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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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!
 

A Soggy Saturday!

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The Bandit writes the blog from a very soggy, miserable Sheffield this morning and the ground at nearby Doncaster is going to be very testing. Not the greatest Saturday on the betting front I’ve seen and I know a few of my fellow twitterati are looking to opt pout today. However, jumps is my baby so I’ve had to have a look and hopefully I’ve found a few to whet the appetite ready for the first being meeting at Cheltenham next weekend. I always bet with my heart and have to follow the horses who I know have the class in the bag there are a few of those today, so please as always remember these are my thoughts and my horses that are close to me, so I’m not saying slap all your wages on them! I hope they run a good race and that we get a good cheer, potentially there are four decent winners here!

Sit back and enjoy the best you can on this dreary day!

OPENING BATSMAN 1440 WINCANTON (NAP) – (unplaced = -£5.00) this boy is a cliff horse for me and one I always keep an eye on and follow. To say he had a disaster last season is an understatement, yet here he is at a decent 12-1 in a competitive race, why not be a big outsider based on last year? Easy, he’s a class horse and his mark today is very eye-catching. The handicapper has given him a real chance today. He beat ROLLING ACES in the Racing Plus Chase the other year of a mark of 140 – so now you see! I just hope the rest over the summer and the cheekpieces have rekindled the old fire in his belly. Fehily will stoke him up if so!

JACK DEXTER 1425 DONCASTER (NB) – (unplaced = -£5.00) he won this race last year off a big penalty and comes here in form off the back of a veery good second on horrible ground to GORDON LORD BYRON at Ascot. He is also albs better off today with the second placed horse that day TROPICS. He also loves it here and will love the mud, and boy oh boy has it been raining here this morning! Has to have a super chance!

ROCK ON RUBY 1515 WINCANTON (TREBLE) – (3rd – 4-1 = £2.50) the star is back! A class horse in this sphere and proved that when getting beaten a head by THE NEW ONE at Aintree after a dismal showing when chasing earlier in the year. That form, plus his earlier hurdle form, is by far and away the best of offer here. He has to give lumps of weight away to IRVING but that one needs to prove he has it at this level, and I’m not sure he has it, especially based on his Cheltenham run.

POLLY PEACHUM 1405 WINCANTON – (WON 6-1 = £18.75) this one comes with a warning. She’s one I love and there are a few question marks against her today. That being the ground, she needs decent ground as you saw when she beat L’UNIQUE last year and was just pipped by SOUTHFIELD THEATRE, smart form you’ll agree! The weight she has to give away is the second question against her. However, she is a class mare and I have thought highly of her since I saw her demolish her rivals in a bumper at Warwick. Can she lug the weight? Yes, she’s going to be even better than her current mark suggests in my opinion, the ground is my sticking point today. She’s one for your notebooks though.

My Dad’s selections are :

HAWKEYETHENOO 1350 DONCASTER (NR)

TROPICS 1425 DONCASTER (unplaced = -£5.00)

STANDING OVATION 1450 WINCANTON (PU = -£5.00)

MELVIN THE GRATE 1605 DONCASTER (unplaced = -£5.00)

Standings after Week 2

Father 1-1 Son

Money Scores

Father -£16.73

Son £7.39

Sandown, Ripon and a Monster Scoop6

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The curtain comes down on another fantastic jumps season. My favourite part of the season has to be HOLYWELL winning again at the Cheltenham festival. Love that horse! Probably every man and his dog are having a go at the Scoop6 today with the forecast jackpot, to pick 6 winners in itself is a miracle, never mind with 90 odd runners covering the races, more chance of winning there lottery, but someone has to, I hope its me, my family or one of you twitter friends! Good luck!

I went to Ripon racecourse in the Easter break for the first time, its a beautiful little course and the photo above is of ROUDEE winning the first at that meeting. I’m opting for a few selections again there this afternoon. The weather is key today and there has been a lot of rain, as I type the blog, Ripon reports as being on the slow side of good, Sandown – good to soft, good in places and Haydock good to firm! A right mixed bag! Looking forward to two weeks today as I will be in Warwick for my annual jaunt there!

Here are my selections for today, with my dad’s too, I’m currently whooping his ass! Whatever you select today good luck!

PEARL ICE 1450 RIPON (NAP) – (unplaced -£5.00) Looked a decent horse a few years ago and has disappointed a little bit to be fair. However he is a course and distance winner here on good to soft beating BECKERMET off 90. He also won at Doncaster over this distance on good to soft also off 90. Has raced off a high mark of 98 and has now dropped to an appealing mark of 92. He is well drawn and the visor may sharpen him up. I think he has a cracking chance here! I watched BARKSTON ASH win here the other week and he did it well and he is a danger despite his low draw.

POLLY PEACHUM 1625 SANDOWN (NB) – (2nd – 100/30 = £2.08)this mare ran a cracker again last week at Cheltenham and she has won me a good bit of money from here last two runs. The ground is key to her success so I’m slightly concerned on that front and advise caution here. However, a mare in form is always worth following and she has been raised 15lbs for her win at Cheltenham. I still think she has more to offer to be honest and Barry Geragty was very positive about her chances too in his blog.

