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
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