Cheltenham Festival

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23 Oct 14 13:04
Date Joined: 14 Mar 06
| Topic/replies: 5,105 | Blogger: CVByrne's blog
Gold Cup thoughts. Last years race was a bit low quality in my opinion, like when Synchronised won, any kind of bunch finish points to an average quality renewal.

So lets start with The Giant Bolster, yes him. He came 2nd in 2012 was miles back in 4th in 2013 and was a close 3rd last season. That’s the horse to rate the race through. As such Lord Windermere looks an average winner, he won a race that was a bit of a mess in the end. On His Own at 10 that was his chance, he couldn’t get the win and it’s hard to see him winning it now as he’ll be 11 in March.

So to Silviniaco Conti, I have never believed Cheltenham is his track. He likes sharp flat tracks like Aintree and Kempton. Also it’s tough for him to try win the Gold Cup on his 3rd attempt at 9yo. I still think he is a considerable force in the King George & back at Aintree. I’ve no sligh for his talent, but horses for courses.

Bobs Worth will be 10 by March and is he good enough to emulate Kauto Star and regain his crown at that age? I don’t think so. His 3 big wins since his novice days have come on soft ground, I think on good ground – though he may prefer the surface – the race happens too fast for him and I think that’s why we saw him tire up the hill last season. Every horse is just going that bit quicker, jumping quicker. If you see his wins in Gold Cup and Lexus he came from behind and stayed past his rivals. I opposed him last season for these reasons and I’m even more comfortable opposing him again. No offence to Nicky Henderson but his Chasers don’t seem to have long careers at the top and it’s quite possible we’ll see some further decline.

In my opinion three horses who would have had a great chance to win didn’t actually run in the Gold Cup last season. Firstly Cue Card, I’ve always maintained he is a better horse going left handed than right, we know he prefers good ground and I think the relentless nature of the King George in that very soft ground took its toll on him and he tired. It’s interesting that he’s been given a wind op in the summer as they think his breathing is what stopped him that day. Also at Cheltenham he can get his breathers in the down hill sections. It’s a shame he missed the race as he is a really superb horse. He may well stay the trip, we really don’t know if he does or not. If he did he’s the best staying chaser in training round Cheltenham imo.

The next one is Boston Bob. There is lots of Mullins love these days but what he has done with this horse is a complete shambles. He fitted him with a tongue tie at Punchestown last season yet didn’t give him a wind op until Jan after his failed return to hurdling. Horses don’t see the form boost of the wind op until their 2nd race back after it, I think this could be due to a horse not knowing their limits have now changed until after they race again. At any rate this horse could have won last seaons Gold Cup had he been kept chasing and given a wind op last summer. Paul Nicholls would have won the Gold Cup with this horse. But he’ll be 10 in March and it’s a tough ask for him to win it at that age.

Finally is Sir Des Champs, he had so much improvement open to him from his 2nd to Bobs Worth in 2013. He would have relished the good ground last season, having his regular jock on his back. I believe the 7l he lost to Bobs Worth were exaggerated by him being on empty after a prolonged duel with Long Run cost them both in lengths at the end. I hope he comes back as good as ever but it sounds like he could miss the season again which is a big shame as he is lightly raced and still very talented.

So now I come to the crop of second season Chasers. It’s a pity O’Faoilains Boy is out for the season as we’ve had the last two RSA winners go on to win the Gold Cup and when you add in Long Run who came 3rd in the race. We see the return to a normal post Kauto and Denman era that the RSA is a superb trial, 4/7 winners have come from the race. Which brings me to a horse I for one reason or another have not taken too. Smad Place, and given the troubles at Kings yard last season his close 2nd is a really excellent result. He is certainly one who can progress and it will be interesting how he gets on in the Hennessy as I think the extra distance will be an asset to a strong stayer like him.

Also Morning Assembly might be a bit forgotten, he was clearly outpaced at a crucial point in the RSA. But such things have happened to Lord Windermere and Synchronised in their Gold Cup wins, the added distance, more grueling pace and stiffer course will play to his strenghts. As will any softer ground, you couldn’t have had quicker ground in March than we got at Cheltenham last season.

Now I have to say as much as I like Holywell, favourite for the Gold Cup is frankly comical. He won a what race at Aintree? Don Cossack was beaten much further at Punchestown. O’Faoilains Boy was totally over the top in the race too. So we base it off his – as obvious as the nose on your face – over a stone in hand handicap win at Cheltenham? Very good horse as he is lets see how he does this season before making him favourite.

Jonjo knows his Gold Cup hope is Taquin Du Seuil, very good performance in winning the JLT Novice chase in holding off Uxizandre much to my disgust that AP was allowed to switch off his bosses horse. He looked like a quality horse in that race and he can progress – if he stays – to be a contender for the Gold Cup. I personally think stepping up in trip will see improvement from him. He looks a big galloper and think he’d love the Hennessy Gold Cup, though might have too much weight for that unless Bobs Worth runs.

