Stat of the Day, 9th March 2013
A change of chair and a change of tack today, after Refusal's bomb out yesterday. We'll head to Sandown for the trickiest race of the day, the Imperial Cup, which is the...
This is a long established race, and a hard one to win, so the trends might be quite insightful. As it happens, I think they are, because the favourite, Mr Mole, has a couple of significant historical barriers to overcome.
The key stats are as follows:
13 of the last 16 winners finished in the top 3 or pulled up last time
14 of the last 16 winners were priced 14/1 or shorter
15 of the last 16 winners were aged 4 to 7 years
14 of the last 16 winners carried 11-01 or less
13 of the last 16 winners were officially rated 130 or less
7 of the last 16 winners were favourite or joint favourite
Of those seven winning favourites, six had either 11-01 or less to lug, or was rated below 130. The only horse to carry more and be rated higher was Blowing Wind, which went on to win the County Hurdle less than a week later.
It's possible that Mr Mole could be a future County Hurdle winner, but very unlikely. As such, he makes the market for anything else we might like here.
In today's race, a horse rated 130 will carry exactly 11-01, so that's an obvious ceiling for a selection here. Looking at those runners in the top part of the market, aged four to seven, and which placed last time (or pulled up) gives us a shortlist of Pine Creek, Tominator, and Whitby Jack.
For those who like to dutch, they'd be my three against the field.
However, looking at the trainer stats, Jonjo O'Neill - who trains Tominator - has had just one placed horse from eight tries at this race and that doesn't imply he knows what it takes to get the job done here. Tominator has also been a terrible jumper in his three runs to date and that may take its toll this afternoon.
Pine Creek is John Ferguson's first runner in the race, and he comes here off two narrow successes. Narrow successes make life difficult for the handicapper to assess the form, and he may well be ahead of his mark. Both his hurdling wins have been on soft ground so no worries on that score either.
Although he's currently a longer price than most winners, Whitby Jack is trained by Gary Moore, a man who may not have won this race, but has had five of his sixteen entries placed, including 2nd in 2011 and 3rd last year.
On balance, though, as I can only nominate one horse, I'm going with Pine Creek, each way, at 9/1 BetVictor.
Do make sure you...