my thoughts and bets, cheltenham festival 2015, day 2

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my thoughts and bets, cheltenham festival 2015, day 2

Postby beaker1 » March 11th, 2015, 9:19 am

Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle

Ten head to post with all the leading fancies standing their ground. Twelve of the last 17 winners had won a pattern race over hurdles and half the field have managed that. The quintet that have not are Anteros who was a well beaten second in a weak Grade 2 here in December, Beast Of Burden who has impressed at Ffos Las and Bangor on his last two starts, Snow Falcon who won a maiden hurdle at Navan last time out, Warrantor who was disappointing on his last start when second off joint-favourite for the Lanzarote Hurdle and Windsor Park who was second to Nichols Canyon in the Grade 1 Deloitte Hurdle. Just two of the last 29 winners started outside the first five in the betting and it is likely only Windsor Park of those mentioned above will start in one of those coveted positions. Anteros and Warrantor finished out of the first two last time out which is a big negative with only one of the last 31 Neptune winners doing likewise.

With regards to the Deloitte, that has been the best Irish guide to the novice hurdles at the Festival and Danoli and Istrabraq both won it en route to winning the Neptune which is a positive for Nichols Canyon who also won the Grade 1 Royal Bond. However, Windsor Park’s supporters should not give up hope as Hardy Eustace won this race after he was second in the Deloitte and he shapes like the step back up in trip will be his favour. Both Nichols Canyon and Windsor Park are classy horses from the Flat, as is Parlour Games, and although NH-breds have much the best record in the Neptune, Istabraq, Galileo and No Refuge all came from the Flat and they are usually heavily outnumbered. With regards to Parlour Games, who won the Melrose Handicap at the Ebor Meeting, he won the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle at Newbury and is the leading British hope but all 14 winners of that race to run here have been beaten though six were placed. That said, most Challow winners on heavy ground get found out on a faster surface here but Parlour Games should relish this faster ground given his Flat profile.

A better trial has been the Classic Novices’ Hurdle won by Ordo Ab Chao though, surprisingly, it is placed horses in that race that have gone on to win the Neptune. Four of the last five started their career in an Irish point-to-point so Ordo Ab Chao picks up another tick there (though he fell on both occasions) as did Outlander who was 0-3 in that sphere. Outlander gives Willie Mullins a second major player in addition to Nichols Canyon having won a very good Grade 2 race last time out at Leopardstown that has been a fair Albert Bartlett guide but this shorter distance looks his trip. Not only was Faugheen giving the Irish their seventeenth win since 1971 last season but, more pertinently, their fifth success in the last nine years and he also provided Willie Mullins with this third Neptune victory. A point worth taking on board with regards the non-Mullins Irish challenge is that winning Leopardstown form is a pre-requisite as their ten winners between 1975-2006 had all won at Ireland’s premier jumping course as did their most recent non-Mullins winner, First Lieutenant.

Simonsig ended Nicky Henderson’s dreadful record in this race three years ago and Seven Barrows are represented this season by the Sandown Grade 2 winner and Challow Hurdle runner-up, Vyta Du Roc. The original plan was the Albert Bartlett but the stable already have two others for that and nothing for the Neptune after Kilcrea Vale was scratched so is he running here to spread their team?

Short List

Outlander

Ordo Ab Chao

Nichols Canyon

Conclusion

The shortlist picks itself with the top five in the betting dominating down the years and, of those, Windsor Park has not won a pattern race over hurdles and the record of the Challow winner is poor so Parlour Games also misses out. OUTLANDER and NICHOLS CANYON both represent Willie Mullins who has an excellent Neptune record and both won high-quality pattern races at Leopardstown last time so it is hard to choose between them. As Outlander is NH-bred and a bigger price he would be a marginal preference with this faster ground also expect to suit him whereas Nichols Canyon’s actions suggests he might prefer it softer. ORDO AB CHAO won Britain’s best guide to the Festival novice hurdles and came from the pointing field so he rates the best each-way value in the race.



RSA Chase


There is every chance that at least one strong negative trend will be overcome here as the leading fancies don’t have the right profile but are strong on pure form grounds. Take the Willie Mullins-trained Don Poli for example whose victory over Apache Stronghold in the Grade 1 Topaz Chase was franked when the runner-up then won the Grade 1 Flogas Chase but he has not run since Christmas unlike the last 51 years, he has only run twice over fences whereas the last 15 winners had run three times or more and just two six-year-old have won since 1978. By the same token, the Neil Mulholland-trained The Young Master is also a six-year-old and has also not run this side of Christmas having won a handicap at Ascot in December on his last start. Mullins is the man for the RSA though with three winners, two seconds and four others bang in contention until falling late on.

