Cheltenham Day Two

What a cracking first day treat that was for all of us! Fair play to DOUVAN who I thought wouldn't win and I didnt think ANNIE POWER would win either and she would have but for THAT fall – thank god she was alright! On the selection front my nap nearly did it in the Mares race as POLLY PEACHUM was just pipped at 9-1. Other than that FAUGHEEN (4-5) won and PERFECT GENTLEMAN came fourth. All in all not that great but the entertainment and races more than made up for some of my disappointments. We move on to day two! The twitter gamble boys have their selections below :
 
@Tonythetyke – Toutancarmont 1600
@DazGilbert1 – All Yours 1640
@Fernando_RFC2 – DON POLI 1405
@LiamKenniford – LAC FONTANA 1440
 
My selections are :
 
NEPTUNE INVESTMENT HURDLE 1330

NICHOLS CANYON (3rd – 7-2 = £2.18) was a very smart horse for John Gosden with a highest rating of OR111. He was second in a Group 3 at Newbury and has looked very smart over these obstacles so far. Last time out he defeated WINDSOR PARK by 3 and a half lengths at Leopardstown. This is another step up and despite his old foe returning one pound better off, I can't see the placings being reversed. PARLOUR GAMES is the best of the rest and has not done much wrong so far and he will appreciate any further drying of the ground.
My Dad's selection –
 
RSA CHASE 1405

What a cracking race this is! As always you need a top class staying type to get anywhere near winning this. DON POLI has been very impressive so far and he is a worthy favourite with a Grade 1 success already in the bag. However, SOUTHFIELD THEATRE (2nd – 13-2 = £4.06) has what I consider to have more scope for improvement. He has gone from strength to strength this year over these bigger obstacles. I like the way he has beennurtured into his races with a gradual increase in challenge and I think he has huge potential! He also has top class hurdling form in the book, getting beaten narrowly by FINGAL BAY in last year's Pertempts. He has beat POLLY PEACHUM by a short head after that. I'm hopeful of a big run. THE YOUNG MASTER has been very good too and the Mullholland/Geraghty partnership can't be underestimated, he has a great chance too.
My Dad's selection –
 
CORAL CUP 1440

LAC FONTANA beat ARCTIC FIRE last year here at the festival and has always been a decent horse. He has been playing with the big boys like FAUGHEEN and ROCK ON RUBY recently and this is easier. Sean Bowen takes a valuable 5lbs off and he has to have a decent each way chance. HISABAAT ran a cracker in defeat three years ago in the Triumph and he is a full 7lbs lower in the ratings than that day, with better ground he is also worthy of an each way punt! My main play though is MIJHAAR (nap) (unplaced = -£5.00) who was a smart flat horse and I have always fancied him winning a big handicap like this. He doesnt come without risk, he's a pain to ride and sometimes does too much but I think the better ground and the track will suit him. Even more suitable for me is his weight, he's only got 10st 7lbs on his back and he has been shouldering the likes of 11st 11lbs and 11st 12lbs in some Listed races. He ran in the Greatwood hurdle off a similar weight to this but on much softer ground. The shrewd Dickie Johnson is steering and I think I've found a big priced winner here!
My Dad's selection –
 
QUEEN MOTHER CHAMPION CHASE 1520

Another awesome race! We have two former champs returning with question marks against them; a young pretender to the throne; a classy ex-festival winner and a transformed rogue! Can you pick? I've opted for the best horse I've seen in a long time who I think will be back to his old self. SPRINTER SACRE (treble) (unplaced = -£5.00) is and always will be a legend, tomorrow he becomes immortalised! I thought his comeback run was good and he was sensibly ridden. At his best none of these would get close and I think they will be close-by tomorrow but I think he has that little bit of extra class to see him home.
My Dad's selection –
 
CROSS COUNTRY RACE 1600
This is something I'm never that fussed about but reckon DUKE OF LUCCA (unplaced = -£5.00) will get the better of his rivals in this.
My Dad's selection –
 
FRED WINTER JUVENILE HURDLE 1640

ARABIAN REVOLUTION (nb) (unplaced = -£5.00) is the horse for me in this race! He looked smart when beating RATHEALY on his debut, who has since franked the form. The next piece of form is key, he was 2 and a half lengths behind BELTOR at Ludlow on soft, and we saw what he did last time! His last outing was a good defeat of MATORICO, a decent French import, who he beat quite comfortably. A mark of OR 137 is fair and he could be a very smart horse for the future. His breeding suggests the drying of the ground will help a little more too.
My Dad's selection –
 
WEATHERBY'S CHAMPION BUMPER 1715

Another race that I dont get too involved in, although I did select the winner last year! This year I'm opting for GENERAL PRINCIPLE (unplaced = -£5.00) who trounced his rivals on his first run and he could be anything!
My Dad's selection –
 
Good luck everyone!
 
