Cheltenham Festival Day 2 Prospects
In the day 1 preview, I alluded to the performance Sporting John put up at Ascot on the clock.
In a normal year that would be good enough to go very close or win a Ballymore. He looks a very exciting prospect, it’s very difficult to put a top end mark on the level of his ability as he remains unbeaten.
The problem here is he meets Envoi Allen who is an equally exciting prospect if not more so. He’s looked very good since winning the Bumper at last year’s Cheltenham Festival.
For me, the market has these two about right in the betting. If you’re playing Envoi Allen he’s short enough and not my sort of price. Sporting John is currently 7/2 and not quite a big enough price for me to get involved each way.
As many people’s Festival banker, Envoi Allen could yet shorten further and push Sporting John out? I’d be thinking about getting involved each way should the price get close to 5/1.
Sporting John wins impressively at Ascot
- Sporting John
- Envoi Allen
RSA Insurance Novices' Chase
Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle
Plots aplenty in here and the Irish look to hold a strong hand.
Dame De Compagnie looks interesting for Nicky Hendeson, the price looks less interesting at around 9/1.
The one who takes my eye is Fergal O’Brien trained Champagne Well. He looks on a nice mark of 141 and is stepping back into handicaps for the first time since finishing close up in last years EBF Final at Sandown.
He’s run a string of good races this season, particularly his course and distance second to the useful novice Thyme Hill in November. There looks a bit of juice in his price at 20/1 and that will do for me.
- Champagne Well 20/1
- Dame De Compagnie
Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase
I’m on Dynamite Dollars ante-post at 40/1 though I’ve no particular confidence in him coming into the race.
Defi De Seuil I’ve been against throughout his chasing career (that’s gone well!!) as he’s never been tested in a race with an end to end pace. He keeps winning but a definite no for me at 7/4.
Altior is the best horse in the race on his former Champion Chase wins and Ascot second this year to Cyrname. At the start of the week there were concerns that he might not make the line-up because he was lame – we’ll see.
No surprise that his price has been on the drift then but at some point that becomes value. He’s currently just above 3/1 on Betfair, I’d be tempted at that price if he is confirmed a runner. (ALTIOR IS NOW A NON-RUNNER)
Politologue at 33/1 is a big price, unfortunately, with just 7 runners it’s only 2 places. I’d say we’ve seen the best of Politologue but if the ground comes up very testing he could play his part.
A bit of a messy race, at this stage I think I’ll probably sit it out and let my ante-post bet on Dynamite Dollars play out.
- Dynamite Dollars 40/1 Ante-post
Cross Country Chase
Of absolutely no interest as a betting race to me – move on….
Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle
Just my sort of race, little collateral form to go on and race where speed figures can reveal some value. Every year since the first running I’ve got very excited about ‘some’ runner in this race at a huge price, as yet no successes!!
As usual, there are plenty of unexposed Irish horses in the field but I have an inkling that the English 4-year-olds may be a better bunch this year.
Nicky Henderson appears to have his duo Palladium and Fraser Island in on decent marks, the latter appeals more at 25/1.
Similar comments apply to Nigel Twinston-Davies’s Goa Lil who I would say is overpriced on the Kempton win at 33/1.
My idea of the best-handicapped horse is Repetitio whose third to Triumph Hurdle fancy Allmankind in November is arguably one of the best juvenile hurdles run this year. Repetitio subsequently won a Cheltenham handicap against the older generation here in December, a race where the form has worked out particularly well.
After that race, he was put away with this race in mind. 20/1 looks a good bet to me. I’m likely to have smaller stakes running for me on Fraser Island and Goa Lil at bigger prices.
- Repetitio 20/1
- Fraser Island
- Goa Lil
Weatherbys Champion Bumper
Little form to go on and plenty of unkown quantities here.
The Irish trainers look to have a typically strong representation again. Of the English trained runners, Israel Champ, Third Time Lucki and last years 5th The Glancing Queen look some of the stronger contenders.
Third Time Lucki for the Skelton’s looks interesting at a big price. His form as yet is a little behind the best in this race so far. That said he has been very impressive in winning his last two races. Particularly on his latest run at Huntingdon.
Third Time Lucki has absolutely tanked into contention and went away like a very good horse in the closing stages. What you don’t see in the clip is the earlier stages of the race. Third Time Lucki was settled at the rear and made up ground with eye catching ease, he sauntered into contention.
There’s a lot of unknowns in this race but, Third Time Lucki looks a really exciting prospect and I’m tempted to have a little play at 20/1 plus.
- Third Time Lucki 20/1