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Racing Post retain Napchecker crown

It was a case of déjà vu at the top of the Napchecker naps table, as Racing Post’s Ratings Service became the first service to win back-to-back titles, posting an overall profit of 36.8 points, just two less than last year’s winning tally.

Spotlight, also from the Racing Post stable, claimed second position with 18 points, ahead of Gary Nutting of the Sunday Mirror and The Guardian.

As the race entered its final month, Ratings were ten points clear of the field. But any chance of an upset was eliminated by an opening sequence of six winning naps out of eight which included 7/2 Old Guard (Newbury, 2 December) and 100/30 Knocknamona (Leicester, 3 December). A further seven selections were successful, producing a December strike-rate of 54% and a 12.5-point yield.

Despite playing second fiddle to Ratings in the overall table, Spotlight were in sparkling December form, notching up a 15.2-point profit. They made a spectacular start to the month as the Oliver Sherwood-trained mare The Organist triumphed at Newbury at 12/1 (1 December). A further eight December winners included Arthur’s Gift (6/1, Cheltenham, 15 December) and Relentless Dreamer (5/1, Ludlow, 20 December).

The Morning Star’s Farringdon began December in irresistible style, racking up nine winners from 12 selections during a 14-day spell (3-16 December). The haul included 7/1 Castafiore (Doncaster, 16 December), two 5/1 winners, Indian Affair (Lingfield, 12 December), Shyron (Lingfield, 13 December) as well as 9/2 Gas Line Boy, winner of the Grand Sefton over the National fences at Aintree (9 December). It all added up to a 17.1 December profit, and top position in the final month’s reckoning.

Value was the keyword for Racing Post’s Postdata. This approach yielded four winners including 14/1 Archipeligo (Wolverhampton, 18 December) and 9/1 Captain Lars (Southwell, 19 December). With the other two successful naps returning odds of 9/2 and 4/1, this resulted in a healthy December gain of 11.5 points and fourth position in the December tally behind Farringdon, Spotlight and Ratings.

The Sun’s Templegate recorded a 38.5% December strike-rate with 10 winners producing an 8.5- point return. Without a doubt, the highlight was the success of 14/1 nap Benbens at Sandown (9 December).

The Guardian produced another strong showing. A 7.2-point profit secured fourth place in the overall table and a 2017 yield of 4 points. December’s return of nine winners (39% strike-rate) included a run of 5 winning naps on the run (8-15 December) including 6/1 Arthur’s Gift (Cheltenham, 15 December) and Sunblazer (Kempton, 13 December).

The Sheffield Star’s Fortunatus ended December with an identical strike-rate to the Guardian, albeit with a marginally smaller yield (5.4 points). Winners included 4/1 Mind’s Eye (Leopardstown, 29 December).

West Tip (Western Morning News), winner of the 2015 Napchecker title, scored with 22/1 Archie Stevens (Southwell, 4 December), while another previous winner, The Duke of the Yorkshire Post, also posted a December profit, helped along the way by 9/2 Art Nouvelle (Lingfield, 28 December).

Date Published: 06/01/2018