Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Cheltenham is nearly upon us!



Not long now - only 7 more sleeps and it will be here !! - yes that end of the afternoon feeling when you keep pulling out more and more losing betting slips from your pockets but no cash....we've all been there and we will no doubt all go there again at some point.

Fear not though, help is at hand. I will not be going to the festival. I will be trying to keep you in touch with reality from the comfort of my armchair armed with up to date information throughout each day.

However before that - Last night I went to the Cheltenham Festival preview night in Aintree.... an annual pilgrimage that I do with delight as I listen to the pundits and trainers make me even more confused than I am now. 
The horses that I thought were dead certs are now becoming less appealing and I even begin to ask myself why are they even running??!!
You have to get a grip - it's Cheltenham!!!!! - everybody has their own views and opinions and if you feel strongly about a horse then you have to stick with it come what may.

That said last night Ben Pauling was as confident as he could be about Barters Hill and thinks he will take a "massive amount of beating". He says he has done a lot of work with his jumping since his last run, in which he lost a shoe, and 7 wins from 7 runs tells it all. He just keeps beating everything that is put up against him and he must, as his trainer says, have a massive chance.

He was also keen on A Hare Breath who returned to the track in November and was backed off the boards when winning a Class 3 at Cheltenham after doing some useful pieces of work. BP thought, in his words, he would "piss up" next time out back at Cheltenham the following month but says he did too much trying to get into the race and finished 4th. 
Next time out though, at Kempton, on 25/01 he got back to winning ways and won there with very little fuss off 134h - with the handicapper raising him just 3lbs to 137h.
BP thinks he is a 150 horse and thinks he will go exceptionally well in the County Hurdle.

He also thought Local Show would have an outstanding chance in the 4m National Hunt Chase as they go off at level weights in that and he is one of the highest rated in the race.

From the Henderson yard, to which he is still close, he was full of praise for Josses Hill in the Ryanair Chase and Whisper in the World Hurdle. 
I like it when trainers big up other trainers horses.

Charlie Longsdon was also in attendance but he didn't seem as open as BP about his horses chances over the meeting, save for Our Kaempfer in the Pertemps who he thinks is well handicapped on 139h - however that is a race were most of the field are well handicapped. 
CL further said that Kalane would wait for the Mares Hurdle at Cheltenham in April, Ballydine would be a better horse next year and that Kilcooley should be shorter in the betting than he was for the World Hurdle and that Richard Johnson will ride.

Stopwatch man Andy Holding put up Arbre De Vie as his nap of the meeting and Bristol De Mai as his second best. 
He also had strong advice for The Governess(Mares Hurdle), Vyta Du Roc(RSA), Felix Yonger(Queen Mother), Village Vic(Ryanair), Morning Assembly(Ultima Handicap Chase) and Campeador(Fred Winter) amongst others.
He says he has been close to the Warren Greatrex stable and was very keen on Cole Harden retaining his crown in the World Hurdle and Missed Approach in the Pertemps who he says has been laid out for the race.

Another horse thought to have big chance at the festival is Diego Du Charmil(Fred Winter) who is reported to be a "flying machine" at the Nicholls yard and whose mark has been protected by not running which we have seen them do in the past.

On another note Gordon Elliott has a number of live chances throughout the meeting and he could be a bet for top trainer at the festival.

The bumper was pretty much left alone but having put blog readers onto the last two winners of that race I can tell you that I'm already on High Bridge who showed an impressive turn of foot to win at Catterick and if anything can out speed him up the home straight then they deserve to win.

There were a lot more horses mentioned but I've tried to keep it down to what I think were the most relevant pieces of information as it can all become a bit too confusing.

Hopefully that's whet your appetite for Cheltenham a little bit more and pointed you in the direction of some winners.

I will be back with another post later in the week and I will be with you every day next week.

Good Luck!!

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