Hennessy Gold Cup

Photo by PA (The Telegraph)

Last week’s first blog for a while proved to be a cracker with one of the advised two, KRUZHLININ going in at 9-1. A nice £56.25 profit! I’m hoping for a continuation of that luck today. The Hennessy is one of my favourite Gold Cup races, you need quality, stamina, speed and generally to be a handy horse.

NATIVE RIVER is a worthy favourite and he could certainly show the improvement needed to win this. He’s ridden handy, his stable are confident and has the champ on board (yet to win the race). Is he genuinely up to this class? I think he is and he could be the next rising star from the Tizzard yard. Previous winners of this fab race do include MANY CLOUDS, BOBS WORTH, DENMAN (twice), TRABOLGAN etc. Let’s see!! I had VICENTE in the Scottish National and he is another rising star but I think he needs further than this trip. I’ve had TRIOLO D’ALENE on my watch list for ages, if the ground gets even better he has a cracking chance. He’s on his last winning mark an carries 5lb less than when winning this a few years ago – could he repeat Denman and win it twice? He’s worth an each way bet! Readers of my blog will know my love affair with HOLYWELL, since napping him to win the Pertempts at the festival I’ve always followed him. Last time out was purely a pipe opener for this. He isnt really a horse for this time of year, however a three mile trip, on goodish ground, with a quick pace is right up his street. Blinkers are on, he carries 10lb less than his second to UN TEMPS POUR TOUT at Cheltenham and he is in effect 7lbs better off with that rival today. The pace of the race is key and if Richie gets him jumping up near the pace his speedy jumping and stamina will come in to play. He’s a monkey and it all depends on his mood. I’ve always thought he was a high class horse and should have been rated at 160+. A couple of plays in a cracking race!

GASSIN GOLF is an interesting contender in the 1405 at Newbury. He has ran a couple of crackimg races in the past in better standard races than this. Narrowly beatentwice in the Imperial Cup at Sandown off OR121 and OR132. He’s running off 3lbs higher in this and on the same mark as his encouraging return at Fontwell. That was his first run for over a year and this increased distance could well suit too. The drying ground will certainly play to his strengths and I think he’s a much smarter horse than he’s shown. Big run expected.

Selections £5 e/w HOLYWELL 1510 NEWBURY -£10

£5 win NATIVE RIVER 1510 NEWBURY (6-1 when blog went live) + £30

£5 win GASSIN GOLF 1405 NEWBURY -£5

Total staked £30

Returns (including stake) £101.25

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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
 

Betfair Chase

After a crackingweek at Cheltenham last week the National Hunt bandwagon rolls on with the showpiece chase of the day : The Betfair Chase. I always remember how awesome Kauto Star was in this when he won it for the final time, he murdered them in a performance that will always stay with me, he was magnificent that day! Only one winner for the blog last week in COPPER KAY, but she looks like one to follow this year. A few nice handicaps today to watch aswell as the big event. Good luck if you're having a flutter!
 
MIJHAAR 1425 HAYDOCK (nap)

I've kept saying that this fella has a race like this in him. He's still on a very attractive mark for me and ran ok last time at Cheltenham. He travels really well but they seem to just get away from him. I think this softer ground and the track will suit him and stop that happening. These fixed brush hurdles will test their jumping but my guy is due to go chasing soon and should be able to cope. He is a huge price but is a smart horse and I think today is the day. I also like the chances of DEFINITLY RED, who has decent track form and looked a smart type last year, he made need the run.
 
ROCK ON RUBY 1440 ASCOT (nb)

Didnt do bad in his reappearance and this drop back down in trip won't cause any issues. He has to give 8lbs to Brother Tedd but he is used to doing this and the stiff turn for home will suit my guy better. It's a shame the ground is soft for the returning to form COURT MINSTREL, but I don't think he will go in ground this tacky.
 
HOLYWELL 1500 HAYDOCK (treble)

This is my heart speaking over my head, however he needed the run big time in the Charlie Hall and he is too big a price for me to ignore. He was second in this race the other year and we all know how much he stays in at times in these marathon trips. He doesnt like it too soft but his heart and battling qualities will give him a sniff over the final couple of fences. If his jumping is fluid he will be there at the end.
 