The horse I’ve already gone in heavy on for this race is Champagne Fever. He’s bred to stay (sire had Irish National 2nd) and he loves Cheltenham. How he lost the Arkle I’ll never know, just one of those things and it was rather gutwrenching to be honest. Mullins has said they are now switching tactics on him, to front run opponents into the ground in G1 staying chases you need to be Denman or Kauto Star do it consistently. The change in tactics is a good idea. Very talented horse this and if he stays he’s the favourite in my book. Proper top class animal, but he is a bit patchy in his consistency, but he does save his best for Cheltenham.

But it’s almost impossible to hide the excitement and regard Mullins and especially Ricci hold Djakadam. Last season Ricci said how Vautour was his most exciting horse prior to Cheltenham and he was proved very much right. I like his opinions of his horses. Already being talked about as a possible Gold Cup horse this season he’d be aiming to emulate Long Run to win it as 6yo. Maybe too much is expected of the horse this season and maybe a Ryanair stepping stone to Gold Cup when he is 7yo might be the way they go.

Don Cossack looks like he’s really grown up and seems that he likes good ground based on a good win at Punchestown. I do wonder if he had a breathing OP in the summer as he was without his tongue tie this season, he wore for his 3 starts in the spring. I’m inclined to forgive his runs in the spring and give him an honest reassesment this season. I think he’s a quality horse, but Elliott has said himself he believes him below Grade 1 class and may campaign him over shorter than 3m this season. Ryanair horse maybe?

There are a few others like Dynaste, Carlingford Lough etc.. who are also in the Gold Cup picture. I really don’t think Dynaste will stay the Gold Cup trip tbh and nor does Pipe and I think Carlingford Lough is short of the class required despite two Grade 1 wins last season. I don’t see the progression, he had the advantage of being very experienced for a Novice last term.

Looking through the odds on offer the two that stand out as some antepost value at this stage are Taquin Du Seuil, who is a big price at 25/1 imo. Also 40/1 about Djakadam is worth a go too given how highly he is rated and how much the summer will have helped him mature and grow. I also think 20/1 Smad Place not bad value but really don’t feel he’s good enough, I’m just not warming to him yet. I think he is certainly shortlist material for the Hennessy though. While Cue Card post wind op has to be back on the Radar at 14/1.

The thing to do with the Cheltenham races is build a book, nobody can really know who is going to win come March but you just need to back horses you think can win and who are some value to be backed at this stage.
Show More
Report delsie777 February 8, 2015 7:13 PM GMT
I think Foxy is a stronger horse this year Chief - and needed the run at Christmas. I think he was being prepared for a crack at a National. Still not convinced he is a Cheltenham horse and couldn't have him for a Gold Cup under Heskin. Lord Windermere is progressing nicely and is still a way off full fitness I gather.
Report tim6 February 8, 2015 10:16 PM GMT
Think Boston bob was given a very nice prep race today came from last to fourth
with no great urgency. Will be better on good ground and he looks like a horse
which is only getting into gear. 25/1 currently with ladbrokes think Ruby will
ride him so he will do for me
Report duffy February 8, 2015 11:25 PM GMT

Who cares about this season's form to date...hell if that were the case, no-one on the planet would be backing Josses's hill, but as we know, despite what we see this season, some still see positives, eh? use a cliché, but in this case one with solid foundation, Holywell IS a spring horse and IS at his best on good ground rendering what goes on through the Winter as more or less meaningless, with the current GC picture as it is, is very much as good as the rest of the bunch.
Report duffy February 8, 2015 11:28 PM GMT
Report doublefisted February 8, 2015 11:40 PM GMT
Would be amazed if AP choose Holywell over Carlingford Lough. Point to piece of form that would lead him to pick Holywell? Id prefer to go with G1 winning form over seasonal form eveyday.
Report Ibrahima Sonko February 8, 2015 11:46 PM GMT
dont think ap can ride holywell if their is jp runner.
Report duffy February 8, 2015 11:54 PM GMT
I'd point to the grade 1 mildmay novices chase last April, and it's no good saying that's last year as, and particularly with Holywell, there is never ever going to be a string of form that sees high level performance early in the season as he is simply a different horse in the spring, poor performances early in the season should not be taken on face value and mean precisely in terms of the overall ability of the horse, we've seen it before, and time and time again we also gravitate toward horses that have performed well at the spring festivals because we see that they do it over again. Holywell's performance at Aintree looks all the more impressive now because of what the ones in behind him have since done, that is rock solid grade 1 form and he was running loose on the run in.
Report duffy February 8, 2015 11:56 PM GMT
only an opinion though, for what it's worth I'd fancy CL more in a national in due course.
Report Ibrahima Sonko February 9, 2015 12:09 AM GMT
Refreshing post by you duffy, usually you save your posting for knocking without ever having a view.
Report duffy February 9, 2015 12:20 AM GMT
Don't think so...I've got loads of views....and I didn't say the same about TDS last year either, I said about him that I didn't think he had the pace for the arkle on the likely ground....the coneygree thing is different because I'm actually thinking that with his action and with the injury, he is in real danger of smashing his legs to any case, on good ground, he'll be a lot shorter in size come the end of the race.

