Cheltenham: The Course
Old and New courses are left handed ovals 1 Mile 4 Furlongs. Both
courses are undulating with stamina-demanding uphill run-ins of 237 yards. The fences, less stiff than formerly, still need
sound jumping. With drainage improvements the ground now rarely rides heavy but the emphasis here is definitely
on stamina and courage.
Tuesday 12th March 2002
Gerrard Supreme Novices’
Hurdle 2 Miles & ½ Furlong
Many of the Irish contingent present will see Like-A-Butterfly as the banker of the Festival.
A lovely, looking, tall mare she must take all the beating, however she is definitely better with cut in the ground and to
be fully effective at this trip, the rain will need to stay around. Her only disappointing run came when her stable was under
a cloud, in her other races she has travelled smoothly before running out a convincing winner. The latest news is, that she
will be switched to the longer race if the ground dries out. Ballyhampshire Boy won five on the trot (two bumpers) before
disappointing behind Sacundai; he was found to be suffering from a respiratory tract infection and has been rested since.
The six year old is very much the forgotten horse of the race, his trainer reports him fit and well and if the ground stays
soft he will not be very far away, his current price of 16/1 (non-runner money back) he is tremendous value. Westender and
Bernardon appear to be the best of the Martin Pipe contingent. Bernardon was an impressive winner at Taunton first time out,
though the opposition was weak. He was, however, a classy performer on the flat in Germany and will have come on a lot for
that first run. Westender’s last run came in a handicap at Ascot where he was never really going under his big weight;
his previous form has a solid look to it. Like so many of Pipe’s horses running at the festival, he has had a good rest
and will be fresher than most. He has only ever won left handed over hurdles, and must have a tremendous each-way chance.
Adamant Approach ran a stormer on ground too heavy for him and over a distance, two furlongs too far when third to Like A
Butterfly. He won the competitive Pierse Hurdle on his previous start, and is developing into the horse his trainer always
thought he could be, he has sound each-way chances. Eddy O’Grady has a good line to the Irish form, and he had Polar
Vista, Sacundai and Over The Bar entered, the latter has an entry in the Sun Alliance and would be his best option; his chosen
representative will be a danger to all. In Contrast looked a smart novice until his disastrous fall, at Ascot, when
well beaten. He needs to go left-handed and will put up a good show if back to his best. Hitman has finally translated the
promise of homework to the track; he is however, a fragile horse suited to smaller fields rather than the rough and tumble
of this event. Eternal Spring is improving and his form is solid. Rated at 103 at his best on the flat he has found his form
again with a vengeance and if he has continued to improve, is another who will be in at the sharp end.
5 Pts Each-Way Ballyhampshire Boy: 5 Pts Each-Way Westender 5 Pts Each-Way Adamant Approach: 5 Pts Each-Way Eternal Spring.
Challenge Trophy Chase 2 Miles
Seebald who is unbeaten this term has been favourite for a long-time. His credentials appear
to be flawless and he will be many peoples banker. The race that is crucial to analysing this event was run in November. Seebald
won from Armaturk, with Fondmort pulled up after a terrible mistake at the treacherous second last. Seebald at that time was
on the bit, while Fondmort was still travelling strongly, Armaturk had to side step Fondmort when he made the mistake; there
are many differing opinions as to who would have won. One question to be answered is, what would have Seebald found off the
bridle, and what will his attitude be, should he make a serious mistake, something he has not done so far, I was never fully
convinced of his attitude over hurdles, and he is passed over. Armaturk is a fast improving horse who I can see making
the frame. Fondmort has won twice since that mishap and it is interesting that both he and Seebald have had long breaks since
their last runs. Two falls in five runs is hardly an inspiring record for a chaser going to Cheltenham; Moscow Flyer
has that distinction. Despite this he has a serious chance in this race, his hurdle form is head and shoulders above any of
these and if he stays on his feet he will go very close to winning. Barton will not have the speed for this event and is now
nine years old. I like Truckers Tavern a lot, but he will only run if the ground is genuinely soft, given that scenario he
will put up a bold display. The others make little appeal at this level, though the improving Reiziger is worth a second look
for big price value hunters.
