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Bernardo guides Hedley to April top spot

Despite recording a fractional loss last month, the Racing Post’s Ratings service has moved further ahead in the 2023 naps race. Ratings’ lead increased from less than half a point to more than 15 as second placed Garry Owen suffered a heavy loss.

Garry Owen wasn’t alone: after March’s riches, April’s offerings were meagre. The Irish Post’s Karl Hedley finished the month in top position with a 5-point yield. Marlborough was the only other tipster to finish in credit – a 35% strike-rate earning a lean 0.7 points – while Ratings 0.1-point loss secured third place.

Hedley’s profit was built around the 16/1 Newbury success of the Hayley Turner-ridden Bernardo O’Reilly (21 April) and the victory of 5/1 Lunar Jet at Redcar on 17 April.

Hedley’s SP average was almost 15/1, and exactly half of the month’s 24 selections started at double figure prices including the 2020 Irish Cesarewitch winner, Cape Gentleman, who received Hedley’s stamp of approval in the Grand National, despite a 100/1 price tag. Cape Gentleman pulled-up, and of the other eleven speculative nap selections, Moroder shaped best. The Seamus Mullins-trained gelding finishing second to Kitty’s Light in the Bet365 Gold Cup at Sandown (29 April) at odds of 16/1. Like Farringdon, Hedley likes to think outside the box, and it only takes a couple of wins to secure a healthy profit.

And perhaps this was the best policy in April, as those tipsters who followed the market tended to struggle. In Marlborough’s case, though, it wasn’t the lack of winners that was the problem, but the low prices of those selections that did win. Only Grand National hero Corach Rambler (9/1, Aintree, 15 April) posted a price better than 3/1. You could also argue that Marlborough’s cause wasn’t helped by an eight-day losing streak towards the end of the month, but as April ended with a profit, such arguments would be unjust. Marlborough’s 35% strike-rate was a full ten points better than Ratings, the next best in that category.

The outstanding Grand National winner, Corach Rambler, was Ratings best priced winner last month. That victory was part of a golden spell that produced six winning naps from 12 (8-20 April). This followed a winless opening week; the month also ended disappointingly with a sequence of eight losers, before 7/2 On A Session reduced the losses with a last-day victory at Musselburgh.

Elsewhere, there was little to enthuse about. Robin Goodfellow and West Tip both managed to keep the losses down to single figures. The former began the month with a grisly run of 14 losers, but late salvation arrived with three wins from four from 27 April. For West Tip, a promising start to April - 5 wins from 11 and a 5.2 pt yield - was followed by a profit-wrecking run of 14 losing naps out of 15.

Turning to the all-tips table, the Star ended the month with an impressive 35.7-point profit (24% strike-rate). This was the second big profit of 2023, following the 38.6 pts earned by Postdata back in January. Two 33/1 strikes – Devizes (Kempton Park, 12 April) and Burbank (Perth, 27 April) provided the highlight of a month that also featured two winners at 20/1, one at 18/1 and two at 14s.

Those four big-priced winners meant that the Star also headed the table for selections priced 20/1 or more with a whopping 84-point yield and an impressive 16% strike-rate. Scout (35 points), Harvester (17 points), Templegate (16 points) and Captain John (2 points) also posted profits with selections priced at 20/1 or greater.

At the other end of the odds-spectrum, Newsboy was the tipster to follow. The man from the Mirror recorded a 68% strike-rate with selections priced evens or shorter, earning a 9.5-point profit in the process. Robin Goodfellow, Captain Keen, Captain John and Templegate were also in good form with their short-priced choices.

The middle ground (value selections priced between 5s and 10/1) was dominated by Racing Post Ratings, which made a 48-point profit with such tips. Templegate (31.5 points), Curragh Correspondent (21.5 points), Spotlight (15.5 points) and Brian O’Conner (10 points) also figured prominently in this division.

Date Published: 04/05/2023