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Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle (Listed)
The Pertemps Network Final is the culmination of a series of eight qualifiers set across the country. All horses who qualify through these races go on to run in this Festival finale. This race is a Listed handicap hurdle event and sees all runners face 12 flights of hurdles over three miles.
Read our Pertemps Final Qualifying Races Guide to see which horses have qualified so far and for the full list of qualifying races.
Our tip for the 2017 Pertemps Network Final is Philip Hobbs’ For Good Measure, who bids to continue this fine week for JP McManus. Performing well this season without getting his head in front, his handicap mark is now in the perfect position to take victory under the Champion jockey Richard Johnson.
Returning this season when a short head second to stablemate Golden Doyen over C&D in October, he was raised 3lb for that run and ran another good race when fifth at Prestbury Park in November. He ran over the 2m 5f trip that day which was likely too short for him, as he was keeping on well but never able to challenge. Back up to C&D, he ran another cracker to finish second in a competitive handicap in December, only raised 3lb as a result of that running on effort.
He is well weighted in his bid for glory, with a the Philip Hobbs yard hitting form at the perfect time. He is ground versatile and has proved he handles Cheltenham on all three occasions he’s run here this season and his set for a big run for powerful connections.
The Pertemps Network Final betting trends to consider are as follows:
- All of the last 10 winners ran in either January or February
- All of the last 10 winners had had at least 2 runs that season
- 8 of the last 10 winners had 2 to 5 runs in the season prior to the Pertemps Final
- 7 of the last 10 winners had won a Class 3 Hurdle race or better
- 7 of the last 10 winners were aged between 7 and 9 years old
- 8 of the last 10 winners weighed 10st 12lb or less
- 6 of the last 10 winners had won over hurdles over at least 2 miles 7 furlongs
- 5 of the last 10 winners had won a handicap hurdle previously – only two had won more than one
- Only 4 of the last 10 winners won their last start before the Pertemps, with 3 finishing 8th or worse
- Only one favourite has won in the last 10 years; Fingal Bay in 2014 (9/2)
Jonjo O’Neill won this race in 2013 with Holywell to cement his position as the leading all time Pertemps Final trainer. Buena Vista (trained by David Pipe) is the only horse to go back to back (in 2010 and 2011) other than Willie Wumpkins who took first place in 1979, 1980 and 1981. Willie Mullins has never managed to win this race, nor have Ruby Walsh or Paul Townsend. The ante-post market is, however, dominated not by one trainer, but by one owner with three of the four market leaders carrying J P McManus’s instantly recognisable green and yellow silks.
Trends Analysis: The Pertemps Final is known for throwing up plenty of shocks over the years, with Kadoun sent off a huge 50/1 and only two of the last ten winners being sent off at single figure prices (both in the last two years). Fitness is obviously key for three miles at Cheltenham but, as with all handicap races, shortlists for tips should not only be limited to horses who won last time out; horses can – and do – bounce back from bad runs and often get some handicap relief for a bad run. The lack of prevalent handicap winners in here suggests that this race is normally won by an unexposed type.
Perhaps narrowly being denied on two occasions over C&D this season has been a blessing in disguise for Philip Hobbs’ For Good Measure. Returning this season when a close second behind stablemate Golden Doyen over C&D, he was far from disgraced over an inadequate back at Prestbury Park on his penultimate start, running on but never the pace to be able to challenge. Back over C&D, he was a very good second behind Call To Order in a competitive looking handicap, only raised three pound as a result. That sees him well weighted in his bid for this race, with a mark of 138 certainly not beyond him at a track he suits well. Philip Hobbs’ yard has hit form at the perfect time and the booking of Richard Johnson is certainly a big positive. A big run is expected by powerful connections and he has to be respected.
Winning his seventh race in a row, Tobefair has been quite remarkable this year for connections and is now 53lb higher than when starting this sequence back in June 2015. An incredibly hardy battler who wears his heart on his sleeve, he was summed up brilliantly by his trainer Debra Hamer after his latest success at Newbury: “[He] only beats what´s in front of him but he digs and digs and you can´t ask for any more“. Raised another 9lb after his aforementioned win at Newbury in February – which was only by approximately one-and-a-half lengths – the handicapper has laid down another tough ask for this seven-year-old by Central Park, although the same could have also been said for his previous starts. There is no telling when the handicapper will eventually catch up to him, but he is a worthy ante-post favourite and it would be a brilliant feel good story if he were to charge up the Cheltenham hill for his eighth successive win over timber.
Running well in two Pertemps Qualifiers in recent times, Presenting Percy ran a good race when third at Leopardstown in December and, off the same mark, he was fourth to Isleofhopendreams at Punchestown, showing good promise on both runs. Seemingly lacking a gear change over three miles, he ran a much better race when dropped in trip at Fairyhouse in February, winning comfortably under hands and heels by Davy Russell. It is quite possible that on those previous runs at the trip he was not being fully extended to save his handicap mark, which would make sense considering how competitive the race usually is. Ground versatile and still with plenty of potential as a lightly raced six-year-old, he does look to be one of the likelier candidates, especially if the ground is softer as he will then be in his element.
With form figures of 13-212 in recent times, it’s clear to see that Jury Duty is in excellent form at present. Returning this season with a comfortable success at Navan in November (2m 6f, Yielding to Soft), he backed that up when second at Chepstow in a brilliant effort considering he had been raised 17lb for that win at Navan. As a lightly raced six year old he still has scope for progress and looks a likely main player for the inform Gordon Elliott team with Jack Kennedy taking the ride. Ground conditions will be fine and is a good each way play at the very least.
Although far from impressive on his first attempt at the three mile trip, El Bandit showed that he had stamina in abundance when winning at Musselburgh on his latest start. Rallying gamely to take back the lead after being headed on the run in, Paul Nicholls’s six-year-old qualified for the race in the process and showed that he had brilliant battling capabilities. With such a big field expected for the race, the pace is likely to be high and stamina will be of the utmost importance, so the fact that he has won at the three mile two furlong trip only furthers his claims. Lightly raced, better can still be expected at these staying trips and a mark of 143 is not necessarily harsh on him for that latest win. He will need better ground to show his best and, if he gets it, he will be very dangerous for powerful connections.
Willie Mullins is yet to win this race and will be hoping that Isleofhopendreams will be able to provide him with his first success. Isleofhopendreams has been in great form this season, winning over fences on seasonal reappearance before a very good second at Leopardstown in December, which qualified him for the race in the process. Raised 7lb for that run, he went one better when winning at Punchestown in February, staying on much the strongest to take victory and cement himself towards the top of the market. As a result of that latest win, the handicapper has given him an 8lb rise to contend with, but he did give the impression that, in time, more could be expected of him. Ground versatile and a strong stayer at the trip, he should appreciate the galloping track that is Cheltenham and he looks set to go very close, most likely under Ruby Walsh. A best priced 14/1 is a good each way price at the very least and he demands the utmost respect.
Buena Vista was the last horse to win this race twice, leading the field home in 2010 and 2011. As an eight-year-old the horse was two lengths from victory in his first race win in 2009, beaten by Venetia Williams’s Kayf Aramis. Favourite-backers of a certain age will be able to remember celebrating short head wins for market leaders Miracle Man and Inching Closer in 1995 and 2003 respectively.