Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Cheltenham Festival 2020 - Thursday

A number of media outlets reported the attendance at the first day of the Festival was 60,000, a drop of some 7,000 compared to last year. Apparently empty hand-sanitisers were in plentiful supply; rumours that toffs in tweeds had been spotted sharing tubs of Swarfega have yet to be confirmed.

Paisley Park is an odds-on favourite to repeat last year's victory in the showcase race, the Stayers' Hurdle (3.30); on official ratings he is 12 pounds clear of nearest challengers, Apple's Jade and Barcadys.

Last time out he beat Summerville Boy here in the Cleeve Hurdle when Aidan Coleman kept his mount much closer to the pace than we'd seen previously, no doubt wary of allowing front-running Summerville Boy too much rope. Tom George's charge didn't really take to fences; reverting to hurdles and stepping up to a trip of three miles for the first time certainly suited the gelding well.

Warren Greatrex has always thought a lot of Emitom; back at the beginning of the core 2018 NH season he said:

"He's won his only outing in a Warwick bumper back in April. It didn't come as a huge shock to us as he'd been showing all the right signs at home and he travelled really well.

The form isn't much to write home about but he won pretty well and if we've got a novice hurdler that could go to the top then it might just be him.

Put it this way, he's in Cole Harden's box [winner 2015 Stayers' Hurdle] so he's obviously got a lot to live up to!"

His only defeat that season was a three length second to Champ [wins RSA Chase earlier today] in the Sefton Novices' Hurdle at Aintree but, unfortunately, things haven't been quite so straightforward this term. He suffered a setback during the build-up to his seasonal debut and, after a rushed preparation, was well beaten in the Relkeel. Next time out he won the Rendlesham at Haydock in taking fashion and warrants every respect.

My each-way play is 2018 winner Penhill on the back of these comments from Willie Mullins in the RP Weekender [04-08.03.20]:

"The big target for him all season has been the Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle. I was very happy with his run in the Boyne Hurdle at Navan last month and what was most encouraging was that he usually comes out of his races a little bit stiff, but on this occasion he was fine. He would have needed that run and that would have put him spot on... Although he missed last season he is bidding to make it three Cheltenham Festival wins, having won he Albert Bartlett in 2017 and the Stayers' Hurdle in 2018. I would be looking for another big show from him."     

All winners in the past decade have been aged between seven and nine; two nine-year-olds have obliged - Big Buck's (2012) and Solwhit (2013).

Penhill (14/1) is the each-way selection; BetVictor pay four places on this race.

Irish trained horses filled five of the first seven places in last year's renewal of the Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle (2.10) so it's no surprise to find Relegate, The Storyteller and Sire Du Berlais at the head of the market.

From among the home challengers I like Skandiburg - Olly Murphy describes him as 'an improving handicapper' who'll 'thrive in a big field' - and Third Wind. Hughie Morrison's charge beat five time winner Jatiluwih at Wincanton on Boxing Day; Hobbs describes the winner as 'a smart opponent' and says of his own charge: 'That was a very good run last time and he [Jatiluwih] has to be a contender...upped in trip'. Taking into account Mr David Maxwell's three pound claim, the pair look closely matched.

Third Wind is the each-way selection, currently 14/1 with Sky Bet who pay one fifth the odds six places.

The Racing Post ratings for the 2019 running of the Ryanair Chase were:

180 Frodon
178 Balko Des Flos 
178 Un De Sceau
176 Footpad
174 Road To Respect
171 Monalee
170 Aso

The Racing Post ratings (with official handicap ratings in brackets) for tomorrow's renewal (2.50) are:

184 Min (170)
177 Frodon (168)
175 Aso (162)
174 A Plus Tard (166)
171 Riders Onthe Storm (162)
170 Duc Des Genievres (161)
169 Saint Calvados (161)
168 Shattered Love (151) [mare]

On these figures Min looks the one; his record over two miles four furlongs reads three wins and one second (beaten a neck by Politologue who won the Champion Chse earlier today) but he has never won at Cheltenham.

