cheltenham preview evenings 2014

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cheltenham preview evenings 2014

Postby beaker1 » February 27th, 2014, 10:43 pm

hi, last year i put up my bets and thoughts for the cheltenham festival and i will do the same this year,this year i will also put up some of the preview evening reports that myself and a few friends will be attending starting with:

Crown Inn pub in Pishill.The panel comprised of Channel 4 Racing’s Richard Hoiles (RH), Stan James representative Rory Jiwani (RW), former Gold Cup winning jockey Andrew Thornton (AT), former assistant to Alan King and now first-season trainer Noel Williams (NW) and local trainer Lawney Hill (LH). M.C. for the evening was Sky News Sports Outside Broadcaster, Paul Kelso.

Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

RH: There is not much value left in Irving. He is almost the finished article so I don’t expect him to improve much whereas others racing on better ground will. He is a typical tough German-bred and I see him being placed but don’t know what will win. Vautour has been very weak on the exchanges over the last two days.

RJ: We will be top price on everything on this race on the day of the race. Irving is our biggest loser by some way and the right favourite. Wilde Blue Yonder is each-way value, he’s just a bit dopey and lost concentration when falling the last twice. Henderson said Vaniteux could run here in his media day after previously stating he would wait for Aintree.
AT: Not all of Willie Mullins’ horses will travel over perfectly this week, he has a massive job getting them all over 100% as has so many. Irving looks as hard as nails and the ground won’t be a problem whatever it is. He travels and quickens and is rock solid.

NW: Irving is the most likely winner and his tactical speed is a huge positive and is a slick hurdler. He is also battle hardened from the Flat unlike his main rivals. Wilde Blue Yonder isn’t a bad jumper despite falling at the last flight the last twice and has an each-way chance for my old boss.

LH: Wilde Blue Yonder might not be a bad jumper but he is a good faller. Nicholls’ horses weren’t right going into last season’s Festival but I think he will have a good meeting this time and he is very bullish about Irving.

Arkle Trophy

RH: I’m a huge general fan of Rock On Ruby but putting on a pair of blinkers in last year’s Champion Hurdle was a major mistake as he used up his speed too early. If it comes up soft, given his breathing problems, he might struggle to get up the hill. He’s had three breathing operations and can’t have any more. I thought Dodging Bullets got worried out of it by Module so he doesn’t entirely convince me. It’s between Champagne Fever and Trifolium and as the Supreme is working out fantastically well I side with CF.

RJ: I think it’s a weak Arkle and won’t take much winning. For some reason our traders don’t like Rock On Ruby so he’s our biggest loser but I do, maybe because it is me that does the weekly blog with Harry Fry on our website. Henderson was very positive about Grandouet at his media day yesterday.

AT: Champagne Fever loves the course but has not had an ideal preparation and I don’t think Rock On Ruby jumps well enough. He won’t have 1m4f to warm up here. Valdez loves jumping and toughed it out well last time when he needed the run. I like him a lot but CF will take the beating if it’s genuine soft ground.

NW: I just don’t think Dodging Bullets is quite good enough. Champagne Fever and Rock On Ruby are priced up on hurdling form. That said, I like course form so Champagne Fever.

LH: No real view.

Champion Hurdle

RH: I like My Tent Or Yours and 9/2 is clearly overpriced. He was beaten an unusually fast pace in last year’s Supreme which was 4 seconds quicker than the Champion Hurdle so maybe leave a lay of Evens in-running in case he curls up in the last 50 yards. I do think it’s between the Kempton 1-2 so rate The New One as the danger and I’m very tempted to lay Hurricane Fly for a place.

RJ: We sponsor the race and will be top price on every horse on the morning of the race. My Tent Or Yours would be a dream result for us and I think he would have won at Kempton even if The New One didn’t make a mistake. He was too headstrong last season but calmer now. If it is a combination of a fast pace and quicker ground than last year will make it tough for Hurricane Fly.

AT: The softer the ground the better Hurricane Fly’s chance as genuine soft also wouldn’t be ideal for The New One or My Tent Or Yours and the latter is a flat track horse. I’d like to see Jezki front run as he just gallops and stays and Geraghty is unbeaten on him so he could be each-way value.

NW: I would love to see Hurricane Fly win but he is there to be shot at and fancy he will get beat. I like My Tent Or Yours who is a year older than when outstayed by Champagne Fever will which will help him see it out.

LH: I don’t agree that Our Conor is improving as his owner thinks, I think he has plateaued. The New One for me and Melodic Rendezvous each-way if it’s soft.

Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle

RH: Ballyalton was progressive before getting stuck giving weight away in really bad ground and had previously shown more speed than expected so he is quite interesting for a 20/1 shot for each-way purposes.

RJ: Faugheen could be overhyped and needs to jump better for a 3/1 favourite. Red Sherlock is unbeaten and could be very good and represents better value at double his price.

AT: I’ll be surprised if Pipe ran both Red Sherlock and Un Temps Pour Tout. Timmy Murphy told me earlier in the season he was worried whether Red Sherlock would be ready for a race like this but he has since impressed under Tom Scudamore at Cheltenham. Faugheen for me.

NW: I’ve been most impressed with Red Sherlock. He beat a good horse in Rathvinden fair and square and ticks all the right boxes.

LH: No real view.

RSA Chase

RH: Annacotty went off too fast last time, it was not Ian Popham’s finest hour, but he kept on well and is very genuine. Corrin Wood is a fantastically accurate jumper but I can’t help thinking he should be in the NH Chase but still respect him here.

RJ: You need a certain type for this race and Carlingford Lough fits it. I’d be very interested in Sizing Gold if he ran here on decent ground but he looks like going for the JLT. I’ll be hoping to lay Ballycasey.

AT: Smad Place stays well and jumps well so has to be a contender but I fancy Sam Winner to reverse Newbury on 3lb better terms and 14/1 is good each-way value. I’m told he’s in wonderful nick.

NW: Not out of loyalty to my old boss or the horse but I do like Smad Place who comes alive at Cheltenham and jumps well and beat a good horse last time.

LH: I’m going for Corrin Wood. I know Donald McCain likes him a lot.

Queen Mother Champion Chase

RH: Sire De Grugy’s left-hand course form is not as good as the other way but he has taken his opportunities very well. He does hit the ground very hard though so I will be concerned if it dries up. Somersby is an each-way possibility as will be ridden for a place so 20/1 is a little overpriced. Walsh is trying to convince everyone that left-handed is no longer a problem for Arvika Ligeonneire but it was so marked before. Baily Green has good course form and likes better ground so is more interesting than most if he runs here.

RJ: Benefficient at 10/1 each-way on the proviso of non-runner no bet is one of the bets of the meeting. He has to start a lot shorter if he runs here rather than the Ryanair.

AT: The big crowd could be a factor against Sire De Grugy as he is a buzzy type. If Hinterland runs he has a great chance having won at Sandown the same day as Sire De Grugy in a much faster time and I rode in the Tingle Creek which was run at a good pace.

NW: Arvika Ligeonneire will end up in the Arkle Bar.

LH: Jamie won’t allow anyone else to ride Sire De Grugy in his homework. He has made this horse and given him so much confidence. I hope he wins.

Ryanair Chase

RH: I like the way Module stayed on in the JLT last year so this has to be his race rather than the Champion Chase. He has more to offer and don’t forget Medermit who was third two years ago and hardly run since.

RJ: Hard race to weigh up with not knowing what is running. Dynaste is a cracking horse but Baily Green appeals at a price.

AT: Module is an interesting horse but he likes cut. He is solid but unspectacular and can outrun his price, especially if Dodging Bullets runs well in the Arkle.

NW: No real view.

LH: No real view.

World Hurdle

RH: I do think Big Buck’s attacked too early in the Cleeve as the winner dropped back from first to last. No strong opinion on the race though.

RJ: Big Buck’s is our biggest loser of the Festival by far. Nicholls said he was fit enough to win the Cleeve beforehand but he didn’t, in fact he got beat a horse rated 145 and Curtis’ horses couldn’t win an argument at the time (had At Fishers Cross in second). He would have won that race hands down if he was anywhere near the same horse. Annie Power should win if she runs though Zarkandar each-way is interesting.

AT: I didn’t think Sam and Big Buck’s really clicked. After a horse has had a long layoff the first run is often better than the second and you also have to factor in he is 11 now. I think he’ll get beaten. Salubrious could surprise a few.

NW: Big Buck’s still sets the standard, the Cleeve was only a stepping stone and I thought he ran very well. Sam was told to be positive on him to give him a real race. I am loathed to take him on.

LH: Big Buck’s had lots of white snot pouring out of his nose after the Cleeve so he will come on hugely. The pressure is also off Sam a little now that he has been beaten. He’ll do for me.

Triumph Hurdle

RH: When doing a NH Season preview back in the autumn, Nicholls said Calipto was his dark horse for the season and I like the fact his form is strong and working out well and he beat older horses last time.

RJ: I don’t fancy the Irish much. Nicholls wasn’t hugely bullish about Calipto at his media day as said he is worried about NH-breds in a race like the Triumph if it comes up decent ground. Rutherglen is interesting having won on the Flat last time and has a great attitude.

AT: Le Rocher looks ready made for this race, especially if there is plenty of cut and Johnson suits him well as will keep working away on him before giving him the kitchen sink.

NW: I like Rutherglen who is now too exposed for the Fred Winter and battle hardened from the Flat.

LH: No real view.

Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle

Time was ticking on so whizzed through it and general consensus was hard to see it not being won by Kings Palace or Briar Hill.

Gold Cup

RH: Whatever way you look at it, a win for First Instalment won’t be a good result for racing. The reason this year’s race is so weak is the lack of quality second-season chasers so I am considering The Giant Bolster each-way as don’t like the front of the market.

RJ: Hard to find a chink in Bobs Worth’s armour. I doubt Silviniaco Conti would have beaten him last year and see no reason why Bobs Worth won’t win it again.

AT: Last Instalment is so fragile I would be very worried about him running downhill. You have to go up the hill three times so Bobs Worth is made for this. I wasn’t sure Silviniaco Conti wasn’t tired when he fell last year and worry about the trip for him as you need a horse that stays all day. Rocky Creek could therefore be interesting each-way as he was as big as a bull last time when he tired late on in the Argento and will come on plenty for that.

NW: It was just one of those things when Silviniaco Conti fell last year but I was impressed by him at Kempton and think he can win it this time.

LH: Henderson keeps saying Bobs Worth is small but he doesn’t look it to me. Perhaps he has a lot of big horses. He also says he will die for you and you need guts and class in spades in the Gold Cup and he has it all.
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Joined: February 6th, 2013, 11:22 pm

Re: cheltenham preview evenings 2014

Postby beaker1 » February 28th, 2014, 1:51 am


Panel: David Pipe (DP), Paul Nicholls (PN), Philip Hobbs (PH) and Nick Scholfield (NS)

PN: IRVING: He is in good shape and could have gone straight to Cheltenham. He has loads of pace and would have more speed than the stable’s previous winners of this race Al Ferof and Noland. A fast run race will suit him

NS:IRVING: His races haven’t been run at much of a gallop so far but he should be even better with a faster pace. A good jumper and HE has the best English form. His defeat of Splash Of Ginge now looks decent form after that horse won the Betfair andIrvinghad plenty left the day he beat him atAscot. He would be even better on better ground.
(In a later question session when Nick was asked about the value of FIRST MOHICAN’s first win he said that he thought that he looked a good horse but that the Doncaster race he won was not up to much.

He also answered a question about Kim Bailey’s recent winner UN ACE, who he rode. He told the audience that Un Ace definitely runs in the Supreme and that he felt the horse beat a decent field recently and that Bailey had expected the horse to win. Nick thinks Un Ace is pretty decent and has been well schooled.)

DP: THE LIQUIDATOR: Kempton wasn’t the right track for this horse and he came back wrong. He has very good bumper form and we know he will handle Cheltenham well. He is in good form at home and could be the forgotten horse of this race. He has a good each-way chance.

(DP also said he liked Wicklow Brave’s recent win and whilst he acknowledged that horse would have to jump better to win a Supreme, Pipe suggested him as the horse to watch in this race. The Pipe yard could have other runners in this race but DP would wait and see on the other entries and ground before making any decisions)

PH: Unlikely any of his entries would take their chance and he thought Irving looked decent each-way value.


PN: DODGING BULLETS: He has improved following his run in the Game Spirit and the faster they go atCheltenhamthe better this horse will like it. PN was thrilled with his performance last time against more experienced horses.

PN: HINTERLAND: PN suggested that the Queen Mother will definitely come under consideration as the owner is keen to go for that race. Paul stated that as he is a second season novice he would probably have been running in that race this year if he had won last season. He would like to see the ground dry up for Hinterland but they will be definitely be keeping an eye on what happens with Sprinter Sacre and the rest of the field in the Queen Mother.

NS: NS feels that the chances of Rock On Ruby and Grandouet are very ground dependant and also suggested that he thought Champagne Fever was much better when he had an easy lead in his races, something Nick felt would not be the case in this year’s Arkle. He also said he had been impressed by the recent win ofValdez.

DP: David said he thought Champagne Fever would take all the beating but thatValdezhad put in a decent performance last time and that Alan King’s horse has an each-way squeak

PH.: Likes Champagne Fever especially as he is a previous winner at the Festival


PN: Paul suggested that he thought the main players were Hurricane Fly who he said was brilliant at Leopardstown but he is not getting any younger, My Tent Or Yours who he thought might not get up the Cheltenham hill and Our Conor who he believes has been trained specifically for this race but he wondered if last year’s Triumph form is as good as it first looked. He mentioned his horses (Far Westand Sametegal) who were behind Our Conor that day and mentioned that they had so far not really franked the form.

DP: David thought Hurricane Fly would be the one to beat.

PH: Philip suggested The New One as the horse he would choose as he is progressive and improving

NS: Nick was asked if he thought Melodic Rendezvous was good enough to win a Champion Hurdle and he replied that he thought he was. He continued that he thought the pace angle of the race was interesting and he wondered if Thousand Stars would end up setting a muddling pace. He thinks Melodic Rendezvous is under no pressure and deserves to take his chance. He suggested that he would be a strong candidate for the Arkle or World Hurdle next year.


DP: RED SHERLOCK: David has been very impressed with Faugheen despite that horse making mistakes in his races. He thinks Red Sherlock will run a massive race but mentioned that his horse had only just beaten Rathvinden receiving weight and that horse is probably only third rated of Willie Mullins’ possible runners in this race. David thought the betting for theNeptunewas probably about right.

UN TEMPS POUR TOUT: This horse will run in the Neptune or Coral Cup. David admitted he was probably responsible for this horse getting beat on his first run in theUKas he ran him over the wrong trip. The horse has good form inFranceand David felt that he would have a good chance whatever race he runs in. He thought Un Temps Pour Tout was visually impressive at Ascot and that if he had not made the mistake of running him over two miles first time out, his price would probably be much shorter now for the Neptune.

PH: Unlikely any of his entries would run unless the ground came up heavy

PN: His main entries unlikely to run here. Port Melon probably goes to the Albert Bartlett and Lac Fontana might end up in the Martin Pipe.