Betting Advice: 6 Pts Win Moscow Flyer: 6 Pts Win Fondmort: 3 Pts Each-Way Armaturk:
1 pt Each–Way Reiziger.
Champion Hurdle 2 Miles & ½ Furlong
The amount written and spoken about the
intrigue of Istabraq, and the "will he won’t he run" scenario would fill up several Poirot scripts. We now have the
added character of the villainous Ned Kelly joining in. Suffice it to say, in my opinion, Istabraq has not reached the level
of his old form in his last five races and Ned Kelly will not come up the hill. This means a new character entering the final
scene to claim the glory. Landing Light is many peoples choice; he is tough, consistent, improving and will love the hill,
he does however lack mid race pace and the star quality needed at the highest level. Bilboa and Liss A Paoraigh are wonderfully
game and consistent mares that will no doubt play supporting roles in the final scenes of the contest. The leading man has
to be Valiramix; one winning start this season is all we have seen of him, he has, however, thrived at home. Intensive schooling
has ironed any jumping deficiencies, and his work on the gallops has been of "Bafta Award" winning calibre. As the curtain
closes expect Valiramix to be the one taking the plaudits of the crowd.
Betting Advice: 7 Pts win Valiramix: 5 Pts
Each-Way Landing Light: 5 Pts Each-Way Bilboa.
National Hunt Handicap Chase 3 Miles & ½ Furlong
Ad Hoc’s winning
form reflects fairly the comment that he is a spring horse; his chance must be taken seriously. Bindaree has run consistently
all season, and were the Twiston-Davies team in better form his price would be considerably lower than it is, he has run well
at Cheltenham and has good place claims at the very least. Carryonharry is another Pipe inmate to have been rested, and off
his lowly weight is sure to give a good account of himself. Europa will enjoy this distance though I question whether he has
enough experience for a race such as this. Frenchman’s Creek has won over the course, he is a horse that travels
supremely well during his races, his form stands up to the closest inspection and he will be hard to keep out of "The Four".
Should Gola Cher take in this race his chance should not be underestimated, he loves this course and is as game as a pebble
in the final stages of his races. Gunther McBride has gone up 17lbs for his Racing Post and this course will not give him
the opportunity to be ridden as he was at Kempton. Hati Roy will be staying on when others have hoisted the white flag, I
have a sneaking feeling Henrietta Knight will have a good Cheltenham, and this one can be in "The Four". Hindiana is a horse
that is going to win a decent race, however I have reservations about his jumping holding up round here. Lord Of The
River ran well on his comeback, he may well "bounce" on this second run after having had such a long layoff. Take Control
come back to his best in the Aon, I hope he is allowed to take his chance as the distance and pace of the race will help him
concentrate more. He has the ability to go very close to winning.
Betting Advice: 5 Pts Each-Way Take Control:
5 Pts Each-Way Frenchman’s Creek5 Pts Each-Way Gola Cher: 5 Pts Each-Way Hati Roy.
Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur
Riders 3 Miles & ½ Furlong
Ceanannas Mor has not lived up to early expectations, however he does have a racing weight
here, and given an error free round, will be right there at the finish. Royale De Vassy loves this course and is not without
a chance. Supreme Charm, one of my long-term fancies for the Grand National runs well fresh; with a good young pilot on board
he has every chance of making "The Four" here. The Bushkeeper, overcame a long absence to land some decent bets
at Huntingdon recently, providing he does not "bounce" his excellent jumping will ensure he is there at the business end.
Many horses carry double entries in this race and the "William Hill" so close scrutiny on the final runners is a must, suffice
to say good jockeyship is paramount, so check your pilot!
Betting Advice: 5 pts win the Bushkeeper: 5 Pts Each-Way Supreme
Charm: 5 Pts Each-Way Royal De Vassy: 5 Pts each-Way Ceanannas Mor.
Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle 3 Miles 1½ Furlongs
The third trappy handicap on the trot, and yet another mystery to be unravelled. Martin Pipe has his usual multiple
entries; from them I like the improving Ideal Du Bois Beury and Ballysicyos. The latter has regained his form after a poor
couple of seasons; he finished fifth in the Triumph Hurdle and will love both the course and distance. The two others I am
most interested in are Christy Roche’s Calladine and Noel Meade’s Native Estates. The former, is a strong message
from Ireland, he has been laid out for the race since he ran away with a top autumn handicap at Leopardstown. In his only
run this season he "got going a bit late" when fifth to Farinel where he had Native Estates behind. That horse has run another
sound race when fourth recently; he too has been aimed at this race for some time. If, It Takes Time takes his chance he will
be hard to keep out of "The Four" though his weight of 11-10 may prove too much of a burden in the climb to the winning post.
Betting Advice: 5 Pts Each-Way Ballysicyos: 5 Pts Each-Way Natives Estates: 5 Pts Win Calladine.
Wednesday 13th March 2002
Royal & Alliance Novice Hurdle
2 Miles & 5 Furlongs
As previously stated Like-A-Butterfly may well take in this race should the ground dry up and
if she competes she will take the beating. Keen Leader would be the clear choice if the ground were soft; he is an exceptional
horse in the making and has hardly come off the bit in his races this season. Galileo was a most impressive winner on his
debut at Kempton and various form lines suggest he has a solid each-way chance, whatever the ground. Over The Bar has the
form to run a big race here, it is however worrying he had to miss his prep race due to coughing, and he is passed over. Stormez
would be an interesting contender if he runs here, very useful at best in France he seems to be on the way back to his best,
and won gamely at Ascot recently. He should be seriously considered in whatever race he contests over the three days. The
Bajan Bandit has an impeccable record though one has to question what he has beaten. He is a horse of potential rather than
one with solid form and he too is passed over. Rouble has decent form under his belt, but I question his ability to come up
the hill. Classified has done nothing but improve all season and he must come into the reckoning, as he too will act on any
going. Stable companion Samon commands respect on the evidence of his debut win, he will stay the distance and McCoy will
have a difficult choice between this one and Classified. Direct Bearing is a horse of great potential, he is also in the Sun
Alliance and those looking for a big priced selection could do worse than this one.
Betting Advice: 8 Pts win Like-A-Butterfly,
8 Pts Each-Way Keen Leader (reduced to 5 Pts Each-Way on good ground): 5 Pts Each-way McCoy’s selected ride: 5 Pts Each-Way
Queen Mother Champion Chase 2 Miles
Speed and jumping ability are the order of the day here. The market leaders
have both had long rests since their last outings. When Flagship Uberalles puts it all together there is little doubt he is
the best two miler around. He runs well fresh, his palate has been treated to alleviate a breathing problem; first time out
after this operation is always the best time to catch the recipient. Philip Hobbs is extremely adept at producing horses fresh,
well and fit. The Flagship has been working on the beach at Minehead and has thrived in recent weeks; hopefully he will be
ridden just off the pace, rather than get involved in a protracted duel from a long way from home. Edredon Bleu is a giant
and his record speaks for itself, on this occasion, he may have to play second fiddle to his younger rival. Tiutchev’s
preparation has been interrupted by another bout of colic, and it surely is too much to ask this talented individual to topple
the front two in the betting. Knife Edge had a hard race last time out and Native Upmanship is taken as Ireland’s best
hope; the more rain the better for this chap. Wahiba Sands is reported to be strongly fancied but he is not for me. Latalomne
has been supported in recent weeks but along with the likes of Turgeonev, Rockforce and Desert Mountain, he is passed
over. Fadalko is a spring horse; he is to my mind though, not firing on all cylinders.
