We keep hitting the bar with our win and each way bets and despite things not quite going our way so far, I am not disappointed with the way the majority of selections have run. If we keep this form up then it won’t be long before the winners come flying in, starting on Thursday.


1:30 – 1.5pt win – Faugheen @ 9/2 widely available

2:10 – 1.5pt win – The Storyteller @ 11/2 widely available

0.75pt e/w – Kilbricken Storm @ 16/1 Skybet & Betfred 1/5th odds 6 places

0.75pt e/w – A Great View @ 18/1 Paddy Power 1/5th odds 7 places

3:30 – 1pt e/w – Tobefair (Without Paisley Park) @ 28/1 Paddy Power 1/5th odds 4 places

4:10 – 0.75pt e/w – Ben Dundee @ 12/1 Ladbrokes, BetVictor, Unibet and Coral 1/5th odds 5 places

4:50 – 1.5pt win – Concertista @ 11/2 Bet365 and Paddy

5:30 – 2pt win – Le Breuil @ 13/2 Bet365, Ladbrokes and WillHill

0.75pt e/w – Ardlethen @ 20/1 Skybet 1/5th odds 6 places.

Already Advised

4:10 Brown Advisory & Merribelle Plate

1.5pt win – Simply The Betts @ 7/1 Bet365 & Paddy NRNB

5:30 Kim Muir

1pt e/w Kilfilum Cross @ 12/1 888Sport 1/5th odds 5 places NRNB

1:30 – Marsh Nov Chase

A race that revolves around Faugheen for me. A best price 9/2 I can’t help but feel if it wasn’t a 12yo then it would be half that price and favourite. The problem is, the last 12yo to win a graded race at Cheltenham was in 1966. Amazingly that was actually the Supreme winner, a novice hurdle. The argument I am trying to think about is that how many 12yos have rocked up with the form that Faugheen has to win a novice chase? Not many if any at all I would suggest. The thing is, he fits all the trends that I look for. All nine winners have run at the Festival before. A winner last time out and has a graded chase win to its name. Run between 3-5 times over fences winning at least two of them. All nine winners had debuted in France or Ireland and ran in a graded race last time out. Six or more career wins accounted for 8 of the last 9 winners whilst the same number were also running within 54 days of last start. The last five were all rated 151 or higher if accounting for mares allowance. Each and every trend that I have then Faugheen fits… apart from its age! I think this is something where price really matters. If it was around 3/1 which I think it should be then I couldn’t have it. But, with its price as it is currently then I think we have to chance it at its age. There was a slight doubt whether it was going to run with the suggestion that last time was its crowning glory. Highest official rating, top on RPRs, I have to chance it in the hope it can create history, and quite possibly the biggest roar of the Festival, despite its age.

Of the others then favourite is currently Itchy Feet. Third in the Supreme last year and two from two over fences, winning a solid looking Scilly Isles despite Laurina disappointing. Handles the track, there is a lot to like though a lack of experience is a worry. Only Yorkhill has won after just two chase runs though has a similar profile. That had won the Ballymore before taking a graded race last time out over fences. Jumping will be tested more but in a good looking year I’m just not sure. Mister Fisher was 8th in the Supreme but has improved further over the larger obstacles. Beat by Torpillo on debut though having to give the 4yo 7lb in weight, it worked out best on ratings. Then won twice since, firstly a good novice before a grade 2 last time beating Al Dancer. Form has taken a couple of knocks with Al Dancer not doing much in the Arkle and Good Boy Bobby flopping next time behind Itchy Feet. I also wonder whether they regret not going Arkle with Mister Fisher after the way the race worked out and the possible stamina question marks on soft ground.

The biggest danger could therefore be Samcro. Always promised so much but failing to deliver of late. Disappointed last season though plenty of excuses were found and after winning first up in a chase this year, he fell behind Fakir D’Oudaries before flattering behind Faugheen when travelling well but finding little. Has plenty of talent and a wind operation may be exactly what it needs if breathing has been an issue. Was 4/6 favourite over Faugheen when last run so clearly think it can do it. Would be defying the same time off as the yard/owner previous winner Shattered Love coming from the same prep. You are reluctant to rule it out but then hard to have confidence in betting it.

