Friday 29 April 2022

Cheltenham Race Night: Friday 29th April 2022 - Geordie B Will Make It Alreet, Pet

Cheltenham’s Race Night on the New Course promises to be a very fun evening of racing for hunter chasers, and the last sight of this famous track until the Showcase Meeting on October 21.

We have seven twilight races to go through, all of them opportunities for some less familiar faces to the general racing public to get into the Cheltenham winners’ enclosure.

4.40 (Open Hunters’ Chase – Class 5) – ENVIOUS EDITOR

We go over two miles and half a furlong for the first open hunters’ chase of the evening and the race may provide a winner for trainer Joe O’Shea. He handles eight-year-old Envious Editor and he gets the nod in the opener.

Fit having won a point-to-point at Sandon thirteen days ago, James King’s mount has enough class to take care of this field, the likely favourite Envoye Special perhaps being his biggest danger.

Christopher Barber’s runner will be popular having once been in the care of Paul Nicholls and having also won a recent point race at Trebudannon by some 25 lengths.

Rewritetherules is owned, trained and ridden by David O’Brien and is another with a solid enough each-way chance.

5.15 (Intermediate Point-to-Point Hunters’ Chase – Class 4) – FAMOUS CLERMONT

There are plenty of horses in this race with lots of recent winning form, most notably Famous Clermont, Rebel Dawn Rising, Latenightfumble and Castle Trump who all made the shortlist.

This will be a tough one over the 3¼-mile trip, Christopher Barber and jockey William Biddick perhaps having the best chance with their seven-year-old French bred Famous Clermont.

Trained by Barber since 2009, save for a brief career under rules with Kayley Woollacott, Famous Clermont remains in fine form and won a hunters’ chase at Exeter very well back in March.

Along with the 6.25 this race is the most valuable on the card at £10,000 and is appropriately competitive, the aforementioned Rebel Dawn Rising, Latenightfumble and Castle Trump all holding chances.

5.50 (Open Hunters’ Chase – Class 4) – FIXE LE CAP

Nine go to post for this one over three miles, one-and-a-half furlongs, with Trio For Rio likely to be the one for money.

Clive Boultbee-Brooks’ horse was pulled-up last time in a point as the 5/4 favourite and that sticks in the memory a little bit, though his previous form is solid.

Moratorium, I’m Wiser Now and Tel’Art were all considered too, but there is more to like about Fixe Le Cap who is taken to score.

The top one, now a ten-year-old, is joint-highest rated in this race along with Trio For Rio and is arguably in much better form right now.

Twice a runner-up in point-to-points in March and April, he’s very much race fit and can use that to good effect.

6.25 (Mixed Open Hunters’ Chase – Class 4) – GEORDIE B

We go over the Gold Cup trip for this £10,000 contest and we reckon that while Clive Boultbee-Brooks may miss out in the previous race, he and Tommie O’Brien can land the pot this time around with Geordie B.

Their nine-year-old grey, by Geordieland, had a solid level of form under rules for Venetia Williams back in late 2020 and has held that level by running second at Lingfield in February and winning at Carlisle in March.

Geordie B was also rated as high as 140 over hurdles after winning over three miles at Exeter in 2019, showing he has plenty of stamina which will serve him well in this contest.

Caryto Des Brosses and Salvatore should also be considered and are all unlikely to let people down for each-way and placepot bets.

7.00 (Mares’ Open Hunters’ Chase – Class 4) – FEUILLE DE LUNE

Even when taking out Tb Broke Her, who might just be behind the others in this three-mile, one-and-a-half-furlong mares’ race, this contest is way more competitive than it looks at first glance.

There are just five runners here, but there will be strong opinions floating around about at least four of them we feel.

Gina Andrews rides Kalabaloo and the pair are likely to go off favourites, while the Polly Gundry-trained Wind Tor is another very solid contender alongside Cashmoll at a bigger price.

The one we like is Feuille De Lune however after winning three point races by an aggregate of 80 lengths since December. Kelly Morgan’s mare is also the youngest in the line-up at seven and there could be much more to come from her yet.