The stat that Kings Palace has to overcome is that we have to go back 13 years to find the last winner to have started their career over fences over the RSA trip of around three miles. In his favour is that he contested (though ran below expectations) in the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle last season like 4 of the last 5 RSA winners (may have all been all 5 if Boston Bob didn’t fall at the final fence when leading). He is also a seven-year-old as were the last eight winners. The only other seven-year-old likely to start at a single-figure price is last season’s Pertemps Final runner-up, Southfield Theatre, but he spent more than one season over hurdles unlike 19 of the previous 22 RSA winners. He does represent Paul Nicholls though who has bagged two RSA Chases. What a mess and something has to give. At least Coneygree isn’t running or he would have a great chance of being a first ever Kauto Star Novices’ Chase winner to win the RSA. He waits for the Gold Cup in a bold move. Other contenders not being sent over fences after one season of hurdling are the Sky Bet Chase winner, If In Doubt, who will need to jump a lot better than he did on the first circuit at Doncaster and The Young Master so that’s a third big negative stat he has to overcome and a fourth is that he started life on the Flat and no ex-Flat horse has placed for 20 years.

The last 12 winners had finished first or second in a Grade 1 or Grade 2 chase which is something that only the Gigginstown-owned pair of Don Poli and Wounded Warrior have achieved. The NH Chase was the plan for Wounded Warrior until 24 hours ago and this move to the RSA looks like being because Noel Meade now has the favourite for the four-miler in the NH Chase and owner/trainer wanted to keep them apart.

If last year’s Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle third Apache Jack can win, he will be first horse to do so in the last 29 years having failed to finish in the first three last time out. I cannot recall a maiden over fences winning the RSA in my time following racing either. Of those, 25 finished first or second which is against Adriana Des Mottes who was third in the Flogas Chase, but that has been the best guide featuring four of the last six winners. She is only five and receives just a 2lb age allowance (but a 7lb mares’ allowance on top) whereas Star De Mohaison was getting 10lb when he won at the same age.


Short List

Wounded Warrior

The Ould Lad

(Kings Palace)



Conclusion

None of the leading fancies fit the bill ideally. WOUNDED WARRIOR does not to fail any of the negative statistics so he makes the short list and many a Gigginstown second string has beaten its shorter-priced rival in Ireland this season. THE OULD LAD also passes all the negative trends so he could be the real each-way value of the race for the Tom George yard who supplied the 25/1 runner-up in the Arkle. He has it to find on pure form grounds but big-priced horses placing in the RSA with a stamina profile are not unfamiliar. KINGS PALACE only fails on not starting his chasing career over a shorter trip and he contested the Albert Bartlett last season which has supplied four of the last five winners so he gets the final slot. Don Poli and The Young Master have three and four negative stats respectively overcome.




Coral Cup


The field size has been reduced from 28 to 26 so that makes it much easier to find the winner! The last two winners were the classiest two winners in the race’s history breaking previous official ratings stats so I couldn’t put you off Volnay De Thaix off top weight doing likewise. To be frank, it is not a handicap that trends-based punters have been able to seriously get their teeth into as it has never been overburdened with strong patterns but anyone backing second-season hurdlers that won last time out would have collected on five occasions in the last 12 years. Qualifiers on that combination statistic this time are Zabana, Baradari, Ttebbob and the likely favourite, Aux Ptits Soins, who has not run since September 11th since he came from France as Nicholls wanted to protect his handicap mark of 139 for this race. He has been working well with Grade 1 horses at home. Baradari was fifth in last season’s Fred Winter and represents Venetia Williams who won this race ten years ago with Idole First. He improved for the step up to this kind of trip when successful at Sandown last time out. Eleven of the 21 Coral Cup winners arrived here off the back of a last-time-out success which is some going from approximately 20% representation.


Zabana and Ttebbob are both Irish-trained like seven of the 21 winners which is an excellent strike rate and other Irish hopes are Blackmail in a first-time hood and Marinero for Tony Martin, Un Atout and Daneking for Willie Mullins, Plinth for Aidan O’Brien who has been pace making for Jezki, Taglietelle for Gordon Elliott who win this race with Carlito Brigante, and the former Triumph Hurdle runner, Hisaabaat, for Dermot Weld.

