Stat of the Day, 7th December 2013
We got no kind of run from our selection yesterday, who was another big drifter (7/2 to 6/1 this time!).
Jockey Eoin Walsh kept the horse pretty handy in the first half of the race, but when he needed to improve his position in readiness for the home turn, he went for a gap that wasn't there and ended down a blind alley.
By the time he got out of the pack, the race was gone and he came home six lengths behind the winner and with only one rival behind him.
A competitive looking 2m6f Class 2 hurdle race awaits us today in the...
We're seven days into December and that generally signals an upturn in form for Nicky Henderson's runners, if the last two seasons are anything to go by.
In the month of December for 2011 & 2012, Mr Henderson has saddled up 11 winners from the 50 horses sent off at odds of between 5/2 and 12/1 in National Hunt handicap contests. That's a strike rate of 22% for level stakes profits of 24.1pts, or 48.2% of stakes and this last week hasn't been too shabby either. In the last seven days alone, he has had 8 winners from his 23 runners.
Nicky Henderson is also very good at judging when to ask his younger hurdlers to step up in class. Since the start of 2011, 120 of his 4 or 5 yr old hurdlers have stepped up 1 or 2 classes and have been sent off at odds of 6/1 or less.
48 of those 120 (40% SR) have gone on to win and a near 38% profit above stakes has been returned via the 45.5pts clocked up.
Mr Henderson has three runners in this race, but only Whisper satisfies the second criteria for selection today and the booking of Barry Geraghty would tend to suggest this horse is the one the yard rates highest.
Whisper has made the frame in 6 of 7 starts to date, winning 4 of them and the only blemish was a 4th place finish at Cheltenham in January of this year. Mind you, the three ahead of him were At Fishers Cross, The New One and dual Grade 2 winner Coneygree, so there was no disgrace attached to losing to those horses.
He's still unexposed at this level and is shaping up to be an improving young stayer and re-opposes Upswing here today in what should be a fascinating contest. They last met at Cheltenham 22 days ago when Whisper finished 3rd to Thomas Crapper with Upswing a further 7 lengths behind back in 6th place.
Interestingly, the 7th placed horse (another 4 lengths behind Upswing) Killala Quay had a big run yesterday to land a Grade 2 hurdle here on this very track, whilst the 5th place horse from that Cheltenham race, Free To Dream, also won hos subsequent outing.
If the form goes to plan, then we should be celebrating another Nicky Henderson December handicap success, so I'm having a 1pt win bet on Whisper at 4/1 BOG with BetVictor. This price is also available with Betfred and Stan James, so my advice would be to...