Warbling. Opinion. Insight. Advice.

Cheltenham 2015 – Day 4

Call The Cops was another 9/1 winner for the blog yesterday, following in the hooves of Aux Ptits Soins on Wednesday. All in all, a very satisfactory festival’s punting so far and I’m confident going into Friday and the Gold Cup.

1.30 JCB Triumph Hurdle

The 7/4 about Peace and Co has evaporated as I write…to be replaced by a tasty looking 11/4. Despite getting on edge a little before his races, I have Peace and Co as the best of the Henderson trio and ahead of his rivals on what he has achieved so far and there is surely more to come. Beltor will be a tough nut to crack, but I think Peace and Co will get us off to a good start on Friday.

2.05 Vincent O´Brien County Handicap Hurdle

A typically unfathomanble renewal of the Vincent O’Brien and I won’t even hazard a guess at the winner. No bet.

2.40 Albert Bartlett Novices´ Hurdle

My next bet of the day comes in the 2.40 in the form of Black Hercules from the festival’s leading trainer Willie Mullins. He’s a big powerful type and will have come on again for his latest run. No More Heroes looks the danger but I wouldn;t put you off Harry Fry’s Thomas Brown at around 16/1 each way. But for me, It’s Black Hercules.

3.20 Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase

This is one of the most open Gold Cup’s in many year including the surprise victory of Lord Windermere last year. The champion is back to defend his title with a similar form profile to last season so don’t ignore his chance.  Many Clouds has a reasonable shout at around 10/1 and I like Coneygree at a similar price. I have Djakadam at a nice 16/1 – now only 7/1 in places – so won’t be adding more at this stage. He’s probably too short now. If I was to have a fresh bet based on the current prices, it would be Road to Riches at c. 12/1. I like the way he won his race last time and he should like the course and ground.

4.00 St. James´s Place Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup

Another minefield to negotiate. Hardly an original choice but I really to think, baring a fall, Paint The Clouds under sam Whaley-Cohen has a solid chance and looks a value bet even at 9/2.

4.40 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys´ Handicap Hurdle

Another race I am happy to swerve from a betting perspective – I wouldn’t be rushing to back the favourite though.

5.00 A.P. McCoy Grand Annual Chase Challenge Cup

There’s no more fitting way to bring the curtain down on AP McCoy’s final cheltenham festival than a race named in his honour. He’s onboard the favourite Ned Buntline and it would raise the roof if it were to win. You can almost imagine his peers let him past on the run-in if he’s within breathing distance. Somehow, I don’t think the fairytale will come true, and a better option is Chris Pea Green at around 22/1 – 25/1 for the Moore stable.

1 Comment »

Cheltenham 2015 – Day 3

Another profitable day thanks mainly to AUX PTITS SOINS in the Coral Cup, backed up by Don Poli and my lay of Sprinter Sacre. I’m hopeful of building on the first two winning days on day three.

1.30 JLT Novices´ Chase

For a long time in the ante post market, there was only one horse for the money, Willie Mullins’ Vautour. He was an impressive winner of the Supreme last season but hasn’t quite fulfilled my expectations for him this year. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still right up there but this looks competitive. I think Ptit Zig could go close if his fall last time hasn’t dented his confidence and the Mullins “second string” Valseur Lido is no back number. I see a Mullins 1-2 here but it might not be the order the market predicts.

2.05 Pertemps Network Final

Just the 24 runners to navigate in this one and it’s hard to discount many. If you fancy Call The Cops, as many do, then you also have to consider Brother Brian who beat him soundly the time before. I would perm the two in this one, but I will probably swerve this race for betting purposes.

2.40 Ryanair Chase

Gordon Elliot’s Don Cossack is favourite to land another Irish winner and has won his last four. I have been on Ma Filleulle at 8/1 for a few weeks now but my confidence is waning. I like John’s spirit for at least a place and Balder Sucess is solid. Perhaps the value in the race is Foxrock who can pay a compliment to Gold Cup hopeful Carlingford Lough with a good run here.

