365 days have gone & here we are again!
Champ has been quieter in recent times but the 2018 Cheltenham Festival could never be missed!
Heavy in the ground description for the first time in more than two decades, brace yourself for a slightly different kind of festival.
No, I’m not saying Venetia Williams is going to parade 28 winners in the space of four days but… markets odds have shifted considerably, intended runners have already been withdrawn & strange results will undoubtedly happen right throughout the week.
Best Bets For The Festival!
Race: Triumph Hurdle (5/1)
Trainer: Alan King
86 rated winner on the flat for David O’Meara, Redicean is unbeaten in three starts over hurdles for Alan King.
Compared to Katchit by his trainer, Redicean showed plenty last month to suggest he could have a huge future over timber. Given the pedigree & connections of Triumph Hurdle favourite Apples Shakira, Redicean may end end even more value on the day. With the ground likely to come up soft on Friday along with the overall lack of dept in this division, Redicean is the Banker!
Race: Timico Gold Cup (16/1)
Trainer: Brian Ellison
Renowned for training flat horses in the north, Brian Ellison has been doing the rain dance ever since October.
Came down when well punted for last years Aintree National, Definitly Red has done his livid best to make up for the disappointment this term. An 8Ib increase in the ratings since November, Brian Ellison has remained increasingly bullish about his Gold Cup claims all season long.
Definitly Red is certainly the most improved horse in the field, he’s had the ideal prep & the rain has come. Whats not to like? If it’s good ground, Might Bite will be difficult to oppose!
In Every Multiple
Race: Arkle Chase (Evs)
Trainer: Willie Mullins
Footpad is arguably the most exciting horse we are going to see all week.
Without question the best novice jumper of a fence all season. The Mullins camp couldn’t hide their excitement following his debut display at Navan. Mentioned in the same breath as Vautour, I don’t think it’s too bold to suggest Footpad could end up an even better chaser!
159 over hurdles, Footpad already appears a different beast over the larger obstacles. He will handle the ground & has a professional attitude also. Hard to see him turned over!
Sort It Out
Race: Pertemps (10/1)
Trainer: Eddie Harty
Ran in novice chases races all season, conveniently unsighted in all. Did run on to finish third on previous start at odds of 40/1
Due to run off handy weight of 10-12 & has previous festival form. 2015 saw him finish runner up in county hurdle to run away winner Wicklow Brave.
Widely spoke about on the Cheltenham circuit, this race has been the plan.
Lay Of The Meeting
Race: RSA (5/2)
Trainer: Pat Kelly
Irish punters seem to be getting carried away with the Davy Russell & Pat Kelly combination!
Winner of the Pertemps 2017, Presenting Percy has had a very questionable novice chase campaign.
For Presenting Percy fanatics & I know there are plenty, you may argue conditions are in this horse’s favour. However I just can’t have him!
Is it possible for any horse to enjoy more than 5 starts on heavy ground in one season? Especially when chopping & changing codes? Expect to be hit by fatigue on Wednesday afternoon!
Beating Our Duke, who was a shadow of the horse we saw last year whilst giving him weight hardly warrants festival favouritism? Vunerable favourite!
Each- Way Play
Race: Champion Hurdle (16/1)
Trainer: Willie Mullins
Champion Hurdler Buveur D’air has looked the real deal so far again this term & will take some beating.
Given the place percentages & odds on priced favourite, an opportunity for the each way bhoys presents itself here. Melon still remains the horse in field with untapped potential despite his run at Christmas.
Second string to Faugheen, Paul Townend has selected Melon over the classy duo of Wicklow Brave & Yorkhill. Encouragement can be taken from his run over C&D in December. Reportedly worked well last week!
By – Barry Doyle 13/03/2018