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With guaranteed prize money of a £250,000, here are some tips in an effort to win horse racing's favourite competition.
13:19 November 26, 2019
Back after several years in the wilderness, the Tote Ten To Follow competition returns this Saturday and runs until the last day of the national hunt season in April.
Having achieved a level of success in past competitions, including several top ten finishes and a ten thousand pound monthly prize, here are my thoughts on how to increase your chances of doing well in the 2019/20 Jumps competition.
Seven tips on how to increase your chances of winning:
Pick ten of the most popular horses among the 500 plus at your disposal, or ten of the least popular, and you are unlikely to feature towards the top of the leaderboard. What you really need is a well-balanced selection of seven or eight ‘obvious’ potential high scorers and two or three less popular horses who you think could notch up a run of wins during the season.
Don’t look too far ahead. You are allowed to make 2 free substitutions the week beginning 2nd March, so if you want to include something for the three major handicap chases in April, or revise your Cheltenham team, this is the time to do it. It is so important to get off to a good start, to begin with concentrate on the first three months of the competition and in particular, the opening 4 bonus races.
Look for negatives. Rather than look for reasons to include some of the leading contenders, look for reasons to leave them out. Put a line through any horse with a history of injury problems, or when a trainer states a particular horse won’t be seen out for some time. You can’t pick up points from a horse stuck in it’s box at home.
Concentrate mainly on Grade 1 races, in particular Grade 1 bonus races. If your horse wins a Grade 1 race it is guaranteed a minimum 25 points. A Grade 1 bonus race and your horse will accrue at least 50 points. These races tend to be the least competitive, yet provide the most points. The winner of one of the major handicap bonus races can also prove lucrative but bear in mind these races are notoriously difficult to solve and may be won by a horse not entered in the competition.
Don’t ignore the 4 monthly prizes. If you intend putting on several lists, make sure you target one of the £10,000 monthly prizes. The February prize looks particularly tempting with just the one bonus race – the BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle. Make sure you include a couple of horses expected to take part in this Grade 1 bonus race and then look for a number of top novices (mainly Irish) who may need a bit more experience leading up to the festival. In Britain, look at races such as the Scilly Isles Novice Chase, Denman Chase, Game Spirit Chase, Betfair Ascot Chase and Kingwell Hurdle.
Forget Lostintranslation, Cyrname and Altior; according to @ELavelleRacing there's one horse that should be top of your Tote #TenToFollow list.
Many of the top points scorers are likely to be trained in Ireland. Irish racecourses host a plethora of Graded races, and should the weather result in abandonments, they are likely to be run soon after, whereas in Britain the fixture list is so packed this is not always possible. Make sure you have plenty of horses trained by the likes of Willie Mullins, Gordon Elliott, Joseph O’Brien, Henry De Bromhead etc.
One of the last three bonus races could decide the competition. If you are well down the leaderboard come the week of substitutions (March 2-9), it is worth including a favourite handicap chaser, as the winner of the Grand National, Scottish Grand National or bet365 Gold Cup would earn a minimum of 35 points. But if you add on a big tote return (£1 e.w) this could, in theory, result in a massive points return in the region of 100 or more. Picking the Grand National winner could elevate you from being another also ran into picking up a cheque for £175,000 or more! Good luck.