Horses aged 10+ are 2-26 to place from 1999 so the four-timer chasing Shammick Boy is not for me. Only five of the 21 winners had not won at some point earlier in the campaign and the relevance of that statistic is that, on average, between half and two-thirds of the field will enter the Coral Cup without a victory to their name earlier in the season. Non winners this season are Lac Fontana, Blackmail, Activial, Clondaw Kaempfer, Un Atout, Rolling Star, Lyvius, Dell ‘Arca, Hammersley Lake, Hisaabaat, Mijhaar, Daneking and Barizan.

The last six winners had raced no more than four times earlier in the season so that is nor ideal for Bear’s Affair, Dell Arca, Plinth, Shammick Boy, Tagliettele, Mijhaar, Barinero and Barizan.

Short List

Baradari

Aux Ptits Soins

Ttebbob

Zabana

Un Atout


Conclusion

As five of the last 12 winners won last time out and were second-season hurdlers, I see no reason not to include all four of Baradari, Aux Ptits Soins, Ttebbob and Zabana as they don’t fail any negative stats. AUX PTIT SOINS is the one with the sexy profile and for that reason he will be well fancied but he could also be a class above these judging by who he is working with at Paul Nicholls’ yard. Horses with a freshness angle have done well in this race and he has not run since September to protect his handicap mark. BARADARI is tough and just the sort to revel in a race like this and ran well at last season’s Festival so he makes plenty of each-way appeal. ZABANA won easily over 2m last time but stays 3m so this 2m5f trip can suit him ideally and he appeals most of the Irish. TTEBBOB is not to be underestimated though having bounced back to win at Clonmel after not staying 3m on his previous start. UN ATOUT would be my fly in the ointment horse. He is well handicapped strictly on his fourth in ther Supreme two years ago behind Champagne Fever, My Tent Or Yours and Jezki no less but missed last season through injury and is now back to hurdling after failing to won on his first two chase starts.



Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase


This year’s renewal is not unlike an episode of Casualty with Sprinter Sacre recovering from a heart fibrillation, Sire De Grugy missed the bulk of the season so far down to muscle problems, Dodging Bullets has been transformed partly by a wind operation and Mr Mole’s improvement from the psychiatric ward has been nothing short of dramatic. Sprinter Sacre will be attempting to become the third horse to regain his crown after losing it but, surprisingly, the record of the defending Champion Chaser of late has been very poor with just one winning from the last 12 to try and ten of those started favourite or second-favourite, so that is a statistic that Sire De Grugy has to overcome.

The best guide by a country mile has been the Tingle Creek in which Dodging Bullets beat Somersby. Ten of the last 14 winners ran in the Tingle Creek. Dodging Bullets then won the Clarence House Chase that has been contested by the last three Champion Chase winners with two winning so he has certainly been running in the right races this season. Maybe this is just a small point but it is worth mentioning that the last five winners to be aged seven or younger were all French-breds which is not an ideal statistic for the British-bred Dodging Bullets. At the other end of the age scale, given that it took an all-time two-mile chasing great in Moscow Flyer to become the only winner aged over ten since 1977 it is hard to make a case for the former winner and dual runner-up Sizing Europe (13) or last season’s second Somersby (11).

Dodging Bullets has improved plenty since finishing fourth in last year’s Arkle which has been a cracking guide. For example, the last 14 Arkle winners to run here all placed. Last year’s winner is on the sidelines but the narrow runner-up Champagne Fever has a great record when he is dropped back to 2m and has a Cheltenham Festival pedigree second to none at this year’s meeting having also won the Bumper and Supreme. Nineteen of the last 30 winners have won at the Festival so he meets that criterion as do Sprinter Sacre, Sire De Grugy, Sizing Europe and Savello. The Irish have won five of the last 12 runnings and Champagne Fever is the chief hope ahead of Special Tiara, Sizing Europe and Savello.

With 32 of the last 33 winners sent off at a SP of no bigger than 11/1 (and 13 of the last 15 could be found at no bigger than 5/1), this is not the race to go in search of that elusive big-priced winner so last year’s Grand Annual winner Savello is likely to struggle though that handicap hasn’t been a bad guide at all with Pearlyman, Katabatic and Edredon Bleu having won it before winning a Champion Chase and Fota Island finishing second. His fellow Irish raider, Special Tiara, is also likely to fall outside of the price bracket but he did win the Desert Orchid Chase like three of the last eight winners. Only sixth last year after early mistakes, the faster the ground the better or this front runner. Clarcam is a likely non runner.

