Well, so it has arrived. The anticipation is almost over, the excitement has been building for months, and it is finally here. let’s begin…
There is no in-depth analysis presented here,(mainly because I do not have the time to write it all up!) but it is safe to say that I have used stats and trends (thanks for Gavin Priestley’s Stats book) to narrow the field down, before using the excellent horseracebase, and geegeez racecard tools, to pick my final selections. I dont like to boast, but I am in a rich vein of form, having won 130 points since boxing day. At £10 a point I am sure you can do the maths, and it is certainly a nice holiday fun (well,paying off the overdraft fund!!) so far. BUT, just as it has been won, with some idiocy and lack of discipline, it can easily be returned. Now, in truth, I dont have much time at the moment to trawl through every race, and every runner. So, you will see below a few races I am interested in, and where my money will be going. I have made most of that profit so far this year by focusing on 3m+ handicap chases and I know that is where my strength is. Where prices allow, back EW if you prefer. For me, it is just a great chance to watch the best racing of the year, and having some fun – if I can pick a winner or two it will be even better…
Race 1 -Supreme Novices Hurdle
Wicklow Brave – 0.5 points win 7/1
Western Bow – 0.5 points win 20/1
Not a race that I will be getting involved in too heavily. On paper it is very open, with every horse open to progress it would seem. Having looked at the stats etc these two form part of a very short short-list. Nicky Henderson hasnt had a winner in this race in the last 10 years, but he has a strong hand. It is the first race of the festival, it would be rude not to have a small bet! These two should give us a good run for our money.
Race 2 – Arkle
Valdez – 0.5 pts EW 10/1
Again, not the type of race I do well at historically by having gone through the trends he was on the shortlist and i couldnt ignore. I want to take Champagne fever on at the odds. I like Alan King but am not too keen on the jockey (undecided in truth, but his course record is poor!) However, King has won this race twice in the last 10 years, from only 5 runners, and two of those were massive outsiders. Valdez comes here with a live chance. It is a fairly open race, with Trifolium a live danger, but he could just get this festival off to a flying start.
Race 3 – 3m Handicap
Time For Rupert 1pt win – 14/1 (I got on at 25s)
Standing Ovation 1pt win – 20/1
Wrong Turn 1pt win 12/1
Rather foolishly I have gone three handed here but I couldn’t leave either one out! Of course it may be more sensible to back 1/2 pt EW and I wouldnt put you off that. Again the Stats and Trends narrowed the field down, added in some other little nuggets and general horse form mixed in with potential, and these are the three I have decided on. Time for Rupert has a great Cheltenham record and considering he was 5th in a Gold Cup not so long ago, certainly has a touch of class. I liked his last run, on a speed track that may not have suited, the way he battled back and held on for second was positive for me. Standing Ovation won me a nice amount, twice, earlier in the season. I get the impression that since his last win he has been aimed at this. A mid season break, with an OK run at Kempton. Slight concern he prefers going RH but that needs to be proved. Wrong Turn is for a shrewd irish trainer who has won this race before. The step up in trip, on better ground could well eek out further improvement and i hope he goes close for his up and coming rider.
Race 4 – Champion Hurdle
yes that’s right, a no bet race for me. I am not sure how you can split them Hurricane Fly is proven, and the rest have to improve past him. He will be fighting to the last, and 3/1 may be an ok price. My heart wants The New One to win for the father and son team, and I hope he does. My Tent or Yours could win, so could Our Conor. This could be the race of the meeting, talked about for years to come, and i suggest you just watch and enjoy it!
No interest either in races 5 and 6 for me. 4 mile chase for amateur riders is not my cup of tea. Simply guessing if a horse will stay or not and it simply to hard for me to work out! Gd Luck if you fancy something.
ManyRiversToCross 0.5pts 8/1
Ataglance 0.5pts 16/1
Again, not a race for me to get overly involved in. I am backing ManyRivers because his trainer, Alan King again, has said this is his best chance of the meeting. he also ticks quite a few stats and will do for me. Ataglance I like because of his festival form and at the odds I though worthy of a small bet.
good luck whatever you do. May be no time for a blog tomorrow, so will tweet my fancies!