Heavy rain is expected at Cheltenham later tonight which makes life very difficult to do any kind of analysis. I wouldn’t want to be in Tom Segal’s Pricewise shoes this evening when he has to put forward selections not knowing if the ground will stay good or turn to soft tomorrow.
Until we are armed with this knowledge I won’t be making much in the way of selections until tomorrow morning when the blog will be updated but will put some initial thoughts down below
5mm of rain overnight will ease the ground a little but not enough to inconvenience too many – dry at moment but rain could still threaten
Day 3 didn’t provide any winners. Saphir Du Rheu, Ma Filleule and Rawnaq all contributed some place money to the coffers by reaching the frame. 7 pts were returned on day of the race bets (loss of 6.5 pts) and there was a 2 pt profit from the Ante Post portfolio.
A run down of the final day’s card:
1.30 Triumph Hurdle
¼ 123 generally available but in the good old days this was usually ¼ 1234 and a few firms are starting to offer that
Peace and Co has looked the star in this division this season and is justifiably favourite. His last win over Karezak came in a very slowly run event and it will be a world away from the fast pace tomorrow. I have a slight niggle that he may not stay as well as others up the final hill in a strongly run event and will be looking to oppose tomorrow at under 3/1. There were similar musings from several Preview nights and I wonder if the bookies will try to get him tomorrow. It could be a case of overdoing it if they do and if he were to get to 4/1 then he might be worth a dabble.
If the rain doesn’t have much effect I think stablemate Hargam has a lot going for him. Both he and the favourite have annihilated Starchitect this season and that one did no harm to the form with an excellent run here earlier in the week. It it does turn soft then Hargam’s claims will lessen- he can cope with it but seems a much better horse on a decent surface.
Beltor has looked impressive in two starts but his form lines weren’t advertised quite so well in the Fred Winter race.
Top Notch looks to be Simon Munir’s second string but could become a much stronger player if the heavens open.
The aforementioned Karezak has been beaten by many of these this season but always performed with great credit. I don’t think he’ll mind what ground it is and I really think he is crying out for the strongly run race he’ll get here. He’s the interesting one for me if firms offer a good enough price with 4 places as he is so consistent at this level
Hargam still a big player under current conditions but the rain will bring stamina into play more.The firms offering 1/4 1234 are where I’ll be looking and Karezak will be hard to keep out of the finish for me.
0.75pts ew Karezak @20/1 (365, Stan James – both offering the extra place concession)
2.05 County Hurdle 2 miles
¼ odds 12345 should be available here and has to be used in such a competitive race
Quite a compact field in terms of ratings for this this year and only 12lbs separating them all. It doesn’t quite have the class at the top pf the field as per usual and although the stats favour lower weights I don’t think that might matter as much as they are all so close.
Quick Jack is being backed as if he’s the handicap plot that many expect.
If the rain doesn’t come my eyes are drawn to top weight Hawk High (handicap winner here last year) and Commissioned (god only knows why they ran him last time when they already knew he hated soft ground!).
It’s wait and see for those two and back to the drawing board if the heavens do open
What rain that has come may still be enough to scupper Commissioned’s chances but Hawk High can still operate on Good to Soft (any more rain might be a problem). Lots of Irish raiders who could have been laid out for this – I don’t think Quick Jack is that well handicapped – but Noel Meade’s pair Rich Coast and Waxies Dargle are both of interest at over 20/1
2.40 Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle 3ml
All ¼ 123 for now but I would be surprised if someone went an extra place as it much the most competitive of the novice hurdles this week
We have Blaklion Ante Post for the blog already here and I doubt he’ll be affected by whatever the rain does. His two Challow Hurdle conquerors both ran well on Wednesday and he’ll be much better suited by this 3 miles. I think he’ll reverse Doncaster form with Caracci Apache now he’s back on this course. His price hasn’t changed much since I put him up and some 14/1 is available – I think that price is very still
Value At Risk is the main danger I think and he might prefer a bit of rain. He looks like he’s crying out for this 3 mile trip and his course experience here in January is a positive.
No More Heroes doesn’t have the same previous run here and wasn’t right when beaten last time. He really needs the ground to soften up a fair bit for me – but if that does happen he does have the class to be involved.
I’m less convinced by Black Hercules’s claims and how they relate to his price here. He looks a real stayer but hasn’t got the strength of form that other Mullins novices have had this week (its that stable connection that makes his price so low for me)
1pt ew Blaklion 12/1
The overnight rain will be a bonus to Value At Risk and I’ll be backing up the Blaklion bet with him (who also won’t mind the ease in going). No More Heroes may need further rain yet.
