Flat champion says play defensively and build a team around essential players
Robin Green loves the Tote Ten To Follow, which is hardly surprising as he has just won the £64,452 first prize in the Flat competition, holding on to a lead he established at the end of July, in a nailbiting finish. Now he is warming up for an assault on the jumps competition.
It’s a game he has been playing since 1994 through its various incarnations and he has come close to big paydays in the past.
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“I played it religiously through the 1990s,” he recalls. “I can’t think of a better way to spend £5. You can do 20 lists for £100 and you don’t need to have a bet for four months. You can just enjoy watching how your teams get on.”
In 2010 he went into the last day of Cheltenham poised in second place in the monthly competition, with odds-on Gold Cup favourite Kauto Star in his team, as well as second favourite Denman.
“The leader had neither and I was a 1-4 chance to collect,” he recounts. “Kauto Star fell and then along came Imperial Commander to spoil the party.”
For the jumps competition he has been reading the Racing Post Stable Tour series – “I felt like putting in 15 horses from Gordon Elliott’s after reading about his team” – but it’s early days for him to be finalising his squad. Instead he shares some of his strategy on how to maximise your chances of winning and selects five horses who will form the cornerstones of his lists.
The key pillars to Ten To Follow success
“It’s nice to get off to a good start and Lostintranslation will have a great chance in the first bonus race, the Betfair Chase, after which he will have decent prospects of picking up more bonus points in the King George and Gold Cup. The Betfair Chase should be the easiest of those to win and this is a tough competition so any horse who has prospects of bagging 100 points is crucial to have on board.
“Epatante might well be the Champion Hurdle winner but for some reason she seems to be overlooked as not sexy enough even though she’s trained by Nicky Henderson, who’s been turning out Champion Hurdle winners for more than 30 years.
“She’s not course-dependent, so she’s able to score at a flat, sharp track like Kempton to pick up points in the Christmas Hurdle and tough it out up the hill at Cheltenham. She travels easily through her races and with horses like that you can never be sure how good they are.
“The sky’s the limit for Envoi Allen. He’s a defensive selection as he’s likely to be one of the most popular horses in the game – if I was making a book he’d be my favourite to be the most popular – and if you don’t put him in and he racks up 100 points then you’ll struggle to win.
“I can’t remember a more impressive two-mile handicap chase winner than Rouge Vif at Cheltenham last month, racing off a mark of 156, in a big field, jumping like a pussycat and travelling like a Rolls-Royce. He quickened with one slap and won by seven lengths eased down, so it was worth 12.
“When he was coming up the run-in I was already checking his odds for the Queen Mother Champion Chase and 16-1 looks good value. He needs to improve again but he looks the sort of horse who could come on a load.
“My final cornerstone is Honeysuckle. She’s versatile, classy and unbeaten. She will have lots of opportunities in mares’ races but can compete against geldings too and could rack up a sequence.
“One of the handiest features of the Ten To Follow is the permutation facility, so I will be using this shortlist to perm four selections from the pool of five across my entries.”
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