Cheltenham Festival Day Two Preview

Day Two of the Cheltenham Festival kicks off with the Neptune Investment Management Novices Hurdle. This looks like an intriguing contest with a number of closely matched horses lining up. Preference is for the Willie Mullins trained Nichols Canyon. He was impressive when winning at Leopardstown last time out (Windsor Park well beaten) and was useful on the flat. There looks to be plenty more to come from him and he should be able to overcome some closely matched rivals.

There is an absolutely top drawer RSA Chase in prospect this year with a number of entries promising to be in Gold Cup contention. The three I am concentrating on are Don Poli, Kings Palace and Southfield Theatre. Don Poli was impressive last time out but there has to be a concern that his best form has come with more give in the ground. Kings Palace has been hugely impressive since sent over the larger obstacles and has considerable experience around here and probably has slightly stronger form than Southfield Theatre. It is for that reason that David Pipes’s charge is a tentative selection in what is looking like one of the best races of the festival so far.

I don’t think there are many more open races than the Coral Cup so a tentative vote goes to the Irish raider Taglietelle. He has a very good strike rate over hurdles and we probably haven’t seen the best of him given his lack of runs over hurdles on his preferred good ground. Arriving fresh off the back of a break and with a nice weight he should run well at a rewarding price.

The Champion Chase at 3-20 looks one of the finest renewals in many years with Sprinter Sacre, Sire De Grugy and Dodging Bullets all staking a major claim as the best 2 mile chaser around. There is plenty of danger lurking beyond the big three with the likes of the rapidly improving Mr Mole and the inconsistent yet classy Champagne Fever providing solid opposition. Obvious doubts remain about Sprinter Sacre despite his promising comeback, although travelling well he found very little and yes that can be put down to an absence but it may take him some time to get back to his best. Dodging Bullets capitalised that day but may be flattered by the manner of his victory in beating a sub standard Sprinter Sacre. I’ve got a nagging feeling that soft ground suits him better as well and it is for that reason that Gary Moore’s defending champion Sire De Grugy is the selection. It was a fantastic story for the racing world when he was victorious 12 months ago and would have won on his reappearance for a blunder. That has been taken largely out of proportion and I think it is folly to dismiss him on the back of that. Yes this is a stronger renewal than last year but his jumping is normally electric and the way he travels suggests that stronger opposition may bring out the best in him. In what should prove to be a fascinating spectacle Sire De Grugy is a strong fancy to land the spoils.

Cheltenham Tips: Nichols Canyon 1-30, Kings Palace 2-05, Taglietelle 2-40, Sire De Grugy 3-20, Quantitativeeasing 4-00, Hostile Fire 4-40 and Theo’s Charm 5-15

Cheltenham Festival 2015 Day One Preview

Apologies for such a prolonged absence but I have rarely found the time to regularly contribute to the blog in recent times. However, I will be posting my selections for the upcoming Cheltenham Festival given it is the greatest four days of racing on the racing calendar.

As always the festival gets off to a roaring start with the ultra competitive Supreme Novices Hurdle. The two towards the top of the market, Douvan and L’Ami Serge, deserve maximum respect given form and connections however a chance is taken on 20/1 shot Seedling. He took a while to get his act together other hurdles having been a dual bumper winner but has rattled off three consecutive victories. His latest being victory in a novices hurdle here back in December. He beat subsequent Grade 2 hurdle winner Some Plan with a degree of comfort and Charlie Longsdon’s charge jumps, travels and quickens well. With his significant experience of the obstacles and course win to his name he is expected to go well at rewarding odds.

The Arkle is a fantastic spectacle featuring the leading two mile novice chasers and there is one horse in this line up that stands out more than any other. Un De Sceaux has been so impressive in all of his starts to date with the exception of his blunder on chase debut. With the form in the book and looking like he’s from the very top drawer he is not easily opposed. There is some good each way contenders on show though and I like the chances of Sail By The Sea and Three Kingdoms at 50/1 and 25/1, respectively. Three Kingdoms has shown a good attitude, jumps well and will appreciate the ground. Meanwhile, Sail By The Sea has had very few starts and seemingly boundless improvement to come.

