Colm Finlay (BetXS) currently sits on top (+58.5pts) after his astonishing Fighting Firth victory on Cornerstone Lad. Alan and Barry Doyle will no doubt be hot on his heels this afternoon as the #8PointstoPlay resumes on a Saturday that sees action come from Cheltenham, Fairyhouse, Doncaster & Hereford. Don’t forget to get involved as always and tweet us your Saturday plays.
Colm Finlay #8PointstoPlay score : +58.5pts
12:10 Cheltenham – Langer Dan (9/2) 2pt win
2/2 over hurdles. I think Tremwedge is a very short price in this race so I’m looking for something else near the top of the market. I tipped Botox Has LTO when he was beaten by Allmankind. That horse did nothing wrong that day but I think near evens he’s very skinny for this type of race where young horses are improving all the time. Just hoping Langer Dab improves again from his listed win at Wetherby. Should be in the frame and at around 9/2 appeals.
13:40 Fairyhouse – Osmotic (9/2) 3pt ew
I was disappointed with Monkfish when he was firmly put in his place by Noel Meads Dior Kel at this track although you wouldn’t say he ran a poor race. Just think Dior Kel is way too short here at odd’s on. Osmotic is a half brother to Faugheen and won well at a bumper in Roscommon back in May. The slight worry is that he is ceding race fitness to the fav but I think he has the raw materials to certainly win a maiden hurdle. Worst case scenario here is he finishes 2nd or 3rd and I’ve called it quits on the race. If he can handle the ground the trip should be perfect for him.
Alan Doyle #8PointstopPlay score: +39pts
15:05 Cheltenham – Elixir De Nutz (9/1) 4pts ew
I was so disappointed when Elixir was pulled out of this year’s Supreme due to injury. While last year’s form is not working out ideally, something tells me there is more to come from Elixir. A lightly raced French recruit who is still only a 5yo, it will require a career best to overturn the competition today after almost a year off the track. A place should be well within reach here so his 9/1 price appears to be value.
Barry Doyle #8PointstoPlay score: +11.9 pts
14:40 Cheltenham – Igor (5/1) 2pt win
Loved his maiden hurdle victory at Ascot over 2m 3f and I’m excited to see how he fairs up in class today. Comments after the race suggested connections expect him to make a nice staying novice hurdler this year. Gorgeous looking horse.
12:10 Cheltenham – Langer Dan (9/2) 1pt ew
Each way play against the hot favourite who finished second here in November. Langer Dan was the first winner on the track for Coolmore’s Ocovango and he showed a good attitude to win at Wetherby last time. Looks a type that will relish the Cheltenham hill.
15:05 Cheltenham – Monsieur Lecoq (10/1) 1pt ew
Pulled badly in the Greatwood Hurdle in November and did incredibly well to finish third. Will have to improve on ratings to win this but still looks progressive and clearly has tones of ability on his day. Can hit the frame.
13:55 Cheltenham – Warthog (10/1) 1pt win
Ran a cracker in the Betvictor Gold Cup in November , first run back after wind surgery. Looks on a nice mark over fences and can step forward again. Certain to give punters a great run for there money. Races prominent.
13:55 Cheltenham – Benatar (11/1) 1pt win
Promised plenty as a novice chaser but fell off the wagon late last season when sent off favorite in a handicap that featured Cyrname at Sandown. Talented and could make a mockery of this lot if he settles early.
Thomas Coyle #8PointstoPlay score: -7.9pts
15:40 Cheltenham – Dame De Compagnie (2/1) 2pt win
Fifth in the Greatwood at Cheltenham the last day after an 18 months absence. He got outpaced that day coming down the hill and then stayed on well from the back of the last. A step up in trip here looks ideal and he should be hard beat!
13:05 Fairyhouse – Reine Fee (16/1) 1pt ew
Local trainer Shane Crawley had this mare in great form this time last year. She might of needed her come back run in Clonmel the last day but this doesn’t look a great race and the daughter of Kalanisi might be ready to fire again for a very good and shrewd young trainer!
14:15 Fairyhouse – Lee Valley Legacy (8/1) 1pt ew
Had a promising run in Punchestown the last day were met a lot of trouble throughout the race and again stayed on well up the straight an added 2 furlongs here and a drop in class could be enough to see her over the line for another local trainer Dermot McLoughlin and Adam Short!