Of the leading fancies Mr Mole is the only non Grade 1 winner and only one of the last 13 winners had failed to win at the highest level. Simply Ned and Savello have also yet to win at the highest level. Simply Ned is also likely to fall outside of this SP bracket and has it to do on placed efforts in last season’s Maghull (which has been a good guide), the Sholer Chase (where he had Dodging Bullets one place back before his improvement) and the Grade 1 in Ireland over Christmas. Mr Mole did win a graded chase last time out like 9 of the last 12 winners when winning a very strange Game Spirit Chase last time out so Sprinter Sacre also fails on this stat. So does Sire De Grugy who won a handicap instead but at least he won so hard to call that a negative in his case.

Short List

Champagne Fever

Dodging Bullets

(Sire De Grugy)

Conclusion


CHAMPAGNE FEVER has a lot in his favour being an Irish-trained horse with Festival form figures of 112 who excels when he drops back down to 2m. Two Arkle runner-ups have won the following season so it’s not all about the winner of last season’s novice championship in that respect and four horses since 1989 who failed to stay in the King George then successfully dropped back in trip to win the Champion Chase from not all that many to try. The only slight negative for DODGING BULLETS is that when a seven-year-old has won, it has tended to be a French-bred of late but, other than that, he has won the best two guides of the current season and his trainer has a strong win-and-place record in the race. Not having won a Grade 1 race is the major sticking point for his stable mate, Mr Mole, and Sprinter Sacre did not win last time out so he can’t make a trends-based short list. The record of defending title holder is not good of late but SIRE DE GRUGY completes the short list having won last time out (albeit not in a graded race) and being assured of starting at no bigger than 11/1 which is a big stat that rules out everything else in the race.




Glenfarclas Cross County Handicap Chase


A poor renewal. Let’s start with some negative stats and only 2 of the 88 horses aged under eight to run over these obstacles since cross country racing came to all meetings at Cheltenham have won and they were seven-year-olds so let’s say goodbye to Nuage D’Ainay, Dogora and Master Rajeem who are only aged six. Cross Country debutants have won just one of the last 33 races over these obstacles so I also can’t be backing Rivage D’Or, Charingworth, Rose Of The Moon or Are Ya Right Chief. That’s almost half of the field cut very quickly.

It would not be absolutely correct to say that if it was not for the Philip Hobbs’ dual winner, Balthazar King, then the Irish would have had a clean sweep of all ten runnings as it was the Martin Keighley-trained Any Currency who he mastered only in the final stride last season. It is not just that particular first 1-2 for the Brits in this race that has got me thinking whether last year’s result may be the beginning of the end of the Irish domination of this race as British-trained horses have now won the last five races run over Cheltenham’s cross-country course. Compare that against their record in the first seven years of this race where they were 0-56 when they could manage only a meagre five of the place positions and three of those were achieved in the inaugural running in 2005.

So, for the home defence to have won the last five races over this course over all meetings is one heck of a turnaround. The Irish only entered ten horses this year compared to 20 last year and they are represented by only Quantitativeeasing, Rivage D’Or, Chicago Grey and the Willie Mullins-trained trio of Uncle Junior (wants soft ground or gets lapped), Dogora (aged just six) and Are Ya Right Chief (a cross country debutant). Quantitativeeasing is trained by banks kings Enda Bolger who has won just shy of one-third of all cross-country races staged at Cheltenham (15 of 44) and also trained either the winner or runner-up in this race on seven occasions but, significantly, he has not trained a winner of any of the last 14 races run over this cross-country course. Quantitativeeasing finished second here in December behind Any Currency and that has been a better guide than the race here in November where Uncle Junior, Sire Collonges and Any Currency filled the places behind Balthazar King. Of the 44 races to have been run over this course, 28 winners had won or finished placed over these obstacles before. Three winners contested last season’s renewal with varying degrees of success. Duke Of Lucca was sent off favourite for the December race but exited the race just after half-way and represents Hobbs instead of Balthazar Ling who waits for the Grand National. Hobbs has also won a race over this course with Lacdoudal so knows what it takes.

