Cheltenham Day 4 Preview/Bets

Re Cap

What A Day! 

It had everything. McCoy, Vautour, close finishes, drama. A superb day of racing that will live long in the memory. We watch jumps racing to see horses like Vautour. That was special, and so was watching AP at his best. 

Thursday formline… 2,2,up,up,2,2,3,up

I could be disappointed on the betting front but you have to be philosophical in this game. The only time I get really upset is when selections consistently bomb out and don’t perform. However seconds and thirds was the order of the day. The only race we had nothing to cheer was in the Ryanair where it was clear quite early on that BS had forgotten how to jump. Instead we got to cheer home McCoy which was nice. His winner was a perfect fit for Alan King’s winners here since 2007 (doh!) but I couldnt have him on his recent form. However, many a shrewd judge did back him, taking a step back up in trip, on his favourite going and wearing a visor for the first time being just some of the reasons for why you could have taken a plunge at 25s (into 16s) Well done if you picked him out, top value punting. I couldn’t have him based on his last two runs, even though conditions were against him. 

The rest ran crackers and I have no regrets. Hopefully some of you were less gun-ho than me and backed a few each way! 

A couple of the seconds and thirds were ‘distant’ (not going to win jumping the last) but the two Pipe horses could have made it a decent meeting. Monetaire lost 10-15 lengths at the start of the race with that stupid standing start (why they dont give the walk in start one more go after it fails once I have no idea) and I am sure Tom Scu wanted to ride him more handily. Much like with Quantitativeeasing it was a case of never knowing. I thought his handicap hurdler was coming to win but the Henderson horse ran a cracker and had a bit more in hand/stayed up the hill better. Andrew Tinkler deserved that winner. The Alan King horse ran well in third. 

It was pleasing to see the majority of system/profile selections running well and that looks like a decent approach to try and replicate next year. Buddy Bolero ran a cracker. 

Anyway, I am not going to be downbeat. I am happy with the performance and consistency of the majority of selections. We still have one more day to go and if you are ahead so far, a big well done. I am clinging onto 8 points profit after some chasing yesterday and betting a bit too much today. I plan on having some fun tomorrow…

Of course the blog is technically -8 points for Cheltenham. 

Thanks to those who have emailed with success stories so far. The point of these blogs is to help provide some info that may guide you in the right direction and to help with your own punting, as much as letting you know what I am backing. One reader (Frankie) used the blog along with his own analysis to help bring up the placepot and got a near £200 return from a small outlay. He did better than I did in the placepot that is for sure. Anyone winning because of my ramblings makes them worthwhile.  

I would be delighted  to hear your punting highs and lows before the week is out, so do please comment away! Hopefully I can turn a decent profit on Day 4 to make it a winning meeting. (I am keeping positive/optimistic 🙂 ) 

Having said that I go into Day 4 feeling a bit mentally frazzled and am just looking to enjoy the day. I am recommending more EW bets for Friday to try and ensure more of a return. I will back them all EW and back some to win as well. It is the last day after all and we have another year to wait afte this. 


7 points bet (plus whatever you like for the Gold Cup!) 

Odds as of 10pm 12/03/15

Race 1 

Karezak – 20/1 – 1/2 point EW 5 places Bet365 

Race 2 

Ebony Express 16/1 – 1/2 point EW 5 places 

(a couple of System Selections in this race)

Race 3 

Martello Tower 10/1 – 1/2 point EW (only 3 places)

Race 4 Gold Cup

Not going to ‘tip’ in this race…you can read what I fancy below. I have no intention of backing to win money in this race, its too difficult! All about sitting back and enjoying the race, and going with the horses/connections that you like best. Nothing I can say will add value given how open it is. 

Race 5 

No bloody idea. Your help would be great! I don’t follow hunter chasing and the trends don’t narrow it down enough for me to not make this race a pin job — a bit like the Gold Cup!

Race 6

Royal Irish Hussar 28/1 – 1/2 point EW 5 places (bet365)  

Le Mercurey 8/1 – 1/2 point EW 5 places (PP)*

(both system selections of sorts)

Race 7 

Grumeti 18/1 – 1/2 point EW 4 places (SB) 

Astracad 25/1 – 1/2 point EW 5 places (B365) 

(Two system pointers as well)


Reasoning to follow… 


Race 1 

Karezak – 20/1 – 1/2 point EW 5 places Bet365 


Let’s keep things simple shall we. 

Alan King has had 2 winners, 2 seconds and 2 3rds in the last 9 runnings of this race. That is quite some going. Karezak has a better level of form than his stable mate to date and jockey bookings made me stick with this one. He has finished placed behind a couple of the Hendo hotpots. Why should he overturn the form? Well, he may not of course. But given how close he has been to them I am not sure he should be this big. Also this will arguably be the first time he will be in a truly run race on decent ground. That could make the difference. 

