A busy weekend over that involved ferrying my children around to various party venues and shows.
On Saturday Jane and I took the girls up to town with some of their friends to see “Wicked” – the untold story of the witches of Oz. The boys went to Wimbledon theatre with their grandmother to see Scooby Doo.
We went to a restaurant before the show and I chatted to some of my 9yo daughter’s friends – I asked them about internet games they were playing as I like to keep up on these things. One of them spent a lot of time playing “The Sims” – a reality game where you create your own family in a bustling American city. She’d created a family with two parents and children – she was distressed because she’d made the mother go shopping that morning and she’d returned to find the authorities had taken her children into custody for leaving them alone in the flat. It’s a tough world playing the Sims – on another occasion she’d left some food cooking and there had been a fire, killing the grandmother.
I picked the boys up later and drove home. Eddie, 5, loves music and he has odd tastes – his favourite CD is one called “Ultimate Disco”, a compilation of ’80’s disco tracks that we bought in a charity shop for 50p. He was bouncing around in the back of the car all the way home, occasionally shouting out “This song rocks Dad!”. He makes me laugh.
I’m preparing for Cheltenham – I’m going for the whole week. I’ve done some analysis on the Arkle – since horses only run in it once and there is generally little to go on I think it’s a good race to analyse on the basis of trends. I looked at all the races from 1990;
|2008 Tidal Bay||37||1112||6/1||2||7||149|
|2007 My Way de S||52||1211||7/2||2||7||166|
|2006 Voy Por Ust||24||1111||15/2||3||5||128|
|2004 Well Chief||41||1||9/1||4||5||146|
|2002 Moscow Flyer||43||F111F||11/2||4||8||170|
|2001 No Race|
|1999 Flagship Ub||24||1211||11/1||7||5||143|
|1997 Or Royal||80||112||11/2||2||6||?|
|1996 Ventana Can.||22||112F2||7/1||4||7||139|
|1995 Klairon Davis||44||F1211||7/2||1||6||147|
|1992 Young Pokey||33||2121||4/1||2||7||143|
|1991 Remittance M||17||11111||85/40||1||7||134|
Columns: Days since last run, Chase form, odds, Favourite (i.e. 3rd fav etc.), age, best lifetime hurdle RPR.
First thing to note – not a single longshot winner in the last 18 runnings. Flagship Uberalles at 11/1 is as long as it got, and the winner was invariably in the top 4 in the betting. Perhaps not what one would expect from a novice chase.
It’s not apparent from the list, but 5yo runners have an exceptional record. There were 4 5yo winners, but from a very small number of fancied runners. 8yos on the other hand have a terrible record – only 2 winners from 61 runners, 21 of which were up in the betting.
The 5yo stat is misleading though, as historically 5yos have had a weight concession in the race and they don’t any more. Tatenen, the only 5yo in the race this year, races off the same weight as the rest of the field – last time he ran he received 11lb and a beating from Follow the Plan, who gets to reoppose on level terms.
The best form indicator I could find was hurdle form – generally more reliable than chase form in this, a race generally run at a true pace. Past winners have generally attained very decent hurdle form before going chasing (excepting 5yo winners who often hadn’t had enough time to establish their credentials over hurdles).
On the basis of hurdles form however, this year’s race is very weak. Kalahari King once ran to an RPR of 147, but he is an 8yo. Forpadydeplasterer has run to 143 and the remainder of the fancied runners are in the 130s. These are low numbers for an Arkle.
Tatenen, apparently a natural chaser, has run to 139 – a respectable mark for a 5yo winner of this race. He doesn’t have the weight advantage of previous 5yo winners, but he doesn’t have as much to beat. His last run was disappointing for sure, but few horses run up to their best every time and it was his third race within two months – I’ll forgive it. He’ll like the softening ground – he’s a confident selection.
In the big one I’m sticking with a horse I’ve liked all season. Ashkazar needs to raise his game to feature here and the ground is probably not ideal, but I suspect the blinkers might help him and I think the world of the horse. David Pipe seems happy to run him so I’ll go along with it.
In the Supreme Novices I’ll go with Kempes, who I’ve been following for a while.