Cheltenham Day Three

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A cracking day for the blog on day two with WILLOUGHBY COURT going in at 14-1. Hope you were on it too. He was so brave and deserved his success. The Mullins bubble seems have burst and his horses don’t look to be moving at all – what happened to Douvan. My National tip SAUSALITO SUNRISE went for a day out plain and simple; Ive watched it back and he has a steady race and Dickie never touches him. Bring on the big race. Two more horse were placed DIVIN BERE and DEBUCHET, so overall I was pleased.

On to day three and hopefully a few more good runs and successes.

JLT Novices Chase

This is cracking little race to get us going on day three and there are some good horses going at each other here. TOP NOTCH is the first of these, he has got better as the season has progressed culminating in a very good run in Scilly Isles. He has to have a good chance. YORKHILl has always been ‘potentially’ a smart horse but he really hasn’t beaten much in my opinion this year and reread my previous thoughts about the yard and 5/4 is stupid price. He may ,take a mug of me though. DISKO will have his followers and rightly so, he is another that has got progressively better. I’m opting for POLITOLOGUE though. The Nicholls yard is also a bit hit and miss but this one has always been held in high regard. He again, like the others has got better and better and he just looks a natural chaser and is so smooth and that could be the determining factor here. Get your money on!!!

SELECTION : POLITOLOGUE 13-2 Paddy Power

Pertemps Network Final

Oh this race brings back my fond HOLYWELL memories and hopefully I’ll have another big priced winner. So, straight to it, for me GAYEBURY wins this. He’s top weight and top weight for a reason, he’s potentially very good and top weights do well in this. He was put in his place by WILLOUGHBY COURT at Warwick and that’s where they both went into my notebook. One did the business yesterday and that has seriously franked the form. GAYEBURY went on form his defeat and won the series qualifier at Chepstow very well beating JURY DUTY. He has been raised a massive 15lbs for that showing how good a performance it was and interestingly that is the same mark WILLOUGHBY COURT won off yesterday. He has yet to run on good ground but his sire Overbury was a winner and runner on good and faster ground and it may bring our further improvement in him. TOBEFAIR cannot be discounted as he is so strong and such a battler and JURY DUTY has a 13lb pull on GAYEBURY today and that has to be taken into consideration too but I don’t think he’ll like the ground. A cracking race where MR MIX and  FOR GOOD MEASURE also have strong chances. If you can solve this, you’re a good one – I hope I have!!

SELECTION : GAYEBURY 22-1 Paddy Power

FOR GOOD MEASURE 17-2 Bet365

Ryanair Chase

This is a good race and contains horses who are top class but don’t have enough petrol in the reserves to go in the Gold cup. So for me, it’s always a great spectacle. UN DE SCEAUX has performed very well again this year and he has jumped so much better and he has to have a massive chance. The concern as well as the stable is the ground though, will it be soft enough? He is for me the class horse in the race though! JOSES HILL won the Peterborough and should give everyone a good run for their money but for me he lacks the class for this. EMPIRE OF DIRT could give the owner a winner in his own race. He won well at the festival last year and won the Troytown with ease. He has class and stays, shortlist! What a story it would be for UXIZANDRE rot win after coming back so well after injury and he jumped straight back into everyone’s lists after his comeback run behind UDS last time. A cracking race – sit back and enjoy.

SELECTION : UN DE SCEAUX 11-4 William Hill

Stayers Hurdle

I love this race as it reminds me of INGLIS DREVER, one of my all time favs. Think about the winners of this race recently, the DREVER, BIG BUCKS, THISTLECRACK and I think we will see the next staying star born. UKNOWWHATIMEANHARRY is head and shoulders above these and he won the Cleeve at a canter and I can’t see him getting beat here. I think her’ll go off even money or shorter tomorrow. Get the 6-4 quick!!

SELECTION : UKNOWWHATIMEANHARRY 6-4 BOYLESPORTS

Brown Advisory and Merriebelle Stable Plate

Another of my favourite competitive handicaps to try and find the winner of!! This is a race where a big priced horse usually wins and if you can find the winner you’ve done a bloody good job; but I like a challenge, so here goes!DIAMOND KING is a worthy favourite but Im not sure he’ll win. He has good form and we saw what he can do last year and little old VILLAGE VIC lets him have a lighter weight to carry. BOUVREIL goes on the shortlist after a great couple of runs. THOMAS CRAPPER creeps in after his success last week and has some solid form. VILLAGE VIC has had another awesome season and he thrives in races like this. He is such a tough cookie and he may appreciate the better ground, if they give him a soft lead then they could be in a lot of trouble. KATACHENKO looked better for stepping up last time in trip and was given a confidence booster and he is on a nice mark and should like the ground. I have to have an each way wager on him at that price.

SELECTIONS : VILLAGE VIC 16-1 Paddy Power

KATACHENKO each way 40-1 Paddy Power

Trull House Stud Mares Hurdle

Not a race I’m spent a lot off time or that I’m a big fan of. The Mullins yard seem to have a good one it LETS DANCE to carry on from last year. Yet AIRLIE BEACH is potentially very good too and could surprise the yard and others and keep her unbeaten run up. To take the Mullins team on then you have to opt for LA BAGUE AU ROI who has some good form ion the bag and has been considered a strong contender for this for a while; the ground will help her chances considerably. She beat DUSKY LEGEND well last time and she has to have the best chance for me here.