NS: Nick said he liked Red Sherlock as he was tough and genuine but suggested Deputy Dan as the one he would like to ride as he looked good at Warwick and might be worth taking a chance on.


DP: GEVREY CHAMBERTIN: David said this horse has been quiet since his defeat atAscotwhere for some reason he didn’t quite see out the race. Despite that he could possibly still line up in the RSA.

PN: SAM WINNER: Paul said he thought this horse has a great chance as he can improve still further and that better ground would suit him.Paul also mentioned Donald McCain’s Corrin Wood who he felt had jumped to his right atWarwickand that trait could be an issue at Cheltenham. Black Thunder apparently came back flat after thatWarwickrun so the form could have been over valued.

NS: Nick felt thatSmad Placehas looked good and that there didn’t seem much between that horse and Sam Winner. He thought Carlingford Lock was a big price for the RSA


The panel were asked for their thoughts on Sprinter Sacre’s heart problems

DP: It must be a concern but he hoped that Nicky had had enough time to put things right. He thought Sprinter Sacre would probably win.

PH: Thinks Sprinter Sacre is a fantastic horse and he can’t see Sire De Grugy beating him

PN: Paul said that Denman had had a similar problem but that it had surfaced after a very hard race in the Gold Cup whereas Sprinter Sacre’s issue came to light after jumping five fences. Paul wondered if the vibes coming from theHendersonstable were a bit negative as Sprinter Sacre’s potential racecourse gallop had been postponed.

Paul mentioned HINTERLAND again in relation to this race stating that his recent win at Sandown was in a faster time than the Tingle Creek.Time was starting to run out at this point and the responses were much shorter from this point


PN: WONDERFUL CHARM: Paul said that this horse goes well fresh and he thought it was a good run against Oscar Whisky. The ground would need to be good to soft or better for this horse. He thought it was a competitive race but that Wonderful Charm had done enough to be favourite.

DP: David mentioned Harry Fry’s Vukovar who he thought the trip would suit but would probably want better ground.


DP: DYNASTE: David said that Dynaste’s destination depends on what races some of the other big name horses decide to go for. He reported that Dynaste is in great from now. He later said that he would rather win any race at the Festival than finish second or third in one of the big races. He didn’t say for certain but the indication seemed to be Dynaste would head to the Ryanair.

PN: AL FEROF: Paul said that this race had been Plan A for him for Al Ferof all along but that John Hales had been keen to go for the Gold Cup. Paul thinks the Ryanair is the ideal race for Al Ferof. He thought Wishfull Thinking might be interesting of the other runners. Paul also said later that if Cue Card was his he would run him in the Ryanair.

PH: Philip replied to the above that Wishfull Thinking was more likely to run as top weight in the Byrne Group Plate. Menorah would probably run in the Ryanair.


PN: BIG BUCK’S: In as good form as at any other time in his career. Paul thought Big Buck’s ran very well on his reappearance and said that he wouldn’t have normally started him off on heavy ground but was running out of options.

PH: Philip likes the chances of Big Buck’s saying improvement could be expected from his first run and that he must have a great chance.

NS: SALUBRIOUS: Nick seemed really keen on the chances of Salubrious who had worked after racing atExeter. Nick said he had worked really well and was pulling his arms out and that he would love to track Big Bucks in the big race.


PN: CALIPTO: Paul confident of a big run from Calipto who would prefer the ground to be on the soft side.


DP:KINGS PALACE: David said this horse is in good form at home and jumps really well. David sees Briar Hill as the main danger and isn’t keen on the chances of Captain Cutter


PN: SILVINICAO CONTI: Paul said this horse is in good shape and stronger than last year. He has no doubt he will stay the trip atCheltenham. Silviniaco Conti also worked after racing and Paul reported that big race jockey Noel Fehily was beaming after the workout

PH: CAPTAIN CHRIS: Philip confirmed that Captain Chris will run in the Gold Cup. He stated that Punchestown was the main end of season target and that Captain Chris was not as good left handed despite winning two races atCheltenham. Philip suggested they had nothing to lose by running.

NS: Nick said he felt Kim Bailey’s Harry Topper had turned the corner with his jumping which was now starting to click. Nick felt Harry Topper could run into a place.


The panel were asked to nominate one horse for the handicaps:

DP: EDMUND KEAN for the Kim Muir

PH:FINGAL BAY for the Pertemps Hurdle. Philip thought the handicapper was quite generous only putting him up 6lb for his recent win as he expected a bigger rise

PN: FAR WEST for the Coral Cup. Paul thinks this horse now wants a longer trip

NS: REGAL ENCORE for the County Hurdle


PH: FINGAL BAY Pertemps Final

PN: BIG BUCK’S World Hurdle

DP: SHANESHILL (Willie Mullins) Champion Bumper

NS: Le Rocher (Nick Williams) Triumph Hurdle
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Joined: February 6th, 2013, 11:22 pm

Re: cheltenham preview evenings 2014

Postby beaker1 » March 3rd, 2014, 3:27 pm

Cheltenham Preview Evening at Doncaster Racecourse on Saturday 1st March 2014


Roger Hart (RH) – PR Guru
John Blance (JB) – Racecourse Commentator
Simon Mapletoft (SM) – At The Races presenter
Sean Quinn (SQ) – Assistant Trainer to John Quinn
Jennie Prest (JP) – William Hill Representative
Andy Holding (AH) – Form Expert and William Hill Radio Pundit

Supreme Novices

SM – Irving looks leading light for the British

AH – Irving is good on speed figures, ran a fast time at Ascot and won with plenty in hand at Kempton. Vautour jumps well which is important but like Wicklow Brave, has to jump better but has recorded the fastest times of all the novices and I like him at the prices.

SQ – we are unlikely to have a runner here as the two entered are both juveniles

JB – Difficult race to weigh up. I think Vautour will be ridden almost identically to Champagne Fever last year and will be tough to beat. In terms of an each-way bet, l like The Liquidator if he turns up.

RH – I am certain that there will be soft in the going description on the first day. Irving has been very impressive so far all on right-handed tracks. If The Liquidator had not run at Kempton he would be half the price and will go for the Supreme. Also like Wilde Blue Yonder who has had plenty of schooling since falling last time and came out of the race well.

JP – Wicklow Brave has been well supported and this is his only Cheltenham entry. Due to money earlier in the season, The Liquidator would be a bad result for us.


SM – Valdez has been impressive on his starts to date including here at Doncaster

RH – Valdez has done nothing wrong and goes here with a big chance. The stable also have Raya Star at a big price. Champagne Fever is very short considering connections aren’t sure what trip he wants. I think Dodging Bullets has the right profile for this race and will handle the softer ground.

JB – I like previous Cheltenham Festival form here and last year’s Supreme form is working out really well for Champagne Fever. I am tempted by Rock On Ruby who has great Cheltenham form and at a sporting price I am prepared to side with him here.

AH – Champagne Fever has flaws in his jumping but has recorded the fastest time of any of these over fences. Trifolium looks the main danger and was third in the Supreme behind Cinders And Ashes and looks the value bet. Dodging Bullets had a hard race last time and Rock On Ruby is a nine-year-old.

SQ – Irish hold the key to this race. I like Trifolium at the prices, he had a wind operation last summer, although it is twenty years since the Irish Arkle winner followed up at Cheltenham.

JP – Champagne Fever would be the worst result of the Festival for us, although favourites have a poor record in the Arkle. I like Dodging Bullets, he is a tough little horse with a good attitude.

Champion Hurdle

SM – Hurricane Fly has now achieved legendary status

SQ – Hurricane Fly seems in good form, perhaps better form than this time last year. No doubt he is best at Leopardstown but is he the same horse at Cheltenham?

RH – Ten-year-olds don’t win the Champion Hurdle but he doesn’t know that. Sam Twiston-Davies is very bullish about The New One and he ticks every box for me and I am going to side with him.
JB – I always get Hurricane Fly wrong at the Festival. He continues to produce top class form time after time and the stat about five-year-olds is against Our Conor.

AH – I’m not convinced by The New One, recorded a poor time at Cheltenham when beating Zarkandar, slower circuit time than King’s Palace on the same day. Dessie Hughes looks to have trained Our Conor for one day. I like Our Conor and My Tent Or Yours, who ran well at Christmas ad with Jezki making the pace, he looks likely to still be on the bridle turning for home.

JP – Hurricane Fly would be the worst result for us in a very open renewal.


SM – market is dominated by Red Sherlock and Faugheen

RH – This looks a great race, Red Sherlock looks the likeliest winner having done nothing wrong but Faugheen is very impressive. Two more I like are Deputy Dan, who would go if it was soft and won the same prep as The New One. Also Ballyalton whose last run you can put a line through and could have a big chance.

JB – Faugheen has posted the best form, beat useful Josses Hill comprehensively in a bumper last season. I have also been impressed by Deputy Dan who would have an each-way chance if the ground was soft.

AH – Faugheen posted a good speed figure when winning at Limerick and is said to be the big fancy of the week for the staff at Willie Mullins’ yard. Red Sherlock is a good horse in the making and has everything – Cheltenham form, tough in a finish, Willie Mullins couldn’t believe that Rathvinden got beat at Cheltenham last time. Red Sherlock is one my best bets at the Festival.

SQ – I have followed Faugheen for a long time as one of my dad’s friends broke him but he is a fragile horse and his price looks skinny against some classy types. Royal Boy beat Josses Hill last time showing he has tactical speed and will do for me at the prices.

JP – The main two for money are Red Sherlock and Faugheen

Champion Chase

AH – Sire De Grugy is a deserved favourite but his only bad run has come at Cheltenham and looks vulnerable if Hinterland runs here. Hinterland is a major danger having run three seconds quicker than Sire De Grugy on the same day at Sandown and at 16/1 No Runner No Bet (NRNB) I fancy him each way to outrun his odds.

RH – I am firmly in the Sire De Grugy camp. Gary Moore is a very under-rated trainer and the Tingle Creek is a strong trial for this race.

JB – Looking at the value angle, Baily Green ran really well for a long way in last season’s Arkle and is interesting if the ground dries up. Sizing Europe also has fantastic Cheltenham form

SQ – Sizing Europe has great form at Cheltenham and the drop back to two miles might suit but I would be surprised if he was good enough. I think Benefficient is underrated having won three Grade 1s and having been kept fresh for Cheltenham could land the spoils here.

JP – Sire De Grugy is drifting a bit in the market. Kid Cassidy, Captain Conan and Sizing Europe all have their supporters but best to look out for NRNB as difficult to know where these horses will run. I think 7/4 is short enough for Sire De Grugy.


AH – Interestingly the Jewson was quicker than the Ryanair on last year’s card which bodes well for both Benefficient and Dynaste. I slightly prefer Dynaste who was very good at Aintree and has been trained for this race.

SQ – I think Al Ferof needs better ground and the trip should be ideal for him. He always shows his best at Cheltenham and this appears to be his target at the meeting.

JB – First Lieutenant ran in this race last year and seems to produce his best form on quicker Spring ground. I would be concerned if it was soft but he looks good value in the race.

RH – Dynaste looks very strong for me. His best piece of form was his second in the Betfair to Cue Card, he goes well fresh and I really fancy him here.

JP – Once again the runners are a bit up in the air and dropping back in trip makes sense for the front three in the market. I am a big Dynaste fan.

World Hurdle

SQ – Big Buck’s would be a hugely popular winner but Paul Nicholls said he was very happy with him before his reappearance. There would have to be question marks about how much ability he has retained and he probably isn’t as good as he used to be.

AH – on pure form I would not be rushing to back Big Buck’s. Rule The World looks a good each-way bet, he has Cheltenham form behind The New One and recorded a fast time in beating both Dunguib and Upsie last time, looks a good each-way bet. If the ground came up soft then an interesting outsider is Gordon Elliott’s Mala Beach who has recorded fast times on soft ground.

RH – It looks likely that Annie Power will go here and could be anything. I would want to look away from Big Buck’s and At Fishers Cross looks a shadow of his former self. I like More Of That, Richie McLernon has ridden winners at the last two Festivals and looks the one to be on.

JB – Zarkandar won the Triumph Hurdle as a juvenile. He looks a solid e/w play stepping up in trip.

JP – the way the market ends up largely depends on whether Annie Power turns up.

Triumph Hurdle

SQ – Rutherglen and Pearl Castle were both bought fairly cheaply and have exceeded expectations. If the ground is soft Pearl Castle won’t run, the better the ground the better he is and we could look to Aintree with him. Rutherglen has a great attitude and John Quinn has compared him to Countrywide Flame who won this race, he might surprise a few.

AH – A top 5 finish would be a good result for Rutherglen who I have a share in. Calipto ran the final circuit four seconds faster than Splash Of Ginge at Newbury last time. Activial also ran same time as Irving and those two (Calipto and Activial) both set a high standard.

JB – I am quite taken with Guitar Pete, he is one of the more exposed but he is improving and he has a good attitude and jumps well.

SM – Le Rocher was impressive at Cheltenham

RH – Le Rocher looks the best this side of the water. If Pearl Castle was trained in the south he would be a much shorter price than he is. Of Willie Mullins team, Gitane Du Berlais looks to have a serious each-way chance and 20/1 looks a good price.

JP – experience and good recent form have proved important in recent renewals and Calipto looks a worthy favourite. Broughton is a tough horse and at 12/1 he looks an interesting one at the prices.

Gold Cup

SM – The Giant Bolster seemed to relish the application of the headgear last time in the Argento.

RH – Bobs Worth seems to come alive at Cheltenham, he ticks all the boxes and is the one for me in this race.

JB – Silviniaco Conti was going well when falling last year and difficult to know where he would have finished. Bobs Worth has fantastic record at the meeting and looks pretty much bombproof
AH – The Giant Bolster looks an interesting each-way chance on the back of his run last time and would be dangerous to write off, as he is a good horse on his best form.

SQ – AP McCoy will ride Teaforthree in the race and Hedgehunter ran well in the Gold Cup before winning the Grand National. I think the price about Bobs Worth is very fair but Teaforthree looks interesting for a place.

JP – Silviniaco Conti has been better backed than Bobs Worth although the latter is a top class horse. Last Instalment looks an interesting alternative, on the back of his Irish Hennessy win, which was very good.

Any Other Fancies

JB – Ohio Gold in the Rewards4Racing Novices’ Handicap Chase on the first day. He was third in the race last year and jumped well for a long way and priced at 25/1 he looks a good bet again.
Some of the others I like are Meister Eckhart in the Coral Cup, Alan King is apparently very keen on him, Champion Court in the Byrne Group Plate and Time For Rupert in the Kim Muir.

AH – My strongest bet of the meeting is Killultagh Vic in the Champion Bumper. He ran an unbelievable time last time beating Golantilla (3rd last year) by sixteen lengths and Ruby Walsh is going to ride.

I also like Indian Castle in the Kim Muir with Derek O’Connor booked to ride him.

SQ – I believe the juveniles have been harshly treated generally by the handicapper, but off 124 Zamoyski looks a big player in the Fred Winter.
Also Calculated Risk has been kept back for the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys and should enjoy the 2m4f trip.

RH – In the RSA, I really like Carlingford Lough, he has won a Galway Plate, is a tough stayer and AP will ride.

