Cheltenham Festival

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20 Mar 21 08:18
Date Joined: 16 Feb 03
| Topic/replies: 6,436 | Blogger: unclepuncle's blog
Another year over and time to look ahead to next season Festival - only 360 days to go.Laugh

Novice Hurdles.

The bumper was a two horse race according to the betting and that's how it turned out with Sir Gerhard making all under a typically canny ride from Rachel Blackmore from the staying on Kilcruit.
Kilcruit definitely doesn't look a Supreme type so that leaves the door open for Sir Gerhard in the Supreme - though he also might want further over obstacles, and is there a chance he goes straight over fences?

Both look the obvious favourites for the two main novice hurdles, though the bookies aren't exactly missing that at around 6/1 - for reference this time last year I got 14/1 on Ferny Hollow and Appreciate It for the Supreme and Ballymore respectively??

The potential fly in the ointment is Journey With Me for the Bob Olinger connections who was super impressive in his point and in his bumper last Friday (the same bumper that Bob Olinger won in 2020).
At 20/1 for the Ballymore he might be worth a punt.

Novice Chases

Appreciate It was hugely impressive in the Supreme but is built like a chaser and has already won a point so I expect Mullins will head down the Arkle route rather than go for the Champion Hurdle.
He's a similar price to Shiskin last year (5/1 best) and although not generous we all know what price Shiskin (and Envoi Allen ) went off this year so it's hard to blame the bookies.
Blue Lord was running a good race until he fell at the last and he makes some Arkle appeal at 33/1 if they go chasing.

Bob Olinger was just as impressive in the Ballymore and could be aimed at the Arkle (20/1) but I expect they will stick to the intermediate trip and go for the Marsh (5/1)  - again not a price to get the juices flowing but hard to think he would be any bigger. And like this season I expect the trainers of the real hotpots will have a gentleman's agreement not to take each other on. He could even stay over hurdles and aim at the Champion but with Honeysuckle in the same yard I think that is unlikely.

Champion Hurdle

Unless Appreciate it or Bob Olinger stay over hurdles it should be Honeysuckles to lose - seems to be getting faster with age.
Epatante clearly not at her best the last twice but I fear she may have soured now and maybe the breeding sheds await. If they do keep her going I'd go straight to the Festival with her.
Quixilos won the Triumph well enough but with Tritonic and Zanayhir running lamentably it didn't take much winning.

Champion Chase

A blanket finish this year and many will think Shiskin just has to show up, but at a best price 7/4 I can easily resist.
I know most people will say he isn't a Cheltenham horse (after one run), but although I was against him all this season Chacun Pour Soi would be my idea of the value at 12/1. It took Min a few goes to get the tactics right and win at the Festival and maybe a more positive ride may help him. He travelled and jumped well and didn't' seem to have any obvious issue with the track or the fences other than tiring late on. He has been impressive at Leopardstown and that has a stiff finish, though he usually has the race put the bed well before the furlong pole.
Allaho could be interesting if they dropped him in trip and Energumene has looked very good and may have a part to play.


Arguably the performance of the week by Allaho and he is clearly the one to beat again if in the same form - the 5/1 is fair enough. Chance he may drop in trip but I'd expect Mullins to keep the faith with Chacan. Min is now past it and the others that ran this year don't look good enough. That leaves the Marsh runners but with Envoi Allen falling it wasn't a hot race and Chantry House was workmanlike and may even step up in trip.
Will be interesting to see what they do with Envoi Allen now. Change of stables clearly not ideal so close to the meeting and his demeanour before the start did raise alarm bells. 16/1 is tempting given his previous Festival form but if they get it wrong next time he could be a busted flush.

Stayer Hurdle

An impressive win by Flooring Porter but assuming they stick to hurdles I'll give Thyme Hill (even though it's trained in EnglandScared) another chance and 14/1 seems fair.

Gold Cup

Terrific performance from Minella Indo who beat the form horses fairly and squarely. Given what Alloha did to the Ryanair field it just goers to show how good a run it was in the RSA when Minella Indo went toe to toe with and then past Alloha until making that juddering error at the last. You'd think Al Boum Photo is maybe just slightly regressing so the front two plus Monkfish seem to be the main contenders.
Monkfish is half the price of the other two, and even Envoi Allen is shorter but has it all to prove before I could back him, and so Minella Indo at 10/1 would be my selection.
Given he seems to love Leopardstown I'd expect A Plus Tard to be aimed at the two big 3m chases at Christmas and February with Minella Indo maybe coming over for the King George (connections were due to run Monalee this year) or doing a similar route to Al Boum Photo.
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Report Hibore March 20, 2021 9:41 AM GMT
Well done Uncle. Hope you had a good one this year.
Saturday morning after Cheltenham is very depressing knowing it’s over for another year.

Agree with everything you say. Bookies are being very cautious for 2022 and normally have few antepost bets over this weekend. Only horse that I think is overpriced is Thyme Hill at 14/1. Can’t find anything else at this moment.
Report differentdrum March 20, 2021 10:14 AM GMT
Some well thought out analysis.

Unfortunately, there are plenty of drawbacks to backing horses early.

I got 12/1 Monkfish last year. Top team, high quality form and the size to make a chaser. I don't see anything similar jumping out this year.

The bookmakers are getting more and more cautious about the 'exposed' Irish horses. Single figure prices on anything doesn't really appeal to me.

Then you have a number of promising horses that didn't run at the Festival. Robcour are building a strong team with the likes of Gerri Colombe and Teahupoo. Would Teahupoo be quick enough for an Arkle? He certainly looks to have the scope. Gerri Colombe you might think Ballymore, but it is difficult when you have an owner like Acheson who pretty much says nothing. I think Latest Exhibition is interesting. If the trainer is frightened by Monkfish what's he going to do next year? Stayers Hurdle? That would be my thinking, but we don't know the thinking that matters. Some of these are not quoted and if you are relatively successful and ask for a quote (even now) it isn't likely to attractive. I will still give it a go.

It would be madness backing almost any English horse ante-post. I think Shearer should be a decent staying novice, but you have the added problem of the owner seemingly not realising that Heskin carries a 7-10lb penalty on the big stage. If Bear Ghylls were transferred to Henderson you could easily be looking at a stone better horse. Unfortunately, I think we know that isn't going to happen. With the current trainer/jock combination he is likely to be in big  trouble over fences and I would be inclined to target a Stayers Hurdle.
Report ashleigh March 20, 2021 10:16 AM GMT
w mullins talking today about dropping allaho back to 2 miles.
Report differentdrum March 20, 2021 10:21 AM GMT
I haven't watched Journey For Me's races but just on pedigree Mahler/Bob's Return suggests soft ground stayer to me and I would be against until he produces something of note at shorter trips.
Report differentdrum March 20, 2021 10:26 AM GMT
I thought Honeysuckle and Allaho produced the two standout performances of the week.

Why would you want to complicate matters with Allaho? It was a brutal performance and he seemed to improve a stone. He has to back that up, but I would have thought the only question to be answered is whether you keep Blackmore on board. I would.
Report HaylingBilly March 20, 2021 12:25 PM GMT
Thanks to unclepuncle for the round up. The only one I would add is VANILLIER who I thought was exceptional yesterday in the AB and he looks very much like a Chaser to me. Reckon he is a good shout to follow MONKFISH in to the 3m Novice Chase and at 16/1 looks as good an AP bet as any.
Report HaylingBilly March 20, 2021 12:30 PM GMT
Ferny Hollow has to be included in any AP thinking for 2022. Does anyone know if the plan is Champion Hurdle or novice chasing next year ?
Report differentdrum March 20, 2021 12:39 PM GMT
Bet 365 have put Teahupoo in at 33/1 for the Arkle. Given the risk and options that isn't worth taking.