13:55 Cheltenham – Clondaw Castle (10/1) 1pt ew
last year’s Arkle 4th has been crying out for this step up in trip for a while. He’s an Irish point to point winner who had a decent come back when a lucky second in a controversial race in ascot that has hopefully left him right for this!
Ronan Groome #8PointstoPlay score: -12pts
1:55 Cheltenham – Warthog (10/1) 2pts win
David Pipe’s seven-year-old ran a huge race when third in the Bet Victor at 33/1 and can do even better today. He was coming off a 249-day break, having only his fifth start over fences and having his first start since a wind operation so he has bundles of scope to progres now. He has eight lengths to make up with Brelan D’As but with all of the above and the fact Paul Nicholls’s is 5lbs higher in the weights, there shouldn’t be such a discrepancy between the pair’s prices.
1:55 Cheltenham – Robin Des Foret (16/1) 1pt win
I think it’s worth adding another in the Caspian Caviar Gold Cup and so I’m including Robin Des Foret. He is a rare handicap chase runner in Britain at this time of the year for Willie Mullins so that is interesting in itself but he also has form that ties in with Le Richebourg and Winter Escape last season. He only has to race off a 2lbs higher British mark and the Mullins camp must think that is manageable considering all of the above.
3:05 Cheltenham – Elixir De Nutz (9/1) 2pts win
On figures Call Me Lord is the one to beat in tomorrow’s International Hurdle but it’s not always that simple. Nicky Henderson’s horse has done most of his best work going right-handed (particularly Sandown) and over a longer trip. At 6/1 there is still a bit of juice of Elixir De Nutz, who is one of my horses to follow for the season. Colin Tizzard’s grey won the Tolworth Hurdle last season, form which has worked out well and even his earlier form, over this course and distance, featured a close second to Thomas Darby and then a win over Itch Feet, two horses who ran huge in the Supreme. That puts Elixir De Nutz right in around the best novice hurdlers from last term and though there is a chance he might need this run, that is factored into the price, and it was heartening to hear he went on a racecourse gallop recently.
3:40 Cheltenham – Indefatigable (7/1) 2pts win
Paul Webber’s mare looks worth siding with in the concluding mares handicap hurdle. She ran a lovely race behind Lady Buttons at Wetherby, staying on strongly to the line and stepping up in trip, and returning to Cheltenham, where she ran two big races at last season, she has plenty in her favour.
Andrew Blair White #8PointstoPlay score: -22.05pts
12.10 Cheltenham – Botox Has (8/11) 2 Pts win
Gary Moore has a good handle on juvenile form as he has the very exciting Goshen. Botox Has also looks to have excellent credentials in this division and ran a big race in defeat over C&D last time, when he was very keen and jumped poorly at the business end. Granted a cleaner round of jumping, he wins.
1.55 Cheltenham – Benatar (11/1) 1 Pt ew
A very strong traveling type from the Gary Moore yard that looked to have the world at his feet after a good Novice campaign. I thought he would win one of these handicaps last year but things didn’t quite go right for him. He has an absence to overcome but he’s the class horse in this race and if the first time hood helps take some of the edge off him, he will be bang there.
3.40 Cheltenham – Queens Cave (8/1) 1 Pt win
A mare that cost a lot of money at a Cheltenham sale after winning an Irish PtP. Things took their time to fall right for this mare but she seems to be on track this year and has posted two very solid efforts. She is a handicap debutante in here and seems feasible treated and more than capable to go close.
2.55 Hereford – Late Shipment (8/1) 1 Pt ew
The feature on the Hereford card is a very tricky handicap hurdle over the staying distance. Late Shipment is certainly suited to that test of stamina and has won over this course twice in his younger days. He returned to form with a staying on effort at Chepstow LTO which should leave him spot on for this.
12.45 Cheltenham – Beakstown (4/1) 1 Pt Win
When winning a Grade 2 Novice hurdle last year, all the Skelton’s could think about was how good this horse could be over fences. He hasn’t quite lived up to those lofty expectations but has posted two sound efforts nonetheless. With the market Principles not sure to stay and his jumping gaining with confidence at every run, I’d like to hope he’ll be bang there.
I can’t put him up here as he’s too short for this challenge but WINDSOR AVENUE in the 2.10 at Doncaster is the horse I’m most looking forward to see. Hopefully he will be endorsing my 33/1 docket for the RSA Chase tomorrow.