Jonjo O’Neill is desperate to win the Byrne Group Plate and Johns Spirit has been targeted for this race. He has had his shins fired to heal his sore shins and goes there fresh.
Finally in the four miler, Alan King says that Midnight Prayer is in good form and that he has already booked a good jockey to ride.
JP – Some of the specials we will be having are:

Money back on runners-up if bet on mobiles, watch out for more offers nearer to the Festival
Kings Palace has been really well backed in the Albert Bartlett and there are lots of positive vibes about him.

Each panellist was then asked for their best bet and lay of the meeting.

AH – Best Bet – Red Sherlock in the Neptune and Killultagh Vic in the Champion Bumper
Lay – Ballycasey in the RSA

SQ – Best Bet – Sizing Gold in the JLT – Andrew Lynch is very strong on him and he has form behind Foxrock and is around 14/1
Lay – Hurricane Fly in the Champion Hurdle

RH – Best Bet – Carlingford Lough in the RSA
Lay – Irving in the Supreme

JB – Best Bet – Ohio Gold e/w and Smad Place in the RSA
Lay – Dodging Bullets in the Arkle

SM – Best Bet – Kings Palace in the Albert Bartlett
Lay – Sire De Grugy in the Queen Mother

JP – Best Bet – Kings Palace in the Albert Bartlett and Ballyalton e/w in the Neptune
Lay – Champagne Fever in the Arkle

The final act of the evening was to come up with a collective £100 Charity Bet courtesy of William Hill and the panel decided on:
Red Sherlock @ 11/2 in the Neptune
Posts: 77
Joined: February 6th, 2013, 11:22 pm

Re: cheltenham preview evenings 2014

Postby JB1973 » March 4th, 2014, 12:07 pm

thanks mate to a part time punter myself this type of advice is much appreciated, fingers crossed some of these tips turn out right :D
Posts: 1624
Joined: June 7th, 2013, 10:30 am

Re: cheltenham preview evenings 2014

Postby beaker1 » March 4th, 2014, 2:47 pm


The first edition of this preview evening run by well-known West Country bookmaker Andrew Smith (AS) and as he managed to get Paul Nicholls (PN), Tom Scudamore (TS) who made some effort to get here from Southwell and Charlie Morlock (CM) (assistant to Nicky Henderson) plus Willie Mullins (WM) for a quick phone link just to speak about his big three (Hurricane Fly, Annie Power and Quevega), it didn’t take much persuading for us to take in the six-hour round trip to cover the event run in aid of Racing Welfare. Jonathan Powell (JP) rattled through the races in good time as presenter.

Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

PN: Irving has won 4 from 6 on the Flat and we liked him from the start where he showed loads of speed and won the Dovecote very nicely. He’s got everything, speed, stamina and jumps well. He’s got a bit short in the betting now but he doesn’t know that. On the balance of form he deserves to be favourite. He is much speedier than my other winners but lately it has been jumping bred horses that have won the Supreme. I think he could be a Champion Hurdle horse next season.

TS: We have yet to decide about going for the Supreme or the County with The Liquidator. I was impressed with him when he won at Cheltenham. Patrick Mullins stayed at Pond House a few weeks ago and, the way he was talking, Vautour wasn’t necessarily their number one as he was very sweet indeed on Wicklow Brave.

CM: Vaniteux has thrived since Doncaster. A week ago Josses Hill was looking like our number one horse but Vaniteux has exceeded our expectations and would a level best chance. I have no idea who Geraghty rides and if I know Barry he’ll leave it to the last minute though I suspect he will be put under pressure to ride one of them.

AS: I am happy to take on the front two coupled at odds-on. I would fancy Wicklow Brave.

Arkle Trophy

PN: Dodging Bullets has done nothing wrong and ran a great race trying to give 3lb to Module. I thought Champagne Fever jumped very careful in that school yesterday. I wasn’t particularly impressed with him. I think he wants further than 2m and won’t win an Arkle popping away like yesterday. Rock On Ruby isn’t that big and not the scopiest for chasing. I think Hinterland will run in the Champion Chase, it would be daft he and Dodging Bullets take each other on here.

TS: No real view.

CM: Grandouet is lightly-framed and a very racy individual. He is very athletic so he is too bold for his own good on occasions. I have a nasty feeling his jumping will get exposed.

AS: I like Trifolium who I think has the best form in the race.

Champion Hurdle

PN: Ptit Zig gave 4lb and wasn’t beaten too far by Melodic Rendezvous and I think will finish upsides him. I don’t think Melodic Rendezvous has the pace for a Champion Hurdle though. I like The New One. Hurricane Fly is a ten-year-old and better at Leopardstown. (The lad who looks after Melodic Rendezvous was in the audience retorted he is in great form, is 7/10 in his career and he doesn’t need it hock deep like everyone says and he will destroy Ptit Zig again).

TS: I would like to ride The New One without a shadow of a doubt. I thought My Tent Or Yours would beat him comfortably at Kempton as that is his track but The New One would have won had he jumped the last. The New One should be favourite.

CM: I don’t think the hill is a problem for My Tent Or Yours. He is essentially a Flat horse who missed his turn on the Flat. I just think he got outstayed by a better horse last year under an exceptional ride. He has had an ideal preparation.

AS: I’ve never seen a Triumph winner like Our Conor and he would be favourite if Walsh rides but I am no fan of Danny Mullins at all.

WM: Hurricane Fly summered so well and kept back in huge and had strengthened up. Paul Townend always rides him at home and he told me there was no need to work a horse with him today as he is in such good form.

Tuesday Shoulder Races

PN: If I run anything in the NH Chase it will be Black Thunder if I can persuade the owners. I was keen to run Just A Par but the owners want to go for the RSA or Aintree.

CM: We have nothing for the four-miler. Hadrian’s Approach (3m handicap chase) has been found wanting when he runs in big fields, he would need some decent ground. He has a chance but no more than that.

AS: I fancy Cantlow if he runs in the 3m handicap chase. He is in the 2m4f handicap as well but needs a top four finish to run in the Grand National so think he will go there.

WM: Quevega did so well at grass I did consider giving her a run after Christmas but went for a Punchestown gallop instead. She is well ahead of schedule and has a couple of more bits of work to do. In parade ring she for the last two years she has looked like a mare in foal, she really was big. (the inference being she is fitter for her seasonal debut this year)

Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle

PN: Lac Fontana is in a few races but probably runs in the County. I like Red Sherlock.

TS: Red Sherlock is very good indeed and his win last time was top class over another very good horse in Rathvinden. Ruby told me beforehand he thought a lot of Rathvinden and the only thing that would beat him was the trip over. I’m sure he will be as good on better ground but until he tries we are only guessing.

CM: Royal Boy definitely runs. He was sharp over 2m when he won the Tolworth which we thought would be way too sharp for him around Kempton. Cheltenham over 2m5f will suit like a tee. He worked extremely well with Captain Cutter and Vaniteux. Cup Final caught the eye behind Irving but there might be another plan for him.

AS: A well connected person told me to back Rathvinden for the Neptune today so if you fancy Faugheen for the same yard, I would say back it with a run.

RSA Chase

PN: Sam Winner will run in this race. We looked at the handicap but the weights will go up. He won at the course in December and ran a good prep when second giving weight to Smad Place and he has an each-way chance. We could run Just A Par as well if it dries up.

TS: There have to be doubts about Gevrey Chambertin after his Reynoldstown disappointment. Smad Place is the one I would like to ride.

CM: We don’t have a runner this year.

AS: I think Ballycasey will drift. I like battle hardened horses so Carlingford Lough appeals. I also like Corrin Wood and O’Faolain’s Boy.

Queen Mother Champion Chase

PN: Hinterland is a second-season novice and is 2-2 this season including putting up a faster time that Sire De Grugy in the Tingle Creek. He is in the same mould as Twist Magic. Sire De Grugy is 0-2 a Cheltenham and Arvika Ligeonneire looks like he wants to go right-handed and they are the favourite and second-favourite so why not give it a go?

TS: Sire De Grugy is best on right handed tracks. The one I like at a really big price is Wishfull Thinking who is massive at 33/1 (if he runs Tom – Hobbs was talking Byrne Group Plate last week).

CM: Sprinter Sacre just looked he was going through the motions so we thought we would draw stumps. Captain Conan is no slouch. Despite having the size and shape of a three-miler he has always shown amazing speed. He looked home and hosed in the Tingle Creek but stopped in front and nothing really came to light so that bothers me slightly. He is working extremely well though and ignore him at your peril. Kid Cassidy needs holding up and switching off. Some think his waiting tactics have been overly exaggerated at times. He is more of an each-way shot than a winner.

AS: I am mad keen to take on Sire De Grugy at 2/1, the race is crying out for an upset. I would have liked to see Al Ferof run but he isn’t. I can see Somersby and Special Tiara run well.

Wednesday Shoulder Races

PN: Sire Collonges (cross country) won over these fences in December and stays forever. He has always been a good jumper and we’ve kept him fresh. I am quite keen on Far West for the Coral Cup, he’s crying out for this trip. Ruby has said he always wants a trip. Sametegal also runs but Irish Saint won’t as he is handicapped out of it. Katgary has not run for us yet but runs in the Fred Winter having won his last two races in France. I wouldn’t have a clue if his mark of 130 is good or bad but Daryl Jacob rode him out the other day and said whatever you run in the race, I want to ride him. Keltus also runs.

TS: Un Temps Pour Tout is Coral Cup favourite but I imagine it will be a last minute decision between this and the Neptune. I hope he runs in the Coral Cup for selfish reasons as I have Red Sherlock for the Neptune. He’s very good but I don’t think he is as good as Red Sherlock. Our filly Azza has some improvement in her and can run well in the Fred Winter.

CM: We will probably claim off Whisper in the Coral Cup as he might run off top weight. Dawalan is favourite but I don’t think he is entitled to be. He is hard to weigh up as doesn’t win by far but he has loads of talent. The stronger run the race, the better his chance.

AS: There is a good word in Ireland for Star Neuville in the Cross Country.

Paul Duffy (owner from the audience) – Diamomnd Harry is going well and runs in the cross country and ran creditable here in November. Had a bad fall at Catterick and was badly winded. We are quite hopeful.

JLT Novices’ Chase

PN: Wonderful Charm had a wind operation in the summer and also needed time to acclimatise coming over from France but he has been great this season. He doesn’t want the ground soft and the forecast is for it to dry in the second half of next week. I’m dead happy him.

TS: I don’t have a ride. I have a nagging doubt about Oscar Whisky. If I could ride any it would be Wonderful Charm and I have respect for Taquin Du Seuil.

CM: Our head lad is very keen on Oscar Whisky but he does get bullish about things. His hard-fought win at Sandown was not as we expected but he was not suited by very heavy ground and he is starting to come to himself now. He worked extremely well and is just coming right.

AS: Wonderful Charm goes very well fresh and runs well at the track and whatever beats him will win. I can see him starting 7/2 favourite.

Ryanair Chase

PN: Al Ferof didn’t stay 3m on bad great last time and he won the Paddy Power over this trip. He has a bit to prove as does Dynaste who is by the same sire. He’s in good order and schooled this morning. I’d like to see the ground dry up for Al Ferof like it was at Ascot earlier in the season which he loved.

TS: Dynaste had an issue after the King George but Mary Bromiley has ironed it out. I just feel Beneffiicent hasn’t got the credit he deserves and he beat me in the Jewson last year and has won another Grade 1 since. Dynaste took me to the front easily last year but he was running on fresh air in the run-in and I am sure he is better than that. The track is not the issue with him, he just ran into an under-rated horse in Benefficient who is the one I am worried about.

CM: Riverside Theatre looks a bit of a back number despite winning the Peterborough Chase and has done plenty of miles. I like Al Ferof. Dynaste is just a little disappointing for me.

AS: I like Dynaste and love the stat that 5 of the last 6 Ryanair winners were beaten in the King George.

World Hurdle

PN: Big Buck’s will run well again. Kauto Star came back at the age of 11. Obviously I am training him for one day and he is massively fitter than in the Cleeve. He has improved more than Silviniaco Conti did between the Betfair Chase and King George when he trained him for Kempton. I still think it was a mighty run the other day. Celestial Halo needed the run at Haydock last time but he needs a career best by a long way. We were thrilled by Zarkandar last time and Ruby has always thought he will improve for 3m. It wouldn’t surprise me if Salubrious hit the frame at a big price.

TS: There are very good horses but Big Buck’s is a truly great horse. Other good horses couldn’t get to me on Lough Derg a few years ago when I went 20 lengths clear on him but he just cruised past me like we were stood still. Having said all that, I was disappointed with his last run. He would have picked them up and carried them in his prime. The one horse I am really looking forward to seeing is Zarkandar who I have always thought would get 3m and at 10/1 he is the value of the race by miles.

CM: I was quite impressed with Big Buck’s last time given his age and length of time off so it was a good run. I think he will win.

AS: I’m bang against Big Buck’s. He can’t be a better horse than two years ago and I’m on Annie Power who I backed last week. I understand More Of That will bypass Cheltenham and head to Aintree.

Paul Duffy (owner in audience): Reve De Sivola hasn’t had his soft ground at the Festival yet and at 20/1 he represents good each-way value as he had At Fishers Cross well beaten at Ascot. His win in a valuable French Grade 1 in the autumn was unbelievable. He has won nearly half a million but most of that has gone on vets bills!

WM: I am very happy that Annie Power will stay. She likes the track so there is every opportunity she will last 3m fine.

Thursday Shoulder Races

PN: Southfield Theatre is likely to have it all to do at the weights in the Pertemps Final.

TS: My boss has ten entries in the Kim Muir but I can’t ride any of them! Edmund Kean is the one for me. Ignore his last run as he hated the ground. I ride Ballynagour at the moment in the Plate and he broke a blood vessel when favourite for this race last year. David is keen he had a long break and runs here after a break as he goes well fresh.

CM: Roberto Goldback is better on better ground and would have a squeak if we get that in the Kim Muir. Utopie Des Bordes is a tough little mare and will probably take her chance in the Pertemps Final. We were quite happy with Hunt Ball on his first run for us but Rajdhani Express is more likely to represent us in the Plate as Hunt Ball is more likely to try something over 3m.

AS: I fancy Indian Castle for the Kim Muir.

Triumph Hurdle

PN: Calipto has the highest rating in the race (149) and beat older horses under a 10lb penalty in a fast time at Newbury. I think he will improve for better ground and he goes there with a favourite’s chance. He’s in good order and jumped well this morning.

TS: I loved Calipto last time and he will take all the beating. Maybe the Irish aren’t as good as ours.

CM: I think there is a chance that Royal Irish Hussar might not run as he wants decent ground but Kentucky Hyden definitely does.

AS: Calipto’s form on his hurdles debut win is working out great. I was at Mullins’ last week and Ruby showed me round and said they will run Gitane Du Berlais with the fillies’ allowance. She’ll be a single figure price on the day.

Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle

PN: Port Melon will be a lovely chaser next year and we are playing for place money.

TS: You can’t fault Kings Palace. They will have to go to beat him as he hasn’t come off the bridle in three starts this season. Briar Hill will be jumping into a very different proposition to what he has been beating in Ireland and he will need to jump slicker to stay with him.

