Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cheltenham Festival 2010 - Thursday

I'm a little pressed for time, so just a couple of selections for Thursday's card...

The feature is the World Hurdle at 3.20 in which 14 go to post. Paul Nicholls' Big Buck's won this last year and will start long odds-on. Whilst acknowledging he's supremely talented, I should point out that he's not entirely straightforward and is often described as something of a character; for that reason alone I couldn't entertain taking such a short price. Last year he was tried initially over fences but it was the return to hurdling that made him; this year Tidal Bay could be placed in the same category after his impressive win in the Cleeve six and a half weeks ago. TB has the look of an each-way bet to nothing as does Karabak, although it's interesting to note that the latter's trainer Alan King has sounded far more bullish about Katchit's prospects, that one apparently having really come to himself in the last fortnight. This evening Coral bet 22/1 Katchit while William Hill go 12s. Katchit each-way is very tempting but on official ratings he has twelve pounds to find with his stablemate so I'll back Karabak each-way against the favourite at around 8/1. I note that Coral go 80/1 Cape Tribulation which looks big for a horse that has some smart form to his name including fifth in last year's Albert Bartlett behind Weapon's Amnesty (won the RSA earlier today) and second behind Zaynar in the Relkeel. He has won over this trip but has been running over two miles recently - at the price I might have a small place bet.

It looks a classy renewal of the Ryanair at 2.40. Alan King's Voy Por Ustedes was odds-on for this last year - he finished second to Imperial Commander after a bad mistake four out - yet this year he's 16/1! Admittedly he has been a little hit and miss of late but that still looks decent each-way value. Albertas Run is another who could run well at a price - I always feel the key to this horse is good ground and he'll get that tomorrow. Deep Purple is bang there on ratings and has been given plenty of time to recover after breaking a blood vessel in the King George over Christmas. Since its inception in 2005 the winner has come from the first three in the market and on that basis it looks between Poquelin, Tranquil Sea and Barbers Shop. On official ratings Poquelin has at least four pounds in hand over his market rivals so he gets the vote.

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