RACING POST 2020 FESTIVAL TIPPING REVIEW.
Tom Segal and Paul Kealy remain amongst the most influential tipsters in the UK and Ireland because their views change prices. Even at Cheltenham. Tom's influence has lessened recently as little or no firms stand the advertised prices any more in the mornings but the Racing Post tipsters are still important. I know the Festival is only a snapshot of their tipping year but it is the week when RP sells most papers They always put the price up on Cheltenham Monday. It's showcase time.
So how was 2020 for Tom and Paul?
For Tom, not a great one. 18 antepost selections, Sharjah, Discorama 20s and Pileon 12s (none of which advised ew ) might have provided a return for you, if I'm generous. On the days themselves, he headlined with Imperial Aura (6s when tipped) and Dame de Compagnie (8s). Then Concertista (8s) Bob Mahler placed (25s) and Chosen Mate (7s available) on GC day. I'm not saying that Tom is responsible for the full contraction in prices but he does attract a lot of us. 41 selections in total, He's had better Festivals.
Like 2019. Probably his best ever year in the history of Gaultstats. Again, including antepost, he tipped 41 horses over the 4 days. Glory days with antepost 25/1 Espoir D'Allen, City island 33s, Topofthegame 8s, Aso ew Ryanair 33s, Ch'tibello 12/1, Anibale Fly 50s ew GC and Early Doors. Made at a profit of over 60pts level stakes on the week. Good luck to him. It's far from easy. I was a guest at Gungadu's Racing Post Chase win Kempton February 2008 and was privileged to sit beside Tom at lunch. A gentleman.
The Tom Segal antepost portfolio for 2021 includes Ch Hurdle, QM, GC, Stayers, (RSA), (Ballymore) (both in Supreme Novice) (Ryanair) (Arkle), (Triumph) CHECK
The straight talking Paul Kealy is now the RP front of house tipster, and stole the plaudits in 2020. On the 10th January in the RP Weekender he started to carry his torch for Imperial Aura @ 33s in the Northern Trust Novice H'cap, two and a half weeks even before that decent run behind Simply The Betts at the Trials Meeting. And he kept at it, for two months. Post race here is an RP extract as to his thinking, even including a stat.
'I have a particular fondness for the handicap chases, especially the Ultima and Northern Trust Company Novices' Handicap.I have been fortunate enough to back the winner of the latter seven times in the race's 16-year history, including four of the last seven and three of the last four. The early markets for these do not tend to be taken so seriously by the layers, which is what makes them so interesting. They tend to be lazily priced, especially before entries are made, with many horses from the top yards dominating the markets.
However, when horses from the top yards run, particularly in the novice race, they are there largely by mistake and that's why only two of the 16 runnings of the novice has been won by the big four trainers (Paul Nicholls, Nicky Henderson, Gordon Elliott, Willie Mullins) – Nicholls' Chapoturgeon in 2009 and Henderson's Rajdhani Express.
The pool of horses sent novice chasing by the big four is always much smaller than the pool of horses they have for hurdling and they are looking for Grade 1 horses. Therefore, they tend to be campaigned more openly and those who end up here are the ones who generally have proved not to be good enough. Despite who trains them, they are not obviously well handicapped.
Therefore, these races tend to offer the smaller yards a real shot at festival glory, as the rollcall of winners of the novice would suggest: Bradstock, Fanshawe, Murphy, Taaffe, Nicholls, Hobbs, Murphy, Burke, Henderson, Snowden, Curtis, Williams, Fleming, Channon, De Bromhead, Bailey.'
Paul also tipped Shishkin at 6s antepost (probably thought he was well on, returned 9s BSP). In 2020 he also had 41 Festival selections. As well as Aura, tipped again on the day (6s), Tuesday placed were Kildisart and Forza Milan (4th) both 10s. Wednesday, agreed with Tom on Dame de Compagnie (8s when tipped), Saint D'Oroux (20s). Again with Tom, Concertista (8s) and Bob Mahler. Friday, minor places with Fury Road (10s) and Eclair de Beaufeau (8s). Aura, the definite highlight, average elsewhere. Not that much Guinness chat this year!
Antepost portfolio for 2021 will be found in the Weekender. CHECK
Previous Festival Success for Tom Segal?- 2018 A curate's egg. Tom Segal hadn't tipped an antepost winner at the Cheltenham Festival since Windsor Park in the 2015 Neptune. The run had to end. He tipped Farclas at 16s for the Triumph (returned 9s), Balko Des Flos 14s for the Ryanair (returned 8s), Anibale Fly 33s ew GC (returned 33s) For 'on the day' tipping he just managed Mister Whitaker 13/2. Most folk might not bother with antepost and might not have been totally enamoured with Tom's lack of daily success that year but that's not his fault. 43 tips in total. Level stakes small loss on the week.
2017 was Tom's best tipping success at the Festival since at least 2013. A total of 42. No antepost winners as said a profit made all the same. Tiger Roll (advised 16s, returned 16s) 4 miler, Apples Jade (9/2 returned 7/2) and Road To Respect (22s to 14s) Rock The World (14s to 9s). Decent return, well done. A little unlucky with Singlefarmpayment 10s to 5/1 fav and Pendra 18s. In the RP the next Sunday he likes to reflect on his week. Last year it was 'travelling comfortably after 1st, blundered badly 2nd, looked to be in trouble 3rd, but late headway and stayed on all right close home.' In 2016 he tipped 39 horses and gave 2 winners. About £17 adrift on level stakes. (Don't count NRNB, I don't buy the paper to get a tip for a horse in a race it is unlikely to take part in. And bookies now that if it doesn't run you will leave your money in the account and bet on something else). In 2015 he returned Windsor Park 12s ante post Neptune and a relief grasping Darna 40s for the Mildmay. A winnerless annus horriblis in 2014.
We have all done that. An old yarn. At the 1988 Festival my chum Robin and I did not have a successful week. A real 'mare. In fact, he was 0 for 17 coming to the last race of the Festival, the County. I wasn't much in front of him. We went large on the 16/1 shot Redgrave Devil. The Racing Post site says the horse was 'held up, third when fell last'. I have to disagree as that is far from my memory, we were standing beside the last hurdle. It was more like, 'inside, tracking leaders, going well, led approaching last, going easily, jumped last two lengths in front, crumpled on landing.' I swear. Afterwards there wasn't much chat for a while. Between us we had just enough money left for either some decent food or a few beers. We decided we could afford to miss the odd meal. I think he regaled all my Mormon in-laws with the tale during his best man's speech that June.
THE REST OF THE Racing Post Team in 2020. Steve Mason RPRs no longer has a page to himself. RPRs are mostly about tipping favs. They tell you what has happened not what is about to. Bit like trends. Only allowed one tip a day now as the 'Handicappers nap' Had to search for him in the paper. However the bold Steve gave three from four, Epatante, Dame de Compagnie and Concertista. In 2019 success with Topofthegame, Altior, Tiger Roll, Envoi Allen. Frodon and Paisley Park.. In 2018 Rathvinden and Native River. Believe him the only one in the Post to tip GC winner Native River.
Favorites to Focus On, the new version of Bankers or Bust (I'd rather have the old title) was split between the 12 yr old Richard Birch on Tuesday (2 right from 4) and Keith Melrose the rest of the week. In daily order Keith was 1 right from 5 Wed, all five three wrong between Thurs and Friday. He had a picture of a fence up for his decision on 4/6 Paisley Park, i.e 'i'm sitting on it.' Sorry Keith, that's ridiculous. It's the Festival, it's the trade paper, GET AN OPINION!
BIG RACE TRENDS - My nemesis, Kevin Morley, (another picture of a child. How old are these people?) didn't have a great one. Plenty of winners mentioned as second strings. No luck with Goshen and Column Of Fire. However, in bold, only Epatante, Aura, Envoi and Champ. Good 20/1 second with Night Edition in the Fred Winter. Better in 2019, City Island, Tiger Roll, Defi Du Seuil, Not Many Left placed at 16s, Paisley Park, Any Second Now. I love his grids. Lots of info. And a gentleman. Gave a donation to Marie Curie (as did Boycey from ATR, another gent). Also some kind words for Gstats on my home page.
