The biggest festival in jump racing kicks off tomorrow so I’ve decided to have an ould look at some of the main races on day one.
Looking for a tip, want to be able to talk the talk…. take a read. Let me know what you think and more important how you get on.
The first race of the festival contains many punters idea of a banker. He goes by the name of Dunguib. Although he should win the only thing i would bank on is him giving his supporters acute angina on his way around. Everyone speaks of his high cruising speed, his quick turn of foot & his big engine.
My car has all of these traits but however hard i try, & believe me i do, i just cant get it to jump hurdles. As he is a very short price i cant get involved due to his sketchy jumping & I’d advise those who do to stock up on the pampers or risk feeling their breakfast travelling at a rate of knots down the inside of their leg every time he jumps a hurdle.
My idea of an alternative is Blackstairs Mountain. He’s trained by Willie Mullins, ridden by Ruby Walsh & jumped fluently when winning at a canter on his only previous start over timber. He is a nice each way price at around 10/1 & should be there or thereabouts at the finish.
- The Arkle Chase
This is quite a strong renewal with two strongly fancied Irish raiders in Captain Cee Bee & Sizing Europe. The home challenge is spearheaded by the lightly raced Somersby. Before we go any further i would like to rule out Henrietta Knights charge Somersby. Although winning easily from the strongly fancied Crack Away Jack in December i feel lacks the preparation of the two Irish raiders. It is a well known fact that his trainer is as mad as a bicycle & is very soft on her horses which leaves them very open to defeat to types that have being more rigorously schooled.
Although Sizing Europe beat captain cee bee at Leopardstown when the latter tipped up at the last fence i am of the opinion that had cee bee stayed up he would have won quite easily. Captain Cee Bee can also boast winning form at the festival whereas Sizing Europe died a death when he seemed to be going well here last year in the champion hurdle.
I have come to the conclusion that if the captain jumps he wins, however if he fails to do so i think Nicky Henderson’s riverside theatre has a great chance of running into the money at a price of 9/1. So Captain Cee Bee to win & Riverside Theatre each way for me.
- The cross country race
Yes this race may look like its being run through some kind of upmarket garden centre but it is undoubtably a happy hunting ground for Irish trained horses. One trainer has dominated this in recent years, namely Enda Bolger who must have an abundance of shrubs, hills & banks at his training establishment. He trains both of this years leading protagonists in Garde Champetre & former top class chaser L’ami.
Garde Champetre has won the last two renewals & i think he is on course to score the hatrick. Nina Carberry rides again this year & its very hard to see anything else winning. Gordon Elliots Grand National hero Silver Birch could run into a place at a price of 14/1 but its Garde Champetre for me.
- Other races
The rest of the races on day one of the festival are quite tricky. The main one is the Champion Hurdle. Two of the main contenders, Solwhit & Binocular, have been sicker than a bus to Beaumont over the last few weeks & were only declared as definite runners over the past few days. I think they would be better off taking a trip to Lourdes rather than line up for this race. The current favourite for the race, Go Native, is in line to receive a £1 million bonus if he is victorious, therefore connections will be doing their utmost to ensure this. Last years winner, Punjabi, also makes an appearance but his form this year doesn’t look all that strong. I like the chances of both last year’s runner up Celestial Halo & also Nicky Henderson’s charge Zaynar who was victorious in the triumph hurdle at the festival twelve months ago. I am of the opinion that if you discount Zaynar’s below par performance last time out then he would possibly vying for favouritism along with Go Native. My advice would be to back both Zaynar & Celestial Halo each way at decent prices.
The William Hill handicap chase is also staged tomorrow. This is a very open encounter & i wouldn’t be getting involved with anything at short prices. One that does stand out is Exmoor Ranger who looks well treated in the weights & i will be having a small each way wager on him at 14/1
The final race on the card is the David Nicholson mares hurdle. Two Irish horses, Quevega & Voler La Vedette having being vying for favouritism over the past few weeks & both are closely matched on form with some of the leading champion hurdle contenders. Quevega was third behind Punjabi & Solwhit at Punchestown last year & Voler la Vedette beat Go Native at Down Royal earlier this season when in receipt of 9 pounds. If i had to pick I would plump for Voler La Vedette but I think the outcome of the champion hurdle will give a good indication of what to expect in this race.