Monday, March 14, 2016

Cheltenham Festival 2016 - Tuesday

Beware the Ides of March. Julius Caesar was assassinated on 15th March - a pointer to Band Of Blood in the 2.50 perhaps - but tomorrow it's the bookies who will be keen to make a killing.

Traditionally I've adopted a cautious approach on the first day of the Festival; this year it's unlikely to prove too much of an imposition as tempting propositions look rather thin on the ground.

Faugheen misses the feature, the Champion Hurdle (3.30), through injury; with her seven pounds allowance Annie Power, re-routed from the Mares' Hurdle (4.10), is the form selection but the price makes little appeal.

Nichols Canyon beat Identity Thief fair and square in the Ryanair Hurdle.

I tipped The New One as a play against Faugheen in last year's renewal but he was disappointing in fifth and may be better over further these days.

In 2014 I supported My Tent Or Yours - he ran a fine race and was pipped a neck by Jezki but hasn't seen a racecourse in 703 days.

Camping Ground is top-rated but probably needs further and is unlikely to be suited by drying round.

Old Guard misses the race but you can't blame connections for supplementing ultra-consistent Lil Rockerfeller at a cost of £20,000; on official ratings he has as good a chance as several in the field.

I'm not going to play in a tricky-looking Champion.

In the opener I'll support course and distance winner Altior against Min. On ratings Henderson's other runner Buveur D'Air is closely matched with his stablemate but doesn't come into this with the same level of experience over hurdles. Sky Bet offer money back as a free bet (up to maximum £25) if your horse loses in this race.

With just seven in the field and Douvan a long odds-on chance, the Arkle makes no appeal as a betting medium; Garde La Victoire goes in Thursday's JLT Novices' Chase.

Carole's Destrier has his share of weight in the Ultima Handicap Chase (2.50) and tends to make one or two mistakes in a race but last time out he won the London National with something in hand and comes to this fresher than most with the stable bang in form. I'll take an each-way interest -  at the time of writing both Sky Bet and Bet Victor offer 12/1 and pay five places.

Polly Peachum, my favourite mare in training, is a play against Vroom Vroom Mag in the Mares' Hurdle (4.10).

In John Gay's The Beggar's Opera Polly Peachum marries highwayman Captain Macheath, much to the dismay of her parents who predict she will not be able to keep him in funds for gambling and philandering. All rather apposite...

Anyway, I digress.

Polly (equine variety) probably missed her best chance last year when pipped by Glens Melody. This is her last race before retiring to the breeding paddocks; she will appreciate the drying ground.

Finally regular readers will know Johnny Og obliged at a nice price for the blog recently. He wants two to two and a half miles, likes to race out in front on his own and has been known to sulk if he can't dominate. Declared for the amateurs' four miler tomorrow (4.50), he has been given quotes of 100/1 which, from where I'm standing, appear rather frugal - a wager is not advised.

Johnny, Polly, Carole - it's becoming a bit like a dating agency in here...


TW said...

Another great write-up.

I do think Min is too short so I’m with you on Altior.

Carole’s Destrier may have just about peaked when winning last time so the extra 6lb might find him out here. I prefer Un Temps Pour Tout, not really shone over fences thus far but still unexposed, dropped a few lbs, this could be the day and the 16/1 was far too tempting.

Vroum Vroum Mag will probably win but Polly Peachum does look a clear next best so I’ve backed her with Hills and Ladbrokes who both offer money back on second.

The other bet for me on day one is in Johnny Og’s race; this does not look at all competitive and if Southfield Royale can stay the extra mile I think the 8/1 with Paddy Power is a great price.

Good luck.

GeeDee said...

Good luck TW!

TW said...

A great start to the meeting; Altior was very impressive, Carole’s Destrier lost all chance when hitting one down the back whilst Polly Peachum disappointed and it is a shame that it now looks like she will end her racing career on a low point

Still a nice profit on Day 1, Day 2 looks harder!

GeeDee said...

Altior(4/1) quickly put the opener to bed after the home turn to beat 15/8 favourite Min in some style.

In a rough-looking race a bad error at the fifteenth put paid to any slim chance Carole's Destrier still held at the rear of the field; he was pulled up before the next.

I'll forgive Polly Peachum (6/1) her disappointing finale - she has done me a few favours in the past. She was struggling some way out and was never competitive, eventually coming home tenth behind easy winner Vroum Vroum Mag (4/6f).

Impressive tipping indeed from reader TW who picked out Ultima Handicap Chase winner Un Temps Pour Tout as well as Altior in the opener.

High point of the first day: Annie Power's sensational performance in making all to become the first mare to win the Champion Hurdle since Flakey Dove in 1994.

Low point: The fatal fall of The Govaness at the last in the Mares' Hurdle.