Cheltenham Festival

Champion Hurdle : Cheltenham 3:20.

12 Mar
March 12, 2013

Horseracing Markets

Back Hurricane Fly @9-4

The picture surrounding this year’s Champion Hurdle has changed markedly over the past week due to the change in the weather and ground conditions. Hurricane Fly seemed to be caught out last year by the very fast prevailing ground conditions and up to a week or so ago it looked as if we were set for a similar scenario. The course at Cheltenham is soft all round and underfoot conditions are set to deteriorate further. Many of the leading lights have done their best this Winter to avoid the heavier ground but events for the main day appear not to have panned out for them. In contrast, Hurricane Fly has won in desperate conditions in Ireland and few concerns have ever been expressed over his ability to handle wet ground. His hurdling this season has been sharp and he arrives off an unbeaten campaign. He deserves to be favourite to win back the Hurdling Crown and at 9-4 warrants a serious betting interest. He was posted at around 6-4 when it looked as if he was due to encounter fast ground and now finds himself at a fairer price with conditions in his favour.

Cheltenham / Leopardstown January 26th.

26 Jan
January 26, 2013

Horseracing Markets

Back Johns Spirit (EW) @9-2

Cheltenham’s novice handicap ‘chase run at 12:40 looks a competitive affair but on a day where so many runners are moving up in class, there is a potential class dropper in Johns Spirit. Last time out he took on a field of solid handicappers at Sandown, some of which have stepped up in grade to contest the card’s feature handicap at 1:15. Back against novices the selection must have a leading chance, particularly as it seems that he remains progressive. It is noteworthy that with Johns Spirit back down in trip there has not been a reapplication of any headgear. Clearly connections feel that he will travel well enough throughout the race in this company. Also, it seems as if he has probably gone well enough at home since his last outing.

Back Ted Veale (EW) @9-1

The feature handicap hurdle at Leopardstown at 3:20 is probably one of the day’s hardest puzzles to solve but the case for Ted Veale is convincing. The son of Revoque still remains a horse of great potential and it is no surprise that connections have decided to have a shot at this very valuable prize. It appears as if he has been campaigned in plain sight and it is his progression that will see him well handicapped. He is undoubtedly a talented individual having run in 4 year old point to points and also been sharp enough to win on the flat. His close up second in a graded race last time also demonstrates that connections have not felt the need to hide him away. Part of the trainer’s modus operandi is to employ the very best jockey available heading into a significant race. Davy Russell has been booked even though his retaining owner has runners in the field. While the price could be more desirable in a race against 29 other runners, it is worth examining Ted Veale’s claims in light of the fact that sometimes it pays to focus on the obvious.

Naas January 19th.

19 Jan
January 19, 2013

Horseracing Markets

Back Solwhit @10-11

If following the money counts for anything, backing Solwhit in the 1:35 has to be the plan. The winner’s cheque is nearly on par with the prize money for chasing home Hurricane Fly in next Sunday’s Champion Hurdle. The main difference about this assignment is that Solwhit receives a considerable weight allowance from his main rivals. It is also encouraging that he returns to the race track sooner rather than later and connections don’t feel that they need the extra time to prepare.

Back Tofino Bay (EW) @4-1

Tofino Bay reopposes Aupcharlie, in the 2:10, who seemingly beat him comfortably enough at Christmas but on very different ground. The going at Naas is going to be nothing but very heavy, conditions in which Tofino Bay clearly excels. The ground at Leopardstown last month was on the yielding side of soft and no real help to a confirmed mudlark. Tofino Bay has some very strong novice hurdle form to his name and has a touch of class to go with his resolute endurance qualities. He just has a lot more appeal at the projected prices.

Cheltenham Festival 2012 : Day 4

15 Mar
March 15, 2012

Cheltenham Day 4

Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle

All eyes will be on the clear favourite BOSTON BOB who bypassed the Neptune Investment Novices’ Hurdle to compete in this longer distance event. He is undefeated since joining Willie Mullins, including a victory over rival MOUNT BENBULBEN and by his trainer’s own admission is one of the best novices he has ever sent over for the festival. With the ground and distance not thought to pose a problem, this top class prospect will represent most people’s banker for the final day and a price of 6/4 will not be off-putting.

