It's a bit like the quiet before the storm as we all anticipate the Cheltenham Festival next week. Plans are starting to come together and the early declarations for the 1st day of the Festival on Tuesday are in today's Racing Post.
Tonight, I'm taking part in a Festival internet chat on http://gallopslive.com along with a few other blogger and Twitter tipsters. It starts at 7pm and will run for about 90 mins, so why not log-on and take part.
The William Hill Supreme Novices Hurdle that opens the Festival is now down to 19 runners as it looks like My Tent Or Yours has scared-off most of the "peripheral" opposition, but it still looks a high-class field. Those who are in receipt of my Cheltenham Bulletin will know the horse that I've pinned my hopes on, and if you want to receive the bulletin (and all 4 handicap updates) just donate at least £8 using the "donate" button at the top of the screen and will issue it as soon as the deposit is received. The real "dark-horse" in the Supreme is the ex-flat racer Flying Cross (from the David Pipe stable) who is yet to jump a hurdle. It would be asking a huge amount for him to win this race on his hurdle debut.
The Racing Post Arkle has 12 declared runners at the moment, and that will probably reduce further as I can't see Aupcharlie, Tap Night or Viva Colonia taking part, and even the likes of Majala, Marito and His Excellency could side-step this encounter with Simonsig and Overturn. Willie Mullins was full of confidence about Arvika Ligeonniere in the Weekender interview this week, and 8/1 eachway looks a fair wager antepost if only 6 line-up at the start.
The JLT Speciality Handicap Chase is down to 57 entries. There are a few in this that catch my eye and I've highlighted their chances in the Handicap Updates sent out to those who have donated for the bulletin. There is one in particular who looks to have a huge chance in my opinion.
The Stan James Champion hurdle is down to just 10 runners but what a field – it includes the last 3 Champion Hurdle winners. Again, I've pinned my hopes to a particular horse who has been named in my bulletin. I would expect a couple more to come out of this race, probably Cotton Mill and Khyber Kim.
The Cross Country Chase is now at 31 runners, but I think there is a safety limit of 20 on this race, so expect there to be a few more to come out yet. The 12yo LEAC AN SCAIL has been in great form of late and he may be worth a little tickle at 25/1 for this.
The Mares' Hurdle will go to QUEVEGA, and she'll probably be followed home again by Kentford Grey Lady who was 2nd in this race last year and has looked an improved performer this season. Even so, she still has 15lb+ to find to trouble Quevega.
The day ends with the Rewards4Racing Novices' handicap chase and, with 54 standing their ground, this race is still up in the air as to who will line-up at the start.
There are no selections today. Yesterdays selection BEAU DANDY did not run well as he was unable to dominate the race as he likes to. He was sent off the 9/2 fav, so we did manage to get some "value" on him by taking the morning odds of 13/2, but his performance wasn't good enough. The racing today looks "bitty" and I'm giving it a miss as there looks like being an opportunity or two tomorrow.
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Friday, 8 March 2013
The quiet before the storm
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