Best Betting Sites UK / Ginger Joe / Tony's Trends - Saturday 8th January 2022

Tony's Trends - Saturday 8th January 2022

The Unibet Veterans’ Handicap Chase, Sandown, January 8 2022

Welcome to our new segment, where we will look at races from a different angle, concentrating less on form and focusing instead on past results. In this way, we can establish what previous winners have in common and use those trends to narrow the field down to a more manageable size.

This week we are going to look at the Class 2 Unibet Veterans’ Handicap Chase at Sandown, a galloping track that places emphasis on stamina.

Although this is a relatively new race, it has some definite trends emerging.

Ages

All six previous winners were aged 11 to 13 years, but given how close we are to the New Year this is slightly deceptive, as all racehorses have their birthday on 1st January. This fact favours horses that are newly-qualified to run in this race (three 11 year olds have been winners) but older horses who have retained their ability are not discounted.

Odds

While five winners were priced at 12/1 or less, only one favourite has obliged. A second trend is that five winners had a SP of 7/1 or greater, so we still need to focus on the top end of the odds market.

Weights

The majority of previous winners carried between 10-08 and 11-01. So again, we will focus on those runners who meet this trend.

  • All six previous winners last ran in December, so their final prep race was 32 days before this race. The race is running slightly later this year, which extends the period to 37 days.
  • All six winners had at least one other prep race during the 2021 season and the majority had two or three runs.
  • All six winners had proven their stamina by winning a race over a distance of at least three miles.
  • Five of the six were well regarded and had competed in high profile events, like Cheltenham or Aintree in the year before they ran here, so we need to focus on classy individuals.
  • Four of the previous winners posted a seasonal RPR of between 114 and 133. Interestingly, one horse who did not complete this race, had an RPR of 140 in the race immediately before this one.

Trend review

As the current leading contender, Aso is undoubtedly the class act in this field. His second to Blacklion last time out will have him high on many shortlists, but he needs to defy three significant trends.

At 11-12, Aso is carrying more weight than any other winner, he is the current ante-post betting favourite and most importantly of all, he has not won over a distance of three miles previously. For those reasons, he must be passed over.

As expected, there are a number of the field who did not have a run in December that meets the trend and we will start by passing those over. Namely, Sir Ivan, Wandrin Star and Final Nudge.

We can also exclude runners that do not meet the weight criterion. As previously mentioned, Aso is overweight at 11-12. Whilst Indy Five, Dancing Shadow and Valaom are carrying too low a weight (10-5 or less) and can be passed over on that basis.

Rolling Dylan does not have the class profile of previous winners and is excluded. Similarly, Dashing Perk is trying to step up, but has not proven his stamina. He has not won a race over three miles since his Point-To-Point days and is also passed over.

Two other runners, Dancing Shadow and Psychedelic Rock are showing odds outside the range of the typical trends and both are excluded.

The Kings Writ is also excluded as he has not posted a high enough seasonal RPR to meet the trends and his recent runs have been far from spectacular.

Further discussion

We are now left with just two horses who meet the trends, Gwencily Berbas and Prime Venture.

Both yards and jockeys are in a similar vein of form currently. Prime Venture’s trainer, Evan Williams, has had three winners from his last 25 runners (12%), with his jockey Adam Wedge achieving five wins from his last 32 rides (16%). Gwencily Berbas’s trainer David Pipe has had three wins from his last 35 runners (9%) with jockey Tom Scudamore clocking up four winners in his last 25 rides (16%).

Prime Venture’s weight is on the trend borderline, but he was well regarded when contending the Midlands National last March. He has won or been placed in four of his last 16 chases, but his most recent form has been below par. In addition to his recent form being average at best, the horse was pulled up last time out, with the vet reporting that he bled from the nose. In the likely conditions, this is a worry.

David Pipe’s Gwencily Berbas is a really consistent sort who has placed in 9 of his 22 chases and is improving, as evidenced by the manner of his win last time out. He meets all of the trends and is showing good form since moving yards. In his earlier days he ran successfully at the Punchestown and Listowel festivals in Ireland over similar distances and has always been held in high regard.

Conclusion

Gwencily Berbas, currently showing at 12/1 EW with 888sport and 4 places on offer, is therefore our selection.

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