I look forward to the great Gerald Delamere and his Quite Interesting pages . However 0 from 14 going into Gold Cup Day but he knows when to strike. Friday banner headline 'Burning Victory can pick up the pieces in Triumph. Spooky. No further success but who needs it? Gerald had a wipeout in 2019 but a fine 2018 with a banner Bleu Berry headline (20s). A decent 2017, if I remember correctly, Sizing John and Rock The World amongst others. God, I can even remember Gerald Delamere's tips from four years ago. To be honest Tony O'Hehir is not a great tipster. Says things like 'Nap Benie Des Dieux', 'Nap Minella Indo' then 'Solid Chance - Envoi Allen.' Sherlock. He only has to tip Irish runners and they won 16 of the 28 races. Three tips a day. Did give us Min and Concertista. 2019 and 2018 not impressive.
A word for Tom Collins tipped up an 8 x .50p Placepot perm on Gold Cup Day. His £24 perm would have paid £234. That's tipping.
The Racing Post Spread Betting tipping, by it's very nature is either feast or car crash famine. In 2019 Graeme Rodway gave a buy at 6 Espoir D'Allen (50 for winner). Did give a lot of it back over the next three days.
2020 WOW. First up Pietro Innocenzi on the Tuesday with a Arkle buy of Esprit Du Large at 8. Stuffed. I'm sure Pietro wasn't happy but he's about to become the hero. Next we have Keith Melrose - Sell Champ in a match bet with Copperhead at 0.5 lengths. Never in doubt, that one. Max 15pt loss. Up to the plate on Thursday came Tom Collins (the day before his ppot success) - Buy City Island at 1.5 in a match bet with Apple's Jade. She 8th, he didn't jump the last. Max 15pt loss. And finally Graeme finishes the week off - Sell Delta Work in a match bet with Clan Des Obeaux at 0.5. No, no, no. Delta won that race by 10.75 lengths. Thanx boys. I rarely look at the spread betting markets and will be continuing that policy. I make it close to 50 times your stake behind for the week.
Click on oddschecker.com at 8.01pm the instant after the Pricewise selections are released online most days and you can watch the prices shrink. All bookies shrink prices if they think they are about to be knocked over. Segal selections tend to be well punted Day 1. The longer he goes without a winner, the less frantic it becomes. Also, they will be cut in the morning but both Kealy and Segal selections sometimes drift in the afternoon, especially on the exchanges. Tony Calvin and Rory Delargy also will cause prices to shorten.
CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL BETTING GUIDES - Matt Tombs didn't produce a Cheltenham Festival Guide in 2020 which is a pity because he is good at it. Did it for Racing TV in 2019. Weatherbys employed Paul Ferguson to produce their own. He took up the baton from Matt and Paul Jones (in front of whom we all kneel). I have every one of the Weatherbys Guide looking at me as I write this. Enjoy the reads and each versions have many points of which I would never have thought. In his 2019 Racing TV version Matt kindly gave Gstats a full page advert for Marie Curie UK. A gentleman. Paul Ferguson has not scrimped with detail in the 2020 Weatherby's Festival Guide which is 'The Original.' There are some cracking stats from a very professional production. Also very supportive of Gstats. Rory Delargy provides excellent nuggets with his Bankers and Bust daily section. He was four from eight in 2020. With the Weatherbys Guide you also get Aintree cover and plenty of Grand National detail. Well worth the £15.