SELECTION : LA BAGUE AU ROI 10-1 Paddy Power

Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Chase

This is a tough one to crack and it’s more difficult with the amateurs on them, but you need an experienced amateur that is for sure. The Pipe’s are masters at this and anything of theres needs noting. PREMIER BOND has Sam on board and and has performed nicely in some Novice chases this year. DOCTOR HARPER is off the same mark as running in this last year and has a big race like this in him, his jumping just doesn’t seem to be slick enough for me. SQUOQaaaawhatever you say has been lined up for this and has last year’s winnig jockey on board. Im opting for an old favourite of mine who will absolutely love the ground. If he can get into sa good rhythm of jumping he could be thereabouts at the end. That is LAMB OR COD. Put a line through his last run on soft ground and he has the ability to take this last race.

SELECTION : LAMB OR COD 33-1 Bet365

Selections:

£5 win POLITOLOGUE 1:30 13-2 Paddy Power

£5 each way GAYEBURY 2:10 22-1 Paddy Power

£5 each way VILLAGE VIC 16-1 Paddy Power

Cheltenham Day Two

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What a cracking first day of the festival that was. Some fantastic finishes, an upset or two but generally a brilliant start. Not a bad day on the betting front as BUVEIR D’AIR won for the blog, RIVER WYLDE was placed, as was TWO TAFFS. I think we may not see HOLYWELL again, he folded tamely and he has been like that all year. I was disappointed with LIFEBOAT MONA’S run and I think soft ground may well be the key to her. How impressive was BUVEUR D’AIR though, a superb performance. On to day two and hopefully a few more pointers and a winner or two.

Neptune Investment Novices’ Hurdle

NEON WOLF is the deserving favourite for this and he has looked very impressive on every run this year. His last appearance in the Rossington Main Supreme trial was on soft ground and he destroyed the field. As we saw today the times were quite slow and there still appears to be some give in the ground. He will be many people’s festival banker and should run a very good race. He looks a superstar in the making and tomorrow may set him up for that bright future. The concern is that there is very little value in his price.  MESSIRE DES OBEAUX beat BALLYANDY in December on good to soft ground and gave him 7lbs. BALLYANDY then franked the form in the Betfair hurdle beating MOVEWITHTHETIMES and CLYNE in a decent race. BALLYANDY had a hell of a rough race in the Supreme and I think would have finished in the top three but for his passage. WILLOUGBY COURT is another that interests me; he went straight into my notebook when he beat GAYEBURY at Warwick by a distance. He also had the smart PEREGRINE RUN behind him. That one had won here in a Grade 2 beating both WHOLESTONE and WEST APPROACH. He is a very exciting prospect and so long as the ground doesn’t dry too much he could run a big race at a very nice price.

SELECTION : WILLOUGBY COURT 14-1 Ladrokes

RSA Novices Chase

This has to be one of the most difficult races to pick a winner. Any one of these novice chasers could show the necessary improvement to win this, so my advice is don’t go too big. MIGHT BITE has won a couple of decent races and should have won a third but his price is way too short for a race of this nature and with so many potential improvers; plus as we have seen, he’s not the best jumper!! WHISPER has shown his connections the class he has always had more recently and we have had a flash back to his hurdling days when he was one of the top staying hurdlers. I’m not sure if he still likes this jumping game but he comes here in form. OUR KAEMPFER is an interesting runner at a decent price. He put a decent field to bed in a matter of strides last time and he has been a big 10lbs for that success. He has always been highly rated by his stable and ran well here last year over hurdles in the Pertemps, he could improve again. The one I can’t get away from is O O SEVEN. He looked very smart when winning here in November on good ground beating a good field including SIZING TENNESSEE. He couldn’t follow that up at Doncaster over three miles but that flatter track didn’t suit him in my opinion. It’s interesting that they are persevering with a three mile trip despite him having won two races over 2m4f. I have always thought he is a smart horse and I have to have a go at him in this off a mark of OR152.

SELECTION : O O SEVEN 16-1 CORAL

Coral Cup

This is another very tricky race and again keep your bets small. Anything could win this!!! TOMBSTONE is the worthy favourite and looks very nicely treated based on his defeat of JEZKI in a grade 3. His trainer had a cracking opening day and he could be potentially very smart. PEREGRINE RUN, as mentioned above is a smart horse and he has some solid form going into this and he also looks well treated on what he has achieved so far, he is 8-1 as I write this, but I can’t see him being that at the off tomorrow. I have followed OLD GUARD all year and my heart is ruling my head, but I have to give him another chance. He ran so well in the Cleeve last time on ground that he didn’t appreciate and prior to that had ran well behind MODUS in the Lanzarote. Good ground is key to him and he should get that here today and it will make all the difference. He really is a horses for courses horse and has won three times here; the last one of those off a mark of OR157 and full 7lbs less. He is my each way selection of the day.

SELECTION : OLD GUARD 25-1 Bet365

Queen Mother Champion Chase

One word DOUVAN….enough said!!!

Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase

I’m not normally too fussed about these races and don’t follow them. Tomorrow’s is different as my ante-post Grand National fancy SAUSALITO SUNRISE runs. He ran like a pig last time off a 3lb higher mark. He has the stamina for a race like this and was a close third in the Bet365 Gold Cup on the last day of last season off a mark of OR159. That indicates the class he potentially has and I’m expecting a big run tomorrow to try and win and to prep him for the big one. He has previously beat the current National favourite VIEUX LION ROUGE by 12 lengths off a mark two pounds less than this. Get on it!!! 16-1 with Paddy Power is a crazy price.

