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Cheltenham NH Festival 2019


Non-Smoking Man
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Champion Hurdle ..

Bitter pill for me to swallow with Espoir D'Allen winning as my Champion Hurdle investments centred round Saldier who everyone has said would have beaten Espoir D if it hadnt fallen at the last  last time out. I had £19 at prices ranging from 44 to 110 to win £1093 . Ricci and Mullins chose to run Sharja instead of mine.

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Day one finished for me. Place pot was down after the first race. Had £10 win on hardline also down the swanny. Got three places in my lucky 15 though. So £26 spent in total, roughly £25 won. Can't complain. 

Lucky 15 selection was 

Fakir D'Oudaires 4th

Us and Them  2nd (Cheers NSM)

Veranda Blue 5th :-( 

Stormy Ireland 2nd 

Doubt I'll get a bet on tomorrow as I'm in meetings all afternoon. 

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OLBG Mares Hurdle...

Unfortunately Ruby falls at the last with a race at his mercy. But its happened b4 - rather too many times - and its now nearly a hoodoo. (Somewhere in this thread I mention the jockey's propensity for last fence fallers - you cant count your money till he gets over the last.)

I couldnt fancy Stormy Ireland after the eclipse of Laurina ( to whom we were runner up), but the mare ran and jumped well. Another second for me...

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Close Brothers 2.5m handicap chase for novices..

Rachel Blackmore gets a winner on the board with A Plus Tard, who waltzes away with a tight handicap. This pays Winter Escape a compliment (Jan13, Punchestown).

The authorities have announced an 8 00 a.m., course inspection re impeding high winds. If its too dangerous the entire day's card will take place on Saturday.

I have a feeling they may do this because they will be petrified if the wind causes injuries. So, I have had a couple of extra bets on horses that may benefit from the drier ground likely on Saturday.

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NH Chase...

Carnage, as only 4 finish - 4 miles in soft ground is too much to ask of novices the vast majority of whom havent been further than 3 miles in  their short careers. I laid OK Corral.

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COUNTY HURDLE 2M

Whilst we are waiting for the result of the 8 00 a.m. inspection I have been working hard on the scraps of value that are left after the bookies have shortened up everything in sight in order to offer attractive e.w. deals ( 7 places etc..). Its a con of course.

The County field is dull, dull, dull. And this is great news because the form is generally average. All we need is something that has a close up effort in a comparable race that has escaped attention..

Lets look at the market leaders:

Mr Adjudicator will attract interest having run up to Espoir D'Allen, the new champion hurdler. The speed expert in the Post gives that race a low score. I backed it in the Triumph last year. Possibilities.

Whiskey Sour - Mullins trains (that's a plus); doesnt win many races; 3rd in last year's County (which hasnt worked out particularly well); held by Vision Des Flos.(SF64)

Southfield Stone - you might fancy this if Angels Breath had run better in the Supreme (SF70);

Winston C - contesting 6K races; may not get in;

Cut The Mustard - mare; up 9lbs for finishing second (58); (Paul Kielly's tip)

Chitibello - Skelton doing a 'Mohayedd' (coming here fresh and saving handicap mark); dangerous (SF73);

Leoncavallo - bits and pieces of decent form but cant beat Eclair De Beafeu and Uradel through Mortal;

Crooks Peak - raised in class and penalised (60);

Capitaine - won a 0-143, which is OK, but raised 6 lbs (57);

Monsieur Le Coq and Malaya - just depends what the Imperial Cup is worth...I havent done the times for the meeting because the form supplement comes tomorrow with rail movements etc; may come too soon for both and the former may not get in;

Uradel - ran in the Ladbroke and caught the eye of some pundits (not this one); problem is its in the Coral Cup and Martin Pipe as well; also its held by

Eclair De Beaufeu, who, apart from being a big problem for all the commentators lacking GCSE French, who finished 4th, one place ahead, in the £66K Ladbroke Hurdle run at Leopardstown on Feb 2nd. The Eclair returned a 75 then in that 0-148 and I think thats the hottest handicap providing runners in the County. At 19.5 I had to have a go; Gordon Elliot trains; Eclair is himself doubly engaged and could go for the Martin Pipe over further; should get in the race off 136 as 133 got in last year.

Selection ECLAIR DE BEAUFEU

(Racing goes ahead today..)

Edited by Non-Smoking Man
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Eclair De Beaufeu not declared for the County, nor the Martin Pipe.

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1 hour ago, Non-Smoking Man said:

Eclair De Beaufeu not declared for the County, nor the Martin Pipe.

Wait a sec. - he's still in and jocked up. Mind you, Gordon Elliot cant buy a winner.

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Ballymore..

Good win for the sponsor's horse, City Island, from a strong field. Trainer Harrington pointed this one up in the Racing Post preview. I liked the performance of the third, Bright Forecast. Jockey said the ground is much better than yesterday. Tony McCoy having a huge rant on ITV racing about the suspension of the amateurs in the NH Chase. Never seen him so irate 'worst decision I've ever seen in 25 years as a jockey'.

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RSA..

Wonderful race! Super ride by Harry Cobden, who must be now considered one of the best currently riding . Big jump at the last and he had a willing partner in withstanding Santini. I laid Santini but he surprised me - a pb for Henderson's charge.

Result 1. Topofthegame 2. Santini, 3. Delta Work.

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City Island ran 12.17 seconds faster than Samcro in 2018 which suggests the course is drying out quickly. Last year there was a hint of 'heavy' in the jockey's descriptions, so I estimate good/soft (soft in places) on the hurdles course.

Topofthegame ran 15 seconds faster than Presenting Percy (who was relatively slow last year).

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Uradel, the Coral Cup jolly, could only manage 7th in a thrilling Coral Cup won by Henderson's William Henry, owned by Dai Walters (Al Dancer), from Wicklow Brave who came there cruising one out. The Limestone Lad  Grade 3 in Naas (Jan 27) isnt looking too shabby - 1. Espoir D'Allen, 2. Wicklow Brave 3. Tombstone (winner since). Has Uradel done enough to frank Eclair De Beaufeu? probably not.

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Going on my time assessment the going may be drying out enough for the forgotten horse , Sceau Royal (a grade 1 winner with a speed figure of 90, close to Altior). Ive topped up with another £6 to win £178.

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Altior 'finds a way to win' again (N. Luck, I think), though my Sceau Royal looked the winner coming to the last. Another super race I thought. There's a lot of guff spoken about Altior - 'won, but not as his best' blah, blah' - this is Altior's current form and he has run to this level of ability for some time according to my figures. I had 40 Sceau Royal b4 the off to £2. Incredible value.

All the paid up pundits made it Min clear second and the rest nowhere and someone on a RP postcast said 4/6 Min w/o Altior was value. Rubbish!

Time was 9 seconds faster than Altior took last year - which tells you about the going, not Altior's mark.

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Cross Country - easy for Tiger Roll who gets Gordon Elliot off the mark.

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