Mendip Express can rattle home in the 2-40 Handicap Chase, he is relatively lightly raced for a 9 year old and has some fantastic big chase form to his name. Finishing runner up in the Becher and winning round this course back in January 2014. The ground will suit and he should be spot on after his spin over hurdles a month ago.

The feature on day one of the festival is the Champion Hurdle and a stellar field line up for this fast and furious contest. Faugheen looks out the top drawer but his lack of a recent run has to be a concern. Therefore, a chance is taken on Jezki to bounce back to form once again to regain his crown. The return to better ground will suit and he looks a good each way option at 6/1.

Neither the Mares Hurdle or National Hunt Chase appeal massively to me as a betting medium but I like the chances of Carole’s Spirit and Doing Fine in each.

The last race features the NAP of the day, Generous Ransom. He was a decisive winner of a Class 2 Handicap Chase on Festival Trials Day and would have won much more comfortably were it not for a last fence blunder. He is lightly raced over fences and the better ground will definitely suit. Daryl Jacob has struck up a great relationship with him and the way he travels through his races suggests this test will suit. He is likely to be waited with for a bit longer this time around so I envisage no problems with the hill and in fact on the better ground he should relish the stiff finish. Given the promise of much more to come he is a strong fancy to finish day one of the Cheltenham Festival off in style.

Cheltenham Tips: Seedling 1-30, Sail By The Sea & Three Kingdoms 2-05, Mendip Express 2-40, Jezki 3-20, Carole’s Spirit 4-00, Doing Fine 4-40 and Generous Ransom 5-15

Mammoth Scoop6 Up For Grabs – Saturday Tips

A top day of racing ahead with the Oaks and Derby Trials over at Lingfield, the Victoria Cup at Ascot and the Swinton Hurdle at Haydock. However, the main focus of the weekend is the mammoth Scoop6 pot and with such a big prize on offer it is well worth a go (or two)!

Ralph Beckett has a very good record in the Lingfield Oaks Trial in recent years and Jim Crowley’s choice could be very informative. Moonrise Landing was very impressive when making a winning debut and with the promise of even more to come she looks the one to side with in a fairly open renewal.

The 2-40 at Ascot looks a wide open race and it may be worth taking a chance on the improving 4 year old Elidor. He was a smooth winner of the King George V Stakes at the Royal Meeting last year and returned with a stylish win in a Thirsk handicap. With plenty of question marks about the leading fancies Mick Channon’s charge looks to hold outstanding claims.

The Victoria Cup is hardly the ideal race to end the Scoop6 with and it will be very nervous if anyone is still in with a shout by then. I fancy last year’s winner Excellent Guest to follow up with victory in the 2014 renewal. He clearly goes very well fresh and has dropped to a fair mark.

Ascot Tips: Glorious Protector 2-05, Elidor 2-40, Ribbons 3-15, Excellent Guest 3-50, Moonraker 4-25 and Lionheart 5-00

Haydock Tips: Big Easy 1-50, Active Spirit 2-25, Intibaah 3-00, Dubawi Island 3-30, Lockwood 4-05 and King Massini 4-40 and Prima Porta 5-15

Lingfield Tips: Town Crier 1-45, Moonrise Landing 2-20, Blue Hussar 2-55, Blue Surf 3-25, Winning Express 4-00, Whipper Snapper 4-35 and Annina 5-10

Exotic Guest 2-45 Nottingham

Gifford To Raid Haydock For Generous Reward – Saturday Tips

After a thoroughly enjoyable first ever day of racing on Good Friday attention now turns to the weekend action which sees some very good jumps and flat actions take place.

Bold Chief returned to action at Uttoxeter with a facile success and is taken to follow up in the 2-05 at Haydock. Harry Fry’s charge is lightly raced for age and with plenty left in the locker he is fancied to improve his already impressive strike rate.

