With the first five day declarations in today excitement is building as we approach the Festival once more. (Tuesdays 5 day decs can be found here http://www.racingpost.com/horses2/cards/meeting_of_cards.sd?crs_id=11&r_date=2014-03-11&tab=sc_ )
It’s still hard to predict who runs where in some cases and what will the ground be like. Currently it’s soft (good to soft in places) but the forecast looks dry and good to soft looking more likely – and who knows we may even have genuine good ground at some point during the week. A word of warning though – the water table is so high that it would probably not take much rain for the ground to deteriorate so it’s still a bit of a ‘wait and see’. I’ll be blogging every night before each days racing next week but for now a quick recap through what was already put up in my last blog and how they look now
1pt ew Le Bec 16/1 – still generally 14 or 16 available and largely because Emma Lavelle’s charge hasnt run since so not much more to add! (havent heard anything negative since though)
1pt ew OFaolains Boy 25/1 – now offered between 12 and 16 max – his second chase run didnt go to plan but he did indeed return for the Reynoldstown where a nice win cemented his chance here. I believe better ground will suit and think he’s still overpriced on that effort. I’m hoping Barry Geraghty can renew his association with no obvious Henderson candidate for him to ride.
There still appears no obvious standout to me in this race and can see anything rated around 150 being able to win it.
I did put up Annacotty’s chances on Twitter after a fine effort last time out at Cheltenham when failing under a big weight after being taken on for the lead early. He was added to my portfolio at 33/1 and while I see 20/1 as a fair price I think the value margin is not quite enough to put him up on the blog at those odds (though wouldnt dissuade anyone from adding him)
A lot of preview nights seem to suggest the Irish challenge will outpoint the English here but I’m not so sure they are ahead and dont like the fact that none of their three main raiders have any course form here.
3pts ew Oscar Whisky 10/1 – now 7/1 best price and as low as 5/1
Oscar has run since in a not too impressive win at Sandown where the bad ground undoubtedly didnt help him. I dont take negatives from that – yes, it could have been visually better but it’s his Cheltenham record that is all important for our purposes. The better weather forecast is good news – good to soft would be ideal for Oscar – Felix Yonger would be the one I fear most if the ground does verge on good.
1pt ew Fox Norton 25/1 – Non Runner (LOSS – 2pts)
The perils of Ante Post betting struck here when he was taken out of the race a couple of weeks ago making this a losing bet. I dont know the reason for his withdrawal but it’s a shame as his form lines were working out nicely and hope to see Broughton advertising the Doncaster race now ( though suspect the hill may not suit this one as well as others)
2pts ew FIRST LIEUTENANT 12/1 – now as high as 16/1
Clearly made to look second best behind Last Instalment last time but the ground was too soft for him there. There is a question mark now if he runs in the Gold Cup or the shorter Ryanair Chase dependant on the ground. However, tonight the same owners Last Instalment is described as 50-50 to run and will only compete if the ground is soft. The weather forecast suggests it wont be and this would also suggest that First Lieutenant wil run in this race now on the ground he so dearly needs.
With ‘Non Runner No Bet’ now available there is some insuranced if he does run in the Ryanair (original bet would be a loser) and I think its worth bolstering what we have on this now as I think his place claims are so strong if he gets optimum conditions
Therefore another 1pt ew First Lieutenant (16/1 BetVictor taking NRNB) making 3pts ew in total
I firmly see Bobs Worth as the horse to beat here still (peerless 5/5 record at Cheltenham). I’m hopeful we may see some firms offering more lucrative prices than 2/1 come the day here and if any firms do tasty price boosts on him would take what you can there
Nothing to add for other races yet. The feature on Tuesday, the Champion hurdle doesnt offer any value at this stage to me. I feel a bit robbed here that the Mullins camp may not let Annie Power and Un De Sceaux take their chance in this race. I may be wrong but it all seems to be a grand effort to let Hurricane Fly have his best chance of winning (really not sure now is the time to see if Annie Power stays 3 miles in the World Hurdle instead). Thankfully, even if Un De Sceaux does not run we now have the inclusion today of Captain Cee Bee to provide some pace in the race. The New One won’t have to make the running now – My Tent or Yours won’t lose the race by pulling and we should have a case of the best horse winning with no excuses.
Back on Monday night for the real fun to start!