FAGO 1515 ASCOT

This horse looked decent as a novice a few years agobut his jumping let him down. He has got better with that and I'm interested to see how he runs dropped back in trip on this stiffer track. He will appreciate the ground and could do this very easily, or balls it up and fall.
 
My Dad's selections are :
 
BEAU LAKE 1210 HAYDOCK
GUNNER FIFTEEN 1315 HAYDOCK
TEA FOR TWO 1425 HAYDOCK
ROYAL PALLADIUM 1535 HAYDOCK
 
PLACINGS
FATHER 1-1 SON
PROFIT/LOSS
Father – £9.39
Son -£4.07
 

Aintree Day One

Photo by Fran (@Riosrider2)
 
Day one of the Aintree festival. Usually it pays to side with horses who have swerved Cheltenham, however this year we've had a slightly longer break between the two. Whatever happens over the next few days I'm sure we're in for a right treat, there are some great races to watch and a few tricky handicaps to try and solve. We of course then have the biggest puzzle of them all – The Grand National! My record in the big one just isnt great, the last time I won I think I was eight! I'm now 35!!! However, I have an antepost ticket on MON PARRAIN at 50-1 after he won for the blog on New Year's Day. I'm chuffed the ground will be on the better side for him and also chuffed that Sean Bowen rides. He has a great chance and I reckon he'll run a cracking race! I'll probably pick another couple but haven't made my mind up yet!
Here are my selections for Day One. Good luck with whatever you back and I hope you win!
 
Manifesto Novices Chase 1340
A small but distinct field and a few with obvious chances. The main one is VIBRATO VALTAT who should have been UN DE SCEAUX's main rival in the Arkle, but he never ran a true race. I'm not sure whether he will get this trip? JOSSES HILL has flattered to deceive this year and I don't think his jumping will hold up. I'm opting for CLARCAM (WON 5-1), he may also not get the trip but I prefer his chances with Ruby on board. He was put in his place in the Arkle too but he really caught my eye in the Fred Winter last year and was unlucky when falling. He has had a couple of solid runs this year and doesn't have either VAUTOUR or UN DE SCEAUX to overcome.
 
Betfred Juvenile Hurdle 1415
HARGAM will be a short priced favourite for this based on his third in the Triumph. The Nicholls pair really don't do it for me. I'm opting for INTENSE TANGO (unplaced). She struggled against her male counterparts last time but she comes here fresh and will enjoy the better ground. Her weight allowance may also support her speed at these weights and help her overcome her rivals this time. She looked a decent horse when putting PASS THE TIME and ANIFILET in their place at Doncaster.
 
Betfred Bowl Chase 1450
HOLYWELL (nb) (3rd – 5-2) was my tip for the Gold Cup and is my tip here. He ran a cracker at Cheltenham and it was a shame the ground swung to the soft side that day as I really thought he would win the race. SILVINIACO CONTI misfired that day and on this ground I can't see him reversing placings with my tip. MA FILLEULE is a tough mare and she will be there at the finish. HOLYWELL has the class, the jumping ability and the ground to beat all his rivals.
 
Doom Bar Aintree Hurdle 1525
JEZKI comes here with a real chance of giving the champ another victory in his swansong. ARCTIC FIRE has been ultra-consistent this year too and must have a decent chance. However, I have to opt for my old favourite ROCK ON RUBY (2nd 7-2) though. He missed the festival and will be fresh. Despite being 10 years old he can still mix it with the young guns. He has a good record here and produces good efforts on better ground. I think he'll battle up the finishing straight with the other two above and his heart will bring him out on top.
 
Crabbies Fox Hunters Chase 1605
Only one horse here for me. PACHA DU POLDER (nap) (2nd 7-1) is a horse I always followed and has made a brilliant start in this sphere. My selection improves so much on better ground and I'm expecting a big run tomorrow. He started out this year being beaten by TEAFORTHREE on soft ground and he then won easily on good ground at Ludlow. He's a nice mover and a smart jumper. He is closely matched with BIG FELLA THANKS on old form and I expect both of them to be fighting it out up the finish.
 