CM: Captain Cutter made heavy weather of winning at Market Rasen but had a few issues with his back and then he was very good winning the Challow and has a chance if it’s soft. I do like Kings Palace though I have to say, and he will take all the beating.

AS: One for the punters as this is a match between Kings Palace and Briar Hill. I know Patrick Mullins is very sweet on Briar Hill.

Gold Cup

PN: Silviniaco Conti was travelling extremely well when falling 3 out last year and my guess is he would have been first or second. Cheltenham will suit him better than Kempton where he won the King George. Rocky Creek got tired half way up the run-in in the Hennessy on his seasonal debut whereas Triolo D’Alene had run earlier. He blew up again in the Argento on the run-in as he had colic in between. I know he hasn’t been fully fit for both races this season and he will definitely improve but Silviniaco Conti is still our number one.

TS: The Giant Bolster has been second and fourth the last two years and I will be destroyed if he is not the first four again. The blinkers worked last time and even if Rocky Creek was fit I think we would have beaten him in the Argento.

CM: I saw Triolo D’Alene work yesterday and he was so eye-catching that we are going for the Gold Cup. He has always been a good work horse so it was no great surprise to see him make Bobs Worth graft a bit who hasn’t done as much work and will improve more. At a long price Triolo D’Alene is no joker.

AS: Captain Chris has never been in this form in his life and he is too big a price. I think one less race this season compared to last is a big factor in Silviniaco Conti’s favour and I prefer him to Bobs Worth.

Friday Shoulder Races

PN: Mr Mole needs a fast run race but has had a small field in all his races this season and goes for Grand Annual which is always run at a strong gallop. Novices do well in the race and he is 5lb lower than his chase rating. I have backed two horses for the Festival, Big Buck’s a few times since the autumn and Caid Du Berlais for the Martin Pipe and Harry Derham Pipe rides. He has a great each-way chance at a big price. Vibrato Valtat goes for the Imperial Cup and only went up 1lb for winning with his head in chest last time. I don’t think that has ever happened to one of mine before. If he wins we would look at the County under a penalty but he still might not get in. I suspect Lac Fontana will run in the County.
TS: I ride Next Sensation in the Grand Annual and he doesn’t need to lead. Off 142 he has an outstanding chance. David will try and run as many as get in the Martin Pipe Hurdle and the Imperial Cup will tell us plenty more.

CM: Nicky is keen to win the Grand Annual of course but doesn’t have a standout. Normally we go mob-handed and Tanks For That nicked a jumpers bumper last time and likes quick ground but we’ll take a machine gun approach. Cash And Go and Lyvius will run in the County as probably will Lough Kent who bombed last time and we have no idea why but he works like an extremely good horse.

AS: Ted Veale was Grand Annual favourite but he probably goes to the Arkle. I think Mr Mole has an outstanding chance. The plan is Regal Encore to win the Imperial Cup and then the Martin Pipe, shame the yard are bang out of form or I would make him a nap. I can see On The Fringe being gambled into around 7/4 for a weak Foxhunters’. I am told Cheltenian is really well fancied for the County by Richard Johnson and expects him to improve on his Betfair Hurdle run.

Charity Bets (£50 win and £50 each/way courtesy of William Hill)

WM: Sure Reef (didn’t say which race for certain) and Smashing e/w (probably County)

PN: Silviniaco Conti (Gold Cup) and Caid Du Berlais e/w (Martin Pipe)

TS: Kings Palace (Albert Bartlett) and Wishfull Thinking e/w (Champion Chase or Byrne Group Plate)

CM: Oscar Whisky (JLT) and Triolo D’Alene e/w (Gold Cup)

JP: Champagne Fever (Arkle) and Astre De La Cour e/w (Fred Winter)
Posts: 77
Joined: February 6th, 2013, 11:22 pm

Re: cheltenham preview evenings 2014

Postby beaker1 » March 6th, 2014, 6:20 pm

SKYBET CHELTENHAM PREVIEW EVENING at ELLAND ROAD, LEEDS UNITED F.C.’s David Ord acted as M.C. for the evening presiding over Jason Maguire (JM), leading Irish racing journalist, Donn McClean (DM), the face of Sky Sports Horseracing, Alex Hammond (AH), One Jump Ahead author Mark Howard (MH) and RacingUK broadcaster, Niall Hannity (NH).

Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

JM: We will try and nick a bit of place money with Un Ace. If it comes to a fight, I would fancy Vautour to outbattle Irving.

DM: The Irish team is strong. Ruby got his own way on Vautour in the Deloitte and there is no one better than him in that situation but The Tullow Tank couldn’t get close. Willie also has Wicklow Brave but in contrast to Vautour he needs to jump slicker but he can quicken impressively. It will be hard for Ruby to get off a Deloitte winner.

AH: Vautour for me, especially as it looks like Ruby will ride. I would worry if it is soft that would blunt Irving’s speed.

MH: I think Vautour should be favourite and not Irving. He is a Grade 1 winner who beat a dual Grade 1 winner. I think Walsh is being diplomatic in saying it was a close choice between Vautour and Wicklow Brave. Vautour has the ideal profile for this race but the ground looks like it will dry out which is a slight concern.

NH: I fancy Vautour will be backed into favourite. Irving is very guessy at his hurdles and I am totally against him. Wilde Blue Yonder has fallen the last twice but is each-way value at 25/1. So I am selecting to a two-timer faller after saying Vautour is a bad jumper!

MS: We are money back (up to £25) if the favourite wins on the first race of each day. The money for Vaniteux lately suggests Geraghty is likely to ride him instead of Josses Hill.

Arkle Trophy

JM: I’d love to ride Champagne Fever. Okay he got beat last time but I think he can bounce back. I don’t think Rock On Ruby jumps well enough.

DM: He is a super horse but I am worried about Champagne Fever’s preparation. I thought he schooled well on Sunday but it is not ideal his last run was a defeat and back in December. We know he handles the track and Festival conditions. Trifolium jumped great when he won last time and finished a fresh horse. I think he is rock solid.

AH: I fancy Rock On Ruby who clearly loves Cheltenham and comes right in the spring. His trainer has an amazing strike rate this season.

MH: I am a big fan of Champagne Fever. He had excuses of Christmas as got into a speed duel with Defy Logic and a number of the stable’s horses weren’t running as hoped. I am not sure Trifolium as is as good as he looked last time as his two main rivals had excuses.

NH: I have massive respect for Trifolium but have backed Rock On Ruby a few weeks ago who is a real spring horse. Grandouet has looked a hound over fences.

MS: I can’t have Dodging Bullets, I think he’s soft. Trifolium for me.

Champion Hurdle

JM: Definitely Hurricane Fly. He basically finished Peddlers Cross when he beat me three years ago who has not been the same since. I don’t think My Tent Or Yours will get up the hill as he’s too free.

DM: Hurricane Fly sets the standard. I spoke to Dessie Hughes yesterday and he says Our Conor is flying and he has had a similar preparation to Hardy Eustace. Barry Connell bought him to win the Champion Hurdle and he has purely been trained for it. Jezki has schooled in a hood and is the only value left in the race.

AH: I’m such a big fan of Hurricane Fly. He’s the complete professional, not always flashy but keeps doing it and I don’t think he is on the decline at the age of ten. I respect Our Conor and love The New One but while The Fly is still around, he’s the one.

MH: I’ve changed my mind so many times. I have it between My Tent Or Yours and Our Conor. Danny Mullins is a good rider but it will favour McCoy and Walsh if it gets tactical. The drying ground will play to My Tent Or Yours’ strengths.

NH: Captain Cee Bee has been supplemented so they will go a gallop. Hurricane Fly probably needs a career best to win and I am not sure what his Irish Champion Hurdle win was worth with a 13-year-old that close up. If Jezki settles in his hood, then he’s a runner. I prefer The New One of the British but Our Conor at a push.

MS: I think this is a 3/1 the field race and bookies will try and get Hurricane Fly so I would wait if you fancy him.

Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle

JM: Diamond King waits for Aintree.

DM: Faugheen has done it between 2m and 3m and from good to heavy but his jumping can be a bit sticky. Rathvinden has been well backed lately. Geraghty thinks Rathvinden would have beaten Red Sherlock last time if he did not fall at Warwick. He might be the value.

AH: I like Rathvinden who gave 3lb to Red Sherlock when beaten 2½ lengths last time and he’s a much bigger price.

MH: I have it between the big two of Faugheen and Red Sherlock and Mullins will have a good idea where he stands as Rathvinden ran Red Sherlock close. My marginal preference is for Faugheen.

NH: I am against Faugheen at the price, he might be over-bet and he jumped like a goat over easy fix hurdles. Red Sherlock and Rathvinden both had hard races on heavy ground last time. Lieutenant Colonel appeals as pick of the prices.

MS: Rathvinden has been the one for money in recent days.

RSA Chase

JM: Corrin Wood is one of the best jumpers I have come across. He’s a dour stayer, very honest and will relish a battle.

DM: Ballycasey had the pace to beat specialist two-milers well on his chase debut. It’s not such a bad thing he fell in his school. That happens all the time at home. I like Morning Assembly and love the way he battled to beat Don Cossack on his second chase start. There was no great pace when the battle hardened Carlingford Lough was too streetwise for him next time. A bit of cut would help his chance.

AH: Morning Assembly is a smashing horse, a real old-fashioned chaser who jumps well. It is not necessarily a bad thing that Ballycasey fell in his school. So did Rule Supreme before he won this race.

MH: I quite like Don Cossack who I think will improve for stepping up to 3m for the first time. I am not convinced by Smad Place and he keeps coming up short in Grade 1s. I have respect for Morning Assembly but Ballycasey is fragile and Carlingford Lough looks exposed.

NH: This is wide open and Ballycasey is tight enough. Morning Assembly is the best of the Irish. I think there is more to come from Many Clouds who got caught up in speed duel up front in the Reynoldstown.

Queen Mother Champion Chase

JM: My only worry with Sire De Grugy is whether he will get racing too soon with the likes of Sizing Europe and Captain Conan. I like Hinterland off a hold-up ride.

DM: Ruby and Willie say Arvika Ligeonneire can go left-handed but Cheltenham is far more on the turn that Leopardstown. Geraghty was very bullish about Captain Conan last night and said he worked extremely well. Baily Green comes into this on decent ground and his trainer is a demon at preparing a horse for the Festival.

AH: Arvika Ligeonneire seems straighter now and his class can tell despite his shocker in last year’s Arkle.

MH: Captain Conan has already beaten Sire De Grugy once but whether he is a Queen Mother winner I am not sure. I don’t think Cheltenham plays to Sire De Grugy’s strengths. Sizing Europe is 12 and Arvika Ligeonneire is much better the other way so I am left with Captain Conan by process of elimination.

NH: This is not a vintage Champion Chase to be nice to it. I think Sire De Grugy will be a bigger price on the day, Captain Conan is also too short and Kid Cassidy is mad. I will put two up each-way. He may be 12 but if Sizing Europe is within a stone of his best he can place again and Hinterland is an interesting second season novice.

MS: The firms will want to get Sire De Grugy and I can see him as big as 11/4 on the morning.

JLT Novices’ Chase

JM: No real view.

DM: Felix Yonger will be better on better ground. Djakadam got 11lb when he last time but just 1lb here. It looked like he might miss the race but he schooled so well on Sunday it appears to have forced a rethink. Felix Yonger is a worthy favourite.

AH: I like Vukovar. He is only five so there is more to come and best to catch French horses when they are young.

MH: I’d be against Oscar Whisky on his Festival profile. Taquin Du Seuil likes it really soft so the ground is going against him. I’d have it between Wonderful Charm who is the best jumper in the field and Felix Yonger with the ground coming in his favour.

NH: Wonderful Charm should reverse form with Oscar Whisky on 8lb better terms. Vukovar jumps well but 8/1 is a bit tight. I was very keen on Taquin Du Seuil until the ground started to dry up as he loves it deep. I’m quite keen on Sizing Gold.

Ryanair Chase

JM: Dynaste is a cert if he reproduces his Haydock run.

DM: Benefficient beat Dynaste last year and should be favourite but he is still under-rated. First Lieutenant was second to Cue Card last year but there is no Cue Card this time.
AH: Dynaste had a muscle problem in the King George and that’s a worry. This is Al Ferof’s trip.

MH: Probably Benefficient. He is proven at Cheltenham over around this trip and also proved he could win over 2m1f to show how good he is. Dynaste has not had the ideal preparation and First Lieutenant is a bigger danger. I was disappointed with him when second last year but it was Cue Card who beat him.

NH: You would be mad to back Al Ferof at 4/1 off the back of his last run. If Dynaste replicates his Betfair Chase second, then he wins.

World Hurdle

JM: I would love to be on Annie Power. The step up to 3m will be no problem for her. I was second behind More Of That earlier in the season and he impressed me.

DM: We have no idea how good Annie Power is. She is unbeaten in ten races and Mullins doesn’t flinch if you mention her in the same breath as Dawn Run and I think he is trying to restrain his enthusiasm for her. Rule The World is too big at 10/1 as his second in the Neptune was a very good run given it wasn’t run a true gallop which didn’t suit him. He was very good at Naas albeit at a much lower level.

AH: I think Annie Power will probably win but I don’t think we will see the best of her until over fences.

MH: People expected too much of Big Buck’s in the Cleeve and better ground will play to his strengths. However, it is still a big ask to give Annie Power 7lb and she’s the one to beat. The fact At Fishers Cross couldn’t beat Knockara Beau tells me he is vulnerable.

NH: Annie Power is bred for this trip so I have little doubt she will stay and it will be hard for any horse to give her 7lb. Rule The World is the danger.

MS: All the money has been for Annie Power. Firms will want to get Big Buck’s and I imagine you will get 3/1 at some point.

Triumph Hurdle

JM: Rutherglen was impressive at Wetherby and Bangor and won at Musselburgh although the track was too sharp. He will definitely get the trip. Le Rocher is the one to beat though.

DM: Guitar Pete keeps on improving. Geraghty was not bullish about Royal Irish Hussar last night who beat him in November. Tiger Roll was second to Guitar Pete last time on just his second hurdles start and he missed the last flight. He is a lively outsider.

AH: I like Guitar Pete who keeps stepping up and he won the same Grade 1 race as Our Conor last year.

MH: I think Calipto is a very good long term project but wonder if he is battle hardened enough against Flat horses. Le Rocher sets the standard but drying ground is a worry. I prefer the Flat horses. Broughton worked really well the other day and has lots of speed but his stamina is a slight worry.

NH: It is not like Gigginstown to buy a 3yo from Nigel Hawke after winning at Market Rasen so Tiger Roll is interesting. Rutherglen can also run well.

MS: Broughton is my banker of the week.

Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle

JM: Kings Palace for me. He sets a great gallop and stays well.

DM: Briar Hill is a very popular choice at the Irish preview evenings. He has only been beating small fields doing enough but will take a lot of beating on a course we know he likes.
AH: Kings Palace oozed class last time. Proper horse.

MH: I prefer Briar Hill of the big two and think he will improve for stepping up to 3m. He has a bit more pace than Kings Palace and can stalk him and pounce in the home straight.

NH: I don’t see a shock and see this between the big two. Captain Cutter won a poor Challow.

MS: We’ll have it right off if we can get the front two beat.

