Friday, 15 March 2013

Its GOLD CUP Day ;)

 Yes we are here the final day of what has been a tremendous Cheltenham Festival we have already witnessed some great races some thrilling finishes and one or two runaway winners include my biggest bet of the day yesterday on Cue Card ( 1st @ 5.4 ) and it was nice to see Venetia get on the board which is feel is very much deserved after the great season she she has had and even Twister had a nice win ( surprising as the yard is bang out of form ) and the unstoppable Mullins loco has finally hit the buffers!! everyone else a chance ;) , Today we have the biggest race of the meeting in the Gold Cup which is nicely supported by Triumph Hurdle and the Albert Bartlett plus a couple of Hcaps but for me these are the 3 main races for today and these are the 3 i will put under the spotlight today.

RACE 1 : FAR WEST : 2nd @ 5.55

JCB Triumph Hurdle (Juvenile Grade 1)

.This is a deliciously tough race and not a great one for favourite backers which again looks the case as you scan thru the field and notice that any one from about 12 look to have a case , so lets look at some trends and see if we can narrow this down.

2013 Triumph Hurdle Trends

Friday 15th March - 13:30 - JCB Triumph Hurdle - Grade 1 - 2m1f
  • Sixteen of the last nineteen winners won the last time out before the festival.
  • Just two of the last fifteen winners were rated lower than 80 on the flat.
  • The last fourteen winners have all been tested at one mile and four furlongs on the flat.
  • There have only been seven placed Irish trained horses in the last ten years, from a total of fifty-eight runners, although they've had the second place horse the last two years.
  • Eighteen of the last twenty winners had their last prep run in the month of February.
  • Nineteen of the last twenty-two runners had run at least three times over hurdles.
  • Seven of the last nine winners didn't make their debut over hurdles until at least November.
  • Nicky Henderson, Willie Mullins and Alan King all have a good recent record in the race.
  • The Adonis Hurdle, Prestbury Juvenile Novices' Hurdle and Finesse Hurdle are all good guides.
.So using the stats i am going to narrow the field down to the following...
2. OUR CONOR - 1st @ 5.55
5. FAR WEST - 2nd @ 5.56
Now if this race just consisted of these 5 i think you would have a job splitting them as they all have something to offer , Swynmor is the classiest of these on the flat has solid form on soft and heavy can cruise through his race and can quicken and battle so has everything going fo it but im just a little concerned as to how he has recovered from his fall when leading at the last 2 races back as nto he didnt quite race with the same zest so my thoughts are open and the jury is out which is enough for me to avoid beacking him although i wont be surprised if he wins.
Gassin Golf is another Classy flat performer with very limited NH form or experience but its fto run suggested he could have a bright future over the sticks after all he was only beaten a hd and had the 133 rated Handazan 9L back in third so with a few pounds of improvement and luck he could well get into the mix but is only worth a few fun ew sheckles at 60/1+.
Rolling Star is the current fav but i think more by default than actual form although it does have some decent enough runs on its cv i am not convinced yet that this is the real deal but then that is the point of the race , its for Juveniles with promise, future stars and possibly chasers and a lack of experience has to be expected and i do feel this has an extremely high chance of placing and dont forget this is also a CD winner so is proven on trip, track and ground which could prove vital.
Our Conor is the big Irish hope and is certainly in with a big shout after rattling up a quick Trio of wins in his homeland with the first two wins against some questionable opposition however the 3rd victory was quite a taking performance and that one stand out piece of form gives him every chance and is as strong as anything else on offer ( although the horses he beat have not performed that great since or here ) likely contender for both favoritism and 1st place, strong chance and high hopes, cannot discount with no real negatives.
FAR WEST does however appeal to me as the most likely winner and although it has only raced against a total of 12 runners in its last 3 races it has won all with ease and has never been threatened and it beat Handazan by 9L and then by 19L showing a good deal of improvement and is a proper 145 rated horse that will run to form and only a performance in the low 150's will be good enough here ( imo ) the one thing however that does concern me is its apparent willingness to travel on and off the bridle thru its races , if this hits a flat spot at the wrong time it could give too much of an edge to the leading players so imo this will have be ridden prominently and a tad more aggressively to counter any off bridle effects but this CD winner is proven on the ground, trip and track and is being ridden by the very impressive Ruby ( leading Jockey  ) and i think this has an outstanding chance today.

Dark Horse : Vasco du Ronceray - Jean Ricou has been brought over from France to take this ride and IDK ( colleague ) is well versed on this leading French jockey as he is well known around the provinces , this horse has a bit to find form wise and will have to improve but is easily good enough to get involved in the finish.

