Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Cheltenham Festival - Wednesday


I'll be at Cheltenham tomorrow, drinking Guinness, savouring the atmosphere and freely giving my hard-earned to those bookie chappies who, in exchange, will present me with a piece of paper and the forlorn hope I might actually get something in return. The betting experience is somewhat similar to the shopping at Argos experience. For those interested, here's where I'll be throwing my money tomorrow.

The highlight is the Champion Chase, due off at 3.15. Paul Nicholls tells us that, at home, there's not much between his two market leaders, Master Minded and Twist Magic; Ruby Walsh has opted for the relatively inexperienced Master Minded. I don't know when a five year old last won this race (if at all) but it's certainly not in the last ten years. Many of those who saw Tamarinbleu beat Twist Magic at Ascot are of the opinion TM will not reverse the form and, on balance, I agree. Last year's winner Voy Por Ustedes commands respect - jockey 'Choc' Thornton rates the horse his best chance of a winner all week - but he's appeared a little short of his best this season. The Pipe stable has taken the bold option by declaring Tamarinbleu, who stays further, for this two mile championship; the horse has shown marked improvement with the fitting of blinkers. On official handicap ratings Twist Magic is the best horse while on Raceform ratings Tamarinbleu is the one to beat. My guess is Tamarinbleu will race pretty prominently and, at the prices available, offers the best value so Tamarinbleu gets the vote.

The stats send out mixed messages for the Royal & SunAlliance Chase. Interesting outsiders include Oscar Park, Starzaan and Joe Lively but all three are aged nine and a nine year old hasn't won this since 1992. Of those three, I suspect Starzaan won't stay, while Joe Lively has course and distance form and is top rated by Raceform but ran a bit of a stinker last time out behind Albertas Run at Ascot. Albertas Run is top on official handicap ratings but no horse that has won the Reynoldstown has gone on to take this in the last ten years. Charlie Mann's entry Air Force One was second to Albertas Run at Ascot but connections feel confident they can reverse the form. It's a close call but I'm siding with Albertas Run.

I'll support two Irish trained horses - Padydeplasterer in the opener and Noel Meade's Corskeagh Royale each-way in the concluding bumper. In between, as always, the Coral Cup looks a minefield but Noel Chance's Mendo will carry my shrapnel (each-way) while in the four miler Back On Line from the in-form Venetia Williams stable is of interest as is Vic Dartnall's Here's Johnny at a bigger price provided he's not lost interest. The first time cheek pieces will hopefully help him concentrate and Miss Grundy is an excellent jockey.

1 comment:

tomroper said...

What a disappointment.