Andy Newton
7 days ago - 29 minute read

Saturday TV Horse Racing Trends – 9th December 2017

Knowledge is power so we’ve compiled a number of key stats for the big horse races ahead to give you a betting edge. Take two or so minutes to read up on the big trends and you can guarantee you will make better informed and more profitable decisions today. What’s not to like? Read on and cash in.

Another massive Saturday of NH jumping action with the ITV cameras heading to Sandown and Aintree, with the Tingle Creek Chase and Becher Chase the feature contests – As always, we’ve got all the big-race trends and stats for all the LIVE races.

Sandown Horse Racing Betting Trends (ITV/RUK)

13.45 – Henry VIII Novices´ Chase (Grade 1) Cl1 2m ITV4

  • 14/14 – Finished 1st or 2nd last time out
  • 14/14 – Had raced within the last 4 weeks
  • 13/14 – Had won between 1-2 times over fences before
  • 13/14 – Had won a UK chase race over at least 2m
  • 13/14 – Aged 6 or younger
  • 12/14 – Won last time out
  • 12/14 – French (8) or Irish (4) bred
  • 11/14 – Placed favourites
  • 11/14 – Returned 4.5 or shorter in the betting
  • 7/14 – Winning favourites (1 joint)
  • 5/14 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
  • 2/14 – Trained by Nicky Henderson

A cracking race in prospect if all the main players’ turn-up. The Alan King team took this in 2008 and in Sceau Royal they certainly got a live chance of adding to that success here. This 5-year-old was impressive last time out at Warwick, but at odds of 1/16, you’d expect nothing less. He was, however, beaten by North Hill Harvey at Cheltenham two starts ago and if that also horse lines-up then would have a bit to find. He was giving Harvey 5lbs that day, so the neck defeat should be turned around with the King horse much better in at the weights now.The Nicholls team won this in 2011, 2013 and 2014 so are another yard that loves to take this prize and in CAPITAINE they’ve another big chance. This 5-year-old is now 2-from-2 over fences having won with ease at Newton Abbot and Market Rasen recently and looks to have a big future.

Paul Nicholls has a strong recent record in this race and Capitaine is another charge who the yard will expect to go well.

Yes, this will be harder and his jumping will need to hold up over these fences. He’s had a tendency to jump right at times, but around Sandown (right-handed track) he might get away with it. Yes, Brain Power would be a massive danger and looked super impressive when winning last time out at Kempton, plus he’s a course winner over hurdles here. I certainly wouldn’t put anyone off the Henderson horse and the stable used this race for Altior 12 months ago. Ok, the Nicholls horse was a much lower-rated hurdler than Brain Power, and it might be a big ask to beat the Henderson horse, but Capitaine has impressed so far during this early part of his chase career and with the yard’s top record in the race then could be the value against the favourite.

14.20 – Jumeirah Hotels And Resorts December Handicap Hurdle (Listed Race) Cl1 1m7f216y ITV4

  • 13/14 – Raced within the last 4 weeks
  • 13/14 – Won over at least 2m (hurdles) before
  • 12/14 – Returned 10.0 or shorter in the betting
  • 12/14 – Placed in the top 4 last time out
  • 12/14 – Aged 4,5 or 6 years-old
  • 11/14 – Had won between 1-3 times over hurdles before
  • 10/14 – Carried 10-13 or less
  • 9/14 – Rated between 116-128
  • 8/14 – Won last time out
  • 8/14 – Unplaced favourites
  • 4/14 – Trained by Nicky Henderson
  • 3/14 – Winning favourites (1 joint)

A competitive contest next up, but one the Nicky Henderson team love to target. They’ve won the pot four times in the last 8 runnings and look to have another strong hand. Their much-touted Jenkins is sure to be popular again – if lining-up – but he disappointed when well-fancied again last time in the Greatwood Hurdle so, for me, still has a fair bit to prove. Yes, he’s got bits of form that would make him a very big player here, but he’s yet to string a good run of races together and looks a risky option and little value. Henderson does, however, have another in the race – WILLIAM HENRY – that does look better value. We last saw him having a terrible time of it over fences in the race Finian’s Oscar won at Cheltenham in November. His saddle slipped and was hampered before being pulled up at the 8th fence. Back over hurdles though today and last season he won two and finished second from his 4 starts overt the smaller obstacles. He was clearly ready last time too after being backed into 5/2. With that in mind, we can expect him to be fit and well ahead of this as the Henderson team look to maintain their top record in the race.

The Nicky Henderson trained William Henry is likely to feature prominently in this one.