8 Pts win Flagship Uberalles: 4 Pts Each-Way Native Upmanship.
Coral Eurobet Handicap Hurdle 2 Miles 5 Furlongs
handicap to tantalise our taste buds and unravelling this will not be easy. I hope Brother Joe takes this as his choice of
engagements, as I believe it offers his best chance of victory. Somewhat caught between two and three miles, this distance
will be right up his street; his recent run will have put him spot on, and I expect him to go very close if he takes up this
option. Calladine is entered here but is expected to run on the first day. Copeland is also entered here and on soft ground
he too will figure if allowed to take his chance. Havre De Thaix is a more than useful performer in France on his day (2nd
to First Gold in a hurdle race at Auteuil in September 2000); he has got in on a low weight. Joss Naylor and Yeoman’s
Point are the market leaders, the former is a fast improving hurdler who will be hard to keep out of the frame. Yeoman’s
Point has a decent racing weight and has solid form; he is, however, far from certain to stay this distance. Stormez is also
entered here and enters the calculations. Martin Pipe has another novice in Golden Alpha entered and off 10-2 he promises
to run a big race. Darapour from Aiden O’Brien’s stable has run well here before and is one of the many mentioned
with a realistic chance. Intriguingly Master Tern from Jonjo’s stable still holds an entry, he has come back to
his very best over fences in his last two runs and would enter the calculations if taking his chance.
Betting Advice: 6
Pts each-Way Brother Joe: 5 Pts Each-Way Joss Naylor: 4 Pts Each-Way Havre De Thaix @ Tote Odds: 4 Pts Each-Way Darapour.
Royal & Sun Alliance Chase 3 Miles & ½ Furlong
This race has left its mark on many horses over the years, the
relentless gallop, and the undulations take there toll on the novices, the final unforgiving climb to the post drains every
ounce of stamina from the protagonists. Japhet as I have mentioned as all the qualities to become a top class performer: at
the age of five I do not think that any horse can win this race and he is reluctantly passed over. Colonel Braxton has been
my idea of the winner of this race all season and were it not for the rushed preparation he has endured I would make him the
best bet of the meeting. He has, however, managed to win his novice, and is pleasing his trainer at home. The Colonel is a
horse that can quicken off a fast pace and if he is still in contention turning into the straight it will take a very good
horse to get past him. Harbour Pilot needs heavy ground and can put in the odd "stinker". Frosty Canyon and Gola Cher
are both game, and go well here; if you fancy a long shot to give you a run for your money both of these qualify. Maximize
has had a long rest and will no doubt try to run the opposition into the ground; this is hardly the place for that! Jimmy
Tennis is a promising five year old who may not stay, and Valley Henry will do well to complete.
Betting Advice: 8 Pts win Colonel Braxton: 3 Pts Each-Way Gola Cher
National Hunt Chase Amateur Riders 4 Miles
miles and amateur riders would appear to be the ideal scenario to take a break and make a cup of tea, or on course visit the
bar. It is interesting that Martin Pipe has left in Majed; he has had a successful season over hurdles and has reached a mark
of 143, something the vast majority of these runners could only dream about. He ran over the daunting Auteuil fences four
times as a four year old completing every time finishing second twice, third and fourth. If he takes his chance here he is
one of the best bets of the meeting. I can pass on a good word for Richard Rowe’s Mister Bigtime, this one jumps, stays
has a good pilot and is solid each-way material.
Betting Advice: 8 Pts win Majed: 5 Pts Each-Way Mister Bigtime (In Majed’s
absence this would become 7 Pts Each-Way).
Mildmay Of Flete Handicap Chase 2 Miles 4½ Furlongs
Mr. Baxter Basics has
been my idea of the winner of this race since he made his debut over the course in January. He patently failed to stay in
the Racing Post Trophy and is now 11lbs better off with Foly Pleasant, the victor of the January race. He will hopefully be
ridden by Stormin’ Norman who is outstanding round Cheltenham. Foly Pleasant is wonderfully consistent and will be hard
to keep out of "The Four". Royal Auclair is entered here and is one of the most promising horses Martin Pipe has, his two
wins have been adequate, however had he stood up on his debut he would have thrashed Gola Cher amongst other. This is a horse
with the ability to be better than a handicapper, and if forced to nominate his best chance, it would be the Cathcart on the
last day. Lady Cricket holds an entry but I am informed she is being kept back for Aintree. The rest are regulars on
the handicap circuit and are all pretty much exposed.
