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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Haydock and Ascot

Photo by :Getty Images
Quite another profitable week for the blog. Good old JOIN THE CLAN (8-1) and then HAWKES POINT (17-2) rompted in to take some well earned coins off the bookies. I’m hoping I can keep this run going! Lets hope the return of SPRINTER SACRE is a good one today. He’s one of the best chases I’ve seen and just hope he reprodces something near his best today. Fingers crossed. Whatever you are on today, good luck in our weekly battle against our old foe the bookie!
The #twittergamble boys have opted for the following this week. Let’s hope the big one comes in :
@LiamKenniford GARDE LA VICTOIRE 1425 ASCOT
@DazGilbert1 WISHES AND STARS 1555 TAUNTON
@Tonythetyke FISHING BRIDGE 1555 TAUNTON
Here are my four for you
 
REBEL REBELLION 1535 ASCOT (nap) (WON 12-1 = £37.50)

I know this horse has a race like this in him. I thought he would run much better than he did last time at Wincanton. However, on the back of that the handicapper has lowered his rating another 2lbs to a mark of OR141. That is only 2 lbs higher than his last winning mark. He could be very competitive today on this ground and off this mark. With the jockey taking his allowance off he is effectively running off the racing weight as BALLINVARRIG but rated 8lbd better. This has to be it today! Come on the Rebel!
 
CORRIN WOOD 1515 HAYDOCK (nb) (PU = -£5.00)

He ran a cracker last time at Wetherby when the weight told giving 8lbs to DOLATULO. He was very assertive from the start and similar tactics are needed today. Interetingly the handicapper had dropped him another pound to a mark of OR 146. That is only 2lbs higher than his last winning mark. With HEY BIG SPENDER in the race he is also a full 10lbs lighter in the saddle than last time
 
GARDE LA VICTOIRE 1425 ASCOT (treble) (unplaced = -£5.00)

Is the class horse in the race and has some pretty smart form in the book. He beat VANITEUX in the Greatwood and was a respectable 5th in the Ladbroke giving BAYAN 8lbs. While he has to carry alot of weight again today class is class and he can take this today.
 
BITOFAPUZZLE 1350 ASCOT (WON 5-2 = £7.81)

She is a smart prospect and brought unbeaten bumper form to hurdles and was not disgraced when narrowly beaten by THE PIRATES QUEEN last time. CAROLES SPIRIT is the class horse in the race but having to give 5lbs to and up coming smart one may be too much – or so I hope.
My dad’s selections are :
BALLINVARRIG 1535 ASCOT (unplaced = -£5.00)
TOBY LERONE 1515 HAYDOCK (unplaced = -£5.00)
RAYVIN BLACK 1425 ASCOT (unplaced = -£5.00)
WHISPERING HARRY 1525 TAUNTON (WON 11-4 = £8.59)
 
current standings
Father 5-6 Son
Profit
Father -£31.07
Son £156.37
 

Cheltenham 2013 Day 3

 
Day two was just as action packed and eventful as the first wasn't it! SPRINTER SACRE has the potential to be one of the all time greats, what a performance that was. How good is it to see jumping gods like him! I felt for BOSTON BOB today but I still think my tip LORD WINDERMERE would have beaten him. I also felt RIVAL D'ESTRUVAL may well have gone on to beat BACK IN FOCUS and I was relieved I had a wager on both!
 
So on to day three and one of my big fancies for the whole week.
 
1.30 JEWSON NOVICES CHASE

DYNASTE is an obvious pick for this race, however I feel a drop back in trip is against him and the stable aren't exactly flying at that moment and 13/8 at the time of writing this is short. CAPTAIN CONAN is an obvious choice too but he had to work hard last time to beat THIRD INTENTION. I'm therefore opting for TEXAS JACK (unplaced) who has some very smart form. He split BOSTON BOB and LORD WINDERMERE last time out and look what they did yesterday. He has also finished behind BACK IN FOCUS when 3 miles looked long for him. Unlike the style of BOSTON BOB and LORD WINDERMERE he is better at this trip and has to have a fantastic chance.
 
2.05 PERTEMPTS FINAL

This is one of my top selections for the festival. HOLYWELL (nap) (WON – 25-1) has performed gamely all year with four gutsy performances. He looked even more effective when being stepped up to three miles. Running in snatches last time cost him the race but he showed immense battling qualities to stay on up the hill behind ELY BROWN. The trip, the speed of the race, the pure test of stamina and more importantly the track will play into his strengths. I can see him being delivered over the last just behind and then bound on up to the line. He's my best bet of the day. I am also having an each way squeak on ACCORDING TO TREV (unplaced) who will appreciate the drying ground and you cannot ignore the win he had here in October.
 
2.40 RYANAIR CHASE

MENORAH (PU) is a favourite of mine and I have to side with him in this despite the worry of the poor form of the stable. In my opinion this distance and this track bring the best out of him. His performance when beating HUNT BALL at Kempton had to be noted as he probably hated the ground. He is impressive here as I said with 3 wins and a place from 6 runs. He has the class and remember he did beat CUE CARD here in the STAN JAMES INTERNATIONAL HURDLE a couple of years ago and despite getting beat in the HALDON GOLD CUP to CUE CARD he did give him 3 lbs that day. I'm hoping what I've stated backs up my gut! With the ground drying I am also having a little nibble at ALBERTAS RUN (PU) his record here speaks volumes and but for the ridiculous winter we've had he would have been our sooner. He's pure class and depending on how much the ground dries he could be a huge price for a horse of his stature.
 