SELECTION : SAUSALITO SUNRISE 16-1 Paddy Power

Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle

DIVIN BERE is all the rage for this, rightly so after his defeat of MASTER BLUEYES who has since gone on and won the Adonis very easily. He has top weight but rightly so and he could take all the beating. DREAMCATCHING has been touted as a smart horse from the Nicholls yard and you have to listen to him in this race as he has won this 3 time sin recent years and also had the second on numerous occasions. I actually prefer DOLOS on this better ground and despite him only being placed or behind runners he has run in and against some smart animals. He only has a mark of OR 134 and that is generally around the winning mark for this race. I have to go with the potential of DIVIN BERE though, and I take note when a jockey like Noel Fehily starts talking about a good horse.

SELECTION : DIVIN BERE 5-1 CORAL

WEATHERBY’S CHAMPION BUMPER

This is another race that really doesn’t interest me too much. Willie Mullins is always multi-handed in this and is so again. CARTER MCKAY is the favourite and is a nice moving horse and generally favourites, or those in the top few of the market do well.SOMEDAY seems to have decent form and good run him hard and CAUSE TOUJOURS won very well but he hasn’t run for a while. I’m going to go for another Irish runner who has form on good ground and stayed on strongly for his success at Leopardstown last time, that is DEBUCHET.

SELECTION : DEBUCHET 10-1 Bet365

Selections for Day Two:

£10 win SAUSALITO SUNRISE 4:10 16-1 Paddy Power

£5win DIVIN BERE 4:50 5-1 CORAL

£2.50 e/w WILLOUGBY COURT 1:30 14-1 Ladbrokes

£2.50 e/w O O SEVEN 16-1 CORAL

 

 

Cheltenham Day One

 

IbisDuRheu1.jpgAt last here we are with four days of the best national hunt racing ahead of us. A kitty is in the pot and hopefully I will see some profit by the end of the week.  Winners or losers, one thing is for sure it will be a rollercoaster of a ride with the usual thrills and spills. I’m not sure there will be as many favourites go in this year, result for someone like me who likes to look for value. The week will consist of a blog each day and selections for each race alongside a write up. The end of the blog will the have my selections for the day.

Good luck everyone and enjoy the next few days. I would really appreciate it if you could RT the blog once you’ve read it, I’ve put a lot of time into my write ups and form study and want to see if I can beat my number of reads from previous years.

1:30 Skybet Supreme Novices Hurdle

The bog surprise for the opener was the defection of MOON RACER to the Champion Hurdle. I thought he had much more of a chance in this.  MELON is the well supported favourite and there have been good signals coming out of the Mullins yard about his chances. Short priced favourites have not had a good record in this, as the yard found out with MIN last year. My worry for MELON is his experience, with only one run to date it will take a special horse to win this from that number of starts; yet he could very well be special.  BALLYANDY is the next contender and won the bumper last year at the festival. He has not had a great year but returned to form off a veery good mark in the Betfair Hurdle last time.  It’s a real shame MOVEWITHTHETIMES is out as he was one of my big contenders. RIVER WYLDe has done nothing wrong this year and is 3 form 3 over hurdles and he looked impressive in a strong finish against another contender today, Elgin. I can’t see the latter reversing places but I can see RIVER WYLDE running them close.  A cracking opening contest and while MELON could be a potential star I’m not sure one run under his belt will give him the experience needed for the hustle and bustle of the opener. My money is on RIVER WYLDE at better odds.

SELECTION : RIVER WYLDE 8-1 (Paddy Power)

2:10 Racing Post Arkle Trophy

This race can only go to one horse in my opinion and probably in everybody else’s too. ALTIOR has been nothing but superb this season and I can’t see anything else in the pack getting close to him in the Arkle. He loves his jumping and really attacks his fences something you need in this race. ALTIOR all the way and I’ll take SOME PLAN to win without ALTIOR at 7-1.

SELECTION : SOME PLAN without ALTIOR

2:50 Ulitma Handicap Chase

The first big handicap of the week to look at in detail. Those of you who have read my blog over the years will know I have to start with HOLYWELL. He has looked so disinterested in every race this year and age is definitely catching up with him. He ran a cracker in this last year behind UN TEMPS POUR TOUT and he has a full 12lbs less on his back today. He is also racing of his lowest rating here since he beat MA FILLEULE off OR145. Three pounds higher today, spring weather and better ground should see him there. My question mark is around his approach this season. He may have lost his love for the game. IBIS DU RHEU is another one who has to catch my eye; he has always been touted as a smart horse and his win here last year in the Martin Pipe Conditional shows he likes the better ground and the track and Nichols is a shrewd placer of his horses and this is one of his that carries my money. He is a horse who fits the profile of a well treated novice. I’m not discounting A GOOD SKIN either on this better ground he has been knocking on the door all season but just not quite being good enough and he has dropped to a very nice mark.  Interestingly the champ also rides him!!! A cracking race!

SELECTION : IBIS DU RHEU 12-1 (Bet365) and A GOOD SKIN ew 25-1 (Bet365)

3:30 Stan James Champion Hurdle

I was really surprised that the Pipe team opted for this race for MOON RACER, and I think they have been suckered in by the money and the hype; while he is very, this is a hell of a step up! The ground could have really gone against BUVEUR D’AIR, he has done nothing wrong all season and looks a very smart horse. If he handles the ground he will run close but I think it is still soft enough for him to run well. He travels really well and has a good finishing speed; something crucial in this race. THE NEW ONE has always run consistently but I think he missed his opportunity the other year and placed horses from previous years have a poor record. YANWORTH may be the best chance on paper for JP McManus and he looked very good on better ground  when he beat THE NEW ONE by 3 and a half lengths. Of the others BRAIN POWER has won really well the last twice and will love the drying ground and I think he has the best chance of upsetting the McManus duo. For me BUVEUR D’AIR looks very smart and he has my money.

