As I mentioned last week this weeks article is shorter than usual but still contains the following:
• Two eyecatchers from last week’s racing;
• The final race from my Cheltenham Festival Briefing;
• My updated Cheltenham ante-post betting list.
It’s been a frustrating month or so for the service with a couple more close up seconds at Wolverhampton on Monday before Cohesion was a good winner at 6/1 in the hands of Oisin Murphy, who looks set to have a good summer and could well close in this year’s Jockey’s Championship.
Given the quality of prize money on offer, Saturday’s cards at Doncaster and Newbury attracted poor sized fields and I won’t dwell on the weekend fare too much. Brian Ellison trained the winner of the Grimthorpe Handicap with Definitely Red. The eight year old is now second favourite on most ante-post lists for the Grand National. I am sure he will give his supporters a good run for their money but he’s not one for me. Indeed, although he beat the runner up The Last Samuri by 14 lengths, I wouldn’t be surprised to see that one reverse form over the Aintree fences.
After Decorated Knight won the Winter Derby Trial at Lingfield recently I mentioned in this column that:
“There is the possibility that Decorated Knight could take a step up in class to run in Group 1 at Meydan. Wherever he goes this lightly raced horse, only had 10 starts, will be worth following and he can also do well on turf when the ground rides quick during the summer.”
Hopefully some you got on at the 11/4 that was available in the morning of the race at Meydan, as the five year old showed a really nice change of gear to win the Group 1 Jebel Hatta. Not a great quality Group 1 but he now heads for the Dubai Turf over C&D on World Cup Night a race I think he can win!
Last Weeks Eyecatchers:
Just two this week from Friday’s racing at Newbury and Lingfield.
Friday 3rd March
Behind The Wire – Tom George – Made it 2 wins from 4 runners over fences with a good win over 2m 6f in this novice handicap chase, He has won over further than this and it was his stamina and his good jumping that got him the win. The six year old is progressing nicely over fences and hopefully, he shouldn’t be put up much for this win. Before the race there was a doubt whether the soft ground at Newbury would suit the horse as he his best performances had previously come on better ground. He handled the ground well enough but will probably be better on a sounder surface.
El Torito – Jim Boyle – Was well backed before his race on his first start on the all-weather and his first run for 169 days. Adam Kirby had been booked for the ride but the horse was held up at the back of the field and made notable headway inside the final furlong to finish a 2 length 4th at the line. Should be all the better for that run. Won on turf at Windsor last summer on good to soft ground and was then campaigned in much better races for the rest of his two year old campaign. Now racing in class 5 company I am sure he can be placed to win a handicap at this level.
Cheltenham Festival Ante Post Briefing
The Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase
The Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase is a Grade 1 Novice Chase run over around 2 miles. It’s the foremost race of its type in the National Hunt calendar. In the past 10 years 4 market leaders have won (all odds on) and 9 of the 10 winners have gone off 8/1 & under. The David Pipe trained Western Warhorse caused a shock when winning the race at 33/1 but it’s a race where it pays to look towards those runners at the front of the market. Last years renewal was won by Douvan at odds on. It looks like Nicky Henderson trained Altior will be going off the hot favourite for this year’s race.
Finished 1st or 2nd last time out
1 to 4 runs over fences
6 or 7 year old
Trained by Nicky Henderson, Willie Mullins or Henry De Bromhead
Verdict: Can anything beat Altior? The answer for me is no! The Willie Mullins trained Yorkhill looks set for the JLT Novices Chase so for those looking for something each way, or in the place or betting without the favourite markets, then the Malcolm Jefferson trained Cloudy Dream 16/1 with Sky Bet (NRNB) or Brian Ellison’s Forest Bihan 20/1 (NRNB) could be the answer. The Henry De Bromhead trained Some Plan looks the best of the Irish and can be backed 16/1 with Sky Bet (NRNB). Altior looks set to give Nicky Henderson a third winner in the past 10 years.
Cheltenham Festival Ante Post Betting Portfolio
Here is my updated list of ante-post bets for the Cheltenham Festival. If there is a winner or two among this lot then recent losses will be covered a few times over:
Supreme Novices Hurdle:
Bunk off Early – Advised 25/1 –
Crack Mone – Advised 16/1 –
Neptune Novices Hurdle:
Any Second Now – Advised 16/1 – NR?
Bacardys – Advised 20/1
Don Cossack – Advised 12/1 – NR
Bristol De Mai – Advised 20/1
Minella Rocco – Advised 33/1
More Of That – Advised 50/1
Jezki – Advised 14/1
Briery Queen – Advised 25/1
Pertemps Handicap Hurdle
For Good Measure – Advised 16/1 – Can still be backed at 16s – 1pt each way
All that’s left is to wish you all a profitable weeks betting.