Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Early Festival thoughts

The current wet spell is playing havoc with most fixtures, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to look forward to the Cheltenham Festival which is just eight weeks away. In the Gold Cup market they bet 11/1 or bigger bar the two, Kauto Star and Denman. Last Friday evening I had a protracted conversation with a fellow racegoer who hopes to get to Chepstow on Friday; he pointed out that 11/1 about Exotic Dancer with Hill's was a great each way bet. I'm not keen on ante-post punting but that does strike me as decent value. Harry Findlay, Denman's owner, is on record as saying he'll really fancy his horse to win if the ground turns up soft; we'll just have to wait for the day to see if conditions suit.

In the Champion Chase they bet 12/1 or bigger bar Twist Magic and Voy Por Ustedes. I can't recall such a one sided ante-post market for this race. The trouble is I think the bookmakers have chalked it up more or less right. My one (half baked) idea is to look a little more closely at Don't Push It who was disputing third with Twist Magic when both horses fell independently in last season's Arkle. If truth be told, I'm convinced Don't Push It is really a two and a half mile horse.

I'll give Blazing Bailey serious consideration in the World Hurdle; he's currently priced at 6/1. In the Arkle, a most difficult race, Charlie Mann's Moon Over Miami always seems to run well over this course while I think better ground could bring out some improvement in Here's Johnny in the Royal & Sun Alliance Chase. Finally Deep Purple will warrant respect if the ground is good and he runs in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle.

If only it were that simple...

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