A sad day today with the Champion Hurdle result being marred by the sad loss of one of racing’s up and coming stars, Our Conor during the race.
His terrible mishap may well have cost The New One the race also, leaving a bittersweet taste in the mouth regarding the final result.
The blog picks haven’t shone today recording a 12 point loss but tomorrow is another day ands so ‘once more unto the breach’:
1.30 Neptune Novices Hurdle
¼ odds 123 generally available
A classy event but I think it concerns the fron 4 in the betting and at the moment value doesn’t jump out on any.
Faugheen has been touted as Mullins’s top novice hurdler through the winter (Vautour won Supreme today). He certainly seems to have an engine but his wins haven’t been without jumping errors and he’ll need to sharpen that up here. His bumper form deserves special mention having beaten today’s Supreme 2nd Josses Hill by 20 lengths! Some vibes from the stable in preview evenings in the last couple of weeks were slightly negative
Stablemate, Rathvinden has had more positive vibes recently and ran second to Red Sherlock here in January, the pair pulling well clear of their field (albeit on softer ground) in the manner of two class acts. They should be close again but despite his tail swishing antics, Red Sherlock is a tough type who often looks to do just enough in his races. I think he may confirm that form and there is no obvious reason he won’t go on this ground.
Nicky Henderson had a woeful record in this race until Simonsig finally did the business and ground is maybe more of a concern for Royal Boy. He appears weakest of the big 4 for me now.
Of the 4, I have marginal preference for Red Sherlock at the odds of 4/1 but they are all a bit skinny for betting unless one of the firms goes ¼ 1234 this evening
2.05 RSA Chase
¼ odds 123 generally available – current odds here http://www.oddschecker.com/horse-racing-betting/2014-03-12-cheltenham/14:05/winner
The two selections I made in my January update post are still here and I am happy to leave it at that. https://thefinalfence.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/cheltenham-2014-january-ante-post-preview/ .
This is an open race and I still think the Irish runners are too short in an open field. As previously mentioned in the blog, Annacotty is one I would like to keep on side as well as the two selections and would not put anyone off backing him at 20s (may get a few of these in trouble with his attacking front running style, although may prefer the ground a little softer)
1pt ew Le Bec 16/1
1ptew O’ Faolains Boy 25/1
(the latter carries my strongest hopes for this race now that Barry Geraghty is confirmed aboard – some may think the good ground may not suit but he has point to point form on the surface)
2.40 Coral Cup
Most firms offering ¼ odds 12345 (avoid any offering first 4 because of this) http://www.oddschecker.com/horse-racing-betting/2014-03-12-cheltenham/14:40/winner
Highly competitive handicap but worth nothing that nothing has ever won from a mark of 147 or above, despite some good placed efforts from the high weights.
One of those efforts was from Get Me Out of Here (second off 155 in 2012) and he’s had a quiet time this season up to now where he is reunited with Tony Mc Coy. On better ground, a bold effort would not be surprising but he does have a killer stat to overcome to win off 148. 25/1 is fair though and I certainly see him placing again.
I put up Meister Eckhart for this race last year and he ran a great race to be 2nd off 143. The stable’s runners ran well on Tuesday but he is 6lb higher and that rise just puts me off supporting him again.
The lighter weights appear to be the best place to look and there are two that give the impression of being ‘laid out’ for this.
Clondaw Kaempfer, came to Donald McCain with a big reputation last year and it was noted then by the trainer that soft ground wouldn’t be the horses favourite surface. McCain had Son of Flicka spot on for this race a couple of years ago and I can foresee a big run. The one negative for me is his lack of course experience which sways me instead towards Bayan who recorded a second here last year
Bayan represents another previous winning trainer in Gordon Elliott and looks to have been put away for this since December. Elliott certainly got this race right with Carlito Brigante who bolted up in the same colours and Bayan will get the ground he performs best on
1pt ew Bayan 12/1 (generally available)
3.20 Queen Mother Champion Chase
¼ odds 123 generally available http://www.oddschecker.com/horse-racing-betting/2014-03-12-cheltenham/15:20/winner
With reigning champion Sprinter Sacre sidelined this has a more open look and is further thrown into confusion with the three horses I consider to have best form in the race – Sire De Grugy, Arvika Ligeonneire and Somersby all having shown their best form outside of Cheltenham.
With the ground getting quicker also there seems to be a general drive by the firms to try and ‘get’ Sire De Grugy but they could overdo it here and he is gradually verging into value territory.
He has finished second twice in his two starts here but they weren’t bad runs and I’m sure Jamie Moore would have liked to have ridden the race again and come later after being nabbed by McCoy inspired Kid Cassify on the run in.
He is the best 2 mile chaser in the country and now he’s got to 3/1 I will be playing as I think that’s just too much – his Ascot win last time represented another jump forward in his form to me.
So the recommendation is 3pts win Sire De Grugy @3/1 or better (now available with a few firms)
4.00 Cross Country Chase
A nice spectacle to watch is my tactful description of this race. Since watching the field dawdle round until the final home turn in A New Story’s year and then all go for a mass sprint in the home straight – crowding each other in the process, I have been turned off it as a betting medium
No Bet thank you very much
4.40 Fred Winter Hurdle
1/4 odds 1234 generally but again check for those who offer 5th place payouts again http://www.oddschecker.com/horse-racing-betting/2014-03-12-cheltenham/16:40/winner
Always a competitive race but there is a notable stat favouring the highest flat rated horses in the race. Here that seems to be a toss up (96 rating each) for Goodwood Mirage (eyecatching run last time) and Orgilgo Bay (once rated 103). The better ground could see both of them improve and the latter has already been backed from early quotes of 33/1 today.
1pt ew Goodwood Mirage 10/1 (BetVictor, Hills)
0.5 pts ew Orgilgo Bay 20/1 (Sportingbet – who pay out 5th here also)
5.15 Champion Bumper
Generally ¼ 123 but some firms offering ¼ 1234 now http://www.oddschecker.com/horse-racing-betting/2014-03-12-cheltenham/17:15/winner
Covered a few days ago in a previous blog post, both of those I put up there are running and content to stick with them – prices haven’t altered too much since https://thefinalfence.wordpress.com/2014/03/07/cheltenham-bumper-preview/
1pt ew Neck Or Nothing 25/1
1pt ew Our Kaempfer 33/1
Thanks for reading once more
4.40 Have a sneaking feeling about Hawk High in this. Don’t consider him especially well weighted on what he has done but have a strong suspicion he could improve markedly on this ground. The Easterby threat is not what it was in the 70s and 80s but he only has a couple of entries at the meeting and doubt he would just send this down for a day out
0.25 pts ew Hawk High @40/1 added to portfolio