1.30pm Cheltenham – 2m5f (Old) Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (Registered As The Baring Bingham) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4yo+)
1 POINT WIN BET AT A WIDELY AVAILABLE 11/4
0.5 POINTS EACH WAY AT 8/1 FOR 3 PLACES
Hi guys, not a bad start yesterday considering how tough the races were with 3 winners including Corach Rambler at 7/1 and horses placed at 9/1, 8/1, & 7/1. On to today which looks even tougher with 10, 11, 26, 7, 16, 20, and 24 runners in some highly competitive races. You won’t want to hear, this looks the hardest day of the week in my humble opinion and I can see punters having a very hard time making money today so small stakes is the advice perhaps keeping your powder dry waiting for better betting opportunities tomorrow/Friday. The difficulty being the Favourites looks vulnerable to the second or third Favourites in the smaller field races and I could only narrow the races with 16-26 runners down to 6-8 horses with winning chances.
This 10-runner Novices Hurdle is difficult to call with the 5 at the head of the market Impaire Et Passe (2/1 Fav), Hermes Allen (11/4), Good Land (4/1), Gaelic Warrior (6/1), and Champ Kiely (8/1) all looking like they have winning chances and the 5 outsiders looking like they might struggle to land a blow.
Impaire Et Passe is a Willie Mullins “talking horse” who has won his first 3 races and according to the yard they can’t see him getting beat. He has to be taken seriously and I know I could be passing up on a winner but I’m not as confident about him as I was about Mullins runner El Fabiolo who won for us yesterday as he already had strong form having won a Grade 1 race by 10L. He offers little value at 2/1 in such a strong renewal stepping up 2 furlongs further than ever before so he has to prove he stays the trip and has never raced at Cheltenham.
The second Favourite is Hermes Allen the 6 year old Paul Nicholls gelding who he describes as, “one of my best chances of the week”. He has the strongest form having won a Grade 1 at Newbury on New Years Eve and he has also won a Grade 2 over C&D by some 9 lengths. He was a short-priced Favourite for this until recently with his chances not helped by the first 8 home in the Supreme yesterday all being Irish trained. It could be that the Irish horses are simply better but you have to like what he has done to date so I am with him at 11/4.
Good Land is third Favourite and a Barry Connell trained horse who had Marine Nationale win a strong Supreme for him in fine fashion yesterday. That is very strong form and in the Cheltenham Preview Nights this horse was reported as being better than his illustrious stable mate. He too is a Grade 1 winner but his form overall looks a tad weaker than that of Hermes Allen so I have passed him over at 4/1.
Gaelic Warrior is another Mullins trained runner who comfortably won a strong looking handicap over 2 miles at Leopardatown 38 days ago by 3.75 lengths while carrying top weight. He also has course form having been touched off by a short-head in last year’s Boodles. He too could win but I have opted for something else to try and get you some each way value as he isn’t bred to stay this stiff 2m5f trip on what will likely be stamina sapping conditions.
So, my second selection is Champ Kiely (8/1). Also trained by Willie Mullins, he readily won a Grade 1 at Naas over 2m4f back in January, he is progressive with more to come, and his jockey Danny Mullins is confident he can win. I think he offers the best each way value at 8/1.
I’ve tried to show just how competitive the race is so I wouldn’t advise going overboard with your stakes.
2.10pm Cheltenham – 3m½f (3m80y) (Old) Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (Registered As The Broadway Novices’ Chase) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5yo+)
SMALL WIN BET AT A WIDELY AVAILABLE 6/4
Gerri Colombe (6/4 Fav) is the Gordon Elliott trained 7 year old gelding who is unbeaten in his 8 runs to date and being a former 3-mile point winner he will stay the trip. He showed a good attitude to win last time with his trainer saying, “Gordon Elliott, trainer: “The thing I loved most about him at Sandown was when Balco Coastal passed him, he put his head right down and wanted to win. He wouldn’t take no for an answer. I love that about him. He wants to win. The ground should be perfect for him and we think the step up in trip will suit too. I’m very hopeful.”.
He is the one to beat and I’m tipping him but it is more by default as I don’t think his form to date is particularly strong but after spending at least 2 hours on the race I couldn’t come up with what was going to beat him.
2.50pm Cheltenham – 2m5f (Old) Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4yo+)
0.5 PTS EACH WAY BET ADVISED AT 11/1 WITH THE FOLLOWING FIRMS PAYING 7 OR 8 PLACES
0.5 PTS EACH WAY BET ADVISED AT 10/1 WITH BET365 PAYING 7 PLACES
This 26-runner Coral Cup is a diabolically difficult race to call with many of the runners having winning chances. The one plus is bookmakers are paying extra places on the race with BET365, Betfair Sportsbook, and Betway all paying 7 places and Skybet are the only firm I’m aware of who are offering the first 8 home.
I managed to narrow the 26 runner field down to 10 who I thought could win it but we can’t back 10 horses in a race so I have opted for Sa Fureur (12/1) and HMS Seahorse (10/1).
