3.Micro Systems/Angles: Qualifiers
4.TIPS: Race Previews (inc shortlists)
5.Any Other Thoughts
1.TIPS: Summary (complete/ALL official tips… 08.50)
Beware The Bear – 1 point win – 14/1 (gen) WON 14/1> 10/1
Coo Star Sivola – 1 point win – 11/1 (WH/BetfS/BV/888) 10/1 (the rest) UP
Noble Endevour – 1 point win – 16/1 (gen) UP
(as of 08.50, 12/03)
Huntsman’s Son – 1 point win – 25/1 (gen) (32.00 BetfExch)
Shady Operator – 1 point win – 20/1 (WH) 18/1 (BV/UniB/Coral) 26.00 (BetfExch)
Quamino – 1 point win – 22/1 (bet365), 20/1 (gen) , 30.00 (BetfExch)
(as of 08.50, 12/03)
Impulsive Star – 1 point EW – 16/1 (1/4 bet365) (1/5 BV/Betf) 14/1 (the rest)
Mulcahy’s Hill – 1 point win – 33/1 (gen) (55.00 BetfExch)
(as of 21.19)
TIPS COMPLETE, as of 08.50, no more will be added. I’ll add some thoughts in section 5 below, ‘through the card’ etc.
Important: To reiterate, this year i’m using a 30 point bank for Festival Week (inc Midland’s National on Sat). That’s just so you know a worst case scenario and plan accordingly, if following my tips. Multiply your 1 point stake by 30, to get your Festival Bank. You should be prepared to lose all of it, and the key is to have some fun this week and enjoy every race – in my mind that means losing an amount that doesn’t bother you, if it all goes wrong, which it wont! 🙂 If that’s £1 per point, so be it.
Don’t forget there’s the tipping comp in the separate post… 1st prize £50, 2nd £20, 3rd £10.
3.Micro Systems/Angles: Qualifiers
Actival (micro 3, 12/1< guide)
Beware The Bear (m3, 12/1< guide) W
Coo Star Sivola (m3, 12/1< guide)
Shantou Village (m3, 12/1< guide)
Singlefarmpayment (m3, 12/1< guide)
Crucial Role (m 6, 12/1<)
Magic Of Light (m9, 25/1<)
Noble Endeavour (m9, 25/1<)
Up For Review (m1 / m9)
Cubomania (m1, m9)
Solomn Grundy (m1 , m9)
Highway One O One (m3, 12/1< guide)
Movewiththetimes (m3, 12/1< guide)
Dell Oro (M4)
Tower Bridge (m4)
Lough Derg Spirit (m6, 12/1<)
Quamino (m1, m2, m6)
Riders Onthe Storm (m6, 12/1<)
Roaring Bull (m6, 12/1<)
The Russian Doyen (m6, m9)
4.TIPS: Race Previews (inc shortlists)
2.50 – The Ultima
Coo Star Sivola – On my 10/10 stats he’d be a stats buster but it was about time they went 🙂 If truth be told I don’t have a great record in this race but a 2nd/3rd last year was an improvement and hopefully I can build on that here. This one was too short for me last year the day before but he was very well backed. He idled late there and may have hit the front too soon – he was value for 5L+ more there for me and his mark here won’t be stopping him. I don’t think his yard have played silly buggers with him- they’d have liked a more recent run where he’d have gone well- so, there is a chance that he’s actually just out of form. I think he goes very close to winning this or is mid div/tailed off. There are valid excuses for his two poor runs this year – he probably needed the first on decent ground and LTO was also on ground too lively for him, and he wasn’t knocked about. The Sandown run, on soft, was decent enough – he was bang there at the pond fence and kept on. Thomas Patrick went off the boil after that but Elegant Escape didn’t. These are his conditions and this is his track. IF he’s in form, he’ll track the pace, pop away, and sweep into contention as they head for home. Connections are hoping that he’s coming back to himself and the yard are in decent form – 2/8,5p the last 14 days. I couldn’t leave him at 11s/12s.