Of the rest, the Alan King yard also look to have a decent chance with Fidux and William H Bonney (Billy The Kid to me and you) entered and if they make the final line-up head into the race with form that would see them both go close. But looking at the main trends horses aged 4, 5 or 6 have the best record, while 10 of the last 14 have carried 10-13 or less. The Irish-trained Crossed My Mind fits both those so would be of interest if making the trip over, while the Richard Newland runner CAID DU LIN is another that ticks those main stats. This 5-year-old was second to another of today’s runners – Unison – last time at Huntingdon. But a bad jump at the last cost him that day, while the softer ground this time should be more to his liking.

14.55 – Tingle Creek Chase (Grade 1) Cl1 2m ITV4

  • 14/15 – Returned 6/1 or shorter in the betting
  • 14/15 – Aged 9 or younger
  • 13/15 – Placed in the top 3 last time out
  • 13/15 – Had won a Grade One chase before
  • 12/15 – Winners that went on to run in that season’s QM Champion Chase
  • 12/15 – Officially rated 165 or higher
  • 11/15 – Returned 3.5 or shorter in the betting
  • 11/15 – Placed favourites
  • 11/15 – Aged between 5-8 years-old
  • 11/15 – French bred
  • 11/15 – Had won at least 4 times over fences before
  • 10/15 – Raced within the last 4 weeks
  • 9/15 – Winning favourites (2 joint)
  • 8/15 – Won last time out
  • 8/15 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
  • 8/15 – Had won a chase race at Sandown before
  • 5/15 – Went on to win the Champion Chase (Dodging Bullets, Sire de Grugy, Sprinter Sacre, Master Minded & Moscow Flyer) at the Cheltenham Festival that season

The Tingle Creek betting market has been the subject of much talk in midweek with the Willie Mullins big-guns Douvan and last year’s winner of this race – Un De Sceaux – drifting in the market to suggest they won’t head over. At the time of writing, this has duly been confirmed. With that the shrewd money all week has been for the Colin Tizzard-trained FOX NORTON – who certainly does have this race as a target. This improving 7-year-old has got better and better since his narrow defeat in the Champion Chase last March and returned to the track better than ever last month with a top win Shloer Chase at Cheltenham. He powered up the hill to beat the consistent Cloudy Dream by 8 lengths that day and there should be more to come. It’s actually surprising that he’s still just 7 (ok, 8 in a few weeks), but this will be his 24th race and his 16th over fences. He’s won 8 of his 15 starts over the bigger obstacles and is yet to finish out of the first three in those chase runs.

Fox Norton will potentially a very short price come the off of the Tingle Creek.

Those against him might look to this being his first run at Sandown, and he’ll have to cope with the tricky Railway Fences for the first time, but he’s a good, experienced jumper so there’s no obvious reason why he won’t handle them. Of the rest, the Gary Moore-trained Ar Mad was a decent fourth in the race 12 months ago and seems to save his best for the Sandown track. We can expect another bold bid from the front from this 7-year-old as he likes to get on with the job, but he might just be setting the race up for Fox Norton, who don’t forget stays further than this 2m trip. Paul Nicholls has a top record in the race with 8 wins in the last 15 so his Politologue is a player too. He won the Haldon Gold Cup in decent fashion last time and has now won 4 of his 7 chase starts. But you feel a fair bit more is needed on that run in a race like this so might have to settle for minor honours.

15.30 – London National Handicap Chase Cl2 3m5f110y ITV4

  • 13/13 – Returned 11.0 or shorter in the betting
  • 13/13 – Aged 7 or older
  • 12/13 – Won between 2-6 times over fences before
  • 12/13 – Had won (fences) over at least 3m before
  • 11/13 – Rated 126 or higher
  • 11/13 – Raced within the last 5 weeks
  • 10/13 – Aged 8 or older
  • 9/13 – Unplaced favourites
  • 9/13 – Finished in the top 4 last time out
  • 8/13 – Irish bred
  • 8/13 – Carried 11-0 or more
  • 7/13 – Had raced over fences at Sandown before (2 won)
  • 2/13 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
  • 1/13 – Winning favourites

The Paul Nicholls yard have won two of the last four runnings of this race and will pin their hopes on SOUTHFIELD THEATRE this time. This 9-year-old might need to brush-up on his jumping but is starting to look well-handicapped off a mark of 148. His last win came off 149 and he returned this season with a fair fourth in the Badger Ales Trophy Chase last month at Wincanton. He was 12 lengths back that day but was staying on, so with a month to get over that and with the expected improvement then he can go well at a course he’s won at in the past (hurdles). The Mulholland yard are another that have had success in this race recently after winning it in 2015. They have The Young Master entered, who – if lining-up – would be the only proven course and distance winner in the field. He was in the process of running well last time when unseating his rider at Ascot and like the Nicholls horse is another that is starting to look well-handicapped again – his last win came off just a pound lower. The stable could also have Doing Fine running and this consistent stayer looks sure to play a big part if running. He’s rarely out of the money these days and was a close fifth in the Bet365 Gold Cup here back in April. He has, however, won just one of this last 16 races and twice (from 15) over fences so has not been the easiest to win with, so might have to settle for a place, rather than a win.

