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Friday, 16 November 2012

Cheltenham Open meeting - day 1

Today is the opening day of the 3-day "Open" meeting at Cheltenham.

The opening novice chase at 1:15 is not well subscribed, so it looks like the pair of Fingal Bay and Dynaste have scared away the opposition. It will be the chasing debut for Dynaste, and Cheltenham is not the place to learn to jump a fence. Fingal Bay won his debut chase LTO, but I wouldn't say the form has held-up well. Yes, he was a superb novice hurdler but I won't be a supporter today at best odds of 5/4. Personally, I like the look of UNIONISTE sent here by Paul Nicholls and available at odds of 11/2 (Corals & Paddy Power). Just a 4yo, this horse won his debut chase at Aintree last month and took to the task well, and he's worth a ½pt wager.

Next at 1:50 is the 2m ½f handicap chase, and the market leader is Kid Cassidy. This horse undoubtedly has talent, but guessing when he'll show it is a mind game. Astracad is the opposite and does not lack consistency and you should see him run to form. However, he seems to perform best when facing fields of under 10-runners and tho' he has won when fresh, he usually needs a run. That brings us to SILVER ROQUE who comes here bang in form, and fit to run to his best. Trainer, Fergal O'Brien is a man with a big future and odds of 6/1 look good in what could be a weak handicap.

I have several horses from my alert list running today, one of which is RUN WITH THE WIND in the 2:25, which is a class 1 novice hurdle over 2m ½f. I've followed this horse since he was 2nd at Punchestown on 13th October last year and he's done me proud since winning 3 of his 5 subsequent hurdle races. This horse is no 20/1 chance (Coral & Bet365), and tho' Barry Geraghty (who rode him on 2 of those hurdle wins) is claimed by his retaining trainer to ride River Maigue, Timmy Murphy is an able deputy. This could be a tough race for the 6yo, and he will likely not win, but there are 3-places available for each-way punters.

I have 2 from my alert list running in the X-Country Chase at 3:00, MIDNIGHT HAZE and VINCITORE. Midnight Haze goes well fresh (he's won 4 of his last 5 starts off a long break), but most of his wins are going right-handed and he did not look like he enjoyed racing in the X-Country chase at the Festival last March. VINCITORE on the other hand, is fit and well, likes to race prominently and could go well here. He's 33/1 for this, but I don't really like these sort of races (even tho' I've done well betting in them), so I'm not recommending a wager.

The 4th off my alert list running at Cheltenham is CINEVATOR in the 3:35 which is a conditional jockeys hurdle over 2m5f. I have a lot of time for Caroline Keevil  who trains this horse, as she's not afraid of sending her horses out to take on the big boys, and they always arrive at the track fit and well enough to run to their best. He made-all LTO when winning over 3-mile at Taunton, and I'm expecting similar tactics to be employed today over this shorter trip. He's 25/1 with Vic Chandler who go quarter-odds 4-places eachway, and for those who like to back-to-lay I can see this one trading a lot shorter in-running.

I don't like amateur riders races at the best of times, so I'm giving the last race on the card a wide berth, tho' I expect Jamsie Hall to run well with Mr Codd in the saddle for Gordon Elliott.

I've not really settled on one for the Paddy Power tomorrow, I'll have another think on it overnight.

On another point, I'm glad Paul Bittar of the BHA has stuck to his guns on field sizes for the Grand National. Not everyone will agree, but the fatalities in this year's race were caused by horses being brought-down by other horses that had fallen. This could, and does, happen in races with only a handful of runners and, at the time these horses were brought-down on the 2nd circuit, there were considerably fewer than the 40 starters still racing.

Good luck & thanks for reading this blog to all visitors, I hope that readers of the blog get enjoyment from it. If you've had a successful wager on the back of what you've read here, then please make a contribution as an expression of thanks. Feel free to tell those who you think may find the blog of interest and value and, if you are a regular visitor, please add the blog to your list of favourites. Remember!  Betting on horseracing should be a pleasurable experience - never bet more than you can afford to lose.
Thanks from Wayward Lad.

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