No selections on the blog yesterday, but anyone who follows my tweets on twitter will know that at about 12:30pm, I tweeted the following;
“Is it just me, but is LACDOUDAL looking a decent wager in the X-country? 3rd at Fest, stays all day and last won on Good-to-Firm”
LACDOUDAL won a thrilling race at 9/2, having been 6/1 when I made the tweet.
I am not taking that winner into my profit and loss calculation, so the November total remains up 4.25pts for the month
I was very impressed with DAVE’S DREAM in winning the 2-mile handicap as he slaughtered this field once they started downhill, and skipped over the final 2 fences like they were hurdles. CUE CARD also impressed, and he is now 3/1 for the Supreme Novices at the Festival and (unbelievably) is 20/1 for the Champion Hurdle. Please, do not be tempted by those Champion Hurdle odds as he’s not even the best 4yo hurdler we’ve seen this autumn – that honour goes to Clerks Choice currently rated OR162. Nicky Henderson had a double on the day when Aegean Dawn won, and that’s 4 winners from 8 runners in 3 days – does it auger well for Saturday? By-the-way, AEGEAN DAWN absolutely hacked-up.
There are three jump meetings today, at Cheltenham, Uttoxeter and Wetherby, but again, all focus will be on Cheltenham. The going is heavy at Uttoxeter, so I’ll give that meeting a miss. At Wetherby, PISTOL BASC should maintain the advantage over Archie’s Wish despite being 7lb worse-off as - over this shorter trip - he is proven and has that turn-of-foot required to win races. Odds of 9/4 look value.
Onto Cheltenham, and the winner of the opening 3yo juvenile hurdle should be noted as some really good horses have won this race in past years. Similarly, the next race on the card, a 3-mile novice chase has also been won by some really good horses, including Comply Or Die and Albertas Run. I would not want to call the winner of this, tho’ Wayward Prince looks destined for the top-table.
The next is the 3m 3f & 110yds h’cap chase, a real endurance test. Do not ignore young horses; in the past 8 years it’s been won by 2 x 5yo’s and 2 x 6yo’s. That said, the 10yo Character Building last won here when taking the Kim Muir at the 2009 Festival, and this trip and going will really suit him. He’s fit from racing 3-weeks ago and has the master in the saddle, AP McCoy. Lacdoudal winning y’day gave a big boost to his conqueror Midnight Chase, but I fear the rain-softened going may catch him out. Ogee has won 3 of his 6 chases, and was almost certainly over-cooked when he last ran at Aintree. This course, the trip and going will all suit him, and he goes well fresh. Off OR142, it may have been a mistake to leave him out of my 10-2-Follow entries. One off my horse alert list is Gentle Ranger, and he did not enjoy the soft going LTO, but he runs really well at Cheltenham and I prefer him to the other Pipe entry, Junior who may be daunted by this number of opponents (he’s never won a jump race with more than 7 runners). Any Currency will be staying on for the final mile, but will he catch the leaders? For me, GENTLE RANGER at 16/1 is the value, especially as David Pipe reckons he could be a Welsh National winner come December.
As this horse is already on my horse alert list and subject to a standard 1pt eachway wager, I will not be doubling-up with a selection stake as well. I expect the 1st-4 to feature Ogee, Character Building, Any Currency and GENTLE RANGER.
The feature race of the day is the Paddy Power Gold Cup, and it is eagerly awaited. There are 20 runners; all primed to win this race, so finding the winner is no walk in the park. Winning form at Cheltenham is a big-plus factor for this race (16 of the last 20 winners of the PPower has won previously at Cheltenham). Of the course winners, SUNNYHILLBOY at 12/1 looks to be the best value, but what puts me off is that only a handful of jockeys have ridden the winners of this race in the past 10 years; McCoy x 3, Timmy Murphy x 2, with top jocks Mick Fitzgerald, Barry Geraghty and Paddy Brennan filling the saddle on the other years. The only other jock being AJ McNamara last year on Tranquil Sea, but that horse loved the mud and got it last year. Because jockeyship is so important in this race, I am swaying away from the fav Long Run, and erring towards MAD MAX, GREAT ENDEAVOUR, and FINGER ON THE PULSE (Pidgeon Island is too unpredictable). MAD MAX was running a cracker in the Arkle at the Festival till hitting the 2nd-last hard, but he recovered and ran on. He is my idea of the winner, and I expect Sunnyhillboy, Great Endeavour, and Fingeronthepulse to fill the places. Long Run I think will struggle for several reasons; his jockey’s inexperience, and the fact that it has so little racing amongst big, competitive fields here in the UK.
Note: some bookmakers are paying place-odds on 5 places – Ladbrokes, Betfred and Paddy Power, plus some online bookies.
Cheltenham 2:35 MAD MAX, 1pt eachway @ 9/1
(Ladbrokes, 5-places, best odds guaranteed)
Cheltenham 2:35 FINGERONTHEPULSE, ½pt eachway @ 22/1
(Ladbrokes, 5-places, best odds guaranteed)
Total = 3pts staked
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