Of the rest, Tornado Flyer has been found wanting in a higher grade while Annie Mc is taking a significant step up in class and against the boys. Melon would have a chance on its Cheltenham record though can’t help but feel he is priced purely on that rather than what he has done in chases.

1.5pt win – Faugheen @ 9/2 widely available

2:10 – Pertemps Network Hurdle

A handicap in which I struggled to be persuaded by anything that made my shortlist from the trends. Fascinating race though with many horses looking like proper plot jobs to get into the race whilst preserving its handicap mark, it’s not going to be easy to pick out the right horse. I will start with the favourite The Storyteller who looks to have a very good claim. Races here off a mark 7lb higher than its Irish rating but even then it is still 9lb less than what it is rated over fences. A winner over hurdles at Clonmel, he was given a great ride from Davy Russell to bag the 6th and last qualifying spot in a Leopardstown qualifier, held up out the back before coaxed into position and ensuring qualification. Had failed the trends as 11 of the last 12 winners had last run within 61 days, however the exception was last year from which Sire De Berlais came from the exact same qualifier and for the same trainer so we know he can do it. I much prefer it over Sire De Berlais for this as well. Geraghty gave it a great ride last year, pushing and shoving along to keep it in contention to win well at the end. However, up 7lb from that and this looks a tougher race this year in my view. Interesting though that having won in first time cheekpieces last year they have switched headgear with first time blinkers to aid it. We know it likes the course and distance but I don’t see it doing the double.

Relegate is the interesting one at the party. Winner of the Champion Bumper two years ago, finishing with a wet sail, her novice campaign was limited to just the three runs, doing well to win a mares maiden before staying on well as an eyecatcher at the Dublin Festival, finishing 5th on the good ground over 2m 6f having started as favourite. Since left the Mullins yard to join Colm Murphy who managed to bring her back for a qualifier at Punchestown, finishing well for 4th despite off for over a year. Up 7lb but a mark of 137 for a Cheltenham winner could well be lenient and runs like she would enjoy a strong paced handicap. Just ahead of Relegate in that qualifier was A Great View who received an equally generous ride. Finished under hands and heels for third under a good ride from Mark Walsh. Was 6th two years ago in this race off 7lb higher but has only raced 5 times since. Won at Punchestown over 3m on soft ground in a big field handicap off 131. Was creditable 9th in another big field at Leopardstown when the faster ground may not of played to the strengths of this stout stayer. Was off for almost a year until returning with a surprising 4th in a 2m handicap, clearly on the short side before following up with a disappointing 10th in the qualifier that The Storyteller finished 6th in, having jumped poorly. Was better at Punchestown when coasting round to come 3rd. Can argue the horse is better at that track though the 2018 Pertemps was a good looking race won by Delta Work. I think with 6 places available he is fair each way value.

Welsh Saint was a good winner of a qualifier 26 days ago and coming from the last British yard to win the race you have to respect it. However, only two of the last 22 winners had won a qualifier prior to taking this though admittedly several still get balloted out at the weights. The other horse I want to look at is Kilbricken Storm. Albert Bartlett winner who races here off 140 seems very reasonable. Not the strongest of races though with Santini arguably too inexperienced and OK Corral a bit of an enigma. Still, is twice a winner at Cheltenham who seems best on soft ground. Can forgive it last time when qualifying on heavy ground. Didn’t need to do more than it did knowing he would get in off its weight however and I suspect this race has been targeted for a long while when realising he is not up to the Stayers standard set by Paisley Park.

1.5pt win – The Storyteller @ 11/2 widely available

0.75pt e/w – Kilbricken Storm @ 16/1 Skybet & Betfred 1/5th odds 6 places

0.75pt e/w – A Great View @ 18/1 Paddy Power 1/5th odds 7 places

2:50 – Ryanair Chase

A race that looks a fascinating watch rather than a betting prospect. As mentioned before in the handicap guide, you want to be racing prominently around here at this trip. The problem is that is the answer for most of these. I am tempted to side with Min as I have said for a while now that the horse is better over this kind of trip rather than 2m. It just looks so open though, with A Plus Tard already proven over this course and distance and done nothing wrong. The same applies to last years winner Frodon who seems to excel himself around here. Add in the improver Riders On the Storm who won a tough race last time and it looks more open than initially think.

