Friday 6.30pm You can see how hard it is to get a winner at Cheltenham with the relief and joy champion trainer Paul Nicholls got from winning the Foxhunters! I’ve finished in front for the meeting but it was a poor Friday with hardly a sniff of a result.
A fabulous four days of National Hunt racing is over for another twelve months and I’m quite looking forward to going over the meeting again on Monday. Just Aintree, Fairyhouse, Punchestown, Sandown and maybe Ayr left for me this jumps season as it’s time to prepare for the Flat. I will continue to blog a Lucky 15 for Tuesday to Saturday up to Aintree. So it’s back to the day job and an awkward Saturday featuring a load of horses who just missed the cut at Cheltenham and American running in a handicap!
Saturdays Lucky 15
Uttoxeter 2.25 ROCK THE KASBAH 8/1 general
Kempton 2.40 GOLDEN SPEAR 11/2 Coral 5/1 general
Uttoxeter 3.00 ORDO AD CHEO 7/1 general
Uttoxeter 3.35 WARRANTOR 16/1 general
and hopefully this is why
Uttoxeter 2.25 ROCK THE KASBAH I can’t believe American that is going to run here as opposed to the RSA at Cheltenham. He could totally outclass these with his immaculate jumping but at the weights and the prices I’m going for the streetfighter Rock the Kasbah for Hobbs and Johnson who put it up to Politologue earlier in the season
Kempton 2.40 GOLDEN SPEAR If he had got into the County hurdle he would probably have been my selection so I’ve got to back him here. Tony Martin has employed Donagh Myler who claims3lbs and if he can find a racing seam from two out he has to be a player. Keep in Line, Brio Conti, Solomn Grundy, Charlemar and Divine Spear are all on my radar but Golden Spear is the selection.
Uttoxeter 3.00 ORDO AD CHEO Last season one of Alan Kings top novices, last seen in a C2 hurdle at ascot behind Air Force one when he didn’t get the clearest of runs turning for home. As long as he doesn’t ‘bounce’ he has to be a player up in trip and down to a C3.
Uttoxeter 3.35 WARRANTOR Had this fella earmarked for a long distance chase with a bit of cut in the ground and see no reason why it shouldn’t be this one. His second at Cheltenham on seasonal debut clearly shows he has the talent.
1.30 Comfortable winner in Defi du Seuil who delivered on his big day and looks a horse going places for JP and Mr Hobbs. Did he run to OR155? If he did those behind should be in for a hike and handicapper Phil Smith may be digging another hole for himself?
2.10 I got this race horribly wrong! Terrific training performance from Willie Mullins with Arctic Fire winning after 418 days off the track. Think there are going to be some astute racing journalists talking about the changing face of Festival handicaps with the first two home the top two in the weights off OR158+152. Form is temporary but class is permanent. Top trainers can get these horses fit and ready at home. Consider this. Arctic Fire was second in a Champion Hurdle and won here off OR158 just three pounds higher than the 4yo Defi du Seuil took into the Triumph hurdle.
2.50 Couldn’t see that result coming? The winner used to be a good handicapper with Luca Cumani but 3m at Cheltenham! Feedback from connections will make interesting reading. To my eyes Bryan Cooper never gave Death Duty a chance. Buried in midfield and I mean buried, he never gave the horse racing room. Need to see this race a few times more.
3.30 Wow! I was counting my money for 95% of that race with Djakadam travelling so well but AP is probably right in that the horse was doing too much and he doesn’t stay although the second last didn’t help. Sizing John chases Douvans backside for two seasons over two miles, steps up in trip and wins the Gold Cup! Why? How. Last season’s stellar 4m NH chase form held up again with first two, Minella Rocco and Native River, second and third here. You would have to expect the front four back in twelve months time. Hell of a run in fifth from Saphir de Rheu.
4.10 Great race with Pacha du Polder just holding on from Wonderful Charm for a Paul Nicholls and the relief for the trainer was palpable.
4.50 Gordon Elliott trained the first and third to secure the Top Trainer title and I’m just forced to reflect on how big a sure thing was the Storyteller!?!
5.30 After winning the Gold Cup Robbie Power and the last question asked by the ITV crew was how would he go and celebrate? His answer was “It was on hold as he had a Grand Annual to win first.” And that’s exactly what he did on last year’s third, Rock the World, to crown an excellent week for Jessica Harrington
Fridays Lucky 15
Not good today but over the four days the Lucky 15 has done OK doubling our money. 4x £15 (£1unit) returned £123 and that’s with just three winners over four days!
Cheltenham 2.10 NORTH HILL HARVEY 16th 8/1 (8/1 general)
Cheltenham 2.50 DEATH DUTY UR 13/8F (9/4 general)
Cheltenham 3.30 DJAKADAM 4th 3/1F (3/1 general)
Cheltenham 5.30 LE PREZIEN 8th 7/2F (7/1 BetFred 6/1 general)
2.10 Song Light 18th 20/1 One star* e/w 25/1 WH + BetFred
Held up rear and never got competitive.
2.10 North Hill Harvey 16th 8/1 Two Stars ** win 8/1 general
Raced prominently in main pack behind long leader but nothing from two out.
2.10 De Name Escapes Me PU 28/1 One star* e/w 25/1 general
Seen early on but faded from halfway.
2.50 Death Duty UR 13/8F Four Stars**** win NB of the meeting 9/4 general
Never ever put in the race. Cooper unseated at the last.
3.30 Djakadam 4th 3/1F Two Stars** win 3/1 general BetFred push?
Every chance racing prominently until an awful error two out.
4.50 Runfordave 3rd 9/1 One star* win 9/1 general
Absolutely every chance but beaten by another Elliott inmate. How good a thing was The Storyteller!!!
4.50 Thomas Campbell 5th 20/1 One star* win 18/1 PP + Coral
Excellent run having to switch going to the last and just run out of real estate!
4.50 Rather Be UR 10/1 Two stars** e/w 14/1 Betfred + WH
Probably my only bit of bad luck as he was tackled by a fallen horse and unseated young Mr Deutsch.
5.30 Le Prezien 8th 7/2F Three Stars*** win 7/1 BetFred 6/1 general
Every chance but a slow jump two out ended his challenge and probably not good enough anyway.
Total 21 stars Return 00 stars Overall three days Stake 71 stars Return 85.5 stars