Sunday, March 13, 2022

Cheltenham Festival 2022 - Tuesday

As I've said on numerous occasions in the past the Cheltenham Festival is a four day marathon; previously I've exercised a conservative approach on the opening day and, on balance, that approach has served me well enough.

Writing in Cheltenham The Ultimate Guide pro punter Andy Gibson tells readers: "If you can't see a shorty getting beat, just sit it out." That's what I intend to do in the Champion Hurdle (3.30). 

Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle 1.30

This year's renewal has been eagerly awaited. 

Willie Mullins saddles three of the nine runners, opting to run Sir Gerhard in the Ballymore (Wednesday 1.30) rather than here. Dysart Dynamo and Kilcruit head the Irish challenge while Constitution Hill and Jonbon from the Nicky Henderson stable are the main British protagonists.

Last year Appreciate It won this for Willie Mullins and created a lasting impression in the process, beating Ballyadam 24 lengths. Appreciate It hasn't been seen since but takes on Honeysuckle et al. in the Champion Hurdle at 3.30.

Dysart Dynamo has won both hurdle races from the front this season. Tom Segal, who has been in excellent form of late, thinks Dysart Dynamo 'has it all to prove'.

Constitution Hill is a relaxed, chilled individual whereas Jonbon lives on his nerves and has, on occasions, looked quite anxious - his victory at Haydock last time was workmanlike. 

Ordinarily I wouldn't play in this race but the sponsors are offering to return losing bets (win singles and the win part of each-way singles) to a maximum of £10.00.

Selection: Constitution Hill win (5/2 Sky Bet)

2.50 Ultima Handicap Chase

24 declared and the Ultima is ultra competitive. 

Course and distance winner Frodon stands his ground and has to give seven pounds and upwards to the rest of the field. 

Un Temps Pour Tout carried top weight to victory in 2017; the bottom five run from out of the handicap. 

Death Duty goes off 144 - one pound lower than his Irish rating; the last Irish trained winner was Dun Doire in 2006.

Does He Know looked to have a hard enough race winning the Reynoldstown on desperate ground at Ascot three and a half weeks ago.

11-year-old Vintage Clouds won last year's renewal, goes off the same mark again, and bids to become the first 12-year-old to win since the war.

Ben Dundee finished second behind School Boy Hours at Leopardstown over Christmas with Death Duty fifth, Foxy Jacks eighth and Noble Yeats some way back in ninth.

On his penultimate start Kiltealy Briggs finished 17 lengths adrift of Bravemansgame in the Kauto Star at Kempton. Jamie Snowden's charge has since won over two and a half miles at Musselburgh and tries this trip for the first time. The handler issued an upbeat update recently, pointing out the step up in distance should suit as the gelding is out of a sister to 2011 Grand National winner Ballabriggs.

William Hill are paying seven places and also offer a best odds guarantee.

Selection: Kiltealy Briggs each way (20/1 William Hill)    


Sandracer said...

Is Vintage Clouds overpriced at 28's again?

GeeDee said...

Good to hear from you, Sandracer. Trust all is well.

On balance, in answer to your question, I think yes.

Small point of order: VC runs off a mark one pound higher than last year - all these numbers are doing my head in.

Take out Frodon and VC would be slated to carry 11-1; he won last year with 10-11 which might indicate this year's renewal doesn't have quite the same depth as last year's race -which he won by five and a half lengths.

Underwent wind surgery after he was pulled up in the Tommy Whittle at Haydock in December so connections obviously think the flame still burns.

On his first run after surgery finished second to Up Helly Aa King in a veterans' race at Doncaster; handicapper raised him the one pound for that effort.

Like the rest of us he's another year older but 28/1 for last year's winner looks value.

The worry would be Frodon is likely to go hard up front early doors and, with his quick jumping, will have a few of these in trouble. Winner will need to lie up with the pace and avoid getting behind...


TW said...

As you note, pre race, this looks ultra competitive.

I’m sure Kiltealy Briggs is better than his mark of 141 but at twice the odds [40/1 6 places 1/5 odds] I’m going to take a chance on Rapper. He’s clearly had his issues but when he does make it to the course he, more often than not, puts in a good shift. I liked his win in the Dick Hunt handicap chase LTO [cannot understand RP’ top speed rating!] and I’d like to think he can get involved in the finish.

Best of luck over the four days!


GeeDee said...

Just checked out that run in the Dick Hunt Trophy, TW; reads well.

Good luck for the Festival!

TW said...

Going this morning on the Old Course is Good to Soft.

Gaelic Warrior may well be a blot on the handicap in the Fred Winter but as he's not seen a racecourse for 283 days and with his French form all on heavy ground I'm happy to oppose him at odds of 5/2.

Skycutter has caught my eye at odds of 66/1+ 6 places 1/5 odds. The French bred gelding, sneaking in at the bottom of the handicap, arguably represents the best flat form on offer in the race. Switching to hurdles he won an ordinary Wetherby maiden hurdle with ease before taking a better class affair at Musselburgh.

The consensus looks to be that he's then had his limitations exposed in two better class races [Grade 1 at Chepstow over Christmas (Thomas Dowson suspended for 16 days in an eventful race) and the Victor Ludorum at Haydock (when sporting a hood for the first time)] and that might be the case.

An alternative view might be that the gelding is just unsuited by testing ground and that today's conditions will once again be much more in his favour. An edgy sort he'll need to cope with the preliminaries (the hood should help) and is sure to face any number of competitors that have been kept under wraps but that 66/1 was to big to resist.

A giddy EW double with Rapper ensures I'll no doubt look a chump at the end of Day 1!


GeeDee said...

Skycutter certainly on my radar, TW. Note I had was he jumped well at Wetherby but went right on occasions and connections were going to work on it.

I took the view Gaelic Warrior was the proverbial blot on the handicap so I'm not going to play but Saint Segal would be my each-way selection (16/1 with bet365 paying 6 places). Nick Williams won this race with Flying Tiger in 2017.

The fact Saint Segal is the lowest priced British trained runner must tell us something...

Good luck with that double!

GeeDee said...

Constitution Hill (9/4jf) left stablemate Jonbon (5/1) trailing as he broke the track record to win the Supreme in a time of 3m 34.35s.

Honeysuckle won the Champion Hurdle in a time of 3m 50.13s.

Kiltealy Briggs (40/1) race prominently in the Ultima but failed to stay; he started to go backwards from four out and was pulled up before the final flight.

Corach Rambler (10/1) took the spoils, coming from well off the pace to weave his way between Gericault Roque (9/1) and Oscar Elite (22/1)after the last.

A noteworthy effort from Oscar Elite who lost second racing up the hill and was reported to have bled from the nose.

GeeDee said...

Correction: Winning time for Supreme Hurdle should read 3:44.35s.