The P.P. Hogan Memorial Chase has thrown up three 1-2s at the Festival and four winners in total from its nine runnings so is a good guide but the 1-2-3 are missing and Quantitativeeasing (4th) and Ipsos Du Berlais (5th) represent the race this time. The La Touche Cup is one of the most iconic races run in Ireland and has been the domain of Enda Bolger winning 12 of the last 17 runnings but, maybe significantly, not the last four. Two of the last five winners of the Cheltenham Festival Cross Country Handicap had finished fourth in Ireland’s most prestigious banks race the previous spring which looked a below-average renewal last year beforehand run on good-to-firm ground. That view was confirmed when Jacks Island sprung a 25/1 shock and ended his 32-race losing streak into the bargain with Uncle Junior a never-nearer third. Quantitativeeasing was nowhere to be sighted with a mile to race before staying on so a similar run to his second at Cheltenham in December and Duke Of Lucca was sent off 9/4 favourite but made a bad error seven out.

Following Big Shu’s third place last season, it has now been eight years since the favourite won and Any Currency currently holds that position but the French-trained Toutancarmont could press him for that position having won 12 of his 24 chase starts.

last year I made reference to Philip Hobbs considering swerving this race with Balthazar King with his argument at the time being that he was concerned that his handicap mark of 150 would be too high to overcome. In the end the right decision was made and the rest is history. Weight will ultimately stop trains so they say, but weight does not make as big a difference over this course compared to park fences as horses are constantly being allowed to fill up their lungs with all the twists and turns. Hey Big Spender is top weight this season but he bombed in this race last year.


Short List

Any Currency

Quantitativeeasing

Sire Collonges

Conclusion

Having won the best guide back in December and narrowly beaten in this race last year ANY CURRENCY has to appear on the shortlist and a 9lb raise for his defeat of QUANTITATIVEEASING is not unduly harsh. The runner-up has been running in all the right races and is trained by the right man so he also makes the short list but don’t be surprised if he is some way off the pace before staying on strongly and possibly too late judged on his December handicap and La Touche Cup runs. As Toutancarmont doesn’t have any course form the final slot goes to SIRE COLLONGES who has won at the course before and ran a good third at The Open Meeting splitting Uncle Junior and Any Currency for the places behind Balthazar King. He may well have bypassed the December handicap to protect his handicap mark for this.



Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle


Not too many negative trends but plenty of positive ones, too many that I won’t got through them all but want horses who fit most on the short list. The main negative trend is that no winner failed to win in February or March so that would knock out Golden Doyen, Dai Bando, The Wallace Line, Buiseness Sivola (Mullins is 0-9 to place), Unanimite, Verawal, Baron Alco and Beataround The Bush. If you are exceptionally harsh then you would also include the Jonjo O’Neill–trained pair of The Saint James (wears a first-time hood) and Box Office plus Souriyan and the likely favourite, Hostile Fire, but they ran right at the end of January so cannot be accused of not having a prep run. In a complete turnaround, the last three winners had all won on their hurdling debut whereas the first seven failed to win on either of their first two starts over timber. Souriyan is an Aga Khan-bred which is an angle I like for juvenile hurdlers at the Festival and he bred the first two Fred Winter winners and also supplied the runner-up in 2008 and 2011 and another placed horse.

I like the angle that seven of the ten winners had run the bare minimum of three times over hurdles in order to qualify as they have won seven of the ten runnings. This is hardly a coincidence of course and therefore my favoured main angle into the race. Less runs equals fewer opportunities for the Handicapper to obtain a true reflection of a horse’s ability which equals greater probability of underestimation of their capabalities. Qualifiers this season are Arabian Revolution (wears first time blinkers), All Yours, Buiseness Sivola, Unanimite, Souriyan, Zarib, Mr Gallivanter and Hostile Fire. The latter-named runs for the same-owner combination that won with Flaxen Flare two years ago.

Paul Nicholls can count himself unlucky that he didn’t bag a second Fred Winter last season when his Katgary lost more ground in the melee at the penultimate flight than the ¾l margin he was beaten on his British debut. For the second year, running Nicholls supplied two of the placed horses and he has fared very well with his French-breds in this race including winning it with Sanctuaire. The same owner-trainer combination are double handed this year with All Yours and Bouvreuil (first time tongue-tie) who are also French breds. French imports have won five of the ten runnings from approximately one-third representation so they are over-performing. In fact, 17 of the last 28 win-and-placed horses were French-bred.

David Pipe has also fared very well with his French imports winning with Gaspara and saddling two seconds and two more placed horses in a six-year span from 2007 onwards from his 11 runners and he runs Unanimite.
It is level pegging at 5-5 between horses successful and beaten on their last start but the record of last-time-out winners can be marked up as their quintet of victories has been achieved from a significantly lower proportion of runners.


