Definitly the one for the stats

Ian Ogg analyses the last 10 runnings of the Peter March Handicap Chase at Haydock and picks out the key statistics.

Definitly Red (right) can win the Peter Marsh Chase

French import Alary adds a fascinating ingredient to the mix but the Gold Cup entry has been relatively easy to back in the face of what is an undeniably tough task on his British debut.

If he wins the Peter Marsh Chase from a rating of 162 then he will deserve to take his chance alongside Thistlecrack at Cheltenham. He is rated 7lbs higher than Cloudy Lane who defied a mark of 155 and a weight of 11-10 in 2009 but Donald McCain's popular chaser was a nine-year-old and there has been no winner younger than eight.

Cloudy Lane's owner, Trevor Hemmings, has also seen Cloudy Too and Artic Jack carry his colours to success in this race but his Vintage Clouds, like Alary, is just seven years of age while another leading fancy in Bristol de Mai is a year younger.

Another key pointer has been course form which is a negative for the likes of O Maonlai and Berea Boru but a good number of course specialists are back including last year's second Virak who lines up from 7lbs lower and fifth Seventh Sky who is 5lbs lower.

Katenko, fourth in 2014, is 16lbs below his mark that day but that was arguably the last time that he showed a semblance of his old form. Gevrey Chambertin is another who is struggling to recapture former glories but this will be only the ninth chase start of his career and first since April 2015.

Bishops Road and Firebird Flyer both contested the Welsh National last time and it's often worth forgiving a horse a poor run at Chepstow. Supporters of the former will need to do that and can be encouraged by his impressive victory in the Grand National Trial here last year while the latter has run some solid races here without winning.

The standout contender though is Definitly Red who, like four other winners in the last decade, comes here via Wetherby's Rowland Meyrick Chase.

He is a little higher in the handicap than ideal and meets Otago Trail on worse terms than when the pair clashed in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle but he ran well on both outings over hurdles at this track and has always looked a thorough stayer.

It would be no great surprise to see him sent off as favourite if Alary continues to drift and those looking for an each-way alternative could do worse than Virak whose three visits to this part of Merseyside have yielded two wins and last year's second in this race although he did disappoint last time.

  • Winners have been aged 8 (four), 9 (two), 10 (two), 11 and 12.
  • Winners have been weighted between 9-11 and 11-10, with four winning from out of the handicap.
  • Winners have been rated between 129 and 155 with six between 135 and 142.
  • Winners were priced between 9/4 and 33/1 with one favourite successful.
  • Seven of the last eight winners had run between 3 and 5 times during the current season, the others had run just twice. Seven had won at least once.
  • Two winners had failed to complete on their preceding start while six were placed or better.
  • Four winners had their preceding start in the Rowland Meyrick, finishing 3rd, F, 3rd, and 1st.
  • Nine winners had either won or been placed over three miles or beyond, the exception had yet to tackle that trip.
  • Seven winners had contested a graded chase in their careers.
  • Only one winner hadn't previously won a handicap.
  • Eight winners had previously run at Haydock with seven placed or better.

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