Betting Advice: 7 Pts Each-Way Mr. Baxter Basics (Taking an early
price): 8 Pts win Royal Auclair: 4 Pts Each-Way Foly Pleasant.
Weatherbys Champion Bumper Flat Race 2 Miles ½ Furlong
a fascinating race and I am sure this year’s renewal will be no different. Rhinestone Cowboy is England’s best
hope, and it is only the doubt about him staying the distance on this demanding track, which deters me from making him nap
material. Alexander Milenium is reported to have suffered a setback; he is trained by Willie Mullins so one can never be sure
of the accuracy of these rumours. Beechcourt won impressively on his debut and there were valid excuses for his defeat in
his next run; he has outstanding each-way claims. Back In Front is reported to be the best of the O’Grady runners; he
has a turn of foot and will be hard to keep out of "The Four". Those looking for a long shot will do worse than Iris’s
Gift Jonjo’s second representative, tough and consistent she will battle all the way to the line
6 Pts win Rhinestone Cowboy: 5 Pts Each-Way Beechcourt: 2 Pts Each-Way Iris’s Gift.
2 Miles 1 Furlong
A tough race at the best of times, finding the winner of this seasons renewal has always promised to
be as easy as picking a winning team for Leicester City. The Irish always provide us with a plethora of runners and this year
is no exception, with Newhall, Heezapistol, Scolardy, Turtleback, Hyderbad, Tender Cove and Find The King all expected to
run. Of these I like the ultra game Newhall, Turtleback and Tender Cove who despite showing a tremendous turn of foot in win
on her debut, has stamina doubts. Turtleback and Newhall in that order are the pick, the former being forgiven for his disappointing
run last time, the first for his current stable. The English runners tie up in various clusters of form; Eluna, Quazar,
Giocomo, Live The Dream, Reviewer, Volano, Lord Joshua, Burning Impulse, Sud Bleu and Vol Solitaire have all met each other
or can be assessed on intertwining form lines. The conclusion I have drawn is that there is little between any of them and
whoever handles the track and the hurly burly the best will certainly go close to winning. My feeling is Burning Impulse,
who injured his back, when making a mistake at the third last, on his second run behind Volano, has the most potential; his
debut win was an excellent effort, he also improved steadily throughout last flat season. As I have written before Londoner
does not appeal as the type to relish a struggle and I would rather have the tough and progressive Hernandita from the same
stable on my side.
Betting Advice: 5 Pts Each-Way Burning Impulse: 5 Pts Each-Way Turtleback: 5 Pts Each-Way Newhall:
5 Pts Each-Way Hernandita.
Stayers’ Hurdle 3 Miles
Backing horses at odds on is rarely a bright idea, at Cheltenham,
it is a recipe, worthy of "Three Michelin Stars", for disaster. Baracouda’s form is there for all to see and he is almost
certainly the best horse in the race, however one could suggest a combination of the undulating track and his jockey will
conspire to find him out at this highest of levels. To counter that, I am reminded that Doumen has won a Triumph Hurdle and
that surely would be a more daunting test for a jockey. Bannow Bay will stay every yard of the trip and his win in the Boyne
Hurdle advertises his chance; in recent times five Irish winners of this race, used that race as a warm up race or part of
their preparation. It is still not clear where Liss A Paoraigh will run, in fact, she may take both the Champion Hurdle
and this race in, as I have written she is a game mare who will give of her best; although her stamina is unproven she promises
to stay the trip. Jair Du Cochet has not developed into the horse his trainer hoped and he is not one I am interested in.
As stated previously I hope Brother Joe goes for the handicap over 2 mile 5 furlongs; he would not be for me if he ran in
this. Boss Doyle, Telemoss, Deanos Beeno and Spendid are also out of their depth. Last November I was at Auteuil to see Magnus
win his final race in France; he looked a real star in the making. His form, on a line through reliable yardsticks Kimbi and
Fou Du Roy V, suggests he is much the same horse as Baracouda if not better! His broken blood vessel must have felt like a
knife in the back for owner David Johnson, it is, however hugely significant that he is still amongst the entries, if we see
the Magnus I saw, he will be very hard to keep out of the frame, he will definitely stay the distance.
