Saturday 27 October 2018

Saturday 27th October: Gumball To Sugar Coat Cheltenham Day Two

Much like Friday, day two of Cheltenham’s opening meeting of the season gives us another seven races to get stuck into, all 7 of them being Class 2 races for good measure so we should see some pretty nice types for the future coming out this weekend.

Whatever is placed in these races today are bound to be horses to watch, at least for the first few months of the season anyway, so get your notebooks out but in the meantime here are what we think are the best of the bunch on day 2 of the opening meeting of Prestbury Park’s season:

2.00 (3m1f Handicap Chase) – RELENTLESS DREAMER

We have a very competitive thee mile, one furlong handicap chase to kick things off with and we could have found an excellent each-way shout in the shape of Rebecca Curtis’ Relentless Dreamer at a very tasty price.

The 9yo came out for just one summer run in a very valuable race at Uttoxeter and showed his wellbeing when running third under jockey Adam Wedge.  The same man is jocked up today and he can guide our horse to a strong finish at nice enough oddse along with Branqudeur D’Or and For Good Measure who will each be popular in the ring.

2.35 (2m+ 4yo only Hurdle) – GUMBALL

Don’t get me wrong, I can see why the top one Redicean is favourite for this race however there is a strong feeling that Philip Hobbs’ horses were under a cloud all of last season and thus will be coming out this year really rather underestimated.

The time to watch them may well be in handicap races as it appears they will be running off marks that do not truly represent their ability and thus will be getting weight all round, for now though we see an opportunity in this contest.

Gumball then is one who, at these weights anyway, can possibly prove to be too good for this lot at a very fair price and can take care of both the favourite Redicean and potentially also Padleyourowncanoe for place money.

3.10 (2m Handicap Chase) – FOXTAIL HILL

This could be another one for the Twiston-Davies yard as his Foxtail Hill looks like a decent bet to get his season off to the best possible start in the two-mile handicap chase.

Having won this race last year, Foxtail Hill has clearly shown before a liking for these conditions and for the time of year and may be fair value to double up.  Bigmarte looks set for place money while I had Modus down as a possible winner of the Old Roan Chase at Aintree on Sunday so if this is his trainer’s preferred destination then we must take note of that.

3.45 (3m Handicap Hurdle) – AARON LAD

Dr Richard Newland has very promising 5lb claimer Charlie Hammond up on his Aaron Lad for this and the move may well pay dividends on Saturday with the extra weight possibly the final nail in the coffin of the opposition.

Moving up the ranks nicely before pulling up last backend, Aaron Lad skipped his first planned assignment this season on account of a vet’s certificate but appears ready to go and may well find himself handicapped well enough to take this ahead of Sykes at a big price.

4.20 (3m Novices’ Hurdle) – DINIONS

He may well go off at a short price and as favourite I’m afraid, but it’s hard to ignore the chances of Gordon Elliott’s Dinions n this who comes to Prestbury Park chasing a five-timer.

The races he has been winning en route to this race this year have been nothing of this sort of quality of course, however he’s been doing it all with considerable ease and looks a decent bet to keep his winning run going under top man Richard Johnson.

Colin Tizzard looks set for another good season and his Ultragold is probably best of the rest on this occasion while De Name Evades Me can run on into the places too.

4.55 (2m4f Novices’ Chase) – MONBEG LEGEND

Nicky Henderson’s name has not appeared too much in our first two blogs of the Cheltenham season but it will surely start typing itself by the time December rolls around!

The legendary trainer runs Monbeg Legend in this and all things considered he looks the safest bet, the 8-year-old having not run outside of the first two in any of his 5 chase races to date and with plenty more improvement surely to come.

Gordon Elliot teams up once again with Cubomania and there’ll be a fair few bets running on him should Dinions go on to win the 4.20, however he may just find one too good on this occasion.  Movewiththetimes remains one to look out for and could yet pose a danger under Barry Geraghty.

5.30 (2m+ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race) – STRONG GLANCE

We hope to end Cheltenham’s opening meeting of the season on a high and will take a chance on Strong Glance being the horse that can do it for us.

Fergal O’Brien’s came on nicely from race one to race two; scoring on debut in good style at Southwell before running a more than respectable fifth in a Listed bumper at Ascot back in December.