A really exciting young horse is in action in the Jockey Club Grassroots Hurdle Series Final at 2-40. Nick Gifford’s Generous Ransom has been somewhat a revelation since stepped up in trip and handicapping. He followed up his impressive Exeter win with an even more impressive display at Wincanton. With the trainer stating that he’s still getting the hang of things he certainly looks the one to side with here. It will be fascinating to see how he gets on once tackling a fence!

Bath Tips: Noble Protector 4-55, Dinneratmidnight 5-25, Fear Or Favour 6-00, Stinky Socks 6-30, Excel’s Beauty 7-00, Encapsulated 7-30 and On Stage 8-00

Carlisle Tips: Snowed In 1-20, Clondaw Hero 1-55, Vinstar 2-30, Carlito Brigante 3-05, Devotion To Duty 3-40, Baileys Concerto 4-15 and Little Posh 4-50

Haydock Tips: Val D’Arc 1-30, Bold Chief 2-05, Generous Ransom 2-40, King Massini 3-15, Woodford County 3-50, Horatio Hornblower 4-20 and Blaklion 4-50

Kempton Tips: Designate 1-45, Piscean 2-20, Ribbons 2-55, Loving Spirit 3-30, Queen Of Ice 4-00, Championship 4-35 and Sir Graham Wade 5-05

Newton Abbott Tips: Rody 2-10, Health Is Wealth 2-45, Lumpys Gold 3-20, Oiseau De Nuit 3-55, According To Sarah 4-25, Uncle Pettit 5-00 and Area Access 5-35

Nottingham Tips: Mantonize 4-45, Dr No 5-15, Fratellino 5-45, Bonjour Steve 6-15, Secret Archive 6-45, Zaeemah 7-15 and Winter Spice 7-45

Best of luck to everyone getting involved and I welcome your thoughts and encourage you to share your tips.

Roalco To Land National Spoils In Blaze Of Thunder – Saturday Tips

After a terrific Grand National last week we are yet again treated to some top class action on a Saturday with some tremendous flat and jumps action to get stuck into. Our tip for the National, Balthazar King, ran a stormer to finish second and I’m most certainly delighted with the return. It was great to see local lad Leighton Aspell win such a big prize and the manner of Pineau De Re’s victory means he could be well worth siding with in next year’s renewal.

My Tent Or Yours is an intriguing runner in the Scottish Champion Hurdle and is certainly the best horse in the race by a long way. However, conceding so much weight to some decent rivals may prove too stern a challenge. Last week I tipped Court Minstrel to win at 16/1 at Aintree and he’s fancied to go in again and defend his crown.

In the Scottish National, Roalco De Farges is fancied to follow up his impressive victory at Newbury with success over this longer trip. He stormed clear that day and clearly relishes a stamina test. He arrives here fresher than most and with plenty of scope for improvement looks a very solid proposition in an open looking race.

There is some tremendous flat action at Newbury and the pick of the races looks to be the Greenham at 2-55. Some big reputations are put on the line and the two main protagonists appear to be Kingman and Night of Thunder. Richard Hannon has an excellent record in this race and appears to be destined for the top level.

Ayr Tips: Aalim 1-30, Eduard 2-05, Court Minstrel 2-40, Manyriverstocross 3-15, Roalco De Farges 3-50, Vendor 4-25, Kentford Legend 5-00 and Saint Charles 5-35

Bangor Tips: Sausalito Sunrise 1-55, The Bear Trap 2-30, Ruby Valentine 3-05, Rocky Stone 3-40, Young Hurricane 4-15, Shalone 4-50, Bells ‘n’ Banjos 5-25 and Ski Sunday 5-55

Newbury Tips: Sleeper 1-20, Astonishing 1-50, Dutch Courage 2-20, Night Of Thunder 2-55, Jacob Cats 3-30, Eagle Top 4-05 and Top Diktat 4-40

Thirsk Tips: Teetotal 2-15, White Rose Runner 2-50, Chilworth Icon 3-25, Captain Ramius 4-00, Retirement Plan 4-35, Distant Past 5-10, Meandmyshadow 5-45 and Adam’s Ale 6-15

 

King Of The National – Saturday Tips

The race that captures the hearts of the nation is finally upon us and this year’s renewal sees a very talented field assemble for the assault on Aintree’s Grand National course. Most of all lets hope that all 40 horses and jockeys make it back safely this year!

