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Cheltenham NH Festival 2019


Non-Smoking Man
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Bumper...

I continued laying Blue Sari up to the off and I just got it beat..phew! I laid it to lose £75.10 which is uncomfortably close to my limit. I felt the second didnt get the rub of the green..1. Envoi Allen 2. Blue Sari

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Sorry, not been keeping up with this thread due to holiday. Back in time for Cheltenham of course but couldn't get a winner on the first day. usually my best day, although recouped most of my loses yesterday.  Good luck to everyone today who's having a bet.

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This column has had a few near misses at big prices and some successful lays that turned out to be close shaves. The target is 1, maybe 2 winners, and we havent found one yet by the halfway stage.

Today is my quiet day (if there is such a thing at Cheltenham)due to there being 3 long distance races - my methods dont work so well in those. Also I dont have a bet in the first race, as yet. Im quietly confident, however, that we will get a run for money in the Mares Novice Hurdle. (See P4 of this thread for my antepost portfolio.) I have 3 out of the front five in the betting for the Ryanair so Im 'levels you devils' to get a result there.

As you say Antonio - good luck to you, Bazzer et. al..

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JLT 2.5 NOVICE CHASE

In common with Paul Kealy , betting editor of the Racing Post I dont rate the form of the 2 market leaders for this race, Defi Du Seuil and Lostintranslation. Although they have run in a brace of Graded races and swapped the first 2 places in each, there has been no independent franking of the form . So they sink or swim together.

The case for them sinking together rests on time. Neither of those races sent clockwatchers racing for an antepost bet on today's race. The Scilly Isles was 2 secs per mile below class par resulting in 68 for Defi and 67 for Tizzard's charge. It was no different in the grade 2 Dipper (69 and 68), with Black Op, who could have given us a form guide n.t.o. unable to do that because he reverted to hurdles.

Is there a horse in this race who can match them for class and speed?

In market order:

Real Steel - if you look for RS in the index in the Official Form Book you wont find it because they only list horses who ran in Graded races in Ireland. It won a mere 16K euro 0-145 chase and the second horse had been beaten 16L in a handicap. Not enough then to warrant an interest @ 7/1;

Vinndication, @ 8/1 is held by the front 2 and there is no reason it should reverse;

Kildisart @ 9/1 is a winner of a 0-146 handicap and as such will find this happenning a lot quicker than he is uded to which will put pressure on his jumping. If he gets round he will stay however - which is the problem for

Voix De Reve, represents the powerful Graham Wylie, Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh axis. (Ruby has chosen to ride this one from Mullins's 3 entries.) Doing a spot of research on this son of Voix Du Nord, I find that he was campaigned as a middle distance staying hurdler in 2018. It ran over 3 miles second time out and also ran in the Coral Cup. You wouldnt say it excelled and didnt get home over 2m 5f it must be said, but at least they thought it would stay and it has improved immensely over bigger obstacles. So, the JLT, which is just 3 furlongs  further than the Irish Arkle, its previous race, COULD have been the PLAN, rather than an afterthought.

At 11/1 I'm willing to take the risk that VOIX DU REVE, from the softground-loving Topville family, will be guided home by Ruby and prove good enough to win a substandard grade 1. His speed figures match the joint favourites (68 estimated, 70) and his jumping looked to have improved in that Arkle despite losing his feet at the last. (Let's hope lightning isnt going to strike in the same place thrice (Benie Des Dieux)!

In conclusion, VDR has the speed credentials and arguably a Grade 1 3rd to Le Richebourg and a Grade 2 win, beating Hardline, also has sufficient class credentials to be competitive here.

Something I am sure of is that VDR is not an 11/1 shot. I would chalk up a theoretical book as follows

11/2 Lostintranslation (great film)

11/2 Defi D.S.

7/1 Voix Du Reve

7/1 Vinndication

8/1 Real Steel

9/1 Kildisart

10 Bar

Ive invested £32 on Voix du Reve - go on Ruby!

Edited by Non-Smoking Man
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Latest news ..

Road To Respect backed into favouritism for the Ryanair.

St Patrick's Day - the Irish have won 18 out of the last 21 races this day at the meeting. And Mullins has won 4 out of 8 of the last JLTs.

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JLT...

Defi beats his old rival, finding a nice turn of foot, with Mengli Khan not disgracing himself in 3rd beaten 9.25L. (Mengli Khan would have been beaten 13L by Voix Du Reve in the Irish Arkle, had the latter stood up suggesting we would have gone close today. But you have to jump them! For the record Voix Du Reve  unseated; we didnt fall.)

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Pertemps...

Hard work for Sire De Berlais, but he gets there from Tobefair. Good day for JP McManus - this, the JLT winner and Musical Slave has just gone in at Market Rasen.

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I do modern jive. Ive competed in around 6 or 7 UK Open Championships and was lucky enough to finish runner up in the National Seniors 2 years ago. In 20 years dancing I would say ive led maybe 16 perfect individual dances - Bryony Frost and Frodon jumped a perfect round today. I just cant say any more ...fantastic!

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Stayers..

Reborn Sam Spinner forces Paisley Park to run probably his best race to oustay the opposition. Must be a good time too. Well done connections and congrats to Mr Gemmell, the owner.

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49 minutes ago, Non-Smoking Man said:

I do modern jive. Ive competed in around 6 or 7 UK Open Championships and was lucky enough to finish runner up in the National Seniors 2 years ago. In 20 years dancing I would say ive led maybe 16 perfect individual dances - Bryony Frost and Frodon jumped a perfect round today. I just cant say any more ...fantastic!

Yip, great run.

I had a tenner on it :-) 

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Well done Tony ..