3.20 LADBROKES WORLD HURDLE

A wide open contest in my opinion, the injury to BIG BUCKS gives plenty of these a shout. None more so than REVE DE SIVOLA who was very impressive last time. OSCAR WHISKY proved the doubters wrong last time by staying the distance. However, I'm opting for WONDERFUL CHARM (unplaced) this horse has been kept for this since the forecast was to be dry. He takes his chance here instead of the Coral Cup. Both the trainer and jockey think they potentially have a good one here, I'm happy to go with them judged on their experience of winning this. He has a fair bit to find on the figures, but he coud be anything. Well worth a sniff in a wide open contest!
 
4.00 BYRNE GROUP PLATE

I'm opting for an outsider in this who caught my eye last time out. HECTOR'S CHOICE (unplaced) ran an absolute stormer behind OPENING BATSMAN the other week at Kempton. He only dropped out close home and this drop to 2m5f will help. He won here last year in a Class 1 chase defeating AERIAL after getting nowhere near in this last year off a mark of 147. He's now rated 144 and I just fancy him to run well on better ground and as I say he really caught my eye last time out.
 
4.40 FULKE WALWYN KIM MUIR CHASE

PRINCE OF PIRATES (unplaced) for me is the answer here. He is a progressive horse, who despite a few dodgy jumping rounds produced a good effort at Kempton last time. He is another one that prefers good ground and has won round here before. A talented amateur jockey on board with a few big races successes this year will also help. Bring on the bucks.
 
5.15 CROSS COUNTRY CHASE – re-arranged.
 
I don't really like or pay much attention to these races so am just looking at form briefly for this and suggest taking a chance with the French one, especially if the ground is tacky. So for me SACREE TIEPY (unplaced) is the selection.

After a couple of successful days so far, I'm hoping for another few wins here, especially HOLYWELL. Enjoy the day whatever, I'm n a course all afternoon so will have no idea what's been going on!

Here's a summary of my tips :

1.30 TEXAS JACK (nb)

2.05 HOLYWELL (nap) (WON – 25-1) ACCORDING TO TREV (ew)

2.40 MENORAH (treble) ALBERTAS RUN (ew)

3.20 WONDERFUL CHARM

4.00 HECTORS CHOICE (ew)

4.40 PRINCE OF PIRATES

5.15 SACREE TIEPY
 

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)
 

Cheltenham Trials Day

Well we really have to take our hats off to the Cheltenham team, what a monumental effort to get this fixture on. I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm thankful, I'm tired of scrappy Class 6 handicaps on the all-weather. Lets get back to proper NH racing and what a selection of equine aces we have on show today. Gutted that my old favourite Tiday Bay doesn't run as the conditions have come up perfect for him.
 
Anyway kick back and enjoy the action on the most exciting racing day we have had for what seems an age.
 
I have decided to choose a selection for every race today, and have also highlighted my top three as usual. Hope we can find a few today. I thought what the hell and put them all in an accumulator too, if I win, of which the odds are ridiculous I may buy a horse for Cheltenham!!
 
12.10 IRISH SAINT – (2nd – 10-11) is Paul Nicholls' best chance today according to his wager on the Morning Line this morning. Smashed Mcvicar last time out and that horse is well thought of by his connections. KING ARTHUR fell in that race and since ran well to place the other week to boost the form a bit. He's the top rated horse and should win this too.
 
12.40 BALLYGARVEY (nap) – (PU) won really impressively from the front last time in two classes below this. The handicapper was impressed with that and bumped him up 15lbs. He has won two out of two on heavy and I reckon he will go on today as he is still relatively unexposed and could develop into a nice prospect. Good to see connections keeping Tom O'Brien on board too.
 
13.15 PACHA DU POLDER (nb) – (PU) this horse has always been highly regarded and as yet hasn't run to true form. He was easily beaten by BOLD SIR BRIAN last time over a distance that didn't suit. Today he is something like 10lbs better off over a better trip. He has form in France over soft and heavy ground and am hoping today is the day he shows how good he is.
 
13.50 SPRINTER SACRE – (WON 1-5) the aeroplane! Is there anything else I need to write?
 
14.25 CAPE TRIBULATION (treble) – (WON 7-1) won well last time beating MR MOONSHINE in the Rowland Merrick chase. He seems to have got his act together and has always had a touch of class about him. He ran in some good races as a hurdler and has beaten the likes of Junior in that field. I love watching Denis O'Regan ride and he will hopefully get a tune out of him today.
 
15.00 AT FISHERS CROSS – (WON 13-2) has been impressive all year including over three miles here on heavy last time. The drop in trip will allow him to set up a decent pace and hopefully nick it off THE NEW ONE over the last hurdle and the run in.
 
15.35 KENTFORD GREY LADY – e/w (3rd – 11-1) will enjoy this test of stamina more and she gets an allowance of the market leaders which may prove to be a real help in these conditions. She really is a tough mare and the trip was too short last time, she has a touch of class and should run to a place at decent odds.
 
16.10 MR WATSON – (WON 11-4) when Tony McCoy slims down to ride 10-3 you have to take notice. Won well last time over two miles on soft and is going in the right direction. Don't forget SADLER'S RISK who was also a smart juvenile and ran to sixth here in the Triumph last year. He may run a good race at a very good price. I will have him as an e/w bet too.