8 Pts Each-Way Magnus (taking the current price, non-runner no bet): 5 Pts Each–Way Bannow Bay.
Cup 3 Miles 2½ Furlongs
The Blue Riband event of the meeting and one of the finest renewals in years. Looks Like Trouble
heads the market, a position based on past rather than present achievements. He has won all three times he has visited Cheltenham
and I am sure the general public will hope he wins. The facts however, are that in his one run this season, he achieved a
rating some 14lb below his best mark, Noel Chance suggested he was only 80%, it is a well known fact however, that horses
with a history of injuries and long lay offs, will be as near to their best as possible to alleviate the possibility of any
recurrence of the injury. He was withdrawn from his intended prep-race, and the gallop at Kempton told us nothing other than
he looked fit and well and everything was working o.k. I am convinced Nick Dundee would have beaten him in the Sun Alliance;
the sorely missed Gloria Victis would have in my opinion done the same in the 2000 Gold Cup. It has been many years since
a horse has defended his championship and the facts suggest Looks Like Trouble will not. I will now deal with the other horses
I do not believe can make the frame. Marlborough has been overlooked by Mick Fitzgerald which is a damning indictment, moreover
I doubt his ability to stay the trip at this highest of levels. Behrajan is simply not good enough and his resolution is a
worry. Lord Noelie is the choice of many; the facts suggest this is misplaced judgement. His jumping is suspect, his fourth
in this seasons Hennessey is not form I consider anything out of the ordinary, and the Wetherby form, where he fell, has hardly
been advertised. He has not won for two years and I do not see that scenario changing here. Florida Pearl is a wonderful horse;
it is however plain as the nose on Jimmy Durant’s face, that when he hits the wall in the final stages, he has neither
the determination or perhaps, physical capabilities, to go through it. Commanche Court and Sackville have done nothing this
season to suggest they can take a hand in the finish. The Pipe pair of Cyfor Malta, and Shooting Lights are not my idea of
likely winners. The formers winning form this season is not good enough and stamina doubts about the latter linger in the
mind strongly enough to rule him out. As we whittle down the field, we now come to the chances of Foxchapel King and Alexander
Banquet. It is very hard to split these, but my gut feeling is that Foxchapel King has the greater speed over this distance,
though I believe both will be in "The Four", Foxchapel King is my third best. Will he stay? Will he jump left? The two questions
to be answered in the cases of Bacchanal and Best Mate. Bacchanal has won at Cheltenham, and there will be no braver or tougher
horse coming up the hill. His jumping improved at Newbury as the race progressed and the pace of this race will help him to
concentrate. His jumping was faultless at Sandown in his first run of the season; Mick Fitzgerald is a fine horseman and relaxes
his horses quite beautifully in the early stages of a race. Best Mate has had just six runs over fences, and never been out
of the first two, this is important to consider as he has steadily been moved up in class and still maintained his improvement.
It is reasonable to assume he will have improved since the King George, and the one thing he was not doing on the run in was
stopping. I am thoroughly convinced Henrietta Knight knows she gave the wrong orders at Kempton and that she now knows the
horse will not fail through lack of stamina. It is very difficult to call between these two, and it only the power of Bacchanal
and the jockeyship of Mick Fitzgerald that sway me to nominate him as the likely victor. Here is hoping all the protagonists
come back safely, so we can enjoy more spectacles such as the one I believe we will see here.
Betting Advice: 7
Pts Each-Way Bacchanal: 6 Pts Each–Way Best Mate: 2 Pts Each-Way Foxchapel King (at the current price)
Chase Amateur Riders 3 Miles 2½ Furlongs
Amateur riders take centre stage in their "Gold Cup". Likely favourite Horus
won comfortably from Torduff Express, who franked the form with a game win at Fontwell Park. Horus lacks experience over the
sort of fences he will encounter here; he can jump low occasionally, and may well find himself on the deck. Torduff Express
will run his usual game race and in Polly Gundry he has a more than able pilot. Gunner Welburn will be hard to keep out of
the frame, particularly if the ground turns soft. Real Value is game but very one paced. The Irish challengers Joe Blake and
Ten Poundsworth met recently. Joe Blake had the race in safe keeping when he fell at the last, leaving Ten Poundsworth to
come home a fortunate winner, he then won easily at Fairyhouse. The remainder look to have to improve at least a stone on
their overall form to figure here.