Willie Mullins said: 'Last year we changed tactics with him at Cheltenham and it didn't work out but we know where we are with him now.' 

A Plus Tard won the novices' handicap chase here last year by an astonishing 16 lengths and beat Chacun Pour Soi at Leopardstown over Christmas. That form reads very well and the stable chalked up two wins on Tuesday.

Frodon hasn't been in quite such good form this season but beat Aso in last year's renewal.

Riders Onthe Storm is unbeaten for the Twiston-Davies team but had a hard race when seeing off Cyrname (and Traffic Fluide) at Ascot less than four weeks ago.

Aso is a course and distance winner who happens to like it here; he has been placed in the last two renewals but hasn't been in the best of form this term. He could make the frame again at a decent price if first-time blinkers have the desired effect.

Min's jumping hasn't always been foot prefect, particularly in his last two runs, and his course form is a worry but on those figures Min is the win selection; he's generally 11/4 at the time of writing.


Anonymous said...

Day 3 Part One

Day 1: Invested 7PTS, Returned 3.4PTS, Net -3.6PTS
Day 2: Invested 6PTS, Returned 18PTS, Net +12PTS

1:30 Marsh Novices' Chase (Grade 1) (Registered As The Golden Miller) Cl1 (5yo+) 2m4f
With Victor Chandler going 4 places 1/5 the odds I’m taking an EW interest in Samcro at 11/2. The switch to the New course and the drying conditions should ensure good to soft in the going description which will help Samcro, he was a classy hurdler and his 3 efforts over fences have been decent enough. An untroubled debut win, in the process of running a big race when falling at the 2nd last against Fakir D’oudairies and then perhaps found the ground too testing when turned over by Faugheen at Limerick over Christmas. He’s had a wind op since that Limerick run, has a good record when running after a break and can run a big race here under Davy Russell.

1PT EW Samcro 11/2 4 places 1/5 odds

2:10 Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) Cl1 (5yo+) 3m
Kilbricken Storm was on an upward trajectory when winning the 2018 Albert Bartlett and then running huge race at the Punchestown Festival the following month. Sent chasing on the start of the 2018/2019 season he won a novice, but his jumping was not great and then he fell when trying to follow up in a similar event. He was not seen until reverting to hurdles and running down the field in the two Stayer’ events at 2019 Cheltenham & Aintree festivals. KS has been kept to hurdles this season and seasonal debut apart has ran some nice enough races including when just doing enough on heavy ground at Haydock last time to get himself qualified for this, whilst also managing to drop another 2lbs in the handicap. Odds of 16/1 are closer to fair then generous, but I’ll still take an interest.

1PT EW Kilbricken Storm 16/1 5 places 1/5 odds.

2:50 Ryanair Chase (Registered As The Festival Trophy) (Grade 1) Cl1 (5yo+) 2m4½f
Last year’s winner Frodon, tried and tested Min or the improving young pretenders A Plus Tard and Riders onthestorm? I’ll take a chance with the tried and tested; Min’s 3 race record at the Festival is 225, all over 2 miles and all behind Altior, his record over 2 ½ miles reads 4 wins and a nk 2nd. Started this season with a workman like victory over today’s trip before finishing 2nd to stable mate Chacun Pour Soi over 17F at the beginning of February. I’d not want to go any shorter than 11/4 but hope there is a squeak of value at those odds

1PT Win Min 11/4

Anonymous said...

Day 3 Part two

I hit the maximum post length again....I'm clearly rabbiting on too much!

3:30 Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle (Grade 1) Cl1 (4yo+) 3m
Apple Jade is a lady of a certain age and whilst it might be harsh to call her temperamental it is perhaps fair to say she clearly knows her own mind! She is also a very talented lady who can run huge races on going days and perhaps is best over this staying trip now. New headgear today and a new man in the saddle might just be the spark required for a good show today. There does not look to be too much pace in the race and perhaps she’ll be allowed to stride on in front. It is a bet full of risks, but I cannot let her start at 20/1 without a small interest.

0.5PTS EW 20/1 3 places 1/5 odds.

