Cheltenham 2016 – Day 2
…but first a review of Day 1
14 pts were staked on the blog selections and that gave a return of 18.55 pts on the day (4.55 pts profit)
This was thanks largely to Altior kicking off the meeting in the best possible way with an impressive win in the opener.
Double Shuffle ran as well as could be expected to finish 3rd in the last having had every chance. Place returns there added to the funds.
The New One had no excuses in finishing 4th in the Champion Hurdle behind Annie Power. I really hope the winner isn’t shunted back to the Mares Hurdle next season when her stablemate Faugheen returns now. Altior should also be a potent challenger for that crown.
Out Sam, as I half feared found a furiously run handicap too much too handle at this stage of his career.
The real disappointment of the day was the performance of Polly Peachum in the Mares Hurdle. For one so experienced she jumped very stickily today and was up against it from a very long way out
…and now the day 2 picks
Already mentioned quickly in the weekend preview I’m a huge fan of Yanworth and think he’s a cut above these. At least he does have a serious challenger now in the guise of Yorkhill but the manner of Yanworth’s victory last time suggested he could be right out of the top drawer. He easily disposed of Charbel before that at Ascot and that one ran a decent race in the Supreme today to advertise the form.
6pts win YANWORTH 6/4 (Betfair Sportsbook)
More of That definitely has the best hurdling form and coped with the Cheltenham fences fine earlier in the year. He’s a horse who has had his problems since a brilliant win in the World Hurdle in 2014. Better ground here should be in his favour.
In the past I’ve largely concentrated on Irish bred 7yos for this race as they have a remarkably good record. The likeliest winner on that stat is No More Heroes who wouldn’t be as good over hurdles but looks to be more of a chasing natural which should narrow the gap between them. With all his form on softer conditions the ground may be a slight concern but on breeding it may well suit him.
Seeyouatmidnight was very proficient at the fences here earlier in the year and on the form on his win there over Blaklion would be a threat. He did have a minor setback after that which caused this Scottish raider to miss his intended prep race at Wetherby. His one run since wasn’t that impressive and is a little offputting.
I’m undecided on this race and it looks like a No Bet
The Coral Cup remains as competitive as ever and 5 places is a must if betting each way.
Not a race to go mad on but I think Long House Hall is still fairly unexposed and is back over hurdles after an unfortunate time over fences here before Christmas. The drying ground is in his favour and I’ll be having a small interest at 16/1
0.5 pts ew LONG HOUSE HALL @16/1 (Corals offering ¼ 12345)
The 2 mile Champion Chase is the showpiece event of the day. I wasn’t convinced that Un de Sceaux merited short price favouritism on his general form before his last win at Ascot. That effort marked him up considerably in my view and he is the one to beat.
He likes to be prominent in his races and a lot will depend on how he copes with the attention of Just Cameron and Special Tiara around him for the early lead.
Sprinter Sacre is the best 2 mile chaser I have seen for many years but he looked a shadow of the horse he was last season after health problems. He has started to redeem himself this season although still not jumping with quite the same flair he once did. If he is still 7-10lbs below his best ever level I believe that will still be good enough to win this on a course that suits him very well (much more so than his narrowly beaten Kempton foe Sire de Grugy). The question is how much he has regressed.
It would be fantastic to see him bounce back and win this for the rider who really made him what he was in his early career, Nico de Boinville. I’ll be cheering him for largely sentimental reasons (more than financial ones).
Felix Yonger has been touted as an each way pick at some Preview nights. I wasn’t sure he was at home on the course when he ran as a novice in the JLT a couple of years ago. His jumping let him down a bit there for me and I think it may be put under the test again over this shorter trip.
For blog purposes it’s a no bet race
The Cross Country Chase doesn’t really interest me for betting but I have followed the slightly quirky Third Intention for many years and if this course sparks his interest he shouldn’t be 20/1 on normal park course form. Join me jumping over the cliff again if you like!
Already on Diego du Charmil here as mentioned in the weekend preview blog but he’s gone short enough now at 6/1 and I won’t be topping up any more at that.
At big odds, I’ll throw Duke Street up as a recommendation. He’s a half brother to another decent NH performer for Dr Richard Newland’s Act of Kalanisi but was still thought well enough of on the flat to contest the Ebor meeting.
He’s already looked like a better horse over hurdles and has a win over the much worse off Duke of Medina already under his belt.
I suspect that he’ll be better suited by the decent ground he faces here and had a nice prep on the All Weather for this. I’m hopeful he can make up in some small way for the sad loss of the stable’s The Govaness at Cheltenham today
He makes decent each way appeal in what could be a very informative race for the future
0.5 pts ew DUKE STREET 25/1 (Bet 365 offering ¼ odds 12345)
The better ground could come as a big shock to many of these Bumper performers who have all been racing on deeper ground over the winter.
Assuming that it may be verging on good ground by tomorrow I’m siding with one horse who should have less trouble than most as he’s a real flat bred. High Bridge’s dam Ameerat won the 1,000 Guineas and I doubt when he was born that a trip to the Cheltenham Festival was envisaged.
He’s a late developer and did run on decent ground over the course before Christmas. The form of his second place there wouldn’t be good enough to win this but he looks to have improved significantly since.
The form of his last easy win at Catterick has been well advertised since by those finishing behind.
I suspect he may need further than this trip but with a strong pace very likely it should place more of a premium on his stamina (taking more after his sire Monsun than his mother on that score)
It’s John Ferguson’s last season as a National Hunt trainer. He’s fired numerous shots at the Festival before without success. I’m hopeful that he can finally break that duck here (2nd in this race with New Years Eve previously in 2012)
As per usual, Willie Mullins fires several bullets at this race with 6 entries. It’s anyone’s guess which is the best of these and the market doesn’t always get it right with his entries.
Look for firms who pay out on 4 places here for each way betting.
0.75 pts ew HIGH BRIDGE @14/1 (Bet Victor paying ¼ oods 1234)
Thanks for reading once more and good luck with whatever you back
Wednesday Lunchtime Update
Little more than an hour to go before the action kicks off.
There’s still some 6/4 about on Yanworth in the opener although he’s now slightly less on the exchanges. A lot will now depend on if the owner JP McManus gets involved in the betting ring – and if the bookies want to try and get the first favourite of the day.
More of That is seeing stronger support than Mo More Heroes in the RSA currently.
The 16/1 I advised on Long House Hall disappeared last night but is available again now with 5 places as he has drifted a small bit on the exchanges today
With plenty offering 11/2 on Sprinter Sacre now in the Champion Chase I will probably have a small ew bet with 1/4 odds a place available. That gives 11/8 on the place part of the bet and he’s no more than Evens to do that on the exchange.
With one firm offering 15/2 on Diego du Charmil in the red Winter last night I thought he might drift out to 8/1 today and become a blog bet. He hasn’t moved above 7/1 today however and can’t be considered weak in the market. There seems to be confidence behind quite a few here. There is a smattering 0f 28/1 Duke Street available now but that is with a firm paying only 4 places so Bet 365’s 25/1 with 5 places remains the preferred option
There has been a bit of support for the blog selection High Bridge in the last and 12/1 is now the best available there
No extra bets today from those advised last night so todays selections remain:
6pts win YANWORTH 6/4
0.5 pts ew LONG HOUSE HALL 16/1 (1/4 12345)
0.5 pts ew DUKE STREET 25/1 (1/4 12345)
0.75 pts ew HIGH BRIDGE 14/1 (1/4 1234)
9.5 pts staked in total today
Good Luck all!