Edited to include results and profit/loss on the basis of best odds guaranteed, offered by all bookies mentioned below:
At £1 unit stakes £25 staked/£25.70 returned
Flooring Porter kept the blog afloat yesterday, along with some place bets landing. I’ll be more brief today in my arguments, except for the Gold Cup.
I think the best that can be said for this as a betting medium is that we finally get to see who is right? Zanahiyr fans and Tritonic supporters will get a result without bloodshed. Whether they all accept it is another matter. I am going with Quilixios. I’ve always liked him and he seems more up for a battle than the others.
Quilixios 5/2 – WON
1.55 County Hurdle
I’ve always liked Edwardstone. He was 6th in Shishkin’s Supreme and I think he has a bit of class about him.
An improver with a light weight is Strong Glance, a black gelding who’d look at home gleaming, in front of a hearse. I believe (and hope) he’s faster than that as he’s shown when winning two jumper’s bumpers lately. He could spring a surprise in a roasting contest (they don’t call them betting heats for nothing).
Edwardstone 18/1 – 5TH 18/1
Strong Glance 33/1 – UNPLACED
Above two with Skybet EW 8 places
2.30 Albert Bartlett
As ever, there’ll be a handful of improvers here. Barbados Buck’s is almost sure to be one of them, and I think the ultra game Adrimel is another.
Adrimel 14/1 PULLED UP
Barbados Buck’s 8/1 UNPLACED
Above with Betfair EW to 5 places
3.05 Cheltenham Gold Cup
I’m expecting Native River to run a huge race and think he’s twice the price he should be on form. Part of that value lies in the perception that he’s a much better horse in deep ground, a belief shared, it seems, by most bookies. But the form book does not back that up.
His top Racing Post Rating of 177 came (encouragingly) last time out and that was, indeed, in heavy ground. But he has clocked a 174 on good to soft, a 171 on good and a 168 on good. Aside from that, he looks to me to be in the best form of his life. I always saw him as a superb work horse: you pointed him and he galloped and he jumped and he kept going until the job was done.
This season his demeanour has looked much different to my eye. On both runs he has travelled with considerable enthusiasm, more so last time out when he looked like he took over from Richard Johnson down the back and heading for home, just for the joy of it. He had looked very zippy first time too at Aintree when a low sun caused the dolling off of 9 fences. Had they been jumped, he would have won; I am confident of that.
It would be a wonderful sight to see him regain the Gold Cup he won in 2018, especially as his trainer Colin Tizzard (who lost his daughter Kim to cancer last spring) is retiring in a few weeks.
The potential fly in everyone’s ointment is Champ, who just might be a bit freakish. He won the RSA last year from what looked an impossible position at the last, flying up the run in for a comfortable victory over Allaho and Minella Indo. Miraculous as that was, it might have been even better if his trainer is correct in thinking that Champ struggled to breathe during that race (he had a wind op not long after it). There is evidence to support that theory, I think. Watch him go from a head-down, wandering lump just after the last to a sudden head up machine, as though he’d just got rid of whatever was choking him.
Another hugely notable performance was on his sole run this season in the 2m Game Spirit at Newbury, where he nearly made all. For a Gold Cup prospect over 26f to lead at the last in a top 16f race is remarkable. Had he been fitter and jumped the last better he might well have won. I’ve backed him ante post and will be betting him again today.
Native River 12/1 – 4TH
Champ 11/2 – PULLED UP
Above with Skybet to 5 places
Latenightpass is an improving youngster who will handle the ground. Staker Wallace is another I like.
Latenightpass 18/1 – 4TH
Staker Wallace 10/1 – 3RD
Above with Betvictor EW to 4 places
4.15 Mares Chase
Elimay and Colreevy are all the rage. Neither is proven on this ground, but could be classy enough to overcome that. I recommend taking a chance on the only two guaranteed to act on good ground (which it might well be come race time): Really Super and Chilli Filli:
I recommend backing them in the special market WITHOUT ELIMAY offered by Betvictor who go 33//1 each of them to 3 places EW. BOTH UNPLACED
4.50 Martin Pipe
Leoncavallo is one I’ve always liked. He’s threatened to win a notable race and having joined the Pipe yard (after whose patron the race is named) and had a wind op, is going great guns. He will love the ground too.
I’m also backing Dream Berry who has yet to hit form, but has run well here before and will be fine on the ground. Jonjo has booked the excellent Kevin Brogan.
Leoncavallo 25/1 – 6TH AT 28/1
Dream Berry 50/1. UNPLACED
Above is with Betfred EW to 6 places.
1.20 Quilixios 5/2
1.55 County Hurdle Edwardstone 18/1 Strong Glance 33/1 EW 8 places
2.30 Adrimel 14/1 barbados Buck’s 8/1 EW 5 places
3.05. Native River 12/1 Champ 11/2 EW 5 places
3.40 Latenight Pass 18/1 Staker Wallace 10/1 EW 4 places
4.15 Really Super and Chilli Filli 33/1. EW 3 places WITHOUT ELIMAY
4.50 Leoncavallo 25/1 Dream Berry 50/1 EW to 6 places
As ever, go easy on stakes. Good luck.