SELECTION : BUVEUR D’AIR 11-2 (Paddy Power)

4:10 OLGB Mare’s Hurdle

This is another belting race and one of my top selections of the week runs in this. The Mullins team could have run half a dozen in this and interestingly have opted to include VROUM VROUM MAG in this. I thought they would go the Champion hurdle route with her. LIMINI is favourite for this after beating APPLE’S JADE. That mare has continued her very smart form from last year but couldn’t peg back LIMINI last time but she will be there in the finish. My money goes on LIFEBOAT MONA, she went into my notebook when she destroyed the field at Ascot in November. She followed that up with other win at Sandown and she has gone up 17lbs in the ratings. She looks a very smart horse to me and her style of coming late will suit her up the hill and they could set it up for her to come from off the pace. She has form on better ground but has generally won on softer ground, so that is my only concern.

SELECTION : LIFEBOAT MONA (nap) 18-1 (Paddy Power)

4:50 JT McNamara National Hunt Challenge Cup

This is the longest race of the festival and is a cracker for those horse who love a marathon test. ARPEGE D’ALENE should have run much better than he did last time at Ascot and he has shown how much petrol he has in the tank in a couple of good runs here behind SINGLEFARMPAYMENT and then TOUR DES CHAMPS. It shows to follow horses that have run well at Warwick in this race and FLINTHAM is one of those. He was so courageous last time at Ascot by BIGBADJOHN giving him 4lbs, they’re off level weights today so he could run better and he has previously won at Warwick off a mark only one pound lower and he could run a cracker from the front. DANCING SHADOW won for the blog last time out at over 4m at Musselburgh and he steps up again in class today. Normally the winner of this needs some grade 1 experience so he falls short of that but you couldn’t help but be impressed by how he stayed on that day and there looked like there was more in the tank to me. He’s been raised 8lbs to a mark of OR139 and he should run a big race and he will appreciate the drying ground.TIGER ROLL is the Irish raider with top class form that catches the eye and he won the Munster National well last year  and is ultra-consistent. What a race, this is what solving a handicap problem is all about.

SELECTIONS : FLINTHAM e/w 25-1 (Ladbrokes) and DANCING SHADOW e/w 28-1 (Paddy Power)

 

5:30 Close Brothers Novices Chase

 

It pays to stay with the top few in the market for this race but it is another cracking puzzle to solve. FOXTAIL HILL is a worthy favourite and he meets lots of the trends including winning last time out. He drops to a class one from a winning a Grade 3 last time when beating SAPHIR DU RHEU and he has THOMAS CRAPPER well behind. That one won well the other week. My selection though is TWO TAFFS, he has been running well all season and on ground that has been too soft in my opinion. He ran well behind FLYING ANGEL last time on heavy ground  and previously couldn’t quite I’ve with POKER SCHOOL at Kempton. Good ground will help and he has cheekpieces on for the first time, horse with first time headgear have a very good record in this as do horse who didn’t win on either of their first chase starts and he also has the Cheltenham specialist Davy Russell on. Lots of ticks in lots of boxes.

SELECTION : TWO TAFFS 10-1 (Ladbrokes)

First day selections:

£5win TWO TAFFS 5:30 10-1 (Ladbrokes)

£5 win LIFEBOAT MONA 4:10 18-1 (Paddy Power)

£2.50 e/w IBIS DU RHEU 2:50 12-1 (Bet365)

£2.50 e/w DANCING SHADOW 4:50 28-1 (Paddy Power)

 

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
 

Cheltenham Day 3

Not a great day on the blog today with only NICHOLS CANYON and SOUTHFIELD THEATRE placed. I thought I had a good few chances today too and I was really disappointed by how the Ferguson pair ran! Heyho, it is the most competitive week of racing ever! We move on to the next day with a heavy heart, the reason being the sad sight of SPRINTER SACRE running like that – something clearly still amiss and its such a shame he has fallen from grace so, he's still a legend in my eyes though.
 
The twitter gamble boys have opted for
@Tonythetyke –
@LiamKenniford – VAUTOUR 1330
@DazGilbert1 –
@Fernando_RFC2 –
 
My selections for Thursday are
 
JLT NOVICES CHASE 1330

PTIT ZIG, other than blotting his note book in his last appearance has done nothing wrong this year. He has gone from strength to strength and looked very good when beating both CHAMPAGNE WEST and JOSSES HILL earlier on. He's a class horse and I think he'll go toe to toe with VAUTOUR but will come out on top.
 
PERTEMPTS FINAL 1405

I have to opt for JOIN THE CLAN (treble) here. Whatever they did to him prior to that Warwick run has worked a treat! He has gone on from that and won again pretty convincingly under the same jockey as today. More impressive was the fact that he beat CLOSING CEREMONY so well and he reopposes today having franked the form. The jockey taking another 10lbs off is again key for me to make his racing weight quite light again. I hope to see him creeping into it and then staying on late.
 
RYANAIR CHASE 1440

Despite me loving MA FILLEULE I'm going to go against her! I think the better ground will really bring out the best of a Cheltenham star. JOHN'S SPIRIT has always been very good and he showed that consistently last year. I just think this race will be set up for him nicely and he'll come out on top.
 
