It’s the first day of the Cheltenham Open meeting, the highlight of the 3 day fixture is the Paddy Power Gold Cup that’s run tomorrow but plenty of good racing takes place before the feature race.
Today’s racing is very competitive whilst plenty of rain has come down turning the ground soft, stamina and proven fitness is the what I’m looking for this afternoon for any potential bets.
In the 1:50 Astracad EW at 12-1 ticks most boxes, the horse will be fitter than most, stays further plus loves Cheltenham. The drop back in trip to the minimum distance shouldn’t be a problem, Astracad normally races handy and I doubt will be outpaced as runners can’t go flat out in today’s testing conditions.
I would expect jockey Sam Twiston Davies to race up with the pace and possibly kick for home early in a bid to make the most of his mounts proven stamina and draw the sting out of his rivlas.
The Steel Plate novice chase 2:25 is a real cracker, any of the top 5 horses in the beating could win this and all look well above average types. With just 7 runners we don’t have any proper EW terms but I hope Urban Hymn could be the one to go close at the odds of 9-2.
The Malcolm Jefferson trained horse looks ready made for fences and can develop into a smart chaser in the making especially now upped in trip.
The Cross Country is Balthazar King race to lose, he’s well in today compared to some of his rivals but can’t be backed at odds of 4-6, Any Currency might chase him home at a nice price.
Cup Final could be thrown in off a mark of 125 in the last race of the day and make a mockery of his official rating. The horse has been chasing down Irving "twice" and running in the likes of the Neptune Hurdle at the festival. This looks a decent opening and Nicky Henderson should have him fit.
Away from Cheltenham i've heard good things about Western Rules in the Newcastle bumper at 3:25.
Just one share is left in our new horse Ebony Express, it will be sold on a first come first served basis. A stable day will take place next weekend at Dr Newland’s yard to meet the trainer and watch the horse work.