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  1. #101
    RAMSES DE TEILLEE (ante-post 33/1, 5 places [40/1, 4 places], NRNB 25/1) – probable runner (subject to going)

    This needs some explanation because, to put it in its unexpurgated context, not only has no 7 y-o won the GN since WWII but none has made the first 5 home and none has finished within 20L of any GN winner for at least 31 years.

    In 14 GNs from 2005 onwards, a total of 31 runners were 7 y-o. Of these, only 1 made the first 6 home (Big Fella Thanks, 6th in 2009). In other words, 7 y-o representation has been 5.6% of total runners but just 1.2% of those filling the first 6 places. That’s stark under-performance.

    So, how should we (or even can we) assess the chances of a 7 y-o in the GN? Surely we should just put a line through them all.

    Well, this is why I believe we shouldn’t do that:

    • There is logic to why a young horse might underperform in a GN, given the unique atmosphere of the prelims and ensuing test (even Aintree-stalwart and 2016 runner-up The Last Samuri was noticeably unsettled before running poorly in both subsequent GNs, as a 9 and 10 y-o). “Immaturity” probably makes for greater risk of being unsettled and so is a credible reason to apply a “penalty” in a GN algorithm specifically to a 7 y-o. But to eliminate every 7 y-o would imply that, but for their immaturity, this 31-strong phalanx of 7 y-o failures had lined up with stat-profiles proportionately representative of those of any other age group.
    • Back-testing my model (with no “age penalty”) shows that’s patently not the case. Of these 31:

    - Only 1 had a winning stat-profile - Double Honour (2005). Actually, he ran conspicuously well for a long way (prominent from the off and 2nd when unseating at the 21st fence).

    - 4 others had stat-ratings consistent with minor place potential (10~30L behind the winner). Of these, 2 broadly ran to expectations: BFT 6th (23L) in 2009 and Cause of Causes 8th (27L) in 2015. The other 2 (Tricky Trickster 2010 and Baie Des Iles 2018) still seemingly had the chance to do so before being badly hampered and put out of the race (20th and 23rd fences respectively).

    • So, 3% of 7 y-o runners from 2005 had a winning stat-profile (vs. typically c. 10% of a GN field), 0% had strong place potential (vs typically c. 10%) and 13% had a 10~30L stat-profile (typically 30~40% of a GN field). Put the other way around: 84% of 7 y-o runners from 2005, irrespective of their age, had zero chance of figuring, according to their stats (vs 40~50% of a typical field).
    • While 7 y-os have certainly under-performed in terms of their representation it’s far from proven that they’ve materially underperformed in terms of their actual potential, stats-wise.

    An age (immaturity) penalty is probably appropriate for a stat-model and, though it’s a ludicrously tiny sample, the fact that both BFT and Cause of Causes had unimpeded runs and were about 8~15L behind “par” for their (unpenalised) stat-ratings, gives me a crude steer to the degree of penalty to apply to a 7 y-o in my model.

    So, to business: what’s so compelling about RAMSES DE TEILLEE?

    Put simply, despite applying this age penalty, he has by far the strongest GN stat-profile of any 7 y-o runner for at least 14 years (my old model says at least 31 years) and a winning one on any surface to boot:

    • Last run, close 2nd with 11.05 in the 29f GN Trial at Haydock on GS - significantly, just 10 secs slower than standard, dispelling fears that RDT needs a soft surface (or the undulations of Chepstow) to be effective. When last run on decent ground, the first 2 home in the 2017 GNT (Vieux Lion Rouge and Blaklion) came in 6th and 4th at Aintree. Neither stayed the GN trip but, unlike either of them, RDT ticks a stiffer stamina box.
    • Close 2nd with 11.01 to Elegant Escape in December’s Welsh GN on Soft (5lbs pull at the weights vs EE for the GN). The correlation of strong runs in Welsh and Aintree GNs is long-established and (especially with those lumping 11.00+ at Chepstow) still evident post-2012 GN race and course changes:

    - Cappa Bleu (3rd at Chepstow with 11.03) = 2nd in 2013 GN with 10.11

    - Teaforthree (2nd with 11.03) = 3rd in 2013 (same season) with 11.03

    - Monbeg Dude (winner and 9L 4th with 11.09) = 3rd in 2015 (same season) with 10.07

    • Carries just 10.05 at Aintree if BDM runs (a 4lb weight-rise won’t materially damage his rating) off OR149 - 5lbs “well-in” after his fine Haydock run, which also notched a career-high RPR158.
    • 56% win and near-miss record in 9 chases at 3m+ (including those at 23.5f)
    • Yet to face the GN fences but 100% completion (1st or 2nd in 70%) in 10 chases.
    • 4 runs in the season, the last 49 days prior - fine
    • Will he line up? Now 41st in the list effectively guarantees the opportunity and, despite original plans to wait until 2020, David Pipe’s most recent comments (“it will be hard to not go there as long as there is enough cut in the ground”) and no other entries suggest he’s Aintree-bound, assuming weather or watering keeps it no quicker than GS.

