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

 

 

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.