Betting Articles

Jonjo at the Festival....

Make Your Betting Pay has seen rather  a guest posting frenzy over the last couple of weeks ( as befits the lead up to the greatest race meeting in the world!) and today we have an exclusive article from one of my favourite racing thinkers, Ben Aitken of Narrowing the Field. Over to you Ben:


NTF Festival Files: Jonjo O’Neill – How to profit from Jonjo’s runners at the Cheltenham Festival…

It’s almost here! Although we National Hunt fans have been talking about it since…well…the last one finished (!!) the 2013 Cheltenham Festival is actually almost here!

From now until the tapes go up on the 12th of March I’ll be delving into the facts and figures for some of the key trainers and jockeys that are likely to play a major role in the March jumping showpiece. The first of those in-depth articles appeared on my own web-site this Monday and the next one is right here, exclusively on Make Your Betting Pay.

Today I’m taking a closer look at the trainer of last season’s Gold Cup winner Synchronised; Jonjo O’Neill…

#Figures sourced from the excellent Proform database - Figures from the 2007 – 2012 Festivals


NTF Festival Files: Jonjo O’Neill

The bare figures…

10/86 | 12% S/R | +£74.37 BFLSP – Win & Place 23/86 | 27% S/R

The O’Neill yard are far from the easiest to get a grip on throughout the National Hunt season but like most of the top trainers he has his sights firmly set on some of the top prizes at the Cheltenham Festival.

But what are the strong points at the Festival for Jonjo and where should we be thinking twice about backing his charges?

Let’s start digging…


The O’Neill runners struggle over hurdles and over-perform over fences…

When we compare the 3 codes (Chase – Hurdle – Bumper) it is quite clear where we should be focusing our attentions…

J J O’Neill Festival Chase record – 9/51 | 18% S/R | +£106.93BFLSP – Win & Place 17/51 | 33% S/R

J J O’Neill Festival Hurdle record – 1/33 | 3% S/R | -£30.56 BFLSP – Win & Place 6/33 | 18% S/R

J J O’Neill Festival Bumper record – 0/2 | 0% S/R | -£2.00 BFLSP – Win & Place 0/2 | 0% S/R

A closer inspection tells me that his runners are slightly under-performing over hurdles (based on market expectations) and massively over-performing over fences (based on market expectations). Essentially his chasers are ignored (to a certain extent) by the wider betting public and they have been starting at a bigger price than they maybe should be.

Once we dig a bit deeper into the Chase stats we can pinpoint some stronger sub-angles…
  • A P McCoy has been responsible for 5 of the 9 Chase winners. By no means a surprise this but the figures for O’Neill/McCoy Chasers are strong – 5/17 | 29% S/R | +£30.25 BFLSP – W&P 9/17 | 53% S/R
  • In contrast to the above stat A P McCoy (who essentially is the stable jockey) only rode ONE of the 9 Chase winners Last Time Out (LTO) – Clearly they prefer to use someone else in the prep race to warm the horse up for the champ!
  • Of the 9 Chase winners only ONE of them started in the top 2 of the market LTO (from 21 qualifiers) – That probably fits in well with the ‘quiet’ preparation approach from Jonjo…
Admittedly those are a slightly strange set of sub-angles but it does sort of fit in with how the stable is perceived by the wider public… Not ridden by their main jockey in its prep run….Not strongly fancied in the market…


The O’Neill festival runners are built more for stamina than speed…

When it comes to distances there is a hefty split starting to appear….

J J O’Neill Festival record 20f (2m4f) or less – 0/23 | 0% S/R | -£23.00 BFLSP – Win & Place 5/23 | 22% S/R

J J O’Neill Festival record 21f+ (2m5f+) – 10/63 | 16% S/R | +£97.37 BFLSP – Win & Place 18/63 | 29% S/R

At the mid to short distances the O’Neill runners have really been struggling however at the mid to longer trips they are ticking along just nicely. They are not massively under-performing at the shorter trips but they ARE under-performing. At the longer trips they are most certainly over-performing. If you think of recent Jonjo O’Neill festival winners (Synchronised, Albertas Run, Wichita Lineman, Alfie Sherrin…) they have all shown tenacity, strength and a battling spirit in a finish, they finish their races strongly and seem to get stronger the further they travel into their races. Jonjo clearly has them conditioned to see out these longer trips up the testing hill and the figures do testify to that.


O’Neill runners that warmed up over shorter also struggle…

This links in to our previous section but it is well worth looking at in isolation. Let’s now take a look at the distance the Jonjo O’Neill runners ran over in their warm up race for their Festival assignment…

J J O’Neill Festival record LTO ran over 20f or less – 1/37 | 3% S/R | -£34.56 BFLSP – Win & Place 10/37 | 27% S/R

J J O’Neill Festival record LTO ran over 21f or more – 9/47 | 19% S/R | +£110.88 BFLSP – Win & Place 13/47 | 28% S/R

Clearly it is advantageous for O’Neill’s festival runners to have a tune up over the mid – long trips. For whatever reason this may be it does seem to get them in better shape than if they have a tune up over the shorter trips.


Jonjo O’Neill – Cheltenham Festival: The Money Shot!

I like to end each ‘Festival File’ by highlighting a strong mini-angle, or as I have christened it ‘The Money Shot’!

Taking all of my in-depth Proform searching into account I’ve come up with the following Jonjo ‘Money Shot’…

Cheltenham Festival | Jonjo O’Neill | Chasers | 2m5f+ | Outside the top 2 in market LTO

8/26 | 31% S/R | +£125.15 BFLSP – Win & Place 9/26 | 35% S/R

Only once in the past 6 seasons would this angle not have returned you a profit. You are also likely to get some pretty tasty prices about plenty of them on the exchanges.


The first of my NTF Festival Files can be found by visiting my own web-site >>>

Ben Aitken (NTF)


*Figures for this article have been sourced from the brilliant Proform Professional Database.

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