Thursday, 20 August 2009

Nunthorpe Preview

I couldn’t let York’s Ebor Festival pass without writing something, so I’ve decided to preview the feature race of the final day, the Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes. This looks a decent renewal, with three previous winners of the race lining up alongside the highly thought of winner of the Norfolk Stakes, Radiohead (above). The race is one of few opportunities for the two year olds to take on their older counterparts and it is Brian Meehan’s chestnut colt representing the young guns tomorrow, in a field of seventeen.

Taking my usual trend based approach, the first thing I notice is that Group form seems important, with eight of the last ten Nunthorpe winners having won a Group race, the other two having finished runner up. Mythical Border and Excellerator can be ruled out using this trend.

I should point out that I’ve excluded last year’s race for “last ten winners” purposes, as it was switched to Newmarket due to the flooding at York.

The age range of the last ten winners varies from two to nine years old, but Bahamian Pirate, the nine year old who took the Nunthorpe in 2004, is the only winner of the race older than six since the race was moved to York in 1980 and it could be argued that 2004 was a weak renewal anyway. There have only been a couple of winners in that same time period aged two and a couple more aged six. One of the six year olds was Borderlescott at Newmarket last year, which we are excluding anyway. So of the renewals run at York, 86% of winners were aged three to five, allowing us to chalk off Reverence, Tax Free, Benbaun, Borderlescott (above), Dandy Man, Mythical Flight, Moorhouse Lad and Radiohead.

Current form is also important, as half of the last ten Nunthorpe winners won their previous race, with a further three making the frame last time out. Using this trend, we can eliminate Equiano, Amour Propre, Look Busy, Ialysos and Art Connoisseur, leaving us with just two – Kingsgate Native and Captain Gerrard.

If I had to pick just one of these two, I would plump for Kingsgate Native (right). Admittedly it’s the favourite (best price 11/4, William Hill) and that might seem a little cowardly, but half of the last ten winners of the race have been favourites, with a further three coming from the front three of the market. The other two were priced 12/1 and 16/1 so it’s clearly not a race for shocks, which counts against 40/1 (Totesport) Captain Gerrard, but the other factor is the draw, as stalls 1-8 have provided seven of the last ten winners and the jolly is drawn in seven, whilst CG will break from 14.

However, I don’t have to pick just one. Quite a few times now I’ve written previews for the blog and whittled it down to two, before choosing the wrong one, much to my embarrassment. Captain Gerrard was only beaten a length last time out by Borderlescott, who won this race last year (admittedly at Newmarket) and has won over course and distance. 40/1 does seem to be too big, so tomorrow I’m going to back Kingsgate Native AND have an e/w saver on Captain Gerrard.

Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes
Thursday 21st August, 15:25
Kingsgate Native
3 pts win (11/4 William Hill)
Captain Gerrard
0.5 pts e/w (40/1 Totesport)

As you may be aware, I went to the first day of the festival with the missus and we had a good day out. As we had been in York for a few days before that, I'd not looked at any form whatsoever, so all stakes were kept to a minimum and we only had the one winner between us, when I backed Elusive Pimpernel at 4/1. Laura had a near miss with Hamish McGonagall, which she had backed each way at 6/1, but sadly there were no repeats of her 16/1 winner on her only previous race meeting. It wasn't about that though, I was there to watch Sea The Stars (we didn't bet in that race, obviously) who really is impressive and broke the course record in winning the Juddmonte International. Monster.

Nice to see the North beating the South in the football match that was organised in aid of the Injured Jockey's Fund. Dettori went from hero to villain, after opening the scoring for the South, but later missing what would have been the winning penalty in the shootout, as the North won 4-3 on penalties (3-3 in normal time). Great banter.

I do like York. I've been four times now and it's easily my favourite racecourse of the ten or so I've attended.

Apologies to Scott, who posted about an hour ago. Don't overlook his greyhounds post below this one.


1 comment:

TheHat said...

40/1 you say, I'll have a piece of that me thinks.