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Between March 2010 and April 2017, this blog recommended wagers on 520 individual races on Jump Racing in the UK, resulting in a PROFIT of £1,525.39 on cumulative stakes of £5,726 - this is equivalent to a Return On Investment of 26.60%.


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Tuesday 7 March 2023

The final countdown to the Cheltenham Festival - part 2

Cheltenham Festival Antepost Wagers: already advised
Arkle: SIR GERHARD - £5 ew NRNB @ 14/1 (Bet365 & PaddyPower)
Ultima: TEA CLIPPER - £5 ew NRNB @ 16/1 (available generally, 5-places 5th odds)

These horses are combined in 4 x £5 win trebles: £20 staked
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

Supreme Hurdle:  IL ETAIT TEMPS - £10 win @ 9/2 (NRNB)
Arkle: BOOTHILL - £5 eachway @ 40/1 (NRNB - Skybet & Paddy Power)
NH Chase: MAHLER MISSION - £10 win @ 9/1 (Corals)
Arkle: El Fabiolo @ 9/4 
and Turners: Mighty Potter @ 3/1 : £10 win double
Turners Nov Ch: MIGHTY POTTER - £10 win @ 7/2 (Paddy Power)
Cheltenham Gold Cup: PROTEKTORAT - £15 win @ 9/1 (paddy Power or Skybet)
Supreme Hurdle: Impaire Et Passe - £5 win @ 10/1 (Coral or Labrokes)
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)
Arkle: MIGHTY POTTER - £5 win @ 25/1 (Paddy Power)
Arkle: EL FABIOLO - £5 win @ 11/2 (Bet365)
Arkle: EL FABIOLO - £5 win @ 9/2 (William Hill, NRNB)

Total Staked to Date: £140

My proposed antepost portfolio is confirmed above, all these wagers have been written into the blog since 1st January. There's a couple that were speculative that are already losers: Mighty Potter in the Arkle (£5 @ 25/1), and probably Boothill also in the Arkle (£5 ew @ 40/1) but that stake is returned as it's NRNB.  I must admit that I'm feeling fairly confident about returning a profit from the antepost wagers.  I know it's exciting to place speculative doubles and trebles, but I've felt confident about the ability of Mighty Potter as a novice chaser since early December, and maybe if I'd lumped the lot on him at 7/2 for the "Turners" in early January that may have been the best policy.

The opening day continues with the Champion Hurdle over 2-miles & 87yds.
For the winner you cannot look anywhere else but Constitution Hill. He probably could have won this race last season as a novice hurdler (has any novice ever tried?), and he looks 10lb better than anything else in the race. There is no real point in considering stats for this race, as invariably the best horse wins the race: it is always a true test.
The Irish challenge is from State Man who won the County Hurdle last year looking every inch a potential Champion hurdle horse, but he just isn't in the same league as the fav. I'm surprised Vauban is entered as this 5yo is clearly behind his stablemate State Man, and I expect he is in the race for the experience. 
Nicky Henderson reckons the mare Epatante is better than ever, and if she is (she was 2nd in this race last year) then she should finish in front of Vauban. However, do not ignore I Like To Move It; he’s improved rapidly since going hurdling, just failing to win the Betfair H’cap off OR138, then winning the Greatwood H’cap off OR142 in November, and LTO smashing the Grade 2 “Kingwell” at Wincanton last month. He looks as good as State Man based on that performance LTO, and the only downside I can see is that he flopped in the County Hurdle (won by State Man) last year.  On form, the ”value” is trying to find the 3rd-placed horse on the day, and that looks between Epatante and I Like To Move It, and I prefer the latter given he’s a C&D winner and that he could be the 2nd best horse in the race and is currently available at 16/1 with Paddy Power & William Hill could be extremely good value in a race which could have only 6 or 7 starters.
Advice: I LIKE TO MOVE IT - £5 ew @ 16/1 (NRNB) with Paddy Power & William Hill

Mares’ hurdle 2m4f
Not my favourite race as the winner usually only needs to have a rating better than OR150. Fair enough to give mares’ a chance with a 7lb allowance against the geldings, but a mares' only race isn’t a championship race in my opinion.  Honeysuckle is due to take part, and I think she’s vulnerable. Her form this season has been decent for a mare but is definitely below “Honeysuckle” peak. If Marie’s Rock runs in this – and not the Stayers’ Hurdle over 3-mile – I believe she will take all the beating; she’s running around 155-158 which is about 5lb better than Honeysuckle. Brandy Love does not look good enough, and I feel Echoes In Rain is both not good enough and this isn’t her trip. More interesting is Love Envoi who was a Festival winner in 2022, and I think she has improved since – but although she’s not as good as Marie’s Rock she can give Honeysuckle a race. Queens Brook has potential to be placed, but that depends on which mares run in the race. 
My idea of the 1, 2, 3 is 1st Marie’s Rock, 2nd Love Envoi, 3rd Honeysuckle; but if Marie’s Rock goes for the Stayers’ Hurdle then Love Envoi at odds of 7/1 looks a value wager, but perhaps not the value of I Like To Move It in the Champion Hurdle.   

Juvenile Handicap Hurdle over 2-mile & 87yds
There is no way I'm going to spend time at this stage trying to find the winner of this race, as 6 of the last 10 winners have been sent off at odds of 25/1 or longer - Jeff Kidder won at 80/1 in 2021.

National Hunt Chase over 3m 6f
This can be one of the most informative races of the Festival having been won by Cause Of Causes, Minella Rocco, and Tiger Roll, and also  produced a couple of recent Gold Cup winner Native River (2nd in 2016). Of the last 16 winners, 14 had already won at 3-mile or further, and 10 of the last 13 winner had already run at Cheltenham. The top-3 on official ratings also have an excellent record in this race, and I have in the past just recommended having a wager on the horse with the highest official rating.  Not this year as, to be absolutely honest here: I can't see why Gaillard Du Mesnil is such a hot fav in this race. He will likely have the highest rating of OR155, but for me he lacks zip - just as Run Wild Fred rated OR156 did last year, and he ran 2nd  to Stattler rated OR153. Ramilies has not looked a convincing chaser, and he didn't look a convincing 3-miler hurdler either. Chemical Energy was the fav for this race until recently, but he ran a stinker on 29Jan and it's difficult to erase that run from the mind.  I have already advise antepost wagers on the pair Churchstonewarrior and Mahler Mission who fought out the finish of a 3-mile Grade 2 Chase on 12Feb, and that form looks rock solid, and this pair look to be still improving. I don't think City Chief (in the same ownership of Ramilies and Gaillard Du Mesnil) rated OR142 is good enough, and the same applies to his stable companion Mister Coffey rated OR145.  When you look at the entries, this race lacks depth which probably explains the betting. I would expect a fair amount of movement in the betting on the day, and while I expect Gaillard Du Mesnil to go off the fav, I don't expect him to win this race.

So then, just the one addition to the antepost portfolio: I LIKE TO MOVE IT in the Champion Hurdle.

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