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Friday 10 March 2023

The final countdown to the Cheltenham Festival - part 4

Cheltenham Festival Antepost Wagers: already advised

Supreme Hurdle:  IL ETAIT TEMPS - £10 win @ 9/2 (NRNB)
Supreme Hurdle: Impaire Et Passe - £5 win @ 10/1 (Coral or Labrokes)
Arkle: MIGHTY POTTER - £5 win @ 25/1 (Paddy Power) LOST 
Arkle: EL FABIOLO - £5 win @ 11/2 (Bet365)
Arkle: EL FABIOLO - £5 win @ 9/2 (William Hill, NRNB)
Ultima: TEA CLIPPER - £5 ew NRNB @ 16/1 (available generally, 5-places 5th odds)
Champion Hurdle: I LIKE TO MOVE IT - £5 ew @ 16/1 (NRNB) with Paddy Power & William Hill
NH Chase: MAHLER MISSION - £10 win @ 9/1 (Corals)
Arkle: El Fabiolo @ 9/4 & Turners: Mighty Potter @ 3/1 : £10 win double

Ballymore Hurdle: Marine Nationale - £5 win @ 25/1 (Skybet or, Ladbrokes & Coral)
Broadway Chase: Thyme Hill - £5 win @ 8/1 (Bet365 or Skybet)
Broadway Chase: Thyme Hill - £5 win @ 7/1 (William Hill, NRNB)

Turners Nov Ch: MIGHTY POTTER - £10 win @ 7/2 (Paddy Power)

These horses are combined in 4 x £5 win trebles: £20 staked
NH Chase: Mahler Mission & Churchstonewarrior / Broadway: Gerri Colombe & Thyme Hill / 
Ryanair: Shishkin (banker) 
1) Shishkin @ 11/10 plus Gerri Colombe @ 9/4 plus Churchstonewarrior @ 6/1
2) Shishkin @ 11/10 plus Thyme Hill @ 5/1 plus Churchstonewarrior @ 6/1
3) Shishkin @ 11/10 plus Gerri Colombe @ 9/4 plus Mahler Mission @ 8/1
4) Shishkin @ 11/10 plus Thyme Hill @ 5/1 plus Mahler Mission @ 8/1

Cheltenham Gold Cup: PROTEKTORAT - £15 win @ 9/1 (paddy Power or Skybet)

Total Staked to Date: £130 (Note: £20 returned NRNB)

We had the 5-day declarations for the 2nd day of the Festival yesterday (Thurs 9th) and the main impact on the portfolio is that Impaire Et Passe remains in the Ballymore Hurdle, and is almost certain to run in that race for which he's the 7/4 fav. This is a bit of a blow, as I think he'd go close in the Supreme Hurdle and we hold a 10/1 voucher on that race. Fingers crossed that Il Etait Temps runs for us in the Supreme.  Mullins has a stranglehold on the novice hurdles, and he probably has 4 potential winners of the Ballymore to choose from. Another odd declaration was Mighty Potter in the "Broadway" over 3-mile, because if he runs in this race then he wont be able to run in the "Turners" on Thursday, a race for which he's a strong fav to win.  There are a lot of double-entries in the "Broadway", and I expect this race to cut-up which could prove advantageous to Thunder Rock: I can't see him winning this but he could sneak 3rd. There are no surprises in the QM Champion Chase, but with only 9 declared (and likely all going to post) then it's "fingers crossed" that my long-odds trebles (see my blog of 31Dec) involving (QMCC) Nube Negra; (Ryanair) Shiskin & Conflated; (Stayers' Hurdle) Flooring Porter; and (Gold Cup) Stattler come to fruition. 

Onto Day-3, Thursday and the day starts with...
Turners Novice Chase (Grade 1) over 2m4f
With 14 horses standing their ground, this race is taking more shape than some others. It pays to have a horse that has some jumping experience at Graded level. There have been some absolutely top-class winners of this race, and the market is usually reflective of the chances of contenders. Mighty Potter heads the betting as the 5/4 fav, and there appears to be no chink in his armour, which is good for readers of the blog as we have him at 7/2 and in a double with the "Arkle" fav El Fabiolo. What can beat him? I will be surprised if any of the other Irish-trained entries can get close, although I will respect the chance of Sir Gerhard (who won the Ballymore hurdle last year) if he takes part. Pay attention to the "Broadway" chase on Wednesday, as if Gerri Colombe and Thunder Rock do well in that, it will give the form of Balco Coastal - who split them at Sandown LTO - a big boost. Another to keep an eye on is Stage Star, who won over this C&D in January with 12st pretty much making-all. He was well fancied for the Ballymore last year, but pulled-up; even so I'd say he has the potential to win a race like this.

