I wasn’t planning to cover this race until the night before but after scanning the 5 day declarations and the latest odds there are a couple of bets to be had in the race for me.
Wednesday’s final event has the betting dominated by the Irish challengers. That’s not entirely surprising when we consider their blanket bombing of this event has resulted in 16 of the 21 wins since its inception.
Willie Mullins as per usual heads the attack with 3 likely runners (Shaneshill, Black Hercules and Killultagh Vic) – he has a fine record in the race but it’s always a guessing game as to which of his is best and the bookies take no chances with having them all trading at 10/1 or less. One of them may turn out to be another superstar but unless privy to stable info that one is significantly better then there is hardly much value there
Dermot Weld also has a couple near the front of the odds (Siver Concorde and Vigil) but worth noting his record in the race is quite poor – even his subsequent Ascot Gold Cup winner Rite of Passage could do no better than 3rd
With the Irish runners mostly so short (and many having form on much softer ground than is likely now) the value bets for me come from the home side where odds are more generous.
The unbeaten Modus is the shortest price of the GB runners based on a very impressive course win on Jan 1 on soft ground. While he looked very good I do find myself questioning what he actually beat that day and I find myself drawn more to another bumper run at the course in November for my selections.
The bumper run at the Open meeting in November looked very strong at the time and the exploits since of the winner Red Sherlock do nothing to dispel that.
He pulled clear with Carningli and Our Kaempfer in the home straight with some good subsequent winners (Wadswick Court and Cogry) well in their wakes.
Carningli didn’t exactly advertise the form next time but ground could well be to blame for that.
However the impression I took most at the time was that the very green looking Our Kaempfer could ultimately prove the best horse in the race.
He hasn’t been seen since but I’m sure that’s down to the ground (his full brother Clondaw Kaempfer has won on soft but has always had suspicion that it doesn’t really suit him as well). Lack of experience may be an issue but the engine is definitely there and 33/1 more than outweighs the downsides.
Looking back at the race again however did provide another notable eyecatcher – Neck or Nothing. Irish trained at the time (sold for 200k two days before the race) – he now represents same connections as successful with Cheltenian in this race in 2011.
Neck or Nothing’s run is worth a look on video as he was moving ominously behind the pack when losing all chance with an acrobatic display after spooking and trying to jump a road before the home turn. The birds had flown by the time he had righted himself but he was still spotted putting in a nice finish up the hill and there was clear indication he had the ability to be seriously involved in the finish if that hadn’t happened
I also suspect he has been saved since to keep away from the bad winter ground and am sure that Philip Hobbs will have him fit enough for this
If the ground were still to stay too soft there must be a chance the either or both will not run so betting with NRNB is a must here (if ground does stay soft then I also consider Definitly Red overpriced currently – would be much shorter I’m sure if his stable was higher profile – will save that for nearer the time though as ground not looking to go that way right now)
1pt ew Our Kaempfer 33/1 NRNB (BetVictor, Stan James)
1pt ew Neck or Nothing 25/1 NRNB (available fairly generally but avoid Will Hill who do not offer the nrnb concession)
Odds link for the race available here: http://www.oddschecker.com/cheltenham-festival/champion-bumper/winner