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Between March 2010 and April 2017, this blog recommended wagers on 520 individual races on Jump Racing in the UK, resulting in a PROFIT of £1,525.39 on cumulative stakes of £5,726 - this is equivalent to a Return On Investment of 26.60%.


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Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Cheltenham Festival 2012 - Day 1

The 456th edition of the Wayward Lad blog.

Day-1 of the Cheltenham Festival and let's hope it's the Festival that we've all been waiting for. The new whip rules have been sorted out, the ground looks to be near perfect for racing, and all the best horses are fit and ready to run. Remember, the winners at Cheltenham will (in the main) most likely be:-

(1)    Last-time-out winners,

(2)    Have run their previous race since 25th December 2011,

(3)    Be carrying no more than 11st 3lb in a handicap race (hurdles or chase).

1:30 – William Hill Supreme Novices Hurdle: 2 mile & 110 yards
Plenty of LTO winners and those that catch my eye are: Agent Archie, Tetlami, and Montbazon as they have all run since 28th Jan and have run no more than 3 hurdle races.  Of those, TETLAMI looks the strongest as he's been prepared solely for this race all season and his recent win on the AW at Kempton will have him in peak fitness. He has also won a bumper at Cheltenham, and Henderson has not sent him for this for nothing despite having the fav - Darlan – in the race. Odds of 14/1 with Bet365 (BOG, best odds guaranteed) and paying 4-places to ¼ odds edges it for me.  A "no-bet" race, but TETLAMI for an interest.

2:05 – Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase: 2-mile
It would take a leap of immense proportions to oppose SPRINTER SACRE in this race as he looks quite the most impressive 2-mile chaser we've seen in many a year. I've looked for chinks in his armour but I cannot find any. I admit, I put up CUE CARD as an antepost eachway wager before SPRINTER SACRE won LTO beating his stablemate (the OR162 rated French Opera) easily, but I can only see CUE CARD winning if a mishap comes to the favourite.  That could come if the fav is put under pressure late-on in the race as he was in the Supreme Hurdle at the Festival last year by CUE CARD and he misjudged the final hurdle completely. I'm happy with my antepost on CUE CARD (½pt eachway @ 9/1) and if you are not on, take the 8/1 offered by Vic Chandler. I have Al Ferof about 7-10lb behind CUE CARD on my ratings, and I'd be surprised if any others were involved.  CUE CARD in the w/o the fav markets is 3/1 and that's better than a match-bet with Al Ferof.  

2:40 – JLT Speciality Handicap Chase: 3-mile & 110 yards
This looks a tough handicap to crack this year. With last year's winner being the first since 1997 to win with more than 11st (and both carried 11:2), the only horse I like above that weight is Zarrafakt – but he has no Cheltenham course form. Of the others who have Cheltenham form, there is Magnanimity (4th in the RSA in 2011) and Tullamore Dew (3rd in Centenary Chase in 2011, and 2nd in Coral Cup in 2010). Another I like is Fruity O'Rooney who stays 3-mile well and is running at his peak.  I can't have The Package who was 2nd in this race in 2010 as we haven't seen him in 496 days. It is dangerous to ignore LTO winners, but all 3 carry 11st 2lb or more. As I don't think Tullamore Dew will stay this trip, I'm focusing on Magnanimity @ 14/1 and FRUITY O'ROONEY @ 20/1.

Selection: FRUITY O'ROONEY, ½pt eachway @ 20/1 (Vic Chandler, BOG, ¼ odds 1,2,3,4)

3:20 – Champion Hurdle: 2-mile & 110 yards
It is very difficult to see past HURRICANE FLY as he beat Thousand Stars 7¼ lengths when winning this last year, and Overturn 15½ lengths. That said, if BINOCULAR is back to his best he will give him a race, of that you can be sure. BINOCULAR clearly wasn't at his best at Aintree or when he met HURRICANE FLY at Punchestown in May last year, so don't write him off, but he needs to find his best form to win this. I reckon 5yo's are well up to winning this, just that not many take part hence their low number of winners, I took 8/1 on ZARKANDAR on Friday and Ladbrokes offer 7/1.

Selection: ZARKANDAR, 1pt win @ 7/1 (Ladbrokes, BOG)

4:00 – Glenfarclas X-Country Chase: 3-mile & 7-furlongs
Two weeks ago, Keiran Burke said he was tempted to renew his license to ride FORTIFICATION in this race, and that's good enough for me. He should lead or be prominent thru'out, he stays 3m5f well and this is an easier trip as they race slower. He may be caught for speed in the final quarter-mile, hence he is not a selection – but, at 33/1 (Vic Chandler) he's worth a small eachway wager for an interest in the race.

4:40 – David Nicholson Mares Hurdle: 2-mile & 4-furlongs
Without question, QUEVEGA will win this, and it is very difficult to see which will follow her home.

5:15 – Pulteney Land Novices handicap chase – 2-mile & 4-furlongs & 110 yards
I was disappointed to learn that Tiger O'Toole was balloted out of this race (missed out by one place). This looks exceptionally tough, and yet I think it will be between two horses that I have won with this season – Going Wrong and Bless The Wings. Ferdy Murphy once thought Going Wrong would win the RSA and since coming back from injury he's done the trainer proud. However, BLESS THE WINGS won here LTO looking like a horse going places, and the 7yo could well be rated over OR150 before Christmas if his improvement continues.

Selection: BLESS THE WINGS, 1pt win @ 8/1 (Vic Chandler, BOG)

Total = 3pts staked

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