|Home >> Services >> Cheltenham 2012 Preview||
|Cheltenham Blog - Day Three, Thursday 15th March 2012|
|DATE POSTED: 14/03/2012|
Day Three of the Cheltenham Festival 2012 and we've got another six top class jumps races to dissect. Todays racing includes the World Hurdle and the Kim Muir...
AUTHOR: MIKE D
Racing switches to the New Course on Thursday, so there may possibly be a slight change to the going, but not enough to dramatically change the outcomes. So day three dawns and it strikes me that this week is the racing equivalent of having around 27 cup finals to entertain us, but without just the first four Premier teams sharing the spoils.
Race 1 is a case in point, The Jewson Novice Chase has 12 runners, all of whom have won a chase and in fact won about 26 chases and around the same number of placings, so competition between them looks stiff. Don McCain's PEDLARS CROSS (1.30pm) sidestepped Tuesday's Arkle Trophy 2 mile race and has a real favourites chance, having effortlessly made the switch from top-class hurdler to top-class novice chaser and we're sure there's much more to come from this 7YO. BOLD SIR BRIAN is probably outclassed but has done nothing wrong when notching up a hat-trick on the northern courses and could provide a sporting wager at long odds.
David Pipe has carefully prepared the way for OUR FATHER to win the Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle and the market reflects his optimism. However Willie Mullins has changed his stable policy this year and has begun to tackle handicap races with his horses and we suspect that his 6YO SERGENT GUIB'S (2.05pm) is better than the bare form suggests, and Ruby Walsh obviously has had the choice of others in the race.
The Ryanair Chase is a challenge for the form analyst. Most of these have had good runs at the track but often found one too good. 11YO Alberta's Run is seeking his third consecutive victory in this and had several of the others behind him last year and a repeat is possible but age may factor against him. Favourites have done badly so we are looking for a bit more value here and are looking to the younger horses to provide it. 8YO SOMERSBY (2.40pm) has always promised to be a real champ but never quite delivered. Nevertheless he's usually gives as good as he gets and seems to be in top shape at the moment so gets our vote. CAPTAIN CHRIS is sometimes too exuberant for his own good but he's another 8YO with time on his side, has already won the Arkle, and a clear round could see him giving connections an each-way bonus at around 16-1.
It is so difficult to see past BIG BUCKS (3.20pm) in the World Hurdle and he must be the somewhat obvious selection. He reversed the stats for poor winning favourites in this race, having won the last 3 runnings, and won 6 times altogether at Cheltenham in an unbeaten sequence of 15 wins. Oscar Whisky is the only runner rated within 10lbs of him, while Willie Mullin's So Young is clearly another who is going places and they will make a race of it. SO YOUNG could sneak a place if handling the ground.
The 4.00pm race is a 24 runner cavalry charge of a 2m 5f handicap chase and has proved to be a favourite's graveyard over the years. Picking a winner with confidence requires no small degree of faith in a higher power! Horses with good recent form include The Cockney Mackem, Giorgio Quercus, Hector's Choice and NICE ONE FRANKIE who demonstrated his wellbeing when picking up a 5lb penalty for a win at Newbury last week. That brings his total to 4 wins in 5 runs and he looks well-handicapped for trainer Venetia Williams. Ferdy Murphy has a good Cheltenham record and is well known for preparing his horses carefully to have a tilt at the big prizes. He has been "protecting the handicap" of DIVERS (4.00pm), who ran well in the Paddy Power here in November and won at the Festival meeting last March. The booking of Tony McCoy is highly significant but, to be honest, this is the sort of race which is best sorted out by judicious use of a pin (or 3).
Last up is another race for Amateur riders, the Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup over 3 miles. Charlie Longsdon has been having a good season and has a chance of enhancing his recent Imperial Cup triumph when he saddles TIME FOR SPRING (4.40pm) who will be ridden by Sam Waley-Cohen. There are plenty of other challengers in the 24-runner field and near the top of the weights we feel that MOSTLY BOB can do himself justice off 11st 5lb.
BEST BETS OF THE DAY
The NAP of the day has to be BIG BUCKS (3.20pm) and I nominate CAPTAIN CHRIS (2.40pm) as my best outside chance. Good luck!.
> Get a FREE £50 bet with Ladbrokes
> More Racehorse Ownership and Syndicate News
> View all our horses to own for 2012