It’s all about the mares on day two of the April meeting at Cheltenham, all seven races being exclusively for the females and we have found some decent betting opportunities in amongst them.
1.30 (Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle – Listed Race) – MARTELLO SKY
Most of the online cash in this opening race will no doubt be going the way of The Glancing Queen, and she is very solid at the top of the market too.
Alan King’s seven-year-old is just five runs into her hurdling career, but she’s been seen twelve times in total in public and doesn’t appear to necessarily be hugely improving now.
The value therefore could be in Lucy Wadham’s Martello Sky. Only a five-year-old, she won her first two hurdle races before heading to the Cheltenham Festival where she found things a little hot.
She still carried on her improvement however, running a fine 8th of 15 at Grade 2 level and now in this easier contest and with more progression to come, she rates a fair bet. Fantastic Lady could also run into a place for Nicky Henderson.
2.05 (Fillies’ Juvenile Handicap Hurdle – Grade 3) – PROGRESSIVE
There is a lot of focus on the horse at the head of the market here – Joseph O’Brien’s Scholastic. JJ Slevin’s mount is the only runner on the card for O’Brien and her form backs up her position, however she is no certainty after nine attempts over hurdles which have so far yielded one win.
Scholastic has also gone up another 6lbs in the handicap since last seen, and it may be that there has been an overreaction after the Cheltenham Festival to the presence of any Irish-trained National Hunt horses in English races.
On the numbers, much stronger is Nicky Henderson’s Progressive who could live up to her name. Only seen four times over timber so far, she is getting better all the time and looks to be better treated in the weights as a result.
Of the outsiders, Table Mountain looks best in what should prove to be a very competitive betting event and an equally competitive race on the track.
2.40 (Mares’ Handicap Hurdle – Listed Race) – REGARDING RUTH
According to our calculations, Lucy Wadham could be in for quite some day! As well as the fancied Martello Sky in the first, she also trains this underrated and overpriced Regarding Ruth and she may be worth a bet to small stakes.
With likely favourite Sexy Lot of the David Pipe stable the one to compare her to, it seems on the numbers Regarding Ruth is right where she needs to be and after an easy win last time out it would be no stretch to expect even more improvement now.
The doubt for many punters will come from the fact that said win last time was over three miles, she drops to 2½ here, but around Cheltenham that extra stamina may come in very handy. Molly Ollys Wishes is next on the list.
3.15 (Mares’ Handicap Chase – Class 3) – BLACK TULIP
This three-and-a-quarter-mile event is extremely close to call, with all runners holding a realistic chance of winning and, at the time of writing, all being listed between 5/1 and 10/1 in the betting.
Small stakes are therefore recommended here, with the one to perhaps side with being Henry Daly’s consistent nine-year-old Black Tulip. Tom O’Brien takes the ride.
For the places, there is little to separate the likes of Whatsdastory and Goodnight Charlie at the weights, though it may be prevalent to watch any betting moves in the minutes before post time.
3.50 (Mares’ Novices’ Handicap Chase Final – Listed Race) – FLOWER OF SCOTLAND
Another close race, at least between the three we’d initially shortlisted who were Pink Legend (Venetia Williams), Danse Idol (Dan Skelton) and Liberty Bella (Brian Eckley).
When assessing the form a little more closely however, the one who stands out is Sandy Thomson’s Flower Of Scotland who could well make the team’s journey worthwhile.
Flower Of Scotland is a six-year-old grey who’s had just a couple of goes over fences since arriving from France; an average effort at Carlisle albeit in Listed company, and an easy win in a three-runner contest at Kelso last time out.
She’s getting better and looks to be the type who can put daylight between herself and her rivals at the crucial stage of this race, while she should also have enough stamina to see it out. Ryan Mania rides.
4.25 (Mares’ Handicap Chase – Class 2) – MISS AMELIA
This could be another close race with five of the six scheduled runners having all been under consideration, however all things considered the one at the head of the market is indeed the most solid overall and so it’s worth sticking with Miss Amelia.
Mark Walford’s mare will be ridden by the excellent Brian Hughes who should get the best out of her, and at the weights that best should be good enough for her to beat Cut The Mustard (Paul Nicholls) and Northern Beau (Michael Scudamore).
5.00 (Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race – Class 2) – WIND FROM THE WEST
It’s very difficult to know at the time of writing how this market will shape up, which is rather typical for a bumper race.
With that in mind, you should once again consider any horse being solidly backed in the moments before the off, but with what information we have to hand on an inexperienced field we’d say there may be some value in this Wind From The West.
Warren Greatrex’s young filly has had just the one run, a decent third-placed finish at Taunton in March, and she is obviously the type to improve plenty from that run to this.
She also has the assistance of Sam Waley-Cohen up top who knows Cheltenham like the back of his hand, so presumable she’ll be eased into the race at just the right time. Brian Hughes’ mount Game On For Glory was next on our shortlist.