Monday, March 09, 2009

Cheltenham Festival - Tuesday

Tomorrow the long wait will be over and the Festival fun starts. Two things I always try to to keep in mind at this stage - firstly, more than half the fun of racing is in the anticipation and secondly, the Festival is a marathon not a sprint.
Having had a quick look through the first day's card, I'd have to say I don't feel particularly confident. The Champion Hurdle is the highlight with favourite Binocular the clear form choice but there's plenty queueing up to take him on. Twenty four will face the starter at 3.20; I can't remember so many runners in a Champion Hurdle for many a long year. Signifcant rain is expected overnight and the layers have started to push out Binocular's price - he's generally a 13/8 chance at the moment. I'm not interested at those odds - instead I'm going for a couple of each-way chances. Osana (12/1) was second last year and is entitled to run well here; his front-running style should give us a run for our money but making all to win is going to be extremely difficult. I may also have a small each-way interest in Punjabi, third in this last year, who looks overpriced at 33/1 with Hills.
I never bet the opening race, but if you want to, I suggest you bet with Paddy Power who will refund your losing single win / each-way stake if current favourite Cousin Vinny obliges. Second favourite Torphichen is one of many with a chance.

In a recent Festival preview Ruby Walsh was reported to have said you'd only have a bet in the Arkle if you were addicted. Eighteen go to post for what is likely to be a notoriously rough race. I'm likely to abstain but for those who need their fix, my two against the field are Planet Of Sound, tipped up by Philip Hobbs as his best chance of a winner at the Festival, and Padydeplasterer who will appreciate this stiff course and any further rain that falls.
I fancied Comply Or Die a couple of weeks ago at Doncaster on the back of a positive bulletin from David Pipe but he was withdrawn on account of fast ground. He turns out in the William Hill Trophy and looks an overpriced each-way wager at 33/1. Jonjo O'Neill has stated that favourite Wichita Lineman is one of his best chances at the meeting.
Course specialist Garde Champetre gets the vote in the Cross Country Chase while on ratings the mares' hurdle looks between Quevega, United and Chomba Womba. It's a close call but I'm going to side with United. Chomba Womba disappointed last time out; she's had a rest since and makes some appeal for those prepared to bet each-way 13/2.
A final word of warning - this is just day one - if you're harbouring doubts, keep your money for another day! Good luck to you all...

1 comment:

GeeDee said...

Yikes! Let me start off by saying I'm not usually as good as this. A shedload of money for Osana in the Champion Hurdle saw the front runner go off 13/2 second favourite but the game was up three out; maybe first time blinkers led the selection to go too fast too soon? Anyway, it mattered not a jot as Punjabi (22/1) ran the race of his life to hold on by a neck and a head from Celestial Halo and Binocular to claim first prize. What a fantastic race!
Those brave enough to bet in the Arkle will know that Forpadydeplasterer (8/1) held on by a short-head from the fast-finishing Kalahari King to take the spoils with Planet Of Sound (10/1) a game third after jumping poorly most of the way around. I was really surprised to see Kalahari King come so close as on the balance of his form to date he had enough to find and connections indicated he would be best served by good ground.
Comply Or Die (33/1) ran with much more zest and completed what was in effect a National trial in seventh place, fading out of contention from two out; McCoy performed a minor miracle to get 5/1 favourite Wichita Lineman up to win in the shadow of the post.
Nina Carberry did the business on Garde Champetre (7/2) pulling clear from stablemate L'Ami (7/4f) on the run-in.
I thought it would be a close call between Quevega and United in the finale - it was anything but with the Irish-trained runner (2/1f) winning by fourteen lengths. United (100/30) did well to hold on for second while Chomba Womba (6/1) weakened before the last and wasn't knocked about once her chance had gone.
I reckon it's roughly three and a half years since I tipped a winner at 20/1 or bigger so I guess if you come back here around the end of 2012 one of my selections might pop up again at a price.