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
 
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Warwick

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

The Hennessy Gold Cup

myWPEdit Image

Photo courtesy of Sporting Life

The twitter gamble last week didn’t fair to badly with @DazGilbert1’s selection Silviniaco Conti (100-30) and @Fernando_RFC2’s selection FLETCHER’S FLYER (11-10) winning. The guys have put up some more tips for today. See below and remember to give them a follow!

I was gobsmacked by how poorly UNCLE JIMMY ran last week, there had to be something amiss he was being pushed along from over a circuit out, interestingly he still stayed on at the end. TAQUIN DE SEUIL I feel needs to go back over hurdles after that showing, doesn’t look like a chaser to me, although he’ll probably go and win a big race now I’ve said that! AL FEROF (5-2) won for the Bandit on the blog and he was very impressive, I’m hoping the same connections do it for me today in the big one! My dad won last week on the profit front and takes a 2-1 lead. On to today and another cracking day with one of my favourite races of the season – The Hennessy. I was on good old Denman a few years ago when he defied top weight in one of the best performances I have ever seen, lets hope we get another cracking race today, and we should!

The Twitter Gamble Lucky 15 is :

@DazGilbert1 VOLT FACE 1315 TOWCESTER

@LiamKenniford FINGAL BAY 1500 NEWBURY

@Fernando_RFC2 HAMMERSLY LAKE 1350 NEWBURY

@Tonythe Tyke UT MAJEUR AULMES 1535 NEWBURY

On to The Bandit’s selections for today!

UNIONISTE 1500 NEWBURY (NAP) – The Bandit’s tradition is always to have a nap that has a bit of value. This guy has to have that at 16-1 as I write this. Not many horse in the past few years have won this a double figure odds but I reckon my selection has a real chance. Last year his defeat of WISHFUL THINKING at Aintree was smart and he is a pound lower in the ratings today, that could prove to be a very reasonable mark judged on the second’s performances since then. This fella goes well at this time of the year and he will love the ground. Generally he’s a tidy jumper and you need to be to stay this and win. He has had a wind operation which can really sort a horse out and while he will come on for the run the Nicholls string are firing at the minute. This horse for me is way better than his current mark suggests and I’m hoping he shows that today. FINGAL BAY could be his main opponent today, he stays all day and is a class horse. The way his yard are firing too has to make me put a few shekels on him too. Should be a bloody cracker!

DEFINITLY RED 1305 NEWCASTLE (NB) – this fella will go off favourite and at a short price but I have to put him in as I was so impressed how he went away from a decent bumper field last time at Cheltenham. He went straight on to my radar and this should be a stepping stone to greater things for him. One to watch for the season, I think he has the potential to be very good.

LIE FORRIT 1425 NEWCASTLE (TREBLE) – getting a bit long in the tooth but has always been a classy type. His defeat of NEPTUNE EQUESTER at Kelso in March is decent and his hurdle mark is far superior to his chase mark. He beat good old PIGEON ISLAND last time out to open his account of the sticks and has been raised 4lbs for that, not too harsh in my opinion. The ground shouldn’t be a problem and I’m hoping he shows improvement again today, this mark could be quite handy for him!

ALBERT BRIDGE 1350 NEWBURY – What an interesting runner this guy is! He has ran well on soft and heavy ground on the flat and has ran off a mark in the high 80’s in that sphere. Ran well and won last time in a maiden hurdle on soft ground at Plumpton. He is chucked in here today and could be anything and I like taking a punt on these types!

My Dad’s selections are :

EXITAS 1350 NEWBURY

THE DRUIDS NEPHEW 1500 NEWBURY

VICTORS SERENADE 1440 NEWCASTLE

ANQUETTA 1535 NEWBURY

Current Standings

Father 2-1 Son

Profit

Father -£12.26

Son £8.63