Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Cheltenham Festival - Wednesday

I've been going to Cheltenham on the Wednesday for the past ten years or so; I'm hoping this year will be better than last when strong winds blew the tents away and the day was abandoned. The feature is the Queen Mother Champion Chase at 3.20 in which Master Minded will go off the shortest priced favourite for a Festival race I can remember. He's currently 2/7 (which is no price to the likes of you and me) but he is likely to win doing handstands. I've been on the lookout for an each-way wager in this race for some time; Mark 'The Couch' Winstanley gave me inspiration a few weeks ago when putting up Briareus so that will be my bet.

The opener has provided some shocks over the years but here probable favourite Can't Buy Time is in good form and has a sound chance. Earlier in the week I thought I'd unearthed something to have a bet on with Niche Market who finished fourth last year at 66/1; this year he's 6/1. Bob Buckler's team hasn't been on fire recently so Can't Buy Time get the vote.

The form horses in the Ballymore are Diamond Harry, Karabak, Mikael d'Haguenet and Mad Max. Mad Max is a giant horse who has had a small wind operation and may just make a better chaser. Diamond Harry looked plenty lean enough last time out, so slight preference is for Mikael d'Haguenet over Karabak. I'm vexed to have missed 50/1 Knockara Beau for this; he beat Wendel twenty seven lengths at Kelso last month after which trainer George Charlton indicated connections were going to bypass Cheltenham as they thought their charge would be better suited to Aintree. A change of heart followed and it looks as though plenty have taken the hint as the horse now trades at just 20/1. I may have a small each-way interest on course.

The RSA Chase is trappy (a comment that could be applied to all the Festival races...) Ruby Walsh clearly prefers Cooldine to What A Friend; I'll be interested to read what Paul Nicholls has to say about What A Friend in tomorrow's Racing Post. Carruthers likes to go off in front but there's a suspicion he's at his best in small fields. My reading of the market is that there has been steady money for Gone To Lunch over the past few weeks; he's now 6/1 in several places. He's a decent jumper who will stay the trip and with McCoy in the plate, he's the selection.

The Coral Cup looks typically impossible but Lough Derg's declaration means that over half the field will be carrying more than their allotted long handicap weight. In the past the Pipe operation (and several others too for that matter) has used such a ploy to keep the weights down for another stable entry - Great Endeavour (9-11) is the one that catches the eye here. Having said that, Lough Derg is as tough as old boots and could easily be there at the finish. If I were sentimental I'd consider the well-named Gee Dee [Nen] but I'm going for an old favourite of mine, Serabad. Five year olds don't have a very good record in this but Serabad, in first time blinkers, has a nice racing weight and is worth an each-way interest at 25/1 with Ladbrokes. Further rain will help his cause.

Miss Sarene missed the chance to become famous by falling at the last when on the verge of giving McCoy his 3,000th winner. McCoy's back in the plate again and the trainer descibes his charge as 'having an engine'. That'll do for me in the Fred Winter. In the concluding bumper I'm still trying to work out which is Willie Mullins' best chance. Several think Sicilian Secret on the back of an impressive gallop after racing at Leopardstown, while Ruby Walsh has the ride on Quel Esprit. I'm probably going to side with Dermot Weld's Rite Of Passage.

My two regular readers regularly complain about the quality of the tips on this blog and claim, quite rightly, they make more money on Mrs Tips' tips. So, Mrs Tips' selections for tomorrow are:

1.30 Can't Buy Time 2.05 Quwetwo 2.40 Casey Jones 3.20 Petit Robin (each-way nap as there's a small robin flying around our back garden at present) 4.00 Great Endeavour 4.40 Art Exhibition 5.15 Some Present.


Sandracer said...

Good luck out there. The weather does'nt look too good down here in the smoke.

I don't know how you guys wade through all the jumps form.

I can read and price up a race on my own, and be literally miles out when it comes to the jumps.

Much easier on the AW with less variables to ponder.

GeeDee said...

Thanks for the comment, Sandracer.
Weather turned colder mid-afternoon and then limbs started to ache...

I suppose what I like best about the jumps form is that there's a certain 'continuity' and, if you're prepared to do the work, you can build up a picture of a horse oer a number of races over a number of years.

I've neer realy studied AW form so can't comment but on the Flat (turf) it's not so easy to build a picture from the formbook (or perhaps I should say I don't find it easy!)

GeeDee said...

Master Minded (4/11f) duly collected the Queen Mother Champion Chase but he wasn't exactly doing handstands - on course there was a 'frisson' in the crowd as the horse appeared to struggle to pass Petit Robin. Briareus (16/1) didn't look as though he could make a place when suffering a heavy fall at the last.
4/1 favourite Can't Buy Time didn't quite stay the four miles and faded up the hill to finish a respectable fourth. No such problems for Tricky Trickster (11/1) who won 'going away' if you can use that term after a four mile marathon event.
Mikael d'Haguenet (5/2f) kept Karabak and Diamond Harry at bay to win the Ballymore. Knockara Beau (14/1) finished a very respectable fifth and is one to keep in mind for future reference.
Gone To Lunch (7/1) stumbled at the ninth and never regained his composure afterwards, putting in some poor leaps - he was pulled up. Cooldine (9/4f) was the subject of some hefty support and won this as he liked. A mention for Carruthers who set a searching gallop and had most of the field in trouble coming down the hill for the final time but a tap with the stick from Mattie Bachelor led to the horse making an error and he faded to finish out of the placings.
Serabad (25/1) 'always in rear' finished twenty first (!) while Miss Sarenne (8/1) may 'have an engine' but it ran out of petrol three out and she finished well-beaten. In this Alexander Severus was the subject of some chunky bets; he came there easily two out and found nothing when asked - he looked the classic 'bridle' horse and is one to be wary of.
Plenty of money too for 5/2 favourite Rite Of Passage in the bumper but nobody got near Dunguib (9/2) who looked the paddock pick and won this with ridiculous ease. I've attended this meeting for ten years or so and that performance was the most stunning I've seen in this event. Rite Of Passage finished third.