Betfred Red Rum Chase 1640
CLARET CLOAK will enjoy the better ground and ran well last time behind ULCK DU LIN at Ascot. He runs well fresh but 11st 12lbs is a lot to carry in this. Even a 5lb taken off by Sean Bowen may not be enough. BABY MIX fascinates me; he's been off for a while and was a smart hurdler on good ground. With this break to overcome and a return to form needed he may not do it, but he's well treated on his old form. I'm opting for TED VEALE (treble) (unplaced) he's down to his last winning mark of OR141, which he's won twice at. He has got a nice weight and has good form when the ground is better. He also has a strong form line through CLARCAM and I think he'll run a big race!
 
Injured Jockeys Fund Handicap Hurdle 1715
The last race on day one and it's a cracker to try and solve! DALAWAN is smart yet disappointed last time behind CALL THE COPS, can he recapture his form? CALL THE COPS has been raised another 7lbs for that win and I think he's handicapped to the max now. LAC FONTANA could really improve for the extra distance amd is worth a saver! UNIQUE DE COTTE and my old favourite JOIN THE CLAN deserve praise and should run well. Now this is where I get silly! I have followed KATGARY (unplaced) all year based on his efforts last season and I was and still am convinced he's a smart horse. Good ground I'm sure is key and with a little bit of confidence back in him for winning in a lower class last time I think he'll run well. He is carrying a stone less than he did last time too. My advice here, ignore me, I'd go over the White Cliffs for this one!!
 

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!
 

Tingle Creek Day

myWPEdit Image

The Bandit hasn’t got the time to write an in-depth blog today. Taking my girls swimming, daddy duties call! Its been a busy old week with no other than OFSTED rolling up to the Bandit’s workplace! We had some positive news however!

The Twiiter gamble from my fellow horse aficionados is below and I will update it later today

@DazGilbert1 GODS OWN 1500 SANDOWN

@TonytheTyke LIGHTENIN ROD 1310 WETHERBY

@LiamKenniford DORMELLO MO 1425 SANDOWN

@Fernando_RFC2 BAILEYS CONCERTO 1300 SANDOWN

My selections today are as follows :

MON PARRAIN 1330 AINTREE (NAP)(unplaced = -£5.00) what a ridiculous price this fella is. Ran really well here when second a couple of years ago and I had him when he won well at Cheltenham. His recent spin will have brought him on loads and I’ve always thought he was a proper horse. The slightly better ground will hep him too.

HINTERLAND 1500 SANDOWN (NB) – (3rd 12-1 = £7.50) this horse I have always liked too and he has been a bit hit and miss lately. Nicholls has a great record in this and Fehily on board is a real plus. He likes it here and I think he will run a big race.

HOLYWELL 1440 AINTREE (TREBLE) – (FELL = -£5.00) my old favourite! His recent spin at Carlisle will have sharpened him up and with Richie back on board he will taker this today despite the stable being a bit quiet.

ROLLING ACES 1515 AINTREE (4th 8-1 = £4.50) ran a cracker last time behind WISHFULL THINKING and I said then to lump on the next time he is out. Drops in class and will take the beating in this today!

My dads selections are :

Dormello Mo 1425 Sandown (unplaced = -£5.00)

Somersby (2nd 8-1 = £4.50)

Rebel Rebellion (unplaced = -£5.00)

Emperors Choice 1535 Sandown (unplaced =-£5.00)

Standings

Father 2-2 Son

Profit

Father -£22.76

Son £10.63

Aintree Day Two

myWPEdit Image

Well the first day wasn’t too bad for the blog with the nap SILVINIACO CONTI winning at 9-4 and places for ROCK ON RUBY (10-1) and OSCAR WHISKY (7-4). How good was it to see Rock on Ruby run so close, he really is better over hurdles and for me should stay in that sphere.

On to Day Two and Ladies Day, god only knows what sights will be on show tomorrow!!!!

TOP NOVICES HURDLE 1400

This is a cracking little race and the good ground will certainly suit a few of them. Nicky Henderson has an awesome record in this race in recent years and JOSSES HILL ran very well and caught the eye at the festival and I also have liked the attitude of AMORE ALATO this year an due should be thereabouts. However, I’m opting for MIJHAAR (NB) (unplaced) who was a decent horse on the flat off a rating of 105 and he produced some good displays on good ground. He won smoothly on his debut at Doncaster and this track should suit his flat speed. Decent price too!

