Good evening from the Major who writes a brief post from the sofa ahead of tomorrows Cheltenham action.
My company sponsors the Mares Bumper and a cohort of my colleagues will be in attendance having a tremendous time. As for I, sadly I shall not be part of the fun but I have set about writing the card up.
Thursday Cheltenham Tips
The ground condition is going to be a key consideration in selections. Good to soft today and blustery dry overnight conditions suggest it might ride fast so a proper late Spring horse is what I am after.
Course form is often a good starting point for assessing horses at Cheltenham. The undulating left-handed course with a stiff finish does not suit all horses.
The opener is a nice listed novice event in which none of the horses have the above requisite form but a number will be comfortable on the ground. Those include Doyly Carte, Ma Filleule, Flying Phoenix, Hidden Identity, Shesa Bear and Springinherstep.
Ma Filleule is going to attempt to give weight away to all – The Warwick graded winner was midfield in the Martin Pipe but should have a race like this in her. Henderson had a winner here with Whisper yesterday and I would think this girl has a great chance of getting him off to a flyer here too. The chief danger I see is Hidden Identity who had Shesa Bear well beaten at the end of 2012 but I would fancy the Henderson horse to do the business at a price of 7/4.
2.35pm is the Mares Novice Chase – I have been a fan of Violin Davis for some time, she has been getting better and better but anyone watching her last race would have to admit she was fortunate to continue the sequence as Nataani seemed to have the better of her when falling late on. Good ground is no problem and the Majors favourite jockey is aboard in Noel Fehily. Looks vulnerable.
I prefer Tara Rose who may prefer better ground and goes for the local yard Twiston Davies who scored a big priced winner yesterday. 9/2 is a fair price.
The 3.10 is a difficult handicap puzzle and there is one the bookies are undecided over tonight. Scholastica is 7/1 and 14/1. I quite like this horse and think it is pretty well handicapped.
I do prefer 6/1 Eleven Fifty Nine though – Honeyball has had another good season and probably has an improver on his hands here now he steps this girl up in trip.
In the 3.45, Midnight Chase is going to be a popular pick, he loves it round Cheltenham and good ground is what he needs. That said, he has been a bit below par… any return to peak form and he is a danger to all – While you have to excuse a poor season, he has been campaigning on soft ground which is less suitable.
Cedre Bleu incredibly got his nose in front on the line last time but looked to be fading and while a strapping sort, I am not sure this rollercoaster course will be the making of him.
Galaxy Rock is a serious horse around Cheltenham too and as long as a heavy fall at the festival has not dented his confidence, he could run well.
I am opting for 10/1 shot Ashkazar who won this race for me last year at a skinnier 6/1! His profile was the same, poor season and then rocked up and won this.
In the 4.20, Paul Nicholls runs Sam Winner who is 9/2. Nicholls said Sam Winner was his best hope at the festival with a handicap mark from god! He proceeded to flop very badly in the Pertemps burning the Majors and many others money and hopes. No doubt the horse is quirky but there is some decent talent in there waiting to come out!
In the 4.55 I opt for Mister Matt at 10/3 who fell when ahead in this last year. I think he has an excellent chance although the favourite Kie looks a battling sort.
The Endsleigh Insurance Mares bumper is a tricky betting puzzle. Plenty of first time winners whose form is difficult to assess… Fabrika is the Henderson bumper horse, that yard won this last year and this girl looked OK when winning last time out. Fairytale Theatre looks one with lots of promise for Team Ditcheat and at a forecast 9/2, I think a bet is in order.
The 6pm Chase and I am willing to take a chance on Let’s Get Serious who at least boasts some course form.
Courage, roll those dice.