They stated that due to a trading decision they wouldn't offer a price on Latest Exhibition for the Stayers. It beggars belief.

As for Vanillier, yes he was impressive, but it looked a pretty weak race, and you are getting 16/1 with Moore on board as opposed to 12/1 Monkfish who won a very good renewal with Townend on board. Also Vanillier's form prior to the win wasn't anything special. I backed him on a couple of occasions and none of those efforts would have seen him winning a genuine Grade 1. Even if he wins a novice chase you would think he will remain double figures.
Report irishone March 20, 2021 1:00 PM GMT
Thyme Hill overpriced ?
A year out ?
Ffs should be double that it getting there
....and the trainer never got there last two festivals?

jesus you do come out with them !
Report jimnast March 20, 2021 4:05 PM GMT
due to a trading decision ffs why did they not just offer you evens they would have got more respect.
Report differentdrum March 20, 2021 4:13 PM GMT
Yes, it's bonkers. We are 12 months away and I am guessing. At the moment he is a chaser. Will that go pear-shaped and even if it did would he be good enough? Why would you be so frightened to offer 25/1 plus? They know I am a small punter. I did get him added to the Albert Bartlett market at 66/1. Perhaps they think I have the inside line and this is the penalty? Perhaps they have forgotten that he didn't actually win the Albert Bartlett?
Report jimnast March 20, 2021 5:00 PM GMT
the days of odds compilers are over differentdrum they are clueless robots just look at the grids in the paper the prices are very very close if not the same 16 runner races or races 12 months away,if you and your mate over a pint priced up any football that day with only 3 possible results you would be different prices.
Report duffy March 20, 2021 7:52 PM GMT
First price that I thought was interesting was 16/1 for Energumene, I'd expect to see that if he'd actually raced and got beat by Shishkin, as it is he could still be the real deal.
Report differentdrum March 21, 2021 12:13 AM GMT
Now had a look at Journey To Me's two runs. I don't think I saw anything to change my original thoughts. I doubt very much he has anything like the pace or class of a Bob Olinger.

The big plus was his accurate jumping in the point win.

The horse he beat in the bumper was well beaten in the other division of the point. If anything I preferred him as a stamp. De Bromhead now has the second (Upping The Anti) from that first division.

I have had a very small bet on Journey To Me at a boosted 33/1 for the Albert Bartlett. A dour test should suit and despite being shorter in the other markets I can't see him going anywhere else.
Report differentdrum March 21, 2021 12:13 AM GMT
^ Apologies Journey With Me.
Report differentdrum March 21, 2021 12:18 AM GMT
That's most of the meeting sewn up for Robcour with Teahupoo winning the Arkle, Gerri Colombe the Ballymore and Bob Olinger probably the Marsh.

Just on another front given his age how certain is Sir Gerhard to even run over hurdles?
Report paulo47 March 21, 2021 10:07 AM GMT
Nice write up Uncle , unfortunately its going to be 50s plus or nrnb for next year , and alot more thought involved .....famous last words .
Report unclepuncle March 21, 2021 6:46 PM GMT
One race I didn’t look ahead to was the RSA (or whatever it is called now).

Appreciate It and Bob Olinger head the market but I can’t see either of them being aimed at it.
The Albert Bartlett looked a weak affair beforehand and while the winner Vanillier won decisively I don’t see him as a future star.

The one that jumps off the ante post list to me is Gaillard Du Mesnil.
He was well backed but had a thankless task against Bob Olinger yet stayed on well for a clear second best and yet is much longer than Bravemansgame for some unfathomable reason, He had previously stayed on strongly to win the 2m6f Grade 1 novice at the Dublin Festival (with Vanillier 59l behind!).