4:10 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase (Grade 3) Cl1 (5yo+) 2m4½f
A mark of 142 is probably above Springtown Lake’s ceiling but he did get back to winning ways last time out and might be able to squeeze in to one of the 5 enhanced places available.

0.5PTS EW Springtown Lake 20/1 5 places ¼ odds.

5:30 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Riders' Handicap Chase Cl2 (5yo+ 0-145) 3m2f

Two caught my eye here. Go Another One looked interesting in only his second start in a handicap and his first over the bigger fences but on balance he looks a summer horse and the ground may not have dried out enough. Coup De Pinceau does not see the racecourse much and his jockey even less, but both perform well enough when they do show up, a mark of 137 looks within his grasp and at 50/1 is worth a tentative interest.

0.25PTS EW Coup De Pinceau 50/1 5 places 1/5 odds.

Please to see you put up Min as well...fingers crossed.

Good luck


GeeDee said...

Thanks for your thoughts and selections, TW. A healthy-looking profit to take in to day three...

Blog figures don't make such agreeable reading, I'm afraid, after a day to forget:

DAY 1 Outlay 2 PTS Returned 6.4 PTS NET +4.4 PTS
DAY 2 Outlay 4 PTS Returned 0.0 PTS NET -4.0 PTS

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Just studying the Albert Bartlett.....BET365 [3 places 1/5 odds] 50/1 about The Cashel Man is out of line and looks big?


GeeDee said...

Hi TW,

Only glanced at this very, very quickly but my iniital thought was - is this a 'clear and obvious mistake'?

Henderson horse
Distance winner
Joint second on RPRs
Roughly sixth best on official ratings
Beaten one and a half lengths by Thyme Hill
RP states: placed at best

Have you tried to get on?

GeeDee said...

TW - most layers 33/1 four places about TCM; Sky Bet 20/1 four places.

Anonymous said...

I did get on to, relatively, small stakes prior to the post. The 50/1 is still standing so I think [hope] it is a view rather than palpable error. I'll only find out if, in the perhaps unlikely event, the bet ever needs settling!

TCM does has a lot of negatives so it is a risky punt as I'll outline in my notes later.


GeeDee said...

There have been some big priced winners of the Albert Bartlett in recent years...

2019: Minella Indo 50/1
2018: Kilbrichen Storm 33/1
2017: Penhill 16/1
2015: Martello Tower 14/1
2014: Very Wood 33/1
2010: Berties Dream 33/1

GeeDee said...


Samcro - by a nose! Well done!

Anonymous said...

Third Wind is the each-way selection, currently 14/1 with Sky Bet who pay one fifth the odds six places.

Good shout!


Anonymous said...

Min is the win selection; he's generally 11/4 at the time of writing.

Very well done, though Saint Calvados gave Min backers a bit of a scare up the hill!


GeeDee said...


Quote from Nicky Henderson in RP on The Cashel Man:

"He hated the ground [described as soft] at Bangor but I just wanted to get a run into him at the time and it didn't really work out. He's bright and fresh at the moment and I do think he's got a good chance. He's a good stayer and the drier the better."

GeeDee said...

Irish runners to the fore in the Pertemps Final with the finish fought out between two from Gordon Elliott's yard; Sire Du Beralis (10/1) beat stablemate The Storyteller (11/2jf) half a length. Tout Est Permis (12/1), trained by Noel Meade, was six and a half lengths further behind in third while selection Third Wind (12/1) claimed fourth spot - an indifferent jump two out didn't help the cause. Relegate (11/2jf) trained by Col Murphy was fifth.

Selection Min (2/1) collected the spoils in the Ryanair but it was an awful lot closer than the figures suggested with Saint Calvados (16/1) throwing down a strong challenge up the hill. The distance on the line was a neck; A Plus Tard (7/4f) was third.

A shock in the Stayers' Hurdle with 50/1 shot Lisnagar Oscar collecting the spoils ahead of Ronald Pump (20/1) and Barcadys (33/1). Selection Penhill (10/1) made a mistake at the third and was pulled up lame. After the race it was reported odds on favourite Paisley Park had lost his left fore and right hind shoes.