LABROKES WORLD HURDLE 1520

This is a decent race with the biggest field for a while. SAPHIR DE RHEU ran really well last time and will slug it out with his stablemate ZARKANDAR. I'm really interested though by WHISPER returning to the hurdling field after one chase start. He was always smart over these obstacles and the better ground should suit too. I think he will run the two above close and is worth a flutter at his price.
 
BROWN ADVISORY & MERRIBELLE STABLE PLATE CHASE 1600

MONETAIRE has ran very well on both occasions for the Pipe yard and there could be even more to come. However, I have followed CAID DU BERLAIS (nb) all year and cant desert him now. He won the Paddy Power and was a creditable third last time. He's gallant and I think he has more to offer too.
 
FULKE WALWYN CHASE 1640

TAP NIGHT frustrates the hell out of me at times and he will probably go and win this now I havent backed him! It takes a lot to win a handicap off top weight but GRANDADS HORSE (nap) has a bit of class about him, especially on good ground. Other than last time when he hever got into it he has ran really well, especially on ground zi dont think is suitable for him to show his best. He's dropped in class and now has his preferred ground. Crazy price of 25-1 due to one bad run! Get on!
 

Cheltenham Day Two

What a cracking first day treat that was for all of us! Fair play to DOUVAN who I thought wouldn't win and I didnt think ANNIE POWER would win either and she would have but for THAT fall – thank god she was alright! On the selection front my nap nearly did it in the Mares race as POLLY PEACHUM was just pipped at 9-1. Other than that FAUGHEEN (4-5) won and PERFECT GENTLEMAN came fourth. All in all not that great but the entertainment and races more than made up for some of my disappointments. We move on to day two! The twitter gamble boys have their selections below :
 
@Tonythetyke – Toutancarmont 1600
@DazGilbert1 – All Yours 1640
@Fernando_RFC2 – DON POLI 1405
@LiamKenniford – LAC FONTANA 1440
 
My selections are :
 
NEPTUNE INVESTMENT HURDLE 1330

NICHOLS CANYON (3rd – 7-2 = £2.18) was a very smart horse for John Gosden with a highest rating of OR111. He was second in a Group 3 at Newbury and has looked very smart over these obstacles so far. Last time out he defeated WINDSOR PARK by 3 and a half lengths at Leopardstown. This is another step up and despite his old foe returning one pound better off, I can't see the placings being reversed. PARLOUR GAMES is the best of the rest and has not done much wrong so far and he will appreciate any further drying of the ground.
My Dad's selection –
 
RSA CHASE 1405

What a cracking race this is! As always you need a top class staying type to get anywhere near winning this. DON POLI has been very impressive so far and he is a worthy favourite with a Grade 1 success already in the bag. However, SOUTHFIELD THEATRE (2nd – 13-2 = £4.06) has what I consider to have more scope for improvement. He has gone from strength to strength this year over these bigger obstacles. I like the way he has beennurtured into his races with a gradual increase in challenge and I think he has huge potential! He also has top class hurdling form in the book, getting beaten narrowly by FINGAL BAY in last year's Pertempts. He has beat POLLY PEACHUM by a short head after that. I'm hopeful of a big run. THE YOUNG MASTER has been very good too and the Mullholland/Geraghty partnership can't be underestimated, he has a great chance too.
My Dad's selection –
 
CORAL CUP 1440

LAC FONTANA beat ARCTIC FIRE last year here at the festival and has always been a decent horse. He has been playing with the big boys like FAUGHEEN and ROCK ON RUBY recently and this is easier. Sean Bowen takes a valuable 5lbs off and he has to have a decent each way chance. HISABAAT ran a cracker in defeat three years ago in the Triumph and he is a full 7lbs lower in the ratings than that day, with better ground he is also worthy of an each way punt! My main play though is MIJHAAR (nap) (unplaced = -£5.00) who was a smart flat horse and I have always fancied him winning a big handicap like this. He doesnt come without risk, he's a pain to ride and sometimes does too much but I think the better ground and the track will suit him. Even more suitable for me is his weight, he's only got 10st 7lbs on his back and he has been shouldering the likes of 11st 11lbs and 11st 12lbs in some Listed races. He ran in the Greatwood hurdle off a similar weight to this but on much softer ground. The shrewd Dickie Johnson is steering and I think I've found a big priced winner here!
My Dad's selection –
 
QUEEN MOTHER CHAMPION CHASE 1520

Another awesome race! We have two former champs returning with question marks against them; a young pretender to the throne; a classy ex-festival winner and a transformed rogue! Can you pick? I've opted for the best horse I've seen in a long time who I think will be back to his old self. SPRINTER SACRE (treble) (unplaced = -£5.00) is and always will be a legend, tomorrow he becomes immortalised! I thought his comeback run was good and he was sensibly ridden. At his best none of these would get close and I think they will be close-by tomorrow but I think he has that little bit of extra class to see him home.
My Dad's selection –
 
CROSS COUNTRY RACE 1600
This is something I'm never that fussed about but reckon DUKE OF LUCCA (unplaced = -£5.00) will get the better of his rivals in this.
My Dad's selection –
 
FRED WINTER JUVENILE HURDLE 1640

ARABIAN REVOLUTION (nb) (unplaced = -£5.00) is the horse for me in this race! He looked smart when beating RATHEALY on his debut, who has since franked the form. The next piece of form is key, he was 2 and a half lengths behind BELTOR at Ludlow on soft, and we saw what he did last time! His last outing was a good defeat of MATORICO, a decent French import, who he beat quite comfortably. A mark of OR 137 is fair and he could be a very smart horse for the future. His breeding suggests the drying of the ground will help a little more too.
My Dad's selection –
 
WEATHERBY'S CHAMPION BUMPER 1715

Another race that I dont get too involved in, although I did select the winner last year! This year I'm opting for GENERAL PRINCIPLE (unplaced = -£5.00) who trounced his rivals on his first run and he could be anything!
My Dad's selection –
 
Good luck everyone!
 

