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A barren Cheltenham no handicap for Spotlight

Last month’s racing was dominated by four days in the Cotswolds when the annual Cheltenham festival was staged. Not only does the 28-race marathon define the whole jumping season, but it also provides an opportunity for the national and regional newspaper pundits to demonstrate their prowess. Last year, the Daily Mail’s Robin Goodfellow dominated proceedings, winning with three of his four selections and collecting a cool 18.5pt profit to boot. This year, it was Kevin Walsh of the Irish Post who fared best. A 10.5pt yield over the four days was secured thanks to the successes of City Island (8/1, 13 March) and Frodon (9/2, 14 March).

The Guardian, Rob Wright (The Times), Fortunatus (Sheffield Star) and Postdata (Racing Post) also posted profits during the four-day jamboree (12-15 March), but there was more to March than Cheltenham. Failing to find a Prestbury Park winner did not affect Spotlight of the Racing Post, who ended the month with a 5.4pt yield, which earned top spot in the March Napchecker listings.

West Tip (Western Morning News) was similarly winless at Cheltenham, but finished second in the overall list with a 4.3pt profit, ahead of Walsh and Fortunatus, who both claimed 2.3pt yields.

Seven of Spotlight’s 28 naps were successful of which Lillington (6/1, Newbury, 1 March), Carole’s Destrier (6/1, Newbury, 2 March), First Link (4/1, Lingfield, 25 March) and Glinger Flame (7/2, Hexham, 26 March) registered the best returns.

Spotlight’s 25% strike-rate was a full six points lower than West Tip, who amassed eight winners from 26 selections. Four of the month’s first six naps were winners including Furni Factors, who got home at Newcastle at 5/1. Subsequent successes included 4/1 Sir Ottoman (Kempton, 6 March) and 9/2 Drakefell (Lingfield, 29 March).

Although reserving his best form for Cheltenham, Walsh also secured a further six winners elsewhere, making a grand monthly total of eight wins from 29 naps (28% strike-rate).

Fortunatus, who struck with 5/1 Duc Des Genievres at Cheltenham (12 March), was also successful with Right Action (7/1, Doncaster, 31 March), Ronald Pump (5/1, Cork, 21 March) and Kavanaghs Corner (7/2, Exeter, 5 March).

Despite a 46% strike-rate (12 winners from 26 naps), Marlborough (Daily Telegraph) missed out on a March profit, although a loss of 0.3pt is negligible. The Duke of The Yorkshire Post also missed out by a smidgeon (0.9pt), but both Marlborough and The Duke posted solid profits if results are taken on the best odds that were available on their selections rather then the sp.

And if the best-odds ruling is applied throughout, West Tip’s 4.3pt gain becomes a positively gargantuan 15.8pt yield and Walsh’s return jumps from 4.3 to 8.5pts. As ever it pays to seek out the best odds. A little work can pay dividends.

Date Published: 04/04/2019