THE GOING… I tweeted Simon Rowlands of timeform to get his take on the ground. He said it was riding Good to Firm by the end of Thursday and that even if there is a deluge it will only turn it into Good ground in his opinion. There will need to be a lot of rain to make it soft. We shall see tomorrow. 

Now 8 of the last 10 winners were top 4 in the betting and we know Henderson has a great record in this. I could not put you off his or the others near the top of the market. 

I like Beltor and hope he doesnt bolt in. I backed him last time for small money when he hacked up despite pulling like a train. They have put a hood on him here and I wonder if he will pull his chance away. Adonis winners also have a decent record in this race. 

So, why am I against him. Well two stats put me off (always dangerous I know). Just 1 of the last 15 winners to have run on the flat had not raced over at least 14f. I believe he hasnt raced further than 10f on the flat. Will he have the stamina for this track, or will Aintree be more to his liking? Also, only 1 winner rated less than 80 on the flat has won this since 1996. Now clearly he can win and maybe my heart wont be able to stop me having something on him. 

The Henderson runners will clearly go well. Take your pick.


Race 2 

Ebony Express 16/1 – 1/2 point EW 5 places


Blimey what a conundrum.

There are a couple of ways to narrow the field down.

Just two winners since 1960 have carried more than 11st-2lb. That is quite a strong stat.

That would leave the bottom 7 on the card. From there you are on your own! I think you could make a case for many of them and I dont really have much of a take on what the Irish runners have done.

Waxies Dargle’s jumping would be a concern, I dont like backing horses that fell last time out. Sort It Out could be anything and is near the top of the market. He has a chance. Quick Jack has been well found in the market and is too short for me in a race like this – mainly that is influenced by the length of break and unlike the Pipe chaser earlier who was quite short, there just wasnt enough for me here. Although his trainer has a good record in the race and he clearly has a favourites chance.

I dont think the other three have done enough to warrant a bet but are very tasty odds and one is trained by that man Nicholls. (not a ‘system selection mind)

So why Ebony Express? Well winners of the Imperial Cup, trying to win the bonus, have a very good record when trying to follow up. Yes he could fold as he may not be over that run but I am happy to chance him. He has solid handicap hurdle form and would have been 4th when he was brought down in the Betfair Hurdle. He is improving, clearly likes to climb a hill and has a decent chance at the odds. 

There is a strong stat which is against front runners and prominent racers in this race. The selection will be up there and it will be interesting how this pans out. I have checked the pace and there are a lot of hold up types in this race. A lot of horses will have to change their running style if this is going to be a sprint. Maybe it will be but being near the front will be a good thing if it isn’t frenetic. 



Micro System 2 (unexposed hurdlers, ignoring French runs) throws up two Willie Mullins horses. Max Dynamite and Sempre Medici. 

Both fall down on the weight trend but the trainer knows how to win this race, as does Ruby Walsh. His mount was very disappointing last time. Maybe they will both go well here and if one or both place, or win, it wouldnt be a total shock. 1/4 points on each at BFSP just in case for me no doubt. Even though on paper I dont really fancy them, but these systems have done well this week. 


Race 3 

Martello Tower 10/1 – 1/2 point EW (only 3 places)


8/10 first 5 in the betting. 

7/10 won a pattern race over hurdles. 

8/10 had contested a race over 3 miles. 

I have focused my attention at the top of the market. This horse has a chance, will relish the hill if every comment ever made about him is to be believed, and the price looked decent. He has beaten Outlander over this trip before being out-sprinted by him over an inadequate trip. He should still be galloping when others have given up and he has one hell of a winning attitude. He will try, and that is all I can ask. 


Race 4 Gold Cup

Pick which horse you want to win and stick with it. Forget about the form book. Which horse crossing the line would make you smile, make you cheer?

For me that is Many Clouds and Coneygree. I like Road To Riches as well (but not from a story perspective, although it would be great for his trainer)

Now Many Clouds has yet to win a Grade 1 which does for him. The ground will not be soft enough either. He needs a lot of rain. But boy would he bring the house down if he were to win. Since I backed him in the Hennessy he has obviously had a place in my heart. 

I have backed Coneygree on all of his runs this season. This is his only chance of winning this. He isnt beating Don Poli or Vautour next year. Who is? 

He doesnt need to lead and he has yet to prove that he doesn’t like good ground. I think he will run a cracker and will be having a bet on him. 

I also like Road To Riches as another up and coming youngster. They would be my two against the field. 

But, I couldn’t put you off much in this race. So many have chances. 

