A day of frustration again as we endured thirditus. We had 4 third places finishes from the first 5 races today, with two of them advised at 16/1. We landed the place part of those bets but really need a win make a big indent. To cap it off Posh Trish went off at 3/1 having been advised a few weeks ago at 14/1 but couldn’t even manage to fill a place as the race turned into a massive shock. We have some good positions and confident bets for Friday so lets hope we get the breaks I believe we deserve.

Earlybird Tips
1:30 – 1pt e/w Gardens Of Babylon @ 12/1 Boylesport
2:10 – 1pt e/w Mr Adjudicator @ 12/1 Unibet 1/4 odds first 6
2:50 – 0.75pt e/w Salsaretta @ 25/1 Paddy & BetVictor 1/5th odds first 4
4:10 – 1pt e/w Shantou Flyer @ 8/1 widely available 1/5th odds 4 places
4:50 – 1pt win Le Prezien @ 11/1 Paddy Power
5:30 – 0.75pt e/w Getareason @ 16/1 Paddy Power 1/5th odds 5 places
0.75pt e/w Defi Bleu @ 14/1 WillHill, BetVictor and Boyle 1/5th odds 5 places

1:30 Triumph Hurdle

We already have Quel Destin backed at 12/1 each way in the race and is now a best price of 10/1. That still looks a decent price as it is a multiple winner including of a grade 1 and has load of experience. Considering it began hurdling in April last year then it is in effect a second season novice. A concern that it has been over raced this year, it will be its 7th start since October but with no signs of its form easing off, it should be thereabouts.
Sir Erec is the strong favourite and subject to plenty of hype. The highest rated flat horse racing at the Festival according to official ratings, though that didn’t account for much with regards the second highest in Lethal Steps who trailed home 19th of 21 in the Fred Winter. Won really well on what was only its second start over hurdles in the Spring Juvenile. Did get the run of the race and won’t find things quite so easy to control here, but clearly has an engine, rated 109 on the flat. If its hurdling stands up to the test then will take a lot of beating, but that is well factored into the betting now.
Pic D’Orhy has yet to race in the UK though has been the subject of very promising reports. However, having been off the track for 131 days it is a serious negative for this race, with no winner having been off the track for over 55 days taking this since 1992! That is also an issue for French Made. Tiger Tap Tap is still a maiden and has been comfortably put in its place by Sir Erec both times. The Mullins novices have been so strong this week though and is the selection of Ruby Walsh.
To add another bow to the race though, I think it is worth backing Gardens Of Babylon. Second to Sir Erec last time but was inconvenienced by the way the race was run. It has run three decent races but would be suited to a stronger pace where it has time to settle and finish late. Interesting that Cheekpieces have been added to the Tongue tie it wears whilst it is worth noting that horses beaten in the Spring hurdle have won four of the last seven renewals.
1:30 – 1pt e/w Gardens Of Babylon @ 12/1 Boylesport

2:10 County Hurdle

We stand here in a very good position with a 1pt e/w bet on Whiskey Sour at 16/1 and is now a best price 13/2. The money for it over the last week is hopefully significant to its chances and fingers crossed it is the one they all have to beat. We also have Due Reward who is somewhat surprisingly a bigger price than the 25/1 advised. Not a particularly good sign though Rachael Blackmore is riding inspired at the moment and may be able to galvanise something from the horse.
I have to bet on another Irish horse though in the case of Mr Adjudicator. It is a horse that looks like it has been saved for this race in particular. Remember Mullins won it with Arctic Fire after more than a year off so don’t be concerned by the fact it has been off since November. A grade 1 winner last year, it was runner up in the Triumph, enjoying the stiff finish and followed that up with another place in a grade 1. Its one run this year was when well behind subsequent Champion Hurdle winner Espoir D’Allen. However, its running style, often held up, isn’t best suited to small field races where the early pace is often slow and turning the races into sprints somewhat. This is the first time it takes on a big field handicap which in itself a bit of a negative considering they are 0/72 in the last 34 renewals (Ok, it is a massive negative), but I just cant help but feel this horse is sure to improve, in a race where weight is proving less of an issue, especially on decent racing ground and comes from a yard that has targeted this race before with a horse who had been off the track a long while. I very much doubt many from those 72 runners fits a similar profile to this horse.
2:10 – 1pt e/w Mr Adjudicator @ 12/1 Unibet 1/4 odds first 6

2:50 Albert Bartlett

Another race in which we have a decent ante post voucher on a runner in Dinons who I advised at 25/1 and is now a best price of 12/1. What is crucial about this horse is that experience plays a big part in the race. All 36 runners to have contested 2 or fewer hurdles starts have been beaten and that includes the likes of Santini who went off favourite for this last year. This is therefore a massive negative for the favourite Birchdale along with Dickie Diver, Allaho and Minella Indo. You can see why Dinons has come in for some support and the reason why I tipped it. Both, horses that had raced before October 31st and those to have run in at least 6 hurdles are profitable to follow. Does have something to prove at graded level but it stacks up well with the RPR and ignoring its last run for which it has been kept fresh since, it should go well.
I have to say I am a little surprised that Salsaretta has been so readily dismissed for this race at a price of 25/1. Ticks the same boxes as Dinons having first taken in a hurdle in France back in May 2016! Ran int he mares novices last year despite being off the track for over 500 days. Was staying on in 6th place when falling at the last that day. She maintained her novice status before winning a maiden hurdle at prohibitive odds. The interesting part to that was she made all over 2m on decent ground. Horses that had begun at around the minimum trip are particularly profitable to follow, with last years winner able to place at a trip just above the minimum. She returned from an absence of over 200 days to beat Felix Desjy over 2m 4f before stepping up to 2m 6f only to unseat early on. Does have something to prove over 3m but has a bit of class and does get a weight allowance of 7lb. With Mullins mares always ones to watch, she has the profile to run a big race.
2:50 – 0.75pt e/w Salsaretta @ 25/1 Paddy & BetVictor 1/5th odds first 4

