I feel like I stole a profit yesterday, but that’s racing. I’m glad that I will never be backing a horse with Tony McCoy on again. After his customary defeat on a well backed odds-on favourite, he then finished third in Holywell. Going into my third and final bet of the day, on Jezki, I wasn’t confident. However he had the race handed to him when Arctic Fire fell at the last.
There’s only one race that I’m interested in today and that’s the Melling Chase.
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CHAMPAGNE FEVER would have won the Champion Chase last month, if he wasn’t bitten by his stable mate and forced to miss the race.
The fact that he missed that race may however come as a blessing today. He’s had some tough races this season, especially with his campaign starting off with The Gold Cup as the aim. Missing The Festival should hopefully mean that he’s fresh and capable of a big run today.
He’ll love the ground and I think that two and a half miles is the perfect trip for him. He was beaten by Don Cossack, last time he attempted this distance, that was due to a tired fall at the last fence. I felt that was a strange bit of placement for him, especially coming so quickly after a big run in the King George, where he traveled and jumped well for a long way, before getting tired in the run.
I can see him reversing that form today, just down to the extra lay off that he’s had. The Ryanair Chase was a tough race this year, Ma Filleule finished second in it yesterday, but was nowhere near winning yesterday. I can see Don Cossack running well, but when they actually go for home I think that Champagne Fever will outstay and outpace him.
Cue Card just isn’t the same horse that he was last season, he’s again had injury concerns this year and I can’t be backing him.
Johns Spirit has run well in some big handicaps, but has been found wanting when up against real grade one horses. He just isn’t good enough to win this in my opinion.
Balder Succes was never going to win at Cheltenham, he just doesn’t get on around there. He rates as a big danger today along with Al Ferof.
Al Ferof hasn’t been seen since The King George in December and has had a number of reported problems before that. He did however stay on well to finish ahead of Champagne Fever that day. That race was over three miles though, so the drop down to two and a half may work against him, if Champagne Fever gets the first run.
The last horse that’s worth a mention is Sire De Grugy. The 2014 Champion Chase winner, never landed a blow this year when finishing ten lengths and three places behind Dodging Bullets at The Festival. He’s had his injury issues this season and that’s one concern, but the bigger concern is that he’s never raced over this distance before. I personally think they should have put him away for the season or at least until Sandown later this month.
I’m sticking with the belief that Champagne Fever will control the pace in this and quicken away from them when asked to at the last fence.
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Back Champagne Fever at 4.50 – William Hill[/symple_box]