This business of knocking to you and especially budd appear to be watching out for, it isn't nothing personal to the horse you must realize, I love JH as much as the next guy, we are discussing the horse and actually looking out for the horses's wellbeing....Iam definitely not pinning him up against the wall and demanding that he hand over his dinner money.
Report jasey February 9, 2015 12:50 AM GMT
For me the best two trials this season are Lexus and yesterday's race.I can only see the Gold Cup being won by an Irish horse.
RTR and CL for me.
Report duffy February 9, 2015 1:11 AM GMT
Out of today's race I'd sooner take LW myself, he travelled really well for the whole race and probably went for home too soon and basically blew himself out especially if he wasn't hard fit he's did it twice now at Cheltenham and despite the finish he ran with a lot of credit, certainly better now at this stage to how he went into last years GC.

If we are going to look at CL with a view to being right in the GC mix, we have to look at todays race and find a yardstick... that would be found in the shape of Foxrock who as an improving handicapper we can judge that he ran his race today and looking at it in the context of a GC have to wonder whether CL is going to be good enough, two 158 rated horses finishing close together.

As we are at the stage though of having a vulnerable favourite CL is just another one of a host of horses that has form lines running through horses that have strong handicap form.
Report jasey February 9, 2015 2:13 AM GMT
Handicappers do win Gold Cups and they place frequently.
Report duffy February 9, 2015 2:17 AM GMT
Yes, agreed, I was trying to infer that in my last bit there, that's the realm we're in atm....and it's what makes strong grade 1 form at a festival or two on decent ground all the more valuable, that's why I'm a big fan of Holywell.
Report buddeliea February 9, 2015 7:13 AM GMT
No worries Duffy,I use form as a betting guide for all horses,you ignore Holywells cos he's a spring horse.....fair enough and each to their own.

As for JH,I am a bit more forgiving and will wait till he gets his optimum race where he gets a fast pace on decent ground,then I will judge....again each to their own mate.
I just simply have seen his jumping improve as his races quicken,so that's why I will wait.

As for Carlingford,he's definitely a big player to me improving still and looks a real type that will appreciate 3m and 2f.
Report cufcno1 February 9, 2015 7:18 AM GMT
Mcclernon suits Holywell,won at last 2 festivals on him,McCoy will be on cl
Report buddeliea February 9, 2015 7:43 AM GMT
I should probably add that when I say using form as a betting guide I do think this seasons form is very important,whilst Aintree form I don't take so much notice of due to some horses being over the top,I am very wary of Aintree form for the following Cheltenham,that's just my choice I don't trust it.
Report FOYLESWAR February 9, 2015 8:21 AM GMT
also fancy holywell for the gold cup  and after watching his Aintree win again just strengthens my view ,the exploits of don Cossack and many clouds back the form up and he showed an impressive turn of foot between the last 2 fences and bounded away from a decent field , trusting jonjo to have him 110 % for the big day !
Report shockster February 9, 2015 9:24 AM GMT
CONEYGREE looks increasingly likely to take his chance in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup rather than revert to novice company in the RSA Chase, although a final decision will be left as late as possible.

The eight-year-old put up a terrific front-running display when making it three wins from as many starts over fences in Saturday’s Betfair Denman Chase at Newbury, and connections are starting to wonder if this year’s open-looking Gold Cup might even be the easier option.

Sara Bradstock, wife of trainer Mark, said on Sunday: "He’s incredible, but it’s nerve-wracking. He’s not a Gold Cup horse at home, where he’s become quite idle, so every time he runs and steps it up again it’s another bonus.

"Before Saturday the needle was pointing very much towards the RSA, but after winning like that it’s much closer to the middle. In fairness he’s won enough prize-money now for us to go to the line before choosing so that we can take everything into consideration.

"We’re not greedy and we’d be happy to win the RSA, but with Silviniaco Conti such a strong favourite despite being beaten last year the Gold Cup is tempting. It might even be the easier race."

Bradstock reported Coneygree "very fresh", which suggests he did not take too much out of himself. She added he has earned a break now, albeit a short one.

She said: "We’ll wrap him in cotton wool and he’ll have an easy time now, but he wouldn’t take more than a week of that without exploding. We’ll then build him up again for Cheltenham, but it’s all about keeping a lid on him.

"Any injuries he’s had aren’t training injuries. They’re through being such an idiot. He’s a thug, but a likeable one. Mark has now taken to wearing three coats when he goes into his box as he bites so much. He’s given up trying to stop him and just wears protective armour now!"

While the Bradstocks were delighted with the ride Coneygree was given by substitute jockey Richard Johnson, there is no question of the suspended Nico de Boinville losing the mount.

