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Defiant Fortunatus revive naps' race

For most newspaper tipsters, September 2021 was a month to forget. Only Fortunatus managed to post a profit on nap selections. And, as a result, the Sheffield Star’s pundit brought the Napchecker naps challenge back to life.

With a 9.7-point haul, Fortunatus, slashed Newsboy’s lead at the top of the table to less than 10 points. Templegate, whose 4-point loss earned second spot in the September lists, also closed fractionally on the leader, who ended the month 5 points down.

As well as posting the only profitable return, Fortunatus also topped the strike-rate list with 32%, which was a huge 8% better than Racing Post Ratings, who came second in that particular list.

Apart from a six-day losing sequence mid-month, the winners popped up with impressive regularity for Fortunatus. The best priced of the nine winners were two 17/2 shots, Bielsa at Ayr on 18 September and Hildenley at Hamilton Park two days later. The Portland Handicap winner, Hurricane Ivor (11/2, Doncaster, 11 September) was also advised. Interestingly, six of the nine winning naps won at northern and Scottish tracks; more weight to the ‘local knowledge’ theory.

After tussling with Newsboy for first half of the year, Templegate’s challenge faltered during July and August, but September showed an improvement. True, the Sun’s napster posted a 4-point loss, but compared to others, that was hardly a disaster.

The month opened brightly, with three winning naps on the opening three days. That sequence was followed by an abject run of just one win in 16, before Bandinelli (7/2, Haydock, 24 September) and Vincenzo Coccotti (6/1, Chelmsford City, 30 September) began a late damage-limitation exercise.

Newsboy’s September record, was an almost perfect opposite: poor start, strong middle before a long decline. When Global Terms scored at Yarmouth at 11/2 on 14 September, Newsboy was showing a decent profit of 7 points. Alas, the rest of the month was to prove winnerless, and the final figure was a 5-point loss.

Racing Post Ratings (5.6 points down) and Glendale (5.9 points down) came next in the reckoning. In the case of the latter, a 12/1 winner on 29 September, Cave Diver at Nottingham, saved the day, and ensured that The Scotsman’s tipster remained in profit for the year.

There was further evidence of just how tough September was for winner-finding. Only Brian O’Conner of the Irish Times registered a profit, and that was only because he only provides tips for Irish racing. Nevertheless, a 19.4-point yield is a considerable achievement. Winners included Jazelle (14/1, Navan, 4 September), Oh Purple Reign (14/1, Gowran Park, 1 September) and Romella (12/1, Roscommon, 27 September).

O’Conner secured his profitable return from 66 tips with a strike-rate of 21%. On the other hand, Robin Goodfellow’s reward for a 28% strike-rate from 819 selections was a 19.3-point loss. Global Art, the 20/1 winner of the amateur’s Cambridgeshire (Newmarket, 18 September) and Top Class Angel (16/1, Chelmsford City, 30 September) headed a long list of big priced winners.

Date Published: 05/10/2021