we hope all our new members have enjoyed our coverage of the first day of Cheltenham. We made a profit of just over 3 points on the day but it could have been a bumper day as we hit the bar a couple of times especially with Kildisart who went down by a neck. Of our 6 selections, we got 1 winner and 2 seconds with a couple of disappointments thrown in.
Our first selection Asterion Forlonge was a little disappointing considering the market confidence behind him. He looked beaten before two out and didn't stay up the hill to come in 4th which scuppered our EW ante-post bet.
In the Arkle Notebook was even more disappointing and probably lost the race before the start and was very lit up after the false start. He was being pushed along from some way out and trailed in last.
In the Ultima Kildisart ran an absolute cracker but made a mistake at the 3rd last that probably cost him some momentum. He ran on gamely up the hill and was catching The Conditional all the way to line but went down by a neck. Frustratingly as I said in the post The Conditional was the last one I ruled out for this race.
In the Champion Hurdle we said that Epatante was the likely winner but her price was prohibitive in such a race but she proved to be a worthy 2/1 favourite. Our selection Sharja ran really well. Patrick Mullins settled him out the back and made eye-catching headway before 3 out and was cruising coming to the last but just didn't have the speed up the hill to catch Epatante. We will take the place at 14/1 (SP 16/1) though.
Nico de Boinnville tried to do it the hard way on Precious Cargo from the front. He jumped well and set the pace but took a crashing fall two out when looking beaten.
Finally, we had Ravenhill in the National Hunt Challenge Cup who was given a fantastic ride by The Codd Father.
He settled in midfield and eased him into the race and kept him on the outside. He tracked Lord Du Mesnil and got the better jump over the last and he stayed on really well up the hill to win by 2 lengths.
He drifted like a barge in the market all the way out to 12/1 so some of you will have got a much bigger return if you backed him this morning as you will have got Best Odds Guaranteed.
We go into battle again with another 7 selections so let's hope we can keep the momentum up.
We will be back Wednesday night with Thursdays selections.
The team at Cleeve
Cheltenham day 1 results
|1.30 Supreme Novices||Asterion Forlonge||1 pt EW @ 6/1||4th||-2|
|2.10 Arkle||Notebook||2 pts Win @ 3/1||6th||-2|
|2.50 Ultima H'Cap||Kildistart||1 pt EW @ 9/1||2nd||0.8|
|3.30 Champion Hurdle||Sharja||1 pt EW @ 14/1||2nd||1.8|
|4.50 Close Brothers H'Cap||Precious Cargo||1 pt EW @ 16/1||Fell||-2|
|5.30 National Hunt Chase||Ravenhill||1 pt EW @ 11/2||Won||6.6|
1.30 Cheltenham 2m5f (Old) Ballymore Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) (Registered As The Baring Bingham) (Class 1) (4yo+)
Cleeve Top 4 Rated:
1) Envoi Allen – 118
2) Sporting John – 116
3) Easywork – 109
4) The Big Breakaway – 105
Easywork has been very consistent and was second to our selection in the Supreme, so it will be interesting to see how Asterion Forlonge goes in that. That defeat was in a Grade 1, so he obviously has a bit of class and looks to be a decent price on that basis. A return to this trip should suit and he could challenge for the places.
Sporting John has won all three hurdles, but at a much lower level; however, he won a Class 2 at Ascot last time in fine style. His connections are probably the main reason he sits as second favourite, but I do think there is further improvement to come.
Envoi Allen is probably one of the bankers of the week, but I never like taking anything under 2/1 at Cheltenham no matter how lofty the reputation. Envoi Allen has won all seven races under rules and that includes three at Grade 1 and a Grade 2. There is no such thing as a certainty in racing and although I do think Envoi Allen will win, I am going for value elsewhere that will give us a profit for a place. If anything goes wrong for the favourite, we can hopefully celebrate the winner.
The Big Breakaway has been kept under wraps by Colin Tizzard having only run in two lowly hurdles, but he won both comfortably. The Big Breakaway looked to me to have a serious engine and if he can stay close to Envoi Allen, he could challenge him going up the hill. At his odds he is worth taking a chance on and hope that things go our way.