Bradstock added: “We feel very sorry for Nico, who had a whip ban. In some stables it might have cost him the ride in future, but we’re not going to jock him off.”
Report wellchief February 9, 2015 12:37 PM GMT
Duffy, the thing with Josses Hill is that we are saying he should at least take his chance in the race, as a lot are saying he shouldn't run because he'll kill himself or something.

We are not talking of him like he's going to win the Arkle, whereas you are talking of Holywell not just running in, but winning a Gold Cup.

The two are completely different.
Report Makybe_Diva February 9, 2015 12:52 PM GMT
Thanks for posting the article on Coneygree, Shockster Happy

It sounds like he is bit of a naughty boy at home, bless him Love

I'm glad Nico will be keeping the ride.

Only 4 weeks today until Cheltenham Eve. How excited am I? Excited
Report duffy February 9, 2015 2:02 PM GMT

Of course I'm not saying that he will categorically win the GC, but I am saying that he has stacks of important criteria stacking up in his favour, so he is as strong as anything, I take budd's point about current season's form and for horses generally I'd have the same view as him, naturally enough, but not when it comes to Holywell and that is based on evidence we've seen previously, an all out 1/2 length defeat of victor hewgo, an unseat or a defeat by Hi George isn't form you'd expect to see before winning at the festival or a grade 1 victory at Aintree, but that's the polar opposites you get with this horse, suffice to say if this horse won the next 3 GC's, he'd still pre-empt it with indifferent form through the winter on bad ground...that's just my view, and again I'm not saying he'll win, but I think he's going in there with stronger claims than most.
Report brandyontherocks February 9, 2015 2:04 PM GMT
Do you not feel his previous "below par" winter form may have had something to do with his HANDICAP Cheltenham targets?
Report brandyontherocks February 9, 2015 2:06 PM GMT
Unless of course JonJo ran him on merit and he just found the extra stone needed to expose his handicap mark!!!
Report shockster February 9, 2015 2:12 PM GMT
Owner Barry Connell will decide whether to supplement Foxrock for the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup in the next fortnight.
The Ted Walsh-trained seven-year-old was sent off favourite for the Irish Hennessy, despite being stepped up to Grade One level from handicap company.
He looked likely to win jumping the last, only for Tony McCoy to produce a fairytale finish on Carlingford Lough to take the prize.
"We were very happy with him. It was a super run, his jumping is very good now and he battled away all the way to the line," said Connell.
"He's got all the attributes of a three-mile chaser.
"I just think with Carlingford Lough being two years older, he just had that bit more experience and was battled hardened. Our lad was staying on again at the finish.
"He's progressing with every run and he's bridged the gap from handicaps to Grade Ones quickly, like Road To Riches has done.
"They actually met in a beginners chase at Naas last year and there wasn't much between them then and I don't think there would be now.
"The division is open, I think the novices coming through from last year have proved that.
"We have three weeks to decide whether to supplement or not. We'll see how he comes out of this first and then make a decision in about a fortnight.
"We'll keep an open mind. In an ideal world you'd go next year when he is eight, but it's a nice dilemma to have."
Report duffy February 9, 2015 2:17 PM GMT

If he had won the handicap at the festival in isolation you'd have a valid point, but he then went on to gag up in a grade 1 at Aintree where the handicap mark played no even if jonjo was "looking after him" shall we sayGrin he's certainly gone on from then to show just how good he is in the spring in relation to bigger targets.
Report zilzal1 February 9, 2015 2:26 PM GMT
Holywells form on decent ground with Blinkers on 1121  second was to reigning world Hurdle winner Solwhit at Aintree 2013..he wore them once on heavy over 20f behind Quevega..

H'e obv not the most straightforward animal and one day, they might not work..but you cant really compare his form with CP'S on to the level he's shown with blinkers. if he lines up on decent ground on fri 13th then he'll be my bet to win the race
Report brandyontherocks February 9, 2015 2:27 PM GMT

I'm not denying he is much more than a handicapper, his Aintree win proved that.

My point was that his winter form was poor purposely because they wanted this graded animal in a handicap off a very lenient mark.

I think it's a huge leap of faith to be backing Holywell this time round off the back of what he has achieved this term.
Report shockster February 9, 2015 2:28 PM GMT
Hollywell is definitely much better than he has shown, however we don't know if his best is good enough.  If you're a backer then you need to have a leap of faith that Jonjo works the oracle.
Report brandyontherocks February 9, 2015 2:30 PM GMT
Especially as his two previous festival victories came off a prep the same calendar year. This time he has had one and half races, and the half was at the beginning of December.
Report duffy February 9, 2015 2:39 PM GMT
Fair points....especially the 1 1/2 races, we are in a situation where there is a leap of faith for every runner in the race, even the fav to a degree...I just Holywell's is more of an energetic hop rather than a leapGrin
Report brandyontherocks February 9, 2015 2:41 PM GMT

It's a tough Gold Cup with not a lot between a handful of runners.

