A solid start to The Cheltenham Festival with just over 7pts profit. Roksana was one for the believers of variance.
Today is slower than yesterday, there’s two massive handicaps and the cross -country which I don’t have much interest in.
13:30|Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle
Champ was my original selection for this race after his Challow Hurdle victory. Interestingly he was only entered in this race at The Festival. The form of the Challow isn’t working out. Getaway Trump has been beaten twice. He would have been forgiven for being beaten by Al Dancer in The Betfair, but Al Dancer didn’t advertise that form yesterday. Kateson was turned over at short odds on her next start. Brewin’upastorm was running a big race on trials day when falling, but I believe he would’ve been beaten too.
Battleoverdoyen is unbeaten and won a weak looking Grade One last time. He was potentially fortunate to win that from Sams Profile. The Mouse Morris inmate made a mistake down the back and was short of room up the run in. He stayed on well that day and it doesn’t take a huge leap of faith to imagine him reversing the form. It was a weak Grade One, with half the field finishing out of the places and a long way behind Commander Of Fleet on their following start.
EASY GAME is a Grade Two winner and on a line through Getareason he doesn’t have much to find with Battleoverdoyan. Rhinestone was behind him at Navan and that horse was touched off by Commander Of Fleet in a Grade One. In what looks a very open and competitive race I want him onside for team Mullins and Walsh.
BACK EASY GAME @ 15.0
This revolves around the three at the head of the market. Topofthegame and Santini were both beaten by La Bague Au Roi at Kempton over Christmas. That form has worked out well, with La Bague Au Roi showing that she’s the best novice chaser around when easily landing another Grade One last time out.
I think that Topofthegame can confirm form with Santini unless this race turns into a real stamina test. With a likely strong pace set by Top Ville Ben and Now McGinty I don’t want to be with Topofthegame as I don’t think he’ll see it out. He stayed on at the same pace at Kempton, looking like he had every chance when he traded at 1.20 in-running.
The stamina test should suit Santini but I have to be a against him. He’s been a big talking horse for a while now because he hits the line hard. Having won four of his six starts, but he has only had two runs over fences. He’s a big horse who was beaten on his third start of last season, at The Festival. He then came on for that run to beat Roksana at Aintree. I don’t want to knock him too much, he’s beaten a number of good yardsticks in England, but I don’t think he’ll shorten in the market or today will be his day.
With my doubts around the other two at the head of the market I’m left with DELTA WORK. Last seasons Pertemps Final winner began this season with a a pair of victories over a trip that’s short of his optimum. In the second of those he beat the very well regarded La Richebourg. To win that race against the horse who would’ve been a short priced favourite for The Arkle highlights his class.
Once he was stepped up to three miles he really showed what he could do in a Grade One at Leopardstown over Christmas. That day he beat Mortal as easily as La Bague Au Roi did last month.
With the beating of La Richebourg, previous festival form and a stamina test that should bring around further improvement I make him my selection.
BACK DELTA WORK @ 3.50
If you saw £50 in the road you’d chance picking it, expecting not being hit by a car.Cherry Analysts, 2019
ALTIOR is the Frankel of the jumps game, but he’s not priced up like that. He should be a maximum of 1.20.
I’m not going to spend time looking for an each-way alternative, which wastes the win part or look at the without Altior market. The value is in the win market.
BACK ALTIOR @ 1.40
Not a race that I often get involved in but the smallest field in its history has tempted me in. With only fourteen runners this race shouldn’t be as rough as usual. That will help the favourite, but I have to oppose Blue Sari. This four year-old Mullins inmate has seen a racecourse once. He was mighty impressive in that sole run, but the form hasn’t been franked in any way since.
Envoi Allen hasn’t done anything wrong, winning on all four visits to a racecourse. The win of his Grade Two last time out is the key formline here. On the face of it METICULOUS can’t reverse the form, but at the prices there’s reasons to take a chance. The Leopardstown race was run at a muddling gallop, this stronger end to end pace should suit. Envoi Allen was went around the outside, whereas Meticulous got stuck in a pocket. Once he got out into the clear he was closing all the way to the line.
Another reason to believe the form can be reversed is the stable vibes around Envoi Allen haven’t been positive. It hasn’t sounded like Gordon Elliott wants to run this horse here. With Cheveley Park Stud taking an interest in National Hunt racing this season, I would suggest that it’s their decision to run here as they want to try and get some Cheltenham Festival winners.
Abacadabras was running a pleasing race before he ran out inside the final furlong. He had the rail to guide him that, so you’d have to be slightly concerned about him wandering on the run when they straighten up for the hill.
BACK METICULOUS @ 9.00
£1 Through The Card
- Easy Game
- Delta Work
- Tiger Roll
- King D’Argent
The 7-fold pays at least 600,000/1