March 13, 2018 at 23:39 #1346333
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Round one goes to the punters. That’s certainly the case for me with a 20/1 placer, a 16/1 placer and Benie Des Dieux romping home. Go on the 14/1 from October. Beautiful! Buveur D’Air won the Champion Hurdle as expected. Though he was made to work for it harder than most would’ve expected. Faugheen found nothing when asked and I would be surprised if he ever returns to the home of his greatest victory. Summerhill Boy dived late to win the Supreme after Getabird blew out. On to day 2.
1:30 – Ballymore Novices Hurdle
It’s SAMCRO (8/11) time! He just wins. Doesn’t he? At the time of writing (6:22pm on Tuesday), he’s drifted to a surprisingly big 8/11. Michael O’Leary has doubted whether his horse really is the second coming of Jesus Christ. He’s wrong. Samcro is the real deal. Next Destination has beat Cracking Smart twice this season but over the wrong trip for the latter whilst Black Op made a bad error in his trial for this at the last hurdle. Duc Des Genievres was the eyecatcher over 2m behind Samcro in the Deloitte last time and could be the one for the forecast. He has finished behind Next Destination previously over 2m 4f though but I think he’s improving with every run. Whatever happens, the jolly will step up on the biggest stage of them all and show that he is the most exciting young horse in training.
2:10 – RSA Chase
Presenting Percy comes into this as a horse spoken about as the 2019 Gold Cup winner. I could end up eating my words but, to me, that’s absolute madness. The Pertempts winner of last year comes into this on the back of a bizarre prep this season and will surely need to step up to beat MONALEE (7/2). The latter won a vintage renewal of the Flogas last time showing a willing attitude after setting a relentless gallop. He found plenty when pressured and that should stand him in good stead for a race of this nature. Black Corton has been one of the stories of the season after starting his season back in June as a summer jumper. For him to even be running in this is somewhat remarkable, let alone as a fancied runner. I have a small each way voucher on him antepost at 20s and he should be respected at this level. He’s a grade one winner after all. I think he will ru his usual solid race and place as he almost always does.
2:50 – Coral Cup
This is probably the toughest betting heat of the week. William Henry has looked better over hurdles but hung awkwardly at Cheltenham in November on his only Chase attempt. I worry that the course had as much to do with that as the fences as he looked to hate the left handed course. That may have been a one off based on his other runs at the track but it still seems noteworthy. Max Dynamite runs here and is handicapped superbly based on his flat form including a close third in ‘the race that stops a nation’ – the Melbourne Cup. LE BREUILL 14/1 (e/w) is very highly thought of by Ben Pauling even as a top class graded horse and could be chucked in if fulfilling his potential. Stowaway Magic was given by Nicky Henderson last week as his best handicapped horse which must be noted. Topofthegame loves these big field handicaps and surely goes well. The big field, strong pace angle has not yet been tried with Mount Mews but it is expected to be right up his street. Diamond King won this two years ago and went off a relatively short favourite in the Brown Plate at last year’s festival when nothing went right for him. He has the daunting challenge of carrying top weight here which will surely be too big an ask. THE ORGANIST (22/1 e/w) goes here rather than in the Pertempts and has a touch of class. She gets in off 10st 12lb which looks a workable mark. At 22/1 each way for 7 places, she looks a nice each way bet.
3:30 – Champion Chase
Is this the best race since the Kauto Star and Denman days? The mighty Douvan for Willie Mullins takes on his stablemate Min and the two time festival winner ALTIOR (11/10). Douvan hasn’t run since injuring his pelvis in last year race when 2/9 favourite but is expected to be back to a high class standard. Min has finished first past the post over fences on all three starts this year but was thrown out in one of those for interference. He looked sluggish that day and showed his class next time when destroying a decent field easily including Special Tiara who won this last year. Altior is still unbeaten throughout his young career but looks a naturally brilliant racehorse in the mould of the great Sprinter Sacre. He needs to win this in order to be spoken about in that regard but he’s gradually getting there. Win or lose, it is undoubtedly a race to savour. Politologue was outclassed by Altior last time and would need the Henderson horse to underperform in order to reverse the form.
