a better last run
* Easy to see he is second string behind Bensalem
* That said I think he has a fair chance in this
* I think he has a much better profile than it looks

* EXMOOR RANGER is a Positive
* Unexposed 8 year olds like did excellently
* When 1-2-3 last time over 3m or more
* When not beaten more than 12 lengths last time
* When having 3-4-5 runs that year
* These horses had a 5-13 record
* The problem with him is his weight
* All 5 winners in the 5-13 record had 10st 9lbs or less
* Those like him with 11st or more were 0-2
* I am not too disheartened about that
* 1 of them came second and the other had a slipped saddle
* EXMOOR RANGER is a horse I feel positive about
* If I could change 1 think I’d give him 5lbs less weight
* I Would have liked more track form as well

* KICKS FOR FREE is reasonable statistically
* Two runs this year and an absence doesnt worry me
* He has Grade 1 Class which is important
* He is at his best when Fresh
* 2 past winners had the same profile as he does
* He is still lightly raced over Chases and could improve
* He has placed at two festivals before over hurdles
* He has been rejected by Ruby Walsh which is an issue
* I still give him a good chance in this race

SELECTION

NENUPHAR COLLONGES each way 22/1 Ladbrokes s james VC

KICKS FOR FREE each way 25/1 Ladbrokes bet365 VC

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