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

Cheltenham Ladies Day – Wednesday

Capt. Kneesup

Capt. Kneesup


A very jolly lunch with racing and pointing folk. Our host has of late become increasingly deaf, and lives in a world where TVs are best full-on  – and the resulting output then passed through an amplifier. Various grooms, vets, farriers, a dog-walker and assorted others drifted in and out to watch the racing on the box – the only visible difference being that they were in muckers or boots and we were in loafers and in one case what looked suspiciously like slippers. They were scenes reminiscent of my childhood when Granny May acquired a TV in the 1950s. Despite living in Ashley Gardens – the poor end of Buckingham Palace she called it – Granny would treat her neighbours exactly as she had done as a young wife in a terraced house in Chorlton-cum-Hardy and invite everyone around to watch whatever was on. I was allowed to watch Caravan Time with Clive Dunn as Mr Crumpet, sitting on the floor at the feet of some strange woman who would tousle my hair and call me Nicky – not my name. A procession of people would come and I’d be packed off when the news came on, lest my tiny brain be sullied by grown-up facts.

No one tousled my hair on Tuesday – but the racing was brilliant and moving and good and my tiny brain was still unsullied by the grown-up facts regarding the entries and the field sizes and the cost of tickets. Instead, I wondered at the brilliance of Henderson and de Boinville, and the skills and charm of Blackmore. As regards the tipping we had the following outcomes:

In the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle, I couldn’t have been more bullish about CONSTITUTION HILL  but got swept away by MIGHTY POTTER who managed to collide with the running rail going down, then hit the 4th and 5th and was PU. Something was amiss. I talked myself out of backing EDWARDSTONE (pillock) and instead had BLUE LORD in 3rd with HAUTS EN COULEURS 6th and COEUR SUBLIME 7th and the only thing I was right about was SAINT SAM who UR. I got my money back on FANTASTIKAS and just missed out on LOSTINTRANSLATION who clattered the 11th and ran out of steam. The Champion Hurdle delivered the Champion and the friendless TOMMY’S OSCAR came 9th of 10 having pulled too hard and not been settled by his rider. We were 4th in the Mares’ Hurdle with 7/2 STORMY IRELAND and the Boodles Juvenile was fine for those who like a Brazillian but did nothing for us. Finally in The National Hunt Chase with just 6 runners BRAESIDE also hit the 11th and PU.

Onwards – ever onwards…Wednesday’s suggestions follow.

The following horses meet one of the BACK trends I outlined last week – namely won a Graded race at Leopardstown LTO.

  • 1.30 SIR GERHARD (IRE)
  • 3.30 ENVOI ALLEN (FR)
  • 4.50 A WAVE OF THE SEA (IRE)
  • 5.30 FACILE VEGA (IRE)

1.30 Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle

Now we know where SIR GERHARD is racing, it’s hard to find an alternative. Top on ratings and top on many trends, there is a tiny question in some minds as to how he’ll handle the hill at his age – but I did all my doubting on Tuesday! I shall risk the following in the betting w/o market

WHATDEAWANT  1pt @ 9/1 with WillHill  – STAGE STAR 2pts @ 3/1 generally

2.10 The Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase

In my antepost predictions, I expressed my keenness for AHOY SENOR and Lucinda Russell’s victory today simply underscores their credibility. An ex-pointer costing £50k he beat BRAVEMANSGAME in the G1 Sefton at Aintree last spring and has won twice over fences this season. He won a G2 at Newbury by 31l  but was beaten by BRAVEMANSGAME in the Kauto Star at Kempton. As an aside, no winner of the Kauto Star Chase has ever won the Brown’s Advisory Novice Chase and the last French Bred to win this was in 2006 (37 losers since). 2nd will be L’HOMME PRESSE and 3rd will be THREEUNDERTHRUFIVE.


2.50 Coral Cup

You can get 8 places with Skybet – and 7 with Bet365, PaddyPower, Betfair and Betfred. I could make a case for a dozen of these.

I can however eliminate the following on the grounds that they meet one of my LAY TRENDS having run in a Bumper or Chase LTO when competing in a Festival Handicap Hurdle. So farewell to Daly Tiger (FR) – The Bosses Oscar (IRE) – The Shunter (IRE). Instead I shall punt…

MCFABULOUS 1½ pts e/w – GOWEL ROAD 2pts e/w- GRAND ROI 1pt e/w

3.30 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase

Ascot isn’t Cheltenham. ENERGUMENE Wins. ENVOI ALLEN will be 3rd. Back Rachel now – she’ll be closer to 12s/14s than 20s tomorrow.

ENERGUMENE 3pts win – ENVOI ALLEN 1pt/e/w 

4.10 Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase

Just to put this race into context – as regards the Brits. The Irish have won 14 of the 17 runnings of this race. Phillip Hobbs has won 2. France won the other.

SHADY OPERATOR 2pts e/w – PRENGARDE 3 pts win

4.50 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Handicap Chase

If you’re thinking of backing SKY PIRATE please remember this. The last horse to The Grand Annual back-to-back was in 1974. The 14 who attempted to beat the jinx finished 7P00459B009090. Just saying.

EDITEUR DU GITE 2pts win – THYME WHITE 1½ pts e/w – GUMBALL 1 pt e/w ¼pt CFC

5.30 Weatherbys Champion Bumper

FACILE VEGA took the breath away LTO, even impressing his trainer. He was being talked up well before his debut, which he glided effortlessly through, before dismantling a strong field of previous winners. The sky is the limit for this homebred son of legendary mare Quevega and he now attempts to emulate Envoi Allen, who took exactly the same route. AMERICAN MIKE is the obvious threat, but looking through the prices, there are some crazy, big prices on offer. If there is one that might provide some sport it is JOYEUX MACHIN who was 2nd to FV in his debut. He couldn’t beat him then – and he won’t now, but 30/1 for 4 places and 23/1 for 6 places with Bet365 seems cheap.

FACILE VEGA 4 pts win – JOYEUX MACHIN 1pt e/w 23/1 reduced odds for 6 places

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