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)
Stayers' Hurdle: GOLD TWEET - £5 ew @ 12/1 (NRNB)
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: £140 (Note: £20 returned NRNB)
The 5-day declarations for the 3rd day of the Festival came out yesterday (Friday 10th) and in the "Turners" there were no real surprises. There has been some money for Balco Coastal who is now 11/1 (from 14's). In the Ryanair, French Dynamite is now available at 16/1 (NRNB) with some and he's now interesting as an ew wager for a place.
At the time of writing (Saturday morning) the Triumph Hurdle, County (h'cap) Hurdle, and Albert Bartlett hurdle have too many entries to consider the form properly, especially as the County and AB can - and have - been won by rank outsiders. Regards the Gold Cup, there's nothing much that I can add that your haven't already read somewhere else.
The race revolves around Galopin Des Champs, and if he's as good as his reputation suggests then he's unbeatable. However, the Gold Cup trip is 510yds longer than the 3-miles he won over at Leopardstown LTO, and much of that 510yds is uphill - and many a "good thing" has come unstuck on that run-in. His current best odds of 15/8 (William Hill) don't look value to me, not when last years winner A Plus Tard (who had less question-marks) went off at 3/1.
What of the others? If the ground turns soft (unlikely) then you may see Bravemansgame pulled-out, and if he does run, I think he has as good a chance at the the fav of winning, which make his odds of 13/2 look value.
Last years winner A Plus Tard cannot be ignored, despite and indifferent run at Haydock last autumn, you have to respect his trainer Henry de Bromhead who managed to prepare the 2021 Gold Cup winner Minella Indo to run 2nd last year - also after an indifferent season. Winning the Gold Cup takes a supreme effort, and the race can make or break a horse. For example, Minella Rocco (2nd in 2017) was never the same horse again, ditto Might Bite (2nd in 2018), and Santini (2nd in 2019). This reminds me of a the words of a respected handicapper: "the winner can have the easiest race". In 2019, Al Boum Photo won the Gold Cup, and returned the following year in 2020 to win again off just one preparatory race. As such, I fully expect A Plus Tard to run well up to his known ability, and if he runs within 10lb of his run last year he will take some beating. Back in January, I didn't think we'd see A Plus Tard run again this season, but right now I wish I'd taken the 12/1 that was available at the time, and I can see him going-off as the 5/1 2nd-fav.
The 2022 Grand National winner Noble Yeats is worthy of a place in the race, but just as Grand National winners Hedgehunter (2005) ran 2nd in the 2006 Gold Cup, and Mon Mome (2009) ran 3rd in the 2010 Gold Cup, and Neptune Collonges (2012) was no better than 3rd in the 2008 Gold Cup (from 4 attempts) I cannot see this horse winning next week. Yes, he will be staying-on strong in the final half-mile, but he will likely be starting his run from maybe 30-lengths behind the leader after being outpaced mid-race. I can see him being 3rd or 4th.
The 8yo Stattler, who won the NH Chase over 3m6f here last year, hasn't shown form that suggests he can win this race, as he needs to find 10lb on what he's shown already, and that's a big ask. I'm not saying he can't win - Lord Windermere did in 2014 and he had a similar profile - but he will need the race to fall apart (like it did in 2014), and a giant slug of luck.
Conflated isn't good enough, and needs a slow-run race to be in with a chance, but if it's slow run then he will have Noble Yeats, A Plus Tard, and Stattler to contend with, as well as the fav Golopin De Champs.
Ahoy Senor is more interesting, as the trip should suit him well. But his jumping is indifferent, and his performances are consistent but not good enough - so he needs all the better horses to run poorly to be in with a shout. But with a bit of luck he could nick 4th or even 3rd.
When Ahoy Senor won LTO, the 8yo Protektorat who went off the fav for that race ran an absolute stinker, and we have to wonder if he was flattered by winning the Betfair Chase when A Plus Tard pulled-up. I thought he was the real-deal in January, hence putting him up as a selection in the antepost portfolio; but he was 3rd in this last year and his trainer Dan Skelton reckons he's a stronger horse this year, so he could again run into a place. However, being realistic I cannot see him winning this.
