Cheltenham Festival Day One

Here we are ladies and gents……the greatest sporting spectacle known to man! God I love this week, the anticipation, the excitement, the performances. Sit back, enjoy, shout and scream!!
 
SUPREME NOVICES HURDLE
The race that gets us away is going to be a three way affair in my eyes, with the top three in the market being those. ALTIOR has had a cracking season and has won four on the bounce, including here. His run at Kempton was solid and the form has been franked a few times. MIN could be another Mullins hotpot and has demolished his rivals this season and is understandably the favourite. BUVEUR D'AIR has likewise run very well this year and been equally impressive. He also has solid bumper form behind BARTERS HILL twice. CHARBEL will go off likety-split and could stay on for a place but I am opting for Mullins/Walsh in what has become a benefit race for them in recent years.
SELECTION : MIN EACH WAY : CHARBEL

ARKLE
Short and sweet. Nothing can or will get close to DOUVAN, hence the number of defectees from the line up. It should be simple!
SELECTION : DOUVAN

ULTIMA HANDICAP CHASE
My heart is telling me HOLYWELL. Everyone who reads my blog knows what
I think of this fella and what a treat he gave me when I napped him for the Pertemps three long years ago! Despite his poor form this year, class is class, and so is course form here. I'm just worried a out his last run at Doncaster. Was his trainer playing the game to get his mark reduced or has he really fell out of love with the game? I hope it's the former! His mark has been reduced by a further 6lbs to a mark of OR153. His lowest mark since he won this race off a mark of OR147. KRUZHLININ is lightly raced and has decent form in the book beating LE REVE last time and the form stacks up a little and he is on an eye carching mark for this race. SOUTHFIELD THEATRE hasn't been himself this year but he has possibly been hitting above his weight. He's back to a winning mark and could be very well handicapped on his second to DON POLI last year.
SELECTION : HOLYWELL EACH WAY : KRUZHLININ

CHAMPION HURDLE
Can ANNIE POWER dominate against the boys and she gets a 6lb allowance too! She has a hell of a chance, but personally I think it will all happen too fast for her! With a run I would be very interested in MY TENT OR YOURS but surely he's been absent too long! I love LIL ROCKERFELLER but I feel his owners have listened to their heart rather than their heads – he would have had more of a chance in a 'lesser' race! TOP NOTCH has a cracking chance based on his second to IDENTITY THIEF in the Fighting Fifth. However, I'm opting for an old head in this. THE NEW ONE has been the down the places in the last couple of festivals but I think this is his year, and his trainer is very upbeat too!
SELECTION : THE NEW ONE EACH WAY : LIL ROCKERFELLER

MARES HURDLE
With no Annie Power this is more competitive. For me though there is only one selection, POLLY PEACHUM. I have followed this mare since day two when she ran at Warwick. She has ran some amazing races since, including when just pipped in this last year. She is now 6lbs lower in the ratings and has been very steady since last year's defeat. This will be her last ever outing and I hope she goes out with a bang! I think FLUTE BOWL has a hell of an each way chance based on her last run and we shouldn't forget BITOFAPUZZLE despite two poor efforts.
SELECTION : POLLY PEACHUM EACH WAY : FLUTE BOWL

NATIONAL HUNT CHASE
PONT ALEXANDRE has been a bit of a forgotten horse. He was 6/4 favourite for the Neptune in 2013. Injury forced a long absence yet to be fair he has had two solid efforts since his return and he could trounce this lot at a great price – he's 10-1 in places when I write this. Of the others I think SOUTHFIELD ROYALE has all the credentials to take this and DEFINITLY RED has caught my eye all year.
SELECTION : PONT ALEXANDRE EACH WAY : DEFINITLY RED

NOVICES HANDICAP CHASE
KATGARY has been a horse I've always thought a lot of and am convinced he needs good ground to get the best out of him. He hasnt run for a while and that has been to wait for the better ground. This is one of my best bets of the week and I hope I've found a big festival winner again!! The ground should have dried out even more by the time he races too!! Lump on!!
SELECTION : KATGARY EACH WAY : TWELVE ROSES
 

Imperial Cup at Sandown

Photo : Sportinglife.com
 
It was great to see OPENING BATSMAN run back to some form last time I did the blog and a 20-1 second wasn't a bad tip at all!
 
The festival is on the horizon and I'm sure like me you'll all be counting down the sleeps and starting to look at the form. I've got quite a few in the notebook ready to go and hopefully it will be another profitable week. Whatever happens it will, as always, be one hell of a spectacle. The weather appears to be warming up so watch out for those good ground horses at long last getting their ground!! It's been a while coming! I'll hopefully manage to get a blog done every night with a write up for every race! Bring it on!
 
