Cheltenham Festival 2019: Preview Evening Notes
On Monday evening I went to the annual Festival preview near Aintree that John Morris (JM) (Jumping Pospects) hosts, raising plenty of money for charity in the process. It’s always a good laugh and the panel is both informative and good humoured.
There were some familiar faces on the panel… trainers Ben Pauling (BP) and Charlie Longsdon (CL), John Parrott (JP – yep, the snooker player… he’s great value, even for a Blue!) and Andy Holding (AH) (Oddschecker, William Hill radio, speed figures guru). This year they were joined by a Star Sports rep, Luke (SS), who was also great value.
Much beer was consumed and unlike in previous years I didn’t win a prize in the charity raffle! Unbelievable.
However. There were plenty of interesting nuggets, especially for the Grade 1s, which I don’t tend to focus on. What follows are my notes…
I’ll start with their Charity Bets (their naps I suppose)
BP: Lisnagar Oscar – Albert Bartlett / Bright Forecast EW (his horse, Ballymore Novices)
CL: Battleoverdoyen (couple options, likely Albert B, or Ballymore) / Ballydine (his horse, a runner in the Midland’s National!)
JP: Paisely Park
AH: Lisnagar Oscar (Albert Bartlett) / Paisley Park ( Stayers -his nap of the meeting, on at big prices) / Delta Work (RSA)
JM: Clan Des Obeaux (Gold Cup) / Meticulous (bumper)
I haven’t mentioned all from below, but those that I sensed had some confidence behind them…
Lisnagar Oscar – Albert Bartlett
Paisley Park – Stayers
Fakir D’oudairies – Supreme
Glen Forsa/Hardline – Arkle
Sam’s Profile/ Battleoverdoyen- Ballymore
Delta Work – RSA
Kildisart – EW – JLT
Pentland Hills – EW – Triumph
Sir Du Berlais / Walk To Freedom – Pertemps
Caid Du Berlais – Foxhunters
Band of Outlaws – Fred Winter
Likes Al Dancer. A much quicker time that the Tizzard horse, 7/8L ahead of him on his time figures. Doesn’t like his price now though.
Fakir D’oudairies – a massive time figure – much better than Sir Erec, who runs in the Triumph. Owner may want to keep them apart and no shock if he runs in the Supreme, what with the 4 year old allowance also. He also has big field experience.
General point… flat track horses vs those who act/better on undulating.
Thinks Mr Fisher is a flat track horse… maybe one for Aintree, and he’s a horse for the future/next season.
He likes Elixir De Nutz… just because he’s hard/tough… and while Al Dancer may be better on the clock, if they are together jumping the last, will he out-battle EDN?? BP thinks not.
BP – doesn’t like Lalor. He likes Hardline for the Irish. And Glen Forsa
CL – Lalor better on flatter tracks. Win 2 miler at Aintree.
JP – Glen Forsa
AH – could be a very strong pace in this race. Likes Glen Forsa – mad time figure – 25 lengths better than Mr Muddle comparative at Sandown same CD, and Mr M is an older horse. This horse is very good. He likes Hardline if it’s soft, wouldn’t rule him out.
Ornua for Henry DB is very good – but suspicion is he needs an uncontested lead but unlikely to get it. He’s a horse to watch both now and moving forward. Smart.
SS- could pay to go with a leader and a closer in this, to cover all pace bases.
AH – Buveur D’Air is solid at current prices.
INSULT… now, this horse, in a maiden hurdle, ran same time as Laurina… a negative for Laurina – doesn’t think anywhere near up to this level! (Josh – or, maybe Insult is just very good! Track that one, esp if Laurina runs ok)
SS – Melon – general point.. owner Mrs J Donnelly.. this family are an old Irish bookmaking family – and they know when to back theirs. Melon crashed in prices last year and ran a stormer in the race. A general point, but if you see a market move on these colours, wherever, take note.
CL – a concern Apples Jade may crumble under pressure…
BP – Global Citizen… will run.. but they WONT be making the running with him, or trying to. A more patient ride. BP thinks he has a solid chance of top 4, but probably 4th at best. Thinks he will run well.
BP – really likes his own Bright Forecast as an EW bet.
SS- (Josh… star sports pushed Champ out on the night… gives me impression they want to get him/could be beaten… is he best at Flat tracks… and also the Challow has an awful record as a prep for this race, but that could be because it’s usually run on much softer ground and bottoms them out. It was good this year)
AH – he can’t have Champ at the prices, has a few things to overcome/questions.
SAM’S PROFILE… a lot of love for this Mouse Morris horse at 14s, who panel think will be much shorter on day. Fantastic last circuit speed figure on recent race. May have won but for shoddy jumps over last couple. Mouse M … anything he runs in a big Festival is worth a look.
Also really likes Battleoverdoyen. They are AH’s two in this race, and he was very bullish.
Ah – loves Delta Work. Thinks he’s ok value still.
Topofthegame – he is the best of the UK runners, on the figures. AH thinks Delta Work will out-stay Topofthegame in this.
SS – general point – ‘in my punting I always start at the bottom of the market, biggest odds, work up’
Some support for Drovers Lane – probably not good enough but may sneak a place.
BP – Mister Malarkey is an out and out stayer, and this is a race for proper stayers.
Santini looked ¾ fit at Newbury. The Worlds End – doesn’t look in love with the game but should keep galloping.
Altior. Move on!
BP – his Kildisart – confident of a massive run, Defi Du Seuil is the one to beat.
