How was it for you? There were winners and losers at this year’s Cheltenham Festival. Some punters won, others lost. The most notable winners were the Doncaster woman who placed a £3 straight line and took home £96,266.10 from Friday’s placepot and also the five-strong syndicate from Sutton Coldfield which also celebrated a £64,177.40 windfall. Stuff of dreams, no doubt, and shows how good a fun bet the Placepot can be.
As for myself it was poor festival punting wise I am not hiding away from it, but that’s horse race betting for you. In fact, if it wasn’t for Coo Star Sivola or my ante post bet on Mister Whitaker in the Close Brother Handicap Chase on Day 1, it would have been significantly worse for my betting bank.
Most of my ante-post vouchers were based on there being a good ground festival and of course it was heavy going for most of the four days. Still there are plenty more spring festivals to come including Aintree and Punchestown to get those Cheltenham losses back.
Well the flat turf season starts on Saturday at Doncaster with the two-day Lincoln meeting and if the track is anything is like my garden it will be covered in plenty of snow. At least the “Mini Beast from the East” won’t be around for long. With temperatures set to rise from Tuesday to reach the balmy highs of 10c by the end of the week.
If your planning to go in heavy betting wise at Doncaster I would advise a certain amount of caution as there will be plenty of yards who will have been held up by the recent spells of freezing weather. April can be a tough month for punters and until we get some spring like weather I suspect it’s going to be even harder this year.
Some Cheltenham Musings and One for the Tracker
It would take too long to document all the highlights from last week’s festival but the two-riding performances of the week for me came from Harriet Tucker defying a dislocated shoulder to win the Foxhunters Chase on Pacha Du Polder and Richard Johnson’s almost perfect front running ride to win the Gold Cup on Native River.
The Foxhunters win by Harriet Tucker was one of four races one by a woman jockey at the meeting and showed once again that when they get the ammunition they're as good as the men. Meanwhile the Richard Johnson ride was one of the Champion Jockey's best rides. He got the fractions perfectly right and left just enough for Native River to hold off the looming presence of Might Bite on the run in. It was a tough Festival for Johnson who didn’t get many chances to excel. As he showed on Native River there is still no better jockey than he when it comes to giving a chaser a strong forceful ride from the front.
Given the going was hardly spring like there were plenty of horses that can be added to your trackers as they would have preferred a sounder surface but the stand out for me was Chesterfield.
The Seamus Mullins trained 8-year-old had won a ‘jumpers bumper’ at Kempton on his prep for the Festival. Despite the soft ground he ran a fine race when finishing a five length 4th in the County Hurdle. His best runs on RPR’s came on good and good to soft ground last April at Aintree and Ayr. The last of those wins came in the Scottish Champion Hurdle off a 3lb higher mark than he races off at present. I am sure both races will be on his agenda again and he will be racing off a very winnable mark if he gets a sounder surface than he faced here.
Monday Racing and Selection
A snow-covered Limerick which couldn’t race on Sunday faces a morning inspection. Which leaves only Down Royal’s rescheduled Saturday card and Lingfield’s all-weather card for punters to get stuck into.
3:25 – Ardamir looked a future winner when staying on into 5th in a 1m 4f handicap here back in December. The 6-year-old has finished 3rd on his last three starts, including over C&D, and although he’s not the easiest to win with he’s on a competitive looking mark if all the cards fall right. Looks like he needs a good pace to chase and probably has to be produced on the line to win. Looks worthy of some each-way support today.
All that’s left now is to wish you a profitable weeks punting.
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