On to today and here are my four :
 
COPPER KAY 3.45 SANDOWN (nap)
I flagged this mare up last time she ran on here and she did it very well. I think there is a lot more to come from her and she will be one for the festival next year. Dickie Johnson thinks she's the best mare he's ever sat on, a pretty good indictment. She got seriously hindered in this last year but has really come on since then. She will be too good for these despite giving weight all round, her stablemate may be the danger!
 
FLASHJACK 2.00 SANDOWN (nb)
Normally this race goes to one of the horses who is in the first few in the betting, I cant see that trend changing today. My selection won well last time at Towcester and comes here as an improving type, with only a 3lb rise for the last success. I think there is more to come and interestingly Dickie chooses this one over the stablemate, who he has a good relationship with that one's owners. This must have a better chance. If the ground was better I'd be finding it difficult to split ALCALA and CHIC THEATRE but I dont think they'll be involved with it being this soft.
 
CLAYTON 3.10 SANDOWN (treble)
Was a decnt flat horse and got to a mark of OR104 in that sphere. He has slowly but surely started to improve and understand what is required over obstacles. He has two good runs behind him on testing ground and gets in here off a feather weight. He receiving nearly two stones off RAYVIN BLACK and will ground like this and the speed of the race that will count in his favour. The pace should suit his flat speed and I expect to see him burst through towards the end.
 
KAYF HAMPSHIRE 2.05 LIMERICK
I don't normally venture to Ireland but this mare went into my notebook on the off chance last year. She is slowly getting what is required and race well, but well behind CASHEARD LADY last time. That one went on to be second behind LIMINI next time who's the hot favourite for one of the mares races at the festival. That is decent form and with the ground being testing again, I'm hoping today is finally the day for her to lose her maiden tag.
 
My dad's selections are :
 
Standings
FATHER 2-5 SON
PROFIT/LOSS
Father – £94.34
Son +£2.96
 

Kempton – Betbright Chase

It's not too bad a day today for racing. A few pointers to the festival and a couple of competitive handicaps in the Betbright Chase and the Eider Chase. Not ling to go now until the festival and I'm starting to draw up my list!! Brimg it on! Here are today's selections :
OPENING BATSMAN 1535 KEMPTON (nap)
This fella won this race when I napped him a few years ago as a novice, read it here. He has dropped to the same mark again of OR140. Good ground is crucial to him and he ran a cracker here a couple of starts ago and came up the home straight in the lead. He just didnt last the trip in the ground. He carried 11st 10lbs that day and with the apprentice's claim he only has 10 stone on his back today!! That is a huge difference and I'm expecting a huge run from this sound jumper. He will be up with the pace which is important here and I think he'll tussle it out with his stablemate. Huge price too!
 
BATAVIR 1545 CHEPSTOW (nb)

I have backed this guy all year as I'm convinced he will win a race like this. He has been very disappointing so far and looks a shadow of the horse who bounced onto our shores a few seasons ago. I still think he's got it though, and interestingly he's finally back down to his last winning mark. It's a cracking race this but I really do fancy him today and their is support in the market too.
 
WYCK HILL 1450 NEWCASTLE (treble)

Another previous winner, and another returning to his last winning mark of OR133. He won this off that mark two years ago and he will relish the trip and despite the ground maybe not being as heavy as he likes, soft ground over four miles at a decent clip will help him!
 
MUTHMIR 1345 LINGFIELD

Performed very well last year and was third in both the Kings Stand and the Prix De L'Abbaye to the sprint revelation of last year, GOLDREAM. He won at Glorious Goodwood and has shown enough class and speed in his tank to take this. My only thought is the about the surface?
 
My dad's selections are :
ROCKY CREEK 1535 KEMPTON
DRAYTONIAN 1420 KEMPTON
SUMMERY JUSTICE 1450 NEWCASTLE
BATAVIR 1545 CHEPSTOW
 
Standings
 
FATHER 2-5 SON
PROFIT/LOSS
Father – £79.34
Son +£17.96
 

Haydock and Ascot

Photo : sportinglife.com
 
Well last week was a good one on the blog and I kept up my record in the hurdle race at Warwick, putting up the winner for the third consecutive year, with FLINTHAM (7-1). Hope you were on aswell as BIG JIM (5-1). It was almost a top day but DEFINITLY RED (9-2) could only manage second behind BLACK HERCULES. Hopefully I'm coming into a bit of form and there's a few I fancy today too. The top two races of the day really are crackers leading us to trials weekend next Saturday.
 
LIL ROCKERFELLER 1425 ASCOT (nap)
What a race this is!! Numerous horses have cracking chances. MONSIEUR GIBRALTAR ran better last time and has far less weight than that run. Today. THEINVAL was very smart last year and returns to hurdles after an average chase debut, and I can't forget ROYAL GUARDSMAN'S last run. I've opted for my guy thoygh based on his class and his very smart form. He reversed places with DEVILMENT when he last won carrying 11st 11lbs. He ran in a much better race at Cheltenham and one was just too good, however he did beat the current World Hurdle champion, COLE HARDEN. Last year he beat Ladbroke Hurdle winner STERNRUBIN twice, giving him 5lbs and 8lbs respectively. He loves a battle, has a big heart and has the class to win this. MONSIEUR GIBRALTAR is his biggest danger.
 
 
OTAGO TRAIL 1330 HAYDOCK (nb)
He has gone up a massive 13lbs in the ratings to a mark of OR154 after his smooth, classy success at Chepstow. The ground was awful that day and it will be very heavy today and that will play to his strengths! I cant believe his price based on BRISTOL DE MAI's entry, he hasnt encountered ground like this yet and I think my guy is a very smart prospect.
 
FINGAL BAY 1515 HAYDOCK (treble)
This guy has jumped really well in his last two runs. Finding SMAD PLACE too good and WAKANDA the same in quite quickly run races. He has the stamina for this and will love the ground and thr stiff finish. You have to jump well here and he does. VIRAK has been very good too but he has gone up another 5lbs in weight here and he's giving my guy 17lbs in weight. That will take its toll up the Haydock hill.
 
CORRIN WOOD 1300 HAYDOCK
This is an old favourite and was previously a smart horse and he could generate a tidy profit for the blog today. He was a good hurdler and was turning into a smart chaser until having a lay off. He was then thrown in off his old form in top races and it was too much. He is now back in a class 3 hurdle, at a track where he has won at and has smart form. He will get the trip and 20-1 is huge!!
 
My Dad's selections are :
 
PLACINGS
FATHER 2-5 SON
PROFIT/LOSS
Father – £79.34
Son +£17.96
 

Warwick

Photo : Sportinglife.com
 
Well it really is a wet weekend and will be a gruelling test for all these horses today. Make sure you select one that loves this ground and has bags of stamina. A pretty quiet weekend of races as we start the Cheltenham build up, with trials day not far away. This pertempts hurdle race has brought me a few successes and pointers in recent years. In 2013 it's where I HOLYWELL jumped into my notebook for when I backed him at the festival when he won at 33-1 on the blog. I have also had the last two winners of the race with UNCLE JIMMY and JOIN THE CLAN. Click the names for each blog on these races and to read my write ups. Let's hope I can keep the run going!!
 
FLINTHAM 1425 WARWICK (nap)
I'm pinning my hopes on this fella keeping my record going in this race! He is a full brother to CARRUTHERS and a half brother to Gold Cup winner CONEYGREE; he will therefore enjoy the ground and the battle. He was developing into a smart proposition last year with wins at Chepstow and Ascot. He has looked a little out of sorts so far but he should be fit and the trainer interestingly has opted for this rather than the novice chase, he must have Cheltenham on hid radar therefore! He has a big weight but is used to carrying well over 11 stone, he is very good hence his weight. My worry is it is too much to carry so I've also had a wager on HOWABOUTNEVER who has 10 stone 9lbs on his back and the apprentice takes a fuurther 10lbs off.
 
RED DEVILS LAD 1535 WARWICK (nb)
I backed this guy last week when he unseated early in the Welsh National. Prior to that he had been a sound jumper and he will love the ground with two wins already on heavy. The question mark is the trip but I think he'll get it. He also has the excellent Sean Bowen on board. A cracking price too.
 
DEFINITLY RED 1350 WARWICK (treble)
 
BLACK HERCULES is a smart horse but he's always run poorly over here and he's never been an odds-on shout. SILSOL ran a cracker behind SEEYOUATMIDNIGHT last time, and with the form franked, plus the ground he has a great chance. My guy though has always looked a top horse in his bumper and hurdle days last year. Interesting how the yard waited for softer ground and a lottle race at Catterick to get his chasing career underway. He ran well there and I think he has a great chance here.
 
BIG JIM 1315 WARWICK
He's been running over a greater trip than this therefore has the required stamina in the bag. He will love the ground and ran well last time with 11stone 12lbs on his back. He carries a full 21lbs less today!! Great chance!
 
My Dad's selections are :
HOWABOUTNEVER 1425 WARWICK
FINAL NUDGE 1500 WARWICK
DIVINE PORT 1440 WETHERBY
FOXBRIDGE 1535 WARWICK
 
PLACINGS
FATHER 2-4 SON
PROFIT/LOSS
Father – £64.34
Son -£29.04
 

Cheltenham

Photo – Sporting life
 
Happy new year to you all! I hope everyone had a great celebration last night and I wish all who read this blog a prosperous 2016! It certainly starts with a cracking meeting; I had TRIOLO D'ALENE pencilled in for this meeting until tbe rain came. I have been waiting for him to run on good ground for ages, he will win a big handicap this year!
This meeting last year was a fruitful one for me, have a read here
 
Lets hope I've picked a few winners again below! It's a shame the ground has turned heavy as it really does lead to unpredictable results.
 
BATAVIR 1430 CHELTENHAM (nap)
This guy went into everyone's notebooks when romping in on his British debut at Ascot in 2014. Since then he's flattered to deceive. He was well fancied when running here in November but never really got competitive and to me he looked like he needed the run. He ran much better in the fixed brush hurdle at Haydock last time in what was a hot race. He has been dropped 2lbs to OR130 and I think we'll see a performance from him today. He did have TEAFORTWO behind that day and we've seen what that horse has done recently, and DEFINITELY RED who was second that day is a smart horse who is odds on at Catterick today. I put SO FINE up on the blog earlier in the season and then blooming missed him winning at 25-1!! He should be thereabouts, but I think it's too soft for him.
 
WHISPER 1505 CHELTENHAM (nb)
This guy is the highest rated in the race and proved his class when beating COLE HARDEN at Aintree. He did nothing last time at Newbury when favourite and I'm putting a line through that. Henderson's horses weren't really firing then and he was never interested. He has won here before and has won on heavy ground. I think we'll see the real Whisper today.
 
A GOOD SKIN 1355 CHELTENHAM (treble)
This fella won well here last year and looked like a horse who would continue to develop and progress this year. He hasnt really fired at all this year, he was running well in the Badger Ales at Wincanton but then got tired near the end. He carried 11 stone that day and only has 10 stone 2lbs today, that reduction of weight on ground like this could prove key!
 
SEEYOUATMIDNIGHT 1320 CHELTENHAM (WON 7-2)
This fella will love this ground and he has always looked a smart horse. He put in some impressive performances last season over hurdles and he got his revenge over SILSOL last time out at Kelso. I think he will be atalented chaser too and this could be a stepping stone to greater things.
 
Staked £1 Lucky 15 = £15
 
My Dad's selections are :
 
TENOR NIVERNAIS 1355 CHELTENHAM
SINGLEFARMPAYMENT 1430 CHELTENHAM
TOP NOTCH 1505 CHELTENHAM
ALWAYTIPSY 1520 MUSSELBURGH
 
PLACINGS
FATHER 1-4 SON
PROFIT/LOSS
Father – £59.39
Son -£21.04
 

Ascot – Ladbroke Day

 
Photo by Mark Cranham (racing post.com/photos)
Time to return to the blog and can I take this opportunity to wish all of you a very merry Christmas and a prosperous 2016. Work has finished nowfor two weeks so I'm looking forward to a chill and a lovely time. Some decent racing again today and I'm banking on a couple of horses I've already out up on here to get their noses infront today!
 
FINGAL BAY 1500 ASCOT (nap)
I napped him last time when he ran a cracker in the Hennessy. He jumped so well that day and it was only the class of SMAD PLACE and I think the trip, at the pace they went, that caught him out. Dropping back in trip today will help and if he jumps as well as he did last time he has to be up there. I expect him to win today.
 
SAPHIR DE RHEU 1425 ASCOT (nb)
He's the up and coming next big star and the Hennessy, with the weight he carried, was just a step too far. I'm interested in how he runs back over hurdles today, Big Bucks style. He has beaten REVE DE SIVOLA already over hurdles, he's 4lbs worse off today but I reckon he's nowa better horse and it's not soft enough for Reve!
 
STERNRUBIN 1535 ASCOT (treble)
This fella has shown some real improvement and looks to be going places! He won nicely last time and he jumps and travels well. He has been raised 6lbs for that win but this is not a race that is too much for him. You need to travel well and more importantly have a turn of pace to get away from the pack on the run in. He has that and could run a big race!
 
BIG CASINO 1350 ASCOT
I've put this guy up a few times and he jumps so well and I think the distance has caught him out twice now! He's been dropped in trip again today and the track will suit his style and I'm hoping he can keep galloping to the line this time.
 
My Dad's selections are :
 
VOIX D'EAU 1315 ASCOT
MARCHILHAC 1350 ASCOT
PENDRA 1500 ASCOT
GALIZZI 1535 ASCOT
 
PLACINGS
FATHER 1-3 SON
PROFIT/LOSS
Father – £44,39
Son -£15.54