Recommendation 1pt ew Value At Risk 11/1 (Paddy Power)
3.20 Gold Cup 3ml 2fur
The piece de resistance of the whole meeting and quite possibly the trickiest conundrum all week
A few firms already offering ¼ 1234 and I don’t blame them – if ever a non handicap needed it this would be it
I don’t think I could really rule out any of the 16 likely runners with great confidence.
Silviniaco Conti is the form horse and if this race were run anywhere else might well be my pick. His record at Cheltenham (looked likely to win last season but didn’t get home) is a negative and will surely have me looking elsewhere for a pick. Quite what to pick is ground reliant though and for tomorrow! Previous good Festival or form on the course form is a must for me so ones I will likely be ruling out as well as the fav are Carlingford Lough and Djakadam, who both didn’t shine here last season
We will have a proper stamina test here with that extra bit of rain and Coneygree, Many Clouds and Silviniaco Conti all wanting to be prominent. I’d love to see Coneygree the novice do well but Gloria Victis and Lanzarote both paid the ultimate price for jumping into the top level too early in their chasing careers – above all I just hope he comes back safe! His jumping will put others under pressure early though. I’d be looking for something with proven course form that stays very well.
Holywell fits that bill and always comes to peak form at the Festival where he is 2/2. It’s no negative that he is ridden by Richie McLernon (rather than AP McCoy who rode him in both of those victories). Jumping is a slight concern at this high level and I think he could be a drifter in the market today. 12/1 at the moment won’t drag me in but if he goes 16/1 with a firm offering 1234 I think I’ll bet.
Last years winner Lord Windermere won’t want too much extra rain but has also a great Festival record and has become too big at 20/1. I thought he ran a great trial last time at Leopardstown before condition told and will have be trained to be at his peak for this again.
Smad Place is the other at a big price. On this season’s form he’s up against it but he has consistently performed well at Grade 1 events at the festival and I expect him to be staying on at the finish.
0.5pts ew each
Lord Windermere 20/1
Smad Place 33/1
both with Skybet offering 1/4 1234
4.00 Foxhunters 3ml 2fur
¼ 1234 offered by some here – others just first 3
You really need a good knowledge of the Point to Point scene to have an opinion here – and I’m lacking a bit in that department. Unlikely I’ll be having any substantial bets here.
There will be a big difference in the abilities of the amateur jockeys competing and that can’t be ignored .
Salsify is a previous winner on the comeback trail from injury. On The Fringe has been placed in this but slightly disappointing given his reputation on both occasion. Paint The Clouds looks bets of the home trained team and has a previous course win albeit over hurdles.All meet the criteria of having a top Amateur on board
Carsonstown Boy was second last year (On The Fringe 3rd) so is interesting at bigger prices. From a jockey perspective I can’t ignore Aerial either who was a decent 150+ horse when trained by Paul Nicholls and has won his last two Points.
Any further PTP insight is greatly appreciated here though!
The fact they have form in this race, have good jockeys and the extra place concession all prompt me to these two each way as I’ll be amazed if neither hit a place at very least
1pt ew On The Fringe 8/1
0.5pts ew Carsonstown Boy 14/1 (unfortunately Pricewise took the 20s last night)
Both fairly widely avaialble but it must be with one of the firms offering 1/4 1234
Onto the two last handicaps – not races to be chasing losses on for sure
4.40 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Hcap Hurdle 2ml 4fur
A Mullins trained /Gigginstown owned unexposed French import has won this twice in recent years (Don Poli and Sir Des Champs). Roi Des Francs has the same profile again and so is the obvious one to leap out – but not an attractive price as a result.
Killultagh Vic is interesting from the same stable off what could be a lenient mark
I think Killultagh Vic’s mark of 135 could be about 6-7lb les than it really should be and for that will be having an interest with Ladbrokes currently going well above the Betfair price
1pt ew Killultagh Vic 14/1 (Ladbrokes 1/4 12345)
(This price disappeared within a few minutes of posting unfortunately but 12/1 still worth a bet if available)
5.15 AP Mc Coy Grand Annual Chase 2ml
This year named in honour of the retiring champion jockey. And that’s why his mount Ned Buntline is so short with bookies fearful of a plunge and a successful Festival send off.
I’m going to pass on this race for now and has have far too many still on the shortlist
Thanks for reading – and please check in tomorrow morning when hopefully we’ll know just what the forecast rain has done
Initial Bank 50pts
Current Balance 37.81pts
Ante Post Bets still to run 7pts
Day 4 bets 10.5 pts staked