1.30pm Cheltenham – 2m½f (2m87y) (Old) Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4yo+)
IL ETAIT TEMPS
0.5 POINTS EACH WAY BET ADVISED AT 5/1 WITH THE FOLLOWING FIRMS PAYING 4 PLACES
0.5 POINTS EACH WAY AT A BEST PRICE 9/1 WITH BETFAIR SPORTSBOOK PAYING 4 PLACES
Sorry guys, running late due to technical problems with the website. Money has come for Facile Vega with the ground (officially Soft) coming in his favour but, with us each way punters and him having been beaten last time out (11 of the last 12 winners of this won their previous start), I have decided to take him on with Il Etait Temps (9/2) and Inthepocket (8/1). At even bigger prices, I wouldn’t put anyone off small each way stakes on Doctor Bravo (25/1) especially with several firms paying 4 places on the race.
Willie Mullins put Facile Vega’s defeat last time down to going off too fast but I watched the race back and simply don’t believe this was the only reason he got beat. Of course, he could get back on track today but at 2/1 there is little value in his price with that doubt having been sown. On the other hand, Il Etait Temps has been improving all the time (running to a Racing Post Rating of 158 last time) and could easily have more to come. He looks the safer option. I would like to have saw Inthepocket run over 2m4f in the Ballymore but the decision was made to keep him in this late on. He stays and with the ground going the way it has and this being a stiff 16.5f I can see him staying on up the hill when others have cried enough.
2.10pm Cheltenham – 2m (1m7f199y) (Old) Sporting Life Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5yo+)
1 POINT WIN BET AT 11/8
This looks a match between El Fabiolo and Jonbon on paper with them being well ahead of the rest of the field on ratings and I am firmly in the El Fabiolo camp. I just think he has faced better opposition than Jonbon with his his 10 length plus defeat of Banbridge, Dysart Dynamo, and Appreciate It last time looking like good form in the context of this race and better than anything Jonbon has achieved to date. So, I am going with proven form in the book rather than potential.
0.5 PTS EACH WAY BET ADVISED AT A WDIELY AVAILABLE 8/1
I do think there will be plenty of pace on so something like Saint Roi could pick up the pieces late on as he will be suited by the test.
2.50pm Cheltenham – 3m1f (Old) Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5yo+)
0.5 PTS EACH WAY BET ADVISED AT A 7/1 WITH THE FOLLOWING FIRMS PAYING 6 PLACES
This is an open looking 23-runner handicap so I was hopeful of finding some value but unbelievably the two I fancy most have been well found in the market. Both Monbeg Genius and Corach Rambler are 7/1 and can be backed each way to finish in the first 6 home. Skybet are offering slightly lower odds but are paying the first 8 in the race while Betfair Sportsbook are paying the first 7 home.
Monbeg Genius had surprisingly got in this a little under the radar considering the 7 year old gelding has won his last three until Tom Segal from the Racing Post put him up yesterday somewhat destroying his price. However, I know confidence from the yard is very high and off a mark of 140 under today’s conditions I can see him running a big race.
0.5 PTS EACH WAY BET ADVISED AT A 7/1 WITH THE FOLLOWING FIRMS PAYING 6 PLACES
The way Corach Rambler won this last year stays long in the memory and having watched the replay again I don’t think a 6lb rise in the weights is extortionate. He is a hold up horse who needs some luck in running but provided he gets this he should be bang there at the finish once again.
At a bigger price with firms paying 6-8 places, I thought Fantastikas could at least place at 16/1. He finished 13L 7th of 24 in the race last year and, while he hasn’t been in such good form this season, he runs off a 12lb lower weight in this. He also has first-time cheek-pieces applied which could bring about some improvement. If he gives his running, he might not be too far away so looks one to play in the place markets.
3.30pm Cheltenham – 2m½f (2m87y) (Old) Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4yo+)
NO BET ADVISED AT SUCH SHORT ODDS (2/5 ODDS-ON)
This race has been talked about for months and I’m afraid I don’t have too much to add. Constitution Hill is the real deal on his 5 runs under Rules we have saw to date and will highly likely take this, barring a major off day or a mishap, on his way to becoming the superstar the public would like him to be. There has been plenty of talk about the Willie Mullins trained second Favourite State Man giving him a race, including from Willie himself, but he has about 10lb to find with the Favourite depending which set of ratings you look at so I’m not even sure Mr Mullins believes he can beat him.
