Sunday 10 March 2019

Bejabez Ramblings - There’s life beyond Cheltenham

Over the last ten years, I’ve suffered, if that’s the right phrase, with high blood pressure. I go to the doctors for a check up knowing full well that the doc’s going take my readings, gasp and tell me I’ve got to do something about it. During each visit, I’m told that I have a 25% of a stroke or heart attack. Being a bit of an optimist, you have to be to follow the horses, one year I was feeling a little devilish and just said: “ That’s good then doc!” she looked at me and looking puzzled saying: “I’ve just told you to have a 25% chance of a Heart Attack in the next five years!” “yes I know, does that mean I have a 75% chance of not having one” I sniggered, she was not amused.

This made me think about my 2yo spreadsheet going on my records.

In 2018 there were 1413 races and 25% (348) of them were won by the top five trainers: Mark Johnston, Richard Hannon, A P O’Brien,  Richard Fahey and Archie Watson  (who was a surprise as he had 52 winners against 15 in 2017).

The top ten Trainers had 38% (531).

The top twenty Trainers had 54% (761).

My spreadsheet listed a total of 228 trainers.

I know it’s a big week ahead. You only have to look at the leading racing web sites: Racing Post, Irish Racing, At The Races & The Sporting Life and others to realise all eyes will be on Cheltenham - Tuesday 12th to Friday 15th March. 

However, during the week there are other meetings:

Tuesday: Southwell (aw), Wolverhampton (aw), Sedgefield 

Wednesday: Huntingdon, Lingfield (aw), Kempton (aw),

Thursday:  Market Rasen, Hexham, Southwell (aw)

Friday: Fakenham, Lingfield (aw), Chelmsford (aw)

It's that 75% of meetings where I will be looking for my winners 

I believe it may be easier to find winners than at Cheltenham (I have very disappointing returns at the big meetings).

There’s been a lot said lately about ARC, the prize money and trainers/jockeys boycotting meetings. It's gone a bit too far for my liking, especially as you read about the bullying etc. The owners should have the last say as to where and when their horse's race. 

I’m glad to see the Arc courses above are putting alternate races on to Cheltenham. 

I wonder how many, what are so-called small trainers, have runners and capitalise on prize money whilst all the big guns are elsewhere. However, I do look for the odd horse from the big stables attending. I’ll be concentrating on Sedgefield, Market Rasen, Huntingdon and Fakenham which nicely gives me one meeting a day if I want to make a bet. Also, making it a bit easier on the studying. 

I shall be leaving the All-Weather as a backup.

What will I be doing Tuesday to Friday? 

Watching Cheltenham of course! 

Then Saturday, I have the Midlands Grand National to savour at my local track Uttoxeter, where I have been a member for years.