7.35 (Open Hunters’ Chase – Class 4) – LAW OF GOLD

The penultimate contest is also the longest race on the card at some four miles and half a furlong.

Stamina, naturally, will be the number one factor and there are some well-known names showing up including Shantou Flyer, Law Of Gold, Give Me A Copper and Captain Drake.

The Paul Nicholls-trained Shantou Flyer is the obvious one. David Maxwell’s horse was an easy winner at Fontwell when last seen and should stay all the way.

He gets 3lbs from the likes of Law Of Gold too, but at twelve years old we shouldn’t expect too much and it may be the last named who gets an edge.

David Kemp’s runner has really kept his form in recent months having run around some top tracks, winning races at Fontwell, Stratford and Ascot (easily) before finishing runner-up at Fakenham last time behind Not That Fuisse.

8.10 (Open Hunters’ Chase – Class 5) – SOLOMON GREY

There should be a little bit of speed on show as we go down to two miles, four-and-a-half furlongs for the finale which is due to finish only around ten minutes or so before sunset at Cheltenham.

Paul Nicholls and David Maxwell team up again and their Stratagem is expected to be a clear favourite here, though while the six-year-old grey has a clear chance he is passed over in favour of the better value Solomon Grey.

The ten-year-old son of Sulamani was some 16 lengths behind Strategem in March at Ludlow and has just a 2lb weight pull now.

However, we reckon he’s better than that and won in very impressive fashion last time out at the same track.

Wednesday 13 April 2022

April Meeting Day Two: Thursday 14th April 2022 - Top Bet to Be Found on Day 2

We’re back on the New Course for the second and final day of the April Meeting and it’s all about the mares this time.

A touch of star quality is provided by the presence of Rachael Blackmore and Henry De Bromhead, while we also have three Listed races and a Grade 3 on what is another fantastic day of action.

1.30 (Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle – Listed Race) – THEATRE GLORY 

Although she may go off at odds-on and so she isn’t a fancy selection, Nicky Henderson’s Theatre Glory really should have too much for her four rivals in the opening two-and-a-half-mile novices’ hurdle.

With four wins from her 5 starts so far, she has done little wrong to date and she’s only getting better. Theatre Glory has done all of her best work so far on good ground so conditions here look to be ideal. James Bowen rides.

Of the others, Harry Fry’s On My Command is probably best. She’s three from 4 since moving from Amy Murphy’s yard and has done precious little wrong, though it’s hard to say that she’s improving in lumps. Lady Rita is best of the rest.

2.05 (British EBF Mares’ Novices’ Handicap Chase Final – Listed Race) – FOUND ON

This series final looks nice and competitive, despite the current trend for small fields continuing as just eight of them line up.

Sandy Thomson brings Crossgalesfamegame down and she is not without a chance, while Burrows Diamond looks a solid proposition too for Sue Smith.

Venetia Williams’ Fontaine Collonges should challenge for favouritism and rightly so, along with Little River Bay of the Philip Hobbs yard and we couldn’t put you off them for a place.

The one that stands out however is Found On. Trained nearby by Martin Keighley, Found On put in some under-par efforts this season in all truth until she once again found her form recently.

Bounding clear at Market Rasen three weeks ago, the seven-year-old was impressive under Sean Bowen and she can follow-up now.

2.40 (Mares’ Handicap Hurdle – Listed Race) – NORA THE XPLORER

A nice race over the extended two-and-a-half miles, this handicap hurdle is one in which the bookmakers are finding it hard to separate the runners and so prices look rather juicy. Of course, they’re only juicy if you get it right but we really do like the look of Nora The Xplorer.

Donald McCain is an excellent trainer who has had a fabulous season and he brings this mare down from Cheshire for this race, his only runner of the day.

Nora The Xplorer won easily on her stable debut for McCain at Sedgefield in January before finishing runner-up at the same venue last month.

She faced just two rivals last time out at Haydock but won with her head in her chest and clocked some good speed figures, the type that may prove her to be too good in this company. Panic Attack and Her Indoors were next on the shortlist.

