It is likely that both jump meetings at Catterick and Folkestone will go ahead, altho’ Catterick is having a precautionary morning inspection.
The 2m5f class 3 h’cap chase at Folkstone at 2:35 is the pick of the day’s racing. I really rate MIDNIGHT HAZE who won well LTO, and Kim Bailey will have him ripe for this. This trip may be on the short side, but he did win well over this trip at Kempton last November beating a useful field of future winners, and he will lead them all the way and not lose for lack of stamina. There are some potentially useful horse’s in this – Carrickboy, Doctor Pat, Chance Du Roy, The Rainbow Hunter – so, with the trip possibly on the short-side, MIDNIGHT HAZE is an each-way selection, especially as the early odds are 6/1 (Chandler). They have now just gone, and best available is 11/2, don’t take less!
I can’t see anything of interest at Catterick.
Folkestone 2:35, MIDNIGHT HAZE, 1pt eachway @ 11/2 (best odds guaranteed)
Antepost opportunities for the Cheltenham Festival (part one)
It’s time for the first review of the antepost markets for the 2011 Cheltenham Festival.
Just about all the races have some form of antepost market prior to the meeting, but at this stage of the season, it is only the feature “championship” races that really should be focused on.
The Festival ‘opener’, the Supreme Novices looks virtually sown-up already by CUE CARD who is best-priced at 11/4. Given that last years “damp squib” Dunguib was at 6/4 this time last year on very flimsy novice hurdle formlines, providing CUE CARD goes for the race (and not the “Neptune" over 2m5f, or even the Champion Hurdle) he looks good value.
The “Arkle” is still a market being formed. I have already recommended taking the 12/1 about GHIZAO, and I still think that is an opportunity. But there are a few hands yet to be shown, and I am very interested in the potential Irish contenders, notably NOBLE PRINCE and MIKAEL D’HAGUENET.
MENORAH now heads the Champion Hurdle market where he will bid to be the first hurdler since Bula in 1971 to win the premier hurdle race the year after winning the Supreme Novices hurdle. He will not be the first to try and, in the past 20 years, 8 have tried including the likes of Brave Inca and Hors La Loi (who both went on to win the Champion Hurdle in a later attempt). By contrast, the “Neptune” hurdle over 2m5f has been won by subsequent champion hurdlers in Istabraq and Hardy Eustace, and Gold Cup winner Davy Lad. I believe that last years “Neptune” winner, PEDDLERS CROSS is a better horse, and I advised taking the 14/1 about him for the Champion hurdle before his win in the Fighting Fifth hurdle. Now just 6’s for that race, he’s still worthy of investment.
The 2011 ‘Neptune’ is still a blank canvas, as is (in some ways) the RSA Novice Chase. No doubt about it, TIME FOR RUPERT was very impressive in winning at the weekend but odds of just 4/1 leave no room for error, and I will be looking for another to carry my money
As I wrote yesterday, MASTER MINDED looks back to his best – if not better than ever! Remember, he won the 2009 Champion Chase at odds of 4/11 (and some thought he should have been more like 1/8). He looks head & shoulders better than anything over the trip and I would grab the 7/4 (2/1 with Bet365) with both hands, as if he wins his next race (likely to be at Leopardstown on 27-Dec) then he’ll be very short odds for the Champion Chase. I think that BIG ZEB who won the race last March, was flattered by the result and his official rating of OR165 that he went into the race with is a more realistic valuation of his ability than the OR174 he was awarded for winning this last year. I am very interested in FRENCH OPERA for this race at 25/1, as he would have finished 2nd or 3rd in the Champion Chase based on his run at the Festival when 2nd in the “Johnny Henderson”. He’s yet to reappear this season, but loves Cheltenham and is a proven 2-mile chaser.
Part Two of the review of Antepost opportunities for the Cheltenham Festival will be tomorrow.
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Tuesday, 14 December 2010
Cheltenham Festival antepost review (part one)
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