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Tag: Cause of Causes

Cheltenham Wednesday

A great first day, most of all with the performance of the day by Footpad in the Arkle. Apple’s Jade was a surprising disappointment and Kalashnikov and Ms Parfois both went very close. Beware The Bear’s fourth in the Ultima topped up the profit on Footpad so I’m ahead leading into today’s racing.

1.30 Ballymore Hurdle

Samcro***** (nap)

Embed from Getty ImagesWe start with the one that, for many, is the Irish banker of the week. There is nothing to fault about Samcro and both ground and distance should not inconvenience him. 8/11 is a betting price and I see no need to look beyond him.

Here he is winning easily in the Deloitte at the Dublin Racing Festival:

As At The Races said after that one “Seven from seven, and rampant winner of his biggest – time to believe the hype”.

I can’t have any of the others against him.

2.10 RSA Chase

Black Corton 7/1***

Embed from Getty ImagesBlack Corton has been a favourite of mine since very early in in the season and I’m not going to desert him now. He is a course and distance winner and graduated to the top level with his Grade 1 win in the Kauto Star Chase on Boxing Day, having won a Grade 2 in his previous outing at Newbury. His prep race in the Reynoldstown at Ascot only confirmed what we had seen before, also confirming his ability to handle soft ground.

Star conditional Bryony Frost and her “best mate” serial winner Black Corton are a lethal combination.

Here they are winning the Kauto Star Chase:

and the Reynoldstown:

Monalee and Presenting Percy are the obvious threats. Monalee is as hard as nails and both of them should be able to deal with the ground. It would be no surprise if either of them won but I’m drawn by the undoubted resolution of Black Corton and the price.

2.50 Coral Cup

Max Dynamite**

Embed from Getty ImagesThis is one of the races that could very well see a long price winner but Max Dynamite is without doubt the class in the field. Like Wicklow Brave, notwithstanding his exploits on the flat (including third in the Melbourne Cup), he has winning form on soft (albeit a long time ago in a maiden hurdle) and his big field experience is a big plus. I think that Wicklow Brave is the better of the two in this discipline but this is much more winnable.

However, Max Dynamite’s performance coming third in the race that stops the nation, The Melbourne Cup, is mightily impressive:

Of the others my current shortlist is made up of Mount Mews (16/1), Barra (20/1), Bleu Berry (20/1) and Kildisart (currently a reserve at 40/1).

3.30 Champion Chase

Altior****

Embed from Getty ImagesI’m convinced by those who know much better than me about these things that Altior will not be inconvenienced by the pus in his foot a couple of days ago. On that basis I’m reverting to him as the strong selection.

Douvan would be at least his equal on his best form but after a year off, with no prep and with doubts about his participation he must be running here more in hope than expectation.

There is value in Politologue each way at 14/1. A commanding winner of the Tingle Creek and the Desert Orchid Chase, this one is an obvious candidate.

4.10 Cross Country Chase

Cause of Causes***

Embed from Getty ImagesPeople have knocked this race since it was introduced and I see that gobby controversialist Mark Winstanley, aka “The Couch”, called it The Circus Race a couple of days ago. Anyone who understands National Hunt racing (look at the banks racing and prevalence of cross country racing in France plus the Velka Pardubice in the Czech Republic, let alone hunting) will know that this was a long overdue addition to the Cheltenham Festival card in 2005. The international cross country series The Crystal Cup is offering prize money of 700,000 euros this year.

Enda Bolger had a well deserved stranglehold for years but this time round Gordon Elliott holds the main cards. As reported in a previous post Gordon was supposed to be all over Tiger Roll. However, I watched the Racing Post/Betfair preview on Saturday evening (when others were probably watching Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night or Pointless Celebrities) and there’s no doubt that he thinks that Cause of Causes will win. Of the others, I like Bless the Wings but he’s also  trained by Gordon Elliott.

Cause of Causes seems to have been here for ever but is only a 10-y-o. He’s a Cheltenham specialist who frequently disappoints before coming to light here. This is more winnable than most of his other Cheltenham challenges and the current 5/2 is just fine.