2.10 Cheltenham 3m½f (3m80y) (Old) RSA Insurance Novices' Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1) (5yo+)
Cleeve Top 3 Rated:
1) Battleoverdoyen – 96
2) Copperhead – 84
3) Champ – 84
If you haven’t already backed Battleoverdoyen then he is still available at 16/1 with Betfair and Paddypower so we are advising you back him 1 pt EW
Original Race analysis:
Champ is the vying for favouritism here at best priced 7/2 and he is undoubtedly talented, but his jumping can be fragile. He has used his speed on the flat to outsprint his opponents in the final stages. I do not think he has the stamina to do that up the Cheltenham hill, so I think one or more will pass him in the final stages.
Originaly Faugheen was top-rated but is more likely to go for the Marsh Novice Chase over a shorter trip, but if he lines up here, he is going to be threat to all. His win at the Dublin Racing Festival in the Flogas Novice Chase Grade 1 was impressive beating some decent rivals; however, that was over three furlongs shorter.
Sam Brown (now a non-runner) at his price was very interesting, but my concern is that he is a bit short on experience to be winning a race as tough as the RSA. He could run into a place as he is full of stamina and if he gets heavy going, he could well win.
Like all the races at the Festival, there are multiple threats including Copperhead and Minella Indo.
Battleoverdoyen had impressed me massively with his jumping so it was a big surprise to see him fall at the last in the race won by Faugheen at Leopardstown this weekend. In my view it was because he was run off his feet over too short a trip but taking that he’s OK (no news to the contrary) he is ow great value. As short as 13/2 before his fall, he has been pushed out to as big as 14/1 and in my book that must be a massive over-reaction. He looks to be a top-class stayer in the making having won over longer trips including this trip at Grade 1 level. He’s a previous Festival winner which is a big plus and I am hoping that Davy Russell will retain the ride as he’s a master in races like this.
He does have to overcome a massive negative stat in that last time fallers have a terrible record, however that stat has been busted in the last two meetings by Willie Mullins and hopefully it’s Gordon Elliott’s time around this year.
He is entered for the Marsh Novices and the National Hunt Chase and I’ve hummed and hawed whether to take the 14/1 biggest or Skybets 10’s NRNB. But Gigginstown look to have chosen Champagne Classic for the longer race and our chap isn’t even quoted for the Marsh so we’ll take our chances at the bigger price
2.50 Cheltenham 2m5f (Old) Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (Class 1) (4yo+)
Cleeve Top 4 Rated:
1) Dame De Compagnie – 222
2) Stratum – 209
3) Alfa Mix – 193
4) Bold Plan – 191 (Reserve)
5) Ballymoy – 180
This is a race with a lot of runners, and it has been increasingly won by a horse with limited exposure over hurdles and some experience at Graded level.
I tend to use trends to narrow the field down rather than using the bare ratings, which highlight those horses with strong form and proven at the class.
I wouldn’t put anyone off Dame De Compagnie, our top-rated and Birchdale, both trained by Nicky Henderson who has a great record in this race. Both are very short at 17/2 and that is the main reason I am looking elsewhere.
Stratum brings impressive flat form but has a bit more to learn over hurdles and his best hope is likely to be a place at best.
Like all big field handicaps there are multiple challengers including Alfa Mix, Ballymoy and Canardier.
I have gone for one each from Willie Mullins and Gordon Elliott and both have Graded form and Coko Beach has Festival form.
Franco De Port has been campaigned lightly and could honestly be anything having only had four career runs two of which have been in Graded contests. He is still learning but has decent speed and could tuck in behind before making a move down the hill. If he copes with the experience of the Festival, I expect him to go very close here.
Coko Beach has had a bit of a nightmare on his last two starts having fallen and then finishing miles back on his latest start. Before that he had finished second in a Grade 2 and finished second in the Grade 3 Boodle’s Novice here last season. He obviously copes with the Festival atmosphere and a big field and I think Gordon Elliott would only send him over if he was back to his best.
