Cheltenham Festival 2022

Cheltenham Festival 2022 Ante-Post Portfolio

Queen Mother Champion Chase: Shiskin 7-4

Brown Advisory Novice Chase: Bravemansgame 4-1

Champion Bumper: Redemption Day 6-1

Champion Hurdle 'without Honeysuckle': Zanahiyr 6-1 each-way NRNB

JCB Triumph Hurdle:  Pied Piper 9-4 NRNB

Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle: Klassical Dream 5-1 NRNB

County Handicap Hurdle: Top Bandit 6-1 NRNB

Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle: HMS Seahorse 12-1 each-way NRNB

Ryanair Mares' Novices' Hurdle: Party Central  11-2 NRNB

Ultima Handicap Chase: Does He Know  8-1 each-way NRNB

Arkle: Ferny Hollow 7-4

Ballymore Hurdle: Ginto 9-2 NRNB

Turners Novices' Chase:
 L'Homme Presse 8-1 each-way


Update: 
The worst Cheltenham Festival on record for me, utter nightmare, and I end on -21.5 points to level stakes and I tested positive for Covid on the Sunday to put the tin hat well and truly on it! Just some of the low lights being the weather meaning Bravemansgame didn't run, Shishkin so disappointing in the Champion Chase, Galopin Des Champs having the race won before slipping on landing and tipping Townend out the side door at the last in the Turnes Novice Chase, Ginto looking like he was going best of all before going wrong and being pulled up in the Albert Bartlett and Winged Leader getting done on the line in the St. James's Place. 

Friday:  

No marketing gimmicks required, today is Gold Cup day! 

So far so average on the betting front this week, I did have one visit to the pay-out counter yesterday with Winter Fog placing; it is possibly the toughest Cheltenham Festival week ever at Triple G Towers. The going is now good to soft, soft in places for day four and we have seven more races to consider. 

The comeback starts now, look out Bookies Triple G is coming for you!

Grade One 2m1f JCB Triumph Hurdle

I am on Pied Piper 9-4 NRNB for this - he has drifted a bit and Vauban heads the market but I remain confident. The way he won over track and trip at the end of January was very impressive and he of course got the better of Vauban on heavy at Punchestown in December – HMS Seahorse third in that race placed-up in the Boodles here on Tuesday, tipped on here. If there is one that might trouble the main two it is Fil Dor with Davy Russell onboard but he’ll need to reverse the form of his defeat to Vauban at Leopardstwon last month.  

Grade Three 2m1f McCoy Contractors County Handicap Hurdle  

The second of my ante-post bets on Friday runs in this and it is Top Bandit at 6-1 NRNB. He has drifted alarmingly in the market but I am convinced I am on the right one. Steadily improving with every run, the form of his win here at Cheltenham in October last year has worked out well, second Brorson has won twice since and third that day Jetoile found only Constitution Hill too good at Sandown after before winning twice himself. The six-year-old has won his two starts at Punchestown since in convincing fashion. I Like To Move It has an each-way chance whilst the unexposed State Man could be anything as they say.  

Grade One 3m Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle

I backed Ginto for the Ballymore (thankfully NRNB) but connections diverted him for this and he is the obvious place to start for me. Gordon Elliott said on taking the decision "He's a Grade 1 winner and, looking at the Albert Bartlett, I think the race will suit him and he'll go there with a chance.” There is every chance that this longer trip will bring out further improvement and I am on him for this at 3-1 BPG. Hillcrest is the obvious danger with Minella Cocooner also feared being one that could improve again.

Grade One 3m2½f Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase

I am not sure this can be considered a vintage renewal of the Gold Cup. Minella Indo and Al Boum Photo, the last two winners, are back but are they still at the top of their game? Santini is the bridesmaid never the bride whilst A Plus Tard and Galvin are eight-year-olds with chances but I am not convinced entirely by either of them. Rated at 164 officially Protektorat obviously needs to have improved again if he is to win the big one – at least on stats - but he is the youngest of the major protagonists at seven-years-old, is on the up and very much open to progress yet. He goes well at Cheltenham, won there twice, and proved he doesn’t lack staying-power with an eye-catching win in the 3m1f G.2 Many Clouds Chase at Aintree in December; I would go as far to say there is surely more to come from him at staying trips yet. At 9-1 BPG last night I am on.

3m2½f St. James's Place Festival Challenge Cup Open Hunters' Chase

Jamie Codd hasn’t ridden a winner yet (two seconds) so you simply have to take a look at whatever he is on and that is Mighty Stowaway who was sixth in this last season. Cousin Pascal won the Foxhunters' at Aintree last year and arrives in form with three wins in his last four starts, including beating Bob And Co at Haydock last time. Billaway has finished second in this the last two years and has to be on any shortlist. The new kid on the block as such is Winged Leader winning his last three starts. He looked pretty good when beating Billaway at Thurles in January, that was the Mullins horse return to action, and even though the jolly will in theory be fitter here I think the youngster can beat him again. I am on the eight-year-old at 11-2 BPG.

2m4½f Mrs Paddy Power Mares' Chase

A tricky heat with Elimay, