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Cheltenham Festival Trials - Updated Jan 25th


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All reports from the Sporting Life;

 

Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle (Tuesday March 15)

Arkle Chase (Tuesday March 15)

Champion Hurdle (Tuesday March 15)

 

Neptune Novices' Hurdle (Wednesday March 16)

RSA Chase (Wednesday March 16)

Champion Chase (Wednesday March 16)

JLT Novices' Chase (Thursday March 17)

Ryanair Chase (Thursday March 17)

World Hurdle (Thursday March 17)

Triumph Hurdle (Friday March 18)

Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle (Friday March 18)

Cheltenham Gold Cup (Friday March 18)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello everyone,

I've been very busy for the past 18 months or so and just a fleeting visit to give you my thoughts on Cheltenham.

Champion Hurdle:

Impossible for me to look beyond Faugheen. Slammed Nichols Canyon in a gallop at the Curragh prior to his defeat at Punchestown. That gallop took too much out of him as he was very unfit at the time. The Punchestown race was run at a crawl and the proximity of Wicklow Brave illustrates this. He was fitter at Kempton and won as expected. He runs at Leopardstown on Sunday where even though the ground will favour Nichols Canyon he should still win. I am surprised Nichols Canyon is running giving Mullins's post race comments after his Leopardstown Christmas victory over Identity Thief "he had a very hard race and will be given a long break".

Knock him if you like but he has won a CH and seems to be even better on better ground, a comment that does not apply to either Nichols Canyon or Identity Thief. Arctic Fire is not good enough and the UK challenge likewise. Either back him or stay out!

Arkle:

The reason Douvan is not in the CH is because of Faugheen. If allowed to run with Faugheen out he would win. Douvan jumps well, oozes class and only a fall or mishap can prevent him from winning. It really doesn't matter who takes him on in the race. It is his to lose. Either back him or stay out!

Supreme:

Min will win. Again, he oozes class and jumps well.Mullins has a line into all of the opposition. Tombstone is the danger if there is one but he may not prefer the faster ground at Cheltenham and is probably better over a better trip. Either back him or stay out!

Mares:

If Annie Power turns up and completes, unlike last year she will win. She is in a different league to this lot. Either back her or stay out!

Mares Novice:

Limini is the best around by a mile. She won her only race at Punchestown with stones in hand and the race could not have worked out any better. She looked really good that day and not alone will she win this but expect her to win the mares hurdle next year after Annie Power retires. Either back her or stay out!

Ryanair:

Vautour only has to jump around to collect. He may still run in the Gold Cup but with Mullins going for Champion Trainer in the UK this is unlikely. Either back him or stay out!

Cross Country:

Trained by the master, Enda Bolger, Josies Orders has won both banks races here, has youth on his side and is still improving. He will be very hard to beat.

The Others:

I see the Champion Chase as being a match between Un De Sceaux and Dodging Bullets. I favour Un De Sceaux but he is a headcase so I'll stay out.

I like Don Cossack in the Gold Cup slightly over Don Poli. The cheekpieces and better ground will help.

The other races are up for grabs but I would be wary of Black Hercules on faster ground as I think he needs it like a bog.

I expect Shaneshill to fall in whatever race he goes for as his jumping has been very dodgy.

Of the others, Bellshill looks good if he handles the faster ground and Killultagh Vic has a big chance wherever he runs. Also Doctor Harper, trained by Pipe would be very interesting in a handicap over 3miles and on better ground as he has been quietly campaigned over trips way short of his best and on very slow ground which should ensure a good handicap mark.

Again, these are just my opinions...

Remember that any profit constitutes value. Pick the horses you think will win because they cannot help what price they will be and be selective!

Happy Punting and Good Luck ;)

 

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2 other horses I like:

Champion Bumper : Invitation Only - WP Mullins. Unraced as yet but the vibes are good 16-1 AP. Expect him  to be favourite after he wins in a week or two.

Barters Hill in the Albert Bartlett. Little between him and Up For Review on form but Barters Hill might handle the ground a bit better and looks a better stayer in any case!

Ok guys, if these are any good to you?

 

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I'm not convinced by Faugheen. He looks great when given an easy lead against horses who are not Champion Hurdle standard but the one time he was put under pressure by a proper Grade 1 horse he completely folded and is worth opposing. Regarding the proximity to Wicklow Brave there is the chance that Nichols Canyon also took a big step forward at Christmas as he is notoriously lazy at home and probably needed the run too. 

Identity Thief is only 6 and raced for the first time just over a year ago. When you look at his profile there is a good chance he will improve again at Cheltenham and he is being massively underrated as a Henry de Bromhead hurdler. I think the move to step Arctic Fire up in trip at Christmas suggests the yard don't feel he is quite good enough to beat Faugheen or Nichols Canyon but it's worth remembering he was a bit unlucky at Cheltenham last year as Faugheen got the run of the race.

I also noticed the quietly campaigned Doctor Harper and his owners love a winner at Cheltenham.

