Pertemps Final Tips – Elliott Likely To Make Another Successful Handicap Raid

Runners and riders jump at Cheltenham

Runners and riders jump at Cheltenham

2021 Pertemps Final Tips

Daniel Overall is approaching the end of his quest to find all 28 winners this year and his latest assignment is the Pertemps Final, which takes place on Day 3 of the Cheltenham Festival

Pertemps Final Overview

The Pertemps is unique in that requires horses to finish in the first six in one of the various qualifiers that are run throughout the season. Every year, punters eagerly search for those that sneak into the qualifying places under a “considerate” ride; the issue of effectively incentivising plots is one you could write almost infinitely about (and some have), but that is not the purpose of this piece.

In short, those that win a qualifier are often disadvantaged. Ballyfitz (2008) and Fingal Bay (2014) managed it, but the latter was a Grade 1 winner while both ran in the final on their next run after winning their qualifier.

In the last eleven renewals, the winners had an average qualifying position of 4.36. That is something to bare in mind when assessing this race.

Bossing The Market

The Bosses Oscar  has sat towards the head of the betting for the Pertemps since the market opened; an unusual feat considering how these markets tend to shift over time.

An eye-catching in fifth in last season’s Martin Pipe, he rattled home that day despite being off the bridle for a long way and jumping poorly. He was in 17th as the field turned for home with his finishing effort indicative of a horse with a fair engine that would appreciate stepping up in trip.

A winner on his seasonal reappearance when looking in need of the run, he finished second on his first start over three-miles behind the subsequent Grade 1 winner, Flooring Porter; in hindsight, attempting to give weight to that rival who had the run of the race was a near impossible task. 

His last start came in the now infamous Pertemps qualifier at Leopardstown over the festive period. That race has provided four of the last five winners of the final (although Sire Du Berlais did not finish in the first six last season) and The Bosses Oscar secured his spot at Cheltenham by finishing second, which was too close to comfort for some. 

Raised five pounds in Ireland for that effort, the British handicapper took no chances with him, raising him eight pounds to 151 which does make life more difficult as he’d be right at the top of the weights although Sire Du Berlais defied 11st 12lbs last season so it can be done.

Gordon Elliott has discussed the possibility of claiming off him which may prove wise, and he’s a trainer with a phenomenal recent record in the race. He’s won the last three renewals and since 2016, all of his nine runners have finished in the first five. With that in mind, The Bosses Oscar is entitled to plenty of respect.

The Imperialist Looking To Conquer

A useful novice hurdler last term, Imperial Alcazar (8/1) won a qualifier at Warwick under a patient Paddy Brennan ride. While winning a qualifier, as previously discussed, would not be a positive in the context of this race, that was just his sixth start over hurdles and only his second handicap so he still has scope for progression. An eight-pound rise for that success seems fair and he did finish second in a listed race at Cheltenham last season on the new course which is a positive for his chances here.

Hat-trick for JP?

Following Sire Du Berlais’ back-to-back victories, JP McManus will be looking to complete the hattrick. This season, Champagne Platinum  looks to be his leading hope. A useful novice hurdler, he was unconvincing over fences last term for all that he finished third in the Scilly Isles and seventh in the Kim Muir. His jumping often lacked fluency so it seemed wise to switch him back to the smaller obstacles and while he is still waiting for his first win since December 2018, there has been plenty of promise on his two outings this season.

An eye-catcher on his seasonal reappearance where he travelled well for a long way, he was a staying on second in a Pertemps qualifier at Haydock next time out, setting him up a tilt for this race. He’s weighted to go well off 139 and he is far from fully exposed. He looked like he’d progress into a top-class horse a couple of years ago and perhaps he’ll start to fulfil his potential in March. 

JP likes to be well represented in the festival handicaps and the Pertemps is no exception; in the last eight renewals, he’s had twenty-five runners so expect a few others to join Champagne Platinum in the green and gold hoops.

Phillip Hobbs recently noted that this is the target for No Comment. Fifth in the 2019 Kim Muir, his fall in last season’s Ultima prompted a switch back to hurdles although his fall on his most recent start wouldn’t be an ideal preparation for this race. Without a win since January 2017, he would be an unlikely winner. 

Rhinestone (33/1) would be a fascinating contender although he still hasn’t qualified; he was due to run in a qualifier on the 24th February but the meeting was abandoned although it has been rearranged for 1st March. A useful novice hurdler in 2018/19, he was only 17/2 for the Albert Bartlett in 2019 where he pulled-up when seemingly amiss, and his two starts over fences last season did not display great deals of promise. Rated 138 in Ireland, he’s only had four starts over hurdles and he could be an interesting contender if qualifying.

Other Irish Contenders

The Irish have won the last five renewals of this race, despite making up just 24% of the field (29 of 119). Last year, they recorded a 1-2-3-5 from just 8 runners so those coming from the Emerald Isle must be taken seriously.

Dandy Mag (20/1) beat The Bosses Oscar in the Leopardstown qualifier in part due to a superb ride by Paul Townend. Given the record of qualifier winners, the runner-up that day looks to have a better chance while this wouldn’t be a race that Willie Mullins targets; in fact, he’s only had four runners here since 2007, with two of those finishing third.

Fourth behind Dandy Mag at Leopardstown, Mrs Milner (33/1) had chased home On The Blind Side in a Cheltenham handicap earlier in the season off a British mark of 130. The winner only went up 5lb for that win and considering the mean lowest mark for this race in the last ten years is 134.7, it will be touch and go as to whether she squeezes in at the foot of the weights.

Second in the 2019 Martin Pipe, Dallas Des Pictons (33/1) was due to run in the same qualifier as Rhinestone. Given his connections and previous festival form, he’d be of interest if qualifying.

Other British Contenders

Third Wind (20/1) qualified back in November and would’ve been a live contender following his decent fourth in the race last year, but his win in the Rendlesham saw him raised s7lb to 153. Not entered in the Stayers’ Hurdle, Hughie Morrison seemed to indicate that his progressive Grade 2 winner might be seen at Aintree next, with his owners not fixated on going to Cheltenham.

Paul Nicholls has yet to win this race despite having had 16 runners in the last 16 renewals, although four managed to finish in the first four, with all of those returning at a double figure price. This year, Southfield Harvest would look to have an each-way chance, with his trainer noting that he’s “sweet on him for this race”. His half-brother was second in the race back in 2014 although he had achieved more before running here. Yet to finish outside the front three on his seven starts under rules, he has scope for progression and he can run well off a low weight. 

Another to note is Come On Teddy (20/1); sent off favourite for the qualifier won by Imperial Alcazar, he was held up and endured a troubled passage, although he stuck to his task well enough to finish third. Off 134, it will be touch and go as to whether he gets in.

Pertemps Final Big-Race Verdict 

In what is quite a weak looking renewal, The Bosses Oscar is taken to defy the wrath of the British handicapper and emerge victorious. He has a great profile for the race and is trained by a man who has a remarkable record in the race.