MILMAY NOVICES CHASE 1430

HOLYWELL (WON -7-2) ran another cracker at the festival and proved that he could be a stayer of real class. The blinkers are kept on and despite a hefty 12lb rise he can run another cracker here. I’ve always thought he was a smart horse and to compete at this level he needs a mark like this. My only niggle is will McCoy’s style suit him? I think Richie McLernon rides him beautifully and maybe they should have stuck to that.

MELLING CHASE 1505

This really is a highlight for me on this card, it always produces a damn good race and there are several that have great chances. It should be a real feast! RAJDHANI EXPRESS has a great chance based on his progressive profile and his run at the festival, I don’t think he’s this level though. BALLYNAGOUR was very good at Cheltenham but 15lbs is a hell of a rise in the ratings. However, I’m opting for ROLLING ACES (NAP) (2nd – 16-1) who is also a progressive horse and who put in some very good displays last year. He is now back on a mark that saw him run a close second to OPENING BATSMAN on good ground and then followed that up with a win on soft in Ireland. I think he is suited to better ground and the pace will of the race will suit him too.

TOPHAM CHASE 1540

There are about seven I could pick here and after seven runnings there would be seven different winners! A cracking race. I have two selections in this but am also intrigued to see how little MA FILLEULE runs up against these fences. She ran a stormer behind HOLYWELL last time and should be thereabouts. Firstly I raved on bait about DOESLESSTHANME (FELL) earlier in the year and he obliged last time. He is back up to a mark of 144 that he has won off before, and interestingly is stepped back up in trip, the better ground will help him see it out and is will place at least. My second selection in this has to be CEDRE BLEU (unplaced) he is a realm monkey but has a touch of class! He won a decent race this tome last year and last time ran poorly due to ulcers. A alb drop from the handicapper further boosts his chances, another to be placed!

SEFTON NOVICES HURDLE 1615

RACING PULSE (TREBLE) (unplaced) was a horse I followed this year and he has some solid form in the book and 10-1 is a big price for his chances. He has run well behind SEEYOUATMIDNIGHT and AUBUSSON after a string of victories. Again I feel the better ground will suit him and I’m quietly confident he can reverse places with his victor due to the ground.

HANDICAP HURDLE 1650

CHELTENIAN (4th – 8-1) can show his true colours today. He ran well at the festival but was pulled up sharply towards the finish after being in a prominent position. He was far too keen that day and if switched off in this, with the previous form in his book including the bumper and the fine fourth to SPLASH OF GINGE he has a real chance.

NH FLAT RACE 1725

Not really a fan of these but will try my luck with THE GOVANESS (unplaced)

Good luck if you’re having a flutter!

Cheltenham Day 3

myWPEdit Image

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!

Cheltenham Day One

It is here at last! The greatest week on Earth! Or so I think anyway! Time to sit back and watch a feast of racing over the next few days that will make you yearn for more once it's over! Whatever happens this week, lets hope all the horses return safe, jockeys too and we have a festival that will be talked about for years to come.
 
On to my selections :
 
Sky Bet Supreme Novices Hurdle

What a race this is to kick the Festival off. I love this race as it signals the begininig of the week but it's also a bloody tough race to call the winner of. There are several of these that have really good chances. GILGAMBOA is an improver and he won the big Irish Handicap the other week and comes here as a horse that could really be anything, I'm not sure the ground will paly to his strengths though. VANITEUX has always been touted as a good thing but the thing that sticks in my mind is his defeat by AMORE ALATO, a reproduction of that would see him well beaten. I've backed WILDE BLUE YONDER every race this year and if he stays on four legs he has an each way sneak. VAUTOUR comes here with obvious credentials and looked good last time when defeated The Tullow Tank in the same race CHAMPAGNE FEVER won last year. My selection though has to be IRVING, he has been nothing but impressive in each race and looked very good last time when easing away with the race and having AMORE ALATO a distant second. He has form on better ground in Germany and for me looks to be a very decent horse. Hope he gets me off to a good start.
 
