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Month: March 2022

Cheltenham 2022 – Friday

It was a mixed day yesterday with Galopin all but winning the first and now favourite for next year’s Gold Cup. Alaphilippe ran really well in the Pertemps and Allaho was again dominant in the Ryanair. Paisley Park was out with the washing and did amazingly well to come in third in the Stayers’ Hurdle and my best result of the day was Love Envoi winning the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle.

I think that it’s going to be a favourites’ day in the early races today so I’ve added a few selections at longer odds in the hope of finding some value.

13:30 Triumph Hurdle

Vauban (15/8f); Il Etait Temps (11/1 e/w)

14:10 County Hurdle

State Man (7/2f); I Like To Move It (10/1 e/w)

14:50 Albert Bartlett

Hillcrest (9/4f); Minella Cocooner (9/1 e/w)

15:30 Gold Cup

Protektorat (11/1)

16:10 Hunters’ Chase

Pont Aven (9/1)

16:50 Mares’ Chase

Elimay (5/2)

17:30 Martin Pipe

Adamantly Chosen (6/1)

Good luck!

Cheltenham 2022 – Thursday

A much better day on Wednesday with wins for Sir Gerhard, L’homme Presse and Energumene and a valiant valedictory second for Tiger Roll in the Cross Country.

Just the selections today, confirming those mentioned on Monday, but several now at much shorter odds.

13:30 Turners Novices’ Chase

Galopin Des Champs (5/6 from 11/10)

14:10 Pertemps Final

Alaphilippe (6/1)

14:50 Ryanair Chase

Allaho (4/6 from 4/7) nap

15:30 Stayers’ Hurdle

Paisley Park (17/2 from 7/1)

16:10 Plate

The Glancing Queen (7/2 from 7/1)

16:50 Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

Dinoblue (7/4 from 9/4); Love Envoi (13/2 from 12/1)

17:30 Kim Muir

School Boy Hours (5/1 from 7/1)

Good luck!

Cheltenham 2022 – Wednesday

Wipeout! No winners at all on Tuesday but a great day’s racing nonetheless.

I liked this contribution:

Constitution Hill was a mighty winner of the Supreme and no doubt the performance of the day with a 22l record breaking defeat of a very good field. Honeysuckle proved that she really is a hurdling great and those two outstanding performances were my takeaways from the day. Onwards!

13:30 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle

Dysart Dynamo wasn’t going to win the Supreme when falling but I think that Sir Gerhard (4/6) will get Willie Mullins off to a winning start on Wednesday, having closed the first day with his first win of the meeting with Stattler in the National Hunt Chase.

Selection: Sir Gerhard (4/6)

14:10 Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase

I would love to see Ahoy Senor (6/1) follow up on Coragh Rambler’s win for Lucinda Russell and Derek Fox in the Ultima. Bravemansgame (11/4) is probably the best horse in the race but I’m not sure that Cheltenham will play to his strengths. On balance, and marginally, I’ve gone for L’homme Presse (a short enough 7/2) who is unbeaten this season and has course form.

Selection: L’homme Presse (7/2)

14:50 Coral Cup

It’s a wide open renewal as usual so I’ll stick with the two previously selected, who are now leading the market, in the shape of Saint Felicien (6/1) and Camprond (17/2), with a preference for the former.

Selection: Saint Felicien (6/1)

15:30 Champion Chase

With some trepidation after Nicky Henderson’s double on the first day and mainly for value I’m sticking with my selection, Energumene (7/2), to beat hot favourite Shishkin (10/11) and reverse the form after the Ascot race and with conditions suiting the favourite. A contrary view in the face of the available evidence but, why not, given that they are both very, very good horses and could maintain the rivalry for some time to come?

Selection: Energumene (7/2)

16:10 Cross Country

Well, in all likelihood, he’ll win it easily or bomb out. This is almost certainly Tiger Roll’s swansong and I’ll stick with him, notwithstanding his drift in the market.