3.15 (Mares’ Handicap Chase – Class 3) – MADERA MIST

There is absolutely nothing wrong with the form of the likely favourite in this contest, Madera Mist, and she is most definitely the one we fear.

Christian Williams’ mare is 4-10 now under rules and won with any amount in hand last time, but she may be vulnerable to one horse at a fair price and that is Tim Vaughan’s Madera Mist.

Although beaten five times in a row, her last victory was at Cheltenham and some very solid money was seen for her from Tuesday night onwards. Jubilympics can also make her presence felt for Emma Lavelle.

3.50 (Fillies’ Juvenile Handicap Hurdle – Grade 3) – ADDOSH 

Paul Nicholls’ Grivetana is 2-3 so far, but she doesn’t look too well handicapped and so we were willing to look elsewhere despite her obvious potential.

The strongest form line is that of Addosh and Ile De Jersey and we hope the betting has got this one right.

Addosh was kept off the track for a few months and had a breathing operation, but came back with a bang to beat Ile De Jersey at Huntingdon last month.

There is now a 5lb weight pull in Ile De Jersey’s favour, but in truth Addosh won the race cosily and very much gave the impression that she had more to give and she can once again see off her old rival.

4.25 (Mares’ Handicap Chase – Class 2) – ALICE AVRIL 

The money came in yesterday for The Glancing Queen, but she is a very popular mare around here and there are only four runners in this race so we’re not taking it as professional money.

Her form wouldn’t see her have too much in hand on Cut The Mustard or Darling Du Large and in these small races the form doesn’t always hold up.

With those things in mind and considering we preferred her form and speed anyway our money goes on Alice Avril.

Gold Cup hero Henry De Bromhead sends this young five-year-old over from Ireland and it’s noteworthy that Rachael Blackmore also travels to take the ride. Alice Avril is a very consistent sort and should enjoy this ground.

5.00 (Mares’ Open National Hunt Flat Race – Class 2) – I AM GONNA BE 

There are seventeen horses in the bumper, seven of which make their debuts while there are several others with just 1-3 races under their belt.

The most experience mare in the field is Mullenbeg for Milton Harris and we reckon she can make that count to a degree, though Alan King’s Nothingtochance also has a solid each-way chance.

The best of the bunch may just prove to be I Am Gonna Be and that’s our tentative selection.

Michael Scudamore’s runner was impressive at Newcastle last time on the track, she has had time to recover while staying race-fit after 37 days and had no trouble up the hill at Gosforth Park which leads to confidence for the final furlong or two here.

Tuesday 12 April 2022

April Meeting Day One: Wednesday 13th April 2022 - Stolen To Be Our Silver Lining

With the festival long gone and the flat season now fully underway, The April Meeting at Cheltenham provides jump racing fans with some good betting opportunities.

Seven races are planned in for Wednesday and Thursday, beginning with a competitive handicap hurdle.

1.30 (Handicap Hurdle – Class 2) – CAPTAIN MORGS 

Although the likely market leader, Evan Williams’ Bold Plan probably needs to go on again to figure in this company, though of course that remains possible.

Champagne Well would be a popular winner for Fergal O’Brien too, but the three to concentrate on may well be Whatsupwithyou, Mongol Emperor and Captain Morgs.

Ben Pauling’s Whatsupwithyou is well fancied this week, but he hasn’t won in eleven hurdle starts since his successful debut in December 2019 and you could argue he’s been regressing.

Mongol Emperor has a major shout for the Neil Mulholland yard and he’s most certainly going the other way. Two wins last March have been followed up this year by a fair fourth at Fontwell and a runner-up effort at Doncaster. He may be ready to win now.

Six-year-old Captain Morgs is in here for Nicky Henderson and Nico de Boinville however and he is the selection. His Ascot win and second at Newbury in November stand out for us and he has more to offer yet.

2.05 (Silver Trophy Handicap Chase – Grade 2) – STOLEN SILVER

The feature race of the day is this high-class two-and-a-half-mile handicap chase.

