Contest 4

With Cheltenham fast approaching I thought this might be the right time to give you the following idea for the Festival that might help point us in the profitable direction. It's not my own idea but comes from the renowned Russell Clarke, B.Sc Hons (as he always rightly describes himself), and from all the evidence it seems to be rather a good plan. It might work all the time at all meetings, but Clarke suggested it especially for Cheltenham and also for Aintree following on. Just one thing, though. It's not going to pinpoint actual winners; rather it will narrow the field down in each race to a few possibles from which each punter can make his own choice. The basic Clarke concept is to identify progressive horses as being the most likely Festival winners, and his method for doing so is extremely simple. Using the Racing Post he looks at the Topspeed figures and the Postmark ratings for every runner. If, in either case, Topspeed or Postmark, the latest figure is the highest figure, then that indicates a progressive runner and is one to include in your list for consideration. It's certainly simple, but let's look at some examples. The results I have to hand come from the Festival Meetings of 1996 and 1997. In '96, of the 19 races there were 17 won by progressive horses. And the following year, 13 out of 19 were won by these progressives. But before we get over-excited it has to be said that in over half of the races, 21 of the 38 to be exact, more than half of the horses were progressive. Ignoring these for having too many to consider, we'll concentrate on the other 17. Here are some of the results. In '96 - a race with 5 of the 12 being progressive we had the 1st and 2nd at 7/1 and 4/1. Another had only 2 progressive and they finished 1st and 2nd at 10/1 and 13/8. In another with 5 of the 13 runners progressive, one of them was the 20/1 winner. There were others too, but perhaps the best was the race with 15 of the 30 being progressive and supplying 1st and 2nd at 25/1 and 16/1. And from the following year there was a winner at 20/1 from 8 progressives in a 16 runner field, and more amazingly, 5 progressives in a field of 17 gave the winner and second at 20/1 and 25/1. The very next race, believe it or not, gave 1st and 2nd at 20/1 and 33/1 from 7 progressive horses out of the 15 runners. Maybe there is something in the idea to give us food for thought at Cheltenham in a month's time. Away from racing, here is a true story that greatly amused me recently. Mr and Mrs Highlander had gone away for a week-end break to a semi-posh hotel on the shores of Loch Lomond, where, of an evening after dinner, the hotel management saw fit to provide entertainment for their guests - as if drinking wasn't enough! There was a singer, a comedian - and then a quiz. That's where the story starts. We were issued with our answer sheets, and then the questions started. The first twenty were on general knowledge and the Highlanders were doing rather well. Indeed, I was beginning to eye up the prize bottle of champagne with a proprietorial air. "Now," announced the quizmaster, "the final five questions of the quiz are all cryptic clues with the answers being the names of sweets or confectionery. Here's the first one - where mothers might gather for a drink." I looked around and not many people were writing. But Highlander had it. I wrote down Mars Bar, and waited for the next. "Got that one?" asked the quizmaster, surveying the lounge. A few shouts of "No" answered him. "Right then, our next clue is - every girl-friend would like to have this." The complete silence told the quizmaster that nobody had the answer, so he tried to help out by giving an extra clue. "And," he said, "her boy-friend would like her to have this too." Still puzzlement everywhere, except at a table not far from us. The genius there shouted out in his excitement, "I've got it. A Gobstopper!" Appropriate though it was, I knew it couldn't be the right answer, but I'd have awarded him the champagne for it there and then. After all the laughter had died down any further interest in the quiz had all but disappeared. Highlander was laughing so much he didn't even hand in his answer sheet; but for anyone who may still be wondering what the correct answer was - and this comes as a real anti-climax (I use these words very advisedly!) - apparently there is a sweet on the market called Cherry Lips. Just a few comments about this month's classic system, Contest 4. It is for use with N.H. racing as befits this season of the year, and is, as its name suggests, the fourth in a series of which number 1 is in the Surewin catalogue of systems. I believe I could uncover numbers 2 and 3 from my own collection. The vendor is a Philip Ryder from an address in London, and it was from his father or uncle (the latter, I think) that I bought my very first system many years earlier, and his address was in Great Portland Street, London, as far as I can recall. To bring the family history up to date, I have a feeling that Bill Clarke, who currently operates his racing service from a farmhouse in Dorset, is part of the illustrious Ryder system dynasty. Anyway, let Contest number 4 begin. This is for N.H. racing. For many years Trainers4Courses has been a winning formula on the Flat and over the sticks. Contest 4 concentrates on the fact that certain trainers have a distinct liking for a particular course and this is taken into account by concentrating on a short list of trainers for each race meeting. You can see a list of leading trainers for each N.H. course in the Daily Mail and Daily Mirror, both of which give the number of winners for each trainer over the past few years, with runners on a particular day. You can back all the Contest 4 Plan qualifiers in singles, doubles or you can if you wish Stop at a Winner.
1. From the list of leading trainers ignore any that have more than two runners at a single meeting, unless there are 7 races, in which case they can have a maximum of three runners, but do not include N.H. Flat races.
2. Start with the trainer with the most wins. If he has 1 or 2 runners at a single meeting then these are the Contest 4 advices, providing that if there is a single runner it must be in the first three in the paper's betting forecast and that it has been placed in the first three in its last race. If there are two system runners, then at least one of them must be in the first three in the betting and have been placed on its last outing. If there are three, due to a 7 race card, then again at least one must have been placed in its last outing and be in the first three in the betting. Therefore you can have a single Contest 4 selection, 2 selections and on rare occasions three.
3. Continue down the list of leading trainers for the course until you have a qualifier, i.e. a trainer that meets the requirements of Rule 2. If a trainer has more than one runner in a race ignore the race. You are looking for a leading trainer starting from the top who has 1, 2 or on rare occasions 3 runners with the qualifications as in Rule 2. At least one of the horses must be in the first three in the betting and have been placed on its last outing; in other words, the horse in the first race may be at a big price and have no form, but you still support it as long as the other horse meets the betting and placing rules. A single horse must meet the betting and placing rules. No bets in races of less than 4 runners, and if both races (in the event of 2 qualifiers) are Novice events, no bet. Go on to the next trainer on the list.
4. If the second or third selection is quoted at 6/4 or less, then delete that trainer and continue down the leading trainers' list until you have 1, 2 or on rare occasions 3 Contest 4 Plan advices.

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