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STELLAR STORY 33/1... SHAKEM UP’ARRY 8/1... GREY DAWNING 5/2... BALLYBURN to beat JIMMY DU SEUIL 48/1... SCOTTIE SCHEFFLER (PGA Players Championship) 11/2...
25th April 2024 4:06 am

“A difference of opinion is what makes horse racing and missionaries."

CHELTENHAM DAY 2

These Donors Are AMAZING Thank You

William S – MEJi – Peter N – Nigel B – Ken C – Mark S – James D – William M – Fiona M – Julian A – Jonathan H – Mrs V.M – Pete BN – Gavin C – Thom S – Sarah C – Mark S – Sam H – James R

DAY 2:  WEDNESDAY 13 MARCH

13:30 THE GALLAGHER (BARING BINGHAM) NOV. HDL (G1) 2m 5f Hurdle

If you swerve HANDSTANDS and THE GREY MAN on trends grounds, and you think the probable winner, BALLYBURN is too short, then you might want to consider either PREDATOR’S GOLD or MERCUREY. The former has recently run second in two Grade 1 hurdles and is second top-rated.  The latter won his Punchestown maiden with considerable ease by 22l. For myself I shall have a little each way tickle on JIMMY DU SEUIL a Galiway colt who also produced Vauban, Willie Mullins’ Triumph Hurdle winner. So far he has been admirably consistent, and the step up in distance should suit. He has got plenty to find, and his price is a reflection of that.

JIMMY DU SEUIL 2pts e/w – BALLYBURN – JduS 1 pts SFC

14:10 THE BROWN ADVISORY NOV. CHS. (G1) 3m ½f Chase

FACT TO FILE is already being talked about as a contender for next year’s Gold Cup. STAY AWAY FAY gets first-time cheek pieces which will sharpen him up. Form-wise I reckon he’s achieved as much as FACT TO FILE to date but is three times the price of the favourite. SANDOR CLEGANE finished 3rd in the Albert Bartlett last year but has yet to sparkle over fences at that level, but I think they just haven’t pressed him. He needs a real test of stamina and should get that at a track that he’s run well at before. He only has one entry at the festival and comes from a stable that has done really well at the meeting recently (1 win and 7 places from their last 13 runners). MONTY’S STAR looked the biz at Punchestown in December, and I wish I’d had the foresight to bag up the 16s available even comparatively recently.

MONTY’S STAR 3 pts e/w

14:50 THE CORAL CUP HANDICAP HURDLE 2m 5f Hurdle

On past form, GUARD YOUR DREAMS appears to be thrown in here. He won a Chelty Handicap off 140 at Cheltenham at the start of the 2022 Season and went on to win the Relkeel off 147 in December 21. He was then caught out when something was wrong, unseating his rider in the Aintree Hurdle in April 22 and was not seen again until this January, again contesting the International Hurdle and being beaten by Lossiemouth 12½l and was 4th in The Kingwell against Nemean Lion. He has retained some ability and as you can get 6 places generally – he should perhaps be on your short-list at around 28/1. FIRST STREET is without a win since taking the Gerry Feilden off a mark of 146 in November 2022, but ran to an RPR of 151 when finishing in mid-division in last year’s County Hurdle – but again, 22/1 seems decent. I can’t be having BRAZIL for Padraig Roche despite looking like a JP plot. But as a former Festival winner, the handicapper is taking no chances and has spanked him with a mark of 142 but he’s won off that before so may not a problem. That win incidentally was in the Boodles when he beat Gaelic Warrior. He’s been backed, and his price has come into 10s – 14s in several places. JIGORO finished runner-up to Mystical Power in a G2 at Punchestown two starts back and ran just as well when a 9 ¼ length 3rd of 8 to Tullyhill LTO. He’ll handle the ground, he’s at home at this level and is open to further progress stepping up to 2m 5f on handicap debut for a trainer seeking a third win in the race since 2016. DODDIETHEGREAT has been running well in good class handicaps over 2m/2m 1f on his last two starts. He was 4th of 21 to Iberico Lord in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury LTO and is within 1lb of his last winning mark. The Betfair Hurdle form was franked by the 3rd and 5th in last Saturday’s Imperial Cup. That just leaves the favourite to consider, SA MAJESTE who was unperturbed by the step up to 2m 4f when beating three rivals at Limerick over Christmas. This race is often taken by the unexposed type – and this is just his fifth career start! The market thinks he is on a lenient mark off 140 on handicap debut. This is an intense and tricky race, and whilst I fear SA MAJESTE could be the essence of Trigger, Bucephalus, and Red Rum, he is short enough.

DODDIETHEGREAT 4 pts Win – JIGORO 2½ pts e/w – GUARD YOUR DREAMS 2 pts e/w

15:30 THE BETWAY QUEEN MOTHER CHAMPION CHS. (G1)  2m Chase

As expected, a small field headed by Willie Mullins EL FABIOLO, who will almost certainly go off at around 2/5 – and he should win. JONBON and EDWARDSTONE are next in the betting, but both are under 7/1. Neither has impressed this season and are not guaranteed to make the frame. Last year’s runner-up, CAPTAIN GUINNESS, was well beaten by EL FABIOLO LTO; the consistent faller BOOTHILL, who briefly looked as though like an improving chaser before Christmas and Willie Mullins GENTLEMAN DE MEE are almost all that’s left. If the ground had been much drier, I might have stuck him in for the place… similar ground to when he beat EDWARDSTONE at Aintree two years ago. If JONBON is given a proper pace to aim at and is ridden aggressively, the professional jockeys amongst you, might think he could win…

NO BET

16:10 THE GLENFARCLAS CROSS COUNTRY CHS. 3m 5½f Chase

The Cheltenham Festival Marmite race. It was fun and interesting when it was a handicap rather than a level-weights conditions race. This race has become truly uncompetitive – proof if ever any was needed are that since 2016, when it became a non-handicap, all eight winners were:

  • 8/1 & under
  • OR 142+
  • Previous Wins at the Track: 1+
  • 8 winners from 19 runners +14.23, 14 placed.

That leaves just GALVIN—MINELLA INDO—DELTA WORK. As the first and last names are trained by Fat Gordy, who’s won 6 of the last 10 XC (OK, one was in Sneezy Foster’s name), it’s a toss-up between those two.

DELTA WORK 5 pts Win

16:50 THE GRAND ANNUAL HCAP CHS. CHALLENGE CUP 2m Chase

SA FUREUR was the lucky beneficiary in a Fairyhouse beginners chase of Hunters Yarn fall at the last. He’s since gone onto finish a 2¼l 2nd of 5 to Quilixios in a novice chase at Naas last time. Open to further improvement over fences. He probably needs a strongly run race at 2m but if he gets it he’s a player on handicap debut. He is certainly capable of better on handicap debut but needs to jump quicker than he did last time. We haven’t yet seen Gavin Cromwell in striking form and I have been tracking KING OF PRS all season. He busts a number of trends but humour this once.

SA FUREUR 4 pts Win – KING OF PRS 3 pts e/w 5 places

17:30 THE WEATHERBYS CHAMPION BUMPER  (G1) 2m ½f Bumper

FLEUR AU FUSIL won a Naas bumper on racecourse debut and followed up in a G2 Listed mares bumper at Leopardstown last month. Given how keen she was it was notable that she could finish off her race as strongly as she did at Leopardstown. It’s not a total surprise that Mullins opts to apply the first-time hood on the mare.

Dutch JALON DOUDAIRIES – JASMIN DE VAUX 9 pts – FLEUR AU FUSIL 3 pts e/w

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