Well I thoroughly enjoyed yesterdays racing but walked away a bit poorer.
Paddy Power refunded all my Arkle Chase bets so no loss there.
Of the others I had some good runs for my money but no profit other than my biggest bet on deservedly short priced Quevega.
Cheltenham Day Two
Today I will be backing Sizing Europe (3.20). The even money is gone now, but this horse is a class above the opposition here.
As yesterday we have been allowed to give you Mark Foley's assessment of the first race of the day.
1:30 – NATIONAL HUNT CHASE CHALLENGE CUP 4 MILES.
A typical winner of this race is a 7 or 8yo, who has had at least three races over fences and finished in the first 4 LTO. Last year’s winner was the first outright winning favourite of the race since 1992.
Since the race structure was altered five of the last 9 winners carried 11-6 or 11-7 and all but one of the last ten winners carried between 11-6 and 11-11.
The market also appears to have stabilised in recent years, with the biggest priced winner in the last 4 years being 14/1 shot Poker De Sivola. Being a race for amateur riders it’s important to have a decent jock on your side and the last 3 winning jocks have all been top class amateurs. (Derek O’Connor, Katie Walsh and Sam Waley Cohen.)
The younger runners get an age allowance, but generally it isn’t considered enough for them to win although Tricky Trickster did baulk the trend 3 years ago; the only 6 yo in the race is Four Commanders.
All four of the runners shortlisted are running off 11-6, but Teafrothree would be giving the other four shortlisted runners at least 8 lbs if this was a handicap and he also has the benefit of arguably the best rider in the race.
JT McNamara won this race on the Jonjo O’Neill trained Rith Dubh. His record at Cheltenham is a superb 12 wins from 49 races, although most of the wins have come on the Cross country course.
Teaforthree held an RSA entry and was keeping company with Grand Crus no less in a grade 1 chase over Christmas. The stable appear to have made a wise choice taking in this race rather than the RSA and if his rating of 146 is realistic, which it appears to be then TeaforThree looks to hold a good chance of taking this.
That rating was achieved at Chepstow in a Novice chase in November and the 2nd, 3rd and 4th home that day have all come out and franked the form since. He returned to Chepstow in February and won again, but races off the same mark again today.
He looks progressive and the form line with Join Together who is 3rd favourite for the RSA gives him a good chance in this lesser race.
Paul Nicholls has a poor record in this race – only 1 of the 14 runners he has previously entered in the race has even made the frame, but Harry the Viking is the early favourite for this race.
History tells us that winners of this race need a good deal of experience to deal with the hustle and bustle of a big field and it must be a concern that he has only had 5 career races and two over fences. He does look progressive and his form is impressive, but he has been put up 8lb for winning by a head LTO at Doncaster.
Lively baron was 8 lengths behind that day and a disappointing favourite but followed up with a 16 lengths win at Warwick last month. At the revised weights today Lively Baron shouldn’t be far behind Harry the Viking and the 33/1 looks too big, especially when you consider how well the McCain runners performed yesterday.
Irish based trainers have a poor record in the race, but Gordon Elliot broke the trend last year and Soll is very unexposed coming from point to points and has a decent jockey in Katie Walsh. He has never raced on ground this firm, but looked most impressive in winning LTO
Selection: Teaforthree 6/1 with Hills
EW Danger: Lively Baron
Today’s Selection Sponsored by Betting Insiders Club
Cotton Mill 2.05 Cheltenham 1pt WIN @ 10`1 general
Very good flat pedigree and looks a class act. By not being trained by one of the top stables he seems to have been overpriced by the bookies.