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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 2018

Cheltenham Festival 2018 - Day 2

Look-back at Day 1
I was right (in my opinion) to have my money on Kalashnikov but he was beaten fair'n'square by easily the best horse in the race, Summerville Boy.
What more can you say about FOOTPAD - I said the horse should be trading at 2/5, the early 5/4 was a gift. Could be the Gold Cup winner next March.
My shortlist of 5 for the 3m1f handicap chase produced the 1st Coo Star Sivola; 3rd Vintage Clouds, and 5th Singlefarmpayment.
Buveur D'Air won, but he was indeed a bit "ring-rusty"; Faugheen was not the horse he once was, and I was right about Mick Jazz - came in 3rd at 25/1.
A cracking run from MS PARFOIS, I thought she had it jumping the final fence - £5 eachway @ 7/1 returns £3.75 profit 
And another winner with MISTER WHITAKER - £5 eachway @ 10/1 returns £62.50 profit.
Overall, about £59 profit on stakes of £50 on the day.
1:30pm Ballymore Novices Hurdle over 2m5f
This race hangs on the ability of SAMCRO, is he the real thing or not.  My opinion is that he's a good horse but he does not hold such an advantage over this opposition as to make him an odds-on chance. If he wins, then we've missed a small profit, but if (as likely) he doesn't then by opposing him we may end up on a good priced winner.  The Mullins-trained Next Generation is the obvious next choice mainly as the horse looks every inch quality.  On a line through stablemate Duc Des Genievres, there is nothing between Samcro and Next Generation. Of the others, only Black Op looks like getting close to the Irish pair, but on heavy ground we are unlikely to see the best of him. A race best watched unless you want to oppose the fav in which case NEXT GENERATION is the way to go

2:10pm RSA Novices Chase over 3-mile
A select field of just 10 runners, but we should see a top-class performance from the winner who will likely have to run to over 160+ to win this, maybe 165+.  This race usually goes to a horse bred to be a chaser, and anything that had a half-decent hurdling career should be discounted.  That means Ballyoptic is out of consideration. I do not think Al Boum Photo, Bonbon Au Miel, or Allysson Monterg have enough racing experience, and Black Corton may have too much and little improvement left to find. Dounikos is interesting and should improve for the step-up to 3 miles. Full Irish is outclassed. Monalee has the perfect profile apart from being a very good novice hurdler coming 2nd in the Albert Bartlett last March over 3-mile. Also in that race was Elegant Escape who has improved now chasing and looks an exciting prospect. And what of Presenting Percy? Personally, I find he is tricky to assess but he could well be the best chaser in the field. At the odds, I cannot split Monalee and Presenting Percy and so I'm going for the youngest horse in the race, ELEGANT ESCAPE who has more experience than the other 6yo in the race - Al Boum Photo - and could well find enough improvement to ensure he wins this.  There is lots of 10/1 available and that looks great value.

2:50pm Coral Cup handicap hurdle over 2m5f
An exceptionally tough race to crack, but it's not impossible. I think you can focus on those with 11st or more to carry, and which are also LTO winners. Sometimes a horse just jumps out at you when you look at the form, and such as horse is the Paul Nicholls trained TOPOFTHEGAME.  He won LTO over a trip a shade under 3-mile and is one of the only horses in the race with winning form at that trip. He has a bit to find with the Henderson trained William Henry based on when they met at Kempton in January in the Lanzarote Hurdle, but this race could be a real slog with stamina and guts at a premium. This is a race that Nicky Henderson likes to win and he has 4 entries: William Henry, Burbank, Fixe Le Kap, and Stowaway Magic. Of that quartet, the one I like the look of is BURBANK who ran 4th in the "Ballymore" last year and has been brought along this season very gently and allowed to strengthen.  His best run this season was his latest in January at Ascot, and he has the class to go close in this handicap. Those are my pair to take on the rest: TOPOFTHEGAME and BURBANK.

3:30pm Queen Mother Champion Chase over 2-miles
Last season, even though just a novice, ALTIOR was the best 2-mile chaser we saw at Cheltenham, and he confirmed his superiority over his elders when winning at Sandown in April.  The only possibility of Altior being beaten is if Douvan is back to his best, but that is a very speculative gamble.  That Willie Mullins has maintained an entry for MIN suggests he considers his 2nd-string has a chance of making a race of it, and MIN is a class horse who wasn't far behind Altior when they met in the Supreme Novices Hurdle at the 2016 Festival. If I can get longer odds than 9/2 about MIN then I will be having an eachway wager on the horse; but the race looks to be Altior's.

4:10 Cross Country Chase run over 3m6f
Not my favourite race and not one that should be run at the Cheltenham Festival. Only 16 go to post, and now that this race is no longer a handicap most of them have next to no chance. CAUSE OF CAUSES won this last year and, but for meeting the well handicapped Spring Heeled in the Kim Muir Chase in 2014, he could have won a race at each of the last 4 festivals.  The race is dominated by John P McManus owned runners; along with Cause Of Causes (5/2) he also has Auvergnat (9/1), Cantlow (16/1), and Josies Orders (6/1). The only horse that I think is capable of giving Cause Of Causes a race is TIGER ROLL (11/2) who won the 4-mile NH Novice Chase last year, and is being aimed at the Grand National by trainer Gordon Elliot.  He ran here over the Cross-Country course in December and that was very much a schooling run, and that he's back for another go suggests we will see a much improved effort over that run.

4:50pm Fred Winter Juvenile handicap hurdle run over 2-mile & 87 yards
We are likely to see a full field of 22 go to post for this race, and only 13lb covers the entire field in this handicap. There is not much form to go on and that shows in the betting with the market leader as I write (Tuesday lunchtime) being Nube Negra (7/1), with Act Of Valour (8/1) next. Personally, I'd be tempted to avoid horses that have had a flat-racing campaign prior to going hurdling as they may not have the guts to slog this race out. Those that catch my eye are: Espirit De Somoza (OR135) - his rating looks a bit high, but he's bred to do well; 
Embole (O129) - showed a lot of improvement LTO to beat an odds-on rival on soft ground;
Eureu Du Boulay (OR129) - won over 2m2f in France LTO in November and makes UK debut in this race;
The King Of May (OR128) - highly tried on UK debut in February, could be interesting contender;
Grand Sancy (OR127) - outclassed in "Adonis" hurdle LTO, and this looks more his level.
Eragon De Chanay (OR126) - won in a canter on Saturday so is race-fit and in top form.  

1:30 Ballymore Novices hurdle - no bet
2:10 RSA Novices Chase - ELEGANT ESCAPE - £5 eachway @ 10/1 (available generally)
2:50 Coral Cup handicap hurdle - TOPOFTHEGAME @ 14/1 and BURBANK @ 18/1 - both £2.50 eachway.
3:30 QMCC - no bet
4:10 Cross Country Chase - no bet
4:50 Fred Winter Juvenile h'cap hurdle - no bet
5:30 Champion Bumper (NH Flat race) - no bet

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