THE TENNER BET
EE Fiver and Big Tenner headed home (to Belfast) earlier this week. There was the usual toing and froing associated with such journeys: are the nappies packed? Where’s ma dumma, dad? Where’s ma jammies, Mrs Tenner Bet?
The complexities of managing a two-year-old on an overseas trip are minor in contrast to attempting to place bets on the Cheltenham Festival while in transit.
Those who have attempted to deal with the foibles of an unco-operative mobile phone operating system, a lagging bookie’s website and a wriggling toddler will understand where I’m coming from. The rest can do one . . . for the time being.
Despite the obstacles placed in the Tenner Bet’s path, I managed to negotiate these figurative fences with aplomb. So much so that punts on this week’s Festival have been relatively successful with a 10/1 winner, an 8/1 winner and two 5/1 winners in the bank and a couple of horses that placed but that, admittedly, were backed to win.
Having witnessed at first hand the power of proper analysis of big fields at Cheltenham (these came in the form of some rather enlightening emails), I feel confident of picking a winner in this afternoon’s feature race at Uttoxeter, The Midlands National. Having been spoiled with the Olympics of horse racing in recent days, it feels a bit unedifying to talk up the merits of a race which is more park run than marathon.
Nevertheless, there are definite trends that can be used to split the field into live contenders and no hopers. For example, I have read experts claim that Tamarinbleu is worthy of respect given the David Pipe-tom Bellamy connection.
However, if we take age, form, weight and official rating trends then the French-bred horse has no chance. Indeed, it ticks just one trend box: that of having raced four or more times this season up to a maximum of eight runs.
In effect, what we are looking for is a horse aged between 7 and 9. carrying less than 11st, first or second last time out and with an official rating of 134 or less. Oh, of course, and one which has had between four and eight runs this season.
When all of those comparables are applied, we’re left with five contenders that tick every one of the statistic boxes. This race has tended to favour horses at the upper end of the betting but that trend went out of the window last year when Pipe’s Minella Four Star took the honours at 25/1.
The five are Roalco De Farges, Clash Duff, Mr Moss, Posh Bird and Jaunty Journey. It will escape the attention of no-one who has remained alert this far to learn that Clash Duff is the favourite and that Posh Bird, who will be partnered by Scottish female Lucy Alexander, is second favourite. The French horse is also in the reckoning with Mr Moss and Jaunty Journey the outsiders.
The preference, though, is for the favourite who already has the Devon National to his name with Jaunty Journey the each-way pick. Selections Clash Duff (8/1, general), Jaunty Journey (16/1, general) Season’s total -£19.63