What a truly cracking start to a miserable day! However, with the TV schedule amended and the going deepening, I have reviewed the situation, as Fagin sang and I have now reviewed and added Kelso. Plenty of non-runners and going changes which are at 12:00
- Cheltenham: Going Soft probably changing to Heavy in the late afternoon. NON-RUNNERS:
- 2:00 The Young Master (7) Royal Vacation (6) Rock The Kasbah (2) Shantou Village (9) Cobra De Mai (1)
- 2:35 Fanfan Du Seuil (5)
- 3:45 Two Taffs (5) Gunfleet (9) Theclockisticking (12)
- 4:55 Secret Investor (2)
- 5:30 Big G (7) Castledhem (10 )Bit On The Side (18)
- Kelso: Going Good/Soft More rain expected NON-RUNNERS:
- 1:15 The Blame Game (10)
- 3:00 Jonniesofa (7)
- 4:40 Alto Des Mottes (11)
- 5:15 Trapper Peak (5) Put The Law On You (8)
13:50 KELSO Tarrag Naegel Novices’ Handicap Chase (4yo+, Class 4, 2m 1f 14y)
BENNY’S SECRET likes the course, likes the going, has won over 16f and 18f and seems the right sort of price at 6/1. AN FEAR CIUIN at a similar price was 2nd here on his first chase and over the distance last month. The handicapper might have left him with some room to manoeuvre and is 6lbs better than when winning here last October. I am concerned at his drift in the market, but as my old Swahili Nanny used to say, “farasi hajui hilo”.
2:00 CHELTENHAM “Matchbook Betting Exchange” Handicap Chase Cl2 (4yo+) 3m1f
Rated 150 over hurdles, WEST APPROACH finished third in this race twelve months ago off three pounds higher. COGRY could easily make the frame having won a G3 handicap over slightly further at Cheltenham in December last. He was beaten a neck in this race twelve months ago off four pounds lower and 7/1 isn’t an ugly price. Henry Daly’s BACK TO THE THATCH passes the key trends for the race and more importantly will handle any going changes with both wins and all placed efforts on Soft & Heavy. 20/1 seems overpriced and I shall have a small e/w dabble. I wouldn’t put you off BOB MAHLER who was impressive at Cheltenham in April, possibly signalling his Grand National abilities. However, since rereading this, I also think that GET ON THE YAGER is excellent value at 25/1 IF today is when he puts his Mr Reliable face on. I’ll wait and see if I can get 33/1 and try for place money
14:25 KELSO Clifford & Martin Firth Memorial Novices’ Handicap Chase (4yo+, Class 4E, 2m 7f 96y)
Lucinda Russell is running a decent brace of nags, both with claimers, and I quite fancy PRINCE DUNDEE. However, RIPSTICK is carrying 24lbs less than both of Lucinda’s, and he has started to look like he might provide his owners with a bit of sport. An encouraging 3rd at Hexham on soft and he won’t mind a little further.
2:35 CHELTENHAM Masterson Holdings Hurdle Cl2 (4yo) 2m½f
QUEL DESTIN had a five-timer last season, with the run ending in a fifth in the Triumph Hurdle. On the assumption he’s still got it in him, I think TORPILLO should respect him to the point that I think he might not win.
15:00 KELSO Paxtons Exclusively Kverneland Chase (Limited Handicap) (4yo+, Class 2, 3m 2f 39y)
A real joy to see VINTAGE CLOUDS out and about again. The fact that the ground is still officially G/S will be to his benefit as he found the ground conditions too testing in both the Grand and Scottish Nationals in April. He’s back to a winnable mark – 3lbs lower than his Cheltenham Ultima third and only 4lbs higher than his early-season win at Haydock last year. ONE FOR ARTHUR could also show some returning spark.
3:10 CHELTENHAM Randox Health Handicap Chase Cl2 (4yo+) 2m
For some time McGROARTY was considered and proved to be a good gound summer horse, going up 12lbs for his 4 wins from 6 runs between May and this month. However, the last victory was on Soft ground, and with proven ability, 9/1 doesn’t look shabby. MASTER WORK won at Fontwell by 7 lengths LTO, but jumped very badly right and stared at the crowd before being bought back under control. Equally the 10/1 on offer for DUKE OF NAVAN is tempting, especially when considering that he is 4lbs shy of his last winning mark and 3lbs better than when 2nd in this last year.
15:35 KELSO William Hill Leading Racecourse Bookmaker Handicap Hurdle (3yo+, Class 4, 2m 51y)
PARIS PROTOCOL was fitted with a visor for his seasonal reappearance at Market Rasen, and won by 6l. He’s got 10lb for his efforts, but I think he’s now on-song having had enough up his sleeve to see off his rivals, and I thought won with a fair bit in hand. DEEPSAND might provide value for a place.
3:45 CHELTENHAM Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle (Pertemps Hurdle Series Qualifier) Cl2 (4yo+) 3m
SUNSET SHOWDOWN isn’t the most straightforward type, but it’s hard to argue with his last 3 from 4 victories. He picked up a (hardly significant) 2lbs for his narrow victory in Novice company and while this is stiffer, don’t be surprised if Rebecca Curtis celebrates her new baby with a win today. AYE RIGHT seems to keep defying the handicapper, and he looks like he could be a player in the last 100 yards.
If you’re at Cheltenham, enjoying the bracing winds and dripping umbrellas the others I fancy are:
THE BUTCHER SAID is looking for a five-timer and Olly Murphy’s six-year-old won four races in May and June and I’m guessing he hates a crowd so he’s fine here. A bit of paddock munching and some sun on the back, and I’m hoping he’ll handle the step up to 3m. None of these will really want any rain to come and worse still soak in.
FIRST ASSIGNMENT’s chasing ability does not convince me despite his winning a point. On the other hand, Henry Daly’s WHATMORE did look as though he was enjoying himself when winning on his chase debut and remains open to any amount of further improvement. An interesting contender in a wide-open looking race. SECRET INVESTOR Is going to be a danger.
A wide-open race where THE NEWEST ONE represents NTD’s yard and is a half-brother to The New One. If he is anything like him, he will have this lot for breakfast. WEE GOLDIE is the first foal out of an unraced dam who is a half-sister to the top-class jumper Identity Thief. He travelled well through this debut and only got worried out of it by a stronger stayer in the second-favourite on the uphill run to the line with the pair clear, and he looked to have some ability. MAHLER’S PROMISE from Seamus Mullins’ yard, ran green on his debut and then powered away with some elan. That performance bodes well for the future. A small bet e/w at around 25/1