Cheltenham Day 4 – Grand Annual

Today its Kauto Star v Denman. In all likelyhood
Kauto Star will probably win the race but I would
argue that the statistical arguments suggest that
a better bet is Imperial Commander and Cooldine.
You oppose Kauto Star at your peril but although
it’s not a race I would want an account bet in and
will enjoy the race without being heavily involved
it wouldnt surprise me if Imperial Commander won
and I am going to have an interest bet on him.

It is the Grand Annual that interests me most and
it’s this race I’ve earmarked for our final bet of the
meeting. TARTAK does have statistical problems.
He is not a horse that flies through my angles but
that does not worry me. Nothing else does anyway.
His chance will be determined by whether he will be
as effective at this 2m trip and I think he will. This
is wide open. It is not a vintage renewal. There are
no obvious plot horses this year. The weight stat
in the race has never been more vulnerable. I see
him as a controversial choice. You will struggle to
find anyone tip him today and he is the forgotten
horse of the race. I do think he is worth betting.

CHELTENHAM 5.15

Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Chase
Challenge Cup (Handicap) Grade 3 (CLASS 1)
(5yo+)2m110y

8/1 You´re The Top, 9/1 Free World, 10/1 French Opera
10/1 Oiseau De Nuit, 10/1 Tataniano 14/1 Beggars Cap
16/1 Consigliere, 16/1 Cornas, 16/1 Fighting Chance 16/1
Safari Journey, 16/1 Tartak, 20/1 Pepsyrock, Nomecheki
33/1 Lennon, 33/1 Lord Henry, 33/1 Moon Over Miami
33/1 Russian Flag , Calatagan, 40/1 Nikola, Pigeon Island
40/1 Tramantano.

* The Grand Annual is a 2m Handicap Chase
* There has been 16 renewals since 1992

* TRAMANTANO’s chance may have gone now
* I backed him e/w at 40/1 in last years race
* He placed Gallantly but never looked like winning
* He goes well fresh but I dont want a 11yo
* Not absent as long as him and he is rejected
* CALATAGAN is too old for me
* Especially coming down 5f in distance
* PIGEON ISLAND doesnt look good enough
* NIKOLA is exposed with just 2 runs this year
* No exposed horse did that and his absence hurts him
* LORD HENRY also has two runs this season
* Not enough for an exposed 11 year old
* Exposed horses dont score well
* I wouldnt bet one without serious backclass
* RUSSIAN FLAG doesnt have that
* Thats not a good sign statistically
* MOON OVER MIAMI is too exposed over fences
* He didnt achieve enough in recent races
* LENNON looks vulnerable to me
* Especially as an exposed 10yo with 2 runs this year

* SAFARI JOURNEY has been absent 96 days
* No English horse had an absence of more than 7 weeks
* There has been 70 handicap chases at the festival
* Thats 70 races at any distance since 1993
* There were 5 winners aged 6 in these races
* None won when absent over a month
* SAFARI JOURNEY shouldnt be the first
* Horses absent 7 + weeks struggled in this race
* Those aged 6-7-8 were 0-50
* SAFARI JOURNEY fails that and has to go

* PEPSYROCK fails a lot of statistics
* He looks overexposed in Chases with 17 runs
* The last 11 winners had no more than 12 runs
* I think he is short of runs this season
* He didnt run well enough last time either
* Overall I thought he had a poor profile

* NOMECHEKI has a lot to do down from 2m 5f
* Especially with just 3 Chase runs
* Thats very inexperienced and a worry
* Having no Graded form doesnt help
* I am comfortable about opposing him

