Tuesday, 26 December 2017

King George VI Chase Day Tips: Don't tuck into the leftovers, Bite!

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James Stevens gives us his best bets from Kempton.

12:45 - If The Cap Fits
I really rate this horse and I hope he can stamp his class over this very good race here. Noel Fehily picked him against the Nicky Henderson rival, and his performance over hurdles have been nothing short of outstanding so far and I expect him to continue his progression here.

Storm Home is a horse I think can continue improving and although this is a very good race, then he can nick a bit of each-way money.

1:20 - Whenyourreadyfreddy
Nicky Henderson could have a massive day at Kempton today and both of his have a big chance in this. I think this is the preferred choice, after making an encouraging fourth-place finish last time out. He should improve from that and I would expect him to go very close.

1:55 - Fountain's Windfall
This horse looked to be travelling really strongly before falling at Newbury last time. I thought he may have won that day but he could make amends here. He is really well regarded and remains the type of horse than continue over fences this year. He should go well and have a really good chance. Ballyoptic is a big danger and could run a big race.

2:30 - Buveur D'Air (simply)
This race is more about watching than betting, so just enjoy it! Buveur D'Air is a class act but the bookmakers have accounted for it.

3:05 - Might Bite
I love this horse and I really think he can win the big one today. He was excellent at Cheltenham and Aintree before looking a bit more mature at Sandown last time. I think conditions will suit him really well and he more than certainly has the class to take a race of this nature. I think he will win the King George. Thistlecrack is my each-way fancy here.

3:40 - Kildisart
This is a very smart horse and I think he is very well handicapped for today's test. He shaped well on his first start before winning impressively when last seen at Ascot. He can continue to build on that run and can run a fine race here.

Saturday, 16 December 2017

International Meeting Day Two: I am sweet on Melon

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We had four winners yesterday, including 16-1 Bless The Wings, and James Stevens has picked out his best bets from day two of the International Meeting.

12:10 - Apple's Shakira
This is one to watch! Apple's Shakira was tipped and was outstanding on her sole start for Nicky Henderson and she will improve for the run and something will need to be amiss for her to get beat today.

12:45 - Movewiththetimes
Paul Nicholls thinks very highly of this horse who has ran very well in his two outings over fences. He finished second at this track a month ago in what looked a very hot race, and he won't face as good a rival as Finian's Oscar here. He will like the conditions and he can run a very big race here.

1:20 - Gino Trial, Bentelimar ew
Kerry Lee's ten-year-old was a very stylish winner at Wetherby a few weeks back and can continue to run well here. He acts very well on this sort of ground, and although he hasn't ran here, I would be confident he can run a fine race.

Bentelimar could be well-handicapped here and despite a poor effort last time could bounce back on ground that will suit.

1:55 - Le Prezien
I think Paul Nicholls' charge can land the big one today after running so well here a month back. He goes off 2lb higher but there is a big run to come from him soon, I am sure of it and he can build on what he has already achieved. He will enjoy the conditions and can go very well here.

2:30 - Kilbricken Storm, Global Stage
This is a very interesting Grade Two and I have been stuck on it for a while. Kilbricken Storm ran really well at Wincanton last month and won quite easily and this will measure how good he is. This is isn't the strongest race and he must have a chance, especially as he runs well in similar conditions.

Global Stage is the outsider of the field but his form adds up really well and he could certainly outrun his odds here.

3:05 - Melon
I really was impressed by the way Melon destroyed the field over in Ireland on his last start and I think there is every reason he can do it again. He has always been regarded as an excellent hurdler and poses a stiff threat to The New One. He is unexposed but there should be a bit more improvement to come this year.

3:40 - Momella, Copper Kay
Momella goes handicapping after some very good efforts as a novice hurdler and I really think she can be excellent in this type of race. She won her first two starts very well before finishing an excellent second to On The Blind Side here last month. This opening mark is very workable, she will enjoy the conditions and can run a big race here.

Phillip Hobbs thinks very highly of Copper Kay, who takes another drop down the handicap after a disappointing effort at Wincanton last month. She should act on the ground and has won at Cheltenham before, so must be capable of making the places.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Cheltenham Friday Tips: Rocky's value may be 'Treasure'

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We have every race covered on day one of the International Meeting at Cheltenham.

