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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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Monday 15 January 2024

Cheltenham Festival 2024 - general update

Some interesting results in the past week, and an update on the official entries for a slew of races at the Festival. First up, the results.
Banbridge beat a strong field to win the Grade 2 Silviniaco Conti Chase over 2m4f & 110 yds with the consistent Pic D'orhy in 2nd. Given this was the 1st run from Banbridge since winning at Aintree over a similar trip, it's possible that there's some improvement to come from the 8yo who has only had 6 chase runs (winning 4). He's entered for the Ryanair Chase at the Festival and so long as the ground isn't too soft (he was withdrawn from the "Turners" Novice Chase won by Stage Star last March, due to soft ground), he has to have a good chance.  However, in my opinion, Stage Star still holds all the aces: he loves Cheltenham, excels at the 2m4f trip, and has the best form at this stage. 
Sunday, saw the potentially talented Blood Destiny come-up against some equally talented peers and falter. Personally, I thought he was outstayed and the Arkle (run over 2-mile) will likely remain his target for the time being, although I expect how he performs in the Irish Arkle on 3rd Feb will determine his target at the Cheltenham Festival. My immediate impression is that he may not be good enough for a graded race at Cheltenham.
I was most impressed with the race winner Spillane's Tower - he was never under any pressure, jumped well throughout, picked-up the leaders and stayed on strong. He's won at 2-miles, but he looks a lot stronger at 2m4f, and if he takes up and entry to the Turners Novice Chase at Cheltenham, he'd certainly be on my shortlist.   

Unfortunately, the official entries have come out for the Stayers' Hurdle over 3-miles at the Festival, my my antepost selection Bob Olinger isn't entered, which is a bit of a blow as I thought he had a fair chance of success in that race, but he's no chance in the Champion Hurdle for which he is entered. There is a possibility of him running 3rd, but only if Impaire Et Passe gives the race a swerve and goes straight to Aintree for the 2m4f Aintree Hurdle. I've no doubt that we can recover our antepost loss on him in the weeks to come.

Finding potential antepost wagers isn't easy, as first you have to decide which race the horse is going to run in, and then decide if the horse has a realistic chance of winning, and finally do the current odds represent value. Sure, the odds may be longer now than they will be on the day, but do they include an element of risk that the horse won't run; and even if the horse does run, will it have it's preferred ground?

Looking at the novice hurdle races, the Supreme Novices Hurdle which opens the Festival looks a mess to me.  The current fav Mystical Power ran for the first time today (14Jan) since 31July and could do no more than win a 4-runner race in comparative ease. Just how good is he? It's difficult to say, but probably better than OR145, but is he? The 2nd-fav Jeriko Du Reponet has form even more vague, all we can go off is stable gossip. Ballyburn will almost certainly go for the Ballymore Hurdle over 2m5f for which he's the current fav. 
Caldwell Potter? His full-brother Mighty Potter was a top-draw novice hurdler over 2-miles, so there's potential in him. Then, A Dream To Share hasn't run in nearly a year. 
At Naas on Friday 12Jan, Readin Tommy Wrong beat his well-regarded stable companion Ile Atlantique over 2m4f with another well-regarded runner Firefox back in 4th. RTW is likely to go for the Ballymore, but his owners have another of interest in the Supreme: It's For Me, who beat Caldwell Potter when they met in November. He looks the sort who could well find a lot of improvement, as he wasn't beaten far in the Champion Bumper last March. This is a bit of a punt, but so far It's For Me has run well to a high level in his races, but has always failed to settle. If he can calm his enthusiasm, this is a horse that could be very interesting. Unfortunately, Hills - who are the only NRNB bookie - go a paltry 8/1; so I'm recommending a small interest at 20/1 (without the NRNB protection) in It's For Me and we can keep an eye on the horse. 

Antepost Selection:
Supreme Novices Hurdle: IT'S FOR ME 
£2 win @ 20/1 (available with Bet365, Skybet, PPower, Betfair, Betfred)
and £1 ew @ 20/1 (5th odds a place 1,2,3)
Total Staked = £4.00

Other wagers to date:
Ryanair Chase: STAGE STAR - £8 win @ 7/1 with Bet365
£2 WIN double with Paddy Power : Stayers Hurdle: BOB OLINGER @ 25/1 and Ryanair Chase: STAGE STAR @ 13/2 
Stayers Hurdle: BOB OLINGER - £5 eachway @ 14/1 with Hills (NRNB: 5th odds a place 1,2,3)
Stayers Hurdle: BOB OLINGER - £2 WIN @ 25/1 with Paddy Power

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