The opening handicap on St Patrick’s Day at the Cheltenham Festival is the Pertemps Final. Horses have been qualifying for this race in handicaps across Britain and Ireland since the start of the season, and a fantastic first prize of £56k will be handed out to this year’s winning connections.
I’ve taken a look through the current Pertemps Final
betting and listed some key ten-year recurring trends, before picking out my best bets.
2022 Pertemps Final Odds
|Sire Du Berlais||8/1|
2022 Pertemps Final Trends
- All 10 of the last 10 winners were aged eight or younger
- All 10 of the last 10 winners had run at least twice that season
- 9 of the last 10 winners carried 10-10 or more
- 9 of the last 10 winners had run after January 10th
2022 Pertemps Final Runners
Irish raiders have won the last six renewals of the Pertemps Final, vastly outperforming their British counterparts. Fergal O'Brien has laid Alaphilippe out for this handicap and the classy Sporting John cannot be ruled out. However, Alaphilippe’s inactivity this season is a big negative and Sporting John - winner of the qualifier at Warwick - has history stacked against him, as only two winners of the Final this century had won a qualifying race.
All of the last six winners ran in the qualifier at Leopardstown over Christmas and Winter Fog, who finished second to Panda Boy in that handicap, has been heavily backed in recent weeks. Emmet Mullins is known for his handicap plot jobs and the case for Winter Fog is strong. However, like Alaphilippe, the fact he’s only run once during the regular season must count against him and I’d rather take a punt on two each way contenders.
2022 Pertemps Final Tip 1 – Sire Du Berlais
As with any handicap at the Cheltenham Festival
, Gordon Elliott will have had two or three horses in mind for the Pertemps Final the entire season. Since Elliott began targeting the Pertemps in 2016, here are the form figures for all of his runners in the Final - 4th, 3rd & 5th, 1st and 2nd, 1st and 5th, 1st and 2nd, 2nd.
That means, in the last six years, no Gordon Elliott runner in the Pertemps Final has ever finished outside the places. A quite incredible record.
Five of Elliott’s possible runners currently sit at 16/1 or short in the betting. If we use previous years as a guideline, then Gordon may only send two runners to the race, and he’ll have a hard task choosing between Dunboyne, Folcano, Tullybeg and Dallas Des Pictons. One decision that’s already been made is that Rob James will take seven pounds off SIRE DU BERLAIS’ back, and I don’t see why Elliott’s ten-year-old can’t win his third Pertemps Final.
In contrast to his form around Leopardstown, a tight track which clearly doesn’t suit, Sire Du Berlais’ record around Cheltenham is fantastic. Elliott's ten-year-old finished fourth in the 2018 Martin Pipe, before winning his first Pertemps off 145. The following season, under a welter-burden of 11-12, Sire Du Berlais ran down stablemate The Storyteller to successfully defend his crown. Last year, Mark Walsh's mount stayed on up Cleeve Hill to finish second in the Stayers' Hurdle
This season, Sire Du Berlais has finished a decent second in the Lismullen Hurdle and was pulled up in Grade One company at Leopardstown over Christmas. Tom Scudamore was then tasked with getting Elliott's charge qualified for the Final in the qualifier at Warwick and Scudamore carried out his instructions perfectly, passing the post fourth without giving his mount a particularly hard race.
James' claimer would leave Sire Du Berlais, who tops the weights, carrying just 11-5 and I don't see any lurkers in the market who look exceptionally well-handicapped. His class can shine through once again.
2022 Pertemps Final Tip 2 – Coeur Serein
Coeur Serein E/W2022 Pertemps Final Tip 2GET 40/1 HERE
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Looking much further down the market, one who captures my imagination is COEUR SEREIN. Jonjo O’Neill’s eight-year-old ended his novice hurdles campaign with three spring handicap wins, rising from 113 up to 136 in the ratings. On his reappearance, Coeur Serein found himself outpaced in the Grade Two Persian War Novices’ Hurdle, staying on from off the pace to finish fourth, after which he was sent novice chasing.
Richie McLernon’s mount was still cantering, three lengths clear of Zhuguli approaching the last on his first chase start at Lingfield, only to crumple upon landing and depart the contest. Coeur Serein then kept on from out the back to finish just eight lengths adrift of Corach Rambler over 25-furlongs at Cheltenham’s International Meeting, before coming home well to finish second in another novices’ handicap chase at Exeter in early January.
In a bid to preserve his novice chase status for next season, O’Neill switched Coeur Serein back to hurdles for the qualifier at Exeter in February. Jonjo Jnr’s mount stayed on well again, finishing second to the in-form Emmpressive Lady, who was getting 11-pounds at the weights. Coeur Serein only needs three entrants to come out to get a run on day three of the Cheltenham Festival
and he holds plenty of each way appeal at a massive price.