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King of Stats: Knockanrawley the perfect profile for Eider success

| 19.02.2015

The Eider Chase always delivers an ultimate test of it’s equine competitors, but by using the magic of trends and stats, it shouldn’t pose such a problem for us as we seek to find the winner.

A 4m1f stamina-sapping marathon around Gosforth Park may not sound like the ultimate viewing spectacle, but try telling that to those who witnessed last year’s nail-biting finish, with Wyck Hill just holding on for victory.

So, how do we find this year’s potential Newcastle hero?

Two patterns in the recent history of this race cannot be missed and look essential to narrowing down the field.

We certainly don’t want to be sticking with an old plodder that has been around the circuit for years, with each of the last 15 victors having had run in 11 fewer handicap chases.

This helps us narrow down to a field of nearly half the 30 currently entered, the most notable cut being that of defending champ Wyck Hill (8/1).

Next, is proven staying power.

You have to go back to 1988 for the last winner of the race who hadn’t triumphed over at least 3m1f prior to lining up in the north-east.

With this we bid farewell to the quintet of Soll (8/1), Broadway Buffalo (8/1), Ballyculla (25/1), Sharney Sike (33/1and Champagne Rian (25/1), all of whom fall short of the criteria by just a solitary furlong.

It also pays to side with charges higher in the weights, with the last 10 renewals going to horses shouldering 11-00 or more, despite those runner making up just 40 per cent of contenders in that period.

Now our shortlist is really taking shape, with four steeds left in the reckoning.

With a full 25 fences to be navigated, jumping ability will be key in the contest, demonstrated by the fact that seven of the last 10 winners had never fallen in their career.

2012 winner Portrait King (7/1) did overcome that stat three years ago, but he is discounted here as we look for the perfect profile.

Likewise (harshly perhaps), we are brushing aside The Job Is Right (10/1) after he dumped jockey Mark Enright on the deck in the Thyestes Chase last month.

Top-weight and ante-post favourite Shotgun Paddy (7/1has made it all this way, but is pipped at the death by KNOCKANRAWLEY (14/1).

The former has ticked every box so far, but with seven of the last eight winners rated between 131 and 139, he is looked over on a technicality.

Instead, every trend points towards Kim Bailey landing a first success in this race.

And his seven-year-old is certainly a consistent sort, only finishing outside of the first three once under rules, that when pulled up in a Grade 2 hurdle as a novice.

He has gone from strength to strength this season, most recently grinding out a hard-fought victory of the Hennessy Gold Cup course and distance at Newbury.

He ticks all the boxes, and goes to Newcastle with a very live chance.

All odds and markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Ben Stones

Ladbrokes News’ equine expert, Ben likes nothing more than studying the form to pick out a winner or two for our readers. A Journalism and Media Studies graduate from the University of Winchester, Ben has previously written for a number of football and racing blogs and websites, as well as contributing to the sports pages of his home-town newspaper.