Early Bird – Cheltenham Day 3
Only placers managed with my recommendations last night on Cheltenham Wednesday, with Topofthegame @ 12/1 and Urgent De Gregaine @ 14/1. However, we had far more success with our earlier tips, namely Tiger Roll to win the Cross Country @ 14/1, given on the 15th of January followed up by another bet on it last week at 5/1, giving us a forecast in the race from the three tips recommended in total. We also had an ante post place from last week on Elegant Escape at 12/1 e/w and William Henry at 8/1. We narrowly missed out on a 16/1 winner when Carefully Selected was nabbed on the line! Either way it has been another profitable day for our long term followers.
JLT Novice Chase
In my previous email last week when looking at this race I was confident on the chances of Shattered Love, a mare taking on the boys, but having done so with great authority this year already. I have to say that looking at the race now I am no less confident than I was before. Now a shorter price but the race is obviously easier than it was looking when the likes of Monalee were still declared and talked about racing. The big difference from when I first posted to now is the ground, with it being soft/heavy and that was the cause for me to add further selections in several instances. However, Shattered Love has a very good record on soft or softer of 13211121. She did disappoint at Cheltenham last year and that would be my one worry in case she doesn’t handle the course, though we can’t judge that on one run here. Third highest on RPR, her official mark of 144 looks rather generous in comparison which is why it is a little surprising they never looked down the handicap route. However, she may be better suited to a cosier 10 runner race than the hurly burly of a 20 runner plus. Because I see very few negatives I am prepared to go in again to maximise the win potential.
1pt win Shattered Love @ 17/2 Bet365
1.5pt win Footpad @ 6/1 NRNB
1pt e/w Shattered Love @ 12/1
The selection I picked last weekend is a non runner so will get out money back. Thankfully two still run off my shortlist and one is very interesting indeed. I actually even commented that this horse needed heavy ground but disbelieved we would get near to it. How wrong was I? To be fair though it is still producing enthralling racing and with the number of favourites gone in, its not creating ridiculous results. Anyway, I am surprised that Lovenormoney isn’t a lot shorter as it is very strong on the trends. As well as fitting this far it is also a last time out winner who are 8/75 this century including three of the last four years, whilst those in headgear are profitable to follow. The regular cheekpieces have been dispensed with and replaced by a visor. Only gone up 5lb for a 6 length victory it stays well and whilst it won’t be easy to make all here at least it is out the front and out of trouble when all the mud is kicking up behind. I wouldn’t be surprised if this shortens up if we get further rain as expected.
0.75pt e/w Lovenormoney @ 25/1 Paddy 1/5th odds 6 places
0.75pt e/w Tommy Rapper @ 16/1
This may highlight another of the advantages of getting on early, even if it is a week or less before the race. I have already advised a bet on Frodon at 14/1 e/w at a quarter odds 3 places. Now there is only 7 runners, possibly 6 if Douvan doesn’t run and we have an outstanding chance of hitting at least a place. Its best run came on heavy ground so further rain would be no issue and whilst Un De Sceaux is a known mudlark, in my opinion it was stopping last year up the hill on good to soft so may prove vulnerable at this distance on soft/heavy ground, especially up against horses with the talent and speed of Frodon and Cue Card that see it out better. With Cue Card I would just be delighted to see it win whilst if Douvan was to show up I wouldn’t be too disappointed having advised a NRNB punt on it at 7/1. The way the race is I don’t see any further value in making a bet here.
1.5pt win Douvan @ 7/1
0.75pt e/w Frodon @ 14/1 1/4 odds 3 places
Surprised to see Supasundae take a big drift in the market. Not sure if it is because of the ground. Handles soft and run well on it this season though could put added emphasis on stamina where it has yet to prove itself over 3m. Or, if it is because its form has taken a couple of knocks. Faugheen was a no show in the Champion hurdle whilst Apples Jade was turned over in the mares race. Either way I am happy with the bet I have now but not sure under these conditions I want to be backing it again. I am yet to be sold on Sam Spinner, especially as a still lightly raced horse in the leading stayers race of the year having never visited Cheltenham before. I am still prepared to take it on if I can find the right horse.
