Cheltenham Day Two

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

Neptune Investment Novices’ Hurdle

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

SELECTION : WILLOUGBY COURT 14-1 Ladrokes

RSA Novices Chase

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

SELECTION : O O SEVEN 16-1 CORAL

Coral Cup

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

SELECTION : OLD GUARD 25-1 Bet365

Queen Mother Champion Chase

One word DOUVAN….enough said!!!

Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase

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

SELECTION : SAUSALITO SUNRISE 16-1 Paddy Power

Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle

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

SELECTION : DIVIN BERE 5-1 CORAL

WEATHERBY’S CHAMPION BUMPER

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

SELECTION : DEBUCHET 10-1 Bet365

Selections for Day Two:

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

£5win DIVIN BERE 4:50 5-1 CORAL

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

£2.50 e/w O O SEVEN 16-1 CORAL

 

 

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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