Gold Cup

JM: Harry Topper is a mudlark so I don’t want to see it dry out. If the ground is decent I think Silviniaco Conti will beat Bobs Worth for speed.

DM: Last Instalment is still too big a price. Connections have a concern of faster ground as he has glass legs and tendon problems but the best he looked as a novice was on good ground when beating First Lieutenant by 6 lengths and First Lieutenant loves good ground. He has only had six runs over fences so there is more to come.

AH: I like Silviniaco Conti. It’s so hard to win back-to-back Gold Cups.

MH: The market looks right. I would worry about a dry week for Last Instalment. Bobs Worth goes well fresh and quickened to win the Lexus. Toss of the coin between the big two but I just favour Bobs Worth.

NH: Bobs Worth has an exceptional record and not just at Cheltenham. It has to be unlikely Last Instalment will run if they say he only runs if it is soft ground looking at the forecast. If Captain Chris is placed I’ll eat my feet. His jumping to the right is more marked than when he won the Arkle. Cloudy Too is my idea of the best big outsider at 66/1 who could nick a place.

MS: Triolo D’Alene has been the best backed horse in the last week.
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Joined: February 6th, 2013, 11:22 pm

Re: cheltenham preview evenings 2014

Postby beaker1 » March 6th, 2014, 10:08 pm


Panel: Lydia Hislop (LH), Dan Skelton (DS), Andrew Tinkler (AT), Tony Calvin (TC)


LH: VANITEUX: Irving is ridiculously short as is Vautour. I’m not very keen on Wicklow Brave either so I suppose that leaves the Henderson pair. I’d have to say I slightly prefer Vaniteux now with the rumours coming from their yard about how well he’s been working.

AT: VANITEUX: Wasn’t regarded as a Cheltenham horse to be honest at one time, but he’s really grown up recently and has been working extremely well. I think Barry Geraghty will ride Vaniteux now as well. Josses Hill is a very good horse in his own right and wasn’t at his best at Kempton, but I must say I prefer Vaniteux of the two.

DS: IRVING: I think the front two are a good bit in front of the others and would side with Irving if pushed.

TC: VANITEUX: Nick Schofield described Irving as Concorde after his first gallop on him, but at the prices and with what I’m hearing about Vaniteux he’d be an each-way bet for me.


LH: TRIFOLIUM: I was disappointed with how Champagne Fever responded to making a mistake last time out. He seemed to be beaten rather quickly after just hitting one fence and that puts me off. Grandouet will run better than his odds suggest, but in a race where I’m not keen on anything Trifolium strikes me as being the safe choice.

AT: CHAMPAGNE FEVER: Grandouet has been going nicely at home, but I was very impressed with Champagne Fever’s work the other day and I know his team were as well. Apparently others in the gallop pulled up and said to Ruby that they went quite fast there and Ruby was surprised because he was worried they hadn’t done enough, so easy was he travelling on Champagne Fever.

DS: TED VEALE: Champagne Fever will go off hell for leather and trust me they’ll be none travelling better than Ted Veale two out. I’m surprised Tony Martin has gone for this race and not a handicap, I think that is a tip in itself.

TC: DODGING BULLETS: I know Paul Nicholls has never seen Rock On Ruby as a chaser, he’s described the horse in the past as being very small and more like a pony. I don’t fancy much at all, but if pushed I’d go Dodging Bullets.


AT: MY TENT OR YOURS: My Tent Or Yours is really progressive and a gorgeous horse. All of his main work had been done before his little blip and it was nothing serious anyway. He’s my idea of the winner, although I must say I don’t think Jezki should be around 5 points bigger than him in the betting.

DS: HURRICANE FLY: Doesn’t fancy Our Conor on the basis that five year-olds rarely win this race so I can’t see it happening in one of the best Champion Hurdles we’ve seen in years. Hurricane Fly remains the one to beat.

TC: OUR CONOR: One of the worst races of the week from a betting point of view. There are at least five or six that can win and yet we are struggling to get bigger than 5/1 about four of them. If pushed I’d go against what Dan has said and plump for Our Conor just because he was really weak in the market prior to his last run, so I was amazed how well he ran.


LH: SWING BOWLER: I really can’t have Cockney Sparrow staying this trip. I do think Swing Bowler is better than she showed in this race last year and I like her each-way if she runs.

AT: QUEVEGA: It’s simple isn’t it Quevega wins. L’Unique would be my idea of a decent place bet if the ground dries up because I think she’s the classiest of the opposition.

TC: I’ve laid Quevega every year and lost so I’ll do the same again this year and lose again!!


LH: SMAD PLACE: Twice 3rd in a World Hurdle and we know Festival form stands the test of time, so he’ll do for me.

AT: CORRIN WOOD: Was impressed with Corrin Wood at Warwick. I know he jumped slightly right-handed, but horses do sometimes do that round that track. He’ll be tough to pass and has solid each-way claims.

DS: MANY CLOUDS: Likes Smad Place as he’s a strong traveller, jumps well and has Cheltenham form, but at the prices I’d go for Many Clouds.


LH: SPECIAL TIARA: Kid Cassidy is likely to make the frame the way he’ll be ridden. Sire De Grugy is the best horse in the race, but he may want it a bit softer and he’s not won at Cheltenham. I can’t have Captain Conan or Arvika Ligeonniere at any price. The two horses I like are Baily Green and Special Tiara as both horses have been running on ground they don’t like in Ireland and therefore we’ve probably not seen the best of them. I’ve backed Special Tiara.

AT: KID CASSIDY: Captain Conan works like a dream at home, but there are a few people at the yard who cycle to work rather than drive on the back of punting on him. The race will be run to suit Kid Cassidy and he can make the frame at least.

DS: WISHFULL THINKING: I wouldn’t back Captain Conan to finish his breakfast. I like Wishfull Thinking each-way in what is a poor Queen Mother.

TC: SPECIAL TIARA: I’ve backed Special Tiara at a decent price, but I think if Sire De Grugy drifts to 3/1 on the day and I think it will then he’s the bet. I think people are getting so wrapped up in the fact that it’s a poor year they are looking to take him on when basically he’s the best around at the moment with Sprinter Sacre out.


Dan Skelton was asked if he thought Big Bucks was as good as ever?

DS: On what I’ve seen with my eyes and remember I’m no longer in the yard, I’d have to say no, but what I will say is he’s a lazy horse at home and will improve. Paul and the team will have him the best he can possibly be on the day, but yeah he does look vulnerable now.

TC: Paul (Nicholls) thinks Annie Power is a bit buzzy and may not stay. His team will go out out to beat her a bit like Aiden O’Brien does on the flat, but the only difference is all of Paul’s four can win this race. Celestial Halo will make it a true test don’t worry about that.

Neither DS or TC really fancied one particular horse, but agreed this could be the race of the week.

LH: MORE OF THAT: With her allowance Annie Power is the best horse in the race, but will she stay, especially with the way this race will be run? I like the McManus pair At Fishers Cross and More Of That.


LH: ACTIVIAL: Really liked Activial, he’s a serious contender. I can’t have Broughton at all, he’s a hound.

AT: LE ROCHER: Hard as nails and would be my pick in a wide open race.

DS: BROUGHTON: I know what Lydia is saying about Broughton, but I just think this race will suit him. It’s more often than not won by a horse that has won on the flat. Remember there are only two hurdles in the last seven furlongs so speed is a factor. I fancy him, at least each-way.


Dan Skelton was asked if he thought Silviniaco Conti would have won last year if he had not fallen?

DS: Knowing how tough Bobs Worth is I’d have to say probably not. I can’t split the front two in the market and my advice would be to wait until Friday and see which team out of Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson is in better shape and back one of them then.

LH: SILVINIACO CONTI: I agree the winner will come from the front two in the market. If pushed I’d go for Silviniaco Conti purely on the prices. As for two outsiders I quite like Triolo D’Alene and Captain Chris.

AT: BOBS WORTH: Bobs Worth is very short, but the most likely winner.

TC: TRIOLO D’ALENE: Front two are solid, but I’ve backed Trio D’Alene at 33/1 each-way. He’s taken the same route as Bobs Worth did in winning the Hennessy and then being kept for this. I’m not saying he’s the same horse as Bobs Worth, but I can see him running into a place.


The panel were asked briefly for other fancies in races that were not discussed at length and came up with the following:-


LH: SURE REEF – Coral Cup

AT: DAWALAN – Fred Winter

DS: PENDRA – Rewards4Racing


TC: TAP NIGHT – Byrne Group Plate
Posts: 77
Joined: February 6th, 2013, 11:22 pm

Re: cheltenham preview evenings 2014

Postby beaker1 » March 7th, 2014, 2:53 pm


The Panel :
Mark Kershaw (MK)- Chair
Ryan Mahon (RM)
Kate Miller (KM)
Seamus Mullins (SM)
Conor Shoemark (CS)

Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

SM: Irving has the best English form but I also like Willie Mullins’ Vautour; he’s got class. Vautour has got the best of the Irish form; he’s got a good pedigree and the stamina needed at the festival. Three Kingdoms has got good form, including Cheltenham in the autumn and he has improved well in his last three races , and could have an each-way chance.

CS: My pick is Wicklow Brave, they need stamina but also a lot of pace and this race will suit.

KM: Beware of the favorite, back him at your peril. Only two horses since 2000 have won this race having had a flat career before going jumping. I like Vautour and he looks good at 3-1. Valseur Lido is currently overpriced at 16-1. It has been confirmed that AP will ride Gilgamboa.

RM: I’m keen on Irving; he’s won four out of four. He’s a very accurate jumper, a strong stayer, he’s tough and he has a proper chance. He should do nothing but improve for good ground.

Arkle Trophy

KM: Only four favorites have won in 21 running of this race; avoid the popular horses at the front head of the market. Champagne Fever might get found out over fences. My hope is Dodging Bullets, he has fantastic hurdle form and pretty sold solid chase from too; he should go well.

RM: I’m plugging for Rock on Ruby, he is a class above the field on his hurdles form. He has done nothing but improve and can do it again; he will improve for better ground.

SM: Rock on Ruby has got a lot to do. I prefer Alan King’s horse, Valdez; he has improved immensely for going over fences, he’s won three Novice Chases very well. He could be the forgotten horse of the race.

CS: I also like Rock on Ruby, he was a top class hurdler and won both chase starts on the bridle. Although he is the oldest horse in the race he has a lot of class.

MK: I agree with Seamus, Valdez should go well.

Champion Hurdle

SM: One of the best renewals of this race for a long time. The stats are against Hurricane Fly’s age, he has been unbeatable for a long time but I think this is the year he could get his comeuppance. There is some good young horse competition. The New One has the best English form, has got plenty of pace and travels well; he could well take on Hurricane Fly. Our Conor is my pick of the Irish runners; the race will be run to suit him and Danny [Mullins] is very sweet on his chances.

CS: I like The New One, he could take on Hurricane Fly and Captain Cee Bee was only 2¾ lengths behind him at Leopardstown in January, it was not a great race. I think The New One will win, he needs a faster pace and I think this race should have plenty of pace which will suit him.

RM: Our Conor is my pick; I think his younger legs are going to prevail. Dessie’s horses always go well here and I think he’s left plenty in the locker; he suits Cheltenham and he has younger legs.

KM: This is the Champion Hurdle of all Champion Hurdles! Since 1958 only three older horses (10+) have won the this race, so beware of Hurricane Fly. The quality of The New One’s hurdling worries me, he has got to hurdle better. The winner for me is My Tent or Yours, although he has had a setback all of his serious work would have come before this. Our Conor has a difficult Triumph record stat to overcome but he is my other choice. I would have loved Annie Power to run is this, maybe she would have beaten Hurricane Fly, hence Willie’s choice no to run them against one another!

Tuesday other Races

RM: In the mare’s race Quevega is difficult to beat, if she turns up she will win. But Highland Retreat for Harry Fry has done nothing but improve and is a decent each-way punt.

CS: Fergal O’Brien’s Down Ace has been prepped very well for this race and has a good each-way chance.

KM: My NAP of the meeting in the National Hunt Chase is Shutthefrontdoor at 6-1 and I think he will win turning handsprings.

SM: I know Emma [Lavelle] is keen on Shotgun Paddy in the National Hunt Chase but Jonjo O’Neill’s Shutthefrotndoor is my pick.

Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle

KM: Red Sherlock is my choice, bred by the late David Johnson, he has the pedigree and it would be an emotional success for the Pipe and the Johnson families. I don’t like the favourite.

RM: It’s between the top two in the betting: Faugheen and Red Sherlock. I’d be siding with Willie’s [Faugheen]. Red Sherlock hasn’t done anything wrong but Mullins’ has got it.

CS: I really like Red Sherlock, I used to ride him at Timmy Murphys, and Timmy really rates him. He’s won at Cheltenham; he has a lot more to give and I am very impressed with this horse.

SM: Red Sherlock is my choice, I watched him win very well in his bumper at Towcester last year and I’ve always been impressed by him. A horse to keep an eye out for is Oliver Sherwood’s Deputy Dan his Warwick win shows a good level of form and he would be a good each-way selection at around 14-1.

RSA Chase

MK: I spoke to Emma Lavelle the other day and Le Becis in very good form.

SM: Le Bec wouldn’t be my idea of a winner. Smad Place for Alan King holds some of the best form in the race, he was 3rd In the World Hurdle and Aintree Hurdle last year. An each-way punt might be Many Clouds of Oliver Sherwood’s, be keeps improving and wouldn’t be far off, he would be staying on at the finish.

CS: Smad Place is impressive; he has the best hurdle form and has a lot going for him. His form should be three from three over fences but for an unfortunate UR at Huntingdon. The ground may be wrong for him though [his form suggests he may prefer softer ground].

KM: Smad Place for me too, this is his fourth crack at the festival. He is a real battler, he stays the trip and I have no issue with him. At 7-1 he looks very good value.

RM: Smad Place is my pick, he was a highly rated hurdler and he’s very tough. He will keep on going and he stays up the hill. The race could cut up, making it a winnable race.

Queen Mother Champion Chase

Al Ferof goes in the Ryannair.

SM: I love Sire De Grugy but I’m going to oppose him with Captain Conan, he faded in The Jewson Chase last year [finishing 5th] but I think he could take on the favourite.

CS: I like Kid Cassidy he’s a tricky ride but he’s got the best man on board and I’m sure AP can get the better of him. He has beaten Sire De Grugy at Cheltenham and I think he has a serious chance.

RM: I can’t find a winner, this race is very open. Id rather have an each-way bet on Hinterland. He has won two out of two this season and he gets this track. He’s had two years of top racing over fences and he’s improved a lot since last year.

KM: 28 of the last 30 winners of this race had a course and distance win to their name. Paul Nicholls has an excellent record and I agree with Ryan, Hinterland has lots of ability; his time in the Henry VIII was quicker than Sire De Grugy. I’m firmly against the favourite, Captain Conon is a good price at 5-1 but has had blood problems. Hinterland is grossly overpriced at 12-1.

Wednesday Shoulder Races

CS: In the Champion Bumper my pick is Black Hercules , he impressed me on bottomless ground at Gowran and should go better on this ground. Willie Mullins has won this race eight times.

