Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Cheltenham Festival 2018 - Thursday

Brief notes for Thursday's card compiled hastily on Tuesday evening before Wednesday's trip to the track...

Just ten declared for the JLT Novices' Chase (1.30) and it looks the sort of race I should be able to strike a wager in but I'm struggling... Since its inception in 2011 this race has been won by either a six or seven year old.

Bigmartre is a horse I like and have followed for a while now; earlier I fancied him as an each-way wager in this race but as the day has crept closer I've been put off by the trip of two and a half miles on soft ground.

Finian's Oscar has found the fences getting in the way a little this season but connections are adamant the horse retains a huge engine. He has his first run since a wind operation, sports first-time cheekpieces and will be a danger to all if negotiating the obstacles fluently.

Invitation Only hails from the Mullins yard that has won the last three renewals with Vautour (2015), Black Hercules (2016) and Yorkhill (2017). The likely favourite was third last time out at Leopardstown behind Monalee and Al Boum Photo (with Dounikos fourth).

The result of Wednesday's RSA Chase should provide a useful pointer but I'll sit this one out.

The Pertemps Final (2.10) looks typically competitive. A week or so ago I followed a discussion on the Racing Post website that argued British handicappers had treated a number of Irish horses quite leniently in the Festival handicaps - the example highlighted in the discussion was Gordon Elliott's Delta Work.

Delta Work (14/1 in places) is the each-way selection.

I'm going to skip the Ryanair (2.50) to concentrate on the Stayers' Hurdle (3.30).

You couldn't fail to be taken by Sam Spinner this season - he has won the Betfair Stayers' Hurdle at Haydock and the Long Walk at Ascot (L'Ami Serge second, Unowhatimeanharry third, The Worlds End fourth and Lil Rockerfeller sixth). He has only ever raced on ground described as good to soft or easier; his record reads five wins and two seconds from seven hurdle runs and one win and one second from two bumper runs. Trained by Jedd O'Keeffe at Middleham in North Yorkshire, he may have been held up by the snow there a fortnight ago but his front-running style catches the eye and he's greatly respected. He's likely to start favourite; five market leaders have obliged in the last ten years.

Sam Spinner will face plenty of stiff competition.

The decision to send Yanworth back over hurdles hasn't really come as a big surprise as his jumping of the larger obstacles was far from convincing. Yanworth has beaten The New One in a Christmas Hurdle over two miles at Kempton and Supasundae over three miles plus on good ground at Aintree last spring.

The New One is as tough as old boots but tries this trip for the first time. Connections think he'll stay but with the ground having come up soft they would surely have preferred to run their star in Tuesday's Champion Hurdle. Stablemate Wholestone is a course and distance winner and wouldn't be lightly dismissed.

Supasundae won the Irish Champion Hurdle six weeks ago; he has run well but never won at this trip and would probably prefer better ground.

Last season I wasted enough money opposing Unowhatimeanharry who won eight on the bounce before finishing third in this race behind Nichols Canyon. His third behind Sam Spinner in the Long Walk last time out gave just the slightest hint that age may be catching up with him.

Before the rain arrived I fancied The Worlds End to show improvement for better ground; Tom George's charge was going well when coming to grief in last year's Albert Bartlett. Penhill collected the spoils that day and hasn't been seen since finishing second at the Punchestown Festival last April.

L'Ami Serge is a talented individual but looks as though he has to do it all on the bridle; he wouldn't be one to trust implicitly if push came to shove.

I like Sam Spinner who has been the surprise package this season.

Sam Spinner is the win selection.

Finally in the Mares' Novices' Hurdle (4.50) Maria's Benefit looks to have been kept very busy in comparison to odds-on favourite Laurina but she's the top one on official ratings and at 6/1 looks an each-way bet to nothing.

Maria's Benefit (6/1) is the each-way selection.


Anonymous said...

Now 7.8 PTS down after Day 2 so things could be going better!

Day 3

Assumed Going: Soft

1:30 JLT Novices' Chase (Grade 1) (Registered As The Golden Miller) Cl1 (5yo+) 2m4f
171,INVITATION ONLY(IRE),14.02,7.2
170,FINIAN'S OSCAR(IRE),13.06,7.8

Struggling to identify any edge here so I’ll sit it out.

Bet(s): None

2:10 Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) Cl1 (5yo+) 3m
166,FORZA MILAN(IRE),8.29,12.5
167,SHANTOU BOB(IRE),7.1,14.5
165,DELTA WORK(FR),6.19,16.5

Unlikely that 10yo Shantou Bob will be winning this ultra-competitive affair but he ticks all the boxes and might make the frame at 40/1.

