Cheltenham 2016 – Day 3 preview

16 Mar

Cheltenham Day 3

A quick review of Day 2 first.

The undoubted highlight was the renaissance of the ‘Black Aeroplane’ when Sprinter Sacre regained his 2 mile championship crown. It’s one of the most special moments I can remember at the Festival for some time.

I did pinpoint him in the blog but having thought that some of bet was for sentimental reasons I didn’t actually out him forward as a recommendation.

Diego Du Charmil won the Fred Winter (somewhat luckily) and was one of my early selections in the weekend preview.

The blog selections themselves had a losing day. Long House Hall could have been unlucky in finishing 2nd in the Coral Cup after finding himself in several positions late on despite travelling well. A small profit from him but the other recommendations didnt come through.

Yanworth covered far more ground than his conqueror Yorkhill in the opener but I don’t think it cost him the race. He remains a high class prospect but ran into one better today and it looked like Yorkhill idled a bit when ahead to me.

High Bridge and Duke Street both had every chance but werent good enough

So day 2 returned 2.5 pts from the 9.5 pts staked. On the week so far we now have a total of 23.5 pts staked and 21.05 pts returned.

Onto the selections for day 3….I’ve added an extra one to those published earlier in the last race

I’m finding more negatives than positives about most of the runners here.
You can’t fault Bristol de Mai’s jumping prowess this season for such a young horse. He’s always looked most effective on a soft surface for me though and I have to worry why connections have kept him away from their local course throughout his career so far.
He’s faced Garde La Victoire twice in his career – once over hurdles and once over fences – and come out worst both times. I haven’t been entirely convinced by the Hobbs representative’s jumping style thus far though and wouldn’t be surprised to see him make some mistakes when the taps are turned on in this race.
L’Ami Serge was a disappointment last time and has to bounce back from that. If he can he must be a big runner here.
I’m not a huge fan of Outlander and slightly prefer the other Mullins runner Black Hercules. He is taking a drop down in trip but looked very good at Warwick earlier in the season. He negatives are that he fell last time out and his previous course form has been a bit disappointing
Verdict is No Bet

Another very competitive handicap hurdle where 5 places are a must for each way betting purposes.
Mall Dini got a good word from Davy Russell at a Preview Night I attended last week but like so many Irish raiders he seems to have been treated rather harshly by the UK handicapper.
I have two at the top of my shortlist here.
If In Doubt proved he had a real engine when winning the Skybet Chase at Doncaster last season despite a hairy round of jumping. He’s back over hurdles now that his chasing technique never really progressed and won with enough in hand last time to suggest that a mark of 146 is not beyond him. I just wonder if he might prefer the ground a little slower.
On the likely decent ground my main fancy is Our Kaempfer who looks to have been kept back for this since an unfortunate case of being brought down when still travelling very well at Haydock. Prior to that he was given an eyecatching introduction at Chepstow and then was caught out by an enterprising front running ride on Broxbourne at Aintree. Like his brother, Clondaw Kaempfer, good ground is likely to see him at his most effective.
His run behind Thistlecrack at Aintree last season has worked out extremely well and I expect Noel Fehily to be producing him fairly late here. I’d be more confident still if the Charlie Longsdon stable had been in better form but still think he’s the one to beat here as believe he is a good bit better than his 139 mark

1pt ew OUR KAEMPFER @14/1 (Skybet ¼ odds 12345)

 * Evening update sees that Our Kaempfer has been very well backed since this was first posted mid afternoon. He’s currently a top priced 10/1 – hopefully a few got the better odds earlier*


The whole make-up of the Ryanair Chase changed yesterday when Vautour was included. He’s some way ahead of his rivals here and really should win. The only issue is the negative vibes which have emanated from Ireland in the last few weeks about his well being. Even at 90% of his best he should win but I can’t back him at likely odds on with those few seeds of doubt in my head.

No bet but there may be some value in looking at the ‘without the favourite’ market in this race as we get nearer the event. I may expand on that later this evening or tomorrow morning as more firms offer this option.


Previously alluded to in my weekend preview it’s hard for me to see beyond Thistlecrack on form this season. He’s won all the top 3 mile races easily and looking to have toms in hand. The quicker ground is the only issue but if he were trained by Team Mullins I’m sure he would be an odd-on shot here.