Noble Endeavour – one from the trends ‘shortlist, it’s Gordon Elliot, it’s Davy Russel, it’s a Festival handicap, and he was 16s. Looking at the horse… well he appears to have been aimed at the Festival every season… in March 2015 he came 2nd in the Martin Pipe, in 2016 he’d have been in the top 4 in the NH chase but for falling 2 out. In 2017, off 77 days off, he came 3rd in this race, beaten 3 1/2 L. He then ran credibly in the Irish National, where they all bumped into Our Duke, the rest in enough of a heap. He then had 600 days off before returning at Aintree where he just pottered around. Now, this could be a prep run for The Grand National, and he’ll run into a place and set him up for that. However, given his form at the Festival as above, at 16/1, i had to conclude he’s been aimed at this race. Winning it won’t affect his weight in The GN and I hope he’s here to run his race. If it goes proper soft it’s a question in terms of stamina, but that’s the case for many in here for me. IF he runs his best/his race, he goes close and he’s 4lb lower than when last running in this.
Beware The Bear – a late morning addition and I always view things a bit differently on the morning – albeit who slept well last night?? Can’t say I did, it must be excitement, or the pressure 🙂 . On RPR figures he ran a career best LTO, a stonking 159 which is much better than anything he’s done before – that coincided with his second run after a wind op but more importantly 1st time blinkers. Apparently these have transformed him , including at home, where he’s been going very well. He came 4th in this race last year having lost his position, jumped a bit poorly, but then stayed on. It was a remarkable run really. He just ticks the boxes I like in any handicap chase – he’s in form, the rest pattern is fine for him, and if the blinkers work again he will race on the pace- LTO, while those in behind may not be up to much, he did jump them silly – the pace he went, and how he jumped, put everything under the pump. It isn’t impossible they try and make all again here, keeping him wide, maybe lobbing along with Vintage Clouds. He will stay up this hill and if he’s leading come the last, I’m not sure anything will get by him. The first 2/3 fences are key here, for my win bet – IF he runs and jumps as he did LTO, he will go close for me. If he doesn’t, he may place again at best. The trainer has won the race before (albeit he hasn’t won a handicap for a while now at the Festival) and the horse has run well in decent staying chases. He’s solid.
Of the rest… well UP FOR REVIEW.. hits all the stats/trends so clearly won’t be shocked if he wins. He’s the only one to have the perfect 13/13. BUT, his price went (he was 20s on Sunday, damn!) and at 8s I couldn’t tip him given it’s his first run over fences here – and his two runs at the festival previously were not the best. His return LTO was decent and in a good race, and he should come on for it – but he was kept wide there, with no horses around him. I’ve watched a few videos and have a niggle over his jumping, esp LH when surrounded by horses, under the pump. I could be very wrong on that front, but his price just wasn’t big enough for me. I missed the 20s, of which he was worth a go for sure.
I can’t have Mr Whitaker at 8s given it’s his first run over the distance. In theory he should relish it, and if he does, clearly he’s going very close. But this will be a slog I think and he can beat me at 8s. I wanted 12s+ given it is a complete stamina unknown. He won for us last year so clearly handles the track/the occasion. Give Me A Copper was 13/2 when looking initially and that was short for one with so little experience, in a race where Nicholls’ doesn’t have the best record. He hasn’t run here before and this is a completely different test. I’d have wanted a double figure price.
I can’t have Minella Rocco with his profile on this ground- unless soft is what his older legs want now – but his best form is on a decent surface and as I write the rain has started falling. At his best he has some class and is well handicapped, but he hasn’t been at his best very often in recent times.
I couldn’t really have the rest. I can see a case for Vintage Clouds if he runs his race- if the wind op has worked and he improves/helps him travel, then he would be bang there. I don’t like backing chasers that PU LTO going into Festival handicaps and he is just a slow plodder. That may be enough, we will see. I’ve given him enough chances and won’t curse him of Nick M. I wasn’t near him as a win bet. Lake View Lad has a nice profile but has top weight and will need to be some horse off 155. I’m not sure his northern form is that great but he can’t have done any more and his yard are in form. I wouldn’t be shocked if he placed, and I wouldn’t fall off my seat if he was bang there over the last – I think his aim is The Grand National, given connections, so this may be a prep for it. He is the trainer’s best horse he’s ever had I think, and hopefully he has some nice races in him for the team – hopefully not today!
Crucial Role – I should mention him as he has a progressive profile – however he has bled twice on his last four starts and in truth that was enough to put me off. For his two wins he wasn’t under pressure and I just wonder how he, and his insides, will cope with this. If he doesn’t bleed then he could go close. 22s maybe fair to find out for change, but not for me. Big River is a big odds one on the trends ‘shortlist’ but he is usually held up and surely his form isn’t up to scratch for this. Something does niggle at me with him in a positive way but I didn’t think he’d be good enough. Calipto – Williams doesn’t have a great record in this race, the horse is usually held up, he’s hit fences on all his recent runs, and if he beats me so be it. I think the ‘capper has him, and I think he may take the odd fence home with him. General Principle may get outpaced over this trip and is a more exposed 10 year old and despite connections I was happy to leave. I couldn’t have the rest for one reason or another. If Flying Angel bounces back to form here and shows stamina that he’s never shown before, it will be a long week! For all that he’s looking very well handicapped now.
