Stat of the Day, 8th February 2014
Consistant belied his double-digit odds yesterday to put a bold effort at Wolverhampton. He was only headed inside the final furlong but still had enough to make sure he was placed. A slight drift from 12/1 to 14/1 was welcomed as his 3rd place finish netted us 1.25pts profit.
A similar kind of long odds E/W approach today in a big race, the...
This is a very open renewal of the Betfair Hurdle and I expect the heavy ground conditions to have a big say in the outcome, especially if some of the more fancied runners go off a little too quickly. With this in mind, the one I fancy at a decent price is Alaivan.
Alaivan is trained by Jonjo O'Neill and he's one of the better trainers at getting his horses to perform when the mud is flying. Since 2008, his record in UK NH races on heavy ground during the winter months (November to February inclusive) is 44 winners from 249 runners, (omitting any really long odds no-hopers, of course!) a handy 17.7% strike rate producing steady long-term profits of 74pts at Betfair SP, an ROI of 29.7%, which is pretty good over a long period of time.
Jonjo has two runners here today (and two more at Warwick!) and whilst Upswing is a 4/1 chance (Betfred) in the 1.50 race here and looks to have a very good chance, I'm going with Alaivan, firstly due to his record when the ground is wet and secondly due to his overall profile.
I think the ground conditions will play a big part here today and Alaivan's record of Soft / Heavy ground currently reads 121111102, 6 wins and 2 places from 9 runs, with the unplaced effort coming as a 33/1 rank outsider. That 6/9 record has produced level stakes profits of 8.8pts to date and his record on heavy going alone reads 12112 for 8.1pts profit with E/W backers benefiting from a return of 12.6pts.
Now, this race tends to be won by fairly unexposed 5 or 6 yr old horses and whilst Alaivan is now 8yrs old, he has missed a couple of years racing through injury, so you could perversely argue he's has the career of a 6 yr old, but is more mature and stronger. It's a little tenuous admittedly, but he should be a bit more grown up than the younger rivals.
He's on his way back from injury and put in a season's best performance last time out when 2nd at Wincanton just over three weeks ago. He finished 3rd at Cheltenham off a mark of 146 before his injury and has won off 140, so today's mark (same as LTO) of 130 means he could well be very well-treated if getting back to anything like his old form.
He didn't fire in another big handicap at Ascot back in December, but I feel the fact that he has been entered into such big races might suggest his handlers believe he still has a future at this level. Purely on a weight/previous form ratio, he'd be a live contender here today.
Alaivan is currently trading as high as 18/1 BOG with both BetVictor and Stan James, making for a E/W bet today, but I'm actually going take a slightly shorter 16/1 E/W BOG from Bet365, as they're paying five places for this one. You can see what conditions all the firms are offering today, if you...
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