3.20 World Hurdle

With nothing like Big Bucks in the race, this is one of the biggest fields in recent years and an open contest. I like Lieutentant Colonel and Whisper, but I think the Paul Nichols’ pair of Saphir Du Rheu and Zarkandar might hold the key to this race. The trainer says they are inseparable on the gallops, but I prefer them in that order and think Saphir Du Rheu is worth a bet. At bigger prices, Reve De Sivola is worth a small investment and a bigger on in the place only market.

4.00 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate

Ultra competitive 24-runner handicap and I have a 20/1 antepost voucher on Ataglance who at only 10/1 is not worth a bet. At the single digit prices, I would opt for Buywise at this stage.

4.40 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase

A typically open renewal of the Kim Muir and a real pinstickers race. If pressed for a selection, I would opt for small each way bets on The Ould Lad and Clondaw Knight at around 16/1 and 25/1 respectively.

1 Comment »

Cheltenham 2015 – Day 2

1.30 Neptune Investment Management Novices´ Hurdle

This could be between the Mullins’ pair of Outlander and Nichols Canyon. The latter is the choice of Ruby Walsh, the start of #RubyTuesday. This looks to be one of AP McCoy’s best chances for success at the meeting with his mount Parlour Games, who just touched off the previously unbeaten Vyta Du Roc last time out. There should be little to choose from them again. I have Nichols Canyon marginally ahead, but this looks ultra competitive and this is one to watch for me.

2.05 RSA Chase

Another competitive renewal of the RSA, and Mullins is double handed again. His main hope though is Don Poli who I think is the most likely winner. He won the Martin Pipe at last year’s festival and has progressed significantly this year. His price is a bit skinny now, but I still think he’s worth an investment at around 9/4. Kings Palace and The Young Master should give the selection most to do.

2.40 Coral Cup

I don’t have a strong fancy in this year’s renewal, but I wouldn’t put you off a small each wager bet on AUX PTITS SOINS, the french import who is still unexposed. Often throws up a big priced winner so don’t be put off by backing a horse at “double carpet” or bigger.

3.20 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase

The Queen Mother Chase has always been one of my favourite races at the festival and one in which I have a great record in finding the winner. That said, this year’s renewal is as open as I can remember with so many questions to answer. Will Sprinter Sacre rediscovered his form and come back to his invincible best? Can Dodging Bullets improve again and put his relatively poor cheltenham record behind him? Can Sire De Gurgy defend his title? I think the juice has evaporated from most of these and perhaps Champagne Fever is a touch of value at 6/1. He has a tremdendous Cheltenham record and will be tuned up for the day. I have some ante post vouchers on him and Sire De Grugy. I really can’t see Spinter Sacre finding the improvement necessary to win this – but I will cheer if I’m wrong. I think SDG is worth a bet at 5/1 but he’s no 3/1 shot. If you’re not on already, I would watch and keep your powder dry.

4.00 Glenfarclas Handicap Chase

Another bookies benefit race, but I can’t resist having a small wager on Any Currency and Sire Collonges. Both should give you a run for your money and can both make the frame.

4.40 Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

A tricky grade 3 handicap in which you could have ten picks and still not find the winner. I’ll risk a few roubles on Zarib, who appeals as the type to improve and his profile is a good fit for the race. Umpteen others with a chance.

5.15 Weatherbys Champion Bumper

The word from the Mullins yard is that Bordini is the best in here, but Pylonthepressure isn’t far behind and is almost double the price. I have an antepost ticket on Bordini and may have a wee saver on his stablemate too.

Keep the stakes to a minimum today, the bookies will be out for revenge on day 2!

1 Comment »

Cheltenham 2015 – Day 1

It has been so long since my last blog entry that this rather feels like a visit to the confessional… “bless me punters for I have sinned, it has been three years since my last post….” But what better occasion to rekindle the bloggers’ torch, than the eve of the greatest horse racing festival on earth.

There has been so much analysis, punditry, media hype in the build up to this year’s festival that it hardly needs me – another public joe – to espouse his views on the event… but that’s rather the essence of the sport, isn’t it? However, it does mean I don’t need to justify my opinions in great detail as my rationale along with  every other angle and perspective has been documented for me. So instead, let’s jump two-wellied straight into the punting opportunities at tomorrow’s opening day.

