1.45 Aux Ptits Soins 12-1 ( 6 places with @skybet)
2.25 Angels Breath 7-2
3.00 Clondaw Castle 4-1
3.40 Apples Jade 7-4
4.20 Mister Malarky 13-2 & Springtown Lake 11-1 (Notebook)
5.15 Tiger Roll 5-1 (AP) , 2 each way bets Rathviden 11-1 and Ramses De Teillee 25-1
(Some great offers from bet365 as long as you bet before midday tomorrow as they return half of your stake back on each way bets. Shop around as always to get best place terms with bookies. Some are paying 6/7 places right now. Hope all horses come home safe and sound which is most important. It’s a difficult race as we all know so don’t lump on anything )
6.20 Scheu Time 11-2
Lucky 15 – 2.25 Angels Breath 7-2 , 3.00 Clondaw Castle ,3.40 Apples Jade 7-4, 5.15 Tiger Roll 9-2
E/w Lucky 15 – 1.45 Aux Ptits Soins 12-1 ,4.20 Springtown Lake 10-1, 5.15 Rathvinden 8-1, 6.20 Scheu Time 11-2
2.25 Betway Mersey Novices Hurdle (Grade 1 )
Black Op was last year’s winner and arrived in this race after finishing 2nd to Samcro in the Ballymore. In the process he became the 14th winner in the last 20 years that have ran at the Cheltenham festival. Nine of those 14 have ran in the Ballymore Novice Hurdle. We all remember our 2 superstars in Yorkhill and Simonsig who did the Ballymore-Mersey Novice double in the last few years. The Ballymore has become more influential lately and it will likely provide more winners in future.
This is another race on Aintree’s hurdles track in which front-runners tend to struggle, although Black Op did race prominently from a relatively early stage last year . The lack of suitability for front-runners has been well-documented already, although those who track the pace are well-suited. Its normally a race for favorite backers as they have won 17 of the last 21 races. A good stat for Angels Breath backers is that seven of the last 21 winners of this race were stepping up in trip for first time. Paul Nichols has a fantastic record but he has no runners this year. The same can be said about Willie Mullins. Five Year olds have a good record in race as they have won three of the last five runnings that includes a 1-2-3-4 two years ago.
Angels Breath comes here on the back of finishing 7th in the Supreme that was won by Klassical Dream. He was an impressive winner of the Novice Trial at Ascot on his debut last December where he quickened away smartly despite jumping only 4 hurdles that day due to the low sun. He wasn’t seen again till the Dovecote in late February where he was beaten by a very good/experienced horse in Southfield Stone. He can be excused as he didn’t have a good preparation and was vaccinated few days before race. He was given an educational ride that day and its not easy to give weight away too. On his last start there was no excuse as he was soundly beaten and he made a few jumping mistakes too during the race. He is stepping up in distance today and the flat track might suit him. He still has questions to prove but we all know he is well regarded at the yard. He could well be a different horse tomorrow if he has improved in the last 3 weeks.
Brewin’upastorm represents the Olly Murphy yard and he was very impressive when he won on seasonal debut at Huntingdon. He then contested the Grade 1 Challow Hurdle where he was 4th behind Champ. He was kept at the rear but was too keen. He did stay on strongly at the end though. He was an unlucky faller on his following start at Cheltenham when he was going to piss it. His last start was in the Ballymore where he ran a creditable race in 4th beaten by over 4 lengths by City Island. He had every chance turning for home but didn’t find much under pressure. He isn’t a Grade 1 horse for me yet as he could bump into a classy one but it could be the track might suit him better than at Cheltenham.
One For Rosie ran a gallant race in that race at Sandown under top weight when he got collared by Third Wind in the dying strides. Before that he won very easily at Warwick where he jumped brilliantly throughout. On his seasonal debut he did beat Glen Forsa over at Carlisle. He is a progressive horse and could make his presence felt on this speed track.
Chosen Mate has won 2 out of his 3 races this season for Gordon Elliot. He won his maiden over at Fairyhouse in convincing fashion before finding the exciting Sinoria a little bit too strong in the Listed race over at Punchestown. He was then sent to the Grade 2 Paddy Power Novice Hurdle at Naas where he hold on gamely at the end. He travelled beautifully that day and stayed on strongly. This step up in trip will suit him and he will relish conditions too. I will give him an each way squeak.
Umbrigado has won all his three starts this season. He made his debut at Uttoxeter last November in a bumper race that he won easily. He then made his hurdling debut at Southwell before defying a penalty to win at Exeter on his last start. His stable are in good form and I think he will relish the step up in trip and could run a good race.
Selection – Angels Breath
3.00 Doom Bar Maghull Novices Chase (Grade 1)
Winners of this race are normally found in the first three of the betting. 20 out of 21 winners could be found in top three and 12 of the last 16 in top two in the betting. Winners of this race normally comes from the Arkle at Cheltenham as 18 of the last 24 have ran at the festival before. It is another race where you have to take into account form on a flat track as plenty of winners have proved their worth on speed based tracks like the winner Diego Du Charmil last year. Five year olds have a good record in race between 1999 and 2007 when they had five from nine winners. That was due to the weight for age allowance that existed at that time. It was completely removed in 2008 and since then only six five year olds have taken their chance. Seven of the last nine winners were aged six.
Us and Them heads the betting for Joseph O’Brien. He made his seasonal debut at Wexford where he was 4th to Minds Eye and he then won his beginners Chase at Navan. He then came 2nd to a very good horse in Le Richebourg over Xmas in the Racing Post Novice Chase where he was very good with his jumping and stayed on stronglly in the run in. He was then destroyed by the same horse in the Frank Ward Arkle Novice Chase over at Leopardstown where he wasn’t disgraced at all. He ran his race at Cheltenham in the Arkle where he was 2nd again but it was a race decimated by fallers to Kalashnikov, Lalor etc. The winner that day Duc De Genievres spread eagled the field and won with ease. He will give you a run for your money but could bump into an improver.
Clondaw Castle comes from the Tom Georges yard and he was fourth in the Arkle and has 7 lengths to make on Us and Them on form. He ran a very good race at Cheltenham and even challenged the winner but he couldn’t keep up with the pace on the turn. Before that he won two races at Leicester and Huntingdon. He is a sound jumper and there could be more improvement to come from this fella on this speedy track.
Lalor won the Top Novices Hurdle at big odds at this festival last year. He made his chasing debut at Cheltenham in the Arkle Novice Trial where he jumped his rivals into submission. That was very impressive performance as he was very fluent at his fences and it was a joy to watch him that day. He gave a good beating to Dynamite Dollars who then reversed the form at Sandown in the Henry VII Chase. He was pulled up in the Arkle as he was never travelling on the desperate ground that day and Richard Johnson looked after him. I think if the ground dries up more tomorrow he will be thereabouts if he comes back to the form of his Cheltenham form in earlier season.
Ornua was the other faller in that dramatic Arkle race at Cheltenham. Before that he was a good 2nd to Dynamite Dollars at Sandown in the Henry VII. He also finished 2nd in the Grade 2 Buck House Novice Chase at Punchestown where he was beaten by Cadmium,who just won the Topham. He has decent claims on form and if he jumps he will be thereabouts.
Knocknanuss hails from the Gary Moore race and was 5th in the Arkle.He fell on his seasonal debut at Plumpton before redeeming himself at Fakenham and Newbury. He was then beaten by a well regarded horse in Mister Dino in the valuable race at Plumpton where he was caught 2 out. He also fell in the Grade 1 at Leopardstown during the Dublin festival. He is a front runner and is prone to jumping errors. For that reason I cant have him in the race.
Selection – Clondaw Castle