1.30 Melon 20-1/16-1 /14-1 ( Ante Post)
2.10 Altior 2-1/5-4 ( Ante Post)
2.50 Noble Endeavor 8-1 & Measureofmydreams 25-1
3.30 Buveur D’Air 4-1(NRNB)
4.10 Limini 5-4 (NRNB)
4.50 A Genie In Abottle 5-1 & Champers On Ice 8-1
5.30 Foxtail Hill 6-1 & Tully East 16-1
*Two Taffs is wearing cheekpieces for first time ,14-1 in race -refer to write up in 5.30 in case history repeats itself )
* Do use bookies offering 4/5/6 places in those massive handicap fields or do play on the place market where its very easy to make dosh as long as you are disciplined. I will list some good bookie offers at end of this blog and do take advantage of them. If you don’t have an account with X or Y do go straight to bookie sites to open an account.DON’T CLICK ON SCUMBAGS AFFILIATE LINKS TO OPEN NEW ACCOUNTS( They get 30-35% commission on losing accounts)
Lucky 15 – 1.30 Melon 11-4 ,3.30 Buveur D’Air 9-2 , 4.10 Limini 13-8 ,4.50 A Genie In Abottle 5-1
Festival Preview ,Stats and Analysis – https://boomteamhq.wordpress.com/2017/03/06/cheltenham-2017-14th-17th-march/
Teams, Multiples and Lucky’s – https://boomteamhq.wordpress.com/2017/03/10/cheltenham-2017-teams-multiples-and-luckys/
Day 1 – Tuesday 14th March
1.30 Sky Bet Supreme Novices Hurdle
This is the race that kick off proceedings at the Festival with the famous ‘roar’.The Irish have an outstanding record in race having won 14 out of last 25. Nicky Henderson broke the Mullins-Ricci-Walsh domination when Altior destroyed the field last year.
Melon has been the talking horse since last August. Most of us are on at fancy odds like 20-1/16-1 and only won his sole start last at the end of January. He won with any amount in hand on that day and jumped fluently.The 2nd that day Broken Soul has ran twice but been well beaten.The last time a horse won that race off the back of only one run was in 1992 when Flown won.Ten of the last 13 favorites to be sent off at 2/1 or shorter in the Supreme were beaten, Min being the latest last year. I was at a preview last week where people on the panel said Mullins was very bullish about Melon and he was working really well at home.
Four of the last 14 winners finished in the first five in the previous season’s Champion Bumper making it the best guide in recent seasons. It is possible that we could have the last two winners of the Champion Bumper in the line up in Moon Racer and Ballyandy. Ballyandy won the Champion Bumper last year but was beaten in his next 4 races.He won the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury on his last start where Movewiththetimes was beaten by 3/4 of a length.He was beaten twice by Moon Racer earlier during the season and also by Messire Des Obeaux at Sandown. Movewiththetimes represents the Nichols-Mcmanus combo and has won twice this season.He was beaten into 5th in the race Moon Racer won at Cheltenham in November. He traveled really well in the Betfair before a small jumping mistake at the last costs him the race. Paul Nichols and Kevin Blake both gave him a fair each way chance in the race.
Moon Racer won the Champion Bumper for us 2 years ago but was injured since. He ran well on his comeback at Punchestown going down by 3/4 lengths to a very good horse in Blow by Blow. He’s won his first 2 starts this season namely at Perth and Cheltenham. He is a good horse but his jumping looks suspect to me. There is even talk he might be switched to the Champion Hurdle. I will give each way chance to Bunk Off Early too.He won his maiden at Leopardstown in the manner of a good horse. He then went to run in the Deloitte (which is a very good guide for the Supreme) and he ran well only to be beaten close home by Bacardys. If bookies are offering 4 places I think he will be in the mix and represents decent value considering he has Grade 1 form.
For the winner I will stick with Melon and hopefully Mullins-Ruby gets off to a flier on Tuesday.
Selection – Melon 20-1/16-1 /14-1 ( Ante Post)
2.10 Racing Post Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase
This is a race for novices over the 2 mile distance on the old course.It is a race designed to test horses ability to jump efficiently and go as fast as possible.Normally the form book is a good guide for this race and we don’t have many surprises excluding Western Warhorse 3 yrs ago winning at 33-1 and beating our horse Champagne Fever close home.
Altior is one of the bankers of the festival for me and many people.It’s a shame the race looks like a one way traffic after we lost Min due to injury 3 months ago. He is one of the best horses we have seen in recent years.He is unbeaten in his last 9 races ,4 of which were over fences. I saw him closely at Sandown and he was visually impressive.He is a fluent jumper , attacks his fences with precision and is a relentless galloper with a high cruising speed as we saw last year when he won the Supreme.He will be really hard to beat bar falling.
Those who missed out the prices on Altior can look for alternatives in markets such as w/o Altior or place market where you will get better value. I will give a chance to Royal Caviar at nice odds. He is lightly raced and I was impressed when he won at Thurles back in December. He jumped fluently that day and won easily.He was then sent to the Irish Arkle where he was still in the mix when he came down at the last. The trip wouldn’t be a problem for him as he stays further than 2 miles and he acts on both soft and good ground.