RM: In the Cross Country Race; Sire Collonges which I ride, if Balthazar King doesn’t win then I will. He took time getting used to the fences but improved massively at the second time in this discipline. Balthazar King will be difficult to beat but I fancy my chances.

KM: In the Fred Winter my pick is Rutherglen for John Quinn, who is very shrewd, and at 12-1 is better value. He might be a touch exposed but would have a good chance.

JLT Novices’ Chase

SM: I’m going for the old stager Oscar Whisky. He’s been there, done that and got the t-shirt. He’s got good Cheltenham form but probably should have gone chasing earlier. I also like the Harry Fry horse [Vukovar].

CS: I like Double Ross, he’s a horse with good form around the course; he’s won two handicaps here and was third in the Martin Pipe last year. He should be a good price.

KM: It looks like a great race but struggling to find the winner here, it’s genuinely a tough call. Vukovar is worth a watch and might be worth a small each-way bet.

RM: Vukovar smashed them at Newbury [winning a Novice chase in last December by 21 lengths], but this is a tough race to fathom. Wonderful Charm and Oscar Whisky are two good horses but Oscar doesn’t jump well enough and Wonderful Charm keeps a bit to himself.

Ryanair Chase

SM: I really like Al Ferof, he won a Paddy Power off top weight, he won a Supreme Novice and has Cheltenham credentials written all over him. He is my idea of the winner and has a serious chance.

CS: Also Al Ferof, he’s class. My heart is thinking Al Ferof and I would want to be on him.

RM: I’m going against Al Ferof , he’s had two very hard races. I’m with Benefficient; the trainer has prepped him for this event. He’s a tricky horse but he will be ready and this could well be his day.

KM: I’ve always liked Al Ferof but Benefficient is for me. He won at Cheltenham last year, he’s not over- raced and ran well at Leopardstown. He represents a touch more value than Dynaste and Al Ferof. Menorah is the most highly rated of the big prices and at 14-1 could be an each-way value pick.

World Hurdle

SM: There’s only one thing to say and that is that is Annie Power shouldn’t be getting seven pounds off anything; she stays and she settles, she showed that at Cheltenham in December. She’s got the pedigree for it; she’s out of Shirocco by an Old Vic mare. She should be giving seven pounds to everything and not getting it from them.

CS: I’d love to see Big Bucks win but Annie Power is the new mare on the scene and the way she powered clear of Zarkander so easily [she beat him by eight lengths at Cheltenham in January] suggests she will get the trip. Her change of pace is something that Big Bucks might not have anymore.
RM: This has got to be Big Bucks, he is still the champion and he will have improved stones for the run. He’s a big horse and takes a lot of getting fit. The pressure on Sam Twiston-Davis will be slightly less and he will ride a little more conservatively. Annie Power is obviously a very classy mare but this is a proper test and a different kettle of fish completely.

KM: I’d love to see Big Bucks win but it’s a really big ask. If anyone can do it then it is Paul Nicholls, an exceptional training performance to get this horse back on the track. But this is a mare in which we haven’t seen for a long time. Celestial Halo is an alternative if you want to have an each-way bet.

Thursday Shoulder Races

RM: JP McManus’ Tap Night was ridden tentatively last time out and I think he’s a proper horse, he’s a little handicap good thing.

KM: [Agrees with Ryan] I think Tap Night has been lightly campaigned and this might well be a plot.

Triumph Hurdle

RM: I like Actival but he might not run. I’m going to stick with Paul’s favourite Calipto – La Rocher is also a very good horse. Calipto has won lesser races but he jumps well, travels well and keeps improving. He is better on good ground.

KM: This is a really tough race. Tiger Roll is a good choice, he was bought from Nigel Hawke and he’s trained by Gordon Elliot. Bryan Cooper lost his whip when he finished second at Leopardstown in February; he may have won otherwise. He is value at 20-1. Le Rocher would have obvious chances.

SM: I agree with Kate, Le Rocher has the best English form. I quite like Royal Irish Hussar; he’s one for the each-way punts but Tiger Roll is my main selection.

CS: I agree with Ryan, Calipto has won twice with the more recent one in bottomless ground; I don’t think he’s full exposed and is the one for me.

Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle

SM: This I the race for future Gold Cup horses. I really like David Pipe’s Kings Palace. I fancied minein a bumper at Plumpton and we were stuffed by him. He’s won at Cheltenham twice and has a very stout pedigree; Kings Theatre horses have a great record at Cheltenham. Briar Hill is unbeaten over hurdles, including a win at Navan, which is always a good pointer for Cheltenham form and Briar Hill has the best of the Irish form.

KM: I concur; Briar Hill has won five out of five but hasn’t been tested. Kings Palace jumps very accurately and is a fast front runner. The talented but quirky Sure Reef has a huge amount of ability and it could be worth waiting until final declarations to have an each-way bet.

RM: Kings Palace is going to set it up for Briar Hill, who will come alive about three out and when Ruby gets after him and he will sprout wings. Port Melon is a lively outsider; he has serious potential but he may not be mentally and physically prepared to win.

Gold Cup

CS: I love Bobs Worth, he’s an old fashioned chaser and will keep galloping; he will dig deep for Barry. If I had a ride in the race he would be the one for me.

SM: Nicky will have Bobs Worth spot on for this race, he’s reported to have schooled brilliantly this week which usually shows their well-being. I’m also a big fan of Silviniaco Conti; it’s a very interesting contest between the two of them but hard to look away from Bobs Worth. Interesting to see Last Instalment who has improved vastly from his first run to his second this year and he could make up the tricast.

RM: Silviniaco Conti is best when fresh, he showed a seriously though performance at Kempton. He’s a tough grinding sort and he’s my choice. Captain Chris looks better than ever, he’s the one to chase home the first two in the betting.

KM: I like Bobs Worth but I don’t like his price. I’m not sure Silviniaco Conti would have won last year. Last Instalment has the best novice form and it was a great training performance when he won the Irish Hennessey. This is not a great Gold Cup and Last Instalment might take the notable scalps of Bobs Worth and Silviniaco Conti.

Friday Shoulder Races

CS: Harbour Court in the Foxhunters, I’ve ridden him at home and Alan Hill has him bouncing. He’s hacked up in Point-to-Points, schools fantastically and his form suggests he will be ready for this race.

SM: In the Grand Annual my pick is Alderwood, which Tommy [Mullins] trains and he will come to Cheltenham with a better horse than we’ve seen so far this season, he would be good each-way value at 14 or 16-1.

RM: In the Martin Pipe Dell’ Arca is making a step up to 2m4f, he’s a tough horse and loves the hustle and bustle of the big handicaps. In the Foxhunters Certain Flight is an outsider at 20-1; he has improved massively, he hasn’t come off the bridle this season. He’s won two Point-to-Points and a Hunter Chase, he seems to be peaking now and he’s got one of the better amateur jockeys on board, Will Biddick.

KM: Harbour Court at 9-2 is a good price to confirm himself as the best hunter. In the Grand Annual Festive Affair for Jonjo, his handicap mark looks interesting and at 14-1 he’s a tasty price to get out in the getting out stakes race.

Charity Bets

RM: Smad Place

CS: Harbor Court

SM: Brunswick Royal, or each-way on Valdez
Posts: 77
Joined: February 6th, 2013, 11:22 pm

Re: cheltenham preview evenings 2014

Postby beaker1 » March 8th, 2014, 6:54 pm


The BHA Head of Handicapping, Phil Smith (PS) gives a real fresh way of looking at many of the races so we were keen to cover a preview night with him on the panel. The other panellists were the London Racing Club’s president Lee Mottershead (LM) of The Racing Post and Declan Rix (DR) of Attheraces who was mainly giving a view on the Irish challenge. Barry Faulkner chaired the event. It was novel for a preview started off with the World Hurdle followed by the Ryanair but that’s what we got. Time was moving on so Day 4 was covered very quickly so lighter comments for those races.


PS: You need a horse rated about 152 at the end of the season to win, that’s the average over the last six years. Vautour is the most likely winner as he has already achieved a level to win the race as we have him on 155 and he has improved in every run ratings-wise. Irving has also improved with every hurdles start ratings-wise so these two set a good standard. We have Irving on 149 but he is easily capable of progressing by the likely amount needed. Gilgamboa is only rated 140 and I am absolutely amazed he is not running in the County. The race he won last time, only three horses have run since and two of those that ran down the field have finished second and the other won. I suspect a lot of winners will come out of that race. Gilgamboa has to improve a heck of lot to improve to win a Supreme.

LM: Vautour looks the number one Mullins hope but you have to give Wicklow Brave a good chance. Irving is a deserving favourite but I am sweet on Gilgamboa, especially the way he travelled towards the front of a big handicap and won pretty decisively. The vibes are good about him and his big handicap experience will stand him in good stead.

DR: Vautour got the run of the race in the Deloitte but I fancy him over the more flashy Irving. Wicklow Brave isn’t far off Vautour in terms of raw ability but his jumping worries me. I really like his third string at the prices, Valseur Lido, who does a lot right and has good speed figures and he would be the one I would put up in terms of value. Gilgamboa runs here and has wbeen ell backed. J P McManus likes a runner in this and he didn’t have won until it was confirmed.

CM: Vaniteux has become more favoured than Josses Hill and likes Good ground and has done extremely well since his last win. Anyone who says Josses Hill didn’t work well earlier, which I understand is a rumour circulating about, has been misinformed. He is very much the unfinished article though, the type you will see in the Arkle. Vaniteux would be more suited to a Supreme as he is slicker. I would ride him if given the choice as he is a ‘today’ horse whereas Josses Hill is one for the future. He’s the sharper of the two.

DR: Barry Geraghty writes a blog on Attheraces and the vibe we get are that he will ride Vaniteux.

RJ: I was on a preview panel the other day and Andrew Tinkler (connected to Henderson yard) put up Vaniteux as the best bet of the meeting.


PS: Our highest rated is Trifolium of 157 but there is a whole plethora just behind him. I suspect he will suffer if the ground dries up. Dodging Bullets is 156 and has also run against non novices so I can be more confident about his rating whereas we are guessing a little with others. Champagne Fever is not one of our nine rated in the 150s but there is plenty of improvement in him.

LM: I like Rock On Ruby with the ground coming in his favour

DR: Champagne Fever is the most likely winner but he has had an interrupted preparation. The time of the race in which he made a bad mistake was 5 seconds below standard so fast were they trapping. I’d rather back Champagne Fever at 3/1 than Rock On Ruby at 9/2. The latter doesn’t have the physical scope for chasing. The two best jumpers are Trifolium and Dodging Bullets, the worry for Trifolium is the ground is drying up a little bit.

RJ: The ground looks like coming in favour of Rock On Ruby. The horse he beat in quite a good time for a match at Doncaster (Mr Mole) has been well backed recently for the Grand Annual.

CM: My personal opinion is that Grandouet and Barry don’t gel. He jumps better for other jockeys back home but I imagine he will ride him.


PS: Anyone who has watched Captain Cee Bee do a pacemaking job in Ireland will know he has just been a disaster. The only jockey I’ve seen be good in a pacemaking role was Ian Mongan on behalf of Frankel. Five-year-olds can win it when it’s a really bad renewal like Katchit but it’s not a bad renewal this year. They could win it when they got a weight allowance but they don’t get it anymore. Five-year-olds can also win it if they are absolute superstars like Sir Ken, Persian War and Night Nurse. Our Conor is not a superstar at the minute but he might be. If he couldn’t beat Hurricane Fly getting weight for age last time I don’t see why he should reverse on level terms. I can see Jezki being the beneficiary of a sensible Captain Cee Bee sensible approach. People keep finding reasons to oppose Hurricane Fly every year, mainly on age. I agree with many that he is not quite as good at Cheltenham than Leopardstown. The New One has been fantastically consistent on figures but is he improving enough and the same comment applies to Our Conor? My Tent Or Yours might be as he keeps progressing and as such I rate him the danger to Hurricane Fly.

LM: At the back of your mind is last year’s Supreme when My Tent Or Yours couldn’t get past Champagne Fever. Our Conor didn’t win a good Triumph Hurdle. I would favour The New One who won the Neptune which is traditionally a far better guide. If Un De Sceaux runs I think he has a fantastic chance.

DR: Hurricane Fly won his first Champion Hurdle off a slow pace and last year it blatantly fell in his lap. If it keeps continuing to dry out, that won’t suit and I would see him being beaten. He handles Cheltenham, obviously, but it does get to him a little and he can get sweaty like the year he was beaten. At the prices I like Our Conor as Dessie Hughes has trained him for one day and one day only and returning to Cheltenham will suit.

CM: We had a little glitch with My Tent Or Yours earlier in the week as was widely reported but he is fine now. He did a very good piece of work this morning and that is it now until the race. He’s in the prime of his life and will take a lot of beating. He can outsprint the majority of these so the pacemaker, Captain Cee Bee, is more for Jezki but he will help us in the very early part of the race.

RJ: I have a funny feeling Un De Sceaux might be run which will change the face of the race if he is does. I doubt Mullins wants to run him but think his owners do.


PS: Our top rated is Faugheen on 152. Red Sherlock has had an unusual preparation starting off over hurdles at Southwell. We were guessing on his ratings after two starts over hurdles as he didn’t beat much at all. David Pipe then asked if he could have a rating and we said no he couldn’t! Cup Final has had three runs and we have declined to give him a rating, we’d like to see him run again.

LM: Faugheen.

DR: Faugheen is the big Irish talking horse this year but is hard to weigh up for me. He could outclass them but do you really want to back him at 3/1? None of the races he has been winning over hurdles has been working out brilliantly. I also question his jumping and how keen he might be, especially with the buzz at Cheltenham. Rathvinden is a better bet at the prices than Red Sherlock on what will be quicker ground than when they met in January. Lieutenant Colonel has been crying out for a step up in trip and better ground being by Kayf Tara. I will go with him each-way.

CM: Royal Boy is suited by cut in the ground without a doubt. We might run Cup Final who I hear is 50/1, he could be a last-minute addition. Ballyalton is the one I like.

RJ: Un Temps Pour Tout have run here but he is lame and probably misses the Festival altogether. Red Sherlock is an each-way bet to nothing.


PS: Three of the last nine winners have won a Hennessy so it’s not a graveyard race as some say. The average winning rating is 157 and only Ballycasey has done it so far. The horse I like is dependent on how Shotgun Paddy runs in the NH Chase as that would be a big pointer for Corrin Wood who he have on 156.

LM: The two I like are Carlingford Lough, who has big handicap form and, at much bigger odds, Gevrey Chambertin who jumped fantastically well on his only chase start but cut out very quickly. I think it’s interesting a shrewd yard want to run him which suggests he may have had a problem that day. Ballycasey fell in a school but we wouldn’t have heard about that if it happened at home so I don’t think it is that much of a problem.

DR: Don Cossack looks too soft for me. Carlingford Lough has been very well backed of late and I fancy him to hold Morning Assembly on his Christmas run and Walsh won’t ride MA this time. Regards Ballycasey, I don’t care what anyone says, falling in a schooling session is not good, ever.


PS: The ratings tell us it’s a substandard race. 188, 173, 177, 174, 178, 186 were the winning ratings for the last six years. The highest rated horse going into this season’s race is Sire De Grugy on 169. I hope he wins as he turns up in all the best races plus we also like to see our top rated win. I am not sure Cheltenham is necessarily his track though. It would be no surprise to me to see a mid-160s horse win.