The opening race of the Grand National card is the Mersey Novices Hurdle and a chance is taken on Sea Lord to bounce back to form. He was well and truly put in his place by The Liquidator but it was a bit of a muddling race and the return to a larger field coupled with a flatter track should see him go close.

I have always been a huge fan of Balder Success having seen him win on his British debut at Plumpton back in 2012 and he can take the Grade One Magull Novices Chase in style today. He is a fantastic jumper of a fence and has the requisite speed and class to land this valuable contest.

A good field assemble for the Stayers Hurdle at 2-50 and despite the lack of World Hurdle winner More Of That there is some class acts in the line up. At Fishers Cross was third in that Cheltenham contest but a chance is taken on Zarkandar who will appreciate this quicker track and was only a couple of lengths behind the favourite at Cheltenham.

Onto the big one! There is plenty of quality in this year’s line up with Tidal Bay and Long Run boasting some imperious form. However, with great class comes great weight so a chance is taken on the Cheltenham Festival cross country winner. Balthazar King is a real determined stayer who loves good ground and is a terrific jumper of a fence. He went off too hard in last year’s contest but judged on his cross country exploits he has an outstanding chance in this contest.

Aintree Tips: Sea Lord 1-30, Balder Success 2-05, Zarkandar 2-50, Vino Griego 3-25, Balthazar King 4-15, Court Minstrel 5-10 and Puisque Tu Pars 5-45

Chepstow Tips: Dubawi Island 1-20, Bawden Rocks 1-55, O’Callaghan Strand 2-30, On The Record 3-05, Destroyer Deployed 3-45, Orabora 4-50, Be Definite 5-25 and Simon Squirrel 5-55

Lingfield Tips: Intermedium 1-15, Eager To Bow 1-50, Dark Leopard 2-25, Brass Ring 3-00, Sloane Avenue 3-40, Nassau Storm 4-45 and Buster Brown 5-20

Newcastle Tips: Conveyor Belt 1-40, Soul Brother 2-15, Jamaican Bolt 2-45, Esteaming 3-15, El Massivo 3-55, Mariners Moon 5-00, Hayek 5-35 and Echo Of Lightning 6-05

Kick Off The Flat Season In Style – Saturday Tips

It is great to see the flat turf season return at Doncaster on Saturday afternoon with the Lincoln taking centre stage. There are numerous horses in with a great chance including Tullius, Gabrial’s Kaka and last year’s winner Levitate. However, preference is for the bottom horse Off Art. Tim Easterby’s colt is seeking a four timer and appears as though a strongly run race where he can track the leaders will prove ideal. The softer going is a slight concern but he did win well on good-soft here two starts ago. With plenty of improvement to come and a fairly lenient mark he could be primed to strike.

Doncaster Tips: Paddy Again 1-30, Guest Of Honour 2-05, Captain Ramius 2-40, Dance And Dance 3-15, Off Art 3-50, Cape Caster 4-25, Hector’s Chance 5-00 and He’s No Angel 5-35

Kempton Tips: Powerfulstorm 1-50, Trumpet Major 2-20, Rebellious Guest 2-55, Lancelot Du Lac 3-30, Crystal Lake 4-05, Set The Trend 4-40 and Noble Protector 5-15

Stratford Tips: Prouts Pub 1-55, Little Jimmy 2-30, Alsadaa 3-05, Vulcanite 3-40, Fruity O’Rooney 4-15, Clues And Arrows 4-50 and Grand Introduction 5-25

Uttoxeter Tips: Golden Milan 1-40, Stevie Thunder 2-10, Ohio Gold 2-45, Solstice Son 3-20, Six One Away 3-55, Havinggotascoobydo 4-30 and Molo 5-05