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Tuesday 31 December 2019

The Cheltenham Gold Cup antepost market 31-December

It's been a few weeks since the last blog, and with not being able to donate enough time to make selections and write a decent weekly blog, I've decided to concentrate on preparing for the Cheltenham Festival in March.
There has been plenty going on in the past few days, and here is the latest betting:-
KEMBOY - 6/1 (available generally - I do not consider the odds of 7/1 offered by 888Sport)
AL BOUM PHOTO - 7/1 (Coral and Betfred)
CLAN DES OBEAUX - 8/1 (Hills and Paddy Power)
LOSTINTRANSLATION - 8/1 (available generally - I do not consider the 9/1 offered by Betway)
DELTA WORK - 10/1 (Betfred and Paddy Power)
SANTINI - 10/1 (BetVictor and Paddy Power)
PRESENTING PERCY - 14/1 (Boylesports)
NATIVE RIVER - 20/1 (Hills and Paddy Power)
They are the front-8 in the betting and I really cannot see anything else coming out of the woodwork.

KEMBOY and the 2019 Gold Cup winner AL BOUM PHOTO head the market, with Kemboy just ahead. While I appreciate that Al Boum Photo is worthy of his position in the betting, I cannot say the same about Kemboy.
Sure, Kemboy won the Savills Chase (G1) in Dec18 beating Monalee into 2nd, and he went on to win at Aintree and Punchestown but (in my opinion) he beat CLAN DES OBEAUX and Al Boum Photo when they were possibly over-the-top after being trained for the Cheltenham Gold Cup. Kemboy was also trained for that race but he fell at the 1st fence.
I rate his win in the Savills Chase as his best to date (165) whereas RPR rate his wins at Aintree and Punchestown superior to that effort.  What you can take from his career to date is that he does improve for a run from a break, so he is sure to find improvement from his recent run on 28-Dec.  I hope rather than expect he will be given another race before Cheltenham, as otherwise he will go into the Gold Cup too fresh. I'm also not sure he will stay the Gold Cup trip.
AL BOUM PHOTO easily won the Gold Cup last March, and he runs on Wednesday 1st Jan in a repeat of his preparation of last season. He will be only an 8yo in March 2020 and there's no reason he cannot repeat that effort.  On the downside, I did not rate his win was in a particularly strong Gold Cup. He should win easily on 1st January and in proving his well-being his odds will almost certainly shorten to probably 9/2, so if you think he can win again in March you had best place a wager today.
CLAN DES OBEAUX easily repeated his win in the King George on Boxing Day, and he did not have to repeat his winning effort of 2018 to do so. Can he win in March? Probably not, as he's run in 4 chases beyond 3-mile and been beaten each time, which (to me) indicates he lacks the stamina to win a Gold Cup at Cheltenham.
LOSTINTRANSLATION is a tricky horse to fathom, and I'm prepared to overlook him pulling-up in the King George on Boxing Day as I do not think he enjoys going right-handed. In beating Topofthegame at Aintree over 3m1f last April he showed he was one of the very best novice staying chasers and probably would have won the RSA Chase at the last Festival. He is an out-and-out stayer and is probably the best value in the market at the moment.
DELTA WORK is a horse that needs a stamina test, as he's not the quickest and that lack of zip was exposed in last seasons RSA Chase when he went from cruising along and looking the most likely winner, to being caught flat-footed and left in a matter of strides. He was ridden more aggressively at Punchestown and was rewarded with a much better performance and one that suggested he could have won the RSA with a similar ride. As such I would expect him to push for the race early come March and make it a gruelling contest. Again, he looks value in the betting.
Personally, I do not think we will see SANTINI race again this season, as he was a shadow of himself in his race at Sandown earlier this season and we have not seen him since.
PRESENTING PERCY has - in my opinion - had his chance and that was last season.
NATIVE RIVER is still a top class chaser, but his limits were exposed at the Gold Cup last March and he will be a 10yo come March and the young guns will be too good for him.
The pair in the betting that I like are:-
Lostintranslation and Delta Work and at 10/1 it's DELTA WORK for me.

Saturday 7 December 2019

Tingle Creek showdown at Sandown

What a tremendous day of horseracing we have, with top-class meetings at Sandown, Aintree, Chepstow and Wetherby.
The feature race of the day is the "Tingle Creek" over 2-miles at Sandown at 3pm. The favourite is DEFI DU SEUIL and on my ratings his best-ever performance was at Sandown as a novice, The manner in which he won at Aintree in November suggests he's improved a lot since then, but he didn't have to show it at Aintree. The Irish raider Un De Sceaux is not as good as he was, and I really cannot see him troubling the judge today. Politologue won this race in 2017, but he has not improved on that performance since, but he is very consistent. His stablemate Dolos was swept aside at Exeter by Janika, and that makes JANIKA a top-class prospect for this. Sceau Royal was beaten out of site in this race last year and maybe Sandown isn't his best track.
Looking at the form this morning, JANIKA is a stand-out wager for me at 9/1 with Bet365.  I rated his performance at Cheltenham (on the same afternoon Defi Du Seuil won) the best of the day. We have to see if he has the speed for top-class 2-miles chases, but he certainly has the class.

At Aintree, I am swerving the Becher Chase and the Grade 2 "Many Clouds" Chase over 3m1f has only 4 runners but it looks a cracker. If NATIVE RIVER is anywhere near fit, then he will win this race, and he usually goes well off a break. But at odds-on he's not for me.

I managed to put my Tote 10-2-Follow entries in last week, but was knocked sideways when Buveur D'Air was beaten at Newcastle and injured in the process. He was one of my "core". Overall, I chose 12 horses for the list, with a core of 8, and the other 4 entered in 6 pairs (any 2 from 4).
My core of 8 is:-
Buveur D'Air
Paisley Park
Defi Du Seuil
Delta Work
Benie Des Dieux

And my other 4 are:-
Clan Des Obeaux
Scaeau Royal

My advice today is take the 9/1 offered about JANIKA he looks a very decent eachway chance at least, and I'm on for £5 win and £5 eachway.