Perhaps I should quit while we are ahead. Yep, to my amazement we actually turned a small profit on Tuesday thanks largely to the win of Coo Star Sivola but what a day, Cheltenham never ever lets racing fans down even if you back a horse that is tailed off.
I will not go through every race, but Getabird was a bitter disappointment and saw quite a few Irish already travelling home as some have a tradition of betting their al on the first race and a winner or a loser defines the rest of their week, strange but true.
Those with Euros left made hay when Footpad was as impressive as expected to see off my selection Brain Power, who ran a blinder at big odds by the way, while Buveur D’Air retained his title in the Champion Hurdle with a hard fought victory over Melon with one time superstar Faugheen sadly a forlorn figure back in sixth and it would appear that his time at the top has now been and gone.
On to the future and temped as I am to draw stumps with a small profit I had better do my job and see if we can find another winner – no promises at Cheltenham mind.
1.30pm – This is all about SAMCRO if the rumours are true with even rival trainers describing Gordon Elliott’s gelding as the banker of the meeting. Sadly he is priced accordingly and is not a get rich quick scheme, but he is close to impossible to oppose on what we have seen so far. Braham Bull also look interesting and I may have a small second bet each way.
2.10pm – The RSA Chase is always a good contest and this year look no exception with any number of these a potential winner. Presenting Percy brings the best form, Black Corton has done little wrong, but BALLYOPTIC looks the each way call. In my work with Myracing.com I speak regularly with Nigel Twiston-Davies and he thinks that he will handle the going better than most, and at a price he could well hit the frame at the very least.
2.50pm – Total insanity in even considering a bet in this race that hasn’t seen a winning favourite in over a decade with winners at prices up to 33/1 and a 16/1 chance last season. In 2014 the Nicky Henderson/Nico De Boinville combo teamed up with Whisper and I am hoping they can do the same this year with STOWAWAY MAGIC. He isn’t a good thing and we would be at next year’s Festival by the time I had gone through every form line, but the stable are in good sorts and he has as good a chance as any.
3.30pm – I had been very confident ahead of this race but a small injury to ALTIOR recently has to cause some concern. If he is fit enough to do himself justice he wins, even if Douvan is at the top of his game, and he is a better price now than he was last week, but my confidence has evaporated and it won’t be the big bet I originally planned (well, big by my standards).
4.10pm – I don’t really have a strong opinion on the Cross Country Chase from a punting perspective but will admit that it is a spectacle, and well worth a watch. Cause Of Casues is way too short for my liking and I find myself siding with the trade press for a change with THE LAST SAMURI. If he takes to these fences as expected he has a touch of class about him and at the prices we should get a decent run for our money at least.
4.50pm – It really doesn’t get any easier does it? Silly beggar time now and a small each way bet on French raider BRAVE DANCING who won very easily at Paul last time out, won’t mind the ground, has an added tongue tie, and looks massively overpriced.
5.30pm – Twenty-four declared runners for the bumper (or National Hunt Flat race) and with seventeen a winner last time out just where do I start? I suspect a shock and after a winner yesterday for the yard how about the Tom George trained THE BIG BITE each way at 20/12 or bigger. Unbeaten after two starts he travels well which will be needed here, and with Noel Fehily in the saddle stranger things have happened over the years.
Day Two of The Festival on Wednesday, picture Liesl King