Cole Harden won this last year and will ensure a good gallop but I think he will need to step up again on that form to win this time (his preparation hasn’t been quite as trouble free this year). Alpha Des Obeaux would have been beaten by Thistlecrack at Aintree last year before falling. He should enjoy the ground also but will have to improve just as much as the selection and some more to win this.
I won’t put up Thistlecrack as a recommendation for now at 6/5. As he isn’t from one of the big betting stables I would not be surprised to his price drift tomorrow and will leave for now to see if that plan comes to fruition


Johns Spirit is very well in on past course form (albeit on the Old Course – they run this on the New Course tomorrow).
Jonjo O’Neill has already revitalised Holywell to run an excellent second yesterday so it wouldn’t be a shock to see him bounce back here.
At much bigger odds I’ll be having a little each way on Buckers Bridge. I think he’ll be much more effective over this trip and ground than some of the conditions he’s faced in Ireland recently. Trainer Henry de Bromhead has a decent strike rate at this meeting
0.5 pts ew BUCKERS BRIDGE @25/1 (Bet 365 and Winner Sports both offer ¼ odds 12345)


The new race of the meeting sees a potential hotpot in Limini, a very classy ex-French mare from the Willie Mullins stable. Her jumping technique is the big concern but it would be no surprise to see her backed strongly at short odds given some glowing reports from her stable recently (banker of the meeting suggested at some previews by connections)
As previously mentioned in the weekend blog, I really like Smart Talk as an each way bet here. She’s a tough mare with the look of a chaser who has improved with every race this season. She defeated another Mullins mare, Morning Run last time, and would have won by further but for a nasty error in the home straight.
She should be the one to take advantage of any jumping flaws from the favourite
Finding firms who offer ¼ odds a place on this race will give a big advantage
1.5 pts Ew SMART TALK @7/1 (Bet365 ¼ odds 123)


A competitive handicap for amateur riders.
Cause of Causes has fine form at previous Festivals and could have been plotted for this – a remark that also applies to the Pipe’s Doctor Harper.
The odds already reflect this though.
The more experienced amateur riders are worth their weight in gold in this type of race. Less experienced ones can have more of a problem judging the pace correctly and I am often looking for the jockey first before the horse’s form in races like this.
I’ve been very impressed by some of Katie Walsh’s rides this year even in defeat. I see the Pipe stable have engaged her here for what looks their second string, Top Wood. I’ll be having a little each way at a good price now that she is on board
0.5 pts Ew Top Wood @25/1 (Corals ¼ odds 1234)

*An extra selection added here since original blog posted this afternoon.

After going through the race again I came across Indian Castle lurking at the bottom of the handicap on a very workable mark of 134. His weight has fallen because of poor efforts on unsuitably soft ground but he looks well in on his effort at this meeting here last year off a higher mark in a better race. Ian Williams’ stable is in great form and has already secured a winner at this meeting with Ballyalton

I have to add him to the portfolio now

0.5 pts ew INDIAN CASTLE @20/1 (Bet 365 offering 1/4 odds 12345 the best on offer)

Thanks for reading once again



*Thursday lunchtime Update*

When Skybet went 6/4 Thistlecrack last night I was quite hopeful others who would be more likely to take a bet would follow suit. It didn’t last long though and he’s now back to 5/4 generally. It’s still a waiting game here and I’ll leave this for now. I will back him at 11/8 or bigger  if it appears.

Our Kaempfer continues to be well supported in the Pertemps with 9/1 no the best available. Hoping the market strength proves spot on there. As a hold up ride he will need the gaps to come right for him. I still may add a saver on If In Doubt ew with 5 places here

The Ryanair Chase sees the only extra bet in the ‘without the favourite’ market. I can’t believe that Vautour will be running in this if he can’t do himself justice. The vibes haven’t been encouraging in the run -up to this week but his form is some way ahead of the others.

This race seeming to be the real second choice behind the Gold Cup for the Gigginstown pair Road to Riches and Valseur Lido who would both be better suited by the Gold Cup. They are here to represent the owner who sponsors the race and he already has two contenders for tomorrow’s big race.

Valseur Lido would have finished behind Al Ferof in the King George if he had stayed on his feet and that race is by far the strongest piece of chasing form this season.

It’s far from ideal from a stats view to be supporting an 11 yo but he is the horse who has long had this race as his aim and is well experienced at the Festival.

I can’t see him being good enough to beat Vautour normally but with a strong pace assured can see him coming through late to be a place contender.

With that in mind I’m adding him in as a recommendation

1pt ew AL FEROF @13/2 without Vautour (Ladbrokes 1/5th odds 123)


So todays full list of selections is:

1pt ew Our Kaempfer 14/1 advised

1pt ew Al Ferof (w/o Vautour) 13/2 advised

0.5 pts ew Buckers Bridge 25/1 advised

1.5 pts ew Smart Talk 7/1 advised

0.5 pts ew Top Wood 25/1 advised

0.5 pts ew Indian Castle 20/1 advised

10 pts staked in total

*(If Thistlecrack were to go 11/8 later on he would be 4pts win – 6/4 would be 6pts win. Both not available as yet so will not be included in recommendations for the purposes of this blog)


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Posted by on March 16, 2016 in Uncategorized


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