33/1 is available with B365 but they closed my account years ago so have had to take some boosted 27/1 with Billies.
Report duffy March 21, 2021 6:53 PM GMT
Don't know what race it'll be aimed at but I think Three Stripe Life would be worth keeping onside, he was largely, before and after, over-looked by the masses but his sole bumper win garnered him plenty of plaudits and he was another sufferer behind SG the other day and like I said it was only his second start.
Report differentdrum March 22, 2021 12:01 AM GMT
Followed you in with Gaillard Du Mesnil. He is not a horse I have particularly followed but he should be half those odds. He was outpaced in the Ballymore. If Bob Olinger translates from hurdles to fences and looks like going Marsh I doubt Mullins is going to hit his head against a brick wall. Backed him each-way because I think there is a degree of certainty to this target.
Report paulo47 March 22, 2021 9:29 AM GMT
Agree re potential of Galliard , also think that his jumping in the Ballymore had considerable room for improvement versus the other two , whether thats a +ve or -ve re the RSA am not certain .
Report differentdrum March 22, 2021 1:05 PM GMT
The fly in the ointment for plenty might be the attraction of the Stayers Hurdle . It looks a (very) weak division. That said I think it is easier should it go pear-shaped to go from novice chasing to hurdling rather than the other way around.
Report unclepuncle March 22, 2021 2:01 PM GMT
Be amazed if they thought about the stayers unless he really made a mess of chasing.
Besides Thyme Hill is a shoo-in for the Stayers.Wink
Report irishone March 22, 2021 10:01 PM GMT
Uncle illie stated Appreciate it was a vatour type, that would put him in line for the Marsh and at 7\1 instead of 7\2 might be a better choice but too early for me
Report layingisthewayforward March 22, 2021 10:43 PM GMT
Any early indication on where Envoi Allen is going to be aimed? Gold cup?
Report FOYLESWAR March 23, 2021 5:43 PM GMT
galopin des champs , hosed up in the martin pipe on handicap debut ,a very lightly raced and  improving 5 yo ,looks a chaser and was way ahead of his mark last time ,25 /1 for the rsa i have had a little dabble each way  ,i know its early but if ya see the bandwagon its too late
Report duffy March 24, 2021 4:20 AM GMT
Many horses came out of the festival with greatly enhanced reputations, one of which did not even run.

So what is the plan for Ferny Hollow, is he going to have a season over hurdles or straight chasing now? Mullins will be tasked with plotting both him and AI routes if chasing is the decision and 2 miles for both.
Report differentdrum March 24, 2021 12:49 PM GMT
I don't think you can read too much into one run over hurdles which was effectively a match. If he is that good I would initially try and win a Grade 1 over hurdles with Ferny Hollow. Not as if Mullins has a Champion Hurdle horse based on the assumption Appreciate It will be going chasing.
Report strontium March 24, 2021 9:36 PM GMT
I think where Ferny Hollow goes is key to a lot of ataking plans for 2022. In his last two races he's beaten Appreciate It and Bob Olinger, so he clearly has mega potential. Mullins has AI for the Arkle, and doesn't look to have a Champion Hurdle winner in waiting, but FH would be very inexperienced to go down the champion Hurdle route after just one run as a novice. He also (presumably) needs to fit in around the other Chevely Park horses. Quixilios and Ballyadam may well both go chasing. So might Sir Gerhard as he'll already be 7 next year. I'd love to get an insight into what Mullins and CP are thinking about this horse.
Report HaylingBilly March 24, 2021 11:29 PM GMT
I think the Mullins Champion Hurdle horse could be Concertista. Didn't quite get the 2.5 miles in the Mares and looks every inch a very good 2m hurdler to me. Am I mad ?
Report irishone March 25, 2021 8:49 AM GMT
A non-event

Overhyped horses (santini, champ)
Very little competition for Irish horses
Can't control Covid (dodgy vaccine)
Can't get owners in safely
Prizemoney down

