Wednesday Preview

Wednesday Preview

The make up of this year’s ante-post portfolio suggested that the best chances of profits would come on the first two days of the meeting. It was a fantastic day one with Un De Sceaux and Cause Of Causes winning and Arctic Fire and Polly Peachum reaching the frame. Hopefully we're set up for similar luck today.

Day 2 kicks off with the Neptune, and having put up Nichols Canyon at 6/1 I’m sticking with him now in a race that has cut up to just ten runners. He looks a strong favourite in a race where favourites have a good record and surprises are rare. I think Outlander and Windsor Park are stayers and I'm not sure how strong the Challow form represented by Parlour Games and Vyta Du Roc is. The Irish had the first 3 home in the Supreme yesterday and it wouldn't surprise me to see something similar here. After Willie Mullins 4 timer on the opening day, I'm surprised Nichols Canyon is as big as 4/1 and if you're not already on, that's great value.

In the feature event of the day, the Champion Chase, I put Simply Ned up each-way at 33/1 in the autumn. He’s now 20/1 and on the drying ground I think he has a fair each-way chance in what looks a wide open race.

I’d happily lose my stake to see the great Sprinter Sacre (7/2) back to his best, but that’s unlikely. Dodging Bullets (11/2) is the form horse and could be being underrated as Sire De Grugy was off a similar profile last year, but the value has gone. Its hard to know what Mr Mole (10/1) achieved in the Game Spirit but I just can’t believe he can win a Champion Chase. Champagne Fever (5/1) is tempting as his course form is so strong and the previous season’s Arkle is such a good guide.

The field is much more competitive than I’d anticipated a couple of months ago and whilst I think Simply Ned will run well, I fear that one of the big guns will bring their A-Game and be too good for him. I was tempted to back Sire De Grugy (7/2) as he was impressive at Chepstow last time off 172 and is capable of taking hard races. It was a close call but I’m going to pass on another bet.

Elsewhere the portfolio has a couple of decent chances. The Bumper is obviously a hard race to predict but having put Moon Racer up at 12/1, I wouldn’t swap him with anything. The Irish will provide formidable opposition and it wouldn’t surprise me if Willie Mullins’s 7th string wins it. However, vibes in the last day or so are a good guide to this and its great to see Moon Racer really strong in the market as 9/1 2nd favourite. He could be a fair bit shorter by the off.

Many will be in the bar when they are going round and round in ever decreasing circles in the Cross-country, but there are surely only a few who can realistically win what is the ultimate in specialists races. Sire Collonges boasts the best overall course form and has every chance - he is another who still represents value now (15/2).

The RSA has cut up to a field of 9 leaving a very different race from the one most of us were analysing ante-post. The stats boys will be all over this as there are strong trends with which to oppose most of the main protagonists. From a punting point of view it's a pity Coneygree isn't running as it would have been maximum bet time. However, with the ground riding good and rain forecast for later in the week, I can see why they're aiming the 8 year old at the Gold Cup.

Don Poli (2/1) must be the perfect lay for those who base their punting on trends. Its over 50 years since any horse has won this without running in the calendar year. It’s 17 years since any horse won it after just 2 chase runs. Don Poli has had just 2 chases, the last at Leopardstown at Christmas.

Whilst I’m a big believer that recent match practice is crucial, and plenty of experience over the relevant obstacles is a big advantage – if ever a horse is going to defy those stats its this year. Those stats are based on traditional RSAs where there are much bigger fields, often at a really fast pace.

It’s more than 20 years since a smaller field lined up and it’s possible Kings Palace might get a soft lead and they could go very steadily. If that happens, Don Poli’s lack of experience and recent match practice might be much less of a disadvantage. Regardless, I just can’t back him at such a short price.

The Young Master (11/2) has been off the course for even longer, not having run since his handicap win at Ascot off 144 on 20th December. He has had 4 chase runs so has more experience but it would surprise me if he was quite classy enough against some potential Gold Cup horses in this.

I was impressed with Southfield Theatre (15/2) in the autumn but that form hasn’t worked out. He was disappointing when beaten on soft ground by Carraig Mor and was then a slightly lucky winner at Exeter last time. 3m and decent ground will suit him much better and he ought to run his race but I’m banking on something improving past him.