Sa Fureur is a Gordon Elliott trained 6 year old who has won his last three and gets in here near the bottom of the weights. He will be fit on his sixth start since November and I also like the fact Davy Russell is back on him for the first time since he won a 22-runner race at Punchestown back in January where he appeared to be suited by the big field. The trip is fine and he is versatile groundwise.
My second pick in the race is HMS Seahorse for the in form Paul Nolan yard (Last 14 days: 3-13, 23%). The trainer always sends a small team over to Cheltenham but does well and always has to be respected. He improved markedly to win going away by 2.25 lengths when stepped up to 2m4f for the first time at Navan 53 days ago. He has gone up the weights but could easily have more to offer as a 5 year old stepping up another furlong. The big field won’t be a problem and he has won on the forecast Soft Going.
3.30pm Cheltenham – 2m (1m7f199y) (Old) Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5yo+)
SMALL WIN BET AT 6/4
This is an awful race for each way punters with the two at the head of the market Energumene and Edwardstone being around 6/4 and there only being 7 runners in the race so firms are only paying 2 places unless you are lucky enough to have an account with Betfred who are the only firm I am aware of who are paying the first 3 home (their prices are generally shorter though to take this in to account). Besides this, the third in the betting market, Editeur Du Gite (6/1) beat the two Favourites last time and can’t be discounted from repeating the feat. However, the general consensus of opinion is they let him get first run on them so will be keeping a closer eye on him this time.
Of the outsiders, Captain Guinness (best price 20/1 with BET365 & Unibet) has come in for support and the Henry De Bromhead yard has returned to form recently. He hasn’t looked up to Grade 1 level in 9 previous attempts so probably isn’t good enough to win but may sneak a place if some of those at the head of the market don’t run their race or have a mishap. Paul Nicholls has stated in his Betfair column that he thinks Greanateen can be placed.
I’m afraid I have no strong opinion guys but purely because I have said I will tip in every race I’m putting Energumene up as a token choice.
4.10pm Cheltenham – 3m6f (3m6f37y) (X-Country) Glenfarclas Chase (A Cross Country Chase) (GBB Race) (Class 2) (5yo+)
FRANCO DE PORT
0.5 PTS EACH WAY BET ADVISED AT 11/2 WITH SEVERAL FIRMS PAYING 4 PLACES
Gordon Elliott has won 4 of the last 6 runnings of this so Favourite Delta Work looks like the one to beat. He could easily win but we’re each way punters so I have opted for the classy Mullins runner Franco De Port as he would appear to represent the best each way value (with many firms paying 4 places). He will be fit on his sixth run since October and has proven he stays the 3m6f trip.
4.50pm Cheltenham – 2m (1m7f199y) (Old) Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (Grade 3) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (5yo+)
THIRD TIME LUCKI
0.5 POINTS EACH WAY BET ADVISED AT 10/1 WITH BET365 PAYING 6 PLACES
0.5 POINTS EACH WAY BET ADVISED AT 16/1 WITH THE FOLLOWING FIRMS PAYING 6 PLACES
This is a wide open 19-runner handicap where you should definitely be backing each way with those firms paying 6 places on the race (BET365, Skybet, Paddy Power, Betfair Sportsbook, and Betway).
The 3 at the head of the market could easily win but offer little value at 5/1 – 8/1 so I have picked a couple which will hopefully give us a run at bigger prices.
Third Time Lucki is a dual C&D winner who has recently bounced back to something near his best and having finished 3rd in a Grade 1 doesn’t look out of this off a mark of 149. Drying conditions at the track would help his chance but he has the class to go well in this line-up for the in form Dan Skelton yard (Last 14 days: 6-30, 20%).
The ground has come right for Sizing Pottsie (18/1). He has dropped to a career low mark of 140, will be fit on his sixth start since October, and the application of first-time cheek-pieces could spark some improvement.
5.30pm Cheltenham – 2m½f (2m87y) (Old) Weatherbys Champion Bumper (A Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race) (Grade 1) (GBB Race) (Class 1) (4-6yo)
FACT TO FILE
0.5 PTS EACH WAY BET ADVISED AT 5/1 WITH THESE FIRMS PAYING 5 PLACES
FUN FUN FUN
0.5 PTS EACH WAY BET ADVISED AT 13/2 WITH BET365 PAYING 5 PLACES
Willie Mullins has 10 horses entered in this so don’t be surprised to see him win it for the fourth year in a row. I have opted for Fact To File as Patrick Mullins had his pick of the Mullins horses. He was beaten by the re-opposing Favourite Dream To Share last time but with stamina possibly coming more in to play here I thought he could reverse the placings.
Fun Fun Fun is the other Mullins runner I like as she won her first two races both by about 10 lengths and likely has more to come. However, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see Mullins take this with one of his outsiders. The difficulty is “guessing” which one it could be.
Just a reminder that while I suggest bookies to bet with because they have the best price available or are offering to pay extra places in a race these are purely profit optimising common sense choices for your benefit and I receive absolutely nothing from them. I am not affiliated with any bookmakers! Good luck today!
P.S. You can see my Cheltenham Festival results for all 84 races in 2019, 2020, & 2021 here
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