The white flag has almost been raised after day 3 – a poor day when nothing much went to plan.
Third Intention did not jump anything like as fluently as I have seen him do and Reve De Sivola was agonisingly run out of a place on the line (Richard Johnson later reported he may have been feeling the effects of his last run).
Down but not out we come back to the fourth and final day of the Festival
A big warning here though – although ground is looking fairly decent today some heavy rain is expected tomorrow so it’s very difficult to judge what the going will actually be. Take care if assuming it will be good going again!
1.30 Triumph Hurdle
The market dominated by three principals – Our Conor, Rolling Star and Far West. I would expect winner to come from one of these but there’s something that would hold me back on each of them from selecting them at current odds. Our Conor – no course experience; Rolling Star – would have liked to see him have more than one run; Far West – will the ground be soft enough?
Outside of these I can see Far West’s stablemate, Lac Fontana showing a lot of improvement in a truly run race (might appeal at 20/1+ if anyone offers it 1/4 1234).
I know the connections of Kashmir Peak and wish them all the very best but I fear the forecast rain may hinder their chances
It’s a no bet race for me
2.05 County Hurdle
I put Ifandbutwhynot up on Twitter when the decs came out earlier today as Hills offered a very tasty 16/1. He’s 11/1 best at time of writing but stil think that’s worth a small investment.
He has risen 20lb in the handicap since his course win in November. However he did beat Tanerko Emery comfortably then and that one his since risen even more and is now meeting him 11 pounds worse off!. That can’t have been a bad race as Brick Red was even further behind off levels and that one also now has a raing in excess of 140. Ifandbutwhynot gets in here off 135. In addition prior to that run he had narrowly beaten Nicky Richards’s very useful Eduard off levels and that one too is now a 140+ horse. I believe that David O’Meara’s charge could well have at least 7lbs in hand of the handicapper still.
The one worry would be the pace. He needs a strongly run race and likes to pick his way through the field. You would expect a good pace in a race like this but there seem to have been far too many competitive 2 mile hcaps run in recent years at a crawl to be confident about this.
The stats for this race point heavily to a lower weighted horse rated below 140 in recent years. This would automatically take out the top half of the field including the fav Cotton Mill. I’ll give outsider Manyriverstocross a squeak at 40/1 – he showed he still had ability after a long lay off last time and the stable have done well with few runners this week
1pt ew Ifandbutwhynot @11/1 or better (take 1/4 12345 if possible)
0.25 pts ew Manyriverstocross @40/1 or better (12345 again if possible)
2.40 Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle
The New One gave At Fishers Cross‘s form such a huge boost this week that he is the obvious one to beat. Medinas (Coral Cup winner) was also comfortably beaten by him here earlier in the season to provide a further pointer. The only concern would be the ground as connections fear it may slow his jumping if it’s too quick – but if the rains come he will be difficult to beat.
Ballycasey is the chief Irish raider and relatively unexposed. Being by Presenting you would expect him to be better suited by the ground staying as it is. If the rains do come I could see Mullins’ other runner Inish Island being a contender but he is held by At Fishers Cross on earlier course form (could be the one to look at for betting without the fav tomorrow though)
Nigel Twiston Davies’ stable came into this week with concersn about a bug but those that have run have been flying. African Gold must be respected therefore but I do feel he has become too short in the market and should be nearer the 10/1 mark. He’s a big horse and that isn’t always suited to this track and has never raced over further than 2 and a half miles yet.In contrast Irish raider, Our Vinnie looks like he needs further than this 3 miles already but if the ground gets really desperate he’ll be one to be wary of.
The weather really matter for this one so at this stage it’s a no bet recommendation
3.20 Gold Cup
The centrepiece of the meeting. There isn’t much to split these but I do prefer something with course form and that will cross Silvinaco Conti off my list straight away. Sir Des Champs I feel is underpriced on what he’s actually done – he may trained to the minute for this but the rain forecast has to be a concern.
Bob’s Worth has all of the course form but it must be a worry that he hasn’t raced since November’s Hennessy.
I’m going for Long Run to regain his crown here. Cheekpieces will be used here and are reported by work rider Nico de Boinville to have really had some effect at home – let’s just hope they don’t light him up too much. He was a disappointing 3rd in this last year but came back to win the King George over Christmas where he narrowly beat Captain Chris. Captain Chris, despite being a past Arkle winner has never looked at home here or else would be of great interest. It would have been close between him and Cue Card last time except for a terrible blunder by him – but look how Cue Card franked that form today. Suddenly the King George form doesnt look quite so bad and the further rain will suit Long Run down to the ground
Recommendation ; 2pts ew Long Run @11/2 or better (1/4 odds 123)
4.00 Foxhunters Chase
I don’t follow the Point to Point scene closely enough to have an opinion on this so it’s an automatic ‘No Bet’ (grateful for any comments from anyone who does though :))
4.40 Martin Pipe Conditional Hurdle
David Pipe will want to win his ‘father’s’ race with his only entry, Gevrey Chambertin, the half-brother to Grands Crus. I don’t think his 145 mark screams of being well in though and he’s too short for me
The one I like and already tweeted this morning is Village Vic. He wouldn’t have been suited by the slow pace over two miles when still getting a fine 6th in the Betfair Hurdle. His run earlier in the season behind The New One is the motivating factor here – particularly if the ground doesnt come up too soft.
Venetia Willaims is often to be feared in handicaps here so I will throw in Nagpur as a big priced option as a back up as I feel he is overpriced and comes here relatively fresh
Keep an eye on Double Ross also is the ground does get very soft – it would significantly improve this course winner’s chance
1pt ew Village Vic @12/1 (1/4 1234)
0.5 pts ew Nagpur @40/1
5.15 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual chase
Named in honour of Nicky Henderson’s father and as usual that trainer has filled up the race with entries. Kid Cassidy is a fragile sort like last year’s ill fated winner Bellvano (and like has the assistance of Paul Carberry). I swouldnt be surprised to see him come out best but I find this an impossible race and certainly won’t be trying to get out of anything on it!
BEWARE if you do bet on this market that some firms quote today’s Jewson winner Benefficient at low odds. He must be a very likely non runner and it’s a bit cheeky for those firms to include and then take a Rule 4 deduction – wait until he is declared a NR before playing with them
Recommendation; No Bet
Hope everyone has had an enjoyable Festival and good luck for the final day, Paul