12:10 - Western Ryder, Some Man ew
This is a very strong race and it will be interesting to see how strong each bit of form is. On heavy ground this horse gets the verdict as he has been so consistent in big races around Cheltenham and can continue improving here.

Some Man may like the conditions and can build on his promising debut run for Paul Nicholls at Worcester where he finished fourth.

12:45 - Sizing Tennessee
Colin Tizzard is keen to get this horse back and winning ways here at Cheltenham after he threw away a lead to unseat Bryan Cooper at the last fence. That form sets a high standard, especially as he looked to be well clear that day. A repeat effort would see him very go close here.

1:20 - Attest, Sea Wall
Attest is a horse that will run a big race at some point this season and I am hoping that day can be today. He ran well at Ascot, in a race where the form has worked out very well, to take sixth spot and can continue to improve here today. He is dropped 2lb and deserves to go well.

Chris Gordon's Sea Wall has been a consistent sort recently and could still be on a mark he can win off here. He finished second at Lingfield this month and was only defeated on the line, he is up 3lb but can run well again.

1:55 - Theatre Territory
After a very encouraging second place finish at Huntingdon, Warren Greatrex's mare must be able to go very well here today. She finished second to a classy prospect, but will improve for that run and can utilise this current mark. She may be one to go chasing in the future, but her hurdles mark is winnable and she can run well here.

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Colin Tizzard is expecting a big year from Robinsfirth

2:30 - Robinsfirth
The Tizzards think very highly of this horse who missed out on his intended Ladbroke Trophy target this year but could make amends here. He finished fourth on his return to Cheltenham, before a second place finish at Haydock. There is a lot more to come from him, especially now on ideal ground.

3:05 - Josies Orders, Bless The Wings ew
Mark Walsh is the man who will know his best chance of a winner of this type of race and he has chosen to ride Josies Orders here. He is three from three over course and distance, and ran well when second in Ireland. He could easily make it four.

Bless The Wings has pulled-up on both of his last two starts, but he likes these sort of races and can return back to his best form off this current mark.

3:40 - Rocky's Treasure
Kim Bailey sends just one runner to Cheltenham, and Rocky's Treasure looks like he could strike off his current mark here. He finished off last season with two impressive victories, and made a fine return when third here a month back. That run had plenty of promise and off the same mark, and on soft ground, he should run a big race.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Willie Mullins 'Superstar prospect' Benie Des Dieux puts expectations on the line at Carlisle

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Rich Ricci is looking forward to seeing the 'very, very exciting'  Benie Des Dieux, who takes on just four rivals in Carlisle's Mares' Chase.

Willie Mullins, who won the Ladbroke Trophy with Total Recall yesterday, saddled the six-year-old for her first outing in just under a year.

She forged clear of a good field on her sole chasing start in December, picking up a 30 length win at Limerick for her stable debut.

"She is a lovely mare,” said owner Rich Ricci.

“Her jumping display at Limerick was sensational. She is a mare I am very, very excited about. She could be, in the proverbial way, anything.

"I wouldn't mind her taking on the boys, the girls, whoever it is. I can't wait to see her out. She is something to look forward to."

Despite only one appearance for the Master of Closutton, she is already priced up at just 25-1 for the Ryanair Chase at the Festival. Today she is odds-on for her visit to Cumbria.

Donald McCain's Lastbutnotleast poses a serious threat on her chasing debut. Last seen completing a hat-trick in listed company at Doncaster, she has the profile to become an exciting novice chaser this season.

“She’s in good nick and she’s ready to run,” said the Cheshire-based trainer.

“It’s her first run over fences, so the main aim is to get a clear run over fences. 

"We like her a lot, but it is a tough place to start. She’s won at the track and she will love the ground. Hopefully she can go well as it’s a nice place to start her.”

Noel Fehily goes to Carlisle to ride Tacenda, who broke her maiden for Anthony Honeyball at Fontwell last time out.

Verona Opera and Caraline also take their chance.

Gordon Elliott expecting Festival flop Death Duty to prove class in Drinmore Novice Chase

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Gordon Elliott's hugely exciting novice Death Duty targets his first Grade One victory over hurdles in Fairyhouse's Drinmore Novices' Chase.

The six-year-old won four times as a hurdler last season but failed to fire when well-fancied in the Albert Bartlett at Cheltenham in March before a third place finish at Punchestown.

He is currently two from two over fences this season, following convincing wins at Tipperary before an impressive Grade Three win last month.