Cheltenham Day One

Here we go everyone! Strap yourselves in, the festival is upon us! Get your money down, your TV's on or set to record and bring on the buzz! As always Tuesday is a cracking day with lots of competitive racing and top horses to choose from. Will the Mullins yard destroy the bookmakers satchels on day one? Has Ruby made the right choice? Will McCoy get a winner on the first day? All these questions yet no answer! Personally I think the Mullins yard will have a couple, you can read these below. The twitter gamble guys have opted for the following tomorrow :
 
@DazGilbert1 – NED STARK 1440
@Tonythetyke – HORIZONTAL SPEED 1715
@Fernando_RFC2 – DOUVAN 1330
@LiamKenniford – SEGO SUCCESS 1640
 
Here are my selections race by race.
Sky Bet Supreme Novices Hurdle 1330
As ever what a great race to start the day. DOUVAN has been touted as a good thing and has been stronlgy supported and could be very good from a yard who have won the last two runnings. He may prove me wrong but I don't think he'll stay up the hill in a race that is usually as quick as this one is run at. Plus I think the ground may be too quick for him. L'AMI SERGE has the potential but has he got the solid form in the book, not for me! I'm opting for an unexposed type however, on QEWY who I feel has the ability to improve again. He's well bred and despite also not having much form on the better surface I loved the way he went about beating the field at Newbury last time when beating CARDINAL WALTER by 6 lengths. He has gone on to frank the form since. BOUVREUIL was back in third and he has a decent form line through RAYVIN BLACK who was just pipped in the Imperial Cup on Saturday. The ground is my main concern but I think he has rhe ability to win. Interestingly when asked to pick a horse that he would like to ride in the week Sam Twiston-Davies replied Qewy!
The Bandit's selection – QEWY (Unplaced = -£5.00) My Dad's selection – JOLLYALLAN (unplaced -£5.00)
 
Racing Post Arkle Chase 1405
If UN DE SCEAUX can jump around at his break neck speed he has to have a cracking chance and is a worthy favourite, odds on though? Not for me! I have to go against an odds on horse in a race like this and he does have a question mark against his jumping. JOSSES HILL was well touted but has flattered to deceive this year and VIBRATO VALTAT could be the main challenger to the favourite with sime really eye catching perfomances along the way. CLARCAM has done nothing wrong this year but was put in his place by the favourite in a small field last time. However, I'm opting for COURT MINSTREL, he has always been a very smart horse on better ground and he travels so smoothly through his races. He is two from two over the bigger jumps this year with good in the title. He has also won 3 times with good to soft ground. He has a good record fresh and I think he is a cracking each way chance tomorrow and possibly better.
The Bandit's selection – COURT MINSTREL (unplaced = -£5.00) My Dad's selection CLARCAM (unplaced -£5.00)
 
Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase 1440
This is a cracking handicap and there are loads in with a shout. Firstly THE DRUIDS NEPHEW has caught my eye a few times this year and he could be well handicapped. MENDIP EXPRESS has looked consistent again this year and should be thereabouts. However, I've opted for one of my preview horses GEVREY CHAMBERTIN (treble). I've always thought he has a race like this in him and despite being dropped in class last time he won well from tne front and the blinkers really helped. I'm hoping the same tactics on ground he'll enjoy will pay divident. He's been raised 9lbs for that success but he's still pretty well in compered to his old hurdle form. Watch out for LOST LEGEND staying on late at the end!
The Bandit's selection – GEVREY CHAMBERTIN (treble) (unplaced = -£5.00)
My Dad's selection – BLACK THUNDER (unplaced -£5.00)
 
Stan James Champion Hurdle 1520
For me I cant see past FAUGHEEN here. He's yet to really break sweat but is top class and will take this. I hope HURRICANE FLY runs well too, but for me Ruby has made the right choice and the Machine will fly home!
The Bandit's selection – FAUGHEEN (WON – 4/5 = £2.50) My Dad's selection – THE NEW ONE (unplaced -£5.00)
 
OLBG Mare's Hurdle 1600
Everyone is harping on about how good Annie Power is and how she will win this easy. I beg to differ, firstly she has to show she has overcome her injury against a class field and secondly I think she is better over further! My selection in this is one of my best bets of the week – POLLY PEACHUM. She has gone from strength to strength and is a different animal on decent ground. She can be forgiven her last run as the ground was too soft and she's been given time to come back. She has form here at this level and I think there is more to come from her. I'm really confident of a big run!
The Bandit's selection – POLLY PEACHUM (nap) (2nd 9-1 = £5.62)
My Dad's selection –
 
Toby Balding National Hunt Chase 1640
PERFECT GENTLEMAN (nb) is my selection here and one of the Mullins string who I think has a great chance. He looks like a stayer and should come on even more for this extra distance. He's shown he gets 3 miles well and has won on ground similar to this. He should jump well despite a blunder a couple of runs ago. If THEATRE QUEEN starts the race well he has a good chance based on how much ground he made up last time to finish fourth.
The Bandit's selection – PERFECT GENTLEMAN (nb) (4th – 10-1 = £6.25)
My Dad's selection –
 
Novices Handicap Chase 1715
A cracking race to finish the day with a good few of these having very strong chances. THOMAS CRAPPER is one of these and is potentially another horse well treated on his hurdle form.KELTUS has some solid form in the book and this step up could see the improvement come out of him. BOLD HENRY ran really well here in November but has since flopped, he could run well. However, I think STELLAR NOTION is the answer here. He ran a couple of cracking races earlier this season at Leicester and Kempton. His last run here was disappointing but that was on pretty soft ground and I'm willing to overlook that as he looks a smart horse.
The Bandit's selection – STELLAR NOTION (unplaced = -£5.00)
My Dad's selection –
 

Cheltenham Preview

The hours tick by, the anticipation swells, the culmination of the the National Hunt season is upon us. As an avid jumps fan this has to be the pinnacle week on the racing calendar for me. Ascot, Goodwood and The Derby are there too but nothing competes with that cheer as the tapes go up on the Tuesday.
So many hopes and dreams pinned upon these fine creatures as they gallop around this challenging and testing circuit. I’ve had a pretty decent time at the last few festivals with HOLYWELL winning the Pertempts in 2013 and winning me and a few of you a nice little packet!LORD WINDEREMERE winning the RSA in the same year. Previously I have fond memories of selecting BRINDISI BREEZE at 7-1 and SYNCHRONISED in his Gold Cup success. Last year day two proved the best with FAUGHEEN (6-4), BALTHAZAR KING (4-1) and SILVER CONCORDE (16-1) getting their noses up.
I haven’t really pinned my well earned cash on anything yet – although I have HOLYWELL antepost for the Gold Cup to make it a hat-trick of wins – what a moment that would be! Earlier in the week I like the chances of QEWY in the Supreme and POLLY PEACHUM in the Mares. I would love to see JOIN THE CLAN continue his upward curve in the Pertempts Final. I a. Still keen to see where GEVREY CHAMBERTIN goes too – he ran much better last time and I still think he has a big handicap in him. At the moment those are a few I have my eye on. I will put up the blog each night before the day itself and the twitter gamble guys have also opted to join in too. No doubt my old man will offer his pearls of wisdom. So all in all there may be a good few pointers on here for everyone.
Anticipation, excitement and restlessness are the emotions overcoming me at the moment. We are nearly there everyone, load your wallets, take aim at our old foe and here is to four days of entertainment, thrills and not too many spills. Enjoy!
 

Cheltenham – Gold Cup Day

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Unfortunately I haven’t had a lot of time to do the blog. Had quite a bit of work to do last night so am patching something together this morning. One winner yesterday on the blog TAQUIN DE SEUIL (7-1) which takes me to win winners this week, not too bad. Whata shame it was about BIG BUCKS, I really thought he would run better than that, but hey ho let the new ones come through, and I hope he has a happy retirement,

Triumph Hurdle

My selection in this race is ROYAL IRISH HUSSAR, up until last time has done everything right including on decent ground and the way he finished at Doncaster suggests to me he will relish the Cheltenham hill. Tough race to win this though and CALIPTO looks a very good horse, and GUITAR PETE has to have a sniff after an impressive win last time.

SELECTION – ROYAL IRISH HUSSAR

DAD’S SELECTION – RUTHERGLEN



VINCENT O’BRIEN HURDLE

CINDERS AND ASHES can overcome a long absence to take this. Was a very smart horse prior to his injury and took the Supreme here very nicely, the ground has come good for him too and I expect him to have a bold show. LYVIUS has an chance too prior to his disappointing Musselburgh run and you can’t discount CHELTENIAN either.

SELECTION – CINDERS AND ASHES

DAD’S SELECTION – CHELTENIAN



ALBERT BARTLETT NOVICES HURDLE

BRIAR HILL showed his class last year in the champion bumper and has gone on from that this season with impressive victories. I think he will take all the beating here, and is a worthy favourite. On softer ground DEPUTY DAN would have a right sniff. The outsider I like is URBN HYMN who was a good wine rod a grade 2 last time.

SELECTION – BRIAR HILL



BETFRED GOLD CUP

BOBS WORTH is another worthy favourite and he showed he is back to his old form with a good victory at Leopardstown last time. The ground will suit, he’s been here before and has every chance. I thought SILVINIACO CONTI may have a chance but the ground and Nicholls’ form this week puts me off. ON HIS OWN has been supplemented for this after a smooth win at Fairyhouse, he has a bit of class about him and I would;t be surprised to see him run very well.

SELECTION – BOBS WORTH

DAD’S SELECTION – BOBS WORTH



FOXHUNTERS

Again not one I get really bothered about but have opted for PEARLYSTEPS who when on song can produce an excellent round of jumping and that will be needed here.

SELECTION – PEARLYSTEPS



MARTIN PIPE HURDLE

Tough race this and competitive as ever. My money lies on JUNCTION FOURTEEN was improving well in the season and ran some superb races before failing in the Lanzarote. He can bounce back today.THOMAS CRAPPER has good course form and could run well at a big price too.

SELECTION – JUNCTION FOURTEEN

DAD’S SELECTION – THE SKYFARMER



GRAND ANNUAL

The curtain comes down for another year and hopefully some shekels will be deposited in my account when DARE ME wins. He was so impressive last tome at Warwick and has been raised 15 lbs for it. I don;t think that will stop him, he’s on the up and should take this today in a finish with MR MOLE.

