So did you all enjoy the first day at Cheltenham?I had a decent start to the Cheltenham Festival yesterday with my tips. Buveur D’air and Apples Jade landing the spoils at 11/2 and 5/1.
A good day overall but I can’t rest on my laurels as day 2 of the Cheltenham Festival is upon us. There are lots of big fields today and it should make for a great day’s racing.
Offers for Cheltenham today ↓
The first race is the Neptune Novice Hurdle. It’s worth taking a look at the trends for this race. They suggest that the fancied ones usually win this.
- Every winner since 2007 was 7/1 or shorter. It’s been a good race for favourites.
- Five and six year olds have by far the best record, Irish bred horses do well as do horses with proven form in graded races.
Shattered Love, Bacardys and Neon Wolf and Willoughby Court are the ones that ticked the most boxes trendwise.
Neon Wolf is many people’s banker of the week – He is certainly in my top 3 bets of the week. This horse has been touted as a “monster” by his trainer Harry Fry.
He won a big field point to point before joining the Fry yard, hacked up by 12l on debut over hurdles, won nicely at Exeter on a course that didn’t exactly suit and he took the step up in grade in his stride last time out by winning the G2 Rossington Hurdle at Haydock in great fashion.
He travelled so strongly and jumped so fluently throughout. Took it up round the final bend and he kept extending and extending away from the pack.
He wasn’t beating bad horses either – He had a 145 rated horse 9l back in 2nd! Connections have decided to run here instead of the Supreme which is a good choice and a good sign.
The extra distance will also bring out the best in him – 15/8 is a cracking price on this horse. I really think he’s a top class.
Competition comes from the Deloitte winner Bacardy’s and also Willoughby Court who won a grade 2 easily last time out and also Shattered Love.
Bacardys was placed in the Champion Bumper last year, so he likes the course and he should run well. Shattered Love won nicely last time out but she was getting a lot of weight from her main rivals. Might not be as good as Neon Wolf but I wouldn’t put you off it.
The Ben Pauling trained Willoughby Court will prove the biggest threat to Neon Wolf. I just feel this horse would be better in the Albert Bartlett over 3 mile. Neon Wolf might just have too much toe for it. Consul de thaix is an interesting outsider.
I was all over it for the Coral Cup but it baffles me why Nicky Henderson run’s it in this, a much tougher race. As far as this race is concerned though, NEON WOLF is my selection.
I think we’ll see a really good performance from it and I wouldn’t be surprised if he won it well in the end.
The 2nd race on the card is the RSA Novice chase at 2:10. This race is a really tough nut to crack – I wouldn’t read too much into the trends for this race.
Its always a brutal slog every year and you really do need an out and out stayer to win this.
I think Might Bite is the worst favourite of the week, I can’t be having it at all. It’s awfully keen in its races, not the safest of jumpers and I’d question if it will get up the hill here.
It’s run here 3 times and won once. The race he won was a low grade hurdle and he did his best to throw the race away – He hung all the way up the hill and found it difficult.
He was well stuffed on his other 2 visits to the track too so I’m putting a line through him today!
A lot was said of the Acapella Bourgeois races last time out. He was impressive even though the other jockeys didn’t put their rides into the race. I’d question some of his form though.
He never could quite beat Bellshill over hurdles in their previous meetings. His novice form was mostly against horses that ran in the 4 miler yesterday.
Both he and Mite Bite might cut each other’s throats up front.
I liked Bellshill as a novice hurdler but I don’t think he’s as good as a chaser. He’s another one that’s failed to get up the hill here twice – there’s too many doubts around that one.
Whisper has it to do in this, he may well be a year too old to win this, he’s another whose hurdle form is better than his chase form. O O Seven, Our Kaempfer and Royal Vacation are handicap chasers.
I don’t think they’ll be good enough to win this. Our Kaempfer is always a horse that threatened to be good though.
For me the safest bet in this race is Alpha Des Obeaux. For whatever reason he broke a blood vessel last time out. It had never happened before.
I’ve heard that he’s been fine ever since and scoped clean. Bar that one blip in his form last time out his form is the best on offer. His 2nd to Thistlecrack in last years Stayers hurdle was a great run over this course and distance.
This horse has been running over 2 mile 4f all season which will not of suited him. He still won a race and ran 3rd in a Grade 1 behind Coney Island.
Trust me we have not seen the best of this horse yet, this step up in trip will really suit and if there’s one man to ready him for a big day like today its Mouse Morris.
He’s is a very underrated trainer and he does exceptionally well with these types of horses at the festival. ALPHA DES OBEAUX is my pick for this race each way at 6/1.
The 2:50 is one of my favourite handicaps of the week and it’s the Coral Cup handicap.