You can make a case - if you want to - for the likes of Minella Indo, Sounds Russian, and Hewick coming in 3rd or 4th, but realistically they don't tick enough boxes in a race which invariably takes no prisoners. If there is any chink in a horse, it will be exposed, and I can see there being only 6 or 7 still in the race as they jump the 3rd-last fence, and the remainder will have thrown-in the towel and pulled-up: but which will be the seven?
At this time, I'm looking at Bravemansgame and A Plus Tard, but perhaps I'm clutching at straws.
Ultima H'cap Chase (update)
Always a competitive race run at a strong pace. Winners need to stay the trip: 13 of the last 15 winners had won over 3-mile or more before winning this race. The 2015 winner The Druid's Nephew had won over 2m7f & 129yds at Huntingdon; and 2011 winner Bensalem had run 2nd to Diamond Harry (subsequent 2010 Hennessey GC winner off OR156) over 2m7f & 86yds at Newbury, and had then fallen in this race in 2010 when looking the winner, then campaigned over hurdles to protect his chase rating.
Those that fail the 3-mile test are: Fanion D'Estruval; Adamantly Chosen; I Am Maximus; Fastorslow; The Goffer; Tea Clipper; Nassalam; Karl Philippe
Happygolucky, 2nd in this race in 2021, meets this criteria, but whether he retains his ability after a long injury break is taken on trust. Remastered also ticks the box on stamina but, on a career-high rating at 10yo, has age against him. The Big Breakaway has stamina to burn, and with his best runs on soft ground, and being a prominent runner, this 8yo goes on the shortlist. Threeunderthrufive was a selection of mine for this last year, but went for the "Broadway" instead (ran 6th of 9); his form this season has not been the same. Our Power is an improving 8yo, but he's running off 9lb higher than when 5th last year, and that may be too much. Into Overdrive won the 3-mile Rowland Meyrick on Boxing Day, and that was his 5th win in 6 races, and he's not stopped improving. The form of that race was franked by Sounds Russian who ran 2nd in the Cotswold Chase on Trials Day. He won't want it too soft, but he's a prominent runner, and this 8yo goes on the shortlist. Corach Rambler won this last year but he's not raced since 4th in the Coral Gold Cup (Hennessey) and he's not a horse that goes well fresh. Cloudy Glen will need a career-best to win this off OR145, but it's likely that he won't be far away as he ran 2nd in the Kim Muir in 2021. Another interesting candidate is Farinet who won the Welsh National Trial over 3-mile at Chepstow in December. The extra distance found him out here on New Years' Day but he looks on a fair mark of OR142. Death Duty stayed on into 6th in this race last year off OR144, which came off the back of winning the National Trial at Punchestown. He ran 2nd in that race last month and runs off OR141 in the Ultima so he has place chances. Top Ville Ben was a class horse 4 seasons ago (won the Rowland Meyrick off OR154) and ran his best race in a long time LTO when 3rd in Ireland over an inadequate 2m5f. He is the sort who could put in an eye-catching run, and goes on the shortlist despite being 11yo. The novice Monbeg Genius has won his last 3 races and is clearly on the upgrade; guaranteed a run should he go to post, he goes on the shortlist.
Others to note from the "non 3-mile winners":-
The Goffer fails the 3-mile test, but he's improving and a LTO winner trained by Gordon Elliott.
Tea Clipper was 4th in this race last year, just beating Our Power, and they met again at Ascot over 3-miles in October when Tea Clipper was 3rd behind Our Power. They meet on 'levels' in this race, which puts Tea Clipper 9lb better-off, and I reckon Tea Clipper will easily beat Our Power in this race.
The Big Breakaway @ 16/1 (Skybet) - I really like the chances of this one
Into Overdrive @ 8/1 - odds are too short
Farinet @ 40/1 (available generally) at these odds you have to be on
Monbeg Genius @ 14/1
Tea Clipper - was advised at 16's; so 20/1 with William Hill NRNB looks value
The Big Breakaway - £5 eachway @ 16/1 (NRNB 5-places 5th odds Skybet)
Farinet - £5 eachway @ 40/1 (NRNB 5-places 5th odds Bet365)
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