So we are just a few days away from one of the highlights of the racing calendar yes its time to ready yourself, pull on those big betting boots and head over to the… … …. CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL.
I have to admit to being slightly underwhelmed this year as we don’t seem to have many banker wonder horses not since the likes of Douvan, Vautour, Un des Sceaux, Sprinter Sacre, Big Bucks etc….
Of course we have the brilliant ALTIOR but at no price as I think this will walk home and will dominate the scene until beaten then should be retired much like Sprinter.
Sir Eric looks very good , Benny could be anything including a Jet! and will Native River return to form or will he be bitten by a bite or Sizzled on a plate?
Day one for me is probably the best day as the weight of expectation is finally delivered upon us and Day one for many will dictate how the week itself is attacked.
The opening day starts of with a traditional hard race in the SUPREME and one for the bookies as only a couple of favourites have won in the last 20 years with other winners coming in at 40/1 and 50/1 with an average SP of 12 you need to be ( statistically thinking ) looking at the third or fourth fav for a punt.
Nico has already stated he will be riding Angels Breath over the visually very impressive Mister Fisher, both very smart but didn’t actually expect that because I feel Mister Fisher is a proper group horse and Angels just looks flash ( might be wrong ) and lets not under estimate the chances of Champagne Platinum who looked good when winning at xmas.
I don’t like Mullins for this or Cheltenham to be honest this year as I feel his stable has gone flat, withdrawals, jockey changes, ownership tussles, poor form and lack of new quality means the master from Ireland is struggling.
ELIXIR DE NUTZ at around 12/1 fits the EW betting bill perfectly and I can see this running a very strong race having Won the Tolworth lto in a quite facile manner.
Im not that keen on Al Dancer for this and certainly not at around 3/1 .. that is a bet born from insanity!!.
Not much else to add here , my idea of a bet here is 2 x EW bets on Angels Breath and Elixir De Nutz at around 12/1 each.
RACE 2 – The ARKLE
This is not a race I like in particular , I find it is generally made up of almost horses or has beens, hyped wonder horses that fail to reach potential or those that are good novices that don’t follow up , then we have some impressive types winning fuck all races beating trees…I find it all very confusing as a punter and to try and find an edge in a race likes this requires more than just gut instinct unless of course you are just a degenerate gambler in which case there is no help for you anyway so fuck off.
Camellia de Cotte has very impressive form figures winning 4 of its last 5 however its a winning Mullins machine that is trading at 20/1 ??..that tells you all you need to know. Kalshnikov looks a nut case after getting turned over lto at short odds in a small field where the winner just ran away with it and im not convinced that Lalor is as good as the general media and populous would have us believe, yes Lalor is a very smart horse but not the tank we had thought possible pre season and at 3/11 I wouldnt touch this.
Defi Du Seuil for me is the class in the race and should be unbeaten this term but for being a bit shit at times and the lack of class shown when defeated means I would never take a short price on such a beast in such a tough looking race.
KNOCKNANUSS at around 16/1 appeals as a ” sporting ” EW bet if I had to get involved.
Race 3 is a nothing for me so cant even be arsed doing a review…
RACE 4 is the CHAMPION HURDLE
This is a race I like very much and this years looks to be a cracking renewal. I think the most obvious starting point is Nicky Henderson, he has 3 outstanding entries in Brain Power (Nico’s choice as he cant ride Buveur D’air) and the aforementioned BUEUR D’AIR and it is the latter named and the favourite at around 2/1 that really will take all the beating, going for the hat trick and in very good shape this multiple grade winner lacks scope but has a massive heart and loads of class.
Apples Jade is currently vying for favouritism and there is a large school of thought that is suggesting that Apple could be the answer however as good as Apples Jade is I have seen her several times where she has backed out when faced with serious rivals and does come across as a bit of a bully and at 2/1 I think is a massive gamble and a definite no bet. Melon went down by just a neck last year but doesn’t look as good this year and is readily cast aside. Supersundae and decent odds will always give you a run for your money but will no doubt ultimately come up short again although this could easily sneak a place.
LAURINA now this is a tricky one to assess even at 4/1 because she is not a worthy EW bet as I see her either cruising to the neck of the hill swinging on the iron and winning or trying to keep up with what will be a break neck pace and finding the tank running out very quickly and she will be hung out with the rest of the rubbish. You have to ask your self is Laurina a good bet at 4/1 for the win , if you understand betting and markets and inverted odds etc..this is tough and I think Laurina is still just about a horse made more of promise than substance that its too skinny however if I can get 6/1 or 15/2 then a tickle would be looked at but its highly unlikely and tbh if it drifted out to twice its price that’s an alarm in itself so the answer is no bet for Laurina.
Now a bet I do like , ESPOIR D’ALLEN at around 16/1-20/1 is for me an excellent EW festival bet and you will be hard pushed to get a better bet on all week, lovely horse that has all the merit badges to say fuck you hyperbole!!.. I do think Buveur D’Air is the likely winner and will carry a decent bet for me however I will also be having a healthy EW EDA.
And that rounds up the highlights for me on Day one of the Festival.
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