Selection: Tiger Roll (7/4)

16:50 Grand Annual Chase

As previously posted, my shortlist was Embittered (11/1), Frero Banbou (14/1) and A Wave Of The Sea (25/1) and, without a great deal of reflection, I’ve opted for Frero Banbou for Venetia Williams and Charlie Deutsch.

Selection: Frero Banbou (14/1)

17:30 Champion Bumper

The market for this has settled down a bit after the euphoria about Facile Vega (6/4). I think that there’s probably little between him and American Mike (11/4) so, primarily based on the prices, I’m sticking with the latter.

Selection: American Mike (11/4)

After the first day you could reasonably treat this is a list of ones to exclude but I remain optimistic for a profitable day. Good luck!

Cheltenham 2022: Tuesday

As usual in recent years, the going (on Sunday afternoon as I’m typing this) on the old course (used on Tuesday and Wednesday) is good to soft, soft in places. The Accuweather daily rain forecast is Monday 2%, Tuesday 25%, Wednesday 89%, Thursday 0%, Friday 0%.

Declarations were published on Sunday morning and there are no big surprises.

13:30 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

As widely predicted, Sir Gerhard is routed to the Ballymore on Wednesday. There are five main players. Dysart Dynamo and Constitution Hill are current joint favourites at 9/4, Jonbon is 9/2, Kilcruit is 6/1 and Mighty Potter is 8/1.

Dysart Dynamo (164p) is unbeaten in four outings, two in bumpers and two over hurdles. He has form on soft, good to soft and heavy. He was mightily impressive last time out in the Moscow Flyer Hurdle at Punchestown on 16 January and looks like the most likely winner.

Constitution Hill (162P) is also unbeaten in two. He won the Grade 1 Tolworth on heavy ground at Sandown on 8 January (Shallwehaveonemore 4th). This is a very different challenge and there are question marks concerning the quality of his wins, albeit that they were visually impressive.

Jonbon (165p) is an expensive brother of Douvan and, like Dysart Dynamo, is unbeaten over four. All his form is on good to soft/soft. I suspect that this is a marking time season on the way to be an outstanding chaser.

Kilcruit (158p) was second to Sir Gerhard in last year’s Champion Bumper but his form this season has been not as good as many expected. Improved with a shorter distance and the application of a tongue strap last time out in a modest maiden hurdle, he would need to improve a lot to land this.

Mighty Potter (160p) was beaten by Statuaire and My Mate Mozzie in the Royal Bond, but redeemed himself with a far from fluent and novicey win in the Future Champions Novice Hurdle at the Leopardstown Christmas Festival. He would need to improve considerably from both runs and may well do so but this is a very high quality renewal and I can’t have him.

Selection: Dysart Dynamo

14:10 Arkle Novices’ Chase

The top three in this are all exposed: Edwardstone (5/2), Blue Lord (4/1) and Riviere D’etel (7/2). The one open to significant improvement and my selection is Haut En Couleurs (7/1). He was third in last year’s Triumph Hurdle and the Punchestown Champion 4-y-o and made a winning start over fences in a Beginners’ Chase at Leopardstown in December. He fell early on in the Irish Arkle but, ironically, I really like his jumping style and his 172p Timeform rating is good enough for this.

Edwardstone (177) has done nothing wrong and could well run out as an easy winner but the 7/1 available for Haut En Couleurs is very tempting.

Selection: Haut En Couleurs

14:50 Ultima Handicap Chase

This is a very open race (currently 13/2 the field) and my idea of the winner is novice Does he Know (7/1). The presence of Frodon as top weight means that he carries 11st. He has good Cheltenham form and his best performance to date was last time out, winning the Grade 2 Reynoldstown Chase at Ascot on 19 February.

It would be great to see Frodon (12/1) win this but it’s a tall order off top weight (with a margin) in a handicap.

My idea of a lively outsider is Our Power at 14/1, another progressive novice who could provide former jockey Sam Thomas with his best training achievement to date.

Selection: Does He Know

Outsider: Our Power

15:30 Champion Hurdle

The easy and obvious choice is defending champion Honeysuckle (4/7), looking to extend her unbeaten record to 15. She’ll probably do it but there’s no value in the price. There are question marks over what she’s beaten and she was not so impressive, albeit winning last time out in the Irish Champion Hurdle.