SS – Kildisart is a BIG price now. BACK NOW EW! This race could cut up and he won’t be sent off at 10/1, and could be a single figure field.
AH- mathematically some races should be attacked now, due to chance of cutting up, and this is one of those races due to likely defections.
He prefers Lostintranslation – Defi WILL run in JLT… as JP McManus has had a massive Ante Post bet on him!
Andy agrees that at this stage, given the prices, Kildisart is THE bet in the race.
(Josh… I personally don’t like the handicap to a Grade 1 route, but what do I know! The stats are not great, but Kildisart WILL run, provided he doesn’t get injured etc – if 6-10 runners, cold be hard to see him out of the places. He is 7th in the betting right now, and 3 or 4 of those above him may not show up in this)
CL – He likes his Castafiore – she’s nice, will run her race. 33/1 – She WILL run also, again if cuts up, got sense he thought she could grab a place, maybe! One to watch moving forward anyway.
AH – more competition in this than he hoped/expected a few weeks back. Looks like Frodon and Road to Respect may run here now.
Monalee is his EW banker in this – he simply doesn’t’ stay 3 miles as strongly as others at this level. He would respect Road To Respect if he runs in this. He could be the better option now, at the prices.
SS – thinks Monalee is too soft, not a big enough heart for the battle. This is the LAY of the festival for him! Strong words. He likes Top Notch.
BP – Frodon – he is just solid, likeable, tough, will run his race. Also likes Top Notch. They would be his two for the race. Thinks Frodon is bombproof EW
BP – Paisley Park – Barry Fenton (former top jockey) is Emma Lavelle’s partner, rides the horse every day, and they’ll have him spot on for this. He wins by 10l!! Unbeatable.
IF soft- Kilbricken Storm is of some interest.
SS- Supasundae – EW. Kilbricken Storm EW if soft.
AH – Paisley Park should be odds on!! He’s as big a certainty as you can get at the Festival. Turns up in the same form as LTO, on the figures, he just wins. He just wins! (Josh – I sense he’s as confident as you can be, and I suspect has had big bets at big odds!)
Sir Erec – not much love at all for him across the board. His price is just ridiculous. He’s the talking horse, as if he’s the second coming of Jesus Christ (SS )
AH- backed Sir Erec at big odds AP, but he is a horrible price now. You have to take him on at prices.
On Andy’s own time figures… Fakir D’oudairies has a time figure of 73. Which is very very good on his scale. Sir Erec is the low 50s. He is NOT a superstar.
The English horses are modest in this.
One potential… PENTLAND HILLS – back him EW at 16/1!!
CL – Likes Pic D’Orhy for Nicholls. IF soft, EW
JP – Likes Quel Destin – just hardy and gets the job done, likes horses that enjoy winning!
BP – Likes the Curtis horse, Lisnagar Oscar – lovely horse
CL – Emitom – being saved for Aintree by connections- wait for him there.
General… TAILED OFF horses in this race often have very good careers and are future Festival winners… Always track this race.
AH – Lisnegar Oscar – really likes this horse also. Whatever beats him, wins the race!
This is a race to attack on the day. It really does look very open.
AH – Native River- if soft is a solid EW bet – BP thinks he’s slower than last year. If Native R leads, Andy H cant’ see 5 horses going past him, if getting 4 places EW. It’s a race to enjoy rather than to attack with big bets.
BP – Thistlecrack has had his smoothest prep for some time. Thinks has an EW chance.
Other Races/ Other Notes
The Mullins camp do not think their fav in this gets beaten. She wins.
Roxana EW for team Skelton could be the play, if you must.
JP – likes last year’s winner
Likes Mr Whitaker (last year’s Close Brother’s winner… runs as if wants this trip now)
Close Brothers… A Plus Tard for Henry De Bromhead. Big time figure.
National Hunt Chase – Ballyward – maybe best Mullins horse to back all week at prices.
Bumper… Get In The Queue – watch his career, he may not run. But this horse ran a sensational time on his last run. Historically a time that would be good enough to place in The Cheltenham Bumper.
Latest Exhibition – AH had a word from some Irish contacts, EW price. They like him.
Fred Winter – the fact Joseph O B runs Band of Outlaws is a good sign – good time figure, experienced, interesting.
JM – Triumph – Hannon- an interesting one – 2nd in a Grade 2. Could be of interest
SS – Bumper- Ask For Glory for Nicholls.
BP – bumper – likes Envoi Allen – just experienced and battle hardened.
Pertemps Handicap Hurdle
The Leop qualifier was VERY interesting , wink wink.
Sir Du Berlais- he’s the gamble of the race. 16s>5s.
Walk To Freedom – looks interesting also.
BOTH horses ran quicker than Apples Jade on that day.
AH had a good message for Measure Of My Dreams in the Kim Muir.
Kilfilum Cross is interesting – Derek O Connor rode him at Ludlow LTO, which just looked strange. Would be of interest if he was on him in this race, at a price. Worth a 2nd look.
AH – Caid Du Berlais – unlucky 5th in the race last year for Nicholls. Hacked up in a point to point recently.
Looking forward to Bright Forecast
More generally… from his yard… CHESS PLAYER is one for your trackers- could be a superstar of the future. Really likes him.
Also Nester Park – really likes him and is one for fences next year.
That’s the lot. Plenty to get stuck into there.
Some caution, as trainers are notoriously bad tipsters!! : ) (unless that’s just a saying)
Anything Andy Holding says is worth taking note of.
Hoping to add to the +154 points profit won at the last two ‘Festival Weeks’.