The Cheltenham Festival 2020 has arrived and the Champ.ie #8PointstoPlay tipping blog will seek to provide some of the many answers across all four days of the festival. Currently this season the #8PointstoPlay tipping blog sits 91.51 Pts in profit.
Barry Doyle (champ.ie), Colm Finlay (BetXS), Ronan Groome (The Irish Field), Andrew Blair White (Blair White’s Blog), Thomas Coyle (Trainer), Jason Kiely (Sporting Life), Alan Doyle (Aldorithm) & The Rooster will all go to war for an entire four days.
As we enter National Hunt Racing’s biggest week of the season, Colm Finlay sits on top of the #8PointstoPlay leaderboard (+128.5) and hopes to start the week off well with a 14/1 selection for the Champion Hurdle.
Colm Finlay #8PointstoPlay score: +128.5pts
3.30 Cheltenham – Sharjah (14/1) 4pt ew
Other names for this horse could be Jekyll & Hyde, All duck or no dinner, tomorrow I am hoping its good side of Sharjah that comes out. If he does the 16/1 or so is more than fair and I quite like seeing Patrick Mullins on board. The fact of the matter is the race is open.
The running of last years mares let you know of the perils of backing Epatante and I think I’m gonna stay clear. Cilios Emery has been parachuted in by Mullins and that probably tells you all you need to know about the race. The next 4/5 horses in the betting have all been beaten last time out. I can’t say I’m really sweet on Sharjah but at the prices and with question marks all over the place sure why not.
Barry Doyle #8PointstoPlay score: +20.5pts
1.30 Cheltenham – Fiddlerontheroof (7/1) 1pt ew
The festival opener is the most competitive Supreme Novice Hurdle I can ever remember with two thirds of the 16 runner field, all holding win claims.
Fiddlerontheroof ticks most of the boxes required and looks the stand out each way play at 7/1. A bumper winner in Ireland last season, the 6yo son of Stowaway will relish the soft surface and has the experience of four runs (2 wins) over timber to cope.
1.30 Cheltenham – Elixir D’Ainay (14/1) 1pt
My second vote in the Supreme goes the way of JP McManus runner Elixir D’Ainay. I’m intrigued to see they’ve decided to come back to 2M so soon having attempted 3M (Grade 1) at the Dublin Racing Festival. The 6yo son of Muhtathir can be free going so the minimum trip on soft ground should suit. Big striding individual that should be ridden handy. Market support would not surprise me.
2.50 Cheltenham – Vinndication (7/1) 3pt win
Classy sort, who was expected to develop into a Gold Cup horse by many prior to the beginning of the season. Backed off the boards before landing the Sodexo Gold Cup at Ascot in November and hasn’t been seen since.
Vinndication turns up fresh and will carry top weight of 11- 12. Kim Bailey’s star looks like one of the stand out bets of the week off a mark of 159. Expect a non complicated ride from David Bass.
3.30 Cheltenham – Couer Sublime (14/1) 1pt ew
Second in last year’s Triumph Hurdle, Couer Sublime has reportedly been working particularly well in recent weeks. Has had a wind operation since his third at Leopardstown over Christmas and should appreciate a true run Champion Hurdle.
Soft conditions should play to his favour in what has been described a below par renewal. Could be the last off the bridle!
Andrew Blair White #8PointstoPlay score: +10.43pts
2.50 Cheltenham – Discorama (8/1) 4pt ew
A massive fan of Paul Nolan and he sends a serious charge to the first festival handicap of the year. This horse has been 2nd at the last two festival and returns here with massive claims. The horse has had a wind operation since his run at Limerick and should come on for that outing. Will be hard to stop here off a competitive mark.
Jason Kiely #8PointstoPlay score: +3pts
3.30 Cheltenham – Call Me Lord (14/1) 4pt ew
I think this is huge value at 14-1 in what is the worst running of this race I can remember. Connections sound keen enough on him too and James Bowen could do something magic.
Has beaten a few of these before and has won 6 of his 14 races and has only been out of the top 3 once since coming to England(and that was over a mile further).
Alan Doyle #8PointstoPlay score: -1pts
1.30 Cheltenham – Captain Guinness (14/1) 4pt win
A good time figure in the run before last at Navan before pulling too hard against Andy Dufresne last time in Punchestown while staying on. Can surprise a few in the supreme.
2.50 Cheltenham – Cepage (14/1) 4pt win
Jumped superbly at Cheltenham last time and while he may struggle for toe, could make all in the Ultima and win it from the front with another brilliant jumping display.
The Rooster #8PointstoPlay score: -24pts
3.30 Cheltenham – Ballyandy (18/1) 8pt win
Completely over priced having mugged Pentland Hills at Haydock. Nigel’s yard having a decent time. Ballyandy has already won at the festival and will relish the hill.
Thomas Coyle #8PointstoPlay score: -34.12pts
2.10 Cheltenham – Cash Back (13/2) 2pt win
I don’t think there’s much between the three Irish horses at the top of the market so at the price I’ll go for the Willie Mullins horse.
2.50 Cheltenham – Big River (20/1) 1pt ew
Back to winning ways at Kelso the last day more of a test of stamina here which is sure to suit could out run his odds here.
5.30 Cheltenham – Newtide (10/1) 2pt ew
Barry O’Neill takes the ride which is a huge positive trainer thinks he’s cut out for the race could run well at a decent price.
Ronan Groome #8PointstoPlay score: -54.37pts
2.10 Cheltenham – Cash Back (13/2) 1pt win
There’s very little between Cash Back and Notebook on their Leopardstown running, so surely it’s worth playing the Mullins runner at the odds here. He has more scope to improve and his trainer has won this four of the last five years.
2.50 Cheltenham – Who Dares Wins (12/1) 1pt win
Remarkably versatile horse comes into this off a Grade 2 win at Kempton, for which he is unpenalised. Inexperience is the worry but he has scope to improve also, especially coming up in trip and he has ran well at the Festival twice before over hurdles.
2.50 Cheltenham – Townshend (50/1) 1pt win
Mullins cast off was highly thought of earlier in career but didn’t happen. But has now won last two for Nigel Twiston-Davies and is unexposed over this trip. Riders inexperience is a negative but big price makes up for that deficieny
3.30 Cheltenham – Supasundae (10/1) 2pt win
Triple Grade 1 winner is probably the proven class angle in a below par renewal. Everyone says he slow but form in open company 2m Grade 1 races reads 112224. Will come on a bundle for promising first start and if he can stay with them down the hill, there won’t be many others staying better up the hill.
4.50 Cheltenham – Imperial Aura (11/2) 1pt win
Bit run to finish second to Simply The Betts here on the new course in January. Up 7lbs for that but that proven course form is huge and can improve again
4.50 Cheltenham – De Plotting Shed (40/1) 1pt win
Looks interesting here at a huge price. Gave weight and a beating to Who Dares Wins, who won Grade 2 next start, last time out. Seems to be revitalised for new trainer and off a mark of 139 (previously rated in high 150s over hurdles) he could just be very well handicapped.
5.30 Cheltenham – Lord Du Mesnil (5/1) 1pt win
Proven stayer and officially the best horse in the race off a mark of 153. Soft ground a big plus and if he acts around Cheltenham, he will be a tough nut to crack.