* FREE WORLD is a 6 year old
* There were 2 winners aged 6
* They both had 4 + runs this year and he has 3
* They both ran within a month
* He hasnt run in 44 days
* Not brilliant trends but he does fail both
* He would have been better with 1 more run recently
* However there are 6yo stats in all chases here
* There has been 70 handicap chases at the festival
* Thats 70 races at any distance since 1993
* There were 5 winners aged 6 in these races
* None had under 4 runs that season
* None won when absent over a month
* None had the weight he does either
* FREE WORLD has 11st 11lbs and thats a big weight
* The race is dominated by horses that carried 11st or less.
* In the last 9 years only 1 horse placed with 11st 3lbs or more
* You have to ask yourself about 6 year olds
* As none have won with his absence or with 1-2-3 runs
* Thats in any Festival Handicap Chase
* Is it likely  FREE WORLD will be the first with 11st 11lbs

* TATANIANO is also a 6 year old
* There has been 70 handicap chases at the festival
* Thats 70 races at any distance since 1993
* There were 5 winners aged 6 in these races
* None had under 4 runs that season
* TATANIANO only has 3 runs
* None won when absent over a month
* TATANIANO has been absent 49 days
* That makes him weak statistically for me
* He also has 11st 2lbs and weight is an issue here
* The race is dominated by horses that carried 11st or less.
* TATANIANO also has just 3 Chase runs
* The last few winners had 6 13 11 5 7 10 4 11 3 6 5 39 26
* Considering he is down from 19f it could be a problem
* There are too many problems with his profile
* TATANIANO wouldnt be my choice

* YOU´RE THE TOP is a 6 year old
* He comes from a Novice Chase
* Horses aged 6 from Novice Chases were 1-15
* Last years winner (Oh Crick) did it
* That said last years winner had 6 Chase runs
* YOU´RE THE TOP only has 3
* He also had 1 run extra this season
* He also had form in Listed Class before
* YOU´RE THE TOP hasnt had that backclass
* He also had 11lbs less weight
* I think YOU´RE THE TOP has a tough task here
* He has no form in Listed or Graded Class
* Every past winner had that
* He only has 3 Chase starts as well
* Only 1 of the last 10 winners had 3 Chase starts
* That winner had Grade 1 form over hurdles
* I dont see a great profile there

* FRENCH OPERA has 11st 12lbs to carry
* In the last 9 years only 1 horse placed with 11st 3lbs or more
* He was a well beaten 4th place
* That weight wont be easy to overcome
* Not with a 97 day absence as well
* English horses in this race absent 7 weeks are 0-58
* He is ridden by an Apprentice as well
* Apprentice riders are 0-32 in this race
* FRENCH OPERA has only 3 runs this year
* I looked at every handicap chase run at the festival
* I looked at horses with 1-2-3 runs that season
* I looked at those absent 7 weeks or more
* None carried the weight he does and that worries me
* I couldnt bet him with that weight and absence

* CORNAS comes from a Grade 1 Chase
* Horses doing that score badly in all handicap chase’s
* He has a troublesome weight with 11st 8lbs
* In the last 9 years only 1 horse placed with 11st 3lbs or more
* CORNAS also has to overcome a 55 day absence
* No English horse managed that in this race
* I think his weight and absence will beat him
* He certainly isnt typical of what’s been winning this
* For whatever reason horses from Grade 1 chases struggle

* OISEAU DE NUIT is exposed with 23 career starts
* Yet he has never run in Listed or Graded horse before
* That worries me a lot
* The last 16 winners all ran in Listed or Graded class
* There has been 70 handicap chases at the festival
* Thats 70 races at any distance since 1993
* Only 2 winners were exposed with no Graded class
* Neither were like OISEAU DE NUIT
* He looks far too exposed in Handicap Chases
* He has more weight than many past winners
* I wasnt convinced he was the right type

* BEGGARS CAP doesnt really impress me
* He is a little exposed having his 12th handicap start
* He is a little exposed over fences with 15 runs
* The last 11 winners had no more than 12 runs in Chases.
* Overall I dont have huge problems with him
* His last run beaten miles doesnt help his profile
* 35 of the last 39 winners placed in their previous chase
* He doesnt and I see him as a bit on the unsafe side

