Cheltenham Festival Day 4 - Friday
Its now 9pm on Monday 14th and I have to be up in 6 hours time (thanks to the Foster brothers) to start the long trek from the toon to Chelt's and I don't think I am going to sleep much to be honest - but not even the sad new of Dougie Costello's injury is going to tarnish my week (except maybe Friday when Midnight Chase won't get his normal ride).
Anyway, as I said above - I've got to be up soon so I am going to try and keep this brief and to the point - while still managing to pick out a loser in every race (I'm thinking negative in the hope the opposite happens).
FRIDAY 18th MARCH 2011
TRIUMPH HURDLE 2m 1f - 1:30
My pick in this race was initially going to be Marsh Warbler - but god knows what race this is going in - its still in the Supremes and this one - but I'll be backing it in whichever. If it does go for the Supreme then I will be split four ways in this race - Sam Winner, Third Intention, A Media Luz and Houblon Des Obeux. If I'm having a good week I might take my chances on all 4 as they are all good enough prices to yield a profit even backing all 4. Houblon is currently around the 20/1 mark which represents great EW value and of the other 3 I have my reasons on each - I think Third Intention has threatened on his last 2 starts and I've got a feeling it could be 3rd time lucky. Sam Winner looked top banana until Marsh Warbler turned him over and still think he will be in the mix at the end and A Media Luz is a bit of a sentimental bet having backed it every time its ran, it would be criminal not to support him on his big day.
WIN: Marsh Warbler (if not see above - A Media Luz for me though)
EW: Houblon Des Obeux
VINCENT O'BRIEN HURDLE 2m 1f - 2:05
I like the look of Alaivan for this one - since finishing 3rd in the Triumph Hurdle last year he is 2 from 2 - the 2nd beating Carlito Brigante in a two horse race by 4 lengths. I think if he's on top form, he'll take some beating. I do however think there are some great long price shouts, and none more so than Venetia Williams runner - Ciceron at 20/1. He has beat some good horses over this trip in the shape of Iolith, Numide and Pistolet Noir - definitely one to watch.
ALBERT BARTLETT HURDLE 3m - 2:40
I can't tell you how much I hope Back In Focus runs in this one. I genuinely think this is a horse straight out the top drawer. Court In Motion was said to be a bit of a superstar, and the way this animanl dispatched of Court with minimal fuss was highly impressive. Great bet at 8/1. There are some other good horses in this one with the likes of Bobs Worth, Champion Court, Court in Motion and Kilcrea Kim, but if Back In Focos goes - ill be lumping on. There are 2 big prices horses I like - Our Island and Cantlow, at 25s and 50s respectively. Worth it at that price.
WIN: Back In Focu (if it doesn't go then Bobs Worth)
EW: Our Island and Cantlow
GOLD CUP 3m 2f - 3:20
As mentioned earlier - gutted about Dougie C missing out, especially as he is one of the main reasons Midnight Chase has been so successful. A bit like when Maguire looked like he was going to miss out on Peddler's in the Champion Hurdle - you just don't fancy it as much because the jockey knows the horse so well.
In a dream world Denman would win with Midnight Chase running a blinder in 2nd, followed in 3rd by Tidal Bay. I think Denman is a great price after a phenomenal ride in the Hennessey carrying top weight, and CANNOT be ruled out - to be honest, I'll be amazed if he doesn't place. Then again, you cant rule out, Kauto and Imperial Commander either, and Long Run after his impressive win in the King George.
It's a very interesting race - Old Guard v New Superstar, and I just hope Good Ol' Denman can do the business one last time.
Also, I did have a dream that Long Run won with Kauto in 2nd, and the last time I dreamt a horse won was Workforce in the derby.....worth a cheeky forecast just in case.
EW: Midnight Chase and Tidal Bay
OTHER: Long Run - Kauto Star (Forecast)
FOXHUNTER CHASE 3m 2f - 4:00
Keep it quick here - I cant see anything but a Baby Run win.
WIN: Baby Run
EW: Gone to Lunch
MARTIN PIPE HURDLE 2m 4f - 4:40
A stupid amount still declared for this - not even going to look until a reasonable amount are left. Definitely an 'on the day; bet
JOHNNY HENDERSON GRAND ANNUAL CHASE 2m - 5:15
Another difficult one and to be honest - come 5:15 on Friday I wont care a jot. But, in spirit of tipping etc etc, I will pick out Anquetta in this one, for no other reason than I backed it last time out and it won, so why not again????? I also think Grand Lahou is a great EW bet in this one at 25's
EW: Grand Lahou
So there we go - there are my opinions and non-opinions for every race across the festival, and hopefully a load of winners will come from this - and ill be back next week to give a review and talk nonsense on what I can remember of the week - which is hopefully nothing other than Denman smashing up the hill and winning by 10 lengths with Sam Thomas putting his finger on his lips to Paddy Brennan - just like that clown did last year. Come On!!!!