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Marlborough turns back the clock

Marlborough topped October’s Napchecker Naps table with an impressive 19.4-point profit (34% strike-rate). The Telegraph’s pundit finished more than eight points ahead of Rob Wright, who also enjoyed a fine run with his general tips.

The Duke (Yorkshire Post), Racing Post Spotlight and Kevin Walsh (Irish Post) also posted naps profits, while Harvester of the Irish Times came out on top in the all-tips table with an 11.6-point yield.

Back in 2019, Marlborough crushed the opposition in the Napchecker naps challenge. A final profit of 34.3 points was more than 20 points better than nearest rival, West Tip, while a staggering 43% strike-rate was achieved over the year. With the leader in this year’s race, Newsboy, stalling, it’s not beyond the realms of possibility that Marlborough could yet have a hand to play in the destiny of this year’s crown.

Marlborough’s trade-mark is a high level of consistency, but in stark contrast, October’s return was a (mostly) hit and (sometimes) miss affair; sequences of winners followed by losing runs which were in turn followed by clusters of winners. What made this special were the better than average prices, with six of the months ten winners being returned at odds of 100/30 or better. Benefit (15/2, Leicester, 12 October) headed the roll-of-honour which also included Odisseo (6/1, Wolverhampton, 21 October) and Chairmanoftheboard (11/2, Haydock, 15 October).

Rob Wright’s return of 11.2 points was secured despite a lower-than-average strike-rate of 21%. Wright was in risk-taking mood as almost a third of the month’s naps were returned at double-figure prices. Of these, only one - 12/1 Variety Island (Newcastle, 1 October) obliged – but handsome profits were also earned by the wins of Lawful Command (13/2, Yarmouth, 11 October) and Molls Memory (7/1, October, 22 October). So, nine- and seven-day sequences of losing selections were comfortably absorbed.

Marlborough and Wright finished well ahead of the pursuers, who were headed by The Duke, whose 2.2-point return was spearheaded by the victory of 4/1 Able Kane at Leicester on 12 October, the best priced of nine winning naps.

A 32% strike-rate for Racing Post Spotlight earned a 1.5-point yield, which was quite a recovery after the month opened with eight successive losers.

Last year’s winner, Kevin Walsh was another who sought value in October with 12 naps priced at 10s or more. All 12 were beaten but a 0.8-point point was earned thanks to the victory of 5/1 Tommie Beau at Fakenham on 27 October.

The Mirror’s Newsboy, leader in the 2021 naps challenge, limped to a 10.5-point loss, but nearest rivals Fortunatus (Sheffield Star) and Templegate (Sun) both found the going tough, as well. Fortunatus did reduce the deficit slightly and now stands on 11.1 points, with Newsboy still ahead on 19.4.

By limiting bets to Irish racing only, Harvester was able to record an 11.6-point October gain with all-tips. Another Irish Times pundit, Brian O’Connor, finished second with a 17.3-point loss.

Credit is due, however, to Rob Wright, whose 859 October selections earned a loss of 17.9-points settled to SP. If all his selections had been backed at the best available price, that figure is magically transformed into a huge 179-point profit. Winners included 40/1 Run This Way (Pontefract, 4 October), 16/1 Leading Choice (Ffos Las, 16 October – a 28/1 shot in early quotes) and 12/1 Variety Island (Newcastle, 1 October – 40/1 early doors).

Date Published: 05/11/2021