I couldn’t resist giving you the French version of his win last year (sa quatrième succes à Cheltenham) <<I’l a pris l’avantage>> and a good mention for <<Bless Ze Wings>>:

4.50 Fred Winter Hurdle

Mitchouka** (n.b.)

Embed from Getty ImagesMitchouka is ideally placed here, having won four of seven hurdle races and tested at the highest level. Very appealing at 9/1.

Mercenaire is an interesting outsider at 25/1.

5.30 Champion Bumper

Blackbow**

I selected Blackbow after watching his very taking win while at the Dublin Racing Festival and, with the defection of Hollowgraphic, I’m pleasantly surprised that he’s holding at 5/1.

Of the others, I’m not alone in thinking that Acey Milan, on a four-timer and with the 8lb swing for a four year old, presents serious opposition.

As always, I’ll wait for market moves and may well change my selection moments before the race.

Cheltenham – Thursday

IMG_0122Yesterday was a bit of a washout from the betting perspective with just (and only just) Diego du Charmil delivering in the Fred Winter. Un de Sceaux was a big loser in the Champion Chase but, like almost everyone else, I was delighted with Sprinter Sacre’s remarkable performance. Just visually I have to put Un de Sceaux’s failure down to the ground and, albeit on the new course and with overnight watering, that has to be a consideration today.

1.30 JLT Novices’ Chase

We don’t have another Vautour for this like last year but we do have one of my favourite horses of the season, Bristol de Mai***, who has come into his own over jumps this season. The ground is a major concern. He’s never run on better than good to soft and the ground is officially good, good to soft in places. However, it’s the first race on the new course on new ground so I’m going to take a chance at an excellent 5/1. Would have been five stars if it was not for the ground concern.

2.10 Pertemps Final

My two for this are Our Kaempfer* (10/1), apparently laid out for this, and Missed Approach* (12/1). Both have excellent profiles for the race but this is one to bet in only if you’re determined to do so.

2.50 Ryanair Chase

I’ve made my view about this clear since mid-January and now it’s come to pass. I won’t have the comments about him not being 100% – that was surely just a cover for the late decision. This is Vautour‘s***** race for the taking and I would have him in a bracket with Douvan and Vroum Vroum Mag (but then I would have had Un de Sceaux making up the quartet). In any event, now is not the time for the faint-hearted so it’s time to go all-in at a generous double your money Evens.

3.30 World Hurdle

Another favourite of the season in this one in the shape of Thistlecrack****. I was on him at 25/1 at Aintree last April (although not on the basis of detailed analysis!) and his progression this year gives the impression of a horse that won’t be beaten for a while to come. 5/4 is another very decent price. Of the others there was a positive word from the yard for Whisper (11/1) on The Morning Line.

4.10 The Plate

This is a far harder race to solve. Johns Spirit* is a clear 6/1 favourite and my selection based on the market and his excellent record here. An outside selection is spring horse Baily Green* who has no recent form of note but is likely to benefit from better ground and is worth a small nibble at 40/1.

4.50 Mares Novices’ Hurdle

A new race which has a very short priced Mullins favourite in the shape of Limini. Although many have talked of her as a bet of the meeting I’m less convinced and I don’t think that two decent performances warrant the 8/11 price. I prefer Bloody Mary** (12/1) who is on a seven-timer, albeit with only one run in the UK (having run in bumpers in the French provinces before a win at Auteuil prior to being purchased by JP and placed with Nicky Henderson). I think that profile of this one is just as good as Limini so the price selection speaks for itself.

5.30 Kim Muir

There are lots of familiar names in this race and much of the preview talk has been about Doctor Harper. However, Cause of Causes*** has served me well in recent years and has an undoubted Festival pedigree (runner up in this race in 2014 and winner of the National Hunt Chase last year). This is another one who tends to save his big performances for the big occasions (also a reasonable eighth in last year’s Grand National). He was fifth of five in his prep race in January 2015 and fourth of five in his prep at Gowran this year and it’s reasonable to assume that a pattern is being followed. I had been hoping for a bit better than 6/1 on the day but he’s still worth a go, bearing in mind that many in this race have little or no chance.

