Foxhunter Steeple Chase

foxhunters-chaseFor lovers of hunter chases, this is as good as it gets. Amateur jockeys get to experience what riding a racehorse under rules at the Cheltenham Festival is really like…

What happened in 2013?

True to form the Foxhunters, the amateur riders Gold Cup, produced a dramatic conclusion as Oscar Delta jumped the last in front but jinked through the rail, unshipping ride Jane Mangan, leaving the well backed favourite Salsify to saunter clear in very lucky fashion.

In winning, he became the first dual scorer since Earthmover in 1998 and 2004. Like his win in 2012, he was ridden very patiently by his rider Colman Sweeney before cutting through the pack on the final circuit.

However, Oscar Delta took up the running with four to jump and wasn’t for catching when jumping the last in front as Salsify was a good way back in second in what was an lung busting race that only produced four finishers.

Disaster struck for Oscar Delta, with victory almost secure at that stage, and Salsify needed no second invitation to cruise past up the run-in.

His mishap was very hard on Mangan, who´d given him a fine ride. This effort didn’t come as a surprise to many punters though as the horse had finished a creditable third in both the previous runnings.

The winner is a top-class hunter chaser though and went onto slam Oscar Delta by 25 lengths next time out at Punchestown.

He looks sure to make a bold defence of this race if turning up fit and well next year.

2014 Major Players

As already mentioned, Salsify will be hard to beat when March comes around if staying sound over the winter.

The only flaw in his make-up may be his inability to handle really testing ground as Oscar Delta would have beaten him on such ground in 2013 with a little bit more care from the young girl in the saddle.

Hopefully, course lover Oscar Delta will return for another crack at the two time winner.

He was beaten 19 lengths by Zemsky in 2011 and 12 lengths by Salsify in 2012 before improving to come oh so close in 2013. If the improvement continues, this could be his year. There wouldn’t be a more deserving winner.

The usual suspects will probably line up again in the Foxhunter showpiece, old servants like Tricky Trickster, Chapoturgeon and Cottage Oak.

Betting advice: strong race trends

This is a very hard race for punters to really understand a line of form in though.

The basis of the form is from the Irish point-to-pointers, which is an amateur based version of jumps racing in the UK. Also the unfamiliar nature of the jockeys can also cause a few head-scratching in most punting circles. This race is very much an unsolvable puzzle for most gamblers, and is one the bookies love taking bets on.

Go easy with your stakes, comrades.

If you are looking for other alternatives than the favourite, then keeping a close eye on former point-to-pointers from Ireland looks a trend to consider as from the last 25 races, 22 of those have been won by former point-to-pointers.

That is from a very low percentage sample too, with a large majority of the runners coming from a handicapping background rather than Irish point-to-pointers.

Key trials

The best trial is the previous year’s renewal as it’s produced multiple horses that have done the double, plus the example of Oscar Delta who year-on-year comes back to run well is a fruitful one.

Ante post tip

No point complicating things, back Salsify to win his third Foxhunters. The 8/1 looks very generous with Bet365.