LM: My job means I am in the stories business and a win for Sire De Grugy and the Moore’s is the best story for this race. I think he has rescued this division this season. I wasn’t mad about him before his Ascot win but he really quickened that day and I doubt any of his rivals could have done that. Can he win a Grade 1 at Cheltenham though where he has been beaten both times? He has good form around other undulating courses. If he runs to his 169 rating he wins. If he runs a bit below that, he probably still wins, and ratings show he hasn’t run that far below his best at Cheltenham.

DR: I like Special Tiara. Only has 3l to find with Sire De Grugy on 5lb worse terms but he went off too quick that day on his seasonal debut and he’s a knocking each-way bet at 20/1. Of the other Irish horses Sizing Europe is too old, Benefficient probably won’t run, the ground is going against Arvika Ligeonneire who also wants to go the other way and Baily Green is less consistent than Manchester United.


PS: In terms of depth and quality this is a better race than the Champion Chase. Dynaste is a fascinating horse. He ended last season in the high 150s so was astonished a yard as shrewd as the Pipe’s didn’t go for a handicap and went for a Grade 1 instead which tells me they think the world of him. Al Ferof’s last two runs were disappointing and it could be both were put down to not staying 3m. Back over this trip he is my selection. The problem with Menorah is inconsistency but he could run a big race.

LM: Sprinter Sacre’s defection will impact on this race. Dynaste and Al Ferof both have the potential to put in brilliant and disappointing performances. John Hales was desperate to run Al Ferof in the Gold Cup but Nicholls has convinced him otherwise and I just prefer him to Dynaste. I can’t have First Lieutenant at all, I don’t think he likes winning races.

DR: The problem with Benefficient is that he can blow hot and cold. There must be a chance with the ground drying out that First Lieutenant will now run in the Gold Cup, if not, I don’t think he has the raw speed for the Ryanair. Rathlin may represent Gigginstown in their own race if First Lieutenant runs in the Gold Cup and the key to him is Good ground and he has not been getting it. Don’t forget on this surface he beat Hidden Cyclone by six lengths and 33/1 is a big price non runner no bet, he won’t start that if he runs. Dynaste is a flat track bully. Of the main fancies I like Al Ferof.

PS: We’ve had Big Buck’s rated 174 for the last quarter of century but he has not been running to that. In terms of what he ran to in the World Hurdle itself for his four wins, in 2009 he ran to 173, in 2010 he ran to 170, in 2011 he ran to 159 and in 2012 he ran to 166. We have him running to 160 in the Cleeve so it’s a leap of faith to think at his age he can run to 170 which he will need to in order to win. Annie Power is effectively rated 172 with her 7lb allowance. I was astonished McCoy chose At Fishers Cross over More Of That, who I am sure is better than a 160 horse, as AFC appears to have bellied out at 157. If you get beat by Knockara Beau, are you a championship winner? Though speaking to McCoy, he said he is worried about More Of That staying. Zarkandar is a worthy horse but gets beat when it comes to the big races. I’ll be disappointed with the outcome of the race if Zarkandar wins it.

LM: Mullins has got a lot of flak for not running Annie Power in the Champion Hurdle but it makes perfect sense to me. If you are joining a big yard you are joining a team. Her 7lb allowance is huge. You sense Mullins and Walsh don’t believe she will be beaten. But I’m a romantic and I would love to see Big Buck’s win and it entirely possible he will win. My head says Annie Power though. Nicholls has said all season Zarkandar will be a different horse on better ground and conditions are turning his way.

DR: Annie Power is already high class but given her size and scope, there is more to come. There has to be a doubt she will stay the trip as she can be buzzy and she may run a bit free over a trip she has not tried before. In terms of raw ability I think she’s the best in the field. I think she is skinny enough now at 15/8. Rule The World and Salubrious are my idea of the best value in the race. I’m told Rule The World is the Morris stable’s best chance of the week.


LM: A colleague did an interview with Mullins in the last week and he stated Briar Hill is the horse they like most for the week.

DR: Mosspark is too big at 25/1.

RJ: There has been an avalanche of money for Briar Hill over the last week.


PS: I like the way the Hennessy is working out so Triolo D’Alene could improve and be the in the shake up. Bobs Worth wins.

LM: I will keep this short and sweet. Bobs Worth is much, much, much the likeliest winner. I thought it was interesting Walsh said he was really impressed with his for the first time in the Lexus.

DR: All Last Instalment’s best form has been on soft ground and even if it did come up soft I would have doubts he will stay the trip. First Lieutenant is a bridesmaid but the ground is coming in his favour. I don’t think he can turn the tables on Bobs Worth, who is the most likely winner, but he is one for the places on Good ground.

CM: If Triolo D’Alene wins the Gold Cup, don’t back him to win the Grand National as in that instance he won’t run. (when asked if McCoy is trying to get the ride) My understanding is he will ridden by one of the lads in the yard but there are no firm plans at present.


PS: Manyriverstocross went into a Grade 1 last time off 138 in a three runner race and was 9l second to Oscar Whisky where we thought the winner and third both underperformed so it was a dilemma whether to put him up or leave him where he was, and I decided to leave him where he was. It will be interesting to see how he goes and will also be a pointer to Oscar Whisky.
LM: Harbour Court in the Foxhunters’.

DR: Rogue Angel’s form is not too far away from Foxrock so 25/1 is too big in the NH Chase for Gigginstown and hopefully Nina Carberry.

RJ: Indian Castle in the Kim Muir has been a big buzz horse on the preview evening circuit. Vibrato Valtat has been smashed up for the Imperial Cup and rated 130 he needs to win to get a run at the Festival and we fancy him to do the Imperial Cup-County Hurdle double
Posts: 77
Joined: February 6th, 2013, 11:22 pm

Re: cheltenham preview evenings 2014

Postby beaker1 » March 9th, 2014, 10:26 pm


Took place straight after racing in front of around 300 people but unfortunately and understandably AP McCoy was not present as was spending time with his young son recovering from surgery which has also led him to give up his Sunday and Monday rides. The panel consisted of Nicky Henderson (NH), Paul Nicholls (PN), leading owner Andy Stewart (AS) of whom Big Buck’s is his main hope and William Hill’s Kate Miller (KM). The event was hosted as genially as ever by Nick Luck (NL). As the event took place straight after racing, just the very top races were rattled through within an hour.

Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

NH: I’ve been chasing Irving unsuccessfully all season and he’s the speed horse of the race. Josses Hill had a slight problem but he has come right back into this. Vaniteux has been very good since Doncaster. Both of mine are realistic contenders. I do like Vaniteux.

PN: Irving is a high class horse, the drying ground will suit him and he worked very well this morning. I keep being told Wicklow Brave might be the one for Mullins. Has Vautour got the pace?

AS: Irving stands out.

KM: I’m against Irving as not keen on Flat horses for this race. Vautour for me.

Arkle Trophy

NH: Grandouet has bounced back in the last three weeks. If the ground continues to dry out that will suit him and he has an each-way chance. Dodging Bullets must be very good if Paul wants to run Hinterland in the Champion Chase.

PN: Dodging Bullets was second to Module on ground he didn’t like and has bloomed since. The faster Champagne Fever goes the better it will suit us. Rock On Ruby going chasing is an afterthought. I don’t think Grandouet jumps fences well enough and he wasn’t all that good when jumping hurdles.

AS: Rock On Ruby is old enough at nine to win an Arkle, I’ll go with Dodging Bullets.

KM: Champagne Fever doesn’t deserve to be 3/1. I like Dodging Bullets.

Champion Hurdle

NH: We thought about going chasing at the start of the season with My Tent Or Yours. He is very speedy. Obviously I like him a lot. When I napped Our Conor on a panel at a preview in Ireland last week it was very late!

PN: I do like The New One who goes well at Cheltenham and he is young but he just needs to sharpen up his hurdling a little. Ptit Zig will run but shouldn’t trouble the big four.

AS: I will go with My Tent Or Yours.

KM: Hurricane Fly is our worst loser. I will go with My Tent Or Yours. I had the pleasure of interviewing AP McCoy this morning and he makes him his best chance of the week.

RSA Chase

NH: I’ll be off to the bar. Smad Place strikes me as the most likely winner. I wouldn’t be worried that Ballycasey fell in a schooling session much.

PN: I run Sam Winner, Just A Par and Black Thunder. Daryl Jacob rides Sam Winner, Noel Fehily rides Just A Par and Nick Scholfield rides Black Thunder. If I had my way Just A Par would wait for Aintree and Black Thunder would run in the NH Chase.

AS: I have a strong view here. Smad Place has the best form over hurdles and jumps fences well.

KM: I’m against Ballycasey and like Smad Place, a thoroughly likeable horse.

Queen Mother Champion Chase

NH: Everything is pretty good with Captain Conan. He had nothing physically wrong with him after cutting out in the Tingle Creek, it was just a clinical thing, his mineral levels were upside down. He’s had two racecourse gallops and would be in my A-Team.

PN: This is an open race. Hinterland is 2-2 since he had a breathing operation and ran a faster time on the same card as Sire De Grugy at Sandown. We took him to Wincanton last week where he jumped eight fences down the back. He is in the mix.

AS: I know he is 12 but I will take a chance on Sizing Europe.

KM: I’m against Sire De Grugy. Captain Conan for me.

World Hurdle

NH: The mares’ allowance for Annie Power will be critical but I also like both of J P McManus’ horses.

PN: I wanted Big Buck’s to have a hard race in the Cleeve and he was ridden to instructions. If you are a stayer you ride them like a stayer. He just got tired after a long absence. He has bloomed since and is a lot lighter and the omens are good on the weather front. Annie Power is the one to beat if she stays. This race is won by stayers and if there is no gallop then Celestial Halo will go on. We won’t leave the race lacking in pace. We will see if Zarkandar stays. I think Salubrious will run really tidily.

AS: As Annie Power has already won I have decided not to declare Big Buck’s, Celestial Halo and Salubrious. Being serious, I fully respect Annie Power but Big Buck’s has done it four times.

KM: Annie Power is now on the short side. AP McCoy was very bullish about At Fishers Cross when I interviewed this morning and when I laughed when he said he had a chance of beating the front two as I didn’t think he was serious, he made it clear he was serious.

Triumph Hurdle

NH: I don’t think they are a great bunch of four-year-olds this year. Royal Irish Hussar runs if it is good ground, Kentucky Hyden would prefer it soft. They will probably finish eighth and ninth. I would be surprised and disappointed if Activial bypasses the race.

PN: The owner of Activial told me this morning he will wait for Aintree. Calipto has plenty of speed. I was a bit worried about the drying ground and that it would play more to the strengths of the Flat horses until this morning where he worked well with Ptit Zig. Clifford Baker thinks he could win on the Flat.

AS: I fancy Broughton with his Flat experience.

KM: Calipto and Guitar Pete have been popular with us. Tiger Roll is overpriced.

Gold Cup

NH: If Silviniaco Conti had fallen a yard to the right last year then Bobs Worth would have been brought down. Nobody knows what would have happened. Eliminate his Betfair Chase run, that didn’t suit him. If he is in contention it will take a very tough horse to beat him. The last week has gone well for him. The last week has also gone well for Triolo D’Alene for whom Aintree is the plan but we would rather run him in the Gold Cup than top weight in a handicap. On his work at home he is getting frightening close to being a Gold Cup horse and good ground will help enormously. I hope they don’t water. Let the good ground horses have their opportunity. I’ll say the ride will stay in house.

PN: Silviniaco Conti is a stronger horse this season. We have trained him for two races this season and he won the first. I don’t think the hill will be a problem. Rocky Creek frustratingly had a sweat rash on Wednesday and I was hoping it would go away but 25% of his body was covered in ringworm last night. We’ll treat it and he’ll be fine for Aintree.

AS: I think Silviniaco Conti is better right-handed (diplomatically no comment from Nicholls) so Bobs Worth to win and Harry Topper each-way.

KM: I would oppose the big two at combined odds-on. If Last Instalment turns up he will be hard to beat.

£500 Charity Bets courtesy of William Hill

NH: Willie Mullins to be Top Trainer! When told 2/5 he switched to ask for a price on Paul Nicholls and myself combined to have more winners than Willie Mullins. Evens was given.

PN: Wonderful Charm (JLT)

AS: Split satykes between Pacha Du Polda each-way (Baylis & Harding) and Salubrious each-way (World Hurdle)

NL: Shutthefrontdoor (NH Chase)
Posts: 77
Joined: February 6th, 2013, 11:22 pm

Re: cheltenham preview evenings 2014

Postby beaker1 » March 10th, 2014, 4:07 pm


this year’s panel for this long-standing event comprised trainer Charlie Longsdon (CL), jockey Ritchie McLernon (RM) attached to Jonjo O’Neill’s stable, paddock judge and Racing Post Weekender columnist Ken Pitterson (KP), Ronan Graham (RG) of Sean Graham Bookmakers and Channel4 broadcaster Richard Hoiles (RH). Stewart Machin acted as the M.C.

Supreme Novices’ Hurdle

CL: A lot revolves around Mullins who has three of the top six in the betting. I don’t know enough about Valseur Lido and Wicklow Brave needs to jump better. You need a stayer and I’m not sure Irving will. Vautour to win and Wilde Blue Yonder each way. I run Germany Calling who will be there coming down the hill.

RM: Irving for me. He was very impressive at Kempton.

KP: I have a doubt whether Irving has the blend of speed and stamina required to get up the hill and all his hurdles wins have been right-handed. I think the Irish horses are a lot stronger. I fancy Wicklow Brave to jump better off a better pace and faster ground. Patrick Mullins told me Ruby will have to ride Vautour as he is owned by Ricci but I prefer Wicklow Brave.

RG: I think Irving will go off favourite as there seems to be a lack of support from the Irish behind him. If Ruby had the choice rather than being told, I think he might have ridden Wicklow Brave. Valseur Lido is the forgotten horse and the best value of the race at 16/1 also for Mullins.

RH: I am told Geraghty will ride Vaniteux and he is one that will be suited to the drying ground. I think Irving will be placed.

Arkle Trophy

CL: I like winning Festival form and Champagne Fever and Rock On Ruby have it. I am nervous about Rock On Ruby’s jumping. Noel Fehily told me last season he might not have the scope to be a chaser. So, Champage Fever then.

RM: I would like to ride Champagne Fever. Dodging Bullets is not good enough and Rock On Ruby is too inexperienced over fences.

KP: I was at Leopardstown when Trifolium won and they were the best novices I have seen this season. I was on a panel with Patrick Mullins and he says Champagne Fever is not quite where they want him. I don’t think Dodging Bullets will truly stay so Valdez to be best of the British.

RG: This could be a small field. I have a big negative feeling about Champagne Fever’s last run but I can see a massive plunge on him. I could even see him starting 7/4 so I will wait late on before going about laying him. If Mullins trained Trifolium, he would be favourite. If you can get 3/1 about Champagne Fever then take it with a view to trading out.

RH: Tactically it will be interesting if Arnaud runs as he is the same colours as Trifolium and is a front runner so could pester Champagne Fever. He could run in the Grand Annual though.