Placepot

1.30 3 Bristol de Mai

2.10 6 Missed Approach, 11 Our Kaempfer

2.50 13 Vautour

3.30 11 Thistlecrack

4.10 8 Johns Spirit

4.50 1 Bloody Mary

Lucky 15

1.30 3 Bristol de Mai

2.50 13 Vautour

3.30 11 Thistlecrack

5.30 5 Cause of Causes

Good luck!

Aintree taster

I hope that you were with me (in betting terms at least) last Thursday for a very profitable day at Ludlow. We very nearly had the Lucky 15 but Jimmy The Jetplane just found it a bit much for wins on consecutive days after looking all over the winner on the turn into the home straight. Still, can’t complain about numerous doubles and a treble!

As usual I intend to provide night before previews and selections for each of the three days at Aintree and, also as usual, they may degrade day by day!

For now I’ll share with you my shortlist for the National. The first thing is that Shutthefrontdoor won’t win. If you are into these things lay the horse with Betfair for as much as you like. AP’s record in the National is not great, yet the AP factor suggests that this one might be as short as 4/1 at the off. Nonsense! AP will not be retiring on Saturday so those who have tickets for Sandown on 25 April needn’t worry.

So, what of the others? Here’s my take on the current top 20.

1 Lord Windermere

Top weights don’t win and this one has had a shocking season. Very unimpressed by Cullloty’s sacking of Davy Russell after the Gold Cup.

2 Many Clouds

Doubtful runner.

3 Unioniste

A live contender and on the shortlist.

4 Rocky Creek

I understand why this one is supported but not for me.

5 First Lieutenant

A fine horse but an in and out season and dismissed.

6 Balthazar King

Should be considered seriously but this is not a cross country race and it’s run much faster. A place possibility.

7 Shutthefrontdoor

A win at Carlisle in November and no other runs since last April is not the best prep. Unconvinced.

8 Pineau De Re

Even Dr Newland seems doubtful, having identified his other no hoper as having a similar chance (obviously my twist on his words but nonetheless relevant).

9 Ballycasey

A very disappointing season and not even Ruby’s skill will get this one home.

10 Spring Heeled

Another Culloty horse and, let’s face it, the trainer’s form this season has been atrocious. Just not good enough in my view.

11 Rebel Rebellion

A sterling campaigner who could well run into a place.

12 Dolatulo

Has a higher rating than I would have expected. No obvious claims.

13 Mon Parrain

A moody horse who sometimes runs out of his skin. 17-y-o Sean Bowen on board (just – having got the required number of chase winners last weekend). Not one to be placing too much trust in.

14 Carlito Brigante

One of my favourite horses, many years ago. Changed trainer a while ago and too in and out for me. Probably past his best (which was as a young horse over hurdles).

15 Night In Milan

There are many astute people who rate this one. However the lack of winning form and speed are negatives for me.

16 Rubi Light

A star in France and much expected when he moved to Ireland but, bluntly, the plan hasn’t worked.

17 The Druids Nephew

Another that has attracted many tips. Could relish this and another for the shortlist.

18 Cause of Causes*

A super horse and bang in form. I think that AP has chosen the wrong one and Paul Carberry is lined up to benefit. Winner of the 4m chase at Cheltenham so bang in form. Held up in that race and stayed on to win – perfect for the National. My current idea of the the winner at a current 18/1 – will be shorter on the day.

19 Godsmejudge

I’m sorry but this is a seriously overrated horse. If I was Phil Smith (the National handicapper) I’d have him at least 10 lbs lower. The form this season is nothing to get excited about and he has too many PU’s on his record.

20 Al Co

A pleasing horse but not in my view a winner of this. It’s logical to give him an entry but I don’t see him featuring.

So, there’s my view of the current top 20. The winner will more than likely come from them. My shortlist for winner and places is therefore:

Unioniste

Balthazar King

Rebel Rebellion

The Druids Nephew

and my current selection:

Cause of Causes

All may change between now and Saturday but this is a start!

I’ll update the selections once we know the confirmed runners.

 

 

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