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Friday 16 March 2012

Cheltenham Festival 2012 - Day-4

The 459th edition of the Wayward Lad blog.

Yesterday was another day when we hit the bar of a big win with THE COCKNEY MACKEM (who was 25/1 when I posted my blog in the morning) coming home in 2nd place after being the subject of an almighty gamble from 25's to an SP of 10/1. My main wager on NOBLE PRINCE went astray when the horse never travelled and pulled-up. I've no idea what went wrong but there seems to have been some problem with the horse's preparation prior to the race. Even SOMERSBY did not come right and I thought his consistency would see him home into the place's. So, including the ante[post wagers, we lost 3.1875pts on the day, which means we are down 3.5625pts on the Festival. Still all to play for, and I think I have a couple of interesting wagers.

1:30 - JCB Triumph Hurdle (for 4yo only): 2-mile & 1-furlong

Trainer Alan King appears to have the strongest hand in this race, and I have been a fan of GRUMETI for some time. His chief rival will likely be BABY MIX who won on the same Kempton card in February over the same trip in a faster time. I am sure that if Alan King did not have BALDER SUCCESS also in the race, then GRUMETI would be the clear fav for this. As such, his current odds of 7/1 look fair value. It can be a strange race tho' the Triumph, and it is not one of my favourites, so no wager for the blog.

2:05 - Vincent O'Brien County Handicap Hurdle: 2-mile & 1-furlong

This race looks as tough a handicap to solve as it's ever been and, as I've not had a good record in this race in the past, I'm giving it a miss.

2:40 - Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle: 3-miles

The fav for this race BOSTON BOB, dominates the betting market at 6/4 with the 2nd-fav MOUNT BENBULBEN at 6/1. I cannot believe that one novice is so far ahead of his peers at this trip and therefore suggest taking him on with one that may be capable of a surprise. That may be SIVOLA DE SIVOLA who was balloted-out of the Pertemps Final and has looked a progressive staying handicap hurdler this season. He may be only rated OR132, but he has won at the trip and will enjoy the going. However, bookmakers are only paying 3-places and so I will be giving this race a miss, tho' its likely I'll lay BOSTON BOB at less than 2.60 on Betfair.

3:20 - Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase: 3-miles & 2-furlongs & 110 yards

Most who read this will already be supporters of either KAUTO STAR or LONG RUN and whatever I write it will be near impossible to change their opinions. Personally, I don't reckon either will win. It will be a huge effort for KAUTO STAR to win this again as a 12yo (this is a trip that's beyond his best of 3-mile) and I feel LONG RUN has not "trained-on" and is not OR182 (his official rating). The winner in my opinion will be WEIRD AL who was a top-class novice chaser who missed his RSA Chase thru' injury. Now that connections realise he goes best when fresh, he comes here off a long break which for others may be catastrophic but for him could be the perfect preparation. Odds of 11/1 are fair and he should be placed at least. Of the others, none look capable of being involved except DIAMOND HARRY who may yet come good if the recent wind operation has sorted out his breathing problems. LONG RUN is the horse to beat as this trip will play to his strengths, but Donald McCain has his horses running well and we know WEIRD AL stays well and goes well fresh and is only a couple of lengths behind the big-two on form.

Selection: WEIRD AL, ½pt eachway @ 11/1 (Vic Chandler, BOG, ¼ odds a place 1,2,3)

4:00 – Christie's Foxhunters Chase: 3-miles & 2-furlongs & 110 yards

This is a race that it really does pay to be prominent in and, if you are able to play in-running, I would take an interest in any that are within 8-lengths of the leader as they head out up the hill on the final circuit. Stamina comes to the fore in this race and that's why I am against Barbers shop and Chapoturgeon  as both are far more at home over 2m5f than this trip. For me CLOUDY LANE fits the bill and can give Donald McCain a quick double today. He stays this trip extremely well, comes his fit and well from a recent win and has one of the best amateur jockeys riding in the saddle.

Selection: CLOUDY LANE, ½pt win @ 6/1 (Vic Chandler)

4:40 – Martin Pipe conditional Jockeys handicap hurdle: 2-mile & 4-furlongs & 110 yards

MOLOTOF was entered in a lot of races at the Festival and finally runs here over a trip that should suit him well. The doubt is that he's been off the track since the autumn. Race fav BOURNE could be on a very lenient rating based on his latest winning run, but odds of 11/2 do not leave much room for error. I'll pass this race over.

5:15 – Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase: 2-mile & 110 yards.

The "get-out" stakes, but what a tough nut to crack. Nicky Henderson has thrown the kitchen sink at this race and the reason why could be that stable jockey Barry Geraghty has won a couple of times on SLIEVEARDAGH in Ireland. He's got great form in top novice chases, and the form stands up to scrutiny at this Festival. He also has experience of big runner handicap races as a hurdler. I've looked at oddschecker and the gamble seems to have already started as he's 10/1 generally (from 14's) as I write this, with 12's only at Vic Chandler.

Selection: SLIEVEARDAGH, ¼pt eachway @ 12/1 (Vic Chandler, BOG, ¼ odds a place 1,2,3,4)

Total staked today = 2pts

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1 comment:

  1. What a day we have ahead of us. I can’t see past Long Run in the Gold Cup. Henderson’s horses are flying and he can pick up another major title with Long Run. Double that with Boston Bob and you’re looking at a double of about 6/1.


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