Recommended bet: Boston Bob to win at 6/4

The Cheltenham Gold Cup

The media focus of the feature race will surely be on the two market leaders – last year’s winner LONG RUN and crowd favourite KAUTO STAR. Despite two defeats to his rival earlier this season, the form of LONG RUN‘s latest victory over stablemate BURTON PORT at Newbury should not be dismissed. If unspectacular, he showed a gritty determination that day to beat a seven-time winner whilst conceding 10lb. This will surely prove be a key attribute in the final stages of this race. At 2/1 he remains a backable prospect against an older horse who’s less than ideal preparation for this race has been well publicised.

As mentioned last month on this site, the form of the Cheltenham RSA Novice ‘Chase 2010 has been phenomenal. As such, we recommended an ante-post bet on BURTON PORT at 33/1 prior to the Newbury encounter with LONG RUN. Given the lengthy layoff and his performance that day, we have little reason to change our minds and he remains a likely contender. Another each-way prospect is WEIRD AL. He pulled up last year due to a broken blood vessel but has won all of his previous starts at this course. Finishing just 2 lengths behind LONG RUN in November makes his 12/1 price of some appeal.

Cheltenham Festival 2012 : Day 3

14 Mar
March 14, 2012

Cheltenham Day 3

The Jewsons’ Novice ‘Chase

Arguably this race has more strength in depth than Tuesday’s Arkle ‘Chase. The re-routed PEDDLER’S CROSS has the grade one hurdle form in the book and clearly wasn’t himself when chasing home SPRINTER SACRE at Christmas. It is concerning for his backers that there are plenty of challengers queuing up to take him on. CRISTAL BONUS travelled with purpose and jumped well at Kempton. He appears to be better suited to left handed track so it is reasonable to expect a progressive run from him over today’s course. FOR NON STOP was all set to finish in the frame at last year’s meeting in the competitive Coral Cup but for falling at the last. He had jumped remarkably well up to that point and didn’t deserve to come down. It has been noticeable how well he has finished off his races this season and he is well suited to a sharp track. SIR DES CHAMPS is another re-routed to this contest. We are still in the dark as to how good this horse actually is. A competitive race upfront will suit him seeing as he habitually comes from off the pace. It did no harm to his profile that SON OF FLICKA came back to Cheltenham and won having finished runner-up behind SIR DES CHAMPS. His consistency is a great asset and makes him eminently backable.

Recommended bet: SIR DES CHAMPS, Each Way.

The World Hurdle

If you’ve been lucky enough to back BIG BUCKS at a reasonable price, the pre-race discussion ends at that point. He is truly an outstanding performer in this sphere and any ‘without the favourite’ bet should logically be accompanied by a saver on this great horse. OSCAR WHISKY is probably the best of those in opposition and his top class two mile hurdle form makes him the late race speed horse. I’d be quite confident that he’ll stay the trip in light of the fact that his last race was not an exercise planned to help him settle better knowing that he would be racing over the three miles at Cheltenham. There are few of the outsiders that have diminished claims to third place. Run the race again and there would be a significant chance that a different set of horses would make the frame.

The Ryanair ‘Chase

In contrast this race is exceptionally open with no small group of runners entitled to dominate the pre-race betting market. RIVERSIDE THEATRE is the class of the field having divided the Gold Cup favourites in a renewal of the King George. He still has a few questions to answer over his suitability to Cheltenham. With proven course form he would be trading at around 5-2 rather than 9-2. RUBI LIGHT and ALBERTA’S RUN were amongst the principles in last year’s renewal. The suggestion is that considering POQUELIN went of as the 9-4 favourite, is that this year’s edition is set to be a stronger affair than last year’s. ALBERTA’S RUN travels and jumps particularly well on good ground and a repeat win here clearly has been the target. RUBI LIGHT is to be respected but it feels as if he is something of a default favourite. For example, it is hard to believe that GREAT ENDEAVOUR will not be more at home in the conditions. RUBI LIGHT will however play the important role of being the pacemaker and his jumping is bound to stretch the field. One that will appreciate a searching pace is SOMERSBY. I don’t believe that the trip makes a great deal of difference to him but rather a situation where he is picking up tiring rivals in the latter stages. He doesn’t appear to possess the change of gear to enable him to quicken in a sprint to the line. The form of NOBLE PRINCE‘s Jewson victory last season has taken a few knocks and it is a little disconcerting that BIG ZEB was easily able to pick him up over two miles at Christmas.

Kim Muir Challenge Handicap ‘Chase

UP THE BEAT catches the eye in this contest due to the fact that his staying ‘chase form has been well franked by PORTRAIT GALLERY who went across to Newcastle a few Saturdays ago to lift the Eider ‘Chase. He remains progressive and should go well here.

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