Yesterday showed how you can have it so right, and yet end up so wrong.
As I wrote, trainer Paul Nicholls loves to target this meeting and he duly sent 3 winners in El Bandit @ 6/5, Marracudja @ 3/1 (though he only just held-off the fast finishing 9yo Presenting Arms), and Cliffs Of Dover @ 100/30.
In my main assessment of the 3m2f amateur riders handicap chase, I was spot-on about older horses (that is 9yo or older) as 3 of the 1st-4 places - including the winner Troika Steppes - were aged 8yo or younger. Perhaps I should have stuck with my original thoughts and gone for the eventual 2nd placed Azure Fly. But, had my selection Conas Taoi run to form, then I'm sure we would have been on the winner. My main concern before the race was his rider, but Mr Deegan rode very well. It looked like the horse just wasn't fit enough for this as with 3 to jump I felt confident he would be in the 1st-4 but his tank emptied as soon as he hit the rising ground after the turn for home.
Onto today, and the meeting opens with a cracking handicap chase. First, let's look at some of the other races on the Cheltenham card. The novice hurdle at 2:25pm isn't my cup-of-tea, and the same for the Class 2 hurdle at 3:00pm. However, while the fav Adrien Du Port could well end up rated a lot higher than OR147, do not underestimate Wolf Of Windlesham who won at this meeting last year and, if race-fit, will push the fav if that one isn't fully wound-up.
My focus is on the opening race and this 3m1f handicap chase looks wide open with 7-runners priced between 8/1 - 10/1 on oddschecker as I write. There are 4 runners in the race from my alert list: Coologue (possibly best on softer ground), Cogry (more of a marathon horse), Full Shift (looks well handicapped, but the trip may stretch him), and Racing Pulse (well handicapped on his win in January). I like the chance of Henryville as he was an OR152 hurdler over 3-mile, but he's not shown he stays this sort of trip as a chaser. I think Keltus will run well, as he's fit, but I just think he needs to find improvement to win this, and I'm not sure he's a true 3-miler. Bucking The Trend is the sort who could win if it's his day, but will it be?
The two that I keep coming back to are Coologue and Cogry. The 7yo Coologue never seems to run a bad race, and he comes here fresh. He will almost certainly be rated a lot higher than OR140 by the end of this season, and he handles good ground and stays this trip. The 7yo Cogry ran a cracker over 3m3f on his seasonal debut here at the November meeting last year, but he was staying-on and my fear is that he does want a longer trip.
With Charlie Longsdon having his horses fit (he sent out Azure Fly yesterday) the 8/1 looks fair eachway value about Coologue.
Cheltenham 1:50pm COOLOGUE, £5 eachway @ 8/1 generally @ 9@30am went sent out to those on the email list
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Saturday, 22 October 2016
Good-time Charlie to seek the spoils
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