A good start to day 1 with Champagne Fever doing the business in the first and two places in the JLT for my recommendations.
The ground continues to perplex and despite all previous indications of a possible bog it seems we have close to good to soft (maybe marginally better ground on the hurdles course than the chase course)
And so to the second day:
1.30 National Hunt Chase
Struggling to find much in the way of value here. Irish raider Back in Focus has the best form and is the one to beat. I can’t back him at 3/1 though with no course form and maybe the ground is not soft enough for him?
I can see Godsmejudge‘s jumping putting a lot on these under pressure but 7/1 also appears a tad skinny on what he has achieved. Buddy Bolero appears way underpriced on his form so far and although much has been made of Rival d’Estruval‘s jockey booking for many weeks I dont think his form warrants his price also.
Hawkes Point appears one who may improve for the step up in trip but I primarily look for previous course form here and only two that spring to mind for that would be Highland Lodge and Rose of the Moon.
Highland Lodge looked as if something wrong with him last time and I don’t want to back anything from his stable now with poor recent form (and a disappointing effort from Kentford Grey lady today)
Therefore the only recommendation I have is Rose of the Moon. The form is pretty hit and miss but there are some decent efforts in the past at Cheltenham and the similarly undulating Cheltenham. This one has often appeared as a thorough stayer.
Recommendation :0.5 pts ew Rose of the Moon @20/1
*Weds am update – this one is Pricewise selection in Racing Post so the better prices have evaporated – I wouldn’t be inclined to back at any less than 16/1
2.05 Neptune Novices Hurdle
Apologies to Rule the World and Chatterbox but I think this concerns the top 3 in the market.
Pont Alexandre is just too short on what he has achieved and his price is all about potential (and form of stable following 3 winners on Tuesday)
Taquin Du Seuil has some quality form on soft ground. Slightly quicker ground here and the fact he has no course form put me off picking him.
The New One for me here. There have been some doubts about the stable’s well being recently but Ackertac nearly won the last on Tuesday which I hope will dispel that
I can’t see him out of the frame and think his last run, despite getting beaten, was a top notch effort nonetheless against a quality opponent
2pts ew The New One 5/1 (1/4 odds 123)
2.40 RSA Chase
My ante post book is firmly with Unioniste and Houblon Des Obeaux here. Would I back Unioniste at 4/1 now – probably no as that’s about right now. There’s still a pocket of 12/1 out there on the latter though who is a tough customer and was placed at the Festival last year. That would be my only suggestion here.
Boston Bob hits too many flat spots for me, Hadrians Approach doesnt jump well enough and I think Goulanes should be in the four mile race. Lyreen Legend appears best of the Irish
Recommendation; 1pt ew Houblon des Obeaux 12/1 (1/4 123)
3.20 Champion Chase
This is likely to be a masterclass for Sprinter Sacre who is just unbackable unless you managed to get some of Coral’s even money offer. I hope Mail de Bievre is able to give him some competition and to justify Tom George’s bold decision to supplement him. With only 7 runners, each way betting against the fav has been killed though
4.00 Coral Cup
I did an antepost preview of this on http://www.cheltenhamtips.co.uk and stick with my recommendations there of Meister Eckhart and Orsippus (1/4 odds 12345 now available and some 50/1 also on the latter).
I will throw in Crack Away Jack at 33/1. He doesnt fit any weight stats for this race but the talent that once made him a fancy for the Champion Hurdle isn’t completely lost and I can see this race suiting him and despite his high weight his mark has dropped nicely.
1pt ew Meister Eckhart 16/1
0.5 pts ew Orsippus 50/1
0.5 pts ew Crack Away Jack 33/1
(take 1/4 12345 on all of them)
ADDENDUM ; Big Easy added 0.5 pts ew at 50/1 – the race tends to favour lower weights and Philip Hobbs has done well with his runners in this race in the past
4.40 Fred Winter Hurdle
A lot of underpriced ex French types here. Megalypos should have finished 2nd in the Finale Hurdle at Chepstow but as usual that was run in fairly desperate ground and might be a bit misleading.
It’s always been worth following the top rated flat horse in this race but this year they are all much of a muchness and many rated in the mid 80s
I’ll take two of these against the field.
Bordoni seems to have improved with his racing and while I was concerned about slow ground for this one my fears have been allayed a bit today. He’s a a quick accurate jumper which should stand him in good stead and stayed well on the flat
Totalize has also impressed with his jumping technique and what is more to his credit is that he has shown decent form despite pulling very badly in all his races so far. Calculated Risk has since boosted the form of his latest success and I fancy there could be plenty of improvement if he can settle in a strongly run race. His adept trainer has narrowly missed on some good prizes at this course with the same owner’s Bothy in the past.
1pt ew Bordoni 11/1 (1/4 1234)
1 pt ew Totalize 16/1 (1/4 1234)
*Weds am update – Bordoni another to fall under the Pricewise hammer. 10/1 is the lowest I would take
5.15 Champion Bumper
Will be run at a pace unlike any other bumper all year – a total guess up for me so can’t recommend anything. (For those who do have some idea or who can’t resist a bet take note that some firms are paying first 4 and others only first 3)
Weds am – small ew added( 0.25 pts) on Caledonia @66/1 1/4 1234. His half brother De Soto was second in this race and had a preference for better ground.its a longshot but I doubt Jim Goldie would come all the way down from Scotland just for the scenery! Milo Man annd Sizing Tennessee both around 20/1 marks also of interest
Thanks for reading and good luck whatever you back