Byrne Group Plate Tips : Great Endeavour looking the value at Cheltenham

The Byrne Group Plate was run under its current title for the first time in 2010, but this sort of handicap has been at the Festival since 1951. It has been formerly called The Festival Plate, The Racing Post Plate and The Mildmay of Flete. Despite the way the race has been passed around various sponsors it still is seen as a big-target for many well handicapped horses. In order to land the spoils they need to show all the attributes of a top horse round the two miles and five furlongs course.

Although the Grade Three handicap has been won by some big stables in the past, most namely David Pipe (three wins) and Nicky Henderson (four times) the race has produced some real shocks in terms of winners over the last few years and is regarded by punters as one of the toughest betting heats of the Festival. The longest priced winner came in 1990 when New Halen scored by eight lengths at a bumper price of 66/1 and that big price trend has continued, with the last 11 winners all returning at double figure odds. Many pundits believe the reason for this is that the most lowly-rated horses of all the handicap chases can squeak into the race – all but two of the last 24 winners were rated no higher than 141.

Byrne Group Plate Tips

Great Endeavour won the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham and can secure victory in the Byrne Group Plate at 14/1 Don’t forget to take advantage of Bet365’s increased free bet of £200/€200 for all visitors of to spend on any race at Cheltenham! Claim here!

Additionally, lightly raced horse seem to progress well in this race, as 12 of the last 13 winners had run no more than 16 times over fences. Inexperience seems to be a trait to look for. That was the case for last year’s winner Holmwood Legend, who brought about a first Festival success for trainer Pat Rodford. There was an eerie silence as the un-backed 25-1 shot crossed the line to the delight of the bookmakers.

There has been one significant trend in the recent history of the race in that eight of the last 10 renewals have been won by horses carrying 10st 9 lb or less. It seems that horses down the bottom of the weights thrive around the two mile five furlongs distance.

In a field that looks very hard to predict a guaranteed runner, who fits the bill of being at the bottom of the handicap looks to be Astracad for the Nigel-Twiston-Davies yard, who have a fantastic record at the Festival, recording 13 wins, including winning the Cheltenham Gold Cup with Imperial Commander in 2010.

The six-year-old was a very useful novice, who finished runner-up to subsequent Supreme Novices Hurdle winner Al Ferof at last year’s Open meeting. He has taken to fences supremely well and has more importantly kept his handicap mark down low enough to make him a real contender at a track like Cheltenham where he has a wonderful record. Sam-Twiston-Davies rode a blinder on him to win at the track in December, beating a realible yardstick of form in Rileyev by a head. He was however more value for the win than the official distance suggests and he will go to Cheltenham with a big chance of defying his current mark.

Nicky Henderson has a fruitful record in the race and he could be lining up highly consistent handicapper Quantitiveeasing. The JP McManus owned seven-year-old finished second at the Festival last year but has improved his mark by 14lbs following a gutsy second in the Paddy Power Gold Cup before staying on in game fashion to land the Spinal Research The Atlantic 4 Gold Cup at Cheltenham in December.


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