Yesterday? Well, we’ve had better days. After a glorious Saturday, the dung cart appeared, with our win bets all making the frame and our each way selections, er, not.
Fortunately Cheltenham is a four day contest and although we were floored on Tuesday, we can get up from the canvas and win on points by Friday.
Today’s card, however, is not over conducive for reparations, with both Grade 1 chases featuring seemingly unbeatable odds-on Oirish jobbies, the obligatory Cross Country rubbish (also with an odds-on fav) and the Champion Bumper which Willie Mullins will win.
Thus, folks, we concentrate on just three races, starting with the Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle at 1.20.
The field of 7 is headed, almost inevitably, by two runners from across the water, both of which look ultra smart.
However, Paul Nicholls has long been saying that Bravemansgame is his best chance of a winner at the whole meeting and has compared this 6-y-o favourably with the great Denman, which is high praise indeed. Of course, even Mr Nicholls doesn’t know the amount of ability possessed by the raiders, but, on the basis that his pride and joy can beat at least one of them, we recommend an each way bet at the available 4-1.
The Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle at 2.30 is a simple affair, having only 26 runners, but we reckon we may have it sussed with three against the field.
Koshari is the choice of Paul Townend from Willie‘s four and this lightly raced 9-y-o looks to get in here off a good mark after an unlucky 6th of 22 at Leopardstown last month. 9-1 is offered for this one.
Another entry which must be included is Sneaky Getaway, from the yard of Emmet Mullins, who is making a speciality of farming big handicaps over here. This 96 rated Flat racer warmed up at Dundalk 4 weeks ago and a rating of 137 looks very workable. 12-1 can be had here.
Finally one for the home team – Guard Your Dreams, trained by NTD.
Last seen finishing really strongly into 6th in the Betfair Hurdle, this 5-y-o will relish this afternoon’s step up in trip and is still well handicapped. 8-1 please.
The Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase at 4.15 completes our review and our primary selection is Zanza, trained by Philip Hobbs.
This 7-y-o won a hot Newbury handicap with ease last November and was going like the winner next time at Warwick in December when going butt over mammary at the third last.
Shrewd trainer has protected a tasty handicap mark by not running since and hopefully the cunning plan will come to fruition under Dear Dickie.
Have a half decent bet at 8-1.
We also can’t resist a petite tickle on On The Slopes, trained by Chris Gordon. This 7-y-o was aimed at this event last year, only to be balloted out and it certainly looks like the same plan this year, so we’ll have a bit of the 18-1 on offer.
Back tomorrow with much more action.
Bravemansgame 1.20 Cheltenham 2.5pts e/w @ 4-1 (2 places)
Koshari 2.30 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 9-1 (7 places Paddy, Betfair)
Sneaky Getaway 2.30 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 12-1 (7 places Paddy, Betfair)
Guard Your Dreams 2.30 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 8-1 (7 places Paddy, Betfair)
Zanza 4.15 Cheltenham 1.5pts e/w @ 8-1 (5 places)
On The Slopes 4.15 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 18-1 (6 places Paddy, Skybet)