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Friday 16 March 2018

Cheltenham Festival 2018 - Day 4

Another successful day for the blog yesterday as MISSED APPROACH won at 10/1.  We went astray with tje first couple of races as Modus, and then both Forza Milan and Dadsintrouble ran poor races.  The JLT Novices Chase over 2m4f did not look a good renewal to me, and the same for the Ryanair Chase.  I had Un De Sceaux running to the same rating as when he won last year, but that was a weak race, and this years was not much better as Balko Des Flos merely stayed the trip better than the others. Possibly the performance of the day was PENHILL winning the Stayers Hurdle off a break of 11 months. My selection Wholestone ran well to be 3rd and whether you were on eachway at 22/1 or 14/1 without the fav (Sam Spinner) then the profit on that wager cancelled the loss on the earlier couple of races. LAURINA was devastating in the Mares Novices Hurdle as again Willie Mullins showed he has the best contacts in Europe for finding these top-class race mares.

1:30 Triumph Hurdle run over 2-miles & 1f
It is disappointing that this race has attracted such a small field of 9 runners. I do not have a handle on 4yo hurdle form and I think the fav Apple's Shakira is difficult to rate given he's won his last 2 races at odds of 1/7 and 1/10. In the Adonis Hurdle which is a good pointer to this race, I was very impressed with REDICEAN and his form looks rock solid. The Irish trainers have dominated the Festival so you have to give a close look to Stormy Ireland but this filly has not run since 16Dec, so you are betting on the reputation of the trainer Willie Mullins. The is nothing much between Mr Adjudicator and Farclas and, for me, this race should go to REDICEAN who looks a worthy eachway wager at 6/1 (available generally, 5th odds a place 1,2,3)

2:10 County Handicap hurdle run over 2m 1f
There are 27 runners in the Country Hurdle and if you are able to find the winner of this race you are a better man than me.

2:50 Albert Bartlett (Novices) Hurdle run over 3-mile
This could be a betting race. I was very impressed with Black Op in the Ballymore Novices Hurdle on Wednesday, and SANTINI beat Black Op here in January over 2m4f. Nicky Henderson also runs the 2nd-fav Chef Des Obeaux who was beaten by Santini when they met in December.  For me - SANTINI is the one they have to beat. The Irish horse Chris's Dream won an unsatisfactory prep race LTO and we just cannot get a handle on how good he is, but he will have to be very good to beat Santini.  At the odds, SANTINI is possibly the best value bet of the day at 4/1 (available generally)

3:30 Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase run over 3m 2f & 70 yards
This is the premier race of the meeting. This year the race looks to be wide open and that is shown by the 18 runners. At my ratings the best horse in the race with form this season is Our Duke (168) based on his defeat of RSA winner Presenting Percy LTO but jumping can let down Our Duke as it did in the Irish Gold Cup won by Edwulf.  That Irish Gold Cup form is the fly in the ointment as good yardstick Djakadam was 3rd but I've rated it through the runner-up Outlander (160) which puts Edwulf on 160 - however that was a terrific race and Edwulf  and Outlander could both be better than 160. Also in that race was Killultagh Vic having just his 3rd chase race and who looked the winner when falling at the last fence. He also could be 165+ but I do not like last fence fallers as that suggests they have little left in the tank. Might Bite is another who is tricky to fathom, and I think he's better than 160, but I'm just not sure he's 165+. He acts at Cheltenham and he has the potential to run a 170+ race which I think will be needed to win today. Native River ran to 169 on my ratings when he won the Welsh National in Dec-17.  He just held on that day so over this shorter trip it's possible that he can run a 170+ race. He's been aimed at the Gold Cup all season, and it's not impossible to win the race off just one seasonal run as he ran an excellent race LTO at Newbury.  I don't think Road To Respect is good enough and he needs to find 10lb of improvement to win this race. When Definitly Red won the Cotswold Chase here in January, he put himself in the Gold Cup picture but he may have been flattered that day and I'm not impressed with his speed figures, he comes across as more of a dour stayer. It would not surprise me if one of the front-3 in the betting won this race and of that front 3 the one I prefer is NATIVE RIVER and the Welsh National winner will have no problems on this ground. I think Might Bite may find this trip too much and Our Duke will need a clear round of jumping and I'm not sure he's up to it, and he also lost ground on the leaders after his mistake in the Irish Gold Cup. Of the others, Edwulf could well surprise in this race and is worth an eachway wager.

That's it for me - I'm off to the races!

1:30 REDICEAN - £5 eachway @ 6/1  (available generally, 5th odds a place 1,2,3)
2:10 No bet race
2:50 SANTINI - £10 win @ 4/1 (available generally)
3:30 NATIVE RIVER - £10 win @ 5/1 (Paddy Power)

We've had a great week on the blog, let's hope we go out on a high!

1 comment:

  1. When I watched the Ryanair Chase yesterday on course, stood next to me was a young man who had placed a significant wager on UN DE SCEAUX. Judging by his general demeanour, horseracing is not his usual sport, and when Cue Card was pulled-up he cheered. However, when Balko Des Flos cruised past Un De Sceaux his face went white. Head in hands, he had clearly placed a wager much larger than he could afford to lose on a "certainty" - we all know they do not exist. Please, only bet what you can afford to lose.