I'm sure like many others Holywell was on my shortlist at the start of the season. Would have preferred to see more of him this season.
If he wins it won't be a huge surprise but I couldn't back him myself. GL though.
Report Howdi February 9, 2015 3:07 PM GMT
must be hardest race we have seen to call, in a long time, im clueless
Report duffy February 9, 2015 3:12 PM GMT
Isn't it about time you got that Cheltenham quiz back up....I was trawling back through the pages last night and spotted it, I was going to bump it but didn't want to catch you with your trousers to speakMischief
Report Howdi February 9, 2015 3:22 PM GMT
shall we have a national hunt quiz starting tomorrow?
Report duffy February 9, 2015 3:27 PM GMT
Report brandyontherocks February 9, 2015 3:42 PM GMT
09 Feb 15 15:07
13 Oct 04
| Topic/replies: 27,050 | Blogger: Howdi's blog
must be hardest race we have seen to call, in a long time, im clueless

How refreshing!!!!!Whoops
Report Howdi February 9, 2015 4:13 PM GMT
can u elaborate on this please...^^^ Plain
Report buddeliea February 9, 2015 4:58 PM GMT
Why on earth did you mention Howdi with his trousers down....just about to have my tea FFS!!!

Report Howdi February 9, 2015 5:55 PM GMT
surprised that put you off your tea Plain
Report Howdi February 9, 2015 5:57 PM GMT
i would hasten to add its not often I'm clueless ExcitedCool
Report wellchief February 9, 2015 6:04 PM GMT ExcitedExcited
Report duffy February 9, 2015 7:01 PM GMT
     09 Feb 15 17:55
surprised that put you off your tea Plain 

It wouldn't have done ordinarily but I think on this occasion he was having saveloy and chipsScared
Report duffy February 9, 2015 7:06 PM GMT
or perhaps chipolata in this caseGrin
Report buddeliea February 9, 2015 7:37 PM GMT

Actually I do have Saveloys occasionally but with Pease Pudding.

Tonight I had Lasagne.
Report CVByrne February 9, 2015 8:32 PM GMT
Really enjoyed Carlinford Loughs win on Sunday.

So I've lost bets on Taquin, Cue Card & Champagne Fever. But 3 live ones in Carlingford Lough, Road to Riches and Djakadam. I'm happy enough with that tbh.
Report Howdi February 9, 2015 8:45 PM GMT
good to see you put them off the scent cv there. they need reigning in, this lot.
Report CVByrne February 9, 2015 8:51 PM GMT
Put them off the scent Confused
Report buddeliea February 9, 2015 8:51 PM GMT
You shod be CV , all big players imo. Add many clouds to that list I reckon you have the winner.
Report buddeliea February 9, 2015 8:52 PM GMT
Should be
Report traveltips February 10, 2015 9:06 AM GMT
Forfeit stage at 12pm market will be suspended.
Report zilzal1 February 10, 2015 7:24 PM GMT
Jonjo just tweeted that Holywell runs on thurs
Report duffy February 10, 2015 7:25 PM GMT
Report duffy February 12, 2015 4:33 PM GMT
zippeeCrazyCrazy I meant yippee ffs....anyway, solid performance today, connections will be very satisfied with that giving a 133 horse 17 lbs and a 25 length beating in a relative stroll is a perfect prep.
Report GI MAC February 12, 2015 6:02 PM GMT
Holywell looked in good nick today, but wasn't fully wound up, more improvement to come I'd say.
Report FOYLESWAR February 12, 2015 6:34 PM GMT
hope so gi mac am baws deep !
Report SEATHESTARS....NO1 February 12, 2015 6:45 PM GMT
Never seases to amaze me tho how the bookies shorten these horses for winning egg and spoon races!
Report FOYLESWAR February 12, 2015 7:03 PM GMT
he has been short for what he has achieved so far this season but I think the bookies are wary of what he can do when conditions are right ,see the  Aintree novice chase last season
Report SEATHESTARS....NO1 February 12, 2015 7:12 PM GMT
I agree foyles but he wins a race where his nearest opponent is 17ib inferior at stupidly short odds and he gets chopped by 6 pts! I guess we now know he's fit and well which was in question only a week or two ago. 12/1 in two weeks time would be about where I would be at nrnb and he's single figures in some places!!
Report FOYLESWAR February 12, 2015 7:18 PM GMT
yeah they don't need a lot of  excuses to cut one !
Report traveltips February 12, 2015 7:47 PM GMT
Boston Bob on the drift!
Report stevo1 February 12, 2015 8:59 PM GMT
Boston Bob wouldnt win if starting now!
Report buddeliea February 12, 2015 9:21 PM GMT
Bit harsh,he was going to beat last years winner in the RSA,imo.
Report stevo1 February 12, 2015 9:31 PM GMT
Yeah backed him that day,gone backwards since imo.
Was put tongue in cheek Budd,but could back 10 others before
backing him again.
Report wellchief February 12, 2015 9:32 PM GMT
I do think Boston Bob is on the decline a bit now though.

