The Peter Marsh Chase at Haydock is one of the biggest races held at the track and is normally a key race for horses with Cheltenham Gold Cup and Aintree Grand National aspirations. This year's renewal sees 10 horses go head to head and it looks a competitive renewal. Here are the key trends for the race.
10 out of the last 10 winners were aged between 8 & 12.
10 out of the last 10 winners had run in a chase over 3m1f.
9 out of the last 10 winners were sent off shorter than 9/1.
9 out of the last 10 winners had won over 2m6f previously.
7 out of the last 10 winners had won over 3m1f previously.
9 out of the last 10 winners had run in either a Grade 1 or a Grade 2 over fences.
8 out of the last 10 winners were rated between 140 & 155.
7 out of the last 10 winners had finished in the first two of a race at the course previously.
1 out of the last 10 winners had won last time out.
We’ll start with the bottom two Valoroso (20/1 Stan James) and Wychwoods Brook (20/1 BetVictor), who both look to have it all to do on the basis of the trends. Neither have raced over 3m1f or won over 2m6f and not many horses are successful on marks similar to theirs so it looks like they have too much to do.
One of the major trends is that 10 of the last 10 winners have been horses aged between 8 and 12. This statistic counts heavily against two of the market leaders – Sydney Paget (7/1 Betfred) and Merry King (5/1 BetVictor), with only three 7yo’s winning this race in 25 runnings. Putting that trend to one side, Merry King does has shown form good enough to win, but a mixture of not winning over 2m4f yet and his age puts me off backing him. The same applies to Sydney Paget, his form is ok and the horse has won over course and distance which is a big plus, but the race may have come a year or two too early.
Night Alliance (7/1 bet365) is another runner who has won over the course and the record for horses which have done so is pretty good, however his lack of experience against chasers of this calibre worries me. That coupled with the fact that this horse has to shoulder a 15lb rise in the weights thanks to his latest victory don't bode well for his chances.
The Minack (12/1 Stan James) was a top handicap chaser before suffering up a serious injury which has kept the horse out for over 2 years. This is concerning with regards to the the demanding nature of the race but his trainer, Paul Nicholls, is adept at getting he horses back to full fitness. If he has The Minack back fighting fit then he could well put up a bold show.
Chance Du Roy (10/1 bet365) won the Becher chase on his last start but the form from that race doesn’t look particularly strong. After a closer examination of the horse’s previous runs tells me that he needs to improve on what he has shown so far to be considered a serious contender here.
One run from that horse has him well behind Katenko (4/1 Betfred) who, with Vino Griego (12/1 Stan James), look to be the two big guns coming into this race. Katenko may be being aimed at the Gold Cup and for that to become a reality the horse must win here. The horse meets a lot of the trends and has some very good form under his belt but will need to bounce back from a poor run at Aintree. Vino Griego won a decent race of late and will now be up against it to win off such a high mark and racing weight. Vino Griego has done a good service to Gary Moore but today might be a step too far in what is likely to be very testing ground.
Despite some of the good form lines on offer, I’m going to stick with my selection from the Welsh National in VINTAGE STAR (7/1 BetVictor). One important trend offered up is that many of the winners have competed in Grade 2 or higher races and only two in this race have do so. One of which is Vintage Star and I’ve selected this horse as connections clearly think this is a top class horse after entering him in the RSA. Added to this, he meets a lot of the trends and will love the heavy ground.
In conclusion a lot of horses have the form in the book to run a big race but many also show flaws which could trouble them here. Merry King is yet to win over the distance and age trends are also against him. VINTAGE STAR meets nearly every one of the trends and if he is as good as connections feel then he is likely to have a strong chance as he will relish the ground and should be able to pick up the victory. The Minack and Katenko should also be considered if returning to their best form.
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