Thursday, March 14, 2024

Cheltenham Festival 2024 - Friday

The going on the New Course is currently described as soft, with intermittent rain forecast through the evening and tomorrow morning.

3.30 Cheltenham Gold Cup

On March 12th 1924 Red Splash, trained by Fred Withington and ridden by Dick Rees, won the first running of the Cheltenham Gold Cup as a steeplechase.

100 years on they bet 10/1 bar two for the 2024 Cheltenham Gold Cup.

Last year Galopin Des Champs beat Bravemansgame seven lengths; this year's race looks a stronger renewal.

Galopin Des Champs has won eight of his 11 starts over fences. 

He fell at the last when 12 lengths clear in the 2022 Turners Novices' Chase and has been beaten twice by Fastorslow at Punchestown; Willie Mullins' charge gained his revenge over that rival six weeks ago in the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown.

On official handicap ratings Galopin has a minimum of nine pounds in hand over all his rivals.

On two trips to Cheltenham to date, Fastorslow has been beaten a short head by Commander Of Fleet in the 2022 Coral Cup and, conceding four pounds, a neck by Corach Rambler in last year's Ultima.

Martin Brassil's charge underwent wind surgery immediately after that latest defeat at the Dublin Racing Festival.

Beaten a short head by The Real Whacker in last year's Brown Advisory, Gerri Colombe won the Mildmay at Aintree and just pipped Envoi Allen in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal before holding Capodanno a head for second place in the Savills Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas, the pair some 23 lengths behind Galopin Des Champs.

It's difficult to see Bravemansgame reversing the form of last year's race.

This term a mistake at the last handed the initiative to Gentlemansgame in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby and Paul Nicholls' inmate was beaten by Haydock specialist Royale Pagaille in the Betfair Chase. 

He finished second behind Hewick in the King George but both would probably have finished behind Shishkin if Nicky Henderson's charge hadn't stumbled and unseated Nico De Boinville just after the penultimate flight.

Earlier this afternoon trainer John 'Shark' Hanlon withdrew Hewick, a 33/1 chance for next month's Grand National, on account of soft ground.

Last year's National winner Corach Rambler is currently quoted 12/1 joint favourite for the Aintree showpiece. 

Following a subdued introduction at Kelso in October, Lucinda Russell's charge finished third behind Royal Pagaille and Bravemansgame in the Betfair Chase at Haydock; you suspect it was at that point connections started to ruminate over a plan to come here. 

The last ten-year-old to win a Gold Cup was Cool Dawn in 1998.

L'Homme Presse won the 2022 Brown Advisory and the following November carried top weight to victory in the Rehearsal Chase at Newcastle. Next time he fell in the King George won by Bravemansgame and was subsequently off the track for 13 months. 

On reappearance this January he beat Protektorat (won the Ryanair Chase earlier today) in the Fleur De Lys Chase at Lingfield and finished a creditable third behind Pic D'Orhy at Ascot four weeks ago - after the race beaten connections were particularly upbeat about that effort with this race as the target.

In 2020 Monkfish won the Albert Bartlett and the following year he won the Brown Advisory. 

He has obviously had his problems since. Seven weeks ago he beat 2018 Supreme winner Summerville Boy in the Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park; many pundits thought he was going to turn up in the Stayers' Hurdle but no, here he is, in a Gold Cup. 

It's a bold move by connections which would indicate they feel their charge is in rude health.

The Real Whacker won his three chase starts at the track last year - including the Brown Advisory - but  hasn't won in three starts this term. 

I bet Patrick Neville's charge in the Cotswold Chase seven weeks ago - and had to go to inordinate lengths to eventually claim the £5 free bet which the advertisement in the bookmaker's shop window indicated I was entitled to.

I have to say I'd expected more from The Real Whacker that day. 

Leading, he jumped right on occasions and lost his pitch two out before rallying to claim second spot ahead of Stay Away Fay (pulled up in the Brown Advisory yesterday). He wears a visor for the first time.

Nassalam has appeared a different horse for the fitting of blinkers. 

He finished 34 lengths behind Corach Rambler in the Ultima last year but has since won twice at Chepstow after the aids were applied; last time he won the Welsh National by an astonishing 34 lengths and is quoted 33/1 for the Grand National. 

The percentage call is he needs heavy ground to be seen at his best.

With just five starts under rules to his name Jungle Boogie has clearly had his problems.

Galopin Des Champs is the one to beat; to date Fastorslow is the only horse to have done so over fences.

L'Homme Presse is suited by soft ground but tries this extended three and a quarter mile trip for the first time; if he sees the trip out, he holds an each-way chance.

Selection: L'Homme Presse each-way, at the time of writing 10/1 with Paddy Power paying four places.  


TW said...

Part 1

Well done on Day 3 and thanks for your blog posts this week.

Final throw of the dice for me to try and turnaround my losses over the first 3 days!

1:30 JCB Triumph Hurdle 2m1f

Top Rated

Without Sir Gino, the Willie Mullins runners look set to dominate, I doubt whether Willie knows for certain which one will win and with Ladbrokes going 4 places it might be worth an EW punt on Bunting at 14/1.

2:10 BetMGM County Handicap Hurdle 2m1f

Top Rated

I’ll split my stake EW [6 places] across the top two. 2 miles might be a bit short for So Scottish [10/1] but it has the look of an Emmet Mullins touch. Aucunrisque’ [40/1] mark has dropped from 145 at the start of the season to 137 in this, the trip will suit him but tacky ground might not, at big odds I’ll take a chance.

2:50 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle 3m

Top Rated

I’m not sure the form book fully explains why Readin Tommy Wrong is so much shorter in the market than his stable mates but his home work might. Search For Glory is one of the more exposed runners in the field, he is proven at the trip, the more rain the better and he does still look to have enough progress left in him to take an interest at 28/1 4 places.

3:30 Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase 3m2½f

Top Rated

Galopin Des Champs is the most likely winner but is too short at evens. It’s likely that Bravemansgame is just short of the top draw but is still good enough to fill one of the 4 places on offer with BET365 at odds of 14/1. Interesting that Monkfish took up his entry, if he can roll back a few years then 33/1 might look big. The system thinks L'Homme Presse has a bit to find but not too hard to see him in the frame.


TW said...

Part 2

4:50 Mrs Paddy Power Mares' Chase 2m4½f

Top Rated

Riviere D’etel is not the most consistent, tends to jump right so going left handed not ideal and she is not always that clean at her fences. Not with standing those faults she is capable of putting in a good shift on a going day and at 20/1 I’m happy to take an EW punt [3 places] that this might be one of them.

5:30 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle 2m4½f

Top Rated

Angels Breath, as a 10yo, will have been one of the first discounted by many. But he is no ordinary 10yo courtesy of missing 3 years due to injury. A class act when trained by Nicky Henderson, owner Dai Walters sent him to Sam Thomas to restart his career. Fair to say he’s not hit his early heights over 7 runs for Sam but he has shown that he retains some ability.

He has been steadily falling down the handicap and is now running of a mark of 136. His last few races have been over 3 miles which stretches him and, fanciful, one might think these were to help get his mark to down for this race. He’ll enjoy reverting to this trip, the ground as it is will be fine and softer still would not be a hindrance. It’s a punt but 28/1 EW 5 places was attractive enough to step in….it may get me out of gaol!

Good luck!


GeeDee said...

Thanks for providing your notes and ratings through the week, TW.

Ran out of time for the other races on the card but noticed the Jimmy Moffatt trained Bingoo in the Martin Pipe.

Soft ground required but he didn't feature in the Morebattle at Kelso just 13 days ago.

In the recent Stable Tour in the RP Weekender [14-18.02.24] the trainer listed three possible engagements: the Coral Cup, the Martin Pipe or the bet365 Handicap Hurdle at Uttoxeter on Saturday (2.25) - I see Lord Snootie and White Rhino have been declared at Uttoxeter, with over £50k to the winner.

After the Martin Pipe, apparently the plan is to go Aintree with Bingoo - looks as though he'll earn his keep over the next few weeks!

Good luck!

TW said...

2:10 BetMGM County Handicap Hurdle 2m1f : Take 2

Top Rated

With selection Aucunrisque a non runner [going] I re ran the race through the system. Considered a punt on Mr Freedom but he is not certain to act on the ground so at 22/1 [EW 5 places] I've taken a punt on Petit Tonnerre. 7th in last year's race off a mark of 140, he runs of 136 today and has a visor on for the first time that might sharpen him up a bit. He has a poor strike rate but is a consistent performer, might enjoy reverting to hurdles and the heavy ground should not be an excuse.


GeeDee said...

I'm a Mr Freedom fan, TW!

Good luck!

TW said...

Selection: L'Homme Presse each-way, at the time of writing 10/1 with Paddy Power paying four places.

Well done, smashing run from L'Homme Presse, just ran out of a bit of gas at the very end.

Four wining days for the blog, tipping par excellence!


GeeDee said...

Thanks, TW.
As you say, LHP didn't quite come up the hill.

GeeDee said...

L'Homme Presse (16/1) raced just behind The Real Whacker (40/1) on the front end for much of the trip.

Charlie Deutsch sent the selection on three out; once in front, he glanced behind as they raced around the home turn - Galopin Des Champs (10/11f) and Gerri Colombe (13/2) were waiting in the wings.

The favourite took up the running two out; Gerri Colombe chased but the result was never in doubt.

Corach Rambler (14/1) stayed on well up the hill to claim third - a near perfect trial for next month's Grand National.

L'Homme Presse came home fourth, just over 15 lengths behind the impressive winner; the petrol gauge had hit empty on the run to the last.