I could go on, but there are reasons why I was happy to leave everything else. If i’m wrong, then so be it. A win in this race could be seen as a bonus!!
Shady Operator – he has Riders Onthe Storm and Roaring Bull (x2) beat here, based on novice hurdles form last April. He has a big field win to his name over hurdles, suggesting a strong pace/that sort of test, brings out the best in him. His chase form is looking decent enough also – that Navan run 3 starts back is good and he beat Ballyward two starts back who’s now 150 and fav in the NH chase below. Ballyward did thump him LTO but that was over 24f in soft, which I think stretched him. I think soft is fine, but not over that far. He has an engine and at 16s+ I couldn’t resist. There’s nothing in the jockey bookings here given Walsh has ridden this one plenty and Slevin has always been on Tower Bridge in recent months. He was on the trends ‘shortlist’ below and there was enough for a bet.
Quamino – he hits a couple of the micro angles and I just liked the fact he was hardy, experienced, fit and came here on the back of a good recent run. He’s proven over the distance and his novice form suggests soft+ is fine – now, it could be that was just deceptive and class got him through that ground, and his chase improvement has come from better ground- or he’s just been getting away with it. Soft is an unknown over fences and with unknowns you want a good price. Touch-wood he’s a solid jumper and the trainer doesn’t run many at the Festival, placing with Discorama for us last year at 40/1 (he’d have won had there been a stronger pace/he was moved up sooner). Bryan Cooper – he’s been good for me here, wining on Road To Respect for us at 20s in 2017. In fact – over 20-21f at Cheltenham, over fences, he’s 3/17, 8p, 2/10,3p in handicaps. He can floor the odd horse sadly but has struck up a good relationship with Paul Nolan , 7/35,16p in handicaps in the last year, 3/12,7p in handicap chases. His run LTO was his best to date on RPR so it looks like he’s progressive, like many I suppose. It could be he just isn’t good enough but it’s a compressed handicap and I thought he was worth a punt.
Huntsman Son – waking up this morning I looked back over the stats below – and given that, and the fact i’d even underlined him, i’d rather lose 1 point than watch him storm up the hill at 25s! He hits all the 10/10 and 9/10 stats, the only one to do so. He’s another one who arrives on the back of a career best, winning well 10 days ago, pushed out. Maybe it will come too soon but he’s won after 8 days before and at least we know he’s fit and in form. That run at Warwick behind Kalashnikov was decent and he lost a shoe at Uttoxeter – in any case I think the yard went off the boil before Xmas. He appears to have been transformed by a wind op and should come on for that last run. He’s jumped very well to date and his hurdles form was good, esp in soft/heavy over 17f both here and in the Imperial Cup last year, when running 4th, looking outpaced. 20f is his trip- whether he will get home if it goes proper soft i’m not sure, but you can’t be conclusive and at 25s, given all that, I just had to go with him!
Of the rest… maybe taking on the 3 at the top of the market is foolish – BUT… A Plus Tard is short at 6s given he’s never run here, nor over fences here. Clearly he may relish it and be fine – he’s jumped well to date, but is inexperienced and has had 58 days off. If he hacks up (possible), then credit to the horse, but at 6s I had to take him on. It would be a good story horse given RB rides. We backed Mr Whitaker in this last year at 8s, on the back of a course win only a few weeks before and in that context these three look short, given they don’t have that experience. Tower Bridge is short for one who’s yet to win a chase! I can’t back him at 8s on that basis for all that his form is ok. CP are not being applied for decoration, they clearly think he needs some help – it’s about price, and if he wins at 8s so be it, I can’t have him at those odds.
I like Riders Onthe Storm of the three – Hughes is a good booking given he’s 2/5,3p in this race, the best record of any jockey still riding, and what with Cooper committed to Nolan (I think), the trainer has clearly put some thought into this. He has ability and his form suggests 140 could be lenient – BUT, he has to prove he stays, and again has never raced here. Both those factors make 8s look only ok, rather than generous. I do like him though.
Clearly it’s likely i’ve got at least one of those three wrong, but i was happy to take them on. It was about time there was another big priced winner of this race 🙂
I was happy to leave the others for various reasons… Elliot has two, and one with Davy On, who may go well enough – he’s battle hardened but I wasn’t sure would be good enough, esp on this ground, and others may have more in hand. Not the worst horse for BFSP change though, given the stats/micros etc.
Davy is 7/21, 13p, +84 BFSP with all rides in handicaps at the last 5 Festivals, so there are worse ideas than backing him blind!
Impulsive Star – i’m going to be bitterly disappointed if he doesn’t place here at worst. He was 4th in this last year, but is a better/stronger/more experienced chaser this time around, and they were probably too aggressive that day. He has one of the better jockeys on his back here – the best of the Brits – and I think they may be more patient. His run LTO was decent and it’s a race that’s working out well. I’d like to think i’m getting a run for my money and a small profit on the race at worst here – gulp. Poor sod. The trainer is in cracking form and this has been the plan since his last run.
Mulcahys Hill – clearly a stab which may amount to very little but he appears on the trends pointers (albeit not the strongest of trends races) and I tipped him in the Albert Bartlett last year, one of two horses who hit my 10/10 stats profile (i forget the name of the other 50s shot we backed in that, ahem! 🙂 ) – he pulled up in that, like many. However he was rated 147 over hurdles and ran well in a G1 (although not the strongest) at Newbury. According to his trainer his recent wind-op has transformed him at home. He returned after 63 days LTO, first run after that op, and no doubt needed it- he kept tabs on the JLT fancies there for a long way, over a trip too short, and plugged on after the second last. His trainer thinks he will stay and trainer/jockey won the Kim Muir for us last year – I think they may try similar tactics here and I wouldn’t be surprised if they try and make all- he’s been a very good jumper. Anyway, he looked ‘the’ lively outsider in this and could give me some fun, at least until they turn for home!
Of the rest… like the Close Brothers, am I being idiotic here for taking on the market leaders?? The front 3 in the market are all very inexperienced over fences, and we are guessing whether they will get close to staying. All three run as if they will see it out, but they are short prices in which to find out. There should be better 11/4 shots around the country this week than Ballyward in this. IF he stays he probably outclasses them. Discorama would have given him a race LTO but for falling at the last. That may have left a mark and again coming to a Festival chase off the back of a fall is never ideal! He’s a good pilot on though.
The Ballyward/Discorama reverse Forecast for fun may be no bad option.
Ok Corral – he’s short for me and I don’t like Henderson horses over extreme trips – he has a shocking record. This one has been keen twice and faces a completely different test here. I can leave him at 5s although if his master jockey settles him, he could just keep galloping.
I can live in hope that all three fall in a hole here- that isn’t impossible – and if they do, hopefully I’m on the right two!
Of the rest… I thought a few of these looked better on decent ground and I wasn’t sure many would get home in this/were anywhere near good enough.
Outside of the top 3, I think i’m on the right two biggies. Time will tell whether that proves correct.
Best of luck with your bets, and remember to enjoy yourself. Hopefully I can get us off to a good start, but i’ve a table of whisky bottles at the ready if not!
p.s these write ups tend to get shorter as the week goes on so thought i’d put the effort in today.
Focusing on just 2 of the 10/10 stats… 0-1 win in handicap chases, 0-2 runs in the class… 10/96, 28p in last decade…leaves…
Give Me A Copper / General Principle / Crucial Role / Up For Review / Noble Endeavour / Big River 4th 28/1
IF they hold, the winner is in those 6! 🙂
In total there are 13, 10/10 stats, some are weaker than others.. the bigger the 0/X number the better, ie those outside of 0-1 handicap chase wins are 0/81,7p. Versus Not in top 6 LTO being 0/37,5p. The bigger the negative number the better really.
ONE horse hits all 10/10 stats, 13/13 across the board… UP FOR REVIEW
Crucial Role (12/13), Give Me A Copper (11/13), Noble Endeavour (11/13), General Principle (10/13), Big River (9/13)
Crucial Role, Noble Endeavour and Up For Review also hit a few micro angle qualifiers above in section 3
So, that’s the stats foundation/starting point/guide
4.50 – The Close Brothers
A bit of a naff stats/trends race in truth, given the small 0/X numbers, and I wouldn’t be using any stat in this to put you off a horse, if indeed you ever do use them for that purpose.
Looking at… yet to win above C2, 3 runs max at this class or higher, ran within the last 45 days… that leaves 10/85, 23p in the last decade… cutting the field in half…
Riders ofthe Storm / Cubomania / Highway One O One / Roaring Bull / Shady Operator / Solomn Grundy / Good Man Pat / Huntsman Son / Militarian / Dell Oro
Applying the x3 9/10 stats… Huntsman’s Son ticks all of those boxes, with the rest all falling down on one or more.
A few of those also appear in the micro qualifiers above.
5.30 NH Chase
Again this one isn’t the strongest on my stats/trends approach but… 0-3 runs in prev 90 days, had run at G1/G2 level in career, 2+ runs at this class or higher…
that leaves 7/31,9p in the last decade, inc the last 4 winners. All winners were 16/1< in that period.
Those pointers leave…
Ok Corral / Impulsive Star / Le Breuil / Chef Des Obeaux / Jerrys Back / Mulcalys Hill / Skip The Cuddles / Clondaw Cian
Further pointers includes 1+ chase run at track being a positive, NOT running in a handicap chase LTO, NOT 1-2 chase runs only…
Le Breuil, Jerrys Back and Clondaw Cian hit all of those also. OK Corral falls down on two of them, the others just one.
If ever there was a race where the stats are very much a guide, it’s probably this one!
5.Any Other Thoughts
(includes the stats pack etc, including the micros, quals posted in section 3 above)
Please NOTE... ALL comments in this post should refer to Cheltenham ONLY. 🙂 Any other comments should go in the normal daily members’ post.
My ‘through the card’ (a brief look at the other races, for fun…)
Klassical Dream – Mullins/Ruby/Race 1… ?? Looks a stayer to me, which may be what you need up this hill if the rain arrives and experience will count for plenty.
Vision D’Honneur – the more testing this is the better, no forlorn hope here i don’t think if this is a slog.
In truth not a race to go mad on IMO, and those of you with a Skybet account, have their 1st race offer to throw a free bet at.
Hardline – looks solid here, if not maybe a bit too short now.
Kalashnikov – not sure i’ll be having any money on but given my association with the yard (legs/hooves in Blessed To Empress and Really Super) I thought I should mention him! Without doubt he is a LH horse and a stayer in the making – his best performance was in the Betfair last year where it was a bog, scrubbed along down the back, dourly staying on. It could be that all he’s ever wanted is proper soft ground, going this was round. I don’t think he will be good enough to win, and those change in conditions need to improve his jumping, which I haven’t liked at all. Last year’s Supreme hasn’t worked out that well really, but at least he handles the hill. He could win, but if he placed I think Amy and the team would be cracking open the champagne. Fingers crossed, one for the heart rather than head but you never know!
Buveur D’Air – 11/4, 3/1 is starting to look a bit big for the champion I thought… I like Apples Jade but her three runs here have been some of her worst, on the figures, compared to elsewhere. She was in heat last year, discovered after racing, and they’ve controlled it this year, and the lack of sunshine will have helped as that can kick start it. She is the one to beat on recent form but BD will relish these conditions and while the level of his Champ hurdle wins are not vintage, a repeat may still be good enough. I’m not sure Laurina is in this class personally, albeit Willie says she may be one of the best he’s trained?? So who knows. You’d think one of the top three is winning this , Melon could grab a place maybe. He seems big however has been out of form, the CP may work wonders. Mullins doesn’t train them in headgear I don’t believe – he applies it for the first time at the track, and so they don’t know what impact it may have before the tapes go up.
Stormy Ireland / Rocksana
Maybe some small change EW interest bets here. The fav could be a machine but I couldn’t touch that price personally. Many people like a nibble in every race this week, but I can probably just sit this one out, maybe £2 on the machine BFSP for these two, to pay for some beer if one comes in! I thought Stormy Island may dictate here, or be up there, setting the fractions, and that could help come the line. Rocksana’s form behind Santino at Aintree is decent and she looks likely to appreciate these conditions. She should be spot on for this test. If taking the fav on, in likely soft ground, they would be my two.
Those are just some brief thoughts – I don’t play in Grade 1s all year really, so do take them with a pinch of salt! In general, focusing on the Top 3 in the BHA ratings is the place to focus in the Grade 1s here, if you want to give yourself a manageable shortlist off the bat, for interest wagers.
That’s all for today, 10.52. Have a great Day 1, i’d best crack onto Day 2 – stats/trends/micros shortlists will be posted before The Supreme with any luck.