I've never been his biggest fan, but he's been beaten a total of almost 50 lengths this year, since his 2 G1 successes last year. Ruby picking On His Own last week was a statement as well.

There are a good few I'd pick before him for the Gold Cup.
Report wellchief February 12, 2015 9:33 PM GMT
Great minds Stevo!
Report stevo1 February 12, 2015 9:37 PM GMT
Lol Well,have followed him since novice hurdle days,
thought he was gonna be really good,but in decline
seems to want 4 miles slowly?
Report buddeliea February 12, 2015 10:02 PM GMT
Well,I ain't backed him,but I do think he's capable of a big run on his day. Problem he has is this is a real good race,but if he turns up he could be a tempting price,cos if he's on his day he could run very well.
Report Wicketd February 14, 2015 12:20 PM GMT
very happy with the run from holywell. like i said before, as long as he showed signs of good form in prep, he'll be bang on for the GC. still think 10/1 is big, he's classy and unexposed still.
Report Wicketd February 14, 2015 12:20 PM GMT
in feb^, not prep
Report the bloob February 14, 2015 5:49 PM GMT
anybody else think that Sam Winner is worth a look at 33/1? course and distance should be no problem, and only beaten 3.5 lengths by Road to Riches last time out. With Road to Riches at 9/1 that makes Sam Winner a good bet at 33/1
Report jasey February 14, 2015 6:22 PM GMT
Be bigger on the day
Report sintonian February 14, 2015 8:20 PM GMT
no he won't. PFN will ramp it in his column.
Report Ibrahima Sonko February 14, 2015 8:27 PM GMT
I dont think PFN words will affect his price too much, he will be all over conti.  maybe his record in the GC and the overall crapness of the horses running in this years gold cup will make a young improver backable.
Report SoYouThink February 14, 2015 9:05 PM GMT
Just looking at Silviniaco Conti - who would be my pick for the race - I wonder would he have the profile of a Gold Cup winner or how would he fit the trends?

I think the main thing people have against him is that he's had two chances at the race and failed in both. Coupled with the fact that 6/10 winners were second season novices and 3/10 were third season novices (Just trying to get a picture of the typical profile of a recent winner just there). The exception being Kauto Star in 2009. Silviniaco Conti is now in his third season out of novice company or a fourth season novice if you want to put it like that.

The likes of Road To Riches, Dkajadam, Many Clouds, Holywell, Smad Place & Carlingford Lough are all just out of novice company and all probably still improving (You can add in Coneygree into the list for the purpose of this discussion). I can see the sense in thinking that one or more of them will improve enough to beat SC. If you also take SC's two Cheltenham runs, you'd probably say he's not improving.

Saying all that I do fancy Silviniaco Conti, and if you are one of those people - like me - who is prepared to put what happened on the run-in last year down to freak occurence, it becomes much easier to fancy him. He's won each of the 3 G1 staying chases in the UK since and himself is arguably improving. 

Question for me is who's the best of last year's novices. I find it hard so hard to split them. It really is a classic case of the young pretenders taking on a very experienced rival.
Report SoYouThink February 14, 2015 9:14 PM GMT
Also another point I would make - the narrative on this race is suggesting it's weak. I would say it's actually quite strong. Those horses I've named in my last post have shown huge improvement in the last year and the fact they'll nearly all be coming into the race off the back of impressive wins (i.e. Lexus, Irish Hennessy, Cotswold Chase, Thyestes Chase, Denman Chase .... all recognized trials) make it both fascinating and wide open. I can't see how people consider it weak as all the form from all the recognized trials and nearly all the form last year's staying G1 novices will be represented too. Just because one or two of the leading contenders started chasing life out in handicaps does not make it weak. I'm nearly giving myself doubts about Silviniaco Conti here too Laugh
Report Ibrahima Sonko February 14, 2015 9:23 PM GMT
those are races in names only.

Its wide open because they are just 165 horses and on the day one will excel.

It has been very weak for years now.

See how easily handicappers and novices have walked into contention.

At the moment im torn between  Silviniaco Conti who had the race won 150yds out last year, which he has improved on and a novice/handicapper.

Still reckon it is piss poor division.
Report timtin February 14, 2015 9:30 PM GMT
SYT, almost everyday on different races I read how people advertise their weakness comparing with previous years, they're mostly talking rubbish and have no clue about horse racing. The only way to call a race weaker than the previous years is by looking at it after 2-3 seasons and then compare it and see what all the horses in that race have consequently done that season, next seasons, etc. Saying a race is weak before taking place is hilarious at best. The most recent example of such idiots were the `tv experts` saying about the Hennessy before or right after that its a very weak renewal, now look at them fools..
Report SoYouThink February 14, 2015 9:36 PM GMT
Yes I agree there's also people will tell you the Champion Chase is weak with the injuries to the former and current champ, that the Champion Hurdle is a 3 runner race and that the World Hurdle is weak. They can't all be weak. Although in the case of the World Hurdle my guess would be it's not a vintage renewal but as you say time is the best indicator of that.
Report timtin February 14, 2015 10:19 PM GMT
The last year Gold Cup is one of the weakest in history, the fact that there were 3 horses on the line with their form this season being completely blown apart confirms it but before the race you couldn't possibly say this.

