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St Patrick’s Day at the Cheltenham Festival is brought to a close with the Kim Muir Challenge Cup, a race which could make or break your day in terms of profit…
What happened in 2013?
Same Difference and Super Duty fought out on fantastic finish with the former getting the verdict by a head in a race where four fences were bypassed, including the last.
It was a real head bobber as both horses and jockeys were both deserving of victory but it was Same Difference and young amateur Ryan Hatch that came out on top for the Nigel Twiston-Davies team.
The winner always was close to the pace, which was set by Super Duty, and in the first-time visor, stayed on gamely up the hill.
He looks another nice novice for the Twiston-Davies yard to go to war with in 2014. Punters are advised to keep an eye on Super Duty too over the course of the season. Donald McCain’s youngster looks a real gutsy staying type who should improve further when stepped up in distance. The stable have taken this with future National types in the past, most notably with Cloudy Lane and Ballabriggs.
Super Duty might just be the next Grand National contender off the famous McCain conveyer belt.
Unfortunately, this race was marred by the fall of jockey JP McNamara aboard the JP McManus-owned Galaxy Rock, who suffered terrible injuries, which resulted in paralysis.
2014 Major Players
Like all Festival handicaps, it almost impossible to have a confident prediction about who will line up on the day. Please feel free to return here nearer the race for a lowdown on all the big challengers.
Betting advice: strong race trends
The level of performance showed by seven-year-old Same Difference to land this event can helped to be analysed by looking at past age trends for this stellar handicap. Before his victory only four of the last 34 winners were aged seven or younger.
It usually takes a strong, experienced horse to take this event as three miles around Prestbury Park in a strongly run race can take a lot out of a horse. Eight and nine year olds are the age range of horses to concentrate on as they have won 16 of the last 21 Kim Muir Challenge Cup.
Forgetting last season’s race, where Same Difference is clearly a top-class horse in waiting, punters regularly make the mistake of siding with a unexposed horse that has a sexy handicap profile. In the last six years punters have sent off six and seven year olds off as market leaders, which emphasises the flawed theory towards the younger generation.
Siding with a tough, hardy older horse with plenty of Cheltenham experience certainly will bring more profit than loss in the long term.
The normal tactic for Cheltenham Festival handicaps is to all-but rule out horse’s right at the top of the handicap, but this race is the exception to that rule. Higher rated horses have a great record in this event, with the last five winners all being rated over 134 and carrying 11st or more.
Three winners in recent years have run in the previous season’s JLT handicap at the Festival, so that’s something to monitor when the entries are released. For this season, Betfred’s Grand National Trial in February seems to pull in horses that should go down this route at the Festival.
Bookmakers have yet to price up this market as there is little point in doing so as its nigh-on impossible to plan which horses will undertake this challenge. February will be the time to start plotting a punting angle on this race.