Badger Ales Trophy Betting Tips
Wincanton Racecourse has a quality National Hunt meeting this weekend. Saturday is exactly the sort of day to whet the appetite at this early stage of the winter and in the Badger Ales Trophy we have one of the biggest races of the season so far.
Only the Best Jumpers Need Apply
The Badger Ales Trophy has a history that goes back to the early 1960s. Originally run over a distance of two miles and five furlongs, it increased to its current distance of three miles, one and a half furlongs in 1990.
That change in distance helped to improve the calibre of horses competing as the Badger Ales Handicap was awarded Listed status in 2003.
There are 18 fences for the horses to navigate on their way around the course. Given that the fences at Wincanton are big, this is a race which rewards good jumping.
It’s very hard for even average steeplechasers to get around Wincanton let alone to be able to challenge for the Badger Ales Trophy given the mix of technique and stamina required.
Past Five Winners
2016 – Gentleman Jon, aged 8, ridden by Tom O’Brien, trained by Colin Tizzard
2015 – Drop Out Joe, aged 7, ridden by Aidan Coleman, trained by Charlie Longsdon
2014 – Court By Surprise, aged 9, ridden by Daryl Jacob, trained by Emma Lavelle
2013 – Standing Ovation, aged 6, ridden by Conor O’Farrell, trained by David Pipe
2012 – The Package, aged 9, ridden by Timmy Murphy, trained by David Pipe
Experience Key at Wincanton
As one of the best races of the early season, the Badger Ales Trophy is a puzzle that punters are very keen to unpick. Although it’s thrown up some surprise winners over the years, there are some important stats and trends that should help give you the edge over the bookies.
Ever since the race was increased to 25 furlongs, there’s never been a winner aged younger than six. Moreover, you have to go back to 2000 for the last time a horse older than nine won the Badger Ales Trophy.
Between six and nine appears to be the sweet spot in terms of age as that guarantees a certain amount of experience combined with the pace to finish strongly.
As we saw above, Wincanton is a stern test of jumping and of stamina. It is, therefore, no surprise that the vast majority of recent winners had previously won a chase of at least three miles and had claimed multiple wins over fences.
Southfield Well Treated by the Handicapper
When you’re looking for a winning bet in this sort of competitive handicap it often pays to look for horses who have been overlooked by the handicapper rather than those who arrive in the best form.
There may be horses towards the top of the Badger Ales Trophy who offer more appeal from a calibre or form point of view than Southfield Royale but is there any other horse who is as well treated in terms of the weights than Neil Mulholland’s seven-year-old?
Plenty of people in the know had big hopes for Southfield Royal in the early part of his career.
After a decent run during the 2015-16 National Hunt season, injury curtailed his appearances last season and when he returned he struggled to recapture his best form.
With time off over the summer to regain fitness and having been dropped in the weights even more, Southfield Royale has every chance of returning to the levels he’s capable of and so is worth chancing at 14/1 with William Hill.
Gentleman Jon Capable of Defending
Wincanton is not a course suited to every horse so previous success there is a big plus for any horse in the running on Saturday.
Gentleman Jon can certainly get it done at Wincanton having won twice there last year. He was unable to kick on after winning the Badger Ales Trophy last year but Colin Tizzard has been talking up his chances of defending his title.
Finally off a mark that should see him competitive, Gentleman Jon represents good each-way value at 16/1 with Coral.
Top Betting Offers
Southfield Royale to win at 14/1 with William Hill
Gentleman Jon each-way at 16/1 with Coral