Aintree Day Two

What a great first day of the festival that was. Thrills and spills a plenty! I was staggered to read on twitter that people were questioning Ruby Walsh's ability and also that there may be some wrong doings going on due to Annie Power and Arctic Fire falling at the last. I was flabbergasted to be honest, how can anyone who follows racing think that anyone would make a horse fall on purpose and risk the lives of the jockeys and horses, please! Give us a break and stop talking through your pocket! It's the name of the game and sometimes horses fall! It put a sour taste in my mouth after a great first day! That's enough of that now, it's off my chest and done…we move on. It was a decent day on the blog with CLARCAM (5-1) winning, photo above courtesy of Fran (@Riosrider2) and then some good runs for HOLYWELL, PACHA DU POLDER and ROCK ON RUBY. I called the lifeguards out to come and get me when I fell off the cliff with KATGARY in the last!!
 
On to today, ladies day and god knows what sights we'll see!! Some cracking racing again though and I'm down to three for the big one tomorrow – MON PARRAIN, ROCKY CREEK and FIRST LIEUTENANT. Whatever you're on today good luck!
 
Alder Hey Children's Charity Hurdle 1340
Another cracking handicap to try and solve on day two. THEINVAL won very well last time and despit a 10lb rise I'm sure he will be there again. I have put a few shillings on DELL' ARCA this year but he just hasn't just got going properly, if he does he has a chance. PEARL SWAN has been well supported and Nicholls continues to persevere with him. I'm opting for MIJHAAR (treble) (Unplaced) though, he ran well here over course and distance and got caught a little wide at Cheltenham. This flatter track and better ground will brimg out his falt racing attributes and he has been dropped another 2lbs to a mark of OR137. He has to run well today!
 
E-Lites Top Novices Hurdle 1415
Now this is a cracking contest. You can make a strong arguement for a lot of these. CARDINAL WATER has looked very good so far and was only geaten by QEWY but he was giving him 6lbs that day, level weights today so I can see those two switching order and despite QEWY bringing possibly the best form to the race I don't think either will win. GLINGERBURN has done nothing but improve this year, he beat BRISTOL DE MAI easily last time and he ran well yesterday. He's fresh and could run a big race. I'm opting for VAGO COLLONGES (nap)(2nd – 7-1) though, this looked his optimum trip last time and he has run consistently well all year. He will be suited by a strongly run race to come from off the pace and he will surely get that today. The better ground will also be in his favour to. I expect a big run and to come and swoop late after the last.
 
Mildmay Novices Chase 1450
This is not the best renewal in my eyes. Firstly SAPHIR DU RHEU is a smart staying hurdler and if he jumps, which there are doubts about, he will win. He is very short though. Jumping needs to be a premium in this and at the pace it will be run. I'm opting for CAROLE'S DESTRIER (unplaced) to win. He has some pretty solid form coming into this and was raised 10lbs for a good win in Listed company at Ascot. He since went out and won without breaking sweat and is a progressive sort who should be thereabouts.
 
MELLING CHASE 1525
Now this is more like it! What a fantastic race this is on paper! SIRE DE GRUGY (Fell) hasn't shown his best yet this year but there were signs of him coming back at Cheltenham. I really think this extended trip for him willnow be his distance and he may not be able to go with the young guns over two miles. He has bags of class and I think he'll show that today and take this. AL FEROF is a real danger and goes so well fresh, he was very impressive last time and he has the ability to kick on. If BALDER SUCCES turns up he also has a sniff. Sit back and enjoy the best race of the day!
 
Topham Chase 1605
The warm up for the big one! It's always run at a hectic pace and as we saw yesterday some of them go too quick and fall at the first, plus you need that bit of luck. HUNT BALL will love this and he has slipped to a pretty decent mark and should run well. BENNY'S MIST really impressed me with his jumping last time when just getting collared by SOUND INVESTMENT and a repeat of that gives him a chance. I'm selecting RUBEN COTTER (unplaced) though, he was very good last time after a mamoth lay off and cruised to the front. He has been raised 10lbs for that but he had heaps in hand that day and Nicholls has trained him for this and is very bullish about his chances. I expect another big run, he could make a mockery out of this.
 
Doom Bar Sefton Novices Hurdle 1640
THOMAS BROWN (nb) (unplaced) really disappointed me at Cheltenham. He has sime superb form in the book. He beat VAGO COLLONGES at Exeter in November and then followed that up by a close second to OUT SAM and he had TEA FOR TWO behind that day who destroyed the field in the Lanzarote. Before his festival disappointment he beat ROBINSFIRTH at Cheltenham and had AS DE MEE miles behind him. This trip is still an unknown but he's git bags of ability I think and something could have been amiss last time. I'm willing to give him another go based on this smart form. This flatter track may well suit too. MINELLA ROCCO has been ultra impressive so far and he could be anything, I'm happy to watch him in this contest today at his price, but he's one for the future. BLAKLION has a chance if he returns to earlier form he has shown.
 
Weatherby's NH Flat Race 1715
I don't really follow these races much. I'm opting for Mullins' best placed horse from the festival BELLSHILL (2nd – 7-1) to run a little closer today.
 

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!