The race this year is primed for a shock I feel so it may be worth chancing one at a big price. For me the big one could be Augusta Kate. Twice she has been to Cheltenham and run with credit, she just seems to be a mare who hits form around this time of year. Twice a winner in April they clearly think she stays having run in the Albert Bartlett last year. Admittedly those to have run in the race then turn up here the following year have a poor record, especially considering they accounted for 6 favourites, but I tend to think trends are less irrelevant when looking at potshots. Form is what counts and her second to Presenting Percy reads very well considering it was on bad ground. Suggested she was hitting form again, under a patient ride she may not be far off once more.
0.5pt e/w Augusta Kate @ 33/1 Skybet, Ladbrokes, Coral 1/5th odds 4 places
1.5pt win Apples Jade @ 7/1
1pt e/w Supasundae @ 16/1
Stable Plate Hcap Chase
In my email I gave Art Of Payroll who is now a non runner. The only other to make my shortlist is running in Romain De Senam, but with no decent form on soft ground and having been turned over comfortably in two big field handicap around here already this season I don’t see it being well handicapped enough for a race like this. In the end I am taking a chance on the plot horse was there is very little that stands out to me in this race. That horse is King’s Socks. Only the one run in this country, it is the form of it in France that is most interesting having run Footpad close a couple of times showing it handles the soft well. Prepped at Kempton connections are clearly keen on taking advantage of a good mark and in a race they have a good record in (Twice winning with horses that had run just once in the season) this is a gamble that could come good.
1pt win King’s Socks @ 8/1 Ladbrokes, WillHill, Coral, Betway
0.5pt e/w Art Of Payroll @ 40/1 NRNB
Mares Novices Hurdle
Laurina is another Mullins hotpot in a race he has won twice, though at times the market can get a bit distorted by what has gone on before despite there being limited races in this category. That may be happening here as I can’t believe the price of Marias Benefit for this. Was much shorter last week but it has drifted out and it isn’t because of the weather. Her sire Beneficial’s progeny have a great record on soft ground at the Festival and as a front runner who stays well and is joint top rated on RPR (and 3lb ahead on official ratings) then I feel the betting market have underestimated the chances of an upset here.
My ante post advice on High School Days is also still set to run and is actually bigger now than what I advised her at. Have to say if you are not on already then it may be worth doing so. Handles bad ground and her last run could still be underestimated as Getabird flopped though Mengli Khan returned to form in the Supreme.
1pt win Marias Benefit @ 7/1 Paddy Power
0.5pt e/w High School days @ 25/1
We now have the all important jockey bookings. Some of which could be guessed and some come as a surprise. Ante Post I advised a bet on Missed Approach who has been well supported and is now a shorter price than advised. I have decided to also back the other two horses on my shortlist. Firstly isSugar Baron who doesn’t always find as much as expected needing to come with a good late run. That is why Katie Walsh looks a great sit for him. She won the bumper today having come from last to first and it shouldn’t be forgotten she almost got it right on Wonderful Charm in the Foxhunters last year either. Did well to stay on Pylonthepressure today who made numerous mistakes yet was still staying on late. This does look a good fit for a jockey who rides this course so well.
The other is Final Nudge who I just wasn’t sure was well handicapped enough for a race like this. However, bad ground can be a big leveller and the worse it is the better for this horse. Third in the Welsh National, he stays very well and is sure to still be running on towards the finish.
1pt e/w Sugar Baron @ 11/1 Ladbrokes and Coral 1/5th odds 5 places
0.75pt e/w Final Nudge @ 20/1 Bet365 4 places
0.75pt e/w Missed Approach @ 16/1