SELECTION – IRVING (nb) (unplaced)
DAD'S SELECTION – WICKLOW BRAVE (unplaced)

Racing Post Arkle Chase

God I love this race as well! I have had a few goods wins too, including CONTRABAND and of course who can forget the mighty TIDAL BAY trouncing NOLAND and the others in 2008. This is a tight little contest and a lot can be made for all the leading contenders. VALDEZ has impressed me with every run and he could run a big race at a decent price, he will surely go on to bigger things no matter what happens. We all saw what CHAMPAGNE FEVER did last year although his Boxing Day defeat sits badly with me and that's why I have written off his chances. For me TRIFOLIUM is the best Irish contender. He beat FELIX YONGER last time, on that horse's preferred ground and at level weights after previously being beaten by him giving him 4lbs. My selection also finished second behind DEFY LOGIC when they both beat CHAMPAGNE FEVER. DODGING BULLETS could run a big race with his Chletenham form in mind and he has really improved since the operation he had on his palate. I still havent mentioned ROCK ON RUBY who brings the best hurdle form to the table!! What a race, sit back and enjoy!
 
SELECTION – TRIFOLIUM (nap) (3rd – 11-4)
DAD'S SELECTION – ROCK ON RUBY (unplaced)
Baylis and Harding Handicap Chase

Jesus wept! This is a right old handicap with several horses close to my heart! This is what NH racing is all about, finding the winning horse in a race like this!
HOLYWELL, my star horse of last year, that I napped at 25-1 to win the Pertemps goes. I've got to put a little on him but I don't think he has the expereicne of a big, classy chase like this yet. He's getting better but will be one for next season for me. MA FILLEULE I backed last time when she won at Kempton, she is a decent horse and was due a race like that, however a 6lb rise and the slightly better grpound put me off her. Over recent years horses aged 8 or 7 have had a great record in this, and also horses with a light weight! I'm hoping my horse beats the weight voodoo. My selection is one of the horses I follow and for me two things make me opt for him. The better ground and a great record when fresh. My selection is PACHA DU POLDER, he's always had a bit of class, and finally showed it when winning at Newbury last year. He has rran over 3 miles before and that was on soft ground which he hated and he finished second. The extra distance I think will improve him further. He will bowl along near the front and with being fresh will be up with the pace and will hopefully stay up the hill. 33-1 is huge and Paul Nicholls reported him to have had an eye catching racecourse gallop! He could be my big handicap winner this year!
 
SELECTION – PACHA DU POLDER (unplaced)
DAD'S SELECTION – HOLYWELL (WON 10-1)
 
Stan James Champion Hurdle

These races just keep getting better and better! Right, I may get egg on my face but I'm saying the Fly will lose! Firstly no 10 year old has won this race since SEA PIGEON in 1980, secondly I think THE NEW ONE, MELODIC RENDEZVOUS and MYTENTORYOURS will run him out of it. I would be placing all of my money on MELODIC RENDEZVOUS if the ground were softer and despite his jockey claiming it won't matter, I think it will, especially when the other contenders will enjoy it more! MYTENTORYOURS is my selection and I thought he was impressive when beating THE NEW ONE at Kempton and despite everyone saying TNO will be better I don't think he will reverse the placings. I even think he may take this race after the last flight and up the run in, coming off the bridle neaer the finish! Although, that may be a fairytale! Regardless though it will be a cracker and I can't wait!
 
SELECTION – MYTENTORYOURS (2nd – 3-1)
DAD'S SELECTION – THE NEW ONE (3rd – 100/30)

OLBG Mares Hurdle

QUEVEGA has made a mockery of this over the past few years and there is strong evidence she may do it again! However, I'm going for an upset. HIGHLAND RETREAT may have what it takes to finally knock her off her perch! She has done nothing wrong this year and while she has not knocked any trees down she has gone about her business in a very classy way. Not much more to be said, QUEVEGA is the best mare on show but she may get turned over, hopefully by my selection.
 
SELECTION – HIGHLAND RETREAT (unplaced)
 
Terry Biddlecombe Amateur Rider Chase

Old Terry will be looking down ansd be honoured to have this race named afer him and I'm sure the amateurs will give him a good show! If the ground were softer I would be all over MERLIN'S WISH, unfortunately I think it's dried out too much for him. My selection is BEEVES he gave SHUTTHEFRONTDOOR 5lbs at Aintree in October for a 1/2 length defeat and then finished a gallant second to ELY BROWN at Leicester in December. He is now 8lbs lower in the ratings than that 1/2 length defeat and with better ground and level weights, he may well run a cracker!
 