The Racing Post are good to me. Every year Robin Gibson seems to have the space in the surfnturf Sunday Supplement to give a Gstats a very decent write up. 'More stats than a KFC in a chicken glut' remains my personal favourite. They do produce their own Cheltenham Festival Guide every year. Every year I buy it, flick through it when it arrives and then never read it. I even carry it in my luggage wherever I may be spending Festival week and still would never turn to it. Why? Well, for one, Kevin Morley's excellent trends will be in the paper each Festival day so I don't need to read them when the guide arrives. A lot of space seems to go on the RPRs. Not for me. The horses are already rated by the BHA and surely the RPRs are just another opinion. Obviously half of the guide will concentrate on the races. But essays on each potential runner can quickly become boring. And by the time it's delivered to me, some info is well out of date, with injuries and changes to planned targets. There is about 1000 tips in it from everyone, bookmakers, writers, trainers, again some nrs. I liked the breeding summary but that didn't appear in 2020. Sometimes they sprinkle the pages with unknown info. For example in 2020, The New One is the only Festival Hurdle winner for Nigel Twiston Davies since 2008. I like that, it's a bit different. For £12.99, just ok for me. (Ballyfitz in the Pertemps)
At 6.99 euro I must mention the Irish Field Cheltenham Festival Guide. Out about a fortnight before the Weatherbys on, it concentrates on great interviews. Contributions from Kevin Blake, Simon Rowlands and even me! Felt very honoured. Support it, its value.
KEVIN BLAKE is employed by Attheraces, ITV and betfair and has become a extremely well known tipping voice in UK and Irish Racing. He is a noted breeder and Joseph O'Brien's race planner. Shrewd and worth listening too, if only as a gauge to the response of irish trained handicap marks in the Festival. When Kevin talks, people listen. Kevin's antepost tips on the Attheraces site didn't fire in 2020. He had two solid lays at Graham's Belfast Preview Night Carefully Selected and Champ. Pictured with an old goat at Graham's Belfast Preview 2nd March 2020. A pleasure to meet.
Used to do a grand job with Emmet Kennedy's The Final Furlong Podcast which I still find unmissable during the NH Season. Always full of the right guests, Rory, Jane Mangan, Paul Ferguson, Declan Rix and Tony Keenan to name a few. Do like Emmet's Lucky 63s. Makes it fun which it should be.
Man who knows what he is talking about meets Norville's Dad in Belfast, March 2020.
Sean Graham's Belfast Preview Night - Europa Hotel, Belfast, 2nd March 2020. Highlights - As informative an evening as you need. It is now a well run and popular event, well controlled by Gary O'Brien. A good night for which the Grahams deserve a lot of praise. Gstats continue to adorn the programme. D Casey, K Blake, Ian 'Busty' Amond, Gordon's Assistant Trainer and the Couch. G Elliott double booked and leant on by Eddie O'Leary to attend elsewhere. Kevin Blake does talk convincingly, live, he would be a hard man to disagree with. Not going to repeat all that was said, you can catch up with it on https://twitter.com/gaultstats time line. Sorry if there's too much, it's down as it came out live. If you want to go in 2021, Brian Graham kindly supplies me with complimentaries for which I demand at least a tenner each for the charity.
Reflections from the 2020 one. David Casey nearly vehement about Allaho in the RSA (but I would wonder about Willie Mullins bingo). Casey then laughed when Kevin Blake tried to talk down the chances of Joseph O'Brien's Front View in the Martin Pipe (Jonjo rides). Even Kevin had to admit that the horse was 'well handicapped', a rare occurrence for KB. Ian 'Busty' also tried to cough when asked about the handicap mark of Galvin in the Northern Trust. And Kevin very, very sweet on the chances of Plan of Attack in the Kim Muir. Big fan of Barry O'Neill who rides. The main races are covered in my timeline. Busty quite insulting about the performance of Davy Russell gave Delta Work in last year's RSA. 'A stones of a ride.'
All the main 2020 G1s are still covered in my Twitter feed, these would be the summaries for each of the G1s discussed. DC David Casey, IB Ian Busty, Gary O'Brien GOB, Brian Graham, RG Ronan Graham, KB Kevin Blake. C- Mark 'The Couch' Winstanley. BG Brian Graham
(2020 best response for Couch's joke was one connecting Bristol Mai, getting up a hill, Prince Andrew and Blue Peter presenters. Will leave it with you. Also something unprintable about Nico de Boiville and the number of pulls he takes).
All over by 1115. I enjoy it. It has become a very smooth operation and the Grahams are to be complimented. The panel seem at ease with each other. At 7.15pm 800 of us were knocking the doors down to get in. Packed. Look forward to 2021.
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