Thursday looks like another tricky day. I am putting this up early as I’m going to Cheltenham on Wednesday and who knows where the night will lead me…
We kick off with a great match between Bob Olinger and Galopin Des Champs but with just two other runners it is an extremely disappointing turn out and might turn in to a tactical race. I’m happy to sit this one out and enjoy the battle. I would lean towards Bob Olinger if pressed but no bet.
This leads us on to the Pertemps which is one of the biggest head scratchers of the meeting. Winter Fog is the favourite and has massive respect but he’s a bit on the skinny side in a race like this for me. I do fancy Dunboyne though towards the foot of the weights for Gordon Elliot who has an amazing record in this race and saddles plenty this year. Most of the horses have been laid out for this but he is unexposed and after qualifying over Christmas in 5th had another run last month to keep him ticking over. I imagine they’re delighted he scraped in here and he looks to have a solid chance. The other I like is Born Patriot who is unexposed and campaigned with this in mind. He came second in a qualifier at Cheltenham so had a good look at the track last year and connections landed the County Hurdle with Belfast Banter last year. With a race like this there are always unknowns and a few leaps of faith but I fancy the Irish to hold the key (as usual!) and these two are relatively unexposed sorts who fit the profile of winners of this race.
Allaho is bombproof in the Ryanair and I don’t want to be against him, but he’s a bit short to get stuck in to.
The Stayers Hurdle is a pretty good race and a puzzle from a punting point of view. I do like the chances of Flooring Porter to defend his crown but 3/1 is not tempting me in. I’d rather side with Royal Kahala at an each-way price and the slight unknown coming in to the race. She’s been impressive this season winning a Grade 3 and then stepping up in trip in a Grade 2 and winning nicely beating Klassical Dream and Home By The Lee. This is another step up but she’s unexposed at this trip and with rain forecast (plus watering Tuesday evening) she might give the favourite the most to think about.
The Plate – another puzzle! The Hobbs favourite is far too short for me for all the owner loves this race and has plenty of success here. I do really like the chances of The Glancing Queen though who is a similar price but has looked like a good chaser this season with two wins and then an excellent effort chasing home L’Homme Presse last time at Cheltenham. She’s always ran well at the Festival in good races and this is a lot more winnable and her mark seems fair so although there isn’t a whole lot of juice in her price I want her on side. The other one I like is handicap debutante Fancy Foundations for Gordon Elliott. He looks like he has been saved for this since last year, and impressed when winning his first two chase starts before running against quality opposition to get a mark. Traditionally, like the Ultima, this has been a good race for the British trained horse but the Irish have won 4 of the last 6 and I think this guy could be the pick of them.
The Mares’ Hurdle isn’t a race to get heavily involved with as we have a large and competitive field. Mullins alone has 7 in it. One of his does look overpriced though and that is Statuaire. She’s only lost the one race over hurdles and that was to Sir Gerhard, for all she was well beaten. She won a decent Royal Bond before that though which is good form, especially in this context and she looks well over priced.
We end the day with the Kim Muir and this is yet another tricky puzzle. Frontal Assault is another I like the chances of but he’s just far too short for me to get involved with. I like two at the prices worth chancing and the first is Mister Fogpatches who is a consistent staying chaser who came over to Cheltenham in December to get a sight of the course, sent off 5/1 he could only manage second but that experience would have put him right for this and with Patrick Mullins on board he has one of the best jockeys in the race which is important in these amateur riders races. The second is a bigger price and that is Janika who hasn’t won for a while but did off 162 back in the day and has plummeted in the weights to 143. His last good run was at the Festival last year where he finished a respectable 5th in the Coral Cup off 145 and has ran well at Cheltenham off ratings in the 150s. He is exposed but is weighted to go well and with his record at the track is worth a punt.
2.10 – Dunboyne 8/1 1.5pts EW (bet365 1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7) & Born Patriot 22/1 1pt EW (PP 1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6,7)
3.30 – Royal Kahala 9/1 1.5pts EW (bet365 1/5 1,2,3,4)
4.10 – The Glancing Queen 11/2 2 pts EW & Fancy Foundations 16/1 1pt EW (both bet365 1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6)
4.50 – Statuaire 20/1 1pt EW (bet365 1/5 1,2,3,4,5)
5.30 – Mister Fogpatches 12/1 1.5pts EW & Janika 33/1 0.75 pts EW (both bet365 1/5 1,2,3,4,5,6)