Short List

All Yours

Hostile Fire

Souriyan

Arabian Revolution

Bouvreuil

Conclusion


ALL YOURS had a similar profile to Sanctuaire before the Adonis being a French import for the same owner-trainer combination having also won at Taunton and he enters this race off the back of three runs like that easy winner in 2010. HOSTILE FIRE’s owner and trainer have also won this race before and he enters this race off the back of three hurdles runs which is my main ‘in’ into the race so he also makes the shortlist. I do like an Aga Khan-bred for this race and SOURIYAN also has run three times so he is worthy of each-way respect as is ARABIAN REVOLUTION who switches from the Fred Winter and the first-time blinkers angle catches the eye. BOUVREUIL also represents Nicholls who has a cracking record in this race with French-breds and races in the same ownership as All Yours.



Weatherbys Champion Bumper


Business as usual for the Irish with Silver Concorde giving them a ninth win in the last 11 years last season but the highest rated horse on official figures this year is the David Pipe-trained Moon Racer and three of the last 12 winners were top rated. It is tight at the top with Bordini just 1lb back and Ghost River and Pylonthepressure 2lb back.

Bordini and Pylonthepressure are two of Willie Mullins’ seven contenders as he goes in search of his ninth win in this race. His others are Au Quart De Tour, Bellshill, Livelovelaugh, Stone Hard and Up For Review. Of those, Bellshill and Up For Review were beaten into second last time out, albeit by high quality horses, so they would get the chop for a trends based short list as 20 of this race’s 22 winners won on their most recent start.

Two quite interesting points about Willie Mullins’ eight previous winners; (1) on four occasions when he won the race he saddled just one runner and (2) on three of the other four occasions when he was successful when represented by more than one contender, it was one of his second or third strings according to the betting that emerged on top. Of those eight Mullins-trained winners, six had won their only bumper start and the significant part about that is that only Cue Card in the history of the race has done likewise so that is against Wait For Me.

Other horses overlooked for being beaten last time out Always Lion, Modus, who has not run since he was eighth in this race last year and wears a first-time hood, Neatly Put, O O Seven, Theo’s Charm, Yanworth and Montana Belle.

It is interesting that Gigginstown House Stud, whose policy has been not to send over any of their army of bumper horses, send over two in Stone Hard and General Principle and the owner’s retained rider, Bryan Cooper, is on the latter for Gordon Elliott who also runs Jetstream Jack. The overall record of the Irish remains immensely strong having won all but five of the 22 runnings from just over 33% of the total runners. Somewhat quirkily, on the five occasions when the Brits have been successful, they also provided the runner-up and even a 1-2-3-4-5-6 in 2003. The British cause wasn’t helped this season when the impressive Ascot winner, Supasundae, was bought out of Andrew Balding’s stable and sent to Henry de Bromhead.

No one race stands out as an obvious guide but respect bumper form at the prestigious four-day Leopardstown Christmas Meeting where the best horses in Ireland come out to play and it has featured six Weatherbys Champion Bumper winners. Up For Review impressed winning the bumper restricted to horses aged between four and six but he has been beaten since. The all-aged bumper at the same meeting looked the classiest of the four races beforehand and was won by the Dermot Weld-trained Vigil who had the form having finished fifth in last season’s Champion Bumper. The winner took his time to master Bellshill but, whereas the trainer of the runner-up had stated that he had improved plenty for his last win, Weld hinted he would need the run.

It will be interesting to see who starts faviourite as there is usually a gamble but as many as nine favourites (or joint-favourites) have filled the runner-up berth in the 22 runnings with just two successful market leaders which is a poor return for a Grade 1 race.


Shortlist


Au Quart De Tour

Lovelivelaugh

Moon Racer

Supasundae

Conclusion


Having won his sole bumper, which is an angle Willie Mullins has done well with in this race, maybe AU QUART DE TOUR could be the best of his septet? I cannot just leave it at one Mullins horse given he has won the race on eight occasions and his LOVELIVELAUGH has the same profile. Both had won also their only point-to-point. Given the BHA top rated has won three times in the last 12 years and other top-rated horses have gone close, then MOON RACER also makes the short list having impressed here back in November. SUPASUNDAE was bought by Alan Potts of Sizing Europe fame and sent to Henry de Bromhead after a very impressive win at Ascoot beating the well regarded Yanworth and horses who have not run in the calendar year have a good record in the race.
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Re: my thoughts and bets, cheltenham festival 2015, day 2

Postby The Anathemata » March 11th, 2015, 5:29 pm

You've no winners thus far. Might have broke even with a few each way bets. Better not to gamble, it's a fools game.
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