Pertemps Final H'cap Hurdle over 3-miles
There's only 28 runners to consider, and a max of 24 can go to post, so rather than speculate I'm going straight into form assessment. Remember, I posted last years 25/1 winner Third Wind on the morning of the race! These 3-mile handicap hurdles take a certain type of horse to win, and strong form-lines can be overlooked. 

Ryanair Chase over 2m5f
Cheltenham experience is a must when seeking the winner of this race, and the betting is a good guide with 6 of the last 7 winners going off at odds no longer than 9/2. Readers of the blog will hopefully be cheering on Shishkin as he completes the final leg of a successful winning treble; he looks near unbeatable in this race based on his win LTO at Ascot.  He may not have many rivals to contend with, as Blue Lord will likely go for the QMCC; Conflated for the Gold Cup; and I will be surprised if Chancun Pour Soi runs. What will follow Shishkin home? Janadil was 2nd last year, but benefitted from the fall of Conflated 2-out. Fury Road just isn't quick enough when it matters; and I'm not sure about Envoi Allen - he could be 160+ or maybe he just made the most of an opportunity when winning at Dromore in November? I think French Dynamite is under-estimated here: he was just btn by Ga Law in the Paddy Power h'cap giving the winner 6lb; he clearly didn't stay 3-mile when running in the Grade 1 Savills Chase on 28Dec; and had he not been impeded LTO by the faller (Haut En Couleurs) I think he'd have btn Fakir D'oudairies - in which case he'd be 2nd fav for this race. Sure, Ga Law is improving, but so is French Dynamite and I think he is the better horse. By-the-bye, both of these horses are well-handicapped at the moment, and I'm not sure why they are not contesting one of the handicaps instead. Given that Shishkin is +10lb better than anything else in the race, it's pointless having an antepost wager for something destined (barring a cruel twist of fate) to run 2nd or 3rd. Better to wait until the day and play a straight forecast.

Stayers' Hurdle over 3-miles
This year we have one of the most open, and murkiest, Stayers' Hurdles since 2018. I know Lisnagar Oscar won at 50/1 in 2020 but let's be honest, that was a strange race which should have been won by Paisley Park who, both before and after the race, was the best staying hurdler around. We have 15 entries as of this afternoon, with a couple of supplemented runners: Gold Tweet was expected, but what is Mullins planning with entering Asterion Forlonge? I can only think Mullins is giving the owners of Asterion (who also own Shishkin) the opportunity to "enjoy" their Ryanair win by remaining in the paddock area after the presentation. As for Gold Tweet, do not under-estimate this horse: he comes here worthy of a place on merit. Current fav in what has been a very fluid betting market, is Blazing Khal who - to be frank - isn't worthy of the position based on beating Meet And Greet over 2m5f LTO. That was his 1st race in 14mths, so he may come on for it, or he may "bounce". Marie's Rock is untried at 3-mile, and I feel she may go for the Mares' Hurdle instead for which she has a great chance of holding onto her crown having won that race last year. Teahopoo needs the mud; he may have it, but it's more likely that by Thursday and running on fresh ground that he won't. Home By The Lee was easily beaten in this race last year, and I don't think he's improved since but that he's been flattered by some indifferent performances by his rivals. I admit Flooring Porter looked a sad shadow of himself LTO, but he's won from the front twice before in this race, and I feel if he runs on the day then he will be capable of a good effort. Klassical Dream is another who has been beaten when meeting the very best at this trip, and he had nothing more to give when 5th last year. Paisley Park at 11yo is a spent force. When 3rd last year in the 2m5f Coral Cup (h'cap) Hurdle, Ashdale Bob ran the race of his life; he looks capable of a bold bid if the ground isn't too soft, as I think on better ground he may have btn Home By The Lee LTO at Leopardstown over 3-miles. After Gold Tweet winning here in January, you cannot ignore the French-trained Henri Le Farceur, but he will come into this race off a break of 103 days which is a negative. He may have chased home Gold Tweet LTO, but it will take a career-best from the horse at 10yo for Dashel Drasher to win. I'm leaning towards Flooring Porter as he's done it twice before and he looks the only one capable of a 160+ performance if he comes right on the day. IF push come to shove, right now I'd be on one of the youngest horses in the race, who we know has winning form at Cheltenham and stays the trip: Gold Tweet. If he was trained at Lambourn he'd be the 7/2 fav for this race, yet there is plenty of 12/1 available NRNB.
Advised wager: GOLD TWEET - £5 eachway @ 12/1 (generally available, NRNB)

The day ends with a couple of handicaps; the Kim Muir over 3m2f, and the "Plate" over 2m4f & 127 yds, which I will hold off reviewing for now as there are too many entries in both races to consider. The  Mares' Novices Hurdle is not the sort of race I want to get involved in.

I will be back tomorrow with another instalment. 

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