Monday, March 10, 2008

Cheltenham Festival - Tuesday

The Champion Hurdle is the highlight at the first day of the Festival; this year the current holder of the crown, Sublimity, takes on sixteen opponents. We haven't seen a lot of Sublimity this year and he appears to have had an interrupted preparation. On official ratings Sizing Europe is the best horse in this race and for that very reason he's the bookmakers' favourite - favourties have a good record, having won five of the last ten runnings. David Pipe's Osana was beaten four lengths by Sizing Europe whilst conceding six pounds to that rival in testing conditions last November. The Pipe team took the Imperial Cup on Saturday with Ashkazar so the stable look in good form. I'll support Osana but Sizing Europe is feared.

Fourteen go to post in the Arkle at 2.35. Regular readers will know I think Moon Over Miami is overpriced at around 14/1 - the question mark surrounds his temperament which let him down badly at Warwick last time. A number of fancied runners in this don't have a lot of chasing experience including Noland, Ring The Boss and Leslingtaylor. To be fair, Noland's jumping has looked good whereas Tidal Bay's was anything but when beaten by Leslingtaylor at Doncaster and added to that the Howard Johnson stable is just emerging from a quiet spell. If Moon Over Miami handles the preliminaries, the race will be run to suit this course and distance winner - he rates an each-way wager.

As you'd expect, the opener is extremely competitive. I will take a chance on Evan Williams' Deep Purple provided there's not too much overnight rain. I think this horse is underrated and worth an each-way interest at around 14/1.


Anonymous said...

Good stuff. I take Harchibald in the Champion Hurdle, Noland in the Arkle and Muirhead in the Supreme Novices Hurdle

GeeDee said...

A brave effort by Osana (9/2), with Tom Scudamore in the plate, to make all from the front but he was eventually worn down by one of the toughest horses in training, the diminutive Katchit (10/1), one length being the distance between them at the post.
Moon Over Miami (14/1) travelled well enough for a long way but made a serious mistake two out that effectively put paid to any chance he had; he finished sixth and looked booked for a place at the very best behind the impressive Tidal Bay (6/1) whose jumping still leaves something to be desired.
Deep Purple (16/1) was prominent enough early on but he lost his position as the field raced down the far side and struggled thereafter, finishing a well beaten ninth. That was a disappointing performance, even allowing for the softer than ideal conditions.