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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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Thursday 15 March 2018

Cheltenham Festival 2018 - Day 3

I do like the Thursday of the Cheltenham Festival, it ticks a lot of boxes for me: good graded races and good handicaps.
First, a look at my selections on Wednesday:-
I was right about SAMCRO, even tho' I did not advise a wager on him - he won with a tonne in-hand.
My selection ELEGANT ESCAPE ran a brave race to be 3rd securing the place-odds.
In the Coral Cup handicap hurdle, I came within a "neck" of finding the winner as TOPOFTHEGAME was caught on the run-in, again securing the place-odds.
No other wagers advised.  
So far this week, we are well ahead with 2 winners (also gave big mentions for SAMCRO, ALTIOR, and BUVEUR D'AIR who I advised at 4/1 back in September last year) and 3 placed wagers. 

1:30 JLT Novices Chase run over 2m4f
A cracking race to start the day with, and we have an open looking race with 10 runners declared. If Monalee wins Wednesdays RSA Chase, then Invitation Only will likely start the fav for the race, however he may lack the stamina for this race on this testing ground. I am more taken with the Paul Nicholls trained MODUS who has won all 3 of his completed chase races, and ran well in last years Coral Cup Hurdle. He handles Cheltenham well and looks value to me at 10/1 with Barry Geraghty in the saddle. The other well-fancied contender is Terrefort who has a lot of experience in France, and is unbeaten in 2 races in the UK for Nicky Henderson - however, both those races were going right-handed so will he handle Cheltenham? 

2:10 Pertemps Network final Handicap hurdle run over 3-mile
Possibly the toughest handicap hurdle of the season to solve.  The winner will need to stay 3-mile at a strong gallop. The Gordon Elliot trained Glenloe (11/2) is sure to have a strong following, but he lacks a finishing kick.  As such, he may far better with Delta Work (12/1) who was well fancied LTO and has Davy Russell in the saddle, but he is only a 5yo and this is a race for experienced horses. Forza Milan (14/1) looks the sort that has been aimed at this race all season by Jonjo O'Neill. For a long-shot, the answer may be Dadsintrouble (40/1); he ran in the conditional jockeys' hurdle over 2m4f last year, but that trip was too short. Over 3-mile at Aintree NTO, he ran a cracker to be 3rd off OR136 on ground quicker than he'd prefer. Sent chasing earlier this season, he didn't take to it, and ran a fair race back over hurdles in February to qualify for this.  I will be taking on the market leaders with FORZA MILAN and DADSINTROUBLE.   

2:50 Ryanair Chase run over 2m4f & 166 yards
Just 6 line-up for this race (Douvan races in the QMCC on Wednesday), and it has the potential to be a classic.  The fav is last years winner Un De Sceaux and he is sure to take some beating. However, I think the horse to do it is CUE CARD who showed LTO at Ascot over a similar trip that there is still fire in the belly with a performance that would have won this race last year. Sub Lieutenant was easily beaten in this race last year, and I will be very surprised if Balko De Flo gets close to winning this. This trip is probably the best one for Cloudy Dream, but he's another who will need to find 10lb of improvement to win this. The horse likely to follow the leading pair home - or take advantage should they flop - is Frodon, he loves Cheltenham and is at his best here over this trip, and the more mud flying the better for him. However, for me it has to be CUE CARD who will likely make good use of his stamina and lead all the way.

3:30 Sunbet Stayers' Hurdle run over 3-mile
There is nothing between the best of these on official ratings with 4lb covering Sam Spinner, Supasundae, Unowhatimeanharry, Yanworth, The New One and Wholestone. It is unlikely the winner will not come from this bunch and on this year's form the most likely winner is Sam Spinner based on his run LTO but can he make-all on this ground over this C&D? Given the odds and that he acts so well at Cheltenham and is a model of consistency, WHOLESTONE at 22/1 with Paddy Power (5th odds a place 1,2,3) has to be value. The ground is a worry for Supasundae, I think Unowhatimeanharry has had his day, Yanworth needs to step up in performance and prove he stays this trip at this level as does The New One.  I will be taking 14/1 eachway about WHOLESTONE without Sam Spinner with Bet365.

4:10 Stable Plate Handicap Chase run over 2m4f & 166 yards
This looks an incredibly tough handicap to fathom and sometimes you have to give a race a miss.  I could spend most of the morning looking at the form for this race and be no nearer finding the winner. 

4:50 Mares Novices hurdle run over 2-mile & 179 yards
I'm not going to bother with this race as it looks another Willie Mullins benefit race - as he's the only trainer who can find these decent race-mares - and odds-on LAURINA will be exceptionally hard to beat if she is as good as expected.  Maria's Benefit is the only possible opposition to the Irish-trained mare and at least she comes here with an excellent race CV. 

5:30 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap (amateur riders) run over 3m2f
This race is more my cup of tea! There are 2 horses that I have followed this season that both run well LTO and come here with plenty of confidence: MISSED APPROACH (10/1 generally) and SUGAR BARON (12/1 William Hill).  Katie Walsh rode Mall Dini in this race last year, and rides Sugar Baron today. Squouateur comes into this race heading the market with Mall Dini as he did last year (unseated then) and I'm not sure he's shown enough decent form to be there.  I'm going to split my stake with a £5 win wager on both MISSED APPROACH and SUGAR BARON.

1:30 MODUS - £5 win @ 10/1 (Bet365 and others)
2:10 DADSINTROUBLE - £2.50 eachway @ 40/1 (Paddy Power 5th odds 1,2,3,4,5,6)
and FORZA MILAN - £2.50 eachway @ 14/1 (Bet365)
2:50 - no bet race
3:30 WHOLESTONE - £5 eachway without Sam Spinner @ 14/1 (Bet365)
4:10 - no bet race
4:50 - no bet race
5:30 MISSED APPROACH @ 10/1 and SUGAR BARON @ 12/1 - both £5 win


  1. Come Ian you can't claim Samcro after these comments?
    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.

    1. Hi Dominic, I'm not claiming SAMCRO as a winner for the blog, the words I wrote earlier today were "I did not advise a wager on him". I was referring to my comment "this race hangs on the ability of SAMCRO, is he the real thing or not." In that respect I was right about SAMCRO, the race did hang on his ability which, prior to yesterday, had not yet been fully demonstrated in public. I did not think SAMCRO was an odds-on chance, and not every odds-on chance wins - ask those who placed their money today on Un De Sceaux about betting on odds-on chances.

    2. Ian firstly thank you for the response. Maybe it's my interpretation of the prose used. I mistook you saying that if Samcro wins we miss a small profit but if he does not (As likely) was you suggesting he would not win? Then to add to my confusion your post race comments state that you gave a big mention. Look not after an argument I enjoy your blog and appreciate the effort that goes into it. Apologies if my misinterpretation of your advice has offended.

  2. I’ve never seen Ian claim an odds on shot, I believe in an earlier post he says if the horse turns up in that race it will be hard to beat. It’s a free blog that regularly finds winners, at decent prices too. It’s a strange question to ask when his actual selections have run well. Cheers Ian good to see you have more selections today, keep up the good work.

    1. Thanks for your kind words Jiminoz, we had another couple of winning wagers today.

  3. No luck in the first couple of races - lost £15 - but Wholestone was a good 3rd @ 14/1 and then Missed Approach won @ 10/1 - profit on the day of almost £50 on recommended stakes. Another successful day for this free blog.