CAESAR MILAN 1730 SANDOWN – (TREBLE) (3rd – 4-1 = £2.50) this is a cracking little race and some good horses running. L’UNIQUE may well have had his form boosted if POLLY PEACHUM goes in again and is a worthy top weight. However, my selection has been given some sharp rises by the handicapper and I think rightly so as he is a decent prospect. Two wins on heavy were impressive and the tongues tie really sorted him out. He ran really well back in a Grade 3 at here behind BRAVE VIC. Both DOCTOR HARPER and BROTHER BRIAN have gone on to win again from this race and my selection has been raised another 3 lbs to 134, the same mark BROTHER BRIAMN now has. He has to have a chance although I would have preferred the ground a bit softer.

STIFF UPPER LIP 1405 SANDOWN – (unplaced = -£5.00) won very easily in a novice event at Towcester on Sunday and interestingly is chucked back in here off the same mark. He also won very well at Newbury earlier in the year destroying the field on heavy ground. A versatile horse that could be on the up. Worth a punt at a good price seen as some of the more favoured horses have question marks against them.

As for the BET365 Gold cup I think ROALCO DES FARGES has a great chance, he was second in this to TIDAL BAY two years again off a pound lower and the Scottish National was too far for him. That said I have to chance my arm with my old favourite OPENING BATSMAN, he has ran like a pig all year and the trainer doesn’t know why as he shows all his ability at home. He has been given blinkers to day to hopefully sharpen him up and the increased distance will also help too. This guy has bags of class but hasn’t fancied it, interestingly Nick Scholfield rung up wanting the ride when Fehily got off! IF, and its a big IF he runs to his form when he beat ROLLING ACES last year he has a cracking chance. Co-incidently he is back down to the mark he won that race off!!

My Scoop6 selections are :

Leg 1 – STIFF UPPER LIP

Leg 2 – SIR REGINALD

Leg 3 – PEARL ICE

Leg 4 – YOURARTISONFIRE

Leg 5 – MOIDORE

Leg 6 – OPENING BATSMAN



My Dad’s selections today are :

KELTUS 1405 SANDOWN (unplaced = -£5.00)

ARKDIILY WITNESS 1550 SANDOWN (unplaced = -£5.00)

CAESAR MILAN 1730 SANDOWN (3rd 4-1 = £2.50)

MY KINGDOM 1655 DONCASTER (WON 9-1 = £28.12)

Current standings – FATHER 7-8 SON

Profit – FATHER £68.04 SON £124.24

Ripon Raceday

As part of my week away in the caravan we're off to Ripon Races today! I've. Not been to the course before but I know its a lovely little course. I've picked my selections below and I also fancy a couple at Cheltenham too.
 
MIDTERM BREAK 1355 RIPON (2nd – 11-2)
POWERFUL PRESENCE 1430 RIPON (3rd – 25-1)
ADAM'S ALE 1505 RIPON (treble) (3rd – 5-1)
MAVEN 1540 RIPON (nb) (2nd – 9-2)
CHAMPAGNE SYDNEY 1615 RIPON (unplaced)
MON BRAV 1650 RIPON (nap) (unplaced)
MENDELITA 1725 (unplaced)
INJAZ 1755 RIPON (unplaced)

The ones I like at Cheltenham are :
 
THE PIRATES QUEEN 1405 (3rd 9-4)
POLLY PEACHUM 1515 (WON 9-1)
MON PARRAIN 1550 (WON 14-1)
 
And finally FENCING 1640 NEWMARKET (3rd – 7-2)

 

Wednesday selections

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I thought I would do a bonus weekday blog after looking at Wednesday’s cards a few jumped out at me that are of interest.

POLLY PEACHUM 1630 WARWICK (nap) – (WON 3-1) I have been waiting for this horse to run again for a while. I first saw her win her at Warwick in a bumper that she took very easily and looked a smart prospect. The key to her is good ground. She ran a great race when winning at Kempton last year beating the likes of MICKIE and CALL ME A STAR in a class 1 novice hurdle. She then disappointed a little on soft ground last time. In this class 4 on good ground with the very good Nico de Boinville taking 5 off her back she has a great chance.

COULDHAVEHADITALL 1420 WARWICK (NB) – (unplaced) this horse has only run once on good ground and he won well at Wetherby until the champ. He returns to good ground here after falling behind ANDY KELLY early on Saturday. ULZANA’S RAID will be all the rage because of the form however I think this one has a really good shout.

LISAHANE BOG 1940 KEMPTON (TREBLE) – (unplaced) this horse is due a win soon, based on the second and third to last starts you would think it is soon. He hasn’t won for a long time yet I find it intriguing that Adam Kirby gets the ride after finishing second on him here a few rides ago. Good chance.

ANNOUNCEMENT 2010 KEMPTON – (unplaced) this horse won on his solitary start last year at Thirsk, the form of that race is pretty solid with the second and third winning and the likes of FIRECRUISE who finished down the order that day winning a couple of decent races since and now on a mark of 80 which is up near the top two in the betting for this. Could run well in this contest at a decent price.