CH trial like for example today's Kingwell, or last week Betfair Hurdle, etc. which were used as proper CH trials this season winners aren't even considered for the Champion Hurdle because the quality of the first 4 is too huge this year, how can anyone call it a weak renewal?

As for the other races unlike previous years this season there are too many quality horses imported and/or improved, thats why Ricci and Mullins are having difficulty in keeping theirs separated, not because there are fewer festival races but because the number of quality horses in recent years is alot higher. Vautour, Peace&Co, Douvan, Lami Serge, UDS, Don Poli, Nichols Canyon, Hargam, Coneygree, etc. potential new upcoming stars; the sheer number of them is unheard of in previous years. We'll see how many will confirm their status but you can't call a race weak before being run and even then you need time to see how they all perform in consequent events before confirming that verdict.
Report wellchief February 15, 2015 9:43 AM GMT
Just looking through the Gold Cup entries before and was amazed just how lightly raced Bobs Worth is for his age.

He's only had 10 chase starts, although admittedly a lot of them will have been very hard races.  Compare that to Carlingord Lough who has had 17, Road to Riches 10, Holywell 10 and Many Clouds 9.

I've only picked the last four out as these are the up and coming ones.  I'm not sure after 17 starts just how much more improvement Carlingford Lough has in him, and I do think he needs to improve based on beating Foxrock a length.

If people continually write off Lord Windermere's poor runs, then you have to do the same for Bob imo. He's now looking more and more like my each way play in the race, as he's been there and wore the T shirt.  The odds are that a lot of those between the 10/1 and 16/1 mark won't be as good as thought when push comes to the shove, so I'd like to have Bob on my side for the place angle.
Report sintonian February 15, 2015 12:10 PM GMT
yep, considering backing him myself...if only the Good ground was guaranteed...!
Report shockster February 19, 2015 9:07 AM GMT
AP McCoy – my last Festival

My final Cheltenham Festival as a jockey is now just three weeks away and I couldn’t be happier to say that Carlingford Lough will be my ride in the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup.
By AP McCoy
So long as trainer John Kiely and JP McManus are happy with his condition then I will be aboard him on March 13th.

Cheltenham this year will probably be a little emotional for me but hopefully I will enjoy it more than I ever have as it will be the last time I will be riding there. The Festival is very special and I got an amazing reaction over in Ireland on Hennessy day when winning on Carlingford Lough. That was every emotional for me and Cheltenham will be very much the same – it will be my last time so I am going to try and enjoy it as I will never be there as a jockey again.

As I said, Carlingford Lough will be my Gold Cup ride; he gave me a great feel winning the Irish Hennessy and I am very much looking forward to riding him in the Gold Cup, if he lines up. Gold Cup day is probably the most important day of the whole jumping year and I am hoping he has got a live chance.

People might look back to last year and point out he was only sixth in the RSA but he never really got into a rhythm and we saw more of what he was capable of when he won the Grade One at Punchestown. John Kiely has the horse in great shape and he is definitely going there with a chance.

My other possible ride was Holywell and he was right back to form at Kelso last Thursday. It wasn’t much of a race but he travelled well and jumped better as the race went on. The way the horse improves through this time of the year he is definitely a Gold Cup contender, that is for sure.
Report Makybe_Diva February 19, 2015 9:48 PM GMT
Thanks for posting that, shockster.

Ap's last Cheltenham Cry
Report the bloob February 20, 2015 10:14 PM GMT
I still can't get over the price on Sam Winner, 33/1 is obscene. The only other horse I'm interested in is Holywell, I think 11/1 is still worth a bet
Report charlieptl February 21, 2015 8:10 AM GMT
Agree about Sam Winner. 55% of all starts at Cheltenham, won 4 times. 33/1 seems like a crazy price, il be having some of that
Report buddeliea February 21, 2015 8:17 AM GMT
yep,ran well in the Lexus,bit further round Cheltenham should suit him more,lively e/w chance imo.
Report SoYouThink February 21, 2015 9:37 AM GMT
I'm beginning to come round to the idea of Smad Place running a big race. Good Cheltenham record, likes the course, improves for the Spring ground. He very nearly won the RSA last year and had lots of his Gold Cup rivals behind him. Slight concern in the Cotswold Chase, he never really looked like winning despite getting close enough to Many Clouds. You'd be hoping the course and the ground might lead to the form being turned around. Only other concern would he might suffer from place-itis in big races. I don't think we've the best of him though.
Report wellchief February 21, 2015 9:43 AM GMT
^ Yeah mate, I've said on here he's a "nearly horse" - possibly like an Overturn.  Ran huge races in defeat, but always managed to bump into one or two too good.

