Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Cheltenham Day 1 2017

Thought I would do a quick post just to outline my thoughts for this years day one of the festival.
Its really unusual not to see any Nicholls hotpot in any of the races and he must be thinking back to previous years today when he had a grasp on most of the championship races.

Anyway with the going drying out all the time there shouldn't be any excuses and we should get a decent pace in all races.

1.30 The Supreme Novices only has 14 runners and its fairly wide open contest in my view as there's no outstanding horse. The one with the best form is probably Ballyandy and you have to respect the Mullins yard as they think they have something out of the ordinary with Melon-and they should know given the dearth of talent they've seen in their stable over the years. I backed High Bridge last year ew and I'm doing so again as I think 20's is a good price considering he's been unbeaten since and with a lot of the races at the festival your more likely to win more money on the horses finishing in the places than backing the favs! Of the others I was impressed by Glaring first time out and he was unlucky next time when making a mistake at a crucial moment so 50/1 about his chance is value too!

2.10 This looks like a penalty kick for Altior although there's always the chance he could make a mistake or even fall. One to take advantage could be Royal Caviar for Mullins/Walsh who probably represents the best Irish form and 14/1 is a decent price for something from this stable and he must have ew prospects. Other than that it seems a substandard race to me.

2.50 The first handicap of the meeting and it looks a belter with numerous fancied horses and no doubt some held back to protect their handicap marks leading into the race. Its often said you need to be a stone ahead of the handicapper to win any handicap at the festival and therefor with that in mind I would be looking at a few down the bottom end of the handicap for the places.
Pilgrims Bay stands out for me and I think he has been overlooked because everyone's banging on about the stables other runner The Druids Nephew. Pilgrims Bay won a big handicap at Kempton last month and in did so in a canter- he didn't win by far because he tends to idle when he hits the front and as a result he only went up 8lb but he looked value for more than that and he is only 7yo with limited mileage. The going will be right up his street as will the fast pace and the only problem is whether he will be suited to the track as he's not run here before but he's at the right end of the handicap and at 33/1 represents great ew value with those who are paying out 5 places.
Others that have ew potential are Label Des Obeaux, A Good Skin, Go Conquer and Vintage Clouds.

3.30 The Champion Hurdle is another race today that seems to be lacking in depth and I haven't really goy any solid views on this. I've backed Moon Racer here before so I'm sticking with him because of his course record and Wicklow Brave must be a lively outsider given his previous form and he won the County Hurdle here so knows his way round and he could be massively over priced at 33/1 - if you can still get it!

4.10 I can't see how anything is going to get past the Mullins runners here as nothing else looks good enough and it could be an Irish 1, 2, 3, 4!! - Jer's Girl strikes me as the best ew alternative. I remember her winning at Aintree and I was blown away by the speed she showed on the run in that day.

4.50 The 4 miler threw up a great field in hindsight last year and could do so again. Edwulf is well ahead on the ratings and as he has one of the best amateurs on board he could take some stopping. I've heard he will relish the distance but its just a case of whether the going has dried out too much for him. Each way value could lie in something like What A Moment at the huge odds of 100/1. No I've not gone mad - he did win here back in November and I thought then that he would be back at the festival and he went into my notebook. He will like the going and the stable think he will be fine with the distance so he is a lively outsider. Tiger Roll could offer a bit of value too and of course you can't rule out Mr J J Codd on a A Genie In A Bottle who has an excellent record at the track.

5.30 The final race will be either be a welcome sight or you will have packed up for the day if you've had a bad run. It's another wide open event save that the Twiston Davies team seem pretty bullish about Foxtail Hill's chances - but that stable has been under a bit of a cloud lately. Of the outsiders I would be keen on Venetia Williams Burton's Well - I backed him when he won at Uttoxeter and he looked an old fashioned chasing sort and he may well have some improvement to come and the stable is in cracking form once again!

No selections as such as Cheltenham is a meeting with so many views but if I've pointed you in the right direction on something that will be good enough for me.

Good Luck!!

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