We are very much off and racing at Cheltenham, but his the woodwork with a few yesterday.
Melon finished second in the opener before Vroum Vroum Mag and Gold Present did the same in the Mares’ Hurdle and Novices’ Handicap Chase respectively.
Not many would have seen Labaik winning after a torrid spell of refusing to race, while we must admit that Apples Jade was superb.
But there’s reason to be hopeful if a bit of luck that was missed yesterday can go our way today:
13:30 – Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle (Grade 1) (Class 1) (4YO plus)
This year’s renewal of the Neptune looks a strong one, as usual master trainer Willie Mullins saddles a strong line up to try and make it five winners in the last 10 years. His strongest contender looks to be Bacardys, who was a top class Bumper horse and should really be unbeaten over fences, including taking the grade 1 Deloitte. However, preference is given to the potential superstar Neon Wolf. Harry Fry’s 6yr old hasn’t put a foot wrong so far in his hurdling career and both trainer and jockey have been bullish about the horse’s abilities. His last run, when easily beating Elgin in a grade 2, looks a solid bit of form so I fully expect NEON WOLF to justify its short price to hack up in this competitive race.
Pick 1 – Neon Wolf Win – 7/4 with Ladbrokes.
14:10 – RSA Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1) (5YO plus)
Alpha Des Obeaux is going to take a bit of beating in what doesn’t look like a great RSA chase. With reports that the horse is flying at home in the build up and some very strong form in the book, which includes a narrow 3-length defeat to no other than Douvan over an inadequate 2 miles, the price on ADO looks a great one which can be taken on the nose or E/W.
Pick 2 – Alpha Des Obeaux Win – 6/1 with Ladbrokes.
14:50 – Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (Class 1) (4YO plus)
A large and tough handicap as usual at Cheltenham, with lots of horses on potentially very low marks compared to ability. I’m taking Gordon Elliot to get another winner with TOMBSTONE and Paul Nicholls’ MODUS to have a good chance of placing at a price.
15:30 – Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1) (Class 1) (5YO plus)
I could attempt to eulogise of the superstar that is Douvan, but so many other racing pundits and journalists would do a hell of a lot better than me – so I won’t. DOUVAN wins this, the rest fight it out for a place.
Pick 5 – Douvan Win – 2/7 with Ladbrokes.
16:10 – Glenfarclas Chase (Cross Country Chase) (Class 2) (5YO plus)
I really can’t see past CANTLOW in this one, who was unlucky not to win LTO, being carried across the track by a loose horse, which could have done us a few favours with the price.
Pick 6 – Cantlow Win – 3/1 with Ladbrokes.
16:50 – Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) (Class 1) (4YO only)
17:30 – Weatherbys Champion Bumper (Standard Open NH Flat Race) (Grade 1) (Class 1) (4YO to 6YO)
Pick 9 – Carter Mckay Win – 5/1 with Ladbrokes.