Champion Hurdle

CL: I like winning Festival form and My Tent Or Yours got outbattled last year so prefer the other big three who have all won at the Festival. I am going for The New One. You need to really stay in what will be a truly run gallop and he won the Neptune.

RM: I think Hurricane Fly will win. My Tent Or Yours is best of the British. I thought he would have beaten The New One last time even if The New One didn’t make a mistake.

KP: Our Conor wasn’t fit when he ran at Christmas or in the Irish Champion Hurdle. He looked as big as me in the paddock before that last run and I made a point of walking back next to him after the race and he was blowing the house down. I must need to go to Specsavers if The New One wins as I just don’t see it. I am with Our Conor all the way.

RG: I want to get Our Conor beat. How is he 4/1? He hasn’t won this season and had every chance to beat Hurricane Fly but couldn’t. In another half furlong he would have been beaten five lengths. I fancy Jezki to finish in front of Our Conor and he is twice his price. Jezki was never given an opportunity to win with the ride he got last time. I’ll be taking on Hurricane Fly again as he is favourite. Jezki is a smashing bet at the prices.

RH: I walked away from Cheltenham last year thinking the novices were good whereas I thought Hurricane Fly benefited from how fast they went too early in last year’s Champion Hurdle. I will be amazed if Hurricane Fly wins on drying ground and also poorer if he does. I am a My Tent Or Yours fan and think he will travel like the winner but leave an Even money lay in-running in there. I will be place laying Hurricane Fly and I gather he won’t wear earplugs this time.

Tuesday Shoulder Races

CL: I hope JP McManus runs Cause Of Causes in the 3m handicap or Kim Muir as I want McCoy to ride Pendra in the Rewards4Racing Handicap Chase for me. I have three in the race at present, whether they all run I don’t know. Up For Something will run and I am trying to persuade the owner of Grandads Horse to run at Newbury in an easier £30K handicap. I will be told where Pendra runs tomorrow. He could be well handicapped but, equally, there could be ten better handicapped ones. Attaglance is an interesting rival as is Present View but Pendra will love decent ground and the step up to 2m4f. I hope Quevega wins. Boringly I will go for Foxrock in the four-miler.

RM: Most of our handicap chasers are doubly entered so you will find out at the same time I do! It has to be Quevega but Glens Melody is tough and hardy and can run into a place. I have nothing to do with Shutthefrontdoor (NH Chase) but he is a grand horse and impressed me when he made his chase debut at Aintree. Attaglance has the Festival form so can go well in the novice handicap.

KP: Cause Of Causes and Hunt Ball make some appeal in the 3m handicap chase if they run. Patrick Mullins says Quevega is ten days ahead of where she was last year. Foxrock has only been running on soft ground so that is a concern. I like Shutthefrontdoor and Midnight Prayer at a big price in the NH Chase. Manyriverstocross is interesting in the novice handicap but no strong opinions.

RG: Hadrians Approach could go off favourite for the 3m handicap chase but I quite like Restless Harry at a big price who ran well in the Argento and has won since. Quevega has cost us a fortune each year and we’ll go after her again. I hear Mullins is keen on Glens Melody running very well and she could be a good each-way bet, especially without the favourite. In the NH Chase, Foxrock has been mapped out and you have to respect his third to Carlingford Lough and Morning Assembly. In the novice handicap I think Pendra will go off favourite. Good value is Art Of Logistics for Dessie Hughes who was fourth in the Grade 1 Drinmore and he didn’t handle bad ground next time.

RH: I know Gordon Elliott hopes JP McManus will run Cause Of Causes in the Kim Muir and not the 3m handicap on Tuesday. If Serene D’Ainay got a half competent ride last year she would have beaten Quevega and they will have a new jockey this time in David Cottin as her rider had a bad fall today. I want to try and take Quevega on. If the blinkers go back on Holywell replacing cheekpieces and he runs in the NH Chase he is interesting as his stablemate, Shutthefrontdoor. Attaglance is 8lb lower over fences so is potentially well treated on spring ground in the novice handicap chase. Ohio Gold was placed in this race last year and maidens have a pretty good record in the race so he is interesting each-way.

Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle

CL: I run Killala Quay who won a Grade 2 at Sandown and he was sick after Warwick. I thought he should be around a 16/1 shot. He could be third or fourth.

RM: Red Sherlock was very good last time and he will make a terrific chaser. I know the Mullins team really like Faugheen though so it is him for me.

KP: Faugheen has impressed me most. I like Red Sherlock and like the way be battled to beat Rathvinden but he is not Mullins’ best novice. I am not really with Royal Boy.

RG: If the Irish have a good first day they will pile into Faugheen. Red Sherlock beat Rathvinden fair and square and the latter is only 7/1 now which looks short for me. Red Sherlock is a knocking each-way bet at 5/1.

RH: Ballyalton is the one I like and appeals quite a lot at 16/1 as the drying ground is in his favour and especially if McCoy rides and McManus doesn’t appear to have an obvious one if Captain Cutter goes for the Albert Bartlett so there is a good chance he will. Willie Mullins’ novices have been beating up not a lot at long odds-on in Ireland which I am not sure is the right profile ahead of the Festival if we are talking about a short priced favourite like Faugheen.

RSA Chase

CL: They will go a mad gallop and that will suit Smad Place who stays well, has Cheltenham Festival form and jumps well.

RM: I will go for Ballycasey. He is by Presenting and the ground is drying up for him. I would rather he fell in a school than in a race.

KP: Smad Place won with plenty in hand last time and was a quality stayer over hurdles and I like him most. I think Morning Assembly is better right-handed and Ballycasey is not certain to stay. Whatever you back make sure it stays as there are plenty of front runners.

RG: I don’t like Ballycasey who is inexperienced and beaten small fields. I have a strong opinion that Carlingford Lough will go close. All he does is stay, like when he won the Galway Plate, and he will do that again at Cheltenham. He will shorten in the betting. At 14/1 Don Cossack is massively overpriced.

RH: Out in front is a good place to be in the RSA so I do like Corrin Wood as a jumper but I am a bit worried he won’t be able to get away from them on fast ground.

Queen Mother Champion Chase

CL: Sire De Grugy is very opposable at the price. I am a fan of Hinterland and think this is a shrewd move from Nicholls to run him. He is a big price at 12/1 considering Sire De Grugy is 9/4 and he ran a faster time than the favourite at Sandown.

RM: Sizing Europe each-way and any more drying in the ground will aid his chance.

KP: I am convinced that although Sire De Grugy does win left-handed, he is much better the other way round. Sizing Europe each-way would be my selection.

RG: Every single bookmaker will want to be against Sire De Grugy and he will be hard to lay. I might have to go to 3/1 to get him on the day. Captain Conan beat him last season at the course. I think Somersby can go well. He was only 11/4 to beat Sire De Grugy last time when he fell early and is 16/1 here and he won the Haldon Gold Cup earlier in the season.

RH: The way the weather has changed is not falling right for Sire De Grugy. He hits the ground hard and soft ground suits him very well, though that’s not to say he won’t handle good ground. He breaks out in sweat in the paddock and could be in a muck sweat if it is warm. Captain Conan for me, quite decisively. The reason the Tingle Creek was a slower time than Hinterland was because Captain Conan went off too quick. I think Captain Conan will start favourite.

Wednesday Shoulder Races

CL: I run Magnifique Etoile in the Coral Cup but he went up too much for winning last time. He might be more interesting at Aintree off a likely lower handicap mark. I worry about the ground for Cadoudoff in the Fred Winter but I fancy our bumper horse more called Our Kaempfer. He is a brother to Clondaw Kaempfer and he has been laid out for this and has improved a stone since third to Red Sherlock in bumper over this course in November. I won’t be surprised if he hits the frame and think he is the best of the British.

RM: Goodwood Mirage is a grand horse and a fast run race in the Fred Winter will really suit him, he takes a good grip at home.

KP: Shaneshill is the best of the Mullins bumper horses according to those in the yard but Patrick Mullins will have to ride Black Hercules.

RH: Edgardo Sol is a huge price for the Coral Cup with the ground drying out. He runs despite the fact Far West also runs for the same owner. I also like Katgary for Nicholls in the Fred Winter. He wanted to know if he would get in so entered him for Newbury two weeks ago to find out what handicap mark he would have as he hasn’t run since coming over from France.

JLT Novices’ Chase

CL: I think Oscar Whisky must have a good chance, he was the best of these over hurdles and jumps well enough. I think he is Henderson’s best chance of the meeting. Wonderful Charm will like the ground but Taquin Du Seuil won’t.

RM: Taquin Du Seuil has plenty of speed but soft ground would help him out, not that he won’t go on decent ground. It is a bit late in his career to send Oscar Whisky chasing. The Irish will be hard to beat with Felix Yonger looking the best of them.

KP: Oscar Whisky has looked fitter each time I have seen him but I don’t think he will be make as a good a chaser as hurdler. The horse I don’t like is Vukovar. He went through the top of every single fence at Newbury and will be on the floor if he does that here. I like Sizing Gold most.

RG: I am very strong on Felix Yonger and think the only reason he is running here is because Ruby wants to ride him or otherwise he would be in the Arkle. He was second in the Neptune and needs good ground. I can see him shorten up considerably. Look at the race where he beat Trifolium on good ground, he was electric. He is one of the best bets of the week

RH: Nothing makes any great appeal whatsoever.

Ryanair Chase

CL: If First Lieutenant runs here he will run a great race but I prefer Benefficient and Al Ferof with the Irish horse favoured. All three have run at the Festival before.

RM: Al Ferof tanks through his races so this could be his trip. I am siding with Benefficient though.

KP: I like Beneffiicent to win and Hidden Cyclone each way. I have been given slight negatives about Dynaste coming into the Festival. Al Ferof was out on his legs three out on bad ground last time so there is a big question mark about him.

RG: I think Benefficient needs the rain and his defeat of Dynaste last year looks the key form. Dynaste would be around 7/4 if he didn’t run in the King George.

TG: With the ground drying out surely Module has to run here rather than the Champion Chase and he has an each-way chance.

World Hurdle

CL: The Nicholls horses are likely to run the race to get Annie Power beaten but I’ll stick with the mare with her 7lb allowance.

RM: They say Annie Pwer is the best mare since Dawn Run and they also have Quevega so she’s the one. I think More Of That will stay.

KP: Forget At Fishers Cross’s first two runs as his jumping was awful but I hear his back problem is much better and he will jump better on faster ground. Big Buck’s looked pretty fat before the Cleeve but there was something still about his performance that didn’t sit right with me. Can Annie Power be brilliant at 2m, 2m4f and 3m? She will be some horse if she can.

RG: I think Annie Power is something special and much prefer her to Big Buck’s but we’ll be standing the big two on the day at around 4/7 and hope for a result. The horse I like is Rule The World as an each-way alternative.

RH: I fancy Big Buck’s at the prices. He chased too fast a pace in the Cleeve. Annie Power is clearly the fly in the ointment but I have strong views the Aintree Hurdle was the race for her.

Byrne Group Plate (as Ritchie McLernon was on the panel)

CL: I hope Pendra won’t run in the Plate and on Tuesday instead. I would be a fan of Johns Spirit.

RM: Johns Spirit won the Paddy Power Gold Cup and at October and loves Cheltenham and has been freshened up for the Plate. He is very versatile regards ground and he wasn’t tiring at the end of the Paddy Power as picked up again when Colour Squadron was closing on him.

KP: Double Ross if he runs.

RG: We laid Tap Night and Colour Squadron in the Plate as they are not value and both owned by J P McManus.

RH: The Byrne Group Plate is a race Jonjo really wants to win for Patsy Byrne (died last autumn) so you can be sure he will have trained Johns Spirit to win this race.

Triumph Hurdle

CL: I am a Calipto fan. The Irish form looks weak, Le Rocher wants softer ground and I hear Royal Irish Hussar hasn’t been working well and Barry Geraghty might ride Kentucky Hyden. Rutherglen is the each-ay horse of the race.

RM: Royal Irish Hussar impressed me early season and the ground is coming right for him. I didn’t think Calipto beat much last time out.

KP: Calipto is by far the best of the British I have seen. He is a fluent jumper and has a good cruising speed. I’m pretty strong on him and like Pearl Castle each-way.

RG: I can see Calipto starting at 5/2 and be the English banker of the week. Le Rocher will be hard to lay on the day. Broughton is fancied but John Ferguson is 0-22 at Cheltenham.

RH: Nicholls put Calipto up as his horse to watch out for this season at a preview in the autumn. I see no reason to desert him and his form is working out well. I think part of the reason Activial is dodging the race is that they don’t think he can reverse Newbury form with him.

Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle

CL: Briar Hill looks the Irish banker of the week. Kings Palace has been impressive at the course but Briar Hill has done it at the Festival.

RM: They didn’t think Briar Hill would win the bumper but he did and they haven’t got to the bottom of him yet.

KP: I wouldn’t lay Briar Hill but I am keen on Kings Palace who has matured and is a fine looking horse and I love the way he jumps. I respect Captain Cutter, the key to him is going left-handed.

RG: Do you want to take 2/1 about Briar Hill having won a two-horse and three-horse race this season in very workmanlike fashion? He is one of the lays of the meeting. If you fancy Kings Palace then you have to fancy Captain Cutter at a bigger price having beaten him in a bumper. I think Kings Palace may have the pace to steal a march on Briar Hill.

RH: I like the top of the market. Briar Hill hasn’t been seen to best effect in muddling races. This can come down to jockeyship and I am not sure Scudamore will get the fractions right like on other occasions at this meeting on front runners and Kings Palace will be asked to set the pace. The score at the Festival is Walsh 38-2 Scudamore.

Gold Cup

CL: You can’t get away from the fact Bobs Worth is 3-3 at the Festival. Was the Lexus that great a race though and it is hard to win back to back Gold Cups. The Giant Bolster can pick up a place again and I also like First Lieutenant if he runs.

RM: I would ride Bobs Worth if given the choice.

KP: It has to be Bobs Worth. He looked pretty straight to me at Haydock but didn’t travel but bounced back in the Lexus. I don’t fancy Silviniaco Conti as Cue Card just stopped at Kempton.

RG: I think we will get a result this year. Last year’s win may have taken some of the shine off Bobs Worth. He beat a bunch of horses all going to last in the Lexus including Foil Dubh who was there two out and only beaten ten lengths. I think Silviniaco Conti is better on flat tracks. If you fancy Bobs Worth then First Lieutenant is value at 14/1 if he runs. Teaforthree is value at 50/1. He won’t be that if McCoy runs. Lord Windermere hasn’t had his ground in Ireland and will enjoy Cheltenham and is also overpriced.

RH: I am usually against last year’s winner in the Gold Cup as it takes plenty out of a horse but one thing that tempers that this year is there are virtually no second-season chasers. The Giant Bolster can make the frame but the most interesting one is if First Lieutenant replaces Last Instalment. The drying ground and Mouse Morris’ Festival record being the key reasons.


CL: Briar Hill (Albert Bartlett)

RM: AP McCoy (Top Jockey)

KP: Calipto (Triumph)

RG: Felix Yonger (JLT)

RH: Claret Cloak (Grand Annual)

SM: Champagne Fever (Arkle)
Posts: 77
Joined: February 6th, 2013, 11:22 pm

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