Brown Advisory...

Thrilling race - another one! - gratifying for form types as they finished first and second in this order last time out at Cheltenham. Lizzy gets in on the Ladies act with Siruh Du Lac.

Im struck by the excellent performances put up by many of the runners up: today we've had Tobefair 40/1, Aso 33/1, Sam Spinner 33/1 and Janika who jumped and travelled so well; and yesterday there was Champ, Santini, Wicklow Brave, Politologue and Blue Sari.

Ill be looking out for them in future engagements..

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I was proved right that Epatante was a false favourite, but Im kicking myself I didnt lay her. I thought Indefatigable would finish ahead of Posh Trish at 60 on the off !!(Betfair), and she managed 5th, several places ahead, which was respectable enough - but no cigar. Winner was first time out over hurdles and came from another parish. Influential owner with Willie M.

I didnt like the way Emily Moon, my other rag, folded - Ill be steering clear of her unless something comes to light.

No interest in the Kim Muir - 3.25 handicap chase for amateurs - you can keep it.

Great day and the column has broken its duck. But we need one more winner at the meeting.

How has anyone else got on?

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Its been a long haul but Day 4 approaches and here are some thoughts..

Triumph hurdle - I fancy Hannon less than I did having reassessed the time behind Chosen Mate. I have still laid the fav Sir Erec @ evens.

County Hurdle - Ive backed Eclair De Beaufeu and I have a nice price but Im the same horse as Uradel who didnt advertise the form in the Coral Cup. Luke warm confidence. But i dont fancy anything in it.

Gold Cup - I dont think much of Bellshill (unless it pours and its a big stamina test.Ruby has chosen it so its well found in the betting but I regard the fact that he rides as a negative - so Im pleased that Paul Townend rides my selection Al Boom Photo. This race is dividing opinion with the conundrum of Presenting Percy's non appearance in any chase this year causing controversy. I thought his RSA win was poor on the clock but he had Al Boom beaten that day. Has ABF improved? I think so.

Hunter Chase. Leaving well alone.

Grand Annual - just spent roughly 3 hours on this. I should be able to get to the bottom of it as 2 mile handicap chases are  my forte.

Shortlist: From the bottomweight up..

Theo - needs to stay dry. Cracking time behind Movie Legend and has a similar chance to Marracudja through Cracking Find. Richard Newland is capable of winning this. He also has

Caid Du Lin who is on the list.

Marracudja Ive backed at a fancy price on its place effort behind CDL at Ascot. Marracudja has had a wind op since.

Bun Doran could do it. Ive got a speed figure for it I dont really believe but I cant get away from it. Wouldnt want a slog in the mud. Another saved for the race. Tom George trains. 2 miles is BD's best trip.

I like the top 2 in the weights - Ive been waiting for Forest Bihan to get some decent ground but most of his best efforts are on flat tracks . Has a speed figure and the class to figure nonetheless. Negative - it doesnt win often and I dont think topweights have a good record.

Gino Trail was runner up in 2018 but is now 12 and its a big ask to carry 11 11 and make all (which it will attempt - it doesnt know any different). Will set it up for a closer - Marracudja?

I prefer them all, bar Gino to Magic Saint the favourite, whose time at Wincanton was poor and Bigmartre paid it no compliment in finishing 12th today.

So I LAID MAGIC SAINT.

Martin Pipe - everyone knows that Gordon Elliot wins this because he used to work for Martin Pipe. However he usually throws too many darts to get involved. Its at the end of the card now so the senior jockeys get an early bath . (Its for conditional riders.).

I anticipate a good show from Rhinestone and Commander of Fleet in the Albert Bartlet, Marracudja in the 2 mile handicap chase and Al Boom in the Gold Cup. One of them will win.

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Bryony Frost and Lizzie Kelly, two of the best rides at this years Cheltenham? Pleased to say I backed both putting me in the black after the first 3 days. Right, must start looking at todays runners.

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Cant disagree there Antonio. Its not all about strength. Add in Rachael Blackmore, in contention for the Irish jockey title , and you have three excellent jockeys. (You still need the horse, of course..haha).

Talking of jockeys Ive been impressed by Harry Cobden. Its no accident that Cyrname in his case and Frodon in Bryony's case have improved so much under their respective jockeys.

Ive been spelling my Gold Cup hope, Al Boum Photo wrong all week ('Al Boom Photo') - aargh..

Watching the ITV Morning Show its clear there's been no further rain. This means Theo comes into focus in the Grand Annual. Good news for me as I popped a few quid on it in the early hours of the morning (a great time to study). Two  of  the panel, Kevin blake and AP McCoy, tipped up Eclair De Beaufeu for the County, on the show which boosted my confidence in my selection, as they both have Irish connections - Kevin Blake manages Joseph O'Briens string and A.P. manages JP McManus's interests.

On the subject of the ITV team and Matt Chapman, in particular, let's just say I'm not a fan. Ollie has lazy eyes, not a good thing for a television presenter, Ms Cumani is fabulous and knowledgable and can probably pronounce the French breds correctly, and the commentators continue to shout at us and give the running order over identifying the horses. Nick Luck, of the TV Racing team, is clearly an articulate man, but I have the mute button on the remote close to hand when he gives a post race 'lecture'.

My interest in listening to pundits mostly centres around their particular 'speech impediments'. Ummers and errers abound, yeknow is peculiar to one of the RP postcast team, Dave Nevison just cant talk with any rhythm, and the Daily Mirror correspondent Dave somebody or other is just irksome with his stuttering , halting delivery.

Where do they get them from...?

I'll take Paul Kealy and Pricewise over all of them - at least they have a grasp of form and value.

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