A busy day yesterday, as I watched the London Racing Club Cheltenham Preview on "zoom". A great preview with Lee Mottershead, Lydia Hislop and Matt Tombs providing their unique views and opinions. I really enjoyed it, and thought it worked a lot better than the "live" version, as there was no background chatter, and I had more space to work in - so I was able to make notes, refer to form, and concentrate.
I will be honest, I gleaned little from the evening that affected my betting plans, but I did learn a bit more about some of the horses that I've fancied to do well there - one being PAINT THE DREAM. He was pulled-out of the Ultima Handicap Chase in which he had a mark of OR147 and he's entered in the Marsh Novices Chase on Thursday over 2m4f. He's no chance of winning that race, but I expect there to be a significant number of defections from the current 33 confirmed. If he runs, he may be worth a wager on the day if there are enhanced terms offered. While on the Marsh Nov Chase, it was noted that LATEST EXHIBITION is entered for the race. He was pulled-out of the NH Chase amid rumours he was heading for the Irish National, but if the "Marsh" does end-up with fewer than 10-starters and he lines-up, he would be of interest. Another to keep an eye on. My own view is I will be wagering on SPORTING JOHN in whichever race he takes part in, and the "Marsh" looks perfect for him (and his trainer Phil Hobbs won the race in 2019).
I'm more of a handicap stalker, and with the "Grand Annual" moved from its old Friday slot to a new slot as the 4:15pm on Wednesday (Day-2) brings it into my view. I normally give this race a miss, and 2-mile handicaps are not really my 'cuppa', but there's a horse in this that I've been keeping an eye on all season and wondering what's being planned. Last September, Gigginstown had a bit of a dispersal sale and one of those sold from Gordon Elliott's yard for £65,000 was MENGLI KHAN. He was sent to join Nicky Henderson by his new owners, and in his stable-debut he was disappointing. Since then, he's twice run on the AW over 2-miles and both times he's run well. Essentially, he's coming to the Festival race-fit and under the radar - and this is a horse that has twice come 3rd at the Festival: in the 2019 "Marsh", and in the 2018 Supreme Novices hurdle. He lost his way in the 2019-20 season, but his final race for Elliott showed he still can perform when he easily beat Livelovelaugh, at level-weights over 2m3f, and that horse has run well since in good handicaps. In the Grand Annual, Mengli Khan runs off OR148 and I think he could be 10lb well-in: he ticks a lot of boxes and I've taken the odds eachway. I've split my wager to take advantage of the different terms.
Day-2 Grand Annual Handicap Chase: MENGLI KHAN - £5 eachway @ 25/1 (NRNB generally available; 5th odds a place 1,2,3,4,5)
Also - £5 WIN @ 33/1 with Bet365 NRNB (Note: Bet365 are only 4-places eachway)
Total = £15 staked
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