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  • BillyHills changed the title to Cheltenham Festival Trials - Updated Jan 17th

I agree with arsenalfh that both Identity Thief and Nichols Canyon have improved this season and opinions are what this game is about.

Nevertheless, for all his critics, Faugheen continues to win and win well (his first run excepted for reasons explained) and surely when he wins on Sunday that will be that?

If he doesn't they will be raging about having sent Douvan over fences as in any other stable it would be he and only he who would be the pretender to the CH crown. Cheltenham usually provides better ground in March and of the 3 horses mentioned NC, IT and Faugheen, who will that favour more? Neck on the block here - that has to be Faugheen!

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34 minutes ago, joeblitz said:

I agree with arsenalfh that both Identity Thief and Nichols Canyon have improved this season and opinions are what this game is about.

Nevertheless, for all his critics, Faugheen continues to win and win well (his first run excepted for reasons explained) and surely when he wins on Sunday that will be that?

If he doesn't they will be raging about having sent Douvan over fences as in any other stable it would be he and only he who would be the pretender to the CH crown. Cheltenham usually provides better ground in March and of the 3 horses mentioned NC, IT and Faugheen, who will that favour more? Neck on the block here - that has to be Faugheen!

The problem I have with Faugheen is he had been beating nothing and the time he faced a multiple Grade 1 winner he flopped. Hurricane Fly was on the way down last season and The New One is finished as he can no longer jump while the rest he has beaten are just not Champion Hurdle standard. If they manage to get him off the bridle and he battles on and wins then my two e/w ante post bets on Nichols Canyon and Identity Thief are in trouble and the Morgiana may have been a fluke but until then I have my concerns about Faugheen.

Regarding the ground I think the whole Mullins camp admit they got things wrong at Cheltenham when they tried to restrain Nichols Canyon but he then went on to win two Grade 1 races easily on good ground so I think he's quite versatile. Identity Thief traveled all over Nichols Canyon over Christmas so good ground may suit him more.

Douvan is possibly the best horse in training at the moment but connections always wanted to send him chasing even though his Supreme performance last year was possibly good enough to win a Champion Hurdle. His win at Leopardstown over Christmas was exceptional.

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Well Ruby Walsh will always ride the number one choice and if you read up on what Mullins says about Douvan and indeed Vautour last year, the reason they went chasing was because of Faugheen. That is how highly they rate him.

I agree that they should not have held up Nichols Canyon last year but as Walsh said after his defeat by Nichols Canyon, "I underestimated him. I won't be doing that again!".

Again I agree that Identity Thief looked as though he would beat Nichols Canyon last time but the Leopardstown hill, the ground and perhaps the greater stamina of Nichols Canyon won the day. When Gosden had Nichols Canyon, he showed a liking for soft. I think he is a brilliant horse but I think Faugheen is better. Time will tell?

And the other thing is that you can only beat the horses you run against. Mullins has said that the gallop against Nichols Canyon prior to Punchestown took it out of Faugheen and on the day he hung which was the sign of a tired horse. Good Luck with your bets but I hope Faugheen wins both on Sunday and in Cheltenham as I have very big bets on separately for both races! If he loses I will take it on the chin. For all the hard luck stories, I still have a few good ones to keep me going :)

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Joe, after reading your selections you should put all your money on the Irish horses having the most winners:lol

Seriously though Mullins at 1/5 to be top trainer is great value, 20% return on your money for a four day lend, doesnt matter which ones win then!!!!!

Nice to see you mate:ok

 

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Thanks Graham,

Good to be back if just for a short time. Love the site and it is great place to debate and share opinions :)

You are right about Mullins being top trainer at Chetenham and he is a certainty. Unfortunately I don't have 100K to win 20 or even 50K to win 10 and even if I did those brave bookies would be likely to put a stop to my betting altogether! You are not allowed to win large sums off course regularly you know?

The other thing is that in betting odds on, you must be very selective, Most of the odds on merchants disappear quickly!

 

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  • BillyHills changed the title to Cheltenham Festival Trials - Updated Jan 25th
  • 5 weeks later...

First of all as we speak I am up 3 grand for the meeting and should On The Fringe do the business a good holiday will be in order!

I got my money back on Faugheen and backed Annie Power on the day.

Min was a disappointment but had no excuses whatsoever.

Limini and Don Cossack also did the business as well as Vroum Vroum Mag who was a good substitute for Annie Power.

My judgement was way off in relation to Bellshill, Barters Hill, Shaneshill and Black Hercules while having backed Sprinter Sacre in all of his runs except last years champion chase I never dreamed he could come back. Good for racing but not for the pocket! Invitation Only never made it, only winning his first bumper last Sunday. Such a shame as he was rated better than the Champion Bumper runner up.

Anyway, good luck to you all. I am off to pastures new in 6 weeks and will no longer be able to follow the racing as before unless I return to Ireland. So thanks for putting up with my opinions for the past 2.5 years!

There were as with everyone hard luck stories but I had a few great moments too to make up for them!

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