"Death Duty faces his first Grade 1 Chase," Elliott told his Betfair blog.

"He has taken to chasing very well which we always expected and he's going to improve with every run being the huge big horse he is. 

"This race looks ideal for him in every way so with a clear round I expect a big run. 

"The one to beat for him looks like Rathvinden a dual Grade 3 winner of Willie's but I hope everything goes his way and I am very much looking forward to him running."

The County Meath-based trainer also runs Dinaria Des Obeaux and Shattered Love.

"Shattered Love is a lovely big mare who we think a lot of," he added.

"Like Death Duty chasing was always going to be where we saw the best from her and she proved us right with her first two efforts over fences being comfortable victories. 

"Her last run was a narrowly beaten second behind stablemate Jury Duty in the Grade 2 Novice Chase at Punchestown last month so it's another step up in class for her today but I expect another good run.

"Dinaria Des Obeaux won a Mares Listed Chase very easily last month at Clonmel in testing conditions. 

"She came out of the race well and heads here in cracking form. Along with Shattered Love she benefits from the 7lb mares allowance which is a nice plus, as is Jack Kennedy in the saddle who gets the best out of her."

Willie Mullins' Rathvinden has taken to chasing very well for the master of Closutton. The nine-year-old, who once finished third in the Supreme, is four from seven as a chaser.

He won his last two outings both very easily and remains a key danger to Death Duty.

Snow Falcon takes his chance for Noel Meade.

Red Jack aims to establish his place at the top of novice rank in competitive Royal Bond

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Noel Meade's unbeaten hurdler Red Jack hopes to establish his Supreme Novice Hurdle hope as he takes on some of Ireland's promising youngsters in the Royal Bond Novices' Hurdle (1:00).

The four-year-old beat Debuchet well on debut, who went on to finish second in the Champion Bumper, before winning by six lengths at Leopardstown.

He made a fine start over hurdles, striking comfortably at Naas and takes a steep step up in class for this Grade One.

"He won his maiden well and we've been happy with him since," Meade told the Racing Post.

He added: "This will be a big step up in class but he's a horse we like and we thought it worth giving him a shot at it."

Mengli Khan is currently the bookmakers favourite for the two-mile curtain raising contest at the Cheltenham Festival, and seeks to make it three from three over hurdles.

He has won stylishly both on debut and in a Grade Three contest last time out, and remains an exciting youngster for the Gigginstown team.

"Mengli Khan is the pick of our three," Elliott told his Betfair blog.

"He's a lovely horse with loads of boot and he did it very easily the last day in a Grade 3 at Navan.

"A horse that will only improve with time I think he's an exciting prospect and I'm expecting a big run from him today in this seven runner contest."

Elliott also runs outsiders Morgan and Hardline.

Willie Mullins saddles Makitorix who was a good winner on his hurdling debut, whilst Joseph O'Brien is represented by Le Richebourg.

Confidence high for Apple's Jade Hatton Grace clash with Nichols Canyon

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Gordon Elliott has 'every confidence' ahead of the clash of Cheltenham Festival winners Apple's Jade and Nichols Canyon in the Hatton Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse.

The five-year-old won this by a short head in this contest last year, before her memorable victory in the Mares Hurdle back in March.

Also a winner of the Mares Champion Hurdle at Punchestown in her campaign last year, she made a brilliant return when winning by two lengths at Navan.

“Apples Jade is back to defend her crown, having won this race by a short head from Vroum Vroum Mag last year,” Elliott told his Betfair blog.

“She ran a blinder last month to win the Grade 2 Lismullen Hurdle at Navan on what was her first run of the season and she came out of that in great order.

“Her main danger today is Nichols Canyon who obviously benefits from having much more experience.

“But Apples Jade is a seriously good mare and, with her 7lb allowance today, I have every confidence in her again for a big run.”

She is currently priced at 3/1 to reclaim her Mares Hurdle crown at Cheltenham in 2018.

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Willie Mullins' Nichols Canyon has won eight times at Grade One level

Stayer's Hurdle winner Nichols Canyon is the obvious danger in the field of seven. Willie Mullins' star won by just under a length in the Cotswold before finishing second to Unowhatimeanharry on home soil.

Coral Cup winner Supasundae went within a length of a Grade One win on his last start at Aintree for Jessica Harrington.

Cilaos Emery, Mick Jazz, Swamp Fox and Augusta Kate also run.