    Caveat emptor, of course.

  2. #102
    Interesting Pads

  3. #103
    Afternoon all.

    A quick update on the first 2 days racing ahead at The Festival as it may affect the model's stat-ratings. Those declared to run that could meaningfully boost their ratings are:

    Ultima Handicap (Tuesday):

    • Vintage Clouds (win or near miss needed – GN 25/1, Ultima 25/1) [first run after wind op]
    • Singlefarmpayment (win or near-miss needed – GN 50/1, Ultima 16/1)
    • Royal Vacation (win or near-miss needed – GN 40/1, Ultima 33/1)
    • *Noble Endeavor (win or near-miss needed - GN 50/1, Ultima 20/1)

    X-Country (Wednesday):

    • Ultragold (win or near-miss needed but would turbo-charge GN rating – GN 40/1, XC 10/1)
    • *Bless The Wings (competitive run needed – GN 100/1, XC 33/1)

    (*GN rating potentially significantly impaired if weights rise)

    However, also declared for Tuesday’s Ultima is another GN entry that I've been hoping wouldn't run until the bookies offer 5+ places and ¼ odds with NRNB (alas still ante-post for those e/w terms, though a cash-out facility can come in handy).

    He needs only a safe spin round to confirm his existing winning GN stat-rating (a rating that’s also resilient to a possible weight-rise and the going). Though a 20/1 shot for the Ultima, rain-softened ground will suit him and I don’t want to risk a really strong show and his GN price collapsing. So, I’ve taken the 25/1 e/w (5 places ¼, ante-post) for the GN.

    Thus, alongside Abolitionist (50/1) and Ramses De Teillee (33/1), on my GN betting slip is now:

    GENERAL PRINCIPLE (25/1)

    • Stamina his forte (evident in breeding and chase form), making the frame in all 3 attempts at 28f+, all highly competitive and on a range of surfaces:

    - 5th (17.5L) in Our Duke’s 2017 Irish GN (OR140) on Gd/Y

    - Won Irish GN last year (OR139) on desperate ground (Folsom Blue would probably have won if not hampered at the last but GP would still have been a close 2nd)

    - 3rd (5L) in the recent Irish GN Trial at Punchestown off OR142 on Gd/Y (his last outing, notably achieving a career-high RPR149)

    • Penultimate run was a creditable 5th in January’s quality renewal of the Thyestes - moving into contention nicely until unable to match the finishing burst of classier rivals.
    • Set to carry just 10-00 in the GN (in the handicap) or 10-04 at (probable) worst. OR144, up 2lbs for Punchestown but that’s no issue over the extra 6f of the GN, for which he now has a decent chance of making the cut (58~62 - though that may ultimately lie in his trainers’ hands)
    • Best hurdle and chase form in April (made-frame in 83% [5 of 6 runs and in all 4 chases] – 44% at other times of the season) - the Irish GN trip twice played to his strength of course but 2 other April chase wins were over 20f and 24f, albeit on heavy and soft.
    • Yet to face the GN fences but 1 F (as a Beginner) in 18 chases, otherwise 100% completion.
    • A safe spin round on Tuesday would suffice for his GN stats, making 5 runs this season, the last 25 days prior – in the sweet spot.
    • One of Elliott’s legion of entries (Gigginstown) but said to be Aintree-targeted.

    Watching the others very closely this week and may well take a tactical (cash out-able) position on one or two.

  4. #104
    Top Amateur
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    I’ve backed General Principle already, but Rathvindens debut win impressed me so much I’m switching #1 and will be piling in on him

  5. #105
    Champ Kevloaf's Avatar
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    Excellent post.

  6. #106
    A big fancy for me is Up for review, very low weight in the Nash and looking for a good performance at Chelts today over 3m to cement him as a contender. Currently around 25's, can't see that lasting if he goes close at the fez.

  7. #107
    Very pleased with that run from Vintage Clouds in the Ultima with the national in mind!

  8. #108
    I think Lake View Lad looked more like the type to run well at Aintree of the two Hemmings runners in the Ultima. I was really impressed with him and I was a bit miffed that ALL bookmakers suspended their betting during the Ultima, so have had to console myself with 25/1 only.

  9. #109
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    With Anibale Flys performance today rathvinden has been pushed out to 16/1

    Have added 2U e/w

    Will look to get Mall Dini in the book

  10. #110
    Top Amateur
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    ....first bets were placed in September on Rathvinden @ 40-1 and Ms Parfois @ 45-1. They did so well for me in last years NH Chase.

    Have added Traffic Fluide 60-1, clear target for a trainer who doesn’t send many to Aintree and Rock the Kasbah 45-1.

    Love the Foxhunters on Thursday, Dineur 2nd 50-1 and 1st 20-1 recent successes. Some have mentioned this race in the Cheltenham thread, suggesting Burning Ambition is heading here. One i’m particularly interested in is Gwencily Berbas who fell at the last when close with Ucelli Conti on its last run.

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