SELECTION – DARE ME

Cheltenham Day 3

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Day two was a good one. Firstly I take my hat off to SIRE DE GRUGY as I didn’t think he was good enough, boy did he prove me wrong. Brilliant for all the connections too. The blog went well on day two with wins for FAUGHEEN (6-4), BALTHAZAR KING (4-1) and SILVER CONCORDE (16-1). Hope you got on a few of them.

Here are Thursday’s selections – good luck if you’re having a flutter!

JLT NOVICES CHASE

FELIX YONGER is a worthy favourite and he should like the ground despite some of his victories coming on softer ground. The way Walsh and Mullins have started the last two days you wouldn’t be surprised to see him go in. DOUBLE ROSS has put some gallant performances in here and should be thereabouts turning in. WONDERFUL CHARM will be in with a shout and his trainer will be wanting to get off the mark. OSCAR WHISKY and TAQUIN DE SEUIL have had a few ding-dongs this year with the former getting the best last time on softer ground and level weights. I’ve opted for TAQUIN though as I think he will come on for the dryer ground and will out battle Henderson’s charge towards the line.

SELECTION – TAQUIN DE SEUIL (WON 7-1)

DAD’S SELECTION – FELIX YONGER (unplaced)



PERTEMPS NETWORK FINAL

This was the scene of HOLYWELL’s victory last year and I’ve got a similar horse with a similar profile and the same mark. UNCLE JIMMY ran very well behind THOMAS CRAPPER here in November in a race that’s form is pretty strong. He then went on to win the race that HOLYWELL was second in last year of a two pound lower mark. He has been raised another 7 lb to an official rating of 140. The same mark HOLYWELL won this off last year. He is a similar traveller to HOLYWELL and is game too and will be staying on all the way to the line. The extra distance really helped him at Warwick and I think the better ground will suit him too. I’m very hopeful of this one running a very good race! Of the others FINGAL BAY obviously oozes class but has a big weight to carry, MICKIE would need it softer. GRAND VISION came second to UNCLE JIMMY and was ten pounds worse off at Warwick. He’s only two pounds worse off in this and could be my selections biggest threat! I will also put a little shout in for SO FINE, who’s course and distance run behind SUNNYHILLBOY here earlier in the year caught my eye. Mr Hobbs is mob handed here!

SELECTION – UNCLE JIMMY (NB) (unplaced)



RYANAIR CHASE

This race is always a cracker and it should be again! AL FEROF has bags of class and has a good record here so should run well. BENEFFICIENT will go over favourite based on his victory last year and reposes with DYNASTE. MEDERMIT was going places the other year before getting injured and if back to his best he could be a real threat at a big price. I’m opting for BOSTON BOB though. He was running a big race last year when falling in the RSA chase and he ran well in behind BRINDISI BREEZE a couple of years ago on good ground. Today will be his day!

SELECTION – BOSTON BOB (unplaced)

DAD’S SELECTION – BENEFFICIENT (PU)



LADBROKES WORLD HURDLE

I cannot believe I have just got 4-1 for BIG BUCK’S. Now I know he has been injured but think about it people. A train wouldn’t have beat him before the injury and I thought he ran a brilliant race last time when just being pipped by KNOCKARA BEAU and AT FISHERS CROSS on ground not ideal on his first run in ages! He just got tired, it would have been like running in treacle for him. Slap all your cash on him, he’s still the best and will put ANNIE POWER in her placer tomorrow. He will love the better ground, loves the hill and just get ready for the crowd to roar! Come on a bring home the BUCKS!

SELECTION – BIG BUCKS (NAP) (unplaced)

DAD’S SELECTION – ANNIE POWER (2nd – 11-8)



BYRNE GROUP PLATE

COLOUR SQUADRON could finally run a big race at the festival and should be thereabouts. JOHNS SPIRIT has had on hell of a season and Richie McLernon knows him inside out, but has he had too many tough races? FIRTH OF THE CLYDE could give the north another big success and SHANGANI has hit form at the right time. I’m opting for BLESS THE WINGS though. He’s on a cracking mark and is 5 lbs lower in the ratings than his last success and a full 9 lbs lower than his run at the festival last year. With the better ground suiting and the addition of first time bilkers to sharpen him up he is a very appealing each way proposition.



SELECTION – BLESS THE WINGS (unplaced)

DAD’S SELECTION – JOHNS SPIRIT (4th – 9-1)



FULKE WALWYN KIM MUIR CUP

The amateur riders get their turn in the lime light as the curtain comes down on day three. TWIRLING MAGNET has caught my eye, goes well fresh and must have a big chance. There are several horses that are particularly well handicapped based on old form. QUINZ being one of them! NIGHT ALLIANCE has been excellent this year but pulled up last ti e at Haydock in a better race, has he the class? Not sure, but if he puts that run behind him he could worry a few over the last. I’m opting for another well handicapped horse PROBLEMA TIC has shown he has some class, particularly on better ground. He bounced away at Perth last summer beating the likes of MERRION SQUARE and BLACK MULLIGAN. Of his 8 wins 4 of them have come in good ground and he is now a pound lower in the ratings than the Perth success. With the ground likely to dry out a little more he has a great chance in my opinion. Or he will show his other side, not go at all and be pulled up! Let the equine gods decide!

SELECTION – PROBLEMA TIC (unplaced)



Good luck if you’re having a flutter again, enjoy the spectacle and lets hope we fleece the bookies!