There are plenty in with chances on the book, good old stick Simply The Betts being a strong contender for title-chasing trainer Paul Nicholls and Manofthemoutain looking like one who may get back on track for Emma Levelle.

The one we liked best of all however was Stolen Silver, trained by up-and-coming handler Sam Thomas and ridden by Sam Twiston-Davies.

Stolen Silver has been highly tried this season and so his basic form figures don’t show the truth at a glance, which is that he has carried on improving during the whole term.

He was beaten 8¼ lengths around here at the Cheltenham Festival, but its likely the softer ground was against him that day. Go back to November when he raced on good ground here and you’ll find a much better performance.

Now that he has his ground, he can show truly how far he’s come this year and can get the job done.

2.40 (Novices’ Hurdle – Class 2) – CALL OF THE WILD

If we were to go on solid, proven form then we probably couldn’t look beyond Gary Moore’s Royaume Uni or Fergal O’Brien’s Pull Again Green.

They are rated 131 and 130 respectively, but Call Of The Wild has also got to the 130-mark effortlessly and looks sure to improve past his main rivals now.

He last ran 40 days ago and we can assume he’s a good bit better than when we last saw him winning at Doncaster. Call Of The Wild represents JP McManus, Alan King and Tom Cannon and is bound to be popular on track.

3.15 (Novices’ Limited Handicap Chase – Class 3) – MINT CONDITION 

Just the six novices line up for this race, but there is enough quality on show to make it very competitive.

Brother Pat travels down from Cheshire for the race and represents Donald McCain who has had an excellent season, while Big Nasty can go well for the Martin Keighley stable.

The one for money has been Olly Murphy’s Champagnesuperover. The seven-year-old is a last-time-out winner, though that was achieved against just one rival and he has already had five goes over fences.

The one with more scope, arguably at least, is Jennie Candlish’s Mint Condition and back on quicker ground he could be the one to concentrate on even at the top of the weights.

3.50 (Handicap Chase – Class 2) – MISTER MALARKY 

Despite the drying ground, the three miles and two furlongs of the New Course here will take some getting one would think, with experience counting for plenty.

Chambard is ten years old now and comes into this race on a four-timer, so is seemingly the ideal type for Venetia Williams, while he is being challenged for favouritism by the younger Undersupervision for Nigel and Sam Twiston-Davies.

Both have a chance, but we like Mister Malarky. A chase winner in the past at Ascot, Kempton and Newbury, the nine-year-old has everything in his locker needed to go well in this race and may win it for Richard Bandey and Harry Bannister.

4.25 (Handicap Hurdle – Class 2) – LAST ROYAL 

There are some really interesting types on show for this three-mile hurdle race.

Wbee hasn’t been seen since last August but has won four in a row, Haul Away has won three of his last 5 for Nicky Henderson and Jesuitique has a very similar record for Dr Richard Newland. Keiran Burke’s Last Royal though is on a good upward trajectory and can be chanced to win this contest.

His only failure, if we can even call it that, was when he was fifth at Taunton in December. Before that he was second and third on his first two hurdle starts before falling three out when pressing the leader on this third start.

After Taunton he was second at Exeter before romping home last time out at Wincanton as an odds-on favourite. He’s only gone up a few pounds in the handicap and looks well treated now.

5.00 (Handicap Hurdle – Class 2) – HERBIERS 

The finale is for conditional and amateur riders only but there are some good jockeys and horses on show for sure.

Lord Of Cheshire is on a hat-trick for Nigel Twiston-Davies, Valentino Dancer is in good form for the Fergal O’Brien yard, Rock Legend is clear favourite for Dan Skelton and Chris Gordon’s Pasvolsky is way overpriced.

Our choice is Herbiers, trained by Oliver Greenall and ridden by Toby Wynne.

Wynne claims 7lbs in this and assuming no mistakes, he should get a good ride round the two-mile, one-furlong trip on a five-year-old who wasn’t great last time at the festival, but who has previously shown plenty of form that would see him go close in a race of this nature.