Cheltenham Day 2


Posted on 18th November 2017

Dear Friend,

Here's Dave with his take on Cheltenham for today.

Here goes...

Cheltenham Day 2

Day 2 of the Cheltenham November meeting and one of the the big handicaps of the season, the Bet Victor, takes place. It looks a competitive renewal this year, but hard to solve, with plenty of the main protagonists seemingly near the top end of their marks.

I covered the race off earlier in the week with my Pinstickers Guide, but my final thoughts on th erace, along with the rest of today's card, are on the main piece.

12.40 – JCB Truimph Hurdle (2m)

As much as Nicky Henderson was quick to talk up the chances of Apple’s Shakira on Monday during the press conference, she’ll need to be good if she’s to lower the colours of Gumball, one of the finds of the season so far. I’ve been so taken with his two victories so far and this is all about whether he can jump round here fluently. Granted, it wasn’t great at Chepstow but nevertheless Malaya couldn’t lay a glove on him there, and he won easily enough next time.

If he’s impressive here he’ll be a strong favourite for the Triumph come March, and I’m hoping that’s the case.

Speedo Boy is happy to take his chance against Gumball again and might get a bit nearer here. 100 rated on the Flat , so ought to be capable of better, but this uphill finish might just find him out.

1.15 – mallardjewellers.com Novices Chase (3m½f)

Only the three runners, which is a shame, and only four in Sunday’s Novices Chase too. Something needs to be done about the situation regarding the poor fields in theses races soon.

Still an intriguing little contest, and all three can be given a chance. Black Corton has had a good time of it but surely, surely, this is the end of the road for him. He didn’t have to improve to be a below-par Fagan and all last time and his two rivals here both have claims to top honours in this division this year.

Ballyoptic is likely to try and make all and made an impressive start to his chasing career when disposing of the useful Elegant Escape at Exeter earlier in the month. Despite a couple of unlucky falls over hurdles, he’s always looked the sort to do better over fences and should take some catching again here. Thistlecrack’s half-brother West Approach takes his chance and this 3m trip will see him in a better light. Although his form looks very good, I wonder if he’s a touch overrated on that third in the Cleeve as he was rather ridden for the places. Maybe he took too much on too soon when pulled up in the World Hurdle but for me, he wasn’t as impressive as Ballyoptic over fences last time and has a bit to do to beat him here.

1.50 – BetVictor.com Handicap Chase (3m3½f)

All kinds of questions to be answered here! Is Minella Rocco capable of winning this off a mark of 166? It looks a tall order, but he went well in this when third to Viconte Du Noyer last year first time up. But another 11lb on his back makes life a lot harder, and there are surely better options.

Doing Fine really caught the eye here last time up. Sticky early on, he came home with a rattle to finish third. He has to race from out of the handicap here, and he will that ground to be genuinely good ground to hold his best chance, but he has more going for him than a few here. (Update – seems the ground isn’t as quick as first thought. That will count against him, and swings me more towards a couple of small speculative bets on Perfect Candidate and Benbens at the prices, especially if the drop of rain we are supposed to be getting comes earlier than expected.)

Sizing Codelco’s Cheltenham record is enough to put me off his chances, Shotgun Paddy just looks a former light of himself, Vicente normally needs a run to put him right, and I just don’t know what to make of Premier Bond. Three Faces West has potential to do better this season but is up in grade, and has seemed to need his first run after a break to date, so that leaves Benbens, who has had a warm up for this and is more likely to have this as a target than a few of these, and my old friend Perfect Candidate who, if Paddy Brennan doesn’t bugger about on him and kicks him off in front from the word go, will have his chance.

2.25 – BetVictor Gold Cup (2m5f)

Covered off earlier in the week. I’m not sure there’s much value left in the market, but it’s not hard to see money coming for Tully East today, and possibly Kylemore Lough drifting a bit. I still think that the aforementioned Tully East, Foxtail Hill and for those looking for something at a price, possibly Aqua Dude, are the ones to concentrate on.

3.00 3m 1 1/2f Handicap Hurdle

The world and his dog will want to be with Thomas Campbell after his romp at the last meeting here, and it’s hard to find negatives. Up 10lb for that, but he surely had that in hand, and this extra distance doesn’t look like it’s going to cause him too many issues. James Bowen takes 7 of that 10 away anyway, and 2-1 probably looks about fair (Update – that’s long gone…)

KK Lexion was another to catch the eye last time out, with young Noel George rather pressing the accelerator pedal a bit too soon, and running out of petrol late on after looking the winner. Trouble is, that was over 2m5f last time and there’s another half a mile (and bits) to race here. That’s got to be a concern, but he still looks on a workable mark.

Anteros was staying on at one pace when he fell at the last (in Thomas Campbell's’ race) and whilst it’s stretching a point to say he’d have run into a place, he wouldn’t have been far behind and might be the one to reward e/w support.

Rolling Maul has two ways of going – he can be hard work – but Richard Johnson is an interesting booking (6 from 32 for the yard last 5 seasons) and the slightly slower ground here may help his cause.

3.30 – 2m5f Handicap Hurdle

A wide open 6-1 the field handicap and numerous horses can be given chances. With the David Pipe yard seemingly back in form, it’s not hard to see money coming for the lightly raced Poker Play, who still looks nicely treated on a mark of 131 if he can refind his French form. He goes for this rather than the conditionals race tomorrow.

Stamp Your Feet still looks like one to keep on the right side of. He seems to still be progressing (very green last year) and his second to Bags Groove at Aintree last time looks all the better with that one winning again this week. A 5lb rise makes life harder, but there’s no way we’ve seen the best of him yet and this track should suit him.

I do love Coole Cody as well but a 10lb rise for that Newton Abbot win last time looks harsh enough, but let’s not forget he was a close second to the ill-feted but so talented Neon Wolf in a Novice Hurdle last season, which still makes this mark look workable. I hope he runs well too, and I will have a small saver on him, but Stamp Your Feet the one for me.

Today’s selection – Stamp Your Feet 3.30 Cheltenham

Good luck with all your bets today.

I hope you found that useful :-)

Information courtesy of the Daily Punt.

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The UK Horse Racing Experts