Betting Advice: 7 Pts Win Joe Blake: 4 Pts Each–Way Gunner Welburn (If the ground
turns very soft the stake increases to 6 Pts Each-Way).
Grand Annual Chase 2 Miles & ½ Furlong
Lady Cricket is top
weight here, as previously noted she is reported to be heading to Aintree; should connections have a change of mind, her chance
should be respected. Davoski ran well on his reappearance coming from miles behind, when finishing third to Turgeonev at Ascot;
he may have "bounced" when disappointing at Wincanton on his next run. Davoski has won here at Cheltenham and his chance is
much respected. Wave Rock also has a good record here; he looks to be coming back to his best, and has a sound each-way chance.
The other runner I am most interested in is Fadoudal Du Cochet; trained by the legendary Arthur Moore he would have been a
leading fancy for this race last year. He has once again been specifically trained for this race and showed his well being
when winning a valuable hurdle on his most recent run. Dark’n Sharp and Asador are promising novices, who may find it
all happening a bit quick for them. Redemption, Exit To Wave, Exit Swinger and Turgeonev will have their supporters; they
will not include me however.
Betting Advice: 7 Pts win Davoski: 6 Pts Each-Way Fadoudal Du Cochet: 5 Pts Each-Way Wave
Rock: 7 Pts win Lady Cricket.
Cathcart Challenge Cup Chase 2 Miles 5 Furlongs
Barton’s best chance of victory
at the Festival, I believe lies in this race. The distance is right, and the race is not usually run at the frenetic pace
other races are, relieving some of the pressure on jumping. The race also offers Royal Auclair a winning opportunity; as noted
previously he is a horse of immense potential, and at this stage of his career, running in this event would, to my mind, be
the most sensible route to take. Golden Goal, Ifni Du Lac and Run For Paddy are improving novices who will not be disgraced.
Davids Lad does not appear to be firing on all cylinders and Arctic Copper may offer the Irish the best chance of victory.
Montifault runs well fresh and is my third choice.
Betting Advice: 8 Pts win Royal Auclair: 5 Pts Each-Way Barton: 4 Pts
County Handicap Hurdle 2 Miles 1 Furlong
Martin Pipe once again is going for the big bonus on
offer, this time with Polar Red. Polar Red followed a facile win at Cheltenham in January with a hard fought victory
on Saturday in the Imperial Cup. Tony McCoy looked at pains to give him as easier race as possible, however in the end he
had to pull out all the stops to just pip Impek. He has an obvious chance but is now a ridiculous price and I intend to oppose
him. I can pass on a tip for the Christy Roche trained, Timber King, who has not seen a racecourse for over five months; he
has been kept in training with this race in mind. Polar Reds' stable companion Golden Alpha is not without a chance
if taking up this option. Dark Shell has been touted for this race for sometime; it will take an extraordinary effort from
horse and trainer to win this first time out, he is however a horse with ability to spare; should the market speak in his
favour take the hint. His stable companion Regal Exit has been a long term fancy; if his second run has bought him on again,
he will be hard to keep out of "The Four". The selection is however Ansar, nominated by many people as a long shot for the
Champion Hurdle. He flopped on his last run and I hope connections resist the championship and take this route, at his best
he is a high-class horse; considerably higher in the weights now, his two wins at the Galway Festival were obtained with ease.
The trip will suit, and his stamina will come into play on that final uphill climb to the big red stick.
7 Pts each-Way Ansar: 6 Pts win Dark Shell: 5 Pts Each-Way Regal Exit: 6 Pts win Polar Red: 4 Pts Each-Way Golden Alpha