Cheltenham – Day 1: Post Mortem
I’m struggling to find anything I really fancy on Day 1. There are four short-priced favourites that will probably win (Getabird, Footpad, Buveur D’Air and Apples Jade) but they are of little interest to me as I won’t bet at such short odds. I will enjoy watching the races however. My betting interests on Day 1 will be more speculative than passionately committed.
Overall Post-Mortem: Three first and three seconds in the six races I bet on. However, the three seconds hurt as two were beaten by necks and the third by a head. If only, If only. I ended the day with a modest three-figure profit instead of a substantial four figure one had those narrow defeats gone the other way. All the fun of the fair.
This is a tricky looking Supreme – you could make cases for 4 or 5 of them. Getabird will probably get Mullins off to a good start but I’d prefer to have a few bob each way on Kim Bailey’s First Flow (11-1) – he will relish the ground and on form would be a shorter price if he had a more fashionable trainer. I’ll have a saver Nicky Henderson’s Claimantforgan at around 14-1 - Henderson has any number of decent young hurdlers so his selection for this race is worth taking seriously. Somerville Boy at 10-1 is a danger I’m aware of.
Post-Mortem: First Flow wasn’t good enough and Claimnanmtforgan ran reasonably. My modest saver on Somerville Lad saved me.
Willie Mullins regards Footpad as his bet bet of the meeting and I couldn’t disagree. I won’t be taking 5-4 on a novice chaser however so I will admire him win without financial interest. If he trips up I fancy Petit Mouchoir to take advantage - Henry de Bromhead has an excellent Cheltenham record.
Post-Mortem: Footpad won easily as predicted.
Ultima Handicap Chase
This is a bit of a lottery but you keep an eye out for course form amongst the lower weights which is why Singlefarmpayment and Coo Star Sivola head the market. However I won’t touch anything under 10-1 here. I like Paul Nichols Vincente at 16-1 and will have a few bob on him and on Pipe’s promising young horse Ramses de Tailee (14-1). Pipe wins this race regularly. Shantou Flyer who I backed in his last two runs (second both times) would do me a disservice if he wins this time – I think he has too much weight.
Post-Mortem: Vincente ran a stinker and Ramses de Taille didn’t stay. I had Shantou Flier in a double with Somerville Lad – his neck defeat cost me around €1,500.
Nobody wants to look beyond Buveur D’Air for this and it looks as if he only has to turn up. Faugheen is shot, Melon is flakey, My Tent or Yours is too old, Elgin is a jumped-up handicapper. My ew My Tent or Yours is a non-runner so I suppose an ew bet on one of Mullins makes sense. But which one? I will observe from afar.
Post-Mortem: I followed the money and backed Melon at 12-1. Buveur D’Air won as predicted but Melon only went down by a neck. Tough luck again Johnny.
Apple’s Jade at 4-7 is another shoo-in it seems. Only a fall or a sniper will stop him. Mullins’ Benie Des Dieux is being backed (he’s 7-2) and he seems the only threat.
Post-Mortem: No bet in this but Apple’s Jade ran no race and got turned over by a Mullins horse.
National Hunt Chase
I don’t bet in novice chases as a general rule. This one has the added uncertainty factor of having amateur riders involved. Put a gun to my head and I’d say back Rathvinden – despite his being brought down and unseated his rider in his last two races. He’s more mature than most of the field and Ruby Walsh likes him (he won’t of course be riding him).
Post-Mortem: I had a modest bet on Rathvinden who won at 9-2 after a nicely patient ride by Patrick Mullins.
Close Brothers Novice Chase
Another novice chase so again I will be observing. Gordon Elliot may get his double via De Plotting Shed but if I were to bet I’d back Henderson’s Rather Be (10-1) ew. If I am desperate at this stage I might just do that.
Post-Mortem: I did just that but he was beaten by a neck at 12-1. I only backed him for a win unfortunately.