3.30 Cheltenham 2m (1m7f199y) (Old) Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1) (5yo+)
Cleeve Top 4 Rated:
1) Altior – 103
2) Defi Du Seuil – 101
3) Chacun Pour Soi – 96
4) Politologue – 79
With the withdrawal of Altior Defi Du Seuil is now best priced 5/4 and he may well go off shorter tomorrow. The value has now gone and if you haven’t already backed him then we advise you just enjoy the race.
Original Race analysis:
Politologue was second in this race behind Altior when fast finishing, but he has been beaten twice this season by Defi Du Seuil. I do think he will run better here and can give the top three rated most to do.
Chacun Pour Soi is talented and was very impressive when beating Min last time in the Dublin Chase. My main concern for him is he has never run at Cheltenham, but if he gets a lead coming into the final couple of fences of more than a couple of lengths his turn of foot could make him very hard to catch. I don’t think his price is any value.
Altior (non-runner) is the reigning champion and if he is leading coming up the hill will be very hard to pass; however, he is now ten and younger legs are likely to have a better turn of foot. I think that his battle with Cyrname over the longer trip on poor ground at Ascot will have taken its toll on his aging legs.
One that might run a big race to challenge the top three is Dynamite Dollars having only had one run this season.
Defi Du Seuil won the JLT here last year and has gone from strength to strength this year and his jumping is now very slick. He has won the Shloer, Tingle Creek and Clarence House chases this year in impressive fashion and a repeat of that form will make him very hard to beat.
I am really looking forward to this race, which could be one of jump racing’s classic races when we look back on it in the years to come.
4.10 Cheltenham 3m6f (3m6f37y) (X-Country) Glenfarclas Chase (A Cross Country Chase) (Class 2) (5yo+)
Cleeve Top 4 Rated:
1) Tiger Roll – 148
2) Easyland – 144
3) Outlander – 136
4) Might Bite – 131
Tiger Roll is going for three in a row here, but his opposition looks a lot stronger this year with Gold Cup runner up Might Bite lining up and some very strong challengers in Easyland, Diesel D’Allier and Urgent De Gregaine. I think one of the latter two could win and are much better value, but not a betting race for me. No Bet.
4.50 Cheltenham 2m½f (2m87y) (Old) Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Registered As The Fred Winter) (Grade 3) (Class 1) (4yo)
Cleeve Top 4 Rated:
1) Mick Pastor – 211
2) Blacko – 208
3) Palladium – 205
4) Langer Dan – 190
Another cavalry charge where it is best to use trends to narrow down the field and it is key to find an unexposed type with an official rating below 134.
Those horses which have run more than three times over hurdles are unlikely to win as they are already exposed. Both Nicky Henderson and Paul Nicholls have a good record in this race, and I have gone from one from each here.
I have actually gone for the longer priced selections from each trainer rather than our top-rated Mick Pastor and Palladium mainly due to weight and Palladium being British bred (poor record in this).
Main challengers are likely to come from Mick Pastor, Zoffee, Tronador and Aramax.
Fraser Island has been gently campaigned in my view and looks to be on a fair mark on his handicap debut. This trainer and jockey combination have already won this race and I think we will see an improvement from Fraser Island from his three runs over hurdles to date.
Thyme White has also had three runs over hurdles and has not been out of the top three. He also makes his handicap debut after winning at Listed level last time and he was considered to run at Group 3 level on the flat. He will handle the going and I expect him to go very close here.
5.50 Cheltenham 2m½f (2m87y) (Old) Weatherbys Champion Bumper (A Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race) (Grade 1) (Class 1) (4-6yo)
Cleeve Top 4 Rated:
1) Ask A Honey Bee – 211
2) Adrimel – 204
2) Appreciate It – 204
4) Darling Daughter – 203
Despite having no obstacles to jump I have heard this race described by jockeys as the roughest race of the Festival and as usual, we tend not to have a bet in the bumper.
Willie Mullins has dominated this race and has the hot favourite Appreciate It and that one was very impressive when winning last time at Leopardstown. Panic Attack is interesting for David Pipe despite only being four and he along with Queens Brook, Ferny Hollow and Eskylane are the likely threats. No Bet.