After the disappointment of the Champion chase falling apart then this could well take over the mantle as the race of the Festival. Prices looks right at the moment and so I won’t get involved.

3:30 – Stayers Hurdle

Very frustrating to look at the betting companies and see only one of them offering four places so fair play to BetVictor for doing so, even if you refuse to take a bet from me! Even then, chances are you are wasting your win part of the bet as Paisley Park has looked unbeatable in the last year or so. 7lb clear of Apples Jade on RPRs and a further 4lb ahead of next best is only a fraction of an example to how much better this horse is. On Official Ratings they have Paisley Park 12lb ahead of anything else. With that in mind there is no way you can seriously bet against it winning in my book. It would need something to go wrong like with Defi du Seuil today for it to lose. Just as bad are the slowness of the markets to price up in the without Paisley Park option. As I write, only Bet365 have it priced out of the major betting firms.

This looks to be where the value will lie though with me. According to Official Ratings there is just 4lb between the next 9 horses yet the betting with the ‘without’ market ranges from 10/3 of Summerville Boy to 28/1 of Tobefair. Personally I think it makes a mockery of the chances of Tobefair. Two time winner at Cheltenham with one victory on each track. Second in the Network Final last year behind Sire De Berlais. Admittedly that was off a mark of 136 but it has done nothing but improve since despite not having conditions to suit. A winner off 142 following the Pertemps, it began this year with another win off 149 on heavy ground despite lumping 11st 12lb on the ground. Followed it with third, beaten 4 lengths carrying top weight again when running off 154. The winner was rated 19lb lower plus jockey took a 7lb off so was carrying 26lb less. The runner up carried a stone less. So to me that was a great effort, despite the race not being run to suit. Often it needs a fast pace to be held up and stay on strongly at the finish. The first two had been prominent throughout. The pace was again an issue when Tobefair was upped in class for the Cleeve hurdle. Summerville Boy was able to set slow fractions and try to kick on and steal the race. Paisley Park was wise to the threat and beat its rival comfortably enough. Tobefair though having been held up out the back was most inconvenienced, never able to get into the race. With 15 runners I am hopeful the pace may be decent and Tobefair will have plenty of cover at least. It has earnt its place in this field yet because of connections I suspect he has been readily dismissed. If there is a good pace to the race then there may not be many stronger stayers in the race than Tobefair.

Of the others, Bacardys doesn’t convince me as an out and out three miler. I make the argument each year now that Apples Jade doesn’t like Cheltenham. Yes, she has won here but having run 27 times over hurdles, her RPR for the runs are only 18th, 19th, 22nd & 23rd best! This course just isn’t for her. Summerville Boy may not get things so easy in front as it did last time. Able to set the fractions, its stamina hasn’t been tested as sufficiently as it may do here. Always believed to be a stayer but I would want something more proven to be any value in this field. A bigger rival may be Emitom who was 2nd at Aintree to Champ over three miles last year and won well on heavy ground at Haydock at the trip also. Track may be a concern having jumped poorly on only visit to Cheltenham but still holds a lot more promise than many of these. City Island has plenty to prove having only disappointed since winning the Ballymore last year, whilst Ronald Pump was a good staying on 2nd in a Pertemps qualifier off 145 though in my opinion it hasn’t done as much as Tobefair yet is a much shorter price. It also ran an absolute stinker last time over fences when never jumping or travelling.

1pt e/w – Tobefair (Without Paisley Park) @ 28/1 Paddy Power 1/5th odds 4 places

4:10 – Brown Advisory

The price of Simply The Betts has taken a nosedive after the victory of Imperial Aura franked the form of its defeat last time. That is good news for us as I had already advised a bet on it from my trends analysis leaving us in a very good position. It does mean we can have a look at some of the other runners though who may now be value.

Deyrann De Carjac was a horse I initially looked at though suspected it might go for the Novice Chase event off its mark of 145. Surprisingly though they have chosen to take on more experienced rivals. Chances are they clearly think it is capable by choosing this option. Mixed messages about its form. Third to Champ received a boost today with the talented Black Op in 2nd. Last time when Champ fell when looking to have the race won, he finished 2 lengths in 3rd behind Midnight Shadow, who subsequently finished 2nd to Itchy Feet and is rated 150. However, the 2nd was well beat here behind Imperial Aura on Tuesday.