3:30 Gold Cup

With both ante posts still running (Kemboy 1pt win @ 10/1 & Bellshill 1 pt win @ 14/1) there isn’t too much I want to add to what I posted a while back regarding this race. A field of 16 may mean there is a bit more emphasis on stamina but it is still rare for this to turn into a real slog, especially on decent ground. Class horses often come to the fore, especially those in form. I can’t back Presenting Percy having not jumped a fence since last years RSA in which its form is over rated anyway. Monalee in 2nd is better over 2m 4f, Elegant Escape has since won a race over 3m 5f, Ballypotic was placed over 4m and Black Corton has been beaten six times since, though under performed in the RSA through jumping so low at its fences. Native River wants softer ground and it is extremely rare for a horse to win this twice in a row. I am slightly wary about the form of the yard as well with just one win from the last 43 they have sent out in 14 days. Clan Des Obeux last ran just 27 days and no winner this century has won this having raced within the last month. There is also a concern it may be better going right handed with its two best RPR going that way.
If I wanted to back something e/w then I would look towards Shattered Love. Still has plenty to prove at the trip but the fact that Road To Respect, who was 4th in this last year went for the Ryanair instead, leaving this as the only Gigginstown representative could well speak volumes. Perhaps it suggests Michael O’Leary would rather win the Ryanair than the Gold Cup, but she has been kept to the trip despite seemingly not staying a couple of times and soon after her last run she was given a wind operation. Maybe it was her breathing preventing her from getting home at 3m. You would be taking a chance but as the JLT winner last year we knows she handles the course and represents very shrewd connections.
No further bets

4:10 Foxhunters

Another race we are on ante post with Haymount who managed to squeeze in another run to qualify despite the Flu scare and fast ground at many point to point tracks. I still really like its chances as well. This is a horse who ran really well in the NH Chase a few years back though its career fell by the wayside a bit. Not the most straight forward, it can come off the bridle. It did look as though marathon trips would suit, which is why it could have been a very shrewd purchase in a race tailormade for it. Will need its jumping to stand the test of time in the race, but if it jumped the last thereabouts, I’m hopeful it will be staying on the best.
I will have another bet in the race though on Shantou Flyer, who has a fantastic course record of 1F14222 and looks tailormade for the race. Was due to run in the Gold Cup last year only to get pulled under a self certificate. Prior to that it had been a close second in a handicap here off a mark of 152 which puts it very well in here. Its Official mark has since slipped to 145 but it has easily won its last two points after being purchased early in the year with this race clearly in mind for connections.
4:10 – 1pt e/w Shantou Flyer @ 8/1 widely available 1/5th odds 4 places

4:50 Grand Annual

My only ante post advice for this race is still running in Whatswrongwithyou, a Henderson novice who has won its last two and has bags of potential. We are on at 10s with 9s the best available at the moment. Favourite is Magic Saint for Paul Nicholls who has a decent record in the race. However, as a 5yo you have to be worried about how it would get on in such a big field handicap. Certainly looks to have the potential but is worth taking on in such a competitive race. The one that may be worth adding is another from the yard in Le Prezien, who won this last year off a 1lb lower mark. Did it pretty well that day having already shown solid form at the track. Ignore its last couple of runs when looking a non trier, firstly by going off and leading (It won this having been held up) before then needing the run last time at Sandown. Barry Geraghty is in the saddle who has been in good form this week. IT would be no surprise if this was to bounce back to form.
4:50 – 1pt win Le Prezien @ 11/1 Paddy Power

5:30 Martin Pipe

Three horses tipped for the race and a confident bet on Dallas Des Pictons at 6/1. It is the only one of the three to run here but arguably the most important and most likely to win. Is worth betting something against it each way though with the back up of a place giving more returns.
Two that made my shortlist were Getareason and Defi Bleu. With little between the pair I will chance backing them both. Here is what I said about them in my ante post advice last week:
Getareason – The only one of Willie Mullins to make the shortlist. Does make some appeal on its second to Easy Game, beaten 2 lengths and third to Battleoverdoyen, beaten 4 3/4 lengths, both at around this trip. Handicapper may of been a bit harsh though increasing it 5lb from its Irish rating, has been on the go since August, running in every month since whilst also being turned over in its last 6 starts.
Defi Bleu – Another for Elliott and Gigginstown. Similar profile to Getareason having finished third behind Easy Game at Navan (Getareason was 2nd) and finished 11th in a grade 1 novice at Leopardstown over 2m 6f (Getareason 7th). Looks held on that basis getting just a pound in the weights though considering connections it is hard to rule out the horse finding the necessary improvement to win. Did start at a much shorter price than Getareason in both runs so may well be showing more at home than it has on track so far.

They both still sit at a fair price but come from top connections. Getareason looks to have a great chance of at least a place, likely to run its race whilst there are clues there to suggest that Defi Bleu is capable of more than what we have seen so far. Both have got experienced jockeys who should give good rides to the pair.
5:30 – 0.75pt e/w Getareason @ 16/1 Paddy Power 1/5th odds 5 places
0.75pt e/w Defi Bleu @ 14/1 WillHill, BetVictor and Boyle 1/5th odds 5 places