The other one I am willing to give an each way chance is Charbel which represents the Kim Bailey yard.He won his beginners chase at Uttoxeter back in October when beating Le Prezien and the well regarded Top Notch( won 4 times since ).He was then sent to the Racing Post Novice Chase at Sandown where he was beaten into 2nd by Altior.There was no disgrace getting beat by 5 lengths by a freak that day and he will be thereabouts next week since he has been kept fresh for the race on purpose.
Selection -Altior -5-4 ( Ante Post)
2.50 Ultima Handicap Chase (Grade 3 )
As it’s always the case this is one of the toughest and trickiest handicap races during the festival.The winners are most of the times double digit and four of the last five winners had odds of 10-1,28-1,14-1 and 33-1.
Only 2 favorites have won this race since 1977 and 11 winners could be found in top 4 of the betting.Two of the last 4 winners were successful off bottom weight while 12 of the last 15 winners carried less than 11st. Other stats to note are that eight of the last 18 winners had finished in the first four at this meeting before.
There are plenty of connections who like to target this race such as Alan King,Nicky Henderson,David Pipe and even J P Mcmanus.I haven’t had a winner in race since 2009 when Wichita Lineman under a terrific AP McCoy rallied near the end to take the honors.If you haven’t seen that race you better do as it’s the best ever ride you will ever see in your lifetime.
Selections-2.50 Noble Endeavor 8-1 & Measureofmydreams 25-1
3.30 Stan James Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy (Grade 1 )
This is one of the most anticipated races of the festival and most eagerly awaited.It’s one of the most prestigious in the racing calendar and one I look forward to every year.It’s not a quality renewal this year with both Annie Power and Faugheen missing out through injury which is a real shame.Annie Power won for us to make amends for getting beat in the previous 2 years. It was one of the highlights for me and very emotional seeing connections in the winning enclosure.Since 1998 the Irish have won 13 times. No unplaced horse from previous year’ running have won for 23 years which doesn’t bode well for The New One.
I will discount My Tent or Yours immediately since no horse aged 10 or above in Champion Hurdle history has won. This horse gets stuffed on the hill everytime he runs at Cheltenham. Yanworth was our Neptune horse last year but was beaten close home by an exceptional horse in Yorkhill.This season he has won his 3 starts and he is a horse that just do enough to win. He isn’t flashy at all but his jumping looks suspect to me. I watched him closely recently and if he hit the hurdles at Cheltenham he won’t get away with it.
He won the Coral Hurdle at Ascot beating a very good horse in Lil Rockerfeller. That was over 2miles 3 as he was being targeted at the Stayers race then. He then went to Kempton to win the Christmas Hurdle and he wasn’t that convincing that day too. The New One was 2nd that day beaten by 3 lengths while My Tent or Yours was beaten by 10. He then went on to win the Kingwell beating Ch’tibello by 1 length.Again he wasn’t fluent at his fences but still won at the end. I can’t have him this year as he doesn’t look like a Champion Hurdler to me. He needs further and a trip. He only came in the CH picture once we knew Faugheen and Annie Power wouldn’t run.
Next in the betting is Buveur D’air who was trained over fences for majority of season but was sent back hurdling recently. Since finishing 3rd to Altior in the Supreme last year he has won his next 4 starts. He won at Aintree after Cheltenham beating Petit Mouchoir by 1/2 length and Limini by 8. I like this horse since he travels well and he has a fantastic turn of foot. He has course form too and the ground will suit him perfectly.
Petit Mouchoir is another with good claims in the race.We were with him in the Fighting Fifth at Newcastle when he unseated when coming to make his challenge. He traveled ,jumped beautifully that day and looked like the winner till that fall. He made amends for this by winning the Ryanair Hurdle in impressive fashion.He beat Nichols Canyon by 7 lengths that day and he was visually very good.He then won the Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown easily but Nichols Canyon fell that day and Footpad was very eye catching in the closing stages only to get beat by 1 length.
At the time of writing Limini hasn’t yet been supplemented for race though there is a high probability that’s the route she will be taking instead of going to the Mares.She only ran once but won convincingly by beating Apples Jade.
Brain Power is another horse in the race with an each way chance.He was 8th in the Greatwood Hurdle but then won nicely at Sandown by beating his stablemate Consul De Thaix. He followed up at Ascot by beating his stablemate by 5 lengths this time.He was very fluent that day and very impressive.
In summary that race should be between the market leaders and I can’t see anything else troubling them.
Selection –Buveur D’Air 4-1
4.10 OLBG Mares Hurdle (Grade 1 )
This should be renamed the Willie Mullins Mares Hurdle such is the dominance of the Irish Champion trainer in the last 8 years.He goes in search of his 9th consecutive victory in the race.The legendary Quevega won it 6 times (those were the days we were going to pile on her at Cheltenham with closed eyes lol), then we had Glen’s Melody winning it (Still some people crying about Annie Power fall at the last hurdle with victory at her mercy ) and last year we had Vroum Vroum Mag destroying the field to make it another glorious Ruby Tuesday.
At the time of writing both Limini and Vroum Vroum Mag were still entered in the race but I don’t think Mullins-Ricci would race both against each other.I am pretty sure Limini would run here instead while they may want to send Vroum Vroum Mag to the stayers or keep her fresh for Punchestown.
I don’t think Limini is good enough to win a Champion Hurdle. She was beaten by 10 lengths at Aintree by Buveur D’Air and 9 lengths by Petit Mouchoir. She won the new Mares Novice race quiet easily last year but then suffered 2 defeats. She made her seasonal debut at Punchestown 3 weekss ago and was so impressive. She beat a very good horse in Apple’s Jade who was race fit. The way she jumped and traveled that day was great to see and in my opinion has improved a bit. She would be one of the bankers on Ruby Tuesday.
Her nearest challenger will be Apple’s Jade. She was very impressive at Punchestown and Aintree. Mullins described her as the best juvenile he has ever trained. That tells you how highly they rated her when she was with them.She started her season at Downpatrick but was turned over by Rashaan. Then she was sent to the Fighting Fifth Hurdle where she was narrowly beaten by Irving. I don’t think she would have won the race if Petit Mouchoir had stayed on his legs. She then won the Hatton’s Grace by a small head beating Vroum Vroum Mag(Was giving away 4 lb that day to winner). She was headed but fought back on the rails to win.She ran 2 months later in the Quevega Mares Hurdle but was beaten fair and square by Limini.
Out of the outsiders I will give an each way chance to Lifeboat Mona. Paul Nichols mentioned Coillte Lass as a solid each way bet for that race at a preview i was at recently. She was 20-1 around that time but might have shortened a bit after what he said.
Selection- Limini 5-4 (NRNB)
4.50 JT McNamara National Hunt Chase (Amateur Riders Novice Chase )
The National Hunt Chase is ran over 4 miles and is the longest race during the festival.It is reserved for novices and amateur jockeys.Four of the last four winners had all contested a Grade 1 Novice Chase earlier in the season.We have to look at horses who have Newbury or Warwick form normally as most of them are targeted at this race.Four of the last nine winners had experienced Cheltenham’s fences earlier during the season.
Four of the last nine British-trained winners contested a novice chase at the Hennessy Gold Cup Meeting with a fifth having its final prep at the same course in February so Newbury form has been a notable factor of late. Two trainers to look for normally in this race are Alan King or Jonjo O’Neil. The Irish sent over 2 winners and three runners up between 2011 and 2013 . Paul Nicholls is 0-16 of which ten started in the first five in the betting.
Other trends to note are that the last 14 winners had run at least three times over fences, ten of the 14 winners either won or finished second last time out and three of the last nine winners arrived here very fresh having not run during the same calendar year.
Selection – A Genie In Abottle 5-1 & Champers On Ice 8-1
5.30 Close Brothers Novices Handicap Chase
This appears to be another tricky handicap race but recent results in the last few years have been kind to punters and we had a nice 16-1 winner in Irish Cavalier last year. Eight of the ten winners have been in top five in the betting of which 2 started favorite. Five of the last eight winners won last time out and eight of the twelve winners had won at least one of their last two starts.
An interesting stat is that eight of the last twelve winners have failed to win on either of their first two chase starts.Seven of the 12 winners were having their handicap debut.This further underlines the requirement to be on a progressive horse peaking at the right time.Nicky Henderson,Jonjo O’Neill and Jp Mcmanus like to target this race.
Pay attention to horses wearing any type of new headgear.I had Irish Cavalier as he was fitted with cheekpieces for the first time 2 years ago and other horses with similar profile had finished placed at big odds in the last 5 years. Ballyalton won last year’s race when he was fitted with cheekpieces for the first time.
Selections – Foxtail Hill 6-1 & Tully East 16-1
Bookies best offers during Cheltenham –
(1) William Hill – 25% win Bonus & Money back 2nd as free bets if your horse wins by 5 lengths in every race at Cheltenham (£100 & £25 Max) .Plus First race everyday 25% win bonus & Money back on all LOSING BETS if race is won by more than 5 lengths
(2)Bet365 – Back a winner at 4-1 or more on ITV and get a risk free bet on the following race shown live on ITV
(3)Ladcrooks – If a Willie Mullins horse wins they will refund losing stakes on all the other horses in race. One selected race per day. Max £25 as a free bet.
(4)Skybet – Money back as a free bet IF YOU LOSE 1.30 EVERYDAY.Max £20
(5)Coral – Money back as a free bet if your horse falls in any Cheltenham race.Max £25
(6)Boylesports- Money back as a free bet if 2nd or 3rd to SP Favorite or if your horse falls at the 1st or last jump.
(7) Paddy Power – Money back as a free bet if your horse finishes 2nd at Cheltenham (1st 5 races every day). Applies as from 8am.
Useful Reading –