Leopardstown (xmas), dublin, punchestown far better programme  (prizemoney)
Report layingisthewayforward March 25, 2021 12:10 PM GMT
A bit early to be calling Cheltenham 2022 a non-event imo.
Report duffy March 25, 2021 6:13 PM GMT
The most disappointing aspect in all what we saw last week is that through next season in Britain there will be an inclination to simply ignore any perceived decent performance we think we are watching with a view to supporting those horses at the festival.
Report Quevega06 March 26, 2021 12:03 AM GMT
Duffy don't be so negative surely Nicholls will find one to ruin the party !!
Report irishone March 26, 2021 6:49 AM GMT
The greatest thing about next year
Is that the English will ignore the lessons
They got from the Irish
and instead of learning from them
Will do as they have always done .....
Disraelis splendid isolation with their heads
Still up their own backsides
Report HaylingBilly March 26, 2021 7:17 AM GMT
irishone - are you ante everything English or just our horses and horse trainers ? Asking for a friend :-)
Report irishone March 26, 2021 11:17 AM GMT
I love the English billy .....for dinner
Report duffy March 26, 2021 3:03 PM GMT
It seems the potato famine and causes thereof have left irish with a chip on his shoulder.......see what I did thereWink
Report cobra sam March 26, 2021 4:39 PM GMT
i got a lot of good irish friends and find most of the irish good people Duffy,,but same with every race and nation,,always a few idiots
Report cobra sam March 26, 2021 4:40 PM GMT
as the old saying goes..."no one likes a smart ass"
Report irishone March 27, 2021 6:54 AM GMT
Report differentdrum April 9, 2021 1:11 PM BST
Just got Wheres Maud Gone added for the Mare's Novices.

I thought she travelled as well as anything and the stumble was so bad it must have affected her final effort. She shouldn't be five times the price of the second. She should stay 2m4f, but every chance they will start at 2m. Not keen on the sire, but for me that's the only negative.
Report irishone April 27, 2021 6:34 AM BST
6.30Dooley Insurance Champion Novice S´chase (Grade 1) 5-y-o plus of €100,000.00 . 3m. 120yds.
1st - €60,000.00 2nd - €20,000.00 3rd - €10,000.00 4th - €5,000.00
Race Conditions - A novice steeplechase for five years old and upwards Weights - 5-y-o 11st 7lbs 6-y-o and up 11st 12lbs Mares allowed 7lbs
NoFormHorseAge WeightTrainerJockeyOR
1 silk-1fEnvoi Allen41ts5 c1 bf 7 11-12Henry De BromheadRachael Blackmore164
2 silk252Franco De Port24 6 11-12W P MullinsB J Cooper153
3 silk-11Monkfish42 d2 7 11-12W P MullinsP Townend163
4 silk-11Colreevy40 c3 8 11-5W P MullinsD E Mullins158
Probable SP - 10/11 Monkfish, 5/4 Envoi Allen, 8/1 Colreevy, 33/1 Franco De Port.

Report unclepuncle April 28, 2021 6:55 AM BST
Well with a view to my life changing ante-post multiples on next years festival the post Cheltenham racing has gone exactly as I would have hoped.Grin

As well as various small (£1-5) five, six and sevenfolds my chunkiest bet was a £20 treble and so far Paisley Park (14/1) and Chacun Pour Soi (12/1) have now halved in price after winning Grade 1's and I'm delighted that the third selection Minella Indo (8/1) is missing Punchestown - the dream is alive.Laugh

