Surprisingly that turned into a good day for me. After Chacan Pour Soi was declared a non-runner my day looked like it would be down to Envoi Allen. He won like he should have and I was left twiddling my thumbs. Earlier in the day a friend on track had asked me for a Lucky 15, so I gave him one that involved the JP handicap hurdle winners. I didn’t get heavily involved on them but the drift on Dame De Compagnie near the off dragged me in and then it felt rude not to take Aramax at double-digits as he looked primed to shorten up. I did give some back with Israel Champ but I’m not going to complain. So yes, I’m an after timing nonce but I won’t claim those when I release my ‘level-stakes’ P&L on Friday.
13:30 | Marsh Novices’ Chase
I haven’t opposed the Irish that often this week, but this race looks primed for taking them on. Faugheen is a 12yo, he’s done nothing wrong this season winning all three of his chase starts. However his best form id against Samcro who has just become a complete hound. I personally can’t trust him to carry my money as joint fav and therefore I also need to be opposing Faugheen. If I’m opposing the Mullins stable number one then I also need to oppose Melon, Bapaume and Tornado Flyer.
My shortlist is therefore Itchy Feet and MISTER FISHER with the preference for the Nicky Henderson runner. Itchy Feet has won both of his chase starts, but you can’t count the first one as form as it was a stroll around Leicester in a three runner race at 1.20. Last time out he won a ‘Grade 1’ at Sandown on awful ground where the favourite Laurina didn’t fire at all. The form hasn’t been tested yet with the only chase runner being the 4th, Grand Sancy, coming out and winning a Fontwell three runner affair at 1.21.
Mister Fisher won a four runner Grade 2 at Doncaster and this is one of the problems for novice chasers in the UK. There are so many graded races in England that the horses don’t get the opportunity to post a big rating because they’re plodding around in small fields against inferior horses. I think Mister Fisher has a lot of pace, he has a long stride patter which sees him eat up the ground and he’s quick over his fences. He wouldn’t have looked out of place in an Arkle but they’ve decided to come here for the on paper easier target. This is his opportunity to show he’s a Grade 1 chaser and at the prices I’m happy to side with him.
BACK MISTER FISHER @ 6.50
14:50 | RYANAIR CHASE
Frodon won this race from Aso last year, but the form of that race hasn’t panned out well. Taking this seasons form into account this would appear to be a match bet between A PLUS TARD and Min, which is also how the market sees it. Connections of both are probably disappointed that neither of them ran in the Champion Chase yesterday. With Chacun Pour Soi declared a non-runner and Defi Du Seuil way below par you’d think that either of these would’ve gone very close.
I fancied Chacun Pour Soi to win the Champion Chase and both A Plus Tard and Min have faced him this season. Min finished a game second, where-as A Plus Tard won although that day I think Chacun Pour Soi needed the run. So on that there shouldn’t be much between them, but then you go back and look at how the selection dismantled a Close Brothers field by 16 lengths and you can’t help but be impressed. He’s already rated 166 and being only a six year old there’s every reason to think he’s open to plenty of improvement.
BACK A PLUS TARD @ 2.75
15:30 | STAYERS HURDLE
I don’t like the makeup of this market. In years gone by you used to be getting even money on the Stayers Hurdle good thing, that should’ve been 1.6x. Now the price is correct with respect to Paisley Park.
Plenty of people have been talking up the time figure of a Leopardstown Pertemps Qualifier in which RONALD PUMP finished second. They tried to turn this horse into a staying chaser and last time he was send off as second fav against Carefully Selected, the horse that was absolute smashed up in the markets on the opening day. Ultimately he’s not a chaser, but he’s a good stayer and should be flying towards the finish. It looks difficult to keep him out of the frame but this isn’t an each-way race for me. So I’ll take a rare dive into the without favourite market.
BACK RONALD PUMP without Paisley Park @ 11.0
16:50 | MARES’ NOVICES HURDLE
The cat is well and truly out the bag now when it comes to CONCERTISTA. Her price was contracting yesterday and then the ‘super tipsters’ put her up. She finished second in this race last year and that looks a really strong piece of form with plenty of big runs coming from the field, including a the Champion Hurdle winner and Coral Cup second. She gets 5lbs from her main rival in Minella Melody and Floressa. From a handicapping view she should be favourite, unfortunately the market has woken up to that but she still isn’t at the head of it yet.
The biggest concern with her is Daryl Jacob, then man has an awful Cheltenham record and it’s even worse at The Festival. He’s had 344 runners and amassed 28 wins, that’s and 8% strike-rate and it’s not like he hasn’t be given good horses to ride. His level stakes P&L around here to £1 stakes comes out at -£189.54 and he hasn’t won at the Festival since 2014.
When this horse was trading at around 12.0 earlier in the week I was a lot more confident that it was a bet then I am now. As I said I had it down as the favourite on form and I’m going to stick with that despite the Jacob handicap.
BACK CONCERTISTA @ 5.50
Just a Lucky 15 today;
- Mister Fisher
- Sire Du Berlais
- Champagne Platinum