4:10 – Cross Country Chase
CAUSE OF CAUSES (3/1) has won at the festival for the last three years and goes for a repeat of last year’s dominant cross country win. He won that day by 9 lengths and allowed his superior stamina to shine through up the run in which will surely be the game plan again. Tiger Roll was given a sighter this year in the way that Cause Of Causes did before winning but the ground has gone against him. Josies Orders is a decent yardstick over this course and distance and Auvergnat boasts similar form. Both have a fair chance but it would be a surprise if they were to beat the favourite here. Urgent De Gregaine leads the French contingent and has a chance based on his first run at the track in January 2017 when springing a huge shock at 33/1. Cantlow doesn’t look good enough and is relatively exposed round here whilst Saint Are’s best years are behind him. Beeves is an unknown quantity for the race but has lots of potential at an enormous price.
4:50 – Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle
Act of Valour has been talked about for this race for a long time after mostly running on the flat. He’s been in and out of form throughout his short career but would go very close on a going day. Lisp has looked in desperate need of cover in his races to stop him being so keen which he should surely get in this field of 22. Mitchouka carries top weight but one which is fair but surely has more to come. He cruised to a win at 4/9 last time in a grade 3 at Fairyhouse and can give Cheltenham handicap specialist a nice spin here. NUBE NEGRA (8/1) is a horse I have really taken to recently when studying the handicap form and is completely unexposed. He has only been beaten once on his three starts in Britain and that was when running Triumph favourite Apple’s Shakira a fright over course and distance – albeit on the new course. On that running, he must be in with a huge chance and will probably shorten before the off. I am a big fan of his and expect him to win this before going on to bigger and better things. LOOK MY WAY (12/1) is the biggest danger in my opinion after handling (and relishing) the ground he will encounter today when worrying Apples Shakira. For very similar reasons to Nube Negra, I think he’s got a huge chance.
5:30 – Champion Bumper
I was on Hollowgraphic for this at nice prices but he has unfortunately suffered a setback and will miss the race. Typical. Blackbow won the top Irish bumper this season in good fashion when getting first run on Rhinestone. I expect the stiff finish will suit the latter better of that pair. Crocks Peak is a course and distance winner which is a massive plus for these inexperienced horses. Felix Desjy is a rare Gigginstown runner in this race which is ominous and the money for him could make him a very obvious winner after the race in hindsight. Acey Milan has looked smart in his four runs this season whilst Didtheyleaveuoutto looked a top class horse in the making when winning the best English bumper so far. Like with Thebannerkingrebel, he has won with so much in hand that it’s not easy to access the form. The former’s trainer has clearly stated that the heavy ground will be an issue for his horse though which is a big worry. The latter was a cheap buy and is suprising connections as much as everyone else. Seddon, Relegate, The Big Bite and Know The Score have all won their races but would need to step up again. The selection instead is for MERCY MERCY ME (22/1) who looked like a stayer in the making when winning his sole start at Sandown. Like that day, it’s possible he will be outpaced when the taps turn on down the hill but will eventually wear them down and show his best running at the end of the race. I think the stiff hill and fast gallop from the off will suit him and make him a nice each way bet at 22/1 for 5 places.
1:30 – SAMCRO (NAP) @ 8/11
2:10 – MONALEE @ 7/2
2:50 – LE BREUILL @ 14/1 e/w & THE ORGANIST @ 22/1 e/w
3:30 – ALTIOR @ 11/10
4:10 – CAUSE OF CAUSES @ 3/1
4:50 – NUBE NEGRA @ 8/1 & LOOK MY WAY @ 12/1
5:30 – MERCY MERCY ME @ 22/1 e/w
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