I strongly fancy three horses in this race and I’m on them all at bigger prices than are currently on offer. Before I get into those I think it’s worth mentioning the trends guide for this race.
- 23 of the last 24 winners of this race were rated lower than 149. It suggests those at the top of the weights can struggle. Sometimes though the class horse can carry lots of weight in this.
- Horses older than 9 have a poor record
- Horses priced between 13/2 and 16/1 have won 9 of the last 10 renewals of this race
- 5 and 6 year olds who are either novices or 2nd season hurdlers are the ones to focus on.
Tin Soldier, River Frost, Automated, Tombstone, Peregrine Run and Allblack des places could out best in my trends guide. Tin Soldier looks an ideal horse for this race.
The fact that Ruby Walsh is due to ride as low as 10-10lb in this race is a big pointer.
This horse ran 14 times in France without setting the world on fire. He was a good purchase for the Mullins yard. He does well with these types of horses.
This horse really caught my eye in both of his wins this season. He won with his head in his chest on debut for this yard at Fairyhouse and he won a Grade 3 Novice hurdle last time out in great style. The horse he beat is no slouch either.
David Casey who’s one of the head lads in the Mullins camp said that this horse was good enough to run the neptune but his mark was too good not to run in this.
I’m on this horse antepost at 40/1 but I do still think he’s value at 10/1 and i’ll be diving in again today.
Tin Soldier has stiff competition from Tombstone and Peregrine Run though. I’m not too sure about this trip for Tombstone but the way he has been backed is somewhat phenomenal.
I think 7/2 in a big handicap like this is bonkers to be honest.
He is the class horse in the field though. His 4th in the Supreme is the best form in this. His win in a Grade 2 last time out against Jezki is also top form. 11-5 is a sizable weight to carry in this but I think he’ll be bang there at the finish.
Peregrine Run is a lovable mare who has done her trainer proud this season.
This horse comes from a very small yard with only a handful of horses in training but her ability is unquestionable. Her win over course and distance in a Grade 2 beating Albert Bartlett contenders Wholestone and West Approach is very good form.
She ran a fine race when 3rd to Willoughby Court last time out in another G2. Like with Tin Solider, her handicap mark is too good not to run in this.
For me they are the main three in this race and I think it will take a lot to keep them out of the frame.
Those of you looking for a long shot in this, Sure Reef at 33/1 is one I like. Was talented novice few seasons back but got injured. Had few nice prep runs to get him right this season.
This race though boils down to a battle between Tombstone, Peregrine Run and Tin Soldier for me.
Tombstone is too short of a price for me to be backing now so I’m going to go with TIN SOLDIER 10/1 E.W & PEREGRINE RUN 10/1 E.W.
Skybet are paying 6 places so it’s definitely worth taking on the field with these two.
The feature race of the day is the Champion Chase at 3:30. I won’t go into too much detail about this race as we all know who the winner is going to be.
That being the mighty Douvan who is unquestionably the best horse in training at the moment.
On trends, form and ability Douvan really should win this race. 2/7 is not a backable price so I’m going to go with something that’s a bit of value in this race.
Fox Norton looks the 2nd best in this race and most punters will go with him to be runner up to Douvan but I prefer GODS OWN W/O DOUVAN.
This horse was runner up to Un De Sceaux in the Arkle a few seasons back. He was 4th in this race last year behind Sprinter Sacre and he beat Vautour in the Champion Chase at the Punchestown Festival which went largely went under the radar.
I think this horse W/O Douvan s a really good bet. You get 3 places each way w/o with at 7/2 with Bet365 and looks the best value bet of the race.
The 4:10 is a Cross Country race run over 3 mile and 7 furlongs. Just a word of warning this race is not a race to get too invested in.
A lot can happen on the way round in this race and these horses are not top class. The trends strongly suggest you need a horse that has proven form over banks courses such as this course and Punchestown.
The highest rated, Irish trained, Irish bred horses always tend to do best.
Any horse under 8 is too young. Bless The Wings, Cantlow, Quantitiveeasing, Cause of Causes and Ballybroker Bridge come out top in the trends.
Enda Bolger is always one to follow in this.
His horse Josies Orders who was awarded the race last year is now injured. Enda Bolger has done a great job with the quirky Cantlow to win a few of these races with it.
A lot of people have this horse as their banker for the week. I really don’t see how anyone can fancy it that much. This horse was beaten 53 lengths in the race last year.
It is a better horse this year but I wouldn’t be getting too heavily involved at 3/1. Plus it’s now a 12 year old.
Auvergant has the toughest task of the Bolger horses in this race. He too young to be winning this race and has a mountain to climb on ratings.
