Good morning all,
Cheltenham is done and dusted for another year. I was wrong when I said this year’s Cheltenham promised to be one of the most depressing in years. It all turned out fine on the track with plenty of feel-good stories for the sport and many high-class performances.
Despite all the good races and top-class horses in action. It missed just one vital ingredient, a lack of a crowd. Spectators make the sport and Cheltenham clearly missed the atmosphere they bring.
There were so many good takeaways from the four days:
The emergence of Rachel Blackmore. Not only top jockey at this year’s festival but the best jumps jockey riding in Britain & Ireland at present.
There’s was the return of the old Tiger Roll when galloping away from his rivals in the Cross-Country race.
There was Allaho’s demolition of a high-class Ryanair field. For me, the equine performance of the four days.
Put The Kettle On battling on to beat Nube Negra and Chacun Pour Soi in the Champion Chase.
Henry De Bromhead becoming the first trainer to win the Champion Hurdle, Champion Chase and the Gold Cup in the same season.
And finally, the Irish domination of the meeting. Irish trained runners won 23 of the 28 races. British trained runners failed to win any of the hurdle races. Take away Shishkin and possibly Chantry House and the home team don’t have much to look forward to next season.
It’s just a shame that Rachel Blackmore and the likes of Tiger Roll didn’t get the adulation their efforts deserved from a huge Cheltenham Festival crowd.
Inside today’s main piece and over the next few days. I am going to look back over my highlights from Cheltenham 2021. Plus, I have a selection from Kelso.
Cheltenham Festival – Day 1
I hope Cheltenham was good to you. From a punting perspective mine was unmitigated disaster. Roll on Aintree and the start of the flat.
The one bright spot was the 3 winners from 6 selections that I gave Consistent Profits subscribers.
Courtesy of Galvin, Bob Olinger & Telmesomethinggirl who gave CP subscribers a healthy 10pts profits at the Festival.
I had a feeling it wasn’t going to be my week when Vintage Clouds, who I had tipped up on his last two starts won the Ultima Handicap Chase.
Let’s Appreciate It
It was a case of Appreciate It first, the rest nowhere in the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. Jumping well and travelling powerfully. The Willie Mullins trained 7-year-old only had to be shaken up before the last to go clear of his rivals. Stablemate Blue Lord was in pursuit when falling at the last but even if he stood up, he would only have finished an honourable second.
Betfair Hurdle winner Soaring Glory wouldn’t have been suited by the rain that fell on Sunday night but wasn’t good enough.
Leading British hope Metier was beaten two from home and probably needs deeper ground than he got on Tuesday.
It wasn’t the strongest renewal of the Supreme but the winner is a high-class horse who will take some beating, if as expected he goes novice chasing next season, in the Arkle Novices’ Chase.
Shishkin slams Arkle rivals
Allmankind and Captain Guinness duelled for the early lead in the Arkle. The fast pace, set the race up perfectly for Shishkin. He jumped into the lead three out and soon went clear of the field, sauntering home to an impressive 12 length success from Eldorado Allen who was ridden to pick up the pieces and grab second from the tiring Captain Guinness and Allmankind.
Shiskin put in an excellent round of jumping and made it look easy. He’s now a short-price favourite for next season's Champion Chase.
Sweet as Honey
Honeysuckle climbed to the top of the of the hurdle tree with an emphatic win in the Champion Hurdle.
The mare is a much more accomplished jumper of a hurdle than last season and despite the drying ground she also had too much pace for her ten rivals. Already clear by the last she galloped clear of her rivals for an impressive success.
Sharjah went in vain pursuit after the last and ran as well as ever, to finish runner-up for the second successive year.
Last year’s winner Epatante never really looked like she would retain her crown and finished third. Even if she had put in last year’s performance, she would only have finished runner-up.
Fourth home Aspire Tower would have preferred softer ground and looks in need of step up to 2m 4f.
Goshen proved unsteerable, hanging badly to his right for most of the race. He won’t be racing left-handed again after this.
Honeysuckle’s win was a huge moment for National Hunt racing with Rachel Blackmore becoming the first woman jockey to win one of the sports “Crown Jewel” races. Apart from the Gold Cup and the Grand National there’s no bigger race than the Champion Hurdle.
Jack gives Galvin a peach of ride
Galvin had been targeted at the National Hunt Chase since his win at the track back in the autumn. It wasn’t really the stamina test you would normally expect, as they crawled for much of the race and only got racing coming to the second last.
Jack Kennedy got Galvin nicely settled on the inside, perfectly positioned to strike just behind the leaders. Galvin had too much pace after the last for runner-up Next Destination with Escaria Ten boxing on for third.
The runner-up would have preferred more of a test of stamina and the drying ground, which suited the winner, probably didn’t help the third or long-time leader Remastered whose best form had come on more testing ground.
Jack Kennedy gave the winner a peach of a ride to scoot up the inside of Next Destination coming to two out. It was to be the first of three exceptionally good rides from the young Irish jockey.
Coltor, trained by Dermot Weld, seemed to get a bit outpaced on the turn for home but ran on well on the run in to grab fifth in the Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle, shaping like he will appreciate a step up in distance.
Mark Walsh could be the jockey to follow at Navan this afternoon. No jockey is riding the track better this season than Walsh – 10 winners from 29 rides 34% +18.04 19 placed 65%.
He has just two rides there this afternoon:
3:25 – Newtown Pery.
4:30 – Golf Marin.
3:33 – Just A Deal looked to have improved for the step up to 3m 1f at Huntingdon 15-days ago. Just the two starts in handicap company for the top-weight and he shouldn’t far away with Harry Skelton in the saddle today.
4:10 – Court Master is back from a 114-day break here and looks to have a good chance to make it a winning return. The 8-year-old made all to win on his seasonal return at Warwick (good) in October. He ran just as well when runner-up at Market Rasen and also when finishing 4th of 11 at Newbury. Drying ground very much in his favour and he remains handicapped to win again this spring.
4:10 – Court Master – 9/2 @ Bet365.
Good luck with your Monday bets.
John Burke is the tipster behind the long standing Victor Value service you can join him here – https://victorvalue.uk