The first day of the Cheltenham Festival provided some thrilling finishers and fantastic entertainment. On a sad note, it seems two horses paid the ultimate price and lost their life’s. Thoughts with their owners and connections.
Buveur D’Air won the Champion Hurdle and landed the tasty 6-1 antepost bet for us in the process.
Buveur D’Air had to work harder than expected, perhaps this was down to him having his first proper race of the season. I dare say Buveur D’Air will improve for the run and will be more impressive if we see him again this season.
The Arkle Chase was bizarre, the prize could have been given to Footpad without even racing. The jockeys on Saint Calvados & Petit Mouchoir set a ridiculous pace that was unstainable. I’ve never seen two top class jockeys get it so wrong in such a big race. They burnt each other out from an early stage and gave the race to Footpad, he only had to jump around to win. I certainly wasn’t complaining as had a good bet on Footpad as highlighted on here yesterday.
Apple’s Jade saved the bookies from a smashing on day 1. I thought she got outpaced on the drop back in trip and perhaps needs 3 miles as per her previous form. Apple’s Jade was coming back at the line. Take nothing away from the Benie Des Dieux, she was very good.
Coo Star Sivola won the Ultima Chase under Lizze Kelly who gave the horse a lovely ride. I mentioned he was the buzz horse going into the race. Vintage Clouds rewarded EW support for us.
It was a good start from punting point of view on day 1, let’s see how things go today?
The Ballymore Novice Hurdle starts day 2 of the festival at 1:30. If you believe the hype and I think we should, Samcro could be the next coming. Samcro has oozed class in his starts so far, he looks the real deal. I can’t back him at odds of 4-6, it’s one for the big hitters and no doubt there will be plenty of them going in. I hope Samcro wins and does it on the bridle, it will be great to see a superstar born.
Take Samcro out of the race and there's some each way value to be had. I’ve placed a few quid on Vision Des Flos at 16-1. Trained by Colin Tizzard, Vision Des Flos hacked up at Exeter smashing a 135 rated horse on the bridle. This was his first start after wind surgery. The horse cost £270,000 and had a big reputation when coming to the UK. Maybe his wind was holding him back? Coolanly could be worth a speculative £5 EW at 100-1. He's rated very highly.
The RSA at 2:10 looks a strong renewal, Black Corton can’t be ruled out, he keeps winning for the talented Bryony Frost. I’m in the Presenting Percy camp. He lost little in defeat to Gold Cup hopeful Our Duke last time and would have found the trip of 2m4 on the sharp side. The main danger could be Monalee, won both of his completed chase starts. Jockey, Davy Russell had the choice of the pair and has gone with Presenting Percy. I think Presenting Percy will be stronger at the finish and that’s why I’ve sided with him. The price of 5-2 looks fine.
Not a clue in the Coral Cup, lucky pin job. I’ll sit this one out.
As you know I’ve backed Min EW antepost at 8-1, 7-1 whilst had a bit more at 7-2 on Monday. Win or lose, it’s difficult to argue Min isn’t the safe bet in this race. There’s no doubt if Altior & Douvan bring their A game, Min will be running for 3rd place. I can’t have Douvan, he’s not been seen since fracturing his pelvis.
I didn’t think Altior would make the race back in November when backing Min, but he has. Altior apparently has a poisoned foot on Monday but is fine to take his chance. I’m all in on Min, plus a EW saver on Politologue at 12-1.
The Cross Country sees another antepost bet run in Joises Orders. You need experience in this race and Joises orders has that, he’s coming to the boil at the right time and should go well. The price of 15-2 looks fair value.
The Fred Winter at 4:50 will take some winning. On Friday of last week, I tipped Look My Way at 20-1. He’s now best priced 10-1.
I was delighted to see Brian Hughes take the ride. Look my Way will love the ground, i've been told he’s improved since giving Apple’s Shakira a run for her money. If he’s good enough I don’t know but he’ll give us a decent run. I’ve also placed a saver on Act Of Valour at 10-1.