Monday, 11 March 2013

Selections for Cheltenham Week

If you missed the Cheltenham Festival Preview Night last Thursday - shame on you, you missed a great evening.

Now that we have hoovered-up all the fancy prices about the tips - there is little harm in letting you in on some of the secrets:


The panel liked My Tent Or Yours in the Supreme Novices Hurdle, except Marten Julian who thought the value had gone (he is around 6/4). He liked Melodic Rendezvouz (sadly a non-runner having scoped badly).

Even Marten said that Simonsig shouldn't be taken on in the Arkle. He feels Loch Ba might be an improver in the JLT Speciality Chase, while Jimmy Moffatt liked Knockara Beau (a previous winner at cartmel and one of my favourite horses - not that that is material to the discussion in any way)  

Brian Harding and Jimmy both fancy Countrywide Flame (each way), another Cartmel winner, for the Champion Hurdle. Marten prefers Rock on Ruby and Ferdy Murphy prefers Hurricane Fly.

Quevega will be difficult to beat in the Mares race, but Marten had a good word for She Ranks Me (yet another Cartmel winner in August this year). Attaglance was popular for the final race, the novice handicap chase.


The first five races were pretty easy: Rival D'Estruval, Pont Alexandre, Boston Bob, Sprinter Sacre and Pendra. Except that Marten, seeking out the value as always, thought Pont Alexandre and Sprinter sacre would be too short in the betting. He likes Taquin Du Seuil in the Neptune Novices Hurlde.

Ferdy was especially keen on Le Vent D'Anton, trained by his son in Ireland, for the Bumper. However, Marten had a great story about a misty-morning gallop at Newbury when Sgt Reckless appeared miles clear of some useful flat-types. Take note! 


Ferdy tipped Dynaste in the Jewson Novices Chase when he was still 5/1 - you'll struggle to get 6/4 now.

Sam Winner was the selection in the Pertemps for Ferdy and Marten, although I've since heard a good word for Jetson at 20/1.

The Ryanair will go to Cue Card, Champion Court or First Lieutenant according to the panel (and I'm backing Menorah!).

I'm not sure why Smad Place didn't get a mention for the World Hurdle - he was third last year and the two that beat him aren't running this time. At 14/1 he is a good price. The panel preffered Reve De Sivola (except Marten who fancies Get Me Out Of Here - although he won't want soft ground).

Ferdy trains Divers who he thinks has a good each way chance in the Byrne Group Plate. The interesting gossip was that Ballynagour, the likely favourite, was a regular bleeder in France - and he may struggle to confirm the good impression he made recently on his British debut.

Super Duty was popular for the Kim Muir, although Brian's brother rides one for Nick Gifford which is also quietly fancied - On Trend.


Rolling Star was popular with all the panelists except Ferdy who went for Our Conor in the Triumph Hurdle.

At Fishers Cross was also a popular selection in the Albert Bartlett (except for Brian who likes Champagne Fever).

Sir Des Champs was the selection for everyone in the Gold Cup - except for Jimmy Moffatt who said that "the evidence is as plain on the nose on your face - it has to be Silviniaco Conti" - or at least he would have done if he could pronounce the horse's name. For what it is worth, I'm with Jimmy - I can't pronounce the name, but I think it will win. Who knew how to pronounce "Kauto" Star either?

The final race of the festival is traditionally left to Nicky Henderson and there is an obvious word for Alderwood, although Marten typically had a interesting thought about Kid Cassidy. "He'd be a good ride for Timmy Murphy" he said - and who do you think has been jocked up?

Whatever you back - good luck!

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