McCoy winning is possible. What a story that would be, and rather fitting. Silviniaco Conti should go well. Chance. (but does he get up the hill- he is a better horse this year) Holywell would be some story given his route here. A superb rise through the ranks. Bobs Worth and Lord Windermere would be cheered back into the winners enclosure. 

Clearly the Mullins horse is well fancied. I hope he doesn’t win because I dont think he is a story horse whereas most of the others are. These connections have won enough big races for one week!!

I dont have a strong opinion on this as you can tell. I have my favourites but I am sure you have yours. If there is a race all week to go with your heart, this is it. Good Luck. 



Race 5 

Still no idea! Could Chosen Milan go well at 40s? who knows, sure as hell I dont. The favourite is fancied to bolt up, i know that much. Is he the ‘get out horse’ of the meeting? 🙂 


Race 6

Royal Irish Hussar 28/1 – 1/2 point EW 5 places (bet365)  

Le Mercurey 8/1 – 1/2 point EW 5 places (PP)*


The only system/profile type bets of the day that I fancy. (but I was wrong about the Druids Nephew so maybe ignore my thoughts on the Mullins horses above in the 2.05 and back then EW!) 

These are not any of the main ones but come up on the 5 year old hurdle system as well as ‘handicap hurdle’ trainers which is one I built as a pointer. 

This is the 7th running so trends are a bit pointless but 3 of the last 5 winners could be found in the top 6 in the handicap. They tick that box. Both trainers have a cracking record in this race as well from its short history having won it once each. 4 of Henderson’s 6 horses to have recorded a top 5 finish in this race had winning course form. RIH has that. He is lightly raced and 28/1 was just far too tempting. 

You could make a case for many of these but the selections will do for me. It should be a fun race. 


Race 7 

Grumeti 18/1 – 1/2 point EW 4 places (SB) 

Astracad 25/1 – 1/2 point EW 5 places (B365) 

 JONJO – has a March Handicap Chaser Qualifier in this – East Lake. Probably worth a saver or more 🙂 


As usual this is a hard way to end the meeting. Will all the Jockey’s ‘let’ McCoy win?! (only joking!) 

14 of 15 winners carried under 11st including jockey’s claim (13/15 if not) 

Novices have won 4 of the last 6 runnings (a tick for Grumeti) 

Again a case could be made for many of these but I have gone with two horses that fit the profiles of the kind of winners the trainers have here. They have both also won this race before. Astracad is a bit in and out but we wont have to worry about fitness given the yard he is from. He is also now very well handicapped with the jockey’s claim. He knows his way around here and if on song could well out-run his odds. 

Grumeti wears first time blinkers and the first time headgear angle has done well again this year, and for this yard in the Ryanair. He is unexposed over fences but will have to tidy up his jumping. He is decent odds and worth risking though. 

Both have course form which is no bad thing in this race and at the odds I was happy to take a chance. Hopefully one of them places at worst! 

SYSTEM …. Two horses for micro 3 ‘hard fit chasers’ Dresden and Brick Red.

The first comes here as an afterthougt which is never a good thing but he is the right end of the weights. Brick Red could be too high in the weights but Venetia is due a winner!


Good Luck. I hope you have a great last day.


Post Comments

Do join in the conversation below, we're a friendly bunch.. all questions welcome, and do share your selections or thoughts

21 responses

    1. Hi Malcolm… This is his 7th career start on these shores I think…that one only looks at those that have had 1-3 career runs in uk/Ireland as a starting point.

    1. No it is just 1-3 career runs in total, ignoring French form. Have just checked articles and master copy,though that was clear but apols for any confusion. Total career runs, not just hurdles.

  1. when said 3 career runs, thought meant 3 hurdle runs. will monitor if 1 to 3 hurdles are also ok to use.
    hope so backed both!

  2. Catching a later train in a bit as Mrs Bristol and kids coming too today, I went Tues with mates. I’m Just ahead after giving some profit back yesterday, but win lose or draw today it’s been a great week. I’m on these first choice each race but do have a saver apiece too, happy to Dutch for any profit at all, strokes for folks and all that. Peace and Co, think Henderson will win race with any of his. Violet Dancer? Black Hercules. Coneygree V Many Clouds. Paint the Clouds V Current Event. Rio Des Francs but any Mullins. Blood Cotil V Ted Veale. Have I left any out lol??!!
    Good luck Josh and all his readers and supporters, love racing come racing!! Right, where’s my pint? 🙂

      1. My best festival day ever, 4 winners from my 1st or 2nd choices, fancied Henderson and Mullins hurdlers respectively, and even a Ms Mullins popped up too! Coneygree the icing on the cake. Mrs picked On the Fringe. Kids had one apiece, so everyone’s happy, a very very busy day up there, but a perfect day. Cheers Josh keep on keeping on! 🙂

        1. Well that sounds like a brilliant day, glad I helped a little bit, I should have let you preview the Hendo/Mullins hurdle races/winners! – well done with them. Following trainers is key, big boys keep cropping up with same type of winners in same races. Mullins looking to farm that one now, had Rubys one each way but not the winner. A days racing is fun anyway, but much much better when you pick winners. Superb effort!