Bet(s): 0.5 EW Shantou Bob 40/1

Ryanair Chase (Grade 1) (Registered As The Festival Trophy) Cl1 (5yo+) 2m5f
180,UN DE SCEAUX(FR),43.33,2.32
179,CUE CARD(GB),16.41,6.2
174,BALKO DES FLOS(FR),10.39,9.8
171,CLOUDY DREAM(IRE),7.11,14.5

The ratings make this look quite a close race however all but Un De Sceaux, who is priced about right, have one or more questions to answer.

Bet(s): None

3:30 Sun Bets Stayers' Hurdle (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m
173,SAM SPINNER(GB),12.49,8.2

As a Northerner I’ll be rooting for Sam Spinner but the odds of the principals look about right.

Bet(s): None

4:10 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase (Grade 3) Cl1 (5yo+) 2m5f
166,ROMAIN DE SENAM(FR),7.74,13
165,POUGNE BOBBI(FR),5.92,17
173,KING'S SOCKS(FR),5.7,18

King’s Socks tops the ratings and his French form might make him a handicap snip but I’m not tempted at the odds. Kalashnikov just failed to give connections a winner on Day 1 and I’ll take a punt on Mercian Prince going one better at odds of 25/1. He only just got home last time, so he might be reaching his limit but if he can find a couple more pounds he should run his race.

Bet(s): 1PT EW Mercian Prince 25/1

4:50 Trull House Stud Mares' Novices' Hurdle (Grade 2) (Registered As The Dawn Run) Cl1 (4yo+) 2m1f
157,MARIA'S BENEFIT(IRE),16.16,6.2
156,HIGH SCHOOL DAYS(USA),8.04,12.5

Laurina could be anything but this will be her toughest test to date and at odds on she’s not for me. Maria’s Benefit does look the Each-Way steal.

5:30 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase Cl2 (5yo+ 0-145) 3m2f RUK
160,THE YOUNG MASTER(GB),10.57,9.6
155,SUGAR BARON(IRE),8.02,12.5
154,CAPTAIN BUCK'S(FR),7.64,13.5
156,BRAQUEUR D'OR(FR),6.53,15.5
157,FINAL NUDGE(IRE),6.38,16
154,BAND OF BLOOD(IRE),5.62,18

Squouateur and Mall Dini both look too short with implies value potential value abounds elsewhere. The Young Master is down to a tempting mark and could run well after a wind op. Captain Buck’s is unexposed and might out run his 40/1 odds, but I’ll take my chance with Aubusson. He’s not quite hit the heights over the bigger fences but has been running O.K this term [his only poor effort was when he ran in the x-country and Lizze Kelly’s saddle slipped during the race] and a mark of 135 looks reasonable. I also like the stats of Chester Williams his amateur jockey who can claim 3lbs. His record this season is 8 wins from 36 rides (22%) and he’s finished in the first 4 35 times (97%).

Bet(s): 1PT EW Aubusson 25/1

Good luck


GeeDee said...

Just returned home - thanks for your ratings.

I've had better days too. Off to clean my rather muddy boots...


Anonymous said...

With Shantou Bob now a non-runner I've switched my bet over to Lovenormoney. I'd initially passed him over because of concerns that he's never put in a decent speed rating thus far but with the ground turning ever more in his favour and odds of 25/1 I'll take a chance.

Bet(s): 0.5PTS EW Lovenormoney 25/1

165 DELTA WORK(FR) 7.88 13
166 FORZA MILAN(IRE) 7.49 13.5
163 GLENLOE(IRE) 5.18 19.5
167 PRIME VENTURE(IRE) 5.12 20

GeeDee said...

Delta Work (6/1) and Davy Russell held Glencoe (9/2f) and Barry Geraghty a nose in the Pertemps Final (2.50).

In the World Hurdle (3.30) Sam Spinner (9/4f) led but was swamped between the final two flights. He stayed on dourly to finish fifth behind 12/1 winner Penhill, beaten six and a quarter lengths.

Maria's Benefit (9/2) may have looked an each-way steal in the Mares' Novices' Hurdle (4.50) but she proved anything but, losing two places up the hill to finish fourth. Laurina (4/7f) took the race in the style you'd expect of an odds-on favourite, beating Cap Soleil (10/1) 18 lengths.