Back to 1962 and Sandy Nelson for today’s headline leading us in to the second day of the Cheltenham ‘celebration’ meeting.
Five races are on the box, starting with the Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle at 1.45.
Fairly short priced favourite for this is the Paul Nicholls‘s trained Samarrive, which won a Kempton Novice hurdle back in April on stable debut. Not seen since, the assessor has allocated a mark of 132 to this 4-y-o, which looks plenty and we oppose with two.
Since coming over from Ireland, Samba Dancer has finished second and won twice, the latest being a romp at Stratford at the beginning of the month. With today’s ground favouring ‘summer’ jumpers and just 6lbs higher we take Ferghal‘s charge to continue its upward curve and recommend a bet at 9-2.
Cheltenham just wouldn’t be Cheltenham without a cluster of Irish trained runners and we think one of them, Uncle Henry, has a good chance for Gordon Elliott. Recent 3rd and 4th finishes should have teed this 7-y-o up for today and 10-1 has its attractions.
The 888Sport Handicap Chase at 2.20 has Storm Control installed as a worthy 4-1 favourite, having dropped back to the mark off which it was successful here last December. With Kerry Lee‘s horses in excellent order, we suggest a win bet at the price.
We also like the chances of Go Another One from John McConnell‘s yard.
This prolific winner is just 2lbs higher than when winning at Perth last month under today’s pilot Sean Bowen and the 10-1 on offer looks tempting.
At 2.55 the Masterson Holdings Hurdle looks a match between Tritonic and Stepney Causeway, but with no strong view, this one we just watch.
There’s another 888Sport Handicap Chase at 3.30 and we are finding it hard to get away from the chances of Leapaway in this. Mr Hobbs‘ 9-y-o has won two from its last three and is just 2lbs higher than when beating a subsequent scorer at Worcester last month. At 13-2 this is good e/w value.
Final televised race is the Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle at 4.05 with Irish raiders 1st and 2nd in the betting. We are going to take Born Patriot to gain revenge on Tullybeg and give Peter Fahey another Cheltenham winner. At 6-1, well worth an each way punt.
Cameras are also at Newbury and Doncaster with both the Newbury races dominated by Charlie Appleby trained odds-on shots.
Doncaster has betting opportunities though, starting with the Group 1 Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes at 3.15 which sees the reappearance of current Derby favourite Luxembourg.
If the hype is correct, this even money animal will win, but just in case it isn’t, we suggest an each way bet on Sissoko at 8-1.
Donnacha O’Brien’s youngster won as he liked on second ever start and could exploit any flaws in the fav’s make-up.
The Listed Virgin Bet Doncaster Stakes at 3.50 has a good handicapper, Flaming Rib, as 5-4 favourite but we oppose with the ‘could be anything’ runner Deodar, trading at 9-4.
Already ‘sans noisettes’, Deodar won its only race to date under a ‘hands and heels’ ride from a horse now rated 101, so must have a great chance of taking this race.
Last and definitely least is our favourite type of race, a five furlong handicap, this one called the Virgin Bet Handicap at 4.20.
On the basis that if all goes right and it puts it all in (doubtful) it’ll win half the track, we suggest a minor each way bet on Lahore at 6-1. (See website for Health Warning).
Don’t forget to switch channels to watch England mince the Windies.
Samba Dancer 1.45 Cheltenham 1.5pts e/w @ 9-2 (5 places Skybet)
Uncle Henry 1.45 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 10-1 (5 places Skybet)
Storm Control 2.20 Cheltenham 2pts win @ 4-1
Go Another One 2.20 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 10-1 (5 places Skybet/Hills)
Leapaway 3.30 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 13-2
Born Patriot 4.05 Cheltenham 1pt e/w @ 6-1 (5 places)
Sissoko 3.15 Doncaster 1pt e/w @ 8-1
Deodar 3.50 Doncaster 3pts win @ 9-4
Lahore 4.20 Doncaster 1pt e/w @ 6-1 (5 places Skybet/Hills)