He has been wisely waited with and comes from the yard that won this race last season so it’s hoped they know exactly what they have at their disposal and that he is good enough to get the job done.  Alain Cawley rides.

Friday 26 October 2018

Friday 26th October: Rockerfeller To Bring Us Riches As Cheltenham Returns

Cheltenham makes a long awaited return to the racing calendar this weekend as we fully begin the transitional period between Flat racing and the National Hunt season.

It’s a seven-race card to get us going and we’ll be racing here again on Saturday so keep an eye out for more information, though we start with a fairly low key novices’ hurdle on Friday’s card:

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2.00 (2m5f Novices’ Hurdle) – HAVANA BEAT

Tony Carroll’s gelding was improving nicely over hurdles when falling at Haydock Park back in May and we should see an even better horse this season, starting hopefully with a win here.

The son of Teofilo had a sharpener on the all-weather at Kempton recently where he recovered from a slow start to be 9 lengths off the pace at 50/1, but this is much more his niche.  A step forward from his win at Aintree in April may see him win this at the main expense of Go Another One and Make My Heart Fly.

2.35 (2m Novices’ Chase) – DIAKALI

All things being equal, and they aren’t always equal at Cheltenham to be fair, Gary Moore and Joshua Moore should be winning this with Diakali who is now 2 from 2 over the bigger obstacles with both wins very wide margin ones in the summer.

This race is definitely more competitive however he looks a really nice type and if jumping cleanly can take care of One For Billy and Caid Du Lin to keep his 100% chasing record intact.

3.10 (2m5f Handicap Hurdle) – MR ANTOLINI

This is traditionally a very good time of year for trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies and he can score once more in this competitive handicap at a nice price with this Mr Antolini.

Second in the Sussex Champion Hurdle at Plumpton when last seen in April, he took the Imperial Cup before that and despite an 8lb rise in the weights since then he looks good to go forward a little more this season, especially now he’s going up in trip.

Whatthebutlersaw and the four-year-old Melody Of Scotland may yet prove significant dangers but I’d be disappointed if our horse is not there or thereabouts at the finish.

3.45 (3m+ Novices’ Chase) – LIL ROCKERFELLER

We’re not suggested here that Neil King’s runner should be getting up to the high class levels of form he has shown as a hurdler, but then again he really shouldn’t need to in order to win this novice event.

His chasing debut was a winning one at Uttoxeter and while that form in itself isn’t enough to back him with extreme certainty here, we know he is bound to have improved from that and any step forward over fences in this race should make him good enough to beat Treacle Tart, who is fair value, and also Arctic Gold.

4.20 (2m+ Maiden Hurdle) – SEVEN DE BAUNE

It’s incredibly difficult to predict what any of these horses may be over hurdles in the fullness of time, but the level to which Seven De Baune ran in a bumper at Uttoxeter and the manner in which he won the race suggests he may just about be the best of this particular field.

A look at the early prices places this chap at around the 7/1 mark and that would represent terrific value, though watch out also for strong runs from Thomas Darby and in particular Sebastapol in behind at fair prices also.

4.55 (3m1f Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase) – ANOTHER FRONTIER

It’s Nigel Twiston-Davies’ time of year, this horse is fit and in winning form and he’s our second top weight.  In other words; let’s stick with the class option.

After a near 7-month break, Another Frontier reappeared at Uttoxeter recently with a rather comfortable win, certainly more comfortable than a rise of 5lbs in the ratings would suggest and the fact that he looked a little rusty that day too lends weight to the theory that he’ll have improved plenty for that run.

Oighear Dubh and Asking Questions look perhaps the most obvious dangers in what is admittedly a very competitive race but one that our boy looks very capable of winning.

5.30 (2m+ Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle) – NOAH AND THE ARK

We’re taking a bit of a chance here on a young horse who is in terrific form at present.  Noah And The Ark is just a four-year-old of Donald McCain’s but one who is improving rapidly and who can take another significant step forward by winning this race at a nice price.

His wins at Stratford and Kelso don’t read so well just on their own, but he’s been doing it so easily and if anything looks as though he’ll get better with a stronger test and he’ll certainly get that here around this course.

Magic Dancer looks best of the rest after his wind operation while both Lord Condi and Malachite are entitled to go well in the lucky last, hopefully just for place money.