P O S S I B L E S

* CONSIGLIERE comes from a hurdle race
* I dont have a big problem with that
* I think he is a bit exposed in handicap chases
* I think he could do with a few lbs less weight
* Neither problem would be a dealbreaker though
* He has no form higher than in a class 2 race though
* The last 16 winners all ran in better grade
* That makes him look weaker statistically
* I dont like his mark of 145 much
* There could also be an issue with the big field
* Overall I would make him a “Possible”
* Thats being Generous though based on his profile

* FIGHTING CHANCE has never in in Class 2 or higher
* Every past winner had ran in 2 Grades higher
* That has to be a big worry for a 10 year old
* We have had 3 winners aged 10 like him
* None of these came from a 2m chase
* They all had form in Graded races
* I wouldnt rule him out despite that
* He isnt exposed at all and is on a roll
* He has won his last 3 Handicap Chases
* Up in class and up in weight wont be easy at all
* He has a low weight though and he could improve
* FIGHTING CHANCE would be a “Possible” for me

SELECTION

TARTAK 16/1 bet365 vc will hill

( if you are betting ew bet365 offer 5 places )

* TARTAK has had 12 Chase starts
* It’s a little more than ideal but workable
* He has 11st 6lbs and thats a tough weight in this
* The race is dominated by horses that carried 11st or less.
* He does have Grade 1 form though
* I quite liked the rest of his profile
* Much will depend on whether he is a 2 miler
* Since the 2009 Arkle has has ran at 2m 4f and more
* This may well be his best distance

TARTAK started 10/1 in last years Arkle. He ran very
well after being hampered in a rough race and jumped
the last only 2 lengths down against Grade 1 horses.
He then went and won at Aintree over 2m 4f and that
may have formed an imprint with some that TARTAK
needs further than 2 Miles. That could be a mistake.

* His form suggests he likes Flat Tracks
* I disagree with that myself
* How can you Pigeon hole a horse after a few runs
* I watched last years Arkle and he ran well
* That tells me he will have no problem here
* His other 2 races here were when he didnt stay
* Tom George is on record saying this
* I think he has run very well here before

This year he has run 5 times. I think you can excuse his
seasonal debut when he didnt jump well and was well
beaten. That was a Grade 2 handicap and he was only a
novice but it says a lot that he was made favourite. He
was then well beaten in the Paddy Power Gold Cup but
he was statistically dead in the water that day anyway
and if you watch the video he ran better than it looked
and was only beaten half a mile out when it looked like
he did not stay. TARTAK then placed at Huntingdon in
the Peterborough Chase. Nothing wrong with that run.
Look who was behind him. Albertas Run and Tidal Bay.
He may well have won that without slipping up.

His 4th race was in Kauto Star’s King George over 3m
and there is no surprise that he didnt stay 3 Miles. Its
interesting he was no bigger price that day than many
Grade 1 horses and I watched that and felt he ran with
plenty of credit but clearly didnt get home.

Last time out he dropped down to todays trip of 2 miles.
It was asking a lot for him to come down from 3m to 2m.
He didnt run badly in 5th place against a few runners in
this race. That race doesnt put me off. He needed a run
and had a harder task than it looked that day. After the
race Tom George hinted the horse wasnt well ridden and
strongly hinted that 2 miles was probably the right trip.

TARTAK now gets the chance to prove that. He has to
carry more weight than most previous winners and that
is a worry but I will forgive him that. He has Grade 1 form
and run in some serious races and its a matter of time to
wait before we get a winner again with 11st or more. He
doesnt pass all my angles in the race and there are some
question marks for him. I just think he is worth the risk.
He has some serious form behind him. I am taking the
view that this 2m suits him much better.  He will race in
the first half dozen today and I think he has the ability
to win this race.  Its not a vintage race. There has been
no Plot horses or throw in lightweights. Every horse is
9/1 and more. There is nothing special in this race and
With a stable in hot form I see him as very interesting.

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