Cheltenham 12th March …
I thought being as I had a few hours spare on my hands I’d look back over the weekend’s racing and look forward to the Festival which takes place in four weeks. Cheltenham has been described as the Greatest Show on Earth and when your suffering with Ayr, Southwell and Lingfield on a wet Tuesday it makes sense to look forward and not concentrate on the more mundane daily grind. It was a most informative weekend both in England and over the Irish Sea and hopefully there were a few more clues to the puzzle. If you fancy having a bet on the Cheltenham Festival why not read on, may be of some help!
Anyway looking back at Newbury and Leopardstown. The most impressive winner had to be My Tent Or Yours (MTOY) who absolutely cruised up on the bridle to winner the Betfair Hurdle. MTOY before the race was available to back for the Supreme at 10/1 and has now been backed into a best price at 9/4. He has also been put into the Champion Hurdle market with a run at 4/1. Best price is 8s without the safety net of a run First thoughts on this I’d need to be completely mad to back him at 4/1 for the Champion Hurdle. Reasons being mainly that he’s never raced at the track and that would also concern me regards the Supreme and trends – 10/10 winners of the Champion Hurdle were second, third or fourth season hurdlers. While 9/10 winners finished in the first 4 over hurdles at Previous Festival. Plus there’s just the caveat that he won’t run anyway plus as impressive as he was he shouldn’t be shorter than the likes of Rock On Ruby, Zarkandar, Grandoeut (injury worries aside). His price for the Supreme is much more respectable and although favourites have a pretty wretched record in the Supreme (lost last 8) – but I think at the same time MTOY is a different proposition to the hype horses of recent years like Cousin Vinny, Dunguib and Cue Card. I wouldn’t back him at 2/1 – mainly because I’ve already backed him at 14/1 (I may even lay off a bit of that to have a free bet) – but I wouldn’t put you off him and I think he’ll go off nearer even money. Melodic Rendezvous also enhanced his reputation over the weekend beating Puffin Billy. In his favour he has won at Cheltenham and notable that the race he won at Cheltenham is proving to be one of the best novice hurdle form lines about.
Moving on the main principles in the RSA Chase – bar Dynaste – all ran at the weekend. I think it’s fair to say the one who enhanced his reputation the most was Dynaste. Boston Bob looked outpaced and sluggish and anything but a Championship horse in the PJ Moriarty. His earlier form wasn’t advertised particularly well with You Must Know Me since getting trounced by Vesper Bell. Anyhow I think Boston Bob is just too slow and will get significantly outpaced think perhaps a Tidal Bay type. Either way Dynaste has shown far greater form than the Irish stuff and although the step up to 3m in the RSA will help. He is far too short at 4s with one firm. There is a reason to consider backing the three who finished near to him – Lyreen Legend (33), Lord Windermere (20), Texas Jack (33). Of the three I’d back the latter hand behind my back, gun against my head. He’s beaten Lord Windermere twice. The best potential Irish novice though over long distance in my opinion is Back In Focus who finished 4l ahead of Lyreen Legend over 22f before beating Aupcharlie over 24f with Texas Jack and Tofino Bay further behind. My concern with him is that the owner won’t run both Boston Bob and Back In Focus in the same race so you’re a little stuck picking them. The Newbury race which Unioniste won was a slow time and the fact Same Difference wasn’t far behind is slightly disconcerting. Also worth noting Dynaste has form lines with both Unioniste and Hadrian’s Approach – beat the former by 8l, the latter by 9l over Christmas. Unioniste obviously has improved since – winning the Ironspine Challenge and 10s on him with the likes of Paddy Power horse racing is more appealing than the best priced 7s on Boston Bob.
Next up and I don’t want to spend to long droning on as I plan on looking at more races individually in the coming weeks. We had more clues in the Gold Cup market. As first Silviniaco Conti kept up his impressive record in beating the Giant Bolster (giving weight) in the Denman Chase. This was a really good performance as the time was impressive compared to the Unioniste novice chase helped in part by the tearaway speed of Mail de Bievre (worth keeping an eye on for Ryanair/Aintree perhaps). Silviniaco is best price 11/2 and when you consider he’s unbeaten over the big obstacles this season and drubbed Long Run and last year’s second The Giant Bolster he’s a worthy candidate. Nicholls has said he intends to be his only challenger. The Giant Bolster for his part ran well and better ground will help him but this year’s Gold Cup is shaping up much better than last year and 20/1 doesn’t appeal enough to warrant wading in on him when Conti beat him giving weight. Over in Ireland Sire Des Champs finally put together a good round of jumping which was enough to see of Flemenstar. The form of this can be crabbed slightly in that the runner up has since been found to have a lung infection. Quel Esprit blew up rather and is below the top echelons so hard to really know how well SDC performed. Still he should improve for better ground, the extra distance and his record at HQ is exemplary. Sir Des is a best price of 5s and much like Silvianico that looks fair – I’d personally prefer both to Bobs Worth at this point mainly because the absence is a concern but none appeal enough to warrant a wager.
As I say I’ll look at things in more depth in the coming weeks and look at nominating a few punts. By all means comment/tweet/Facebook anything that jumped out over the weekend that appealed.