I think that Appreciate It is a very special horse. Second to the sadly sidelined Ferny Hollow in the 2020 Champion Bumper and a 24l winner of last year’s Supreme Hurdle, I don’t think that Honeysuckle has ever met one as good as this. Of course the racecourse absence of 364 days since then is a major concern but if he’s back to his best then, at 4/1, he’s a great value choice.

Selection: Appreciate It

16:10 Mares’ Hurdle

This is trappy and good cases can be made for several of the leading contenders. Telmesomethinggirl (3/1) is probably the right favourite. Stormy Ireland (5/1) lost her way and spent an unproductive spell with Paul Nicholls before returning to Willie Mullins where she has done much better, including winning the Grade 2 Relkeel at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day. Burning Victory (8/1) won the 2020 Triumph Hurdle and was second in the Cesarewitch, before seeing off Queens Brook (9/2) in a Grade 3 at Punchestown on heavy last month. However, Queens Brook was given a lot to do and was closing on the winner and, like many, I prefer her to reverse the form.

Selection: Queens Brook

16:50 Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle

This is an intriguing race and could perhaps produce one of the easiest winners of the week. It’s all about the handicap, the favourite, Gaelic Warrior (9/4), and the hype. This horse has never run in the UK or Ireland and has only ever run at Auteuil where his form is 633, last time in the relatively minor Rocking Chair Hurdle in June 2021. Owner Rich Ricci has confessed that he’s never even seen the horse but the reports are that he’s very, very good and has been mentioned as a nap of the meeting at several previews. He hasn’t got a lot to beat here (including a number who are most likely in it to give the owners a runner at the Festival) and I’m going to take a chance.

Selection: Gaelic Warrior

17:30 National Hunt Novices’ Chase

Although the distance has been reduced to 3m 6f, this still requires a tried and tested thorough stayer and a top amateur jockey. I am inclined against the top two in the market, Run Wild Fred (Jamie Codd – 2/1) and Stattler (Patrick Mullins – 9/4), so I’m going with 2021 Albert Bartlett winner Vanillier (Derek O’Connor – 4/1). His season has been unspectacular but I listened to an interview this morning with his trainer Gavin Cromwell who thinks that he’s got him right and I think that the extra distance will suit him down to the ground.

Selection: Vanillier

We don’t yet have the declarations for the remaining days and much depends on which horses end up in which races but I’ve set out below my current selections and intend to update them during the week.

Wednesday

13:30 Ballymore

Sir Gerhard (4/5)

14:10 Brown Advisory

L’homme Presse (4/1); Ahoy Senor (5/1)

14:50 Coral Cup

Camprond (8/1 from 18/1); Saint Felicien (8/1)

15:30 Champion Chase

Energumene (7/2)

16:10 Cross Country

Tiger Roll (5/4)

16:50 Grand Annual

Embittered (7/1); A Wave of the Sea (16/1); Frero Banbou (12/1)

17:30 Champion Bumper

American Mike (9/4)

Thursday

13:30 Turners Novices’ Chase

Galopin Des Champs (11/10)

14:10 Pertemps Final

Alaphilippe (6/1)

14:50 Ryanair Chase

Allaho (4/7) nap

15:30 Stayers’ Hurdle

Paisley Park (7/1)

16:10 Plate

The Glancing Queen (7/1)

16:50 Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle

Dinoblue (9/4); Love Envoi (12/1)

17:30 Kim Muir

School Boy Hours (7/1)

Friday

13:30 Triumph Hurdle

Vauban (13/8) n.b.

14:10 County Hurdle

State Man (4/1)

14:50 Albert Bartlett

Minella Cocooner (7/1)

15:30 Gold Cup

Protektorat (8/1)

16:10 Hunters’ Chase

Pont Aven (8/1)

16:50 Mares’ Chase

Elimay (2/1)

17:30 Martin Pipe

Good Risk At All (7/1)

Good luck!!

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