1.30 Supreme Novices Hurdle

In some ways, the biggest race of the entire festival. Why? Obviously, it marks the start of the meeting and with it, the release of so much penned up anticipation and excitement. If you haven’t stood in the main stand as the Cheltenham roar builds like a wave as the horses come under starting orders, you haven’t lived.

As for the race itself, it all revolves around two horses: L’ami Serge for Nicky Henderson against Douvan from the all-mighty Willie Mullins string. On the form book, L’Ami Serge should be marginal favourite, but on potential and listening to anyone from the Mullins’ yard and you’d think Douvan was invincible. He’s not, the ground will ride faster than he’s encountered in his two most impressive wins, and Cheltenham is a one-off racing environment for a horse. That said, I’ve been on Douvan ante post for a long while and I won’t be topping up my bet or having a saver.

If I was having a few quid on an outsider, I’d go with Sizing John at around 40/1 – just don’t ask me why!

2.00 RP Arkle Challenge

If Douvan has won the opener, you won’t be able to find 4/6 on Un De Sceaux who has been long time favourite for this race and odds on for a long time too. I’m a layer of this horse, to fairly chunky stakes too. That’s not to say I think he’s not a worthy favourite or most likely winner or even has the most potential, it’s just 1.72 is no price about any horse running at Cheltenham (in my opinion). This horse will set off at a break-neck speed and look to jump his rivals into the ground. He may well do so and emerge victorious with the performance of the week, but I’m prepared to be against him. I rather think he’ll have one or two for company or close distance behind and that might unsettle him. He has also got on edge in the preliminaries before… so he almost certainly will tomorrow. And finally, he has to contend with the hill up the final 1.5 furlongs.. that might just see him vulnerable to a “closer” as our American cousins say. I’d rather have the field with me at these odds. I might yet lay off some/all in running, but the plan is to see it through as he falters up the hill.

2.40 Ultima Business Solutions Handicap Chase

My four against the sizeable field are The Druids Nephew, Ned Stark, What a Warrior and Barrakilla. However, I have backed just the one, The Druids Nephew despite being a big Games Of Thrones fan. Not a race to get heavily involved in, but hopefully I’m topping up my bank balance by 14.50.

3.20 Stan James Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy

The first Champion race of the meeting and my best bet of the entire week (unless something something goes badly wrong). No points for originality, but I’m firmly with the Faugheen machine and have backed him to win well. I decided last year that I would support him in whatever race he turned up for, and nothing has changed my mind since. This is a stellar renewal of the race in my opinion, and if he’s not turned out at his very best he can be beat. But at odds against, I think this is a 5 length victory for the Mullins’ superstar. The New One may just win the race for second.

4.00 OLBG Mares´ Hurdle

By this stage, the Bookies may already have suffered a Mullins’ mauling, in which case Annie Power will be massively over bet to win this. She’s up against her own sex and looks unopposable. I’d say she’s more certain that Que Vega was in recent years and will cruise this, despite not having had a recent run. I have Annie Power and Faugheen in a rare festival double so here’s hoping.

4.40 Toby Balding National Hunt Chase

Best named race of the week.Not a race I’m crazy for, but Very Wood is my selection (with the great Nina Carberry in the irons) if he makes the line up.

5.15 CHAPS Restaurants Barbados Novices´ Handicap Chase

If all has gone to plan, this is a “get out stakes” for the bookmakers not punters and sensible, sober backers will be making roads to the bar or out of the racecourse. This isn’t a race I have studied or care to partake in, but good luck if you do….but remember, there’s always tomorrow.

In other special bets, Ruby Walsh must be backed at 1.65 to carry off the Leading Jockey title… he might have it in the bag by Wednesday mid-afternoon!

Bon Chance!

1 Comment »

Football tips for the weekend

Here’s my bets for Saturday..

Aston Villa v Norwich – DRAW @ 3.75

Aston Villa v Norwich – Under 2.5 Goals @ 2.1

Aston Villa v Norwich – 1-1 Correct Score @ 6.5

Blackpool v Brighton – Under 2.5 Goals @ 1.96

Cardiff v Burnley – Over 2.5 Goals @ 1.62

Reading v Fulham – Fulham to win @ 2.6

Stoke v Sunderland – DRAW @ 3.4

Wigan v West Ham – Wigan to win @ 2.29


Leave a comment »