Well, we had a very satisfactory start to the festival banking a 9.13 point profit in the bank and we had plenty to cheer with 2 winners and a place in the 6 races we played in which gave us a strike rate of 37.5% on our 8 selections.
The day didn't start
It seemed like business as usual as Ruby Walsh hosed in on the Willie Mullin's trained
We then went on to Lalor in the Arkle who was one on our antepost/Yankee selections. He looked great in the
Then came a great ride by Jeremiah McGrath on Beware the Bear to put us in the winner's enclosure! We had him in last years race where he was uncharacteristically slow at his fences and came from a mile back to snatch a place for us. This time he settled well and jumped with fluency. Once McGrath had found a nice rhythm he made ground on the outside and was prominent for the second half of the race. He had to fight off a gutsy performance from Vintage Clouds who was closing in the last half furlong but I actually thought he won with something in hand, and we bet the 10/1 SP having advised him at 14/1 on Monday night. Our other selection Magic of Light frustratingly finished one place out of the money at 25/1 after not having the best of luck in running.
Then came the race of the week which turned into something of a damp squib (but Xmas came early for those damned bookies). The front 3 in the market all finished out of the frame with millions of banker doubles and trebles going up in smoke. There must have been an absolute flood of money to force Laurina into 5/2 second favourite and of the 3 she was the only one with no excuse.
We took the cautious route and backed without Apple's Jade and
There will be plenty who knock the form with the race falling apart in the way it did and the time being virtually identical to the Supreme winner. But he was a top juvenile and one thing's for sure... there's a new kid on the block and given the current crop of Champion Hurdle contenders it's time for a change...
Next up was the Mares Hurdle and for those who tried to smash their way out of trouble with
On to the Close Brothers handicap Chase and one of the most uneventful races of the day. Our two selections didn't look like they were going to be involved from a long way out and the race went by a wide margin to the favourite A Plus Tard who gave an instant return to
welcome involvement in this code and they will be hoping Envoi Allen can deliver more of the same in the Champion Bumper this afternoon.
The finale was the marathon National Hunt Chase and it ws particularly gruelling with only 4 of the 18 runner finishing. However it gave us a thrilling finish and the closest of the day when Le Breuil and Discorama in a head bobbing duel all the way from the last to the line with the 'Codfather' just managing to get his head in front by half a length. Our selection Jerrysback was badly hampered by the fall of Mulcaheys Hill and Declan Lavery did well to stay in the plate and although tailed off he eventually finished a remote third almost 50 lengths behind the front two to give us a small profit on the race.
I'll be back tomorrow with a look back on Day Two and fingers crossed it will be good news again!