SELECTION – BEEVES (unplaced)

Rewards4Racing Novice Chase

The first comes to a close with another cracker! PENDRA will probably be all the rage and rightly so judged on previous form. ERICHT has been put up as a big chance for the Henderson team by a few shrewdies. However, the way AHYAKNOWYERSELF won a Market Rasen in the summer really caught my eye, he then ran well in behind MELODIC RENDEZVOUS at Wincanton and that is smart form. He has doen pretty well over the bigger obstacles and he is effectively 5lb well in judged on his last suucess when beaing BIN END at Leicester. He's my main option in the race but I also have to have a little on GRANDADS HORSE, who will enjoy the better ground and you cannot rule out BABY MIX either.
 
SELECTION – AHYAKNOWYERSELF (4th – 33-1)
 

Kempton and Warwick

 
Well this week was a bit of a shock to the system after two weeks off but The Bandit soon got back into the swing of things! Last week was a cracker for the blog with my nap INDIAN JACK winning at 5-1 and CHEVISE coming at 20-1 givnig me some real profit and saw me finally winning a week over my old man in our little head to head. He also had a cracking week with two winners and 2 placed. Lets hope we can continue the good form of recent weeks today. The current standing are FATHER 3-1 SON. With our total profits from a £2.50 each way stake being
Father = £93.04 profit
Son = £77.56 profit
 
UNCLE JIMMY 1425 WARWICK (NAP) – (WON – 17-2 = £23.44) He has two wins on soft to his name and for me he has been crying out for this longer trip. People think he may not stay I reckon it will bring even more out of him. He reminds me of HOLYWELL who I put up in this last year and was pipped by ELY BROWN. He takes a bit of a hold but is always there staying on at the end. He beat ROYAL NATIVE at Fontwell over 23f and I think today you will see him stay on over the last flight here and catch up in the run in. He could be my Cheltenham horse this year as HOLYWELL was last year, he would need to be competitive in this though. Great chance today!
 
HOME RUN 1440 KEMPTON (NB) – (unplaced – £5.00) he ran a cracker last time behind SAPHIR DU RHEU and I think he could reverse the placing today on this softer ground. At the weights he is 8lbs better off today than last time for an 8 length success. Harry Derham takes 5lbs off for his claim though but I just think Home Run has been improving more and more and this track on the ground will play to his strengths. He has only gone up a pound on the ratings compared to Saphir's 15! I think he is better handicapped than his foe and I think Saphir needs laying in this today.
 
DUNOWEN POINT 1355 WARWICK (TREBLE) – (unplaced -£5.00) has been dropped 3lbs in the ratings for his poor show at Aintree. I think he just didn't fire that day on a specialist track. He is now only a pound higher than when defeated by CLOUDY TOO at Wetherby on soft last year. He gave CLOUDY TOO 5 lbs on the weights that day and that horse is now rated 13lbs higher than my choice in the ratings. If he reproduces that form he will wipe the floor with these today I reckon. The ground should be fine for him and he has a great chance in my opinion.
 
SWNYMOR 1550 KEMPTON – (unplaced – £5.00) A bit of a forgotten horse is this one! Won very well last year and was moving to win when asked too much at the last flight at Chepstow and he fell. That destroyed the rest of his season and his confidence. Miss Curtis has been patient with him and ran him for a confidence booster on the flat at Doncaster. He was staying on that day over a trip way short and it will have done him the world of good. He's six pounds lower in the ratings than when running in the Triumph hurdle and he has the class to beat these today at a great price!
 
Before I go on to my dad's selections I also want to flag up MIAS BOY 1435 LINGFIELD – who races on the lowest AW mark for 5 years today. Also EMPEROR'S CHOICE 1535 WARWICK should produce better today dropped another 4lbs! Finally DOESLESSTHANME 1415 WETHERBY goes well fresh has solid form from last year and is being seriously overlooked at 33-1 when I write this, he has a great each way chance.
 
Here are my dad's selections for today. We've picked three of the same races and the same horse!
 
RIVER MAIGUE 1440 KEMPTON (unplaced – £5.00)
OSCAR FORTUNE 1425 WARWICK (unplaced – £5.00)
KILLALA QUAY 1500 WARWICK (unplaced – £5.00)
DUNOWEN POINT 1355 WARWICK (unplaced – £5.00)
 
 
Result Father = -£20 and Son + £8.44
 
Running totals
FATHER 3-2 SON
 
FATHER PROFIT = £73.04
SON PROFIT = £86