          1. Cheers mate, yes it makes quite a difference. Something I’ve mused on, and I’m sure it’s been picked up before, I think Mcririck used to say about maths, but anyway, if a trainer has the favourite, and others fancied in the betting, doesn’t it make him odds on to win?? That’s how I look at it anyway, and used it to good effect with dutching to suit their prices respectively this week, we know the horses don’t know about maths and stats, but they are our best guide, meanwhile trends are always ready to be broken and set anew, as Coneygree showed us today! We never stop learning, but days like today make all the reading worthwhile!

  3. 1.30 Petite Parisienne – trusting my figures but would like to see a good run for Beltor (trainer on the up?)

    2.05 Max Dynanite – Ben Aitken of Narrow The Field will have a hard on for this after noting for a strongly run 2m h’cap ideal but gets in light & heads my figs – also like Commissioned

    3.20 Many Clouds

    4.40 Party Rock EW

    5.15 Like Grumeti (someone should do some research regarding headgear first time, 2 winners yesterday?) & Dresden keeps improving

    Good Luck & Enjoy

    1. Cheers Joe… Have learnt my lesson,an ew bet followed by a small win bet on betfair! Yep 10ew for me,plus 5 on BFSP, nice return 🙂

  4. KILLUTAUGH VIC was a nice mistake to make, had £8 win @ 11 to 1!
    looks like I will be using the 3 career hurdle runs as well as your 3 career flat or NH.

    1. Indeed… i did think of you when he went past the line. Mullins has a good record in general with his handicap hurdlers here, just picking the right ones. I will get digging next year and have a look at that angle as well. Glad you had a good day. Hope you backed Martello Tower!

  5. Dave…
    yes to an extent…Henderson has a very good record in that race and clearly it was obvious he held the nap hand as I referred to.(was hoping at worst would sneak a place but mine was never in it) You can look at trainer with a number of runners a different way…and that is that they dont know their best chance. I need to check but i think henderson has a poor record when he has 4 or more runners in a race/handicap..think he had 6 in one earlier in the week and I think they all bombed. Same with Mullins in the bumper, he fired a lot at it this year (not sure if more in comparison to previous years) but none of them did very well. So swings and roundabouts, picking the right races I think.

    Trends..yes all there to be broken and you cant bee too rigid. When you are trying to analyse so many races they are valuable in narrowing down the field – but you can take out winners in one fell swoop. The Gold Cup had an open feel, having backed Coneygree all season I didnt really care what the stats said, I knew he would jump and stay, just whether he was good enough. Was surprised he got such an easy lead, was confident early on he would be there jumping the last. Great race.

    1. Indeed yes I thought about that further after I wrote it, take Nicholls, fave for Gold Cup but both(?) his unplaced, I tighten it up by considering the first five priced in the betting, that can give quite a few mind given a couple can both be at 4/1 etc equally say, but if trainer has several amongst those ‘seriously’ fancied I consider them further. If it’s a scattergun of average chances all over a race then I’m less interested and leave alone. Further, it’s better in non handicaps and better classes too. As for Coneygree, connections clearly knew they had something special all along, no wonder they were so angry over ‘that’ vet, has he cost them a bonus here too? Anyway, great for them, I’m sure they are very happy and have been vindicated for a long time since then. But yes, a good thing I’ve followed ever since that day at Plumpton(?) I think you noted it and advised back then too, I know I read it somewhere?! So, let the trend be your friend, but always be open in your thinking, there’s nothing new under the sun, but always a different way of looking at it! Right, I’m shattered, good week, good night!

      1. Yes i believe I did! found it fascinating they got so angry and lumped on him in his next race, then at Kempton and he has never disappointed, great to have a story horse to follow. I remember it happening with another horse, forget which, But, the jockey fell off when he had been well backed and he hit the ground furiously with his whip a couple of times.. he bolted up next time at a good price. All good fun, this complex game is bloody glorious!

  6. Had Coneygree but only backed him about an hour before the race when I discovered on HRB that he’d won all 3 races on soft ground and he was getting the going he liked once more. He also seems to like left handed tracks too.Nico De Bounville is no mug jockey either. Had a small bet on Killultagh Vic solely on being a Mullins runner. Made a few free bets from Betfair’s various offers over the few days but had many close calls including 4 2nd places in the first race of each day. Very frustrating but it indicates E/W betting is a safer way to go in bigger,classier fields. Well done to all this week.

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