Cheltenham Festival, Day 2 Preview

March 12, 2014
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Cheltenham Festival Day 2 Preview
AP Cheltenham

1.30 Neptune  Investment Novices Hurdle 2 mile 5 furlongs

Where to start with the opening race on Day 2. Most logically, from the stats
below, with the Irish and the favourite, Faugheen (3-1), he is all the rage for Willie Mullins and if you look at the stats he satisfies everyone of them. Something not missed by those with antepost vouchers. Royal  Boy (7-1) comes with a similar profile but he is 7 years of age now and that is all that he has against him having won a Group 1 race. Red Sherlock (5-1) has been targeted at this race for some time and has a very similar profile to the favourite, with his yard in red hot form.

It’s not very original but sometimes you can’t and shouldn’t ignore the obvious and shouldn’t look further; this is that race.

Winners profile:  Aged 5-6, RPR of at least 145, Won at least 50% of races, Finished 1st or 2nd on all completed starts, Scored over at least 2m4f, Rated within 9lbs of top rated in the field, At least 3 runs over hurdles, Won a graded hurdle, Started career in Irish points or bumpers.

Winner : Faugheen 5/2 Coral     Outsider  : Red Sherlock 7/2 Betvictor

2.05 RSA Chase 3 mile ½ Furlong

A really tough race to separate some very promising chasers. We have really had to run the rule over the entire field to separate them as with the exception of Samingarry the rest are separated by no more than 7 lbs on RPR ratings.

There will be a good pace with Corrin  Wood, who likes to lead but I think they have chosen the wrong race and should have gone for the 4 miler. Gevrey Champertin would have been top of my list if he hadn’t pulled up last time and been only 6 years of age.
Similarly I fancy Annacotty  who won the Feltham and he gets in as my outsider.  I did fancy Sam Winner  and think he will run well if they don’t go to quick, he just lacks some gears bit not guts.

However, yet again, if you look at the trends the right horse running in the right race has been placed by Willie Mullins. Ballycasey fits all my criteria and has the best chase jockey in the world, that will do for me and Ruby gets us
off to a flyer on day 2.

Winners Profile : Did not run on the flat, Top 3 finish last time out, Ran between 24-53 days ago, 3 times over fences or more, Contested a graded chase and won or placed, rated less then 11lbs from top rated, 9-12 jumping runs, Chase RPR of at least 150. Aged 7.

Winner : Ballycasey 11/2 Skybet   Outsider :  Annacotty 20/1 Betvictor

2.40 Coral Cup – Handicap 2 mile 5 furlong

What a handicap this is. We really need to get to the bottom of these entries to find our winner and with 28 in the field it’s never easy. So who looks likely to give us a decent run for our money.

Sometimes the stats can be a little bit inhibiting, particularly when a horse of the quality of Dunguib (9-1) decides to show his face in a handicap. History says he can’t win carrying 11-12 but that’s not what his shrewd trainer thinks and he
showed that he is back to some decent form with a win in a Grade 2 last time out. He likes Cheltenham and has never delivered on his ability before getting injured. So even at 11, and off 157 he could be the Elephant in the room.

The winners profile is very satisfied with Clondaw Kaempfer who, carrying 10-10 seems to have everything going for him and from a trainer whose horses are really finding in a fight at the moment, which this will be.

The other who satisfies nearly all of our criteria is Kaylif Aramis for Nigel Twiston Davies. His win last time out was a good performance and shows he is in great form.

Winners profile : Won between 2m2f and 2m6f, Scored at Class 3 or above, Not run for at least 32 days, Won a race earlier in the season, Carried no more than 11s2lb. Aged 5-7, Officially rated 130-144. No more than four runs this season.

Winner : Clondaw Kaempfer  (14-1) Skybet ,  Alternative  : Kaylif Aramis (16-1) Bet 365

3.20 Betvictor Queen Mother Champion Chase 2miles

The least competitive race on the book this year. The only horse who has the ability, the form, the profile and the class to win this race is the favourite, Sire De Grugy (5-2) and barring a fall he wins this race. The Irish Challenger Arvika Leigeonneire (7-1) could chase him home if he jumps them all but that’s a big if. There is no doubting he has talent but he just seems to tip up too often for my liking.  If you go through the profile below you can only find one that fits it and it’s the Sire for Gary Moore.

Winners Profile : Won over at least 2m1f, At least 7 runs over fences, No older than 9, Adjusted RPR of at least 170, less than 9lb from top rated, Grade 1 Chase winner or placed. All those in the last 10 years, 7 or younger were all French breds.

Winner : Sire De Grugy (5-2 Sportingbet)   Outsider : Arvika Leigeonneire (7-1 Bet 365)

4.00 Glenfarclas Cross Country Hcap Chase 3 mile 7 furlongs

Big Shu 4  – has the course and distance form that is important in this race. So is the jockey knowing which way to go!! And I don’t say that flippantly.  Balthazar King 11/2 also has the ability to win this having done so over course and distance, which
is important. Quantativeeasing 11 has the trainer, the owner and the jockeys surname (Walsh) to bring it all together and could provide the answers and finally at 12 years of age don’t rule out Sizing Australia 16, for Henry DeBromhead who has also won around this track. It’s not one of my favourite races but those horses who have proven ability do well and the betting doesn’t often get it wrong.

Winners Profile : Won over at least 3m, Trained in Ireland, Officially rated 126-143, C&D or Punchestown winning or placed form, Carried less than 11stone, Top four last time out.

Winner: Big Shu  (4-1 Bet 365)    Outsider : Quantativeeasing (12-1 Betvictor)

4.40 Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle 2 miles ½ Furlong

Just the 24 in this handicap with only 12 pounds between top and bottom. Not a lot to these horses and it becomes a very tight handicap. Dawalan 6/1 has been all the rage for some time, for Nicky Henderson and he is most definitely laid
out for this race and can’t be ignored. Goodwood Mirage 9/1 likewise, fits most of our credentials for the race and it’s possible the better ground will really help him, as will his pilot AP McCoy. Ivan Grozny 12/1 was at one time favourite for the Triumph and hasn’t lived up to that billing but this could be right up his street. Another who needs serious consideration who is lurking lower in the weights is the David Pipe trained Azza 20/1 , who again gets a lot of ticks in the right boxes.

It’s not easy and there appears to be no banker in this race.

Winners Profile : By  a sire who won a Grp 1 on the flat, Beaten in first two starts over hurdles, Officially rated 124-133, Won at least one of last two starts, Carry 11 stone or less

Winner: Goodwood  Mirage (9/1 Skybet)    Outsider : Azza (20-1 Skybet)

5.15 Weatherbys  Champion Bumper 2 mile ½ furlong

It has been relatively simple to get in to the places in this race with your bet. Cover all Willie Mullins horses and if you haven’t got the winner you probably have a place for your each way money. He certainly brings two good horses to this race this year. Black Hercules, 7/1 was quoted as being his best earlier in the season and Shaneshill 7/1 doesn’t look that far behind him. I guess when we find out which one Ruby is riding that will affect the prices. If they aren’t the winners then maybe Modus 10/1 for the little known trainer
Robert Stephens, who bolted up in a junior bumper here earlier in the season, or Silver Concorde (16-1) for flat master, Dermot Weld have the answers.

It’s tough to see past the Irish in this one and I’m not sure there is much point in looking if history is anything to go by.

Winners Profile : Won last time out, Aged 5-6, Won a bumper with at least 13 starters, Adjusted RPR of 126 or more, Off for at least 33 days, Bred in Ireland.

Winner : Black  Hercules  – 7-1 Skybet     Outsider : Modus   12- 1 Skybet