Cheltenham 2019: aracingfirst tips….
Four Days of the most competitive, compelling racing of an entire year and where the general punters bets might just increase a little even when you’ve 28 races ahead of you.
Well Tuesday was without doubt a day for the bookies.
We were no different, having a pretty horrid start to the Festival.
One of our main hopes and biggest bets was in the very first race; Fakir D’Oudaries, a 4yo taking on his elders in the Supreme Novices Hurdle. Heavily backed at the off and with the JP McManus factor big things were clearly expected. He actually ran a pretty good race; up with the pace for the main, he was just outpaced as they turned for home and staying on strongly into a 4th place finish. Albeit a fair way behind the impressive winner.
The Arkle saw no better with Paloma Blue our Ante Post Advice at 25/1 never really getting close enough to land a blow and Glen Forsa our strong fancy on the day unseating his rider early on… Day Two had not started well!
The Ultima Handicap didn’t improve things either with Give Me A Copper who at least travelled well for a long way faded and took a tired fall at the last, whilst last years winner Coo Star Sivola ran a stinker. When working through these big handicaps we tend to whittle down a race like this to 5 or 6 and then re-watch video form, check the weather forecast and ground conditions, trainer form, suitability of a big field, strong pace, Cheltenham form, you name it; re-watch video form again before deciding who we feel is the most likely winner. The winner, 2nd and 3rd were ALL in our original shortlist, we made a few wrong choices.. Half way through day one and we were hurting…
No bet advised in the Champion Hurdle and whilst we felt Apple’s Jade might just be the one, she clearly wasn’t herself on the day and the Mullins “Melon” tactics would have very much hindered her race. We gave the Mares race a pass as well, with Benie De Dieux looking the most likely winner, but at no real value..
Favourite backers always beware….. Value is a much more profitable way of betting.
In the Novice Handicap Good Man Pat travelled nicely for much of the way round, but when things got serious his jumping let him down. Although he could have jumped as well as Ed Moses and he wouldn’t have seen which way A Plus Tard had gone!
OK Corral looked the class act on the NH Chase, but with the rain and what were gruelling conditions he didn’t stay.
Day One and having backed 7 horses we had nothing to show for our efforts…
It’s a new day with new hope, Day 2..
We were full of confidence going into the Ballymore having advised Battleoverdoyen at 16/1 prior to him winning a Grade 1 event on his last start. BUT pretty much from the get go, he seemed like a lost inexperienced horse against far more streetwise animals. He was struggling from a long way out.
The RSA Chase looked like a 3 horse race and that’s what it turned out to be. Having been with Santini from the start of the season we were again in a nice position with 7/1 about a 3/1 chance, but as per our Festival so far our luck was out with Topofthegame getting the better of him on the run to the line.
A change of luck in a 25 runner handicap maybe.
In such a competitive race we gave ourselves 2 chances.
Bleu Berry who’d won the race the year before travelled really well having been held up and came with a promising run just getting pipped for 7th place and with bookmakers paying top 7 places, we miss out again. That was perhaps not as painful as out other bet; Wicklow Brave, topweight and a 28/1 shot he sat out the back early on, steadily made progress through the field and came round the bend absolutely tanking along. Hitting the front over the last he looked to have the race in the bag until the final strides when William Henry literally caught him on the line. Having re-watched the race several times, I still can’t quite believe he didn’t hold on!! #Gutted. But at least we have a few each way pennies back.
The Queen Mother Chase was a sit back and watch Altior; Odds On backers must have been rather worried as they jumped the last, but what a Champion his is…
The Cross Country race was another sit back, watch and enjoy Tiger Roll.
Back on the punting front, by no luck with Fine Brunello and Drogon both running below expectations; and with no bet in the last day 2 ended with some money back for Wicklow Brave but further losses on the meeting.. Oh Wicklow why couldn’t you just hang on
This game is all about maintaining a positive attitude even when advising and backing a few losers….
That mentality is always helped if you’re on the winner of the first race, so watch Defi Du Seuil quicken after the last in the JLT to scoot away from his old rival Lostintranslation was a pleasing start to the Thursday.
Second up one of those almost impossible handicaps and almost a repeat of Wicklow Brave as it felt like victory was snatched from our hands again, except this time not just once but twice.
Firstly Not Many Left travelled like a dream through the race, popping over the hurdles with ease and coming round the bend travelling better than anything. Asked to go and win the race he jumped the last in front and looked to have it in the bag, just to be caught on the race to the line… Not a millisecond had passed that we realised our other bet Tobefair was flying home on the far side; get in 16/1 bet might not win, but our 40/1 shot is… Noooooo the fav Sire Du Berlais finds a bit more having been headed and does us by a neck…
What a race; Tobefair advised at 66/1 gets pipped on the line at 40/1 and Not Many Left just a length back in 3rd at 16/1.
The Ryanair saw our bet Road To Respect run a cracker, he went through the race strongly, but clattered through the fence and just could reel in the 1st and 2nd. A gallant 3rd place, if only he jumped as well as the front two.
The Stayers Hurdle was a watching race for us, and what an enjoyable race. To see Faugheen run such a good race, Sam Spinner returning to form and a superb winner on Paisley Park.
The 22 runner handicap chase over 2 ½ miles, we took 2 against the field and Azzerti ran a fine race in 7th a bit behind Eamon an Cnoic who was going as well as anything turning for home and got us excited, but he couldn’t quite match the front 3 in the race for home finishing an excellent 4th at 10/1.
A schoolboy error in the Mares Novice Hurdle, getting caught up in the Epatante hype and feeling the bite of that misjudgement.
The day however finished well, a 23 runner handicap now problem and Any Second Now travelled well, jumped well and really quickened from the last to land some nice bets into 6/1 form the 9/1 when advised.
A pretty decent day 3 with two winners in Defi Du Seuil at 3/1 and Any Second Now at 6/1 from 9/1. Plus some decent placed prices in Not Many Left at 16/1 and Tobefair at 40/1 from 66/1.
Gold Cup Day and we didn’t play in the Triumph Hurdle so our first bet was in the County Hurdle, another of those ultra-competitive handicaps with just the 24 runners.
I guess from our final summary of the race being “Ch’tibello who is a very confident bet, if you’re allowed to be so bullish in a 26 runner Cheltenham handicap.” Suggesting we strongly fancied him and that confidence was justified with an impressive win.
A great start to the day with a 12/1 winner.
We took 2 against the field in the Albert Bartlett with both Lisnagar Oscar 5th and Dickie Diver 4th both giving us a goof run for our money.
Next up was the Big One and with 50/1 vouchers about Clan Des Obeaux for the Gold Cup we were really hopeful. Clan travelled really nicely and looked to hold every chance turning for home, looking sure to place at worst. Still right there as they jumped 2 out he just didn’t quite get home up the stiff Cheltenham hill and faded into 5th place.
Roll on another tough handicap, albeit just the 19 runners this time.
We were on Bun Doran at 25/1 and really fancied his chances with conditions to suit. He ran a blinder, jumped for fun and when putting in a mighty leap at the last looked liked he’d get past the front runner, but to that one’s credit Croco Bay found more to hold us at bay. Magic Saint our other play in the race travelled really well, but faded in the home straight.
Cheltenham is almost over, just one race to go and 23 runners to beat if we’re to finish off on a high. Again in these handicaps we give ourselves a chance with 2 bets.
Style De Garde went through the race really well and turned for home in front, but he didn’t get home over the trip and faded into 10th place. Whilst he was fading, our other bet Early Doors was making eye-catching headway and came to make his challenge at the final flight, quickening is really nice style to land the lucky last at 5/1.
Two winners on the final day with Ch’tibello at 12/1 and Early Doors at 5/1 along with place bets on Bun Doran at 12/1 (Adv 25/1) and good run for our money with every runner..
Emotionally exhausting from a personal punting point of view as well as a tipping one.
We live and breathe every horse we advise you guys to back, so losers hurt like hell, but the winners, well they’re just fantastic….
All in All and based on 5th the odds a place we calculate a profit of 8.8 Points over the 4 days… We’ll take that with the continual thoughts of what if Wicklow Brave, what if Tobefair…
Hey That’s racing, That’s Cheltenham!!!!