Cheltenham Festival Day 1

Monday 5.30pm Just had a peek at Oddschecker and at last we have some proper shows! So let’s get this blog rolling!

GOING:- GOOD to SOFT (first certainty of the week landed!)

Tuesdays Lucky 15

Cheltenham 2.50       THE DRUIDS NEPHEW                        10/1 general

Cheltenham 3.30       BUVEUR D’AIR                        11/2 PP 5/1 WH 9/2 general

Cheltenham 4.50       BEWARE THE BEAR                8/1 WH 7/1 general

Cheltenham 5.30       ALL HELL LET LOOSE              22/1 Lad 20/1 WH 16/1 general


and hopefully this is why


1.30 Supreme Novices Hurdle 2m

I blogged this race on Wednesday March 8th and I still stand by the bulk of it although a few have come out. Moon Racer goes for the Champion Hurdle and good luck to the connections with their talented, fragile, lightly raced 8yo but I can’t see him getting within ten lengths of a winner. Movewiththetimes is out as well “Nicholls told Betfair: “Movewiththetimes was a little bit sore behind after a routine canter this morning and it looks like he has pulled a muscle behind. I’m gutted that he will not be able to go to Cheltenham as he was one of my best chances of the week.

As it doesn’t look too serious we will try to have him ready for Aintree or maybe Punchestown.”

Who will Ruby ride? He’s chosen Melon that I just can’t have on what I’ve seen! Stats say put a line through the rest of the Mullins runners, I will be gobsmacked if the son of Zebedee, Bunk Off Early, gets up that Cheltenham hill.

Ballyandy should place and River Wylde is a Henderson improver and they will me my two for the placepot but no singles.

2.10 Arkle Novice Chase 2m

Simple, Altior is a superstar and he wins. Only financial interest will be in the “without” market each way and all season I’ve said the North has three above average novice chasers. Waiting Patiently is on the side lines but Cloudy Dream and Forest Bihan turn up and it is the latter I like. Can see him ridden for a place and he has been neat at his fences and shown some gears running for home.

2.50 Ultima 3m 1f Handicap Chase

This is one classy three mile handicap chase and let’s get the betting started! I believe the winner will be at the top of the market and I’m going with three against the field.

Holywell – I’ve been monitoring this Cheltenham Festival specialist all season to see what Jonjo O’Neill could get his handicap down to with OR150 as a target. He excelled himself with OR148!! In 2014 he won the Pertemps final off OR140, in 2015 he won this race off OR145, in 2016 he was second in this race off OR153. Ignore the form of the horse and the trainer but he loves this time of year and the daffodils are out! One star win.

Noble Endeavor – Gordon Elliott and Davy Russell team up here and this is a classy animal. Fell in last year’s red hot 4m NH Chase when just moving into contention, was 4th in the Troytown and last time out he won the Grade B Paddy Power handicap chase at Leopardstown at Christmas and could easily be heading to graded company. One star win.

The Druids Nephew – Won this race two years ago off a mark of OR146 and he rocks up here off OR146! Goes well fresh, Spring horse, course and distance winner, yard and jockey couldn’t be in better form! The trainer, Neil Mulholland, is extremely bullish and “going well at home” vibes have been regularly aired on the Preview circuit and hopefully my man-crush for Neil Fehily will be enhanced further. Watched the BetFred preview in shop Sunday night with Mulholland in the studio and they boosted Southfield Royale for the Kim Muir not The Druids Nephew. Just saying! Two star win.

3.30 Champion Hurdle 2m

I have blogged this race on Wednesday March 9th and I can’t have Yanworth! After his traditional Sunday Cheltenham course walk Nicky Henderson says there is enough juice in the ground for Buveur D’Air and it’s dry enough for Brain Power and those two are my selections, three stars for Buveur D’Air and one star for Brain Power.

4.10 Mares Hurdle 2m4f

Surely destined for Ireland. Limini, Vroum Vroum Mag and Apples Jade heading the market with Jer’s Girl having a sniff. Can’t oppose Ruby’s choice of ride, Limini, but couldn’t risk the hard earned at a top price 13/8. The race has a habit of throwing up a big priced placed horse so how about last year’s second Rock on the Moor at a general 66/1?

4.50 4m National Hunt Chase

Will this year’s race throw up as much quality and as many winners as last years? Probably not but I have a strong fancy here. Nicky Henderson’s Beware the Bear with Sam Waley-Cohen on board has impressed me no end in his two novice chase wins at Ascot and Newbury. This horse is an outstanding jumper of fences and stays well and I think the 7yo son of Shantou could be destined for Graded races if not the National route and no issues having a Gold Cup winning jockey on board.

The other one that is on my radar is Haymount. It would seem that it’s only me and Willie Mullins that think four miles would suit this horse, most pundits seem to think he should come back in trip! It would seem to be the ride for Patrick Mullins and his last run when third in a Grade 2 behind Acapella Bourgeois is more than solid and Ruby said he couldn’t go any quicker throughout but he kept on. Solid form. Three stars Beware the Bear, one star Haymount.

5.30 Close Bros Novice 2m 5f Handicap Chase

It’s a handicap in name only with just five pounds from top to bottom and with Zamdy Man’s penalty taking him two pound over the top it is in effect just three pounds. I’ve thought for a while that Dan Skelton held the key to this race with Two Taffs, ItsaFreebie and Value at Risk and with brother Harry jocked up on Value at Risk suggesting “he could be graded horse in a handicap” he was to be my selection, then 10am this morning…… “Value at risk misses tomorrow’s close brothers chase. He’s knocked a back leg and is sore. If we had a week we’d make it. Just bad timing.” Harry Skelton rides ItsaFreebie and Davy Russell rides Two Taffs and to really give them a chance you can’t look at any of their novice chase videos! I’ll pass and I will go for two others.

All Hell Let Loose – Henry de Bromhead mentioned this race a long time ago and he has sneaked in. “He had a bit of a setback last summer, but he’s good now and is entered in the two-and-a-half mile novices’ handicap chase at the Cheltenham Festival. He got a mark of 137 when we asked for it and while he’s lightly raced over fences, I would only be hopeful rather than confident of him being fairly treated.” This horse first came on my radar when de Bromhead entered him in a race in England but at a gaff track, I want to say Sedgefield, fishing for a mark and hasn’t run him since! Limited chase experience, one beginners chase run one win, but hacked up and sole representative of Gigginstown and Bryan Cooper rides.

Burtons Well – Prominent racer from the red hot Venetia Williams yard who was a solid fourth to Royal Vacation at Cheltenham last time out and Charlie Deutsch’s three pound claim could be very useful.


Tuesdays bets

2.50 The Druids Nephew ** (10/1 general) Holywell * (11/1 BF + Lad) Noble Endeavor *(10/1 PP)

3.30 Buveur D’Air *** (11/2 PP) Brain Power * (15/2 PP)

4.50 Beware the Bear *** (8/1 WH) Haymount* (20/1 PP, Lad, Cor)

5.30 All Hell Let Loose* (22/1 Lad) Burtons Well* (20/1 WH)

Total 14 stars


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