Cheltenham: Sire success a plus for Coneygree’s Gold Cup hopes

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There are plenty of factors that go into picking a Cheltenham winner; prior festival form, an ability to roar up Prestbury Park’s famous hill, a lenient handicap and the price all help to form a case, but the success of the sire is perhaps one element that is often overlooked.

If it were, the progeny of Karinga Bay would fare far better in the ante-post betting for the upcoming festival.

As one of the most successful British jumps racing stallions in recent seasons it is perhaps a surprise that the former middle-distance runner’s offspring isn’t catching more attention, but a delve into the stats makes a compelling case for following some handsomely priced entries this year.

Based on Cheltenham meetings from 2006-14, Karinga Bay has the highest level-stakes profit of any stallion siring a runner at this year’s renewal. With 12 winners from 104 runners, a profit of £43+ certainly makes for an interesting starting spot.

There are six horses sired by Karinga Bay with ante-post entries for this year’s Cheltenham festival, although in order to find the best chance of success, a further combing of the data is required.

Of all the races at Prestbury Park, the stallion’s most efficient distance is over 3m or 3m2f, with over half of the 12 winners (seven in total) coming at those trips.

That whittles the field down to three for 2015, with Coneygree the most prominent.

The eight-year-old will be a Festival debutant but has certainly not been eased into things, with entries in both the RSA Chase and the prestigious Gold Cup adorning his name.

Although seemingly far better placed to triumph in the RSA – Ladbrokes rate the Mark Bradstock-trained gelding at 5/1 for Wednesday’s second race, compared to 14/1 for the Friday showpiece – the Oxfordshire handler is undecided which of the two races to plump for.

Certainly a Gold Cup appearance would appeal to outsider backers, especially with Coneygree standing as the second-highest rated chaser in the field, with three straight wins to his name this season.

Beyond that, Westward Point is due to line up in the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup, while Harbour Court is a 10/1 option for the Foxhunter Chase.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.