There are only 7 horses in the race so bookmakers are only paying 2 places otherwise we could have chanced Vauban (18/1) or I Like To Move It (28/1) each way but the chances of either winning look like they depend on the two at the head of the market both failing and this looks highly unlikely as they’re both very sound jumpers.
The only angle I can think of is the Forecast or the betting without the Favourite market where Vauban is 5/1 and I Like To Move It as big as 10/1 with Corals. I can see State Man trying to go with Constitution Hill, completely blowing up, then either of these two coming past him to fill second place late on. Possible but even this looks unlikely. Of the two, I preferred I Like To Move It up until the past couple of days but the Soft Going would appear to suit Vauban better so I would opt for him. So, for me Constitution Hill wins and I personally intend not to bet and sit back and watch it for the great spectacle it is likely to be.
4.10pm Cheltenham – 2m4f (2m3f200y) (Old) Close Brothers Mares’ Hurdle (Registered As The David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle) (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4yo+)
MARIE’S ROCK (NAP)
2 POINT WIN BET AT A GENERALLY AVAILABLE 11/4
There has been money for Honeysuckle this morning which has brought her in to 5/2 Favourite but I fear it is nostalgic money from the public who undoubtedly would love to see her win with this being her swansong. However, I am firmly in the camp that thinks she is on the wane and not as good as she once was. Whereas, my Nap, Marie’s Rock (3/1) as an 8 year old is still improving in my opinion and the way she mowed down Queens Brook late on in this last year is still fresh in my mind. This looks a tougher renewal on paper but I still expect her to come out on top before going over 3-miles at Aintree.
4.50pm Cheltenham – 2m½f (2m87y) (Old) Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Registered As The Fred Winter) (Premier Handicap) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4yo)
0.5 PTS EW BET ADVISED AT A WIDELY AVAILABLE 10/1 WITH THE FOLLOWING FIRMS PAYING 6 PLACES
0.5 PTS EACH WAY BET ADVISED AT 20/1 WITH THE FOLLOWING FIRMS PAYING 6 PLACES
Tekao, the Favourite, can win but at 3/1 offers no value in a competitive looking 21-runner race so has to be taken on by us each way backers. The two French imports, Bad & Punta Del Este look well-handicapped based on their ratings in France so at 7/1 & 16/1 respectively will have their supporters. However, I like the form of Sir Allen (10/1) who won a Naas race last month that has thrown up 3 of the last 4 winners of this. Off a mark of 131 with Danny Mullins booked I can see him running a big race.
At much bigger odds, I have decided to chance going for a bit of value with Samuel Spade at 20/1. He is a stone better off with Perseus Way (10/1) for a 3 length beating at Huntington back in January and has also won on today’s Soft Going. Both horses should be backed for 0.5 points each way with firms paying 6 places on the race.
5.30pm Cheltenham – 3m6f (3m5f201y) (Old) Wellchild National Hunt Challenge Cup Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5yo+)
0.5 PTS EACH WAY BET AT A GENERALLY AVAILABLE 7/1 FOR 3 PLACES
The Favourite and Willie Mullins trained, Galliard Du Mesnil (11/10) is easily the best of these on paper and the most likely winner having been contested at Grade 1 level on several occasions but he has only won one of his last 8 races so may be worth taking on with an each way punt.
I liked Tenzing but his price has been somewhat destroyed after being tipped up by Tom Segal (Pricewise from the Racing Post) but he now looks short enough at around 8/1. So, I have opted for Minella Crooner each way for 3 places at a general price of 7/1. He steps up an extra 6 furlongs today which I and connections think will suit and he has reportedly been working well at home.
Let’s hope we hit a winner or two guys and best of luck with all your bets today and this week.
P.S. You can see my Cheltenham Festival results for all 84 races in 2019, 2020, & 2021 here
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