Southfield Theatre (left) leads the Nicholls yard hopes in this one.

FLETCHERS FLYER was pulled-up in that Badger Ales Chase last time (sent off favourite) and also ran below-par in the Irish National before that. He’s shown ability to go well in a race like this though and has won over 3m6f at Punchestown so the step up in trip will be fine – he would be dangerous if putting those recent runs behind him and with Noel Fehily, who rode the winner of this race in 2015, in the saddle he’ll have every assistance on that score. I expect much better here than last time. Dancing Shadow won well over 2m5f last time but is a versatile horse having also won over 4m1f in the past. He’s an improving stayer, but is up another 6lbs here so would need to step-up once more.

Aintree Horse Racing Betting Trends (ITV/RUK)

13.30 – Becher Handicap Chase (Grade 3) Cl1 3m2f ITV4

  • 12/15 – Carried 10-12 or less
  • 12/15 – Had won between 2-5 times over fences before
  • 11/15 – Aged 9 or older
  • 11/15 – Officially rated between 123-138
  • 11/15 – Irish bred winners
  • 11/15 – Had won over at least 3m (fences) before
  • 11/15 – Had no more than 1 start that season
  • 10/15 – Had raced at Aintree before
  • 10/15 – Had raced within the last 7 weeks
  • 10/15 – Had run over these Grand National-style fences before
  • 9/15 – Returned a double-figure price in the betting
  • 9/15 – Went onto finish unplaced in that season’s Grand National
  • 6/15 – Ran in the previous season’s Grand National
  • 3/15 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
  • 3/15 – Irish-trained winners
  • 3/15 – Winning favourites
  • 2/15 – Went onto win the Grand National later in their career
  • 0/15 – Went onto win the Grand National that same season
  • Trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies has won the race 5 times since 1993

Some familiar names on show here in a race – don’t forget – is staged over the unique Grand National fences. We’ve also the winners of the last two renewals in action as the Pipe-trained Vieux Lion Rouge and the 11-year-old Highland Lodge line-up again. With proven form over the fences then both are very much respected, while former Grand National runner-up, The Last Samuri – who was also third in this race 12 months ago – is another that is sure to play his part. Highland Lodge is not getting any younger at 11 but gets in here off just a pound higher than his second last year and despite a 245-day break has gone well fresh in the past. He’d have had this race as a target for some time and looks to have another decent chance with a regular pilot, Henry Brooke, in the saddle again. Last year’s winner – Vieux Lion Rouge – is, however, up a massive 10lbs from last year so has a lot more on his plate this time, while The Last Samuri has been given every chance by the handicapper again of the same rating as a year ago.

Blaklion has been in superb form of late.

It’s also worth looking back at this race come next April as the eventual Grand National winner – One For Arthur – was a gallant fifth last year. But the clear form pick here is the Nigel Twiston-Davies BLAKLION. This 8-year-old ticks a lot of the main trends and returned this season with an excellent second to the classy Bristol De Mai in the Charlie Hall Chase. The winner has since franked the form in no uncertain terms by winning the Betfair Chase by a staggering 57 lengths. Blaklion has also tasted the National fences in the past too after running fourth in the big race last April behind One For Arthur and off just a pound higher and based on his last run looks extremely well-handicapped. Others to note are As De Mee, who landed the Grand Sefton on this card 12 months ago, while The Young Master continues to slip down the weights and is starting to look on a dangerous mark. However, with proven form in this race, Highland Lodge can do best of the rest.

14.05 – Fillies’ Juvenile Hurdle (Listed Race) Cl1 (3Yyo) 2m1f ITV4

  • Just 5 previous runnings
  • 5/5 – Returned 7/2 or shorter in the betting
  • 5/5 – Placed in the top 4 last time out
  • 5/5 – Won between 0-1 times over hurdles
  • 4/5 – Ran in the last 4 weeks
  • 4/5 – Winning favourites
  • 4/5 – Carried 10-12 in weight
  • 2/5 – Irish-trained winners
  • 2/5 – Won last time out

Hillcrest Fire was a good winner on debut at Leicester and this former 90-rated Irish flat horse looks to have a good future over hurdles based on that victory. The Joseph O’Brien camp could send over Grey Waters and if they do will be backed up with two of the last 5 winners of this racing being trained across the Irish Sea. This 3-year-old is no stranger to running over here either after a decent win at Kempton last month on the flat. She’s won two of her three hurdles starts and clearly heads here in tip-top form. Famous Milly represents the Gavin Cromwell Irish yard that won this in 2015 so commands respect too after a fair second at Punchestown last time out. But the clear form pick here is the Paul Nicholls-trained MALAYA. This 3-year-old has a fair bit in-hand based on the ratings and was a very nice 4 length winner at Wetherby last month. With five runs over hurdles she’s one of the more experienced in the field, but being lightly-raced too there should also be a lot more to come.

