What a start to the Festival! Tuesday did not disappoint and we saw some superb performances.
Sir Gerhard starts the day as a warm order and it’s hard to not fancy his chances. He’s the Champion Bumper winner and unbeaten over hurdles including a fairly easy Grade 1 win last time. Three Stripe Life chased him home in that race and I feel like he will do the same here. The forecast is about 5/1 and I’m happy to have a small stake on that in a race that doesn’t really capture the imagination other than watching an excellent horse in action.
The Brown Advisory looks a great contest and fairly open. I do like Ahoy Senior but he will need to brush up on his jumping but he is 4 from 5 left handed and 0 from 2 right handed. Not a huge sample size but it might help him here. He’s just a bit too short for me though to be honest. The one at a price worth chancing is Threeunderthrufive. He’s had a busy campaign but has won his last four including a couple of Grade 2 events. He was sixth in the Albert Bartlett last year which is decent enough form and I just feel like he is a solid option at a price but it’s another race I’m not getting heavily involved with.
The Coral Cup is a right head scratcher. Henderson has a tremendous record in this race and he only has one entry, Call Me Lord, and he is a massive price so I can’t let that go unbacked. It’s not just the Henderson factor though. He hasn’t won since 2019 when winning the International Hurdle and has been plummeting down the weights. He ran very credibly in the Lanzarote Hurdle in January this year and is 2lb lower now but that showed he hasn’t gone at the game. The other one I like is Grand Roi for the Russell/Elliot partnership. He was sent off as favourite for the race last year but never got going but the way they have campaigned him this season would suggest they want another crack and I am happy to be on side at the current price.
The highlight of the day is the Champion Chase where Shishkin and Energemene renew their rivalry after Shishkin won a dramatic race at Ascot. Personally I don’t see how the form will be reversed and if anything Cheltenham will play to Shishkins strengths more. I will have a small bet in the ‘without Shishkin’ market on the Arkle winner and defending Champion Chase winner Put The Kettle On. She saves her best for Cheltenham and although this is a very strong renewal she still looks worthy of a bet as she will be primed here and I think although she might get outclassed by Shishkin her price is a bit of an insult.
Tiger Roll is a warm order for the Cross Country race but I am happy to take him on at the price and if he hacks up so be it. The one I like is 2020 winner Easyland. He looked like he had a huge future after winning this as a 6 year old but it is fair to say he hasn’t really kicked on. He was well beaten in the race last year by Tiger Roll and has since moved to Jonjo O’Neill where he’s pulled up on his last 2 starts over inadequate trips. He likes the course though and he is still only an 8 year old and Tiger Roll is 12 now so there are reasons to be optimistic of his chances in this renewal and he is a large price this time around.
Then we have the last race of the Cheltenham Festival…in days gone by in the Grand Annual. A frantic 2m Chase handicap which really takes some getting and sound jumping is crucial. I’d usually want a horse to be prominent but there is some serious pace in the race this year with For Pleasure, Editeur Du Gite, Exit Poll and Global Citizen in there. The one that might benefit from this is Gumball who likes to be held up but is also on an appealing mark now of 140. He’s been running well enough this season with decent efforts at Carlisle and Ludlow last time. He will need a bit of luck but this race will certainly be run to suit and he’s a huge price.
We conclude with the stars of the future on show in the Champion Bumper. Facile Vega has been all the rage but is a silly price now in what looks a competitive field. Mullins saddles 7 in the race and his first choice in the betting doesn’t always win. He has got a great chance though, as has American Mike and they both come in to the race rated 138, although this is all about potential and the winner may not have shown his best hand yet. I’ll chance one at a big price and that is the filly Poetic Music. Fillies have a good record in this race and as she’s 4 as well she gets lumps of weight. Cue Card was the last 4 year old to win and I doubt she will reach those heights but she is unbeaten in Bumpers including a Listed win and she may well outrun her odds. She’s also won in big fields which will help her cause. I’ll also back her without the top two in the market as well.
1.30 – Gir Gerhard & Three Stripe Life Forecast 5/1 1.5pts (bet365)
2.10 – Threeunderthrufive 16/1 0.75pts EW (Betfred 1/5 1,2,3,4)
2.50 – Call Me Lord 33/1 1pt EW & Grand Roi 16/1 1pt EW (both bet365 1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7)
3.30 – Put The Kettle On w/o Shishkin 16/1 1pt (bet365)
4.10 – Easyland 12/1 1pt EW (Lads 1/5 1,2,3,4)
4.50 – Gumball 28/1 0.75pts EW (bet365 1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6)
5.30 – Poetic Music 40/1 0.5pts EW (bet365 1/5 1,2,3,4) and without Facile Vega and American Mike 16/1 1.5pts EW (bet365 1/5 1,2,3)