Monday, March 12, 2012

Cheltenham Festival 2012 - Tuesday

Connections have been playing cards close to their chests recently but today it was confirmed that Kauto Star is fit to run in Friday's Gold Cup while Grands Crus goes for the RSA Chase on Wednesday.

On several occasions in the run-up to this meeting Nicky Henderson put plenty of emphasis on the importance of getting off to a good start and how that builds confidence; punters know exactly what he's talking about.

In the opener, a race I'm not particualrly fond of, Henderson saddles two, Darlan and Tetlami. The former is favourite with most layers and is a course and distance winner but he took a crashing fall at Newbury the last day so I'm wary; Colour Squadron is another who fell last time out. Cinders And Ashes looks solid and is one I like but at the prices the value suggestion is Tetlami each way (14/1 William Hill).

Only six in the Arkle, one of smallest fields I can remember. In the Festival preview evening at Haydock the talk was all of Sprinter Sacre with Mick Fitzgerald saying 'I've never seen [Nicky Henderson] so excited by a horse.' Al Ferof beat Sprinter Sacre into third in last year's Supreme with Cue Card back in fourth. Team Tizzard has been quite bullish about their charge and it's often said you need a horse that stays two and a half miles in the Arkle. However it's a very long time since a horse has made all to win this (possibly 1988?) Paddy Power offers to refund losing stakes if Sprinter Sacre wins so the selection is Cue Card at 7/1 with Paddy Power.

Ten in the Champion Hurdle and Hurricane Fly looks the one but at the prices I shall take an each-way interest in the front-running Overturn (28/1Paddy Power / Bet Victor).

Quevega bids to win the mares' hurdle for a remarkable fourth time and is unsurprisingly a very short price to do so.

I won't be playing in the handicaps or the Cross Country Chase but for those who must a couple of suggestions. In the JLT Speciality Handicap Chase Fruity O'Rooney (22/1 Coral) is worth considering. I fancied this one for the Grimthorpe at Doncaster a couple of weeks back but he was pulled out on account of quick going. His latest effort, third in the Great Yorkshire, reads very well as the saddle slipped after the twelfth fence. His prominent style of racing should keep him free from the trouble that could occur in this big field.

At the Festival preview evening Ricahrd Johnson had a word for Balthazar King in the Glenfarclas while Nicky Henderson put up Triolo D'Alene for the Pulteney - Ladbrokes offer 7/1; in the same race Going Wrong, from a stable that does well with its runners at this meeting, is certainly worth a second look.

Good luck everyone! As usual, I'm off to Cheltenham for the Wednesday card.


Sandracer said...

Cinders and Ashes PG..

GeeDee said...

Always the way, Sandracer... ;)

GeeDee said...

A couple of close shaves on the opening day...

Picked the wrong one in the first with Tetlami (12/1) finishing no better than ninth while Cinders And Ashes won at 10/1.

Cue Card (13/2) chased home the impressive Sprinter Sacre (8/11f) while Overturn's brave attempt to make all from the front at odds of 20/1 was thwarted by Rock On Ruby (11/1).

Fruity O'Rooney (16/1) was done on the run up the hill to finish second behind Alfie Sherrin (14/1) but Blathazar King, backed in from 14/1 in the morning, took the Cross Country at odds of 11/2.

Both Triolo D'Alene (7/1) and Going Wrong (9/1) failed to land a blow in the finale won by the remarkable Hunt Ball (13/2f).