Good evening from the Major who writes from a Worcestershire beset in a dull grey, the sun never quite managed to rid the land of that cool malaise and as dusk fell, I felt tired.
Today was not to plan. Annie, oh Annie. Ruby blamed himself, he parked in behind the wrong JP horse, whichever way you look at it, More of That was impressive and a second Championship winning racehorse that AP McCoy chose not to ride! I was involved in a major position on Annie and was quite gutted to see her not quite real in More of That who was the deserved winner.
I cannot quite describe how, since the blog had a poorer day, that I ended up in some clear profits. Some old forgotten antepost and a dash of fortune, the war chest is prepared for the final assault. I feel a bit dirty over some of the wins, fortuitous and unlikely would not quite cover it. Still, I am armed – Let’s get to business.
I am expecting guests tonight and so, will discharge the dribble of my mind for your own appraisal without much of the buffer you might usually expect. I trust you are in position too for the final assault – Ah Gallipoli, Crimea, Cawnpore – Those final stands. Allow us to aim true, with a steady hand and a sharp eye. Stay frosty my friends, you need to act without emotion.
Cheltenham Friday Gold Cup Tips
As per all posts this week, I will be referring back to the antepost piece I compiled a week ago, reviewing the Grade 1’s on the Cheltenham card.
We start with the Triumph… My selection last week was Calipto, 5/1 then, 9/2 now – The same logic applies, his form from beating Activial is the bit that stands out for me, Royal Irish Hussar being the next best.
We move into the County Hurdle and of high interest is Arctic Fire who while having achieved less than some of these, is the choice of Ruby Walsh and let us not forget that Mullins has won the County twice in the last five years. He has won on good ground and is receiving support.
Hobbs has talked up the chances of Cheltenian and it is easy to foresee him going well. Never Enough Time caught the eye, as did many, as he looks very well handicapped and this is typically a race that goes to an Irish raider. I am having one and it is a Mullins horse but not Arctic Fire. No, If AP can jock himself off two winning rides, it is not too far removed to imagine Ruby managing to get off one too…. Upazo, gets the services of Paul Townend (as long as he is OK after a bad fall earlier today). I think he is well handicapped and while only a tentative selection, at 25/1, he gives us a chance to really deal up a stake of pain!
The Albert Bartlett also got the Grade 1 treatment and my logic has survived another week. First of all, I like Kings Palace and am on at some reasonable antepost prices. Yet he might struggle to cut it from the front against this opposition – Although the ground is a massive plus for him. Briar Hill is an obvious call, I would not put anyone off, his champion bumper left us all agog at how we managed to let a 25/1 Mullins / Walsh through and his course form and impeccable CV this year put him rightly at the head of the market.
However, Captain Cutter has done little wrong too. He had the beating of Kings Palace on bumper form and was my antepost pick… Hmmmm… On balance, I am going to get after this particular Mullins favourite but I am going to back against Captain Cutter too. As a rule a front runner in this sort of race would not be my thing but I am going to side with Kings Palace on two counts. The ground and the super confident form of Tom Scudamore.
Then the big one, the Gold Cup. We have been waiting from it, ever since last year with Conti sprawling out on the way down the hill, Sir Des Champs playing a role and Bobs Worth niggled but classy, determined and perpetual, building his run in layers, with his foes unable to respond at the death.
Again, I have already a position here where Silviniaco Conti has been my choice and this has been true since the start of the season. Prior to his King George win, I was backing him at the fancy prices. That said, I have been hedging in with Bobs Worth too – He is five from five on good ground. There is something funny about him though, he does hit flat spots and I wonder how reliable he is in a fight.
Silviniaco Conti will battle, I think he is wiser at his fences and while his good ground form does not quite stack up as equal, it is impressive enough. Go large or go home as they say. 7/2 is available but in the morning, I bet some game bookmaker, offers us 5/1.
The Foxhunters is a race in which I have another of my antepost positions built up. On the Fringe at 4/1 is an absolute snip. Go watch his last race, it is highly impressive. Of course, nobody would begrudge a win for Oscar Delta and Jane Mangan after the disaster that struck last year… Can you imagine if he sails over the last, how people’s memories of last year will be in our minds, how we will cheer if he charges up the run in, incident free… Good luck @jane_mangan
If you get to the last two races of the festival and need something, you are in a world of trouble my friend.
The Martin Pipe is a wide open handicap and playing it for a big result is a very perilous affair. My best guess is The Skyfarmer who will absolutely love being returned to a sound surface. Yes he is a stone and a half more weighted down since his last win but he needs this surface and despite being seemingly the second Hobbs string, I hold a hope. 16/1 is available. Vieux Lion Rouge is a suspicious looking Pipe horse but has been campaigned on heavy ground and that puts me off.
I have a simple theory for the lucky last of the Festival. Last year, the Grand Annual, named after Johnny Henderson about ten years ago, almost fell to his son, Nicky for the second time since the renaming. Surely he has another prepared for us? Tanks for That is not a typical horse for me, being older but his run in an all weather bumper will have put him right and while he has two ways of running, maybe we will strike true with his 16/1 price.
Courage and roll the dice!