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Cheltenham 2013 – Day 2

Day one I think was as good as we were all expecting. Superb performances by Hurricane Fly and Quevega going down in history were the highlights for me. I thought TOUR DES CHAMPS ran well and he has a big handicap in him on better ground and I was a bit disappointed by how KENTFORD GREY LADY petered out after moving very menacingly close home. Overall though I was happy with the blog throwing up JEZKI placed and wins for CHAMPAGNE FEVER and HURRICANE FLY. I still think Jezki would have been a bit closer but for that poor jump at the last!
 
On to day two and here are my selections for Wednesday.
 
1.30 John Oaksey National Hunt Chase

With this likely to turn into a slog the battling qualities and sound jumping ability of BACK IN FOCUS (WON 9-4) give him a real chance, he is an out and out stayer and that may be needed tomorrow. My one question mark over him is whether or not the ground will be soft enough. I will have a little bit on him, but fancy RIVAL D'ESTRUVAL (FELL) to possibly get the better of him. This one is another sound jumper who should relish the conditions, which judged on the times, are good to soft. He ran very well behind PACHA DU POLDER at Ayr last year and that form could be strong enough.
 
2.05 Neptune Investment Novice Hurdle

PONT ALEXANDRE (treble) (3rd – 6-4) is a potential superstar! The stable have been exceptionally positive about his chances and his rock solid form. He is the form selection and will have a wedge of my money. I will also be having an each way saver on CHATTERBOX (unplaced) who has been really impressive this year and has done nothing wrong. He defeated MY TENT OR YOURS and then followed that up by defeating LAC FONTANA giving buckets of weight away. What a cracking race this is, and I haven't even mentioned the form and abilIty of THE NEW ONE (WON and how wrong was I!!!!), but I think these two will hold that one up the hill. Sit back and enjoy a cracker.
 
2.40 RSA Chase

This is an entriguing race and BOSTON BOB appears to have the credentials and character for this, he should certainly appreciate the step up in trip. UNIONISTE was very impressive last time but I reckon the ground brought out the best in him that day. So my money is on Jim Culloty's progressive LORD WINDERMERE (WON 8-1). He is another one who looks like he will relish the step up in trip and if anything that was evident when he was defeated by BOSTON BOB by only half a length after nearly destroying a fence in his round of jumping! A great price too for me!
 
3.20 SportingBet Queen Mother Champion Chase

If there was ever a horse racing banker it surely has to be SPRINTER SACRE. He is a joy to watch and I can't wait to see him in action again tomorrow. So, with him to win no questions asked, who is getting place money and finishing second? My each way selection is SANCTUAIRE (unplaced) If he is ridden positively as in previous races I can't see any other of the field getting close to him other than the Aeroplane. I'm staggered that he is 25-1, yes, SS has stuffed him on every occasion but are the others such as WISHFUL THINKING and SIZING EUROPE really that better than him? I beg to differ!
 
4.00 Coral Cup

If you can pick the winner of this, you are either damn good, or having a lucky day! The latter for most. Competitive as hell as always and a case can be made for lots of them! I am putting my each way money on two of them. It sides at times to stick with quality horses at the top of the handicap. I was encouraged to see CRACK AWAY JACK (unplaced) run somewhere near his best when behind TIDAL BAY at Wetherby, and then followed that up with a decent second here behind OSCAR WHISKY. That form is strong and a drop back to 2m5f may help again. My second option is slightly stronger for me. CASH AND GO (nb) (unplaced) is a bit of a forgotten animal. His second here in the Racing Post Hurdle behind OLOFI is impressive and this step up should suit him. He had PROSPECT WELLS way behind that day too. The drying ground will help and he ran pretty well at Newbury last time and I think this extra distance and stiff track will suit.
 
4.40 Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle

I'm putting my money on a decent priced outsider here. MILORD (4th – 16-1) hails from a top yard and one who knows how to pick a race for a horse. He ran well behind CHATTERBOX and LAC FONTANA last time and a return of that effort will see him have a chance and is pretty well weighted. He is one of those handicap hunches I get from time to time as he fits the progressive profile needed to win this and he has a similar profile to WHAT A CHARM when he won a few years ago. I'm also having a saver on BORDONI (unplaced) who looked good at Market Rasen last time and was a decent horse on the flat who apears to have taken well to hurdles.
 
5.15 Weatherbys Champion Bumper

There are times when you watch a horse for the first time and think wow! I remember watching a clip of GOLANTILLA (nap) (3rd – 9-1) winning the race at Cork and thinking he was special. He is out of GOLAN and destroyed some good horses that day and I have been waiting for him to run in this. I think he will run really well.
 
All the best on day two everyone. A summary of my bets are below
 
1.30 RIVAL D'ESTRUVAL (FELL)

2.05 PONT ALEXANDRE (win) (treble) (3rd 6-4) CHATTERBOX (ew) (unplaced)

2.40 LORD WINDERMERE (WON 8-1)

3.20 SANCTUAIRE (ew) (unplaced)

4.00 CASH AND GO (win) (nb) (unplaced) CRACK AWAY JACK (ew) (unplaced)

4.40 MILORD (ew) (4th – 16-1)

5.15 GOLANTILLA (win) (nap) (3rd – 9-1)