Colour Squadron was always a frustrating sort and has definite stamina doubts. Quantitiveeasing may well do best of the Bolger quartet.
This horse was classy in his day. He would have won this race in 2015 only for being carried out on the home turn. He was a galant 3rd last year and he beat Cantlow at Punchestown in the La Touche and he was giving away lumps of weight then to Cantlow.
He’s now a 12 year old though and has only had the 1 run this season. Fitness is a big question. Cause of Causes has won at the festival for the last 2 years and has been a gamble for this race.
He ran a stinker on his only run over this course though and that’s a big doubt about this one.
If he takes to it better he’d be in with a chance but like Cantlow, I couldn’t have him.
Nina Carberry who has won this race a few times over the years tipped Usuel Smurfer at a few preview nights and I found that to be interesting.
She rarely tips against the Bolger horses. This horse ran a cracker last time out over the banks at Punchestown.
That’s a top trial for this race and I think at 20/1 he could well be the surprise package in the race. Jockey and Trainer had a winner here with Tully East yesterday too. Bless The Wings ran well in this last year and then went on to run 2nd in the Irish National.
This one’s trainer had 3 winners yesterday so his horses are firing on all cylinders.
I’m going to have a small each way bet on BLESS THE WINGS at 14/1 and also USUEL SMURFER at 20/1 in this.
The 4:50 is the Fred Winter Hurdle and is a handicap hurdle for novice’s.
There are two major trends in this race and they are: follow French bred or French imported horses and follow whatever Paul Nicholls runs in this race.
Paul Nicholls trained the winner in 2010, the 2nd & 3rd in 2013, the 2nd & 4th in 2014, 1st, 2nd & 5th in 2015 & the 1st & 2nd in 2016.
Paul Nicholls run’s two horses in this, Dolos and Dreamcatching. Dolos has shown the best form so far of the two. He was 3rd to Triumph favourite Defi Du Seuil a few runs back and 3rd to Air Horse One last time out. Both have won since.
He has got to have a good chance in this but Dreamcatching is the one of his that I like. This horse has gotten a really nice mark for what he has achieved.
He bolted up last time out and I think the handicapper was really fair on it. The talented apprentice jockey takes a further 5lb off its back.
It’s the clear winner on trends for this race.
Trends don’t always work out but I think DREAMCATCHING is a decent each way bet at 12/1
The concluding race on today’s card is the Champion Bumper at 5:30.
Most of these have had only a few runs and it’s very hard to weigh up which horse is the best.
The trends can be helpful for this race too. Unbeaten horses, horses trained by Willie Mullins, 5 or 6 year olds, Irish bred horses and horse out of a Group 1 or Group 2 winning sire are the key trends.
For those of you who don’t know this is flat race for National Hunt horses who are starting out their career. A lot of future stars run in this race.
The form of it works out very well every year.
Both Willie Mullins horses come out top of the trends and I can see why. Willie has won 8 of the last 20 runnings of this race and has had many other placed horses.
Carter McKay has been my pick for this race for sometime.
This horse demolished a decent field of runners in a point to point and has been very impressive thus far in this two bumper wins.
This horse is out of a Group 1 winner and is the spitting image of it’s sire Martaline who was a big bold grey middle distance horse. Carter McKay has shown that he has an engine and I think we’ll see an even better horse today on this better ground. Patrick Mullins has the pick of the Mullins horses in this and he is a very capable jockey even against professional jockeys.
I think he’ll take an awful lot of beating.
Cause Toujours is highly thought of by his trainer and this horse has had a breathing op recently. It’s form doesn’t look very good though. I think it’s too short of a price at 5/1. Fayonagh is well touted as is Debuchet of the other Irish horses.
Don’t think their form is as good as Carter McKay’s though. Western Ryder may well do best of the British horses.
He’s a tough sort and won’t go down without a fight. The Willie Mullins second string Next Destination who can out top of the trends for this race is an interesting sort.
1 point to point win and 1 bumper win. He’s not run this year yet but there has been a fair bit of money around for him.
He’s good value at 10/1 but CARTER MCKAY is my pick for the race.
1:30 Neon Wolf 15/8 WIN
2:10: Alpha Des Obeaux 6/1 EACH WAY
2:50: Tin Soldier 9/1 EACY WAY & Peregrine Run 9/1 EACH WAY
3:30 Gods Own 7/2 (Betting With Out Douvan)
4:10 Bless The Wings 14/1 EACH WAY & Usual Smurfer 20/1 EACH WAY
4:50 Dreamcatching 12/1 EACH WAY
5:30 Carter McKay 5/1 WIN
I’d advise a Win Double on Neon Wolf and Carter McKay which plays around 16/1 and an each way Super Heinz on all selections.