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)

 

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Cheltenham – Happy New Year

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Happy New Year to everyone who reads this! Hope you all had a good celebrations and I wish you all a prosperous year. Yesterday was another damp squib with my selection COURT MINSTREL running nowhere near to the standard he can and I was really disappointed with him. Anyway as always you win some you lose most!!

ITV start their racing coverage today and I really hope they get it right, Channel 4 messed things up a few years ago but I hope the ITV behemoth can put a new spring in racing’s step when on the TV.

The 12.50 at Cheltenham is a superb race. ARPEGE D’ALENE is well thought of by his yard and he will love he better ground; he’s one to put in the notebook for later in the season for me. WARRANTOR ran an absolute cracker here in the Bet Victor Gold Cup in what was a huge step up for him that day, was it a fluke? VYTA DU ROC is a classy horse too and ran pretty well in the Hennessy and he’s been dropped another 2lbs to an appealing mark of OR141 and he should be thereabouts. I always try and follow some form lines and look for value so Im opting for LAMB OR COD. He’s been raised 8lbs for his last success and Ive always rated him as a potential smart stayer and he would have won a few more than he has but for his injury. POTTERS CROSS franked the form of his last race by going in yesterday; he’ll love the ground and Im expecting a big run. What a cracking race though.

CLAN DES OBEAUX looks a very smart horse and I think he will take the Dipper Chase where I think O O SEVEN will return to form and give him a run for his money.

VILLAGE VIC will make a bold bid from the front again in the 2.00. However, I think he is now handicapped to his best, watch him prove me wrong now! TOP GAMBLE isa bout 7lbs better of than last year with VILLAGE VIC and he’s run some great races so is worth a few quid each way. AS DE MEE ran very well at Aintree last time but this is a different proposition and he doesn’t seem to go here. I really fancied THOMAS BROWN in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup and he ran a stinker, they never got him in it and I thought it was a poor ride. I’m willing to give him another chance as I feel he has a race like this in him, the handicapper seems to as well, he hasn’t been given any slack despite his poor run last time; I still think he has the potential to be a good chaser and he’s on a good mark in my book. I just hope they ride him more positively today!

My final selection is in the Relkeel hurdle. I love LIL ROCKERFELLER and he is such a game horse and Im sure he will ben thereabouts again but he always bumps into one too good recently. COLE HARDEN catches the eye back over hurdles but I don’t think the ground will be soft enough for him. I’m going for a gamble on OLD GUARD, he was developing into a smart horse last year and has been pitched in at a very high level. This I feel is slightly easier and he ran with a bit of his old sparkle last time behind THE NEW ONE and he’ll love the ground and he certainly loves the track. Worth an each way punt at 16-1.

Hope there’s a few winers here! Enjoy the racing and Happy New Year to you all.

Selections

£5 win LAMB OR COD 12.50 Cheltenham 10-1 William Hill

£5 win THOMAS BROWN 2.00 Cheltenham 12-1 Ladbrokes

£2.50 ew OLD GUARD 3.10 Cheltenham 16-1 William Hill

Staked – £135

Returns – £145

 

 

Doncaster Friday

COURT BY SURPRISE runs at Doncaster in the 2:15. He ran well in snatches last week at Sandown when well fancied by some, including me! This shorter trip should suit more and he is definitely poised to win. He has won here before and on good ground and drops to a class 3 handicap so potentially could be on a nice mark in this class. It’s unusual for him tobe turned out so quickly.

ITALIAN RIVIERA 2:50 DONCASTER is thriving at the moment and is unpenalised for a smooth success at Catterick last week. He could make it four out of four for this yard.

L’AIGLE ROYAL 2:40 CHELTENHAM has hardly turned out for the Skelton’s yet. The return to this trip will help and previously he was a decent horse running behind both DEFINITLY RED and AS DE MEE. The ground will help and he could run a big race.

£5 win COURT BY SURPRISE DONCASTER 2:15

£5 win ITALIAN RIVIERA 2:50 DONCASTER

£2.50 e/w L’AIGLE ROYALE 2:40 CHELTENHAM

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

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
 

Paddy Power Day

Photo by Martin Lynch : Racing Post photos
 
I really do love this meeting at Cheltenham, it's the official kick start of thr NH season for me. All of our old favourites and the new pretenders to the throne are out and it will be a fascinating day of racing. My old man gave the blog a winner with NABUCCO the other week, as I continue to misfire! I hoping for a change of fortune today. Sit back and enjoy a cracking day!
 
Here are the selections for today :
 
OSCAR ROCK 1425 CHELTENHAM (nap)
This guy keeps on improving and the blinkers have really helped. He has been raised a further 8lbs after his comforrable Market Rasen success. He travels well in his races and will appreciate the quick pace of this race I'm sure. His trainer was rather confident of his chances earlier in the week too. He moves like he will love this test and despite him now playimg with the big boys I think there is further improvement in him. Sound Investment is my other one in this, he just keeps giving and he could be the fly in the ointment! What a fab race in prospect!
 
SOLL 1350 CHELTENHAM (nb)
Has always been a decent animal and had two wins from two when joining the Pipe string. He beat REBEL REBELLION at Exeter over three miles on good to soft and that horse franked the form with a win next time. Soll did too beating RELAX again, despite a 4lb pull. He was all geared up for the National and managed a creditable ninth with a broken blood vessel. A sound jumper normally and a smooth mover, I expecting a big show with at least a place.
 
SO FINE 1500 CHELTENHAM (treble)
This fella has a decent record around here and despite his long lay off he has a great chance at a huge price! He will enjoy the decent ground and he stays very well. He was on my tracker for last year but was injured and he stays on my tracker this year. He'll definitely come on for the run but I think he has a great chance of outstaying them up the hill.
 
COPPER KAY 1605 CHELTENHAM
This horse is well bred and related the smart Copper Bleu. She has two decent succeses sandwiched between a creditable fourth in Sandown's Listed race. She comes here with a run and a smooth victory in the bag and I'm expecting more from her.
 
My Dad's selections are :
COGRY 1350 CHELTENHAM
BOONDOOMA 1425 CHELTENHAM
BATAVIR 1500 CHELTENHAM
HEDLEY LAMARR 1535 CHELTENHAM
 
PLACINGS
FATHER 1-0 SON
PROFIT/LOSS
Father +£10.61
Son -£0.32
 

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!