JCB Triumph Hurdle
If you were thinking of backing Quilixios at yestderday's 9/2. Think again, the bookies are taking no chances with Rachel Blackmore's fancies today. I'm going to have to say that Adagio is now the only value in this. The top 3 in the market look good though, and I do expect them to fill the places. The devil in me wonders whether Historic Heart or Talking About You might become a non-runner later on today 😉
ADAGIO @ 16/1.
McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle
we can rule out the non-hurdlers last time out (in red).
The last 6 runnings have gone to either Willie Mullins or Dan Skelton.
Mullins has Buildmeupbuttercup, Ciel De Neige, Ganapathi, Getaway Gorgeous and Captain Kangaroo. Of these only Ganapathi is one i'd be interested in, he's a lightly raced novice in the stype of last year's winner, Saint Roi. He is 6/1, so no hidden gem.
Skelton's Third Time Lucki isn't his usual type for this, and is passed over this year.
Champagne Gold was 14/1 a couple of days ago, however Rachel's on board so the price has halved, would have been my bet so keep in the placepot. Fifty Ball was 2nd in the Betfair and before that won 2 handicaps, there maybe more to come from him.
There is nothing stand out at a price. I want to advise Champagne Gold, and if he drifts he'd be a bet, however I can only see 7/1 at the moment. Not a race I was to go mad on. So just one.
FIFTY BALL @ 14/1, general. 7 places Paddy Power
Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle
I typically aim for Graded winners in this race and that naturally points to 3 of the 4 horses here (the other is Fakiera, but only Grade 3).
Adrimel, Alaphilippe and The Cob have all won Grade 2 races this season (Adrimel's was over 2m5). The Cob has come from handicapping, something I'm not too keen on, so he'd be the one to drop if any.
Tom Lacey is 0 from 24 in the last month, so that's a worry for Adrimel. Ben Pauling is 0 from 24 in the last fortnight (2/51 month), not good for The Cob.
Short and sweet.
ALAPHILLIPE @ 14/1, genral. Betfair 5 places.
Wellchild Cheltenham Gold Cup
We have a Gold Cup where many of last years runners meet again. Apart fron Native River and Frodon, the brits have disappointed. The ground should be agianst Native River and Frodon surely won't stay. They may both front run too, which will hinder their chances.
Novice Royal Pagaille has to overcome a couple of negatives, firstly he's come from a handicap (the limited Group 2, Peterborough Chase) and has yet to win a Group 1 Chase.
Minella Indo, Aso, Black Op and Santini also fail this stat.
Kemboy looks a little exposed for this now and hasn't done too well at the festival before.
Lets concentrate where it will be won. Either Al Boum Photo will either score his hattrick, A Plus Tard will sneak into contention like Sizing John did, or Champ will may three errors, befor steaming up the hill a la Lord Windermere.
Of course the Rachel Blackmore effect has halved APT's price at a stroke. 5/1 was a lovely price, 3/1 not so. Let's see if the price drifts again over the morning.
It looks like a no-bet Gold Cup for me. A Plus Tard would be the selection, 7/2 at the moment, still not a price to tempt me.
Last years winner It Came To Pass is back for another tilt. You won't be getting the 66/1 this time. He unseated on his last run, and wasn't running well at the time. He would have need that run after 3 months off, although you'd have liked him to have run better.
There's plenty of last years field back for more - Billaway (2nd), Staker Wallace (4th), Law Of Gold (7th). Only Billaway ticks boxes for us this year.
Hazel Hill won 2 seasons ago (was a non-runner last year). He'd be a little older than most winners at 13. In the same stable are Salvatore and Wishing And Hoping. British-bred horses haven't been having a great time in this and that would be a negative against Salvatore, as well as Latenightpass and Red Indian.
Wishing And Hoping was well beaten by Bob And Co last time, but 2m 6 won't have suited. He's not from a Point-To-Point background though and that a negative here.
The GB-bred stat is the only negative about Salvatore. He won over this trip last time.
Realistically on the ratings, the only horses liekly to win are Billaway, Bob and Co and It Came To Pass. Bob And Co has limited experience (twice in France) of these drying conditions.
IT CAME TO PASS @ 8/1, general
SALVATORE e/w @ 33/1, Bet 365, Paddy Power
Mrs Paddy Power Mares' Chase
The first running of the Mares' Chase and its attracted a decent field. I used the Ryanair Chase as the template for some of the trends and the results are above. An obvious place to start would be Willie Mullins trained horses as he does well with purchasing and training them.
Colreevy hasn't troubled the judge in her first 2 runs at the festival, 7th in the Bumper (2018) and 5th in last years' Mare Novices' Hurdle. She's won all 3 of her starts over fences though, including a 12 length beating of Mount Ida (won the Kim Muir yesterday).
Elimay sets the standard thought. Only 3 lengths behind Ryanair winner Allaho in January, she then put Shattered Love in her place over the minimum trip.. She is a worthy favourite.
Salsaretta won her first four starts, including a Grade 2 Chase on the way, she's come unstuck in her last 2 races.
Caberet Queen is the outsider of these 4, although the 25/1 may not last long if Rachel Blackmore has any winners earlier in the day.
Of the rest, Magic Of Light is a former Grand National runner-up and this is surely too short for her, especially on decent ground. Shattered Love shouldn't be ruled out, though beaten by Elimay last time, she didn't jump well early before running on into 2nd. She has won the Marsh (Was JLT) Chase in 2018.
Difficult to see past the favourite. A no bet race for me.
Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle
Most winners in this race have no stamina issues, having raced over further in their fledgling hurdling careers. Graded form of any kind fits may of them as well.
Fire Attack looks perfect on the trends but doesn't fit that particular trait. Its been a Gigginstown Stud benefit since the start, but he's also untried on the drying ground.
Galopin Des Champs is one to consider, his "failure" is not top 3 last time, but he was 6th to Appreciate It in the 2m Grade 1 at Leopardstown.
Gabynako ran 8 lengths behind Bob Olinger (won weds), earlier in the season over this trip. Another not hidden by the market.
Frontal Assault ticks lots of boxes, but hasn't shown enough to say he'll win this.
Gentleman De Mee looks a typical Ex-French, Willie Mullins hotpot, just 3 runs, including a nice win on Irish debut. He's 3/1, but I'd have thought County Hurdle was his race.
Langer Dan won easily 6 days ago, don't even think he really came of the bridle. I'm not usually one for racing again so quickly, but it can be done. Steps up in trip today.
If you need a get out horse, maybe First Lord De Cuet will be the answer. He wen't up 10lb for winning last time out. He doesn't have the Graded form of the favourites, but ticks pleny of other boxes.
The market looks to have everything sorted, and I expect the winner to come from those. I have to back Fire Attack on the trends.
FIRE ATTACK @ 12/1, bet365