That said, if we get the usual good or good/soft ground, I think he can turn the form round with Many Clouds.  Oliver Sherwood voiced concerns over the good ground for the Gold Cup, and while Smad has won on Heavy, I really think he appreciates the better ground, and he hasn't got that much to make up.

Festival form usually counts for a lot too.  Again, I think he'll run in to a couple too good, but I think he'll be well in the mix for the places.  I feel the same for Bobs Worth too - I think he's been overlooked by a lot of people, but he's only lightly raced, and always runs a big race at the Festival, but I think a place is probably the best he can hope for.
Report gazovic February 22, 2015 7:47 AM GMT
Anyone pleased by Rocky Creek's win with an eye on this race?
Report jasey February 22, 2015 11:47 AM GMT
He ain't entered
Report brandyontherocks February 22, 2015 11:51 AM GMT
Nicholls said: "That is just what we wanted before Aintree. What happened at Newbury (when tried) with the tongue tie was that he seemed to spit the dummy out (pulled up).

"I was never going to run him before the National weights came out as Aintree was always the number one target.

"Sam Twiston-Davies just ambled round and then ran away with him coming to the second last.

"He jumped and travelled well in last year's National and now that we have got his breathing right, the National should be right up his street."
Report Benjy February 22, 2015 4:06 PM GMT
I assume gazovic meant regarding Road to riches...
Report gazovic February 22, 2015 5:34 PM GMT
Thank you Benjy
Report shockster February 25, 2015 1:46 PM GMT
Meade on ROAD TO RICHES: "If I get him there as well as I have for his past two runs, he's got a cracking chance".
Report wellchief March 31, 2015 8:07 PM BST
Ah Conti.  I conveniently forgot about this thread, but thought I'd give my thoughts now the dust has settled.

This may make some people laugh, but...I still don't really subscribe to the view that he doesn't act round Cheltenham.  I think the reason that he got beat that he simply wasn't good enough on the day.  For me, whether that race was at Cheltenham, Kempton, Haydock or Sandown, I think he wouldn't have won.

I thought he travelled well for the majority of the race, so I don't put his failure down to the track, but then quickly found nothing when asked.

I'd say the ground would have been more of a factor than the track, and that's not making excuses.  The pressure Coneygree put on the entire fields jumping completely got Conti out of his comfort zone, whereas in the King George he was able to dictate at his own pace.  But then if he would have gone along with Coneygree up front, he would have been burned out long before the end anyway.

I'm gutted really.  Not the fact he would have been my biggest win of the week, but I really wanted him to win a Gold Cup, and I think his best chance has probably gone now.  Next year, on good/soft ground I still think he has an outside chance, but I'd be easily wanting a double figure price about him.  I know a lot on here probably wouldn't touch him at any price, but just like this year when I had a few quid on the Fly, sometimes the heart rules the head.

Those who had the King George down as a poor trial were spot on.  But then, in my defense, I didn't rate the Lexus as a good trial either, where I thought Road to Riches was the only one that I could ever take out of it.  I never considered backing any of the beaten ones in that.

You live and learn.  Next years race already looks like it has the potential to be a classic, and I think Conti's presence would be a boost for the race, so I'm hoping he runs at least anyway.  Nicholls said after the race about flat tracks, so it could well have been the last time we've seen him at Cheltenham? 

But then, it could be a Hurricane Fly scenario were it's purely conceivable that he could win the Betfair and King George, but still be unfancied and go off 5th or 6th fav; similar to the Fly winning all last year, but because of his festival record, was largely unconsidered by most.
Report Eeternaloptimist April 1, 2015 3:20 PM BST
I think the answer is as plain as the nose on your face. He needs the flatter tracks over 3 miles to conserve his stamina. His class to run to around 170+ under these conditions isn't in doubt in my view but going up that hill three times is just too much for him. Especially in a better class of Gold Cup as we've just seen with a horse up front making stamina and jumping the issue.
Report wellchief April 1, 2015 4:56 PM BST
I do think he gets 3m2 round Cheltenham on good ground, but I agree that against better opposition he doesn't get it well enough.

When I say its not the course, I'm referring to the undulations that Cheltenham has. I don't think they effect him at all, but the extra 2f against quality opposition on soft ground does.

His best chance was the one when he veered after the last. Decent ground and pretty poor opposition so his best chance is well gone now sadly.
Report Eeternaloptimist April 1, 2015 5:53 PM BST
Agree with all of that. Most of em will get 4 miles against the right opposition. The thing we sometimes lose sight of is yes Cheltenham is the biggie and the Gold Cup the biggest of biggies but there are a lot of other top class races. Wayward Lad wasn't any less of a horse just because he didn't quite stay that final furlong.
Report cricketnut2 April 11, 2015 7:46 PM BST
Many Clouds and Silviano Conti 6th and 5th in the Gold Cup, both win at Aintree and the superb weight carrying performance of Many Clouds today in the Grand National, shows you just how strong The Gold Cup was this year, it will be a very very exciting season next year.
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