What a week it has been so far! Just 3 selections put up on the blog yesterday, and we had 2 winners.
THIRD WIND was advised as an eachway selection at 22/1, and won at an SP of 25/1 returning a £75.00 profit on the £2.50 ew stake.
FLOORING PORTER was advised as a £15 win wager and won at 4/1, returning a profit of £60.00.
The 3rd selection ran unplaced, losing the £5 staked. Overall, that's £130 profit on the day!
And on 6th March, my multiple advice was
Arkle Novices Chase: HAUT EN COULEURS @ 7/1
Queen Mother Champion Chase: ENERGUMENE @ 4/1
Stayers' Hurdle: FLOORING PORTER @ 7/2
3 x £3 win doubles AND £3 win treble = £12 staked
With Flooring Porter winning, we had a successful double and another £64.50 profit. I will do a full recap at the weekend, and give you the profit for the Festival on wagers placed.
Can we keep this ball rolling?
The first race I'm looking at is the "Albert Bartlett" Novices hurdle over 3-miles, mainly because this race will take winning by a decent horse due to the 3-mile trip: there are not many that can win a race like this. Winners also keep coming-in at long odds, so potential to win can be hidden in the form. The fav Hillcrest looks beatable as he's been winning his races easily: probably due to the lack of depth of the races he's in - LTO he easily beat a horse rated OR125 which he should being rated OR140. The Irish-trained Ginto looks more interesting, but I would have liked him to have run since the 2nd Jan. Minella Cocooner won LTO on 05Feb making-all over 2m6f, he will have to be very good to try that in today's race, and I don't think he is. The Nice Guy has just run in the one hurdle race, I'm guessing he will need more experience. The ground may not be soft enough for Shantreusse, and Good Time Jonny does not look good enough. The 7yo Bardenstown Lad has been aimed at this since winning over C&D in October, and was not seen again till winning LTO over 3-miles on 05Feb. Trainer John McConnell means business when sending one over from Ireland with a 33% strike-rate in hurdle races, and while this race is tough to win he could be one that stays on well. The last one I will mention is Stag Horn who was a very decent horse on the flat over 2-miles rated OR103; and he's taken well to hurdling and while he does not lack race experience, he may find this race a tough task. Some bookies are offering 5-places (5th odds) and if the ground were good-to-soft I'd favour Minella Cocooner, but I fear he may be stopping in the final half-mile on the soft & tacky ground today, and BARDENSTOWN LAD @ 20/1 (Coral 5-places, 5th odds) looks a decent eachway play.
Selection: BARDENSTOWN LAD - £2.50 eachway @ 18/1 (sorry, as I was writing this the 20/1 has gone) with Bet365 & Coral
The Gold Cup is the big one: and let me start by saying last years' race was one of the better years. It is very difficult to win this race twice with the same horse and Minella Indo has looked jaded in his 3 runs since then, but then he did last season! Trainer de Bromhead is not in the same form either, he was fortunate to win with Bob Olinger yesterday, and the mare Honeysuckle is dominating a weak 2-mile hurdle division (she won't do that next season). So, with de Bromhead also training A Plus Tard can he win the Gold Cup? What I like about A Plus Tard is that he is consistently very good, and occasionally impressive. LTO when beaten on-the-line by Galvin was, in my opinion, more of a jockey error as the race should have been put to bed before then. For me, Galvin does not look good enough: beaten by Frodon over 3-miles in October, and then only a length ahead of Kemboy LTO at Leopardstown, is not strong enough for to justify his place in the betting. The Nicholls-trained Protektorat is the fly-in-the-ointment: Nicholls has struggled to find a Gold Cup horse in the last decade, and I think he's gambling a lot with this one. Sure, he's a decent horse but he will need to improve at least 10lb when tackling the longest trip he's ever run - he's only twice run beyond 2m5f and was beaten by the OR146 rated Empire Steel in one of those races. Then there's Al Boum Photo: twice a Gold Cup winner and 3rd last year, he looks as good as ever and will not be far away. The ground is unlikely to be soft enough for Royale Pagaille, although trainer Venetia Williams is having a great Festival with 2 wins already and 2x 3rd's. I just think the pace will be too quick for him, as it was last year, and he will be staying-on but too late. The King George at Kempton has not provided a Gold Cup winner since Long Run in 2012, and I very much doubt Tornado Flyer will break the pattern, and I can also put a line through Asterion Forlonge. The remainder, Chantry House, Santini and Aye Right just do not look good enough.
For me, A PLUS TARD looks the most likely winner of the race and, if he'd won LTO by a short-head instead of losing, then he'd be 2/1 and not 3/1. I'm expecting the 1st-3 home last season to fill the 1st-3 places again but in a different order. We should see A Plus Tard win, with Al Boum Photo in 2nd and Minella Indo in 3rd.
Selection: A PLUS TARD - £15 win @ 3/1 (William Hill and Bet365)
In the opening race of the day, is Vauban the likely winner of the Triumph Hurdle? There's two ways of looking at this: the Irish horses are 15lb better than anything in the UK, or they are so closely matched that they can't all be very good (can they?). I can't split the Irish horses Vauban, Pied Piper and Fil Dor, and perhaps the value in the Irish entries is Il Etait Temps who was very good on his debut hurdle race and is sure to come on for that run. And I also like the UK-trained pair of Porticello and Knight Salute, and they may not be as far away as the betting suggests. This is a no bet race for me.
That's it for me today - time for breakfast and heading to the course.
It has been another very enjoyable and profitable Cheltenham Festival - it's always good to enter the final day well ahead - and I hope you have all enjoyed the journey. Looking at the stats, there has been about 300 readers of the blog this week. If you have made a profit, and you are feeling generous, there's a donation button on the blog above my photo if you want to buy me a pint!
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