Result :

13:30 Cheltenham

Full result
1st11 Our Conor (IRE)4/1
2ndFar West (FR)4/1
3rd13 Sametegal (FR)33/1


RACE 2 : AT FISHERS CROSS : 1st @ 2.43

Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle (Registered As The Spa Novices' Hurdle) (Grade 1)

.This is a great looking renewal with some top top quality horses lining up , where do you start? , well for me the first to mention is Aim to Prosper a horse i love but i feel it is just a wee bit short of the class required to take this so is reluctantly over looked.
Then we have the admirable and fast improving African Gold but i feel that both the trip and grade will find him out , yes it has won 5 of its last 6 races and has run and won at 2m5f  but firstly this fast paced and stiff 3m will be beyond him imo and secondly he has only been beating rivals by just enough and they have only been rated similar to himself at around the 135 mark now taking on rivals some of which are rated at 140+ it will be too much and i think even a place will be a struggle , lovely horse but not this year.
Willie Mullins has a live chance in Inish Island but this beaten fair n square in the 3m Citipost by At Fishers Cross and i see no reason why this form should be reversed ( however should AFC make mistakes then by default this becomes a leading player ) and although Ruby rides Ballycasey i think Inish Island is the stables nos 1 chance.
Utopie Des Bordes is a typical french bred sort that stays all day and is not without a touch of class and is sure to be in the van all the way around but will it have enough to stay on up the hill over an untried trip...time will tell , my belief is that it will stay but will be more staying on than quickening away.
The winner for me will be AT FISHERS CROSS this has some outstanding form which has been endlessly franked and franked at the highest level most Notably lto beating the very impressive The New One ( Won the Baring Bingham here ) and not forgetting as previously mentioned the CD victory over Inish Island with Medinas behind ( Won the Coral Cup here ) , this Son of Oscar is a class horse and will take all the beating today , stays , quickens , battles , can race on or off the pace and likes all ground types , outstanding chance.

2013 Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle Trends

Friday 15th March - 14:40 - Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle - Grade 1 - 3m
  • Four of the last seven winners had course winning form.
  • Six of the last eight winners had previously contested races over three miles.
  • Seven of the last eight winners were in the front five of the betting market.
  • All eight winners of this race had run at least three times over hurdles.
  • Nineteen of the twenty-one win and placed horses in this race had finished first or second in their last prep race.
  • Key races include the Hyde Novices' Hurdle, Bristol Novices' Hurdle and Classic Novices' Hurdle.
  • Respect novices aged seven or older.
  • All eight winners were rode handily.

14:40 Cheltenham

Full result
1stAt Fishers Cross (IRE)11/8 f
2ndAfrican Gold (IRE)9/2
3rdInish Island (IRE)13/2
And now its the BIG one the 2013 Cheltenham GOLD CUP.

My Selection : LONG RUN : 3rd @ 4.89
This is the festival show piece and one of the biggest races of the whole NH calendar and this race for me involves just 3 runners , Silvianco Conti who is a classy performer jumps for fun and stays all day and has to have a huge chance of changing the festival fortunes of the Nicholls camp, then we have Bobs Worth the current Fav and a terrific beast with a great attitude , clean jumper and strong traveler with some very useful form especially the win in the Hennessey and dont worry about the break as this has won every time its come off a 60+ day break so fitness or attitude will not be a hindrance cannot be over looked over in any way and is the one they have to beat.
Then finally we have my choice/selection/tip and that is LONG RUN  , last year was a disappointment  and it did run at least 20lb below its mark but after winning the Gold Cup the year before anything it did after was going to be scrutinized and i feel it left its mark but it has grown and become stronger and has returned this year right back to his best , battles like Ali can often appear off the bridle early on but that is just its awkward running style its one big problem has been its in different jumping , if this can jump cleaner it will win if it starts going through the top of one or two then either Bob or Silvi will take advantage and use the gathered lengths in the final surge this will all revolve around whoever jumps the best , they all stay , they all travel strong and can all jump superbly but this is where it will be won or lost , if this was a 3m2f flat race Long Run would win hard held but its not so you pays your money n takes your chance.
Sir Des Champs will now be ridden by champion A P McCOY but even with him taking the ride i still dont think its good enough so will be over looked and Laid.

This will be a fascinating, exciting and action packed race as the likes of the Giant Bolster and Cape Tribulation will both be looking to grab something from this race and will be going flat out , watch and enjoy/


15:20 Cheltenham

Full result
1stBobs Worth (IRE)11/4 f
2ndSir Des Champs (FR)4/1
3rdLong Run (FR)7/2


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