Instead I would much rather favour the race going back to Ireland with Ben Dundee. Third in what is now the Northern Trust last year, though well behind A Plus Tard, its run first time up behind Minella Times reads very well as the winner went close next time up whilst back in third was Glenloe who was a short price for one of the handicaps here until ruled out through injury. Most recently raced over hurdles, looking a sure fire way of maintaining its handicap mark. The handicapper hasn’t been too harsh so for Gordon Elliott who won this in 2018 it looks a solid chance.

0.75pt e/w – Ben Dundee @ 12/1 Ladbrokes, BetVictor, Unibet and Coral 1/5th odds 5 places

4:50 – Mares Novice

Really not my race, even more so after the shock result of a year ago when the race was taken by a Mullins 50/1 chance. With few trends to go on barring the fact Mullins has dominated the race then plenty of guesswork is involved.

The most notable thing is that Mullins runs Concertista again here having finished 2nd on her hurdling debut in this race 12 months ago. She did hold numerous entries at the Festival so must be significant that this is the race they opted for. Some solid experience gained this year culminating with third to Black Tears and Our Roxane. The runner up was then 2nd in a mares chase whilst the winner finished 2nd today in the Coral Cup off 11lb higher giving the form a massive boost. Equal with Floressa on Official Ratings though top of the RPRs by 6lb, she has the proven form and is the one they all have to beat, despite still being a maiden! There are several potential improvers in the race and you are reluctant to rule much out because of it and considering what happened last year, but as said Concertista has little to prove here with regard form and course.

1.5pt win – Concertista @ 11/2 Bet365 and Paddy

5:30 – Kim Muir

Despite not fitting my trends, depending on jockey bookings I was always going to back one horse in this race. That was Le Breuil, who was being targeted at the Grand National until the weights were announced and it now looks a tough task to get in. with just 23 days between this race and the National I always said that jockey booking would tell you whether the horse was a trier here or not. JJ Codd had ridden him to victory last year in the NH Chase and as arguably the best Amateur rider around here then he wouldn’t be riding a horse if it wasn’t trying, with the concern they use this as a prep for the National. It is too much of an ask to go all out here and then again over 4m 4f in the National less than a month later. Therefore I thought if Codd was booked it was a trier and if they went with someone else then its a prep. With the chance it won’t get into the National at the weights, but also this may be the only time it gets to race in this where the max rating is 145 then they are going for it. Has the proven stamina that you often need here, it has looked a little outpaced at times in its races. However, the yard has been very in and out with regard form which has meant its mark has remained fairly consistent. This looks a great opportunity and you imagine won’t be far away.

Current favourite though is Champagne Platinum who has been running in better races than this without making much impact. However, has suggested it has ability and they have turned to cheekpieces to aid it. Has to be a concern though with the jumping issues it has had, in a big field and unsighted at fences, that it may make one too many errors.

I have already advised a bet on Kilfilum Cross and is still the same price as when advised. If you haven’t backed it yet then I suggest you do as it looks to have a great chance on form as well as fitting the trends. No problem with the ground, was runner up in this last year under the same jockey and looks like this has been the target once more.

At a price I am also putting forward Ardlethen, who did hold entries for the NH Chase and the RSA but instead will try to capitalise off its mark of 140. Though eligible for the Ultima, they are going for the Kim Muir and able to make use of another top jockey around here who is often underused in Gina Andrews. She was 6th last year on Captain Chaos for the same owners, having been 5th on Actinpieces in 2018 and winning at 40/1 for Stuart Edmunds aboard Doomsday Book. Pretty consistent form this year, he beat Lisnagar Oscar on chase debut before 2nd to Sam Spinner in a novice. 3rd to Danny Whizzbang, 5th to Two For Gold and finally 2nd to Newtide, the last three in grade 2 novice chases are all solid form. Needs to improve but this is its handicap debut and on a fair mark so improvement could well be forthcoming on a jockey who knows her way around here.

2pt win – Le Breuil @ 13/2 Bet365, Ladbrokes and WillHill

0.75pt e/w – Ardlethen @ 20/1 Skybet 1/5th odds 6 places.