Well what a thrilling start to the Festival we had yesterday. Despite the weather, we were treated to some brilliant racing, with Hurricane Fly and Quevega crowned champions once again. Here, we had three winners including Champagne Fever – well four really if you count the good mention for Rajdhani Express !
1:30 John Oaksey National Hunt Chase (Amateur Riders )
A proper test for novice chasers ridden by amateur riders. What we are looking for here is a horse with experience and good recent form – ideally having won or been placed on it’s penultimate start. A horse i’ve been following for a couple of years is 16-1 priced Rose Of The Moon. Over hurdles, this horse has form with Rock On Ruby and Bobs Worth, two high class animals. It’s performances this season have been excellent, with impressive wins over staying distances. We can forgive it’s last run as it came too soon and having been kept fresh for the race, this horse is related to Grand National winners on it’s dam’s side. With doubts about Buddy Bolero staying the trip, Back In Focus might be the best of the favourites
Lets hope Rose Of The Moon is rising at the finish.
2:05 Neptune Investment Management Novices´ Hurdle
Nine runners line up and the market leader, Pont Alexandre, is one of the naps of the meeting. The apple of trainer Willie Mullins‘ eye, this horse has been tipped up across Ireland for weeks. It has the form in the book, has the right connections and will be hard to beat. The New One was an early season star but the stable is under a cloud with a virus in the yard so the main danger should be Taquin De Seuil, ridden by champion jockey AP McCoy. Rule The World should fill the final spot on the podium.
2:40 RSA Chase (Grade 1) Cl1
The Gold Cup for novices and a favourite race of many National Hunt fans. However, this years renewal looks below average and without the strength in depth of some years. The favourite Boston Bob is vulnerable, especially as jockey Paul Townend is has ridden one winner in fifty two rides at the course in the last five years. Ruby Walsh takes the mount of Unioniste and the 5 year old was an impressive winner in the autumn but is young and was being caught last time out by Hadrian’s Approach. Not a likely winner but at the prices, he should give us a run for our money.
3:20 Sportingbet Queen Mother Champion Chase
Two words – Sprinter Sacre. Two more – simply superb.
4:00 Coral Cup (A Handicap Hurdle) Grade 3
One of the most competitive races during the four days and plots for this race are hatched even a year in advance. Many in with a chance without one outstanding candidate so a chance is taken that Mr Watson can improve on his previous course win and run well for Jonjo O’Neill. Rattan could stay on from the back and bely his long odds. Un Beau Matin has a chance but needs to brush up on his jumping
4:40 Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle Grade 3
Another competitive handicap with many unexposed types from the major stables. From the smaller yards, Habesh is interesting at 40-1 as the race he won earlier in the season included horses who have gone on to much better things. Ruacana might be worth an each way punt at 16-1
5:15 Weatherbys Champion Bumper (A National Hunt Flat Race)
No obstacles here, the horses have only each other and the undulating stiff track to contest with. Willie Mullins farms this race and has three runners this year, with Union Dues the stables main hope. Vieux Lion Rouge could run a big race for David Pipe at 33-1. However, Golantilla won well earlier in the season and is the selection despite not lighting up the course on a recent gallop
- Cheltenham Festival live: Tips, race action, results and Champion Hurdle coverage (mirror.co.uk)
- Cheltenham Festival: All the stats you need for Tuesday’s races (metro.co.uk)
- Cheltenham Live Streaming : Supreme Novices, Arkle, Champion Hurdle, OLBG Mares available to watch online for punters (footybunker.com)
- Sprinter Sacre faces Cheltenham moment of truth (manchestereveningnews.co.uk)
- Cheltenham 2013 preview (cheltenham2013tips4theslipsblog.wordpress.com)