14.35 – Many Clouds Chase (Grade 2) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m1f ITV4

  • Just 6 previous runnings
  • 6/6 – Returned 5.0 or shorter in the betting
  • 6/6 – Had won over at least 3m (fences) before
  • 5/6 – Won no more than 3 times over fences
  • 5/6 – Aged 8 or younger
  • 5/6 – Had raced over fences at Aintree before
  • 4/6 – Ran at Aintree (2) or Wetherby (2) last time out
  • 3/6 – Winning favourites
  • 3/6 – Having their seasonal reappearance
  • 1/6 – Irish-trained winners
  • 1/6 – Won last time out
  • Paul Nicholls won the race in 2013 & 2014
  • Nicky Henderson won the race in 2011

Alpha Des Obeaux could make the trip over here from the Mouse Morris yard and if he does would have a big chance based on his recent win in the Grade Two Clonmel Oil Chase. He beat a good field by 5 ½ lengths that day and could finally be getting his act together over fences. Course winner Flying Angel will relish the return to Aintree after his last win came here back in April when beating Cloudy Dream in the Manifesto Novices’ Chase. But this is a step up to 3m1f this time and he’s yet to race over a trip this far. DEFINITELY RED made a pleasing return when third in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby last time and despite being 24 lengths back that day would have come on a lot for the run. The slightly longer trip will suit and I expect a much better run this time.

Vicente pictured winning the Coral Scottish Grand National last year.

That said, it was still a solid first run back with the form being franked since by the winner – Bristol De Mai – dotting-up in the Betfair Chase. But the other of interest is the Paul Nicholls runner – VICENTE. This 8-year-old landed the Scottish National last season but returned last month with a fine second (neck) at Cheltenham. He’ll require a bit more in this company but at 8 is a horse that could have a bit more to come, while the Paul Nicholls yard know what’s needed to take this race after winning it in 2013 and 2014.

15.10 – Grand Sefton Handicap Chase Cl2 2m5f110y ITV

  • 11/12 – Had between 1-4 previous chase wins
  • 10/12 – Aged 8 or older
  • 10/12 – Rated 124 or more
  • 9/12 – Had raced within the last 4 weeks
  • 9/12 – Had run at Aintree before (4 over the GN style fences)
  • 8/12 – Irish bred
  • 6/12 – Returned a double-figure price
  • 5/12 – Finished in the top 4 last time out
  • 3/12 – Winning favourites
  • 2/12 – Trained by Paul Nicholls
  • 1/12 – Won last time out
  • 1/12 – Went onto run in that season’s Grand National (5th)
  • 9 of the last 11 winners were aged 8 or 9 years-old

The Paul Nicholls took this 12 months ago and also in 2013 and in SAMETEGAL they look to have another great chance. A staggering 9 of the last 11 winners of this race were aged either 8 or 9 years-old so this is a massive stat to take into the race and one that the 8-year-old – Sametegal – also fits. This improving chaser was a nice winner of the Greatwood Gold Cup at Newbury on March 16 but had been sidelined since. But he returned to action with a fine second at Wetherby in a Listed Chase to show he retains plenty of his old ability, so he’ll be looking to make up for lost time now. He gets in here off the same mark and having been placed in the first two in five of his 6 chase starts then he’s a consistent sort that jumps well. Ultragold was a good winner of the Topham Chase here back in April so commands respect too. He clearly loved these fences that day and being proven over them is a big plus. He’s just 5lbs higher this time which looks fair and will be fitter for a return run last time at Ascot.

The Paul Nicholls trained Sametegal has the potential to go well here.

The 8 year-old Captain Redbeard is another that’s respected, the Twiston-Davies yard often do well in these sort of races and look to have live chances with Ballybolley and Arctic Gold. But if making the line-up the Donald McCain runner FEDERICI is another that could go well at a nice price. This 8 year-old was a fair sixth in the race 12 months ago, but gets in here off a 7lb lower mark. He also won well last time out at Kelso and should also have come on for that being he’s only had two runs since last April. Finally, Portrait King is the last one to mention. He loves these fences and was third in the Topham Chase back in April, while he was sixth in the Becher Chase 12 months ago on this card. Yes, at 12 he’s not getting any younger but knowing your way around this tricky course is a massive asset.