In theory this ought to lead to Kings Palace (4/1) being the right play, but he’s a horse I’m struggling to warm to. He looks to need a soft lead and the two times he’s got taken on he’s ended up on the floor. He fell in a hole last year in the Albert Bartlett and I can see him doing that again unless he gets a really easy lead. The other question mark over Kings Palace is how much of a battler he is. I’m expecting this to be too tough an assignment.

I think this is ripe for an upset and at a much bigger price I’m keen to back If In Doubt (12/1). He won the Great Yorkshire Chase off 139 last time, beating a competitive field easily despite a moderate round of jumping. It looked a case of his not getting into a rhythm early on there, and there’s obviously the risk that happens again - but he showed a huge engine that day, (RPR of 157 makes him joint top rated.) That performance showed he has the raw ability to compete with the top novice chasers.

There is no way he should be 12/1 against these, and he may well find it much easier to get into a rhythm in this small field. He stays every yard and looks a real improver - that makes him the clear value here.

1pt If In Doubt to win the RSA Chase (2:05) @ 12/1

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Cheltenham Countdown

The best Cheltenham Festival blog on the planet returns for 2015!

Over the past three years our National Hunt expert Matt Tombs has held our hands on the road to the Cheltenham Festival, with analysis and bets through the season, but the main focus being on the four days in March that brings the racing world together.

Matt has turned a profit every year, and in 2014 ante-post bets on Jezki (12/1) and Balthazar King (33/1) ensured it was another successful Festival. View the archive of years past at 2014, 2013 and 2012.

You can also follow and contact Matt on Twitter.


Cheltenham Portfolio:


Bentelimar - Supreme Novices - 0.5pts e/w 50/1 - U/P

Un De Sceaux - Arkle - 1pt 6/1 - WON

Smashing - Arkle w/o Un De Sceaux - 1pt 10/1 - U/P

Arctic Fire - Champion Hurdle - 1pt e/w 33/1 NRNB - 2nd

Polly Peachum - Mares Hurdle - 1pt e/w 10/1 NRNB - 2nd

Cause Of Causes - National Hunt Chase - 1pt 8/1 NRNB - WON

Wounded Warrior - National Hunt Chase - 1pt 10/1 - N/R

Vroum Vroum Mag - National Hunt Chase - 1pt 20/1 NRNB - N/R

Cocktails At Dawn - Novices Handicap Chase - 1pt 16/1 NRNB - U/P

Jarry D'Honneur - Novices Handicap Chase - 1pt 16/1 NRNB - N/R


Nichols Canyon - Neptune Novices - 1pt 6/1 NRNB - 3rd

Arbre De Vie - Neptune Novices - 1pt 20/1 NRNB - N/R

Champagne West - RSA Chase - 1pt 16/1 - N/R

Valseur Lido - RSA Chase - 1pt 10/1 NRNB - N/R

Simply Ned - Champion Chase - 1pt e/w 33/1 - U/P

Sire Collonges - Cross Country - 1pt 10/1 - U/P

Moon Racer - Champion Bumper - 1pt 12/1 - WON


Apache Stronghold - JLT - 1pt 16/1 - 2nd

Caid Du Berlais - Ryanair Chase - 1pt 25/1 - N/R

Un Temps Pour Tout - World Hurdle - 1pt 20/1 - U/P

Whisper - World Hurdle - 1pt 20/1 NRNB - U/P


Rich Coast - County Hurdle - 1pt 20/1 NRNB - U/P

Shantou Bob - Albert Bartlett - 1pt 25/1 - U/P

Martello Tower - Albert Bartlett - 1pt 12/1 - WON

Dynaste - Gold Cup - 1pt 25/1 - N/R

Smad Place - Gold Cup - 1pt e/w 25/1 NRNB - U/P

Current Event - Foxhunter Chase - 1pt 14/1 - U/P


15 or more - Total Irish Winners - 1pt 9/1 - Lost

Mullins treble - Novice Hurdles - 1pt 20/1 - Lost

Fred Winter - Longest Winning SP Race - 1pt 20/1 - Lost


Other bets:

Shanahan's Turn - Novice Handicap Chase - 1pt 12/1 - U/P

Pearlysteps - Champion Hunters Chase - 1pt 9/1 - 3rd

Rivage D'Or - La Touche Cup - 1pt 6/1 - U/P

Lots Of Memories - World Series Hurdle - 1pt e/w 40/1 - U/P

Ballynagour - Punchestown Gold Cup - 1pt 10/1 - U/P

No More Heroes - Daily Mirror Novice Hurdle - 1pt 10/3 - U/P

Ange D'Or Javilex - Martinstown Handicap Hurdle - 1pt 40/1 - U/P

Modus - Champion INH Flat Race - 1pt 5/1 - 3rd

Valseur Lido - Growise Novice Chase - 1pt 9/1 - WON

Mallowney - Boylesports Champion Chase - 1pt 13/2 - U/P

Saint Are - Grand National - 1pt 33/1 - 2nd

Corrin Wood - Grand National - 1pt 100/1 - U/P

Cole Harden - Liverpool Hurdle - 1pt 11/4 - 2nd

Nichols Canyon - Mersey Novices Hurdle - 1pt 7/2 - WON

Sizing Granite - Maghull Novices Chase - 1pt 6/1 - WON

Simply Ned - Melling Chase - 1pt 22/1 - U/P

Carraig Mor - Mildmay Novices Chase - 1pt 14/1 - 2nd

Roi Des Francs - Sefton Novices Hurdle - 1pt 13/2 - U/P

Blue Heron - Aintree Hurdle - 1pt 14/1 - U/P

Silviniaco Conti - Aintree Bowl - 1pt 3/1 - WON

Dresden - Red Rum Chase - 1pt 14/1 - U/P

Neverownup - Fox Hunter Chase - 1pt 40/1 - U/P

Wicklow Brave - Betfair Hurdle - 1pt 20/1 - U/P

Houblon Des Obeaux - Denman Chase - 1pt 10/3 - 2nd

On His Own - Irish Hennessy - 1pt 7/2 - U/P

Apache Stronghold - Flogas Novice Chase - 1pt 5/1 - WON

Un Temps Pour Tout - Cleeve Hurdle - 1pt 11/4 - 3rd

Robinsfirth - Classic Novice Hurdle - 1pt 8/1 - U/P

Arctic Fire - Irish Champion Hurdle - 1pt 12/1 - 2nd

Twinlight - Clarence House Chase - 1pt 6/1 - U/P

Katie T - Boylesports Hurdle - 1pt 12/1 - WON

Lord Windermere - Lexus Chase - 1pt 13/2 - U/P

Dedigout - Leopardstown Xmas Hurdle - 1pt 33/1 - U/P

Le Vent d'Antan - Beginners' Chase - 1pt 3/1 - WON

Al Ferof - King George - 1pt 6/1 - 3rd

Purple Bay - Christmas Hurdle - 1pt 20/1 - 2nd

Simply Ned - Dial-a-Bet Chase - 1pt 10/1 - 3rd

Corrin Wood - Rowland Meyrick - 1pt 8/1 - 3rd

Ma Filleule - King George - 2pts 33/1 - N/R

Hello George - Ladbroke - 1pt 14/1 - U/P

Caid Du Berlais - December Gold Cup - 1pt 7/2 - U/P

Zamdy Man - International Hurdle - 1pt e/w 12/1 - U/P

Dodging Bullets - Tingle Creek - 1pt 10/1 - WON

Irish Saint - Henry VIII - 1pt 13/8 - U/P

Ma Filleule - Betfred Chase - 1pt 9/4 - U/P

Benny's Mist - Grand Sefton - 1pt 12/1 - 3rd

Rocky Creek - Hennessy Gold Cup - 1pt 10/1 - U/P

Aurore D'Estruval - Fighting Fifth - 1pt 4/1 - 2nd

Real Steel - Drinmore - 1pt 12/1 - 3rd

Tandem - Royal Bond - 1pt 10/1 - U/P

Menorah - Betfair Chase - 1pt 9/1 - 2nd

Zamdy Man - Price Rush Hurdle - 1pt 25/1 - 2nd

Caid Du Berlais - Paddy Power Gold Cup - 1pt 16/1 - WON

Sausalito Sunrise - Club Novices Chase - 1pt 3/1 - 2nd

Simply Ned - Shloer Chase - 1pt 9/4 - 2nd

Regal Encore - Greatwood Hurdle - 1pt 16/1 - U/P

Jezki - Morgiana Hurdle - 1pt 4/5 - 2nd