Was also good to see Monkfish show he is very beatable (never understood why he was made half the price of Minella IndoConfused) and as predicted Envoi Allen may never be the same horse again.
And with Colreevy winning it maybe showed that Elimay had an impossible task (though arguably she should have won with a better ride) and so the 9/2 on her winning the Mares Chase may be generous come the day - hard to see her running anywhere else.
Report FOYLESWAR April 28, 2021 7:47 PM BST
gallopin des champs hosed up today over 3m  and wpm hinted its fences next season,been cut for the  rsa /brown adv
Report Quevega06 May 3, 2021 11:14 AM BST
Foyles, as we said on previous threads for some reason the Martin Pipe is always won by a grade one horse.. We were laughed at when suggesting Bear Ghyliss should go to it
Report irishone May 4, 2021 9:26 AM BST
Problem is you cant put ratibgs and grades on horses because they ain't consistent, neither are the courses, the ground, the weather or the handlers.
Report differentdrum May 5, 2021 10:42 PM BST
13 Renewals of the Martin Pipe. It is occasionally won by a Grade 1 horse, usually trained by Willie Mullins.
Report duffy May 6, 2021 4:03 PM BST
3 times I make it.
Report irishone May 9, 2021 10:54 AM BST
The words occasionally and usually are somewhat nebulous
Report duffy May 10, 2021 3:11 PM BST
Every winner of the race that had fair claims to be classed as a Grade 1 performer were all trained by Mullins.
Report strontium May 11, 2021 3:15 PM BST
Four I think - Sir Des Champs, Don Poli, Killultagh Vic and Galopin des Champ all subseuqnetly won a Grade 1 over hurdles or fences. It's a striking statistic (4 such Mulinns trained winners from 13 renewals) given that those horses could also have run in the County Hurdle, Coral Cup, Supreme, Ballymore or Bartlett.
Report irishone May 12, 2021 5:03 AM BST
Not really ...willie already had the winners of those by the time it got to Friday LaughLaughLaugh
Report Platinum June 8, 2021 9:50 PM BST
How many days left?
Report ImSoLuckyLucky! August 30, 2021 5:56 PM BST
Tatts tickets for the Wednesday are £55
Sure i paid £45 the last time you were allowed in
Report ImSoLuckyLucky! August 30, 2021 5:57 PM BST
Actually thats a group rate
£59 single payment


Report Hanx September 6, 2021 1:40 PM BST
Accommodation prices have gone through the roof too Angry
Report Bentring September 10, 2021 9:28 PM BST
Entrance prices are a disgrace you can get into top Irish festivals from November to late April/May for 20/25 yoyos Galway and Harvest festival probably similar but never been to those
Report strontium September 11, 2021 10:58 AM BST
Too true - you can get entrance and a grandstand seat at the DRF for E60. But this is a wider problem in Britsh sport - for example, it costs far, far more to go to international cricket in this country than anywhere else in the world. I've stopped going to Test cricket, partly because I'm not prepared to pay £150 per seat (or more).
Report Hibore September 21, 2021 8:23 PM BST
Booked 4 bed house 25min drive to racecourse today for £3k. Tuesday to Saturday.
Similar property over last 5 festivals was £1.5 - £2k maximum. Price has gone through roof.
If you haven’t booked accommodation yet I’d do it soon.
Report irishone September 22, 2021 7:45 AM BST
Very little supply left.
Report ImSoLuckyLucky! September 22, 2021 2:59 PM BST
Course only selling tickets ONLINE
Used to pick them locally
Also they seem to price tickets on a Ryanair basis
By march they probably be £100 ticket
Useless Farts

Report duffy October 4, 2021 5:30 PM BST
We can all begin to emerge from hibernation because THAT Chepstow fixture that signifies that the jumps are back is almost hereExcited
Report Hibore October 4, 2021 7:02 PM BST
Cheltenham members badges arrived today. Hotel booked for 22nd and 23rd October meeting.

Can’t wait Cool
Report 04arsenalfc. October 7, 2021 5:57 PM BST
Hope to see your updates regarding your horses this season Hibore hopefully! Interesting to check in follow last season I dont really post much as my comments seem to get blocked. Angry

Seems some really poor value this season for Cheltenham so far. (I thought last season was bad!) My horse to follow this season will be Shewearsitwell - Not sure on the target but I think this could be a serious horse if the injury hasn't taken its toll. GL
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