Cheltenham Festival Day 3

Well this week really isn’t going to plan. It was nice to get some place money on Southfield Theatre yesterday, but I really needed a winner. Every year I have about four horses, who I know will make my festival. If three of them win I’ll have a good week as it means I’ll ‘only’ need to find another couple of winners. My big hopes this year are/were Faugheen, Annie Power, Vautour and Don Cossack. So Thursday is a massive day for me, I need Vautour and Don Cossack to fire, otherwise I feel this will be my first ever losing festival.

One thing that I am a massive believer in is beating the starting price. If you manage to do that long term, then you should make a profit. I’ve managed to beat SP on six of the eight races I’ve played so far, but admittedly the results haven’t followed.

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VAUTOUR was a big winner for me when he landed the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle last year, he would also have been a potentially big winner if he’d ran in The Arkle on Tuesday. He wasn’t allowed to run in that and has instead been upped in trip to contest this. The additional four-furlongs should be no issue, as he was bought to win a Gold Cup and is out of Robin Des Champs.

He’s already won over this trip on his final hurdling start, in which he had Apache Stronghold, three and a half lengths behind. I expect him to maintain that form-line over fences. Valseur Lido was narrowly beaten by Apache Stronhold last time out, which was a reversal from their meeting in November. I can see the Gigginstown runner reversing that for again here, but in truth I don’t see much between the two horses. On hurdles form Vautour is still a long way clear of Valeur Lido, as his eleven and a half length defeat in last years Supreme shows.

The home challengers come in the shape of Irish Saint and Ptit Zig. Irish Saint has some decent form in the book and at the prices he is the one I prefer of the Nicholls pair. Ptit Zig’s fall last time out is a worry for me, it was a very ‘novicey’ mistake and on his fifth start over fences, in his first Grade One it’s not something I like to see.

Vautour made a huge mistake on his second chase start over Christmas on awful ground, that sort of mistake early in a career is one that I can forgive more. Unlike Ptit Zig we have been able to see him come out since that blunder and put in a better round of jumping.

The stable think very highly of this horse and he’s one that I can see being backed tomorrow and expect him to go off near the 2.5x (6/4) mark than the current 3.00 (2/1) on offer. On quicker ground and being allowed to dictate the pace I can see him being very hard to beat.

Vau

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Back Vautour at 3.00 – General[/symple_box]

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When asked what my best bet of the week was, I’ve replied DON COSSACK. When Nicky Henderson was asked what his best bet of the week was, he replied Ma Filleule. That’s understandable as she receives weight and is expected to turn the table of her last race, by finishing ahead of Balder Sucess. My issue with her however is that I don’t think she has the pace to win this race, she looks to be a proper stayer and would be better suited by a Gold Cup in my opinion. She was second in a three mile handicap, too Holywell, at last years festival and he’s going to the Gold Cup.

Don Cossack just looks to be a high class two and a half miler. They tried him over further last season and he didn’t stay. This season, they’ve dropped him back in drip and he’s rattled up a graded class four timer. Last time out he had Champagne Fever on the ropes, before the Mullins horse fell at the last. Champagne Fever would have been highly fancied to win this, so that’s a good level of form.

I think that he’s another horse who will be well backed tomorrow, I can see him going off 3.75 (11/4) if he’s really fancied by the stable or if Vautour wins.

Don

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Back Don Cossack at 5.50 – Paddy Power[/symple_box]

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More of That won The World Hurdle last year, now imagine if there was a horse who had conceded 6lbs to him and only finished two lengths behind on his British debut. The imagine the same horse finished second to Faugheen with last years County Hurdle and Mersey Nocices’ Hurdle winner back in third.

You’d think that horse had a very good chance against a horse who has failed twice already in this race (Zarkandar), Saphir Du Rheu, who’s trainer believes Zarkandar is his bigger hope and a whole load of other form lines that tie in with the two market leaders.

I don’t understand why Nicky Henderson and Barry Geraghty have no confidence in BLUE FASHION, he may not show a lot at home, but on the race course he brings some impressive formlines to the table. He even has French hurdles form which ties in with Dikali and Ptit Zig.

Lieutenant Colonel brings the best of the Irish form with his two Grade One victories last year and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him win or at least keep Jetson, Monksland and Zaipour behind him again.

I may be way off in this race, but I like the look of Blue Fashion’s form. I’m not privileged to know what he does at home, but from what he’s done on his racecourse starts I really like his profile. He’s also out of Scorpion, who won the St. Leger in 2005 and The Coronation Cup in 2007. I think this horse will stay well and has the potential to improve.

bf

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Back Blue Fashion each-way at 19.00 – Coral[/symple_box]

The Vautour/Don Cossack double is 15.0 (14/1) generally, if you believe that I’m not going to be out of form forever and only want to play small stakes, then that would be my advice.

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