We are on the final countdown, in just a little over 10 weeks we will (hopefully) hear the roar of the crowd at Cheltenham heralding the start of the Supreme Novices Hurdle and the commencement of the Cheltenham Festival. It's time to start looking in earnest at building the Cheltenham portfolio: a select set of wagers at odds much longer than can be obtained on the day of the race, about a horse that holds an outstanding chance.
The highlight of last years portfolio was a £20 wager on Stayers' Hurdle winner Flooring Porter at 14/1, and in doing so he made a significant contribution to the profit for the blog selections. For the 3rd year in a row, I posted a profit on the week, and in 2021 it was £183.50 profit on total stakes of £237.00; that's 77.47% Return on Investment.
I'm going to try and make it 4 years of profit in 2022, but to make things a bit spicier, I'm going to try and find a "gamble": a horse to try and win over £500 for the blog. I'm looking for another "Cue Card" who I tipped to win the Ryanair Chase in 2013; or a "Coneygree" who I tipped at 12/1 to win the Gold Cup in 2015. It's not easy finding such winners, but I'm going to try an find an outstanding candidate.
There has been some great racing over the past week, and let's take a look at some of the results and the implications. Boxing Day brought us the "King George" at Kempton, and we had a surprise winner in the Mullins-trained Tornado Flyer. It was only TF's 2nd run over 3-miles, his previous effort being when well-beaten in the Savills Chase on 28betDec 2020 behind A Plus Tard. It was a good effort in the "King George" but the race did fall apart somewhat. Both Henderson horses (Mister Fisher and Chantry House) ran stinkers; Lostintranslation isn't the horse he was before injury; Minella Indo looks to have a breathing problem; and Saint Calvados doesn't stay a yard further than 2m5f. To be honest, had Asterion Forlonge not crumpled on landing at the final fence, I think he'd have stayed-on best and won. He has had some jumping problems, as when 3rd in the "Marsh" to Chantry House that was only his 3rd completed chase race. But his handicap chase win at Punchestown in April was a cracker of a performance, and if he can complete a race (he also unseated when going easily in the "John Durkan") he is the sort who could run a massive race in either the Gold Cup or the Ryanair. Given Asterion Forlonge looks capable of a 165+ performance, odds of 25/1 (available generally) look massive for the Gold Cup, especially when Minella Indo looks unlikely to repeat his winning performance of last March, and nothing longer than 25/1 in the betting looks capable of beating him.
At Leopardstown on 28th Dec, A Plus Tard was beaten on-the-nod by Galvin, with good yardstick Kemboy in 3rd just under a length behind. Personally, I saw nothing wrong with the run of APT; he picked-up well on the run-up to the 2nd last, then went clear into the final fence. It was on the run-in that he was caught, and as he had the eventual winner under a hard-drive from after the 2nd-last, it is possible that APT idled in front, or that his jockey thought the race was won. Both these horses are Festival winners, so the Cheltenham hill holds no worries for either: I just feel that of the pair I'd expect A Plus Tard to win next time they meet as he has better tactical speed and can put the race out of reach of Galvin. Also, I think APT is about 10lb better than this performance at his best (such as when he won at Haydock) and for me he is the one to beat in the Gold Cup come March. At current odds he's 7/2 (available generally), but I cannot see him starting much shorter than 3/1 on the day (if he goes there next) so hold on before placing a wager until you can get non-runner - no bet.
Dual Gold Cup winner Al Boum Photo is due to run at Tramore on New Years Day, and while I've already suggested that he's a decent each-way wager for a place (that was when he was 20/1; he's now best-priced at 16/1) he will be a 10yo in 2022, and I just cannot see him winning the Gold Cup in March. I'm more tempted by Asterion Forlonge from the Mullins stable, especially as he's in the same ownership as Al Boum Photo.
Suggested Antepost Wager:
Cheltenham Gold Cup:
ASTERION FORLONGE - £5.00 eachway @ 25/1 with William Hill or Bet365, 5th odds a place 1,2,3
ASTERION FORLONGE - £2.50 eachway @ 16/1 with Bet Victor or Bet365, 5th odds a place 1,2,3
Total staked = £15.00
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