Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Cheltenham 2022 - Thursday

The rain forecast for Wednesday morning duly arrived - by the bucketful. The going on the Old Course was duly changed to soft for the Ballymore and then to heavy after the Champion Chase. It looked touch and go whether the concluding bumper would be run.

The action on Thursday and Friday takes place on the New Course where the going is currently described as soft.

Perhaps I'm getting old but, with just four declared for the Turners (1.30) and Allaho odds on in the Ryanair (2.50), the usual interest in the Thursday card just isn't quite there.

2.10 Pertemps Network Final 

Irish runners have won the last six renewals of this race: 2016 Pat Kelly (Mall Dini); 2017 Pat Kelly (Presenting Percy); 2018 Gordon Elliott (Delta Work); 2019 Gordon Elliott (Sire Du Berlais); 2020 Gordon Elliott (Sire Du Berlais); 2021 Paul Nolan (Mrs Milner).

In 2019 Irish trained horses filled five of the first seven places; in 2020 four of the first five places; in 2021 three of the first four places.

Following a review conducted by the British Horseracing Authority after last year's Festival, changes have been made to the way British runners are handicapped

In very broad terms Irish hurdlers in open handicaps do not appear to have been as leniently treated as British hurdlers. 

Sporting John won a qualifier for this at Warwick in January with The Jam Man second, Third Wind third, Sire Du Berlais - second to Flooring Porter in last year's Stayers' Hurdle - fourth and Alaphilippe - fifth in last year's Albert Bartlett behind Vanillier - fifth. 

The Jam Man, Sire Du Berlais and Alaphilippe all run off a mark two pounds lower, Third Wind a mark three pounds lower.  

Alaphilippe, rated 143 when fifth behind Vanillier in last year's Albert Bartlett (correction to a statement made in linked post above), goes off 138 tomorrow.

After all that it's no surprise to see Sire Du Berlais and Alaphilippe at the head of the market. 

British trained runners who could have something in hand of their current mark include Honest Vic, Dame De Compagnie, Third Wind and If The Cap Fits.

Third Wind has fallen from 149 to 141 this season; Hughie Morrison's charge finished fourth behind Sire Du Berlais in this race two years ago. 

That said, he looked to have a hard enough time of it when a well-beaten third on heavy ground behind Wholestone in the Rendlesham at Haydock just three and a half weeks ago. 

Back in December Harry Fry said that If The Cap Fits was on a mark he should be competitive off - 145 at the time. He goes off 137 tomorrow and - perhaps - hinted at a return to form when making late headway to finish fifth at Sandown last time. 

Mr. Ben Bromley claims seven but no horse older than eight has won this in the past decade.

As always, a difficult race and the value at the head of the market has long since disappeared. 

I'll take a small each-way interest in If The Cap Fits.

Selection: If The Cap Fits each way (40/1 with bet365 paying eight places).

3.30 Stayers' Hurdle

Both Klassical Dream and Flooring Porter will need to handle the preliminaries. 

The former beat the latter at Leopardstown over Christmas but there was controversy at the start with a hint Paul Townend had jumped the tapes on Willie Mullins' charge. 

Klassical Dream subsequently disappointed when beaten at odds of 1/3f by Royal Kahala at Gowran Park at the end of January - the trainer has blamed himself for that effort.

On official ratings Klassical Dream is the best horse in the race and has two pounds in hand over Flooring Porter.

Champ beat Thyme Hill in the Long Walk at Ascot in December but was then beaten fair and square by Paisley Park in the Cleeve Hurdle. Emma Lavelle's charge lost ground by whipping round at the start yet still came home three and a quarter lengths ahead of Champ with Lisnagar Oscar third. The last horse older than nine to collect the spoils was Crimson Embers in 1986.

Lisnagar Oscar wouldn't have been suited by making the running in the Cleeve; after the race trainer Rebecca Curtis reported she had her charge back to his best for the first time in two years.

The layers seem to have their prices about right.  

Flooring Porter did me a favour winning this from the front last year and I'm going to stay loyal. Despite that effort at Gowran Park,  Klassical Dream is feared most.

Selection: Flooring Porter win (4/1 generally).


TW said...

21mm of rain took the edge off Day 2. The eagerly anticipated QMCC, without taking anything away from Energumene, felt a bit flat after the pulling up of Shishkin and the fall of CPS.

Going this morning on the new course is Soft, Heavey in places.

The Golden Miller looks a match and is priced accordingly, Allaho looks a bit short in the market and whilst I think Flooring Porter the most likely winner I can’t see a betting edge in the Stayers Hurdle.

If The Cap Fits continues to drop down the handicap, must pick up a race sometime but I’m not sure it is today. I’m taking a chance that Third Wind can bounce back at 20/1 7 places. The Plate will prove a very different challenge for Adrimel but he looks progressive and a chance is taken at 16/1 6 places. Love Envoi, Say Goodbye and Impervious might all outrun their odds and I may take an interest in one of the closer to the off. Omar Maretti scores really well on my system in the Kim Muir and a chance is taken at 12/1 6 places.

Good luck!


GeeDee said...

Agree with those comments about day 2, TW.

With Bravemansgame pulled out of the Brown Advisory as well, it wasn't quite what we'd envisaged at nine o'clock in the morning.

Paraphrasing Harry Fry - If The Cap Fits has the ability, it's just a question of whether he feels like using it today (or any other day for that matter). :)

Love Envoi is of interest now the going is soft, heavy in places.

Good luck!

Sandracer said...

Going has been all over the place this year. Flooring Porter is popular with some good judges. I backed out from backing it because of the going. Still undecided. Hmmm...

GeeDee said...

He's not entirely straightforward, Sandracer. Has his quirks; could lose the race before the start.

You'd want to see how he is coping with the occasion. There were no crowds last year.

GeeDee said...

Tom Segal tipped up FP on the preview circuit but ahe has made the case for the mare Royal Kahala today.

GeeDee said...

Well done, TW!

TW said...

.......and well done PG!

Selection: If The Cap Fits each way (40/1 with bet365 paying eight places).


TW said...

Selection: Flooring Porter win (4/1 generally).

Proper, exciting, racing coming down the hill and a great result for the blog!


Sandracer said...

Got 5.4 on the exchange 10secs after the off ;) Cheers Geedee.

GeeDee said...

Pleased to hear that, Sandracer!

Danny Mullins rode a fine race. They thought they could catch him - but they couldn't... ;)

GeeDee said...

Third Wind (25/1) held Alaphilippe (11/2cf) a neck in the Pertemps Final, with British trained runners filling five of the first six places.

Three of the four highlighted in the post as possibly having something in hand of their current mark - Third Wind, Honest Vic and If The Cap Fits - finished first, fifth and sixth respectively.

Selection If The Cap Fits (33/1) raced mid-division much of the way but looked in plenty of trouble three out. He stayed on up the hill to claim an unlikely sixth spot.

A canny front-running ride from Danny Mullins aboard Flooring Porter (4/1) in the Stayers' Hurdle. The challengers were stacked up in behind but they couldn't get to the leader off the home turn. The selection went right at the last but passed the post two and threequarters lengths ahead of Thyme Hill (11/2).