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Cheltenham Festival - Friday

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Cheltenham Festival - Friday Empty Cheltenham Festival - Friday

Post by sportform on Fri 14 Mar 2014, 2:14 am

GOING: GOOD (Good to soft in places; GoingStick 7.0). (Mostly cloudy)

1.30 JCB TRIUMPH HURDLE GRADE 1 (CLASS 1) (4yo)
Winner £68,340Runners: 16Going: Good Distance: 2m1f CH4

The Triumph Hurdle always tends to be one of the more classier races at the meeting and doesn’t disappoint this year with a handful of very useful types going to post for Friday’s opener. Paul Nicholls sends out the warm favourite in Calipto. This ex-French horse has won twice since moving to Ditcheat, both times at Newbury. Wasn’t a fluent jumper on his British debut but won more impressively last time out. One big question mark would be the form of the Nicholls-trained horses at the Festival this week. The leading Irish challenge comes from the Dessie Hughes-trained GUITAR PETE who landed a Grade 1 event at Leopardstown in February in good fashion but was previous beat by Royal Irish Hussar at Cheltenham back in November. Royal Irish Hussar, from the Nicky Henderson yard, won his first three races over fences but was very disappointing last time when finishing 16l behind Fox Norton at Doncaster. Pearl Castle is by Montjeu and has won his last two races at Doncaster. He won very impressively in January and should appreciate the good ground. Aidan O’Brien sends over Plinth from Ireland but the horse has a bit of form to find with Guitar Pete on his last outing. Abbyssial runs for the Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh team. Another ex-French horse who has won three out of three since a move over to Ireland. This horse is less fancied than some of the over novices from their yard this week and currently trades at around 12-1.

2.05 VINCENT O´BRIEN COUNTY HANDICAP HURDLE GRADE 3 (CLASS 1) (5yo+)
Winner £45,560Runners: 28Going: Good Distance: 2m1f CH4

Another difficult handicap from which to find the winner. Arctic Fire and 2012 Champion Bumper winner Cheltenian lead the betting. Lac Fontana for Paul Nicholls was an easy winner over course and distance last time out. FLAXEN FLARE has some very good form this season, finishing 5l behind Jezki at Down Royal last November and was second behind Gilgamboa (who was going well when falling in the Supreme Novices Hurdle) last time out. Never Enough Time is a progressive type and comes to Cheltenham of the back of two very nice wins in Ireland. Master Of The Game is an interesting runner for Nicky Henderson. He made to to win by 15l at Doncaster last time and is currently trading at 28-1. Anay Turge could be worth a look too at a mega price.

2.40 ALBERT BARTLETT NOVICES´ HURDLE (REGISTERED AS THE SPA NOVICES´ HURDLE) GRADE 1 (CLASS 1) (4yo+)
Winner £68,340Runners: 20Going: Good Distance: 3m CH4

The staying race for novice hurdles is head by last year’s Champion Bumper winner, Briar Hill. His jumping hasn’t looked that fluent this year but he seems to stay well and is unbeaten in his last six outings. David Pipe and Tom Scudamore are having a very good Festival and have another decent chance in this with KINGS PALACE who has won his last two starts impressively at Cheltenham including over course and distance last time out. Captain Cutter is another unbeaten horse over hurdles and goes for the Nicky Henderson and AP McCoy team. One horse that I do really like in this is the Emma Lavelle-trained Mosspark. He is 20-1 for this but maybe best watch with an eye on him towards a career over fences. He is by Flemesfirth and looks a chaser in the making.

3.20 BETFRED CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP CHASE GRADE 1 (CLASS 1) (5yo+)
Winner £327,326Runners: 14Going: Good Distance: 3m2f110y CH4

The blue riband event of the meeting features some very nice types led by last year’s winner BOBS WORTH. He disappointed on this seasonal debut in the Betfair Chase at Haydock but the course there doesn’t suit him. He won the Lexus Chase over Christmas and comes back to Cheltenham with the impressive course record of five runs and five wins. Barry Geraghty who has already landed the Champion Hurdle and World Hurdle this week takes the ride once more. He is currently the 2-1 favourite. Silviniaco Conti for Paul Nicholls is the second favourite after hauling in Cue Card to land to land the King George Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day. He was going well when falling in last year’s Gold Cup and deserves some respect in this renewal. In the absence of last year’s runner up, Sir Des Champs, the Irish challenge is lead by Last Installment. He beat Tidal Bay over 3m in Ireland last time out but has question marks about the going. He would much prefer softer ground. Nicky Henderson also runs the Hennessey Gold Cup winner Triolo D’Alene. This horse is an improving type and AP McCoy takes the ride but his Cheltenham form reads 11th and pulled up. First Lieutenant has much better Cheltenham form having won at the Festival in 2011 and finished second behind Bobs Worth and Cue Card in the last two seasons. He finished 1 ½l behind Bobs Worth in the Lexus Chase and has good claims but has been a difficult horse to win with and maybe best looked at each way. The Giant Bolster for David Bridgewater has a good record in this race having finished fourth last year and second in 2012. He is in good form after beating Rocky Creek by 7l last time out at Cheltenham and should go very well again.
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Cheltenham Festival - Friday Empty Re: Cheltenham Festival - Friday

Post by racingnut on Fri 14 Mar 2014, 11:20 am

1.30 The New Course hosts it first event of the 2014 Festival,this represents a much different test to the course used for the first three days with only two flights in the last 5f.Thres a lot of interlinking,if tenuous form on offer,Royal Irish Hussar,Guitar Pete,Tiger Run and Plinth can all be given chances on the pick of their best efforts.Pearl Castle is another,who on lines through Zamoyski has as solid a claim as the aforementioned Henderson inmate but is he a short runner who might not see this out? The Mullins pair warrant respect but all there form suggests that cut in the ground is a pre requisite.BROUGHTON has the clear beating of a few of these on lines through Royal Irish Hussar and built on that pleasing debut with a Musselburgh romp.Theres a handful who will want to force this from the get go and it may pay to side with one played late.Drying ground is a big plus.Sound claim

2.05 An absolute nightmare of a handicap with far too many to mention holding claims of some sort.Cheltenian brings previous Festival form to the table and a solid Betfair run bodes well,Flaxen Flare is another with previous but he looks in the grip of the handicapper.Dunraven Storm had some nice novice form and put together two nice runs before a break to avoid the bad ground,he could go well at a big price.Diakali has absolute top flight form with Jezki and Blood Cotil,his class cant be questioned but 154 is a big ask in any race and softer ground would have helped.Im going out the ballpark again and putting up MONTBAZON.Excellent novice form when 4th in the Supreme,hes had a year off but he ran much better than the formbook says in his Betfair comeback.He loves this place,decent ground is a big plus and the faster they go the better.Think hes overpriced at 25s.

2.40 This is a good a renewal as there has been of this race,it looks chock full of really promising staying types.Briar Hill leads the way,last years Bumper winner,hes made a pleasing transition to timber but his last win was a non event and whilst he may dot up 5/4 is no value.Kings Palace has looked really good in his wins,bouncing of the decent ground and galloping and jumping his rivals into submission,hes had a break  and comes here with everything in place for a bold show.Captain Cutter hails from a top yard and has Grade One form in the bag but he looks to need soft ground and hes not going to get it here.Champagne West and Deputy Dan have claims on their very best,the latter won very nicely at Warwick and is certainly going the right way.Mosspark has done nothing wrong,he looks a total stayer and that might just not be enough in this heat.PORT MELON is horse that ive been waiting for all season,promising debut here in November,hes had no chance to build on that because of unsuitably bad ground.This test looks tailor made and whilst its a leap of faith to see him winning what is a white hot event I do think he can run well and win,lose or draw hes one to note for the future.

3.20 The Blue Riband event.Only one with all the attributes needed can claim the Festival highlight.A weaker looking renewal than last years and very differing conditions.The majority of the top chase form this year has been on bad ground,this will be a world apart.Bobs Worth has the best form,he has an unblemished record here and is the defending Champion,he looks bombproof but 7/4 isn't my sort of price.Silviniaco Conti carries real claims,he fell when going well in this last year and built on his Betfair debut with a battling King George win but does he need soft ground to show his best and did he beat non stayers around Kempton? Last Instalment and First Lieutenant bring the pick of the Irish form,the former was a revelation when skating home in the Irish Henessy but he did get left alone on the front end and the ground was riding soft,he wont get either today.The latter has solid form to his name and gets his preferred good ground today,the trip is still a slight worry but he must be on the premises.The Giant Bolster is very enigmatic,he has form which gives him solid place credentials but also form which gives him no chance,cant be confident which horse will up on the day and as such he has to be passed over.Lord Windermere,Lyreen Legend and On His Own look outclassed on all we know,Katenko and Houblon Des Obeaux will just get in the way.TRIOLO D ALENE has a similar profile to last years victor,Hennessy win then put away.He will stay,he will like the ground and he must be improving,course would be a little concern but this renewal has no depth to it whatsoever and he could be a value alternative to his stablemate.

4.00  Short and sweet on this event,HARBOUR COURT could be a class apart,not an ideal prep but top yard know what it takes.Tammys Girl and On the Fringe can give him most to do.

4.40 SHANTOU MAGIC has form with Captain Cutter and .Red Sherlock which give him major claims,it isn't a race id get involved in at any cost.

5.15 Another minefield to end.Oiseau De Nuit loves it here,2011 winner and he thrives at this time of year,hes high enough in the weights but write him off at your peril.Eastlake is in top form,solid win round here but hes paid for it in the ratings and a career best would be required.His Excellency has a race of this nature in him but hes a total enigma and you back him at your peril.Ned Buntline looks like hes been laid out for this,shrewd yard and eyecatching jockey booking,one for the shortlist.RAYA STAR was the best of these over timber and has progressed over fences,hes tackled some of the best novice company and his last effort at Newbury reads well.Not overly burdened,he looks to have it all in place for a bold sighter.

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Cheltenham Festival - Friday Empty Re: Cheltenham Festival - Friday

Post by racingnut on Sat 15 Mar 2014, 7:13 am

Ive seen dozens of Gold Cups,featuring some of the best in NH equine talent but as a pure spectacle yesterdays renewal is without doubt the best.Six in a line at the last and four covered by less than 2l at the finish.That in itself just proves how the uniqueness,the idiosynchrosy,the test of Cheltenham can bring horses with a 30lb difference in ability together.Fairytale for JIm Culloty,he joins a very elite band to have ridden and trained a Gold Cup winner,as for Davy Russell,what a difference a year makes ,what a difference three months makes.From a hospital bed with a punctured lung to losing his number one status with Gigginstown to riding a last day treble and grabbing the ultimate in thrilling circumstances.He always was a consummate horseman,when he rode for Ferdy Murphy(including the ones that I had interests in)no one doubted his talent,it was all there,it was just his mindset.Imaturity might have played its part,he would go missing,he wouldn't come back from Sunday racing in Ireland in time for his Monday commitments in the UK .I don't think he realised how good a job he had at Wynbury until he tried Ferdys patience to the limit.His return to Ireland and his homeland was the making of him and he has enjoyed a stellar career.riding some of best in Irish equine stars in the last ten years,culminating in yesterdays unforgettable,rousing,spellbinding,spine tingling finale.Who said horse racing is boring?

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Cheltenham Festival - Friday Empty Re: Cheltenham Festival - Friday

Post by sportform on Sat 15 Mar 2014, 8:46 pm

A thrilling end to the Gold Cup and the tension went on much longer with the stewards enquiry. I think the right decision was made in letting Lord Windermere keep the race. I don't think On His Own was getting past but wouldn't have been surprised if the placings were reversed. I thought Silviniaco Conti was going to win after the last but he just didn't see out the trip. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened with Dynaste and Cue Card in the race on their Betfair Chase form over 3m1f.
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Cheltenham Festival - Friday Empty Re: Cheltenham Festival - Friday

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