Skip to main content


Showing posts from March, 2023

Cheltenham Gold Cup day previews

The bookies struck back yesterday with no favourite winning, although a couple of the outsiders were tipped up in the trade paper. Friday is a funny day. The place is packed because it's Gold Cup day and Fridays are easier to take off and make it a long weekend. But there's a lot of dross at the end of the card to end the festival, at least for me, on a bit of a low.  Anyway, here we go for finishing off with some winners! ------------------------ TRIUMPH Active Duty - only in this because he wasn't good enough to get into the juvenile handicap! Almuhit - see Active Duty. Ascending - well beaten last time behind a couple of leading chances here, but went close against Tekao the run before. Could fluke a place at big odds. Blood Destiny - revelled in the heavy going last time, winning by 18L with Boodles winner Jazzy Matty a further 5L behind. Gave Sir Allen weight and a beating on Irish debut before that. He has dodged the big juvenile features that his stablemates have

Cheltenham Day 3 - part II

Finishing off the card for Thursday... ================ MAGNERS PLATE Marvel de Cerisy is a lightly-raced chaser trained by Henry de Bromhead who obviously has a high opinion of him, judging by his SPs each start. He never got going last time but looked like he had plenty up his sleeve winning at Punchestown the time before. Just looks the type to take a massive step up on the big stage. War Lord found the pace too tough last season in the Grade 1s so has dropped down to a nice mark for handicapping. He gave the winner 22lb last time at Wetherby, beaten 5.5L, and that winner, Gemirande, then went on to just get nosed out in the Greatwood. Right in this at a nice price. Midnight River won nicely here on New Year's Day (new course) but is right up in the weights now.  Mars Harper has been running well without winning in decent handicaps in Ireland, you could just imagine Gordon Elliott applying those final touches to tune him up a bit better and be right in this. A plethora of ch

Cheltenham Day 3 - part I

Thursday is always the least loved day of the Festival for me, it pads it out further than I think it needs, and I always find it hardest to find enough time to analyse it properly. Here goes... ---------------- TURNERS NOVICE CHASE Appreciate It - 9yos don't have much of a record in this race, however this guy is very young in terms of his racing, just the twleve starts under his belt. He's two from three over fences, winning the first two with ease, then finishing 10L (started 11/8) behind double Arkle winner, El Fabiolo, off a cracking pace set by Dysart Dynamo, and was beaten a nose into third by Banbridge who opposes him here. Stepping up to two-and-a-half miles, he is unlikely to see the mad pace upfront this time. They say Supreme winners (2021, by 24L) are more likely to stay rather than take the speed options. This is the perfect opportunity to confirm that hypothesis. Balco Coastal - ran second, beaten 1.75L, in the G1 Scilly Isles Chase behind Gerri Colombe, who mi

Cheltenham Day 2 - all races

Not a lot of joy on the punt on day one, but we go again on Wednesday. BALLYMORE American Mike - star bumper horse last season but kept running into Facile Vega. Has started favourite at all three starts over hurdles but only won the first of them, a fairly weak maiden. Just hasn't progressed, might make a better chaser next year. Champ Kiely - beaten only once in four hurdle starts, by the Supreme winner Marine Nationale. Went up in trip after that and bounced back to form with a solid win. He's a worthy contender as a 7yo but it's worrying that 16 of the past 17 winners have been aged five or six. Gaelic Warrior - beaten a short head when a pronounced fav in the Boodles last year, hasn't really been tested in three runs since. His first two runs this season he started at 1/12 and 1/14 and then won a decent pot in the Liffey Handicap Hurdle during the Dublin Racing Festival coming from behind the pace. He jumps right under pressure which cost him here last year and

Cheltenham Day 1 - the other races

Now for the other races on today's card... R3, 1450. ULTIMA HANDICAP CHASE A mighty difficult three mile handicap chase which usually goes to the British and to a runner high in the market, not what you'd expect at the Festival! There's the usual baffling mix of horses on the rise, older horses dropping down the handicap and trainers who can do nothing all season but flick the switch at Cheltenham time... I find it hard to go against Monbeg Genius , a lightly-raced chaser trained by shrewd handicap trainer Jonjo O'Neill. He's won three in a row, all at around this distance, all slightly different tests. He wanted to idle in front when nicely clear at Chepstow last time but responded well when shaken up. A bigger field should keep him switched on, and despite going up 18lbs from his past three runs, I still think there's something in hand. Oscar Elite ran third in this race last year and is only one pound higher in the weights. His form since has been mixed but

Cheltenham 2023 Day 1 Features

Too much to detail in one post, so I'll break it up into the big race analysis here, and the rest of the card in separate article. R1, 1330. THE SUPREME NOVICES' HURDLE Chasing Fire - undefeated in five starts with three over hurdles, but there is a massive gap in class between Market Rasen (albeit both his wins there were by 16L), a Sandown Class3 Novice and the Festival. The picket fence looks nice but he's far more likely to run 11th than first. Dark Raven - runs in the famous double green colours of Munir & Souede. Just the two hurdle runs, a 3L win over Doctor Bravo and a third, beaten 9.75L, in the G1 Novice Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival, behind Il Etait Temps and Inthepocket, ahead of Facile Vega. Made jumping errors last time, looks to be the outsider of the Mullins quartet. Diverge - ex-French Flat galloper. Has had only two starts for Willie Mullins, sixth in High Definition's maiden win at Leopardstown, followed by romping in at Punchestown in a