Thursday, March 17, 2011

Cheltenham Festival 2011 - Friday

Friday's Gold Cup is the highlight of the whole meeting; here's a couple of stats for starters... Last ten-year-old to win the race - Cool Dawn (1998); last horse older than ten to win - What A Myth (1969); last six-year-old to win - Mill House (1963); last amateur rider to win - Mr Jim Wilson aboard Little Owl in 1981. Last year's winner Imperial Commander is sure to put up a stern defence of his title this year - the current champion has won four of his five chase starts at this track. Long Run is a precocious talent and his performance in the King George was exceptional; his jumping was much better on that occasion and he has to be considered a serious contender. Having said that, the current price of 5/1 offers no real value and if it's close on the run up the hill, amateur pilot Sam Waley-Cohen is likely to be outfought by a professional jock. I prefer Kauto Star to Denman on this ground - I always thought Denman better with cut underfoot; it will be crucial for Kauto to get into a rhythm early on. It looks very open this year - I'm going to side with Imperial Commander (9/2 this evening with William Hill). From the outsiders I've considered both China Rock and What A Friend in the past few weeks. The former doesn't look guaranteed to stay - the majority opinion in discussions with colleagues after racing yesterday was Mouse Morris' gelding was unlikely to see out the trip. That being the case, I'll take a small each-way interest in What A Friend, part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson. This one is entitled to improve on the better ground; although he's been called some names in the past, he's not without ability and the fitting of first-time blinkers should help. Coral are currently offering 40/1.

I fancied Bobs Worth for Wednesday's Neptune but connections preferred the Albert Bartlett instead. He's no value at around 3/1 and has yet to race over this distance; I'll bet Kilcrea Kim each-way (10/1 Coral).

Invariably the Triumph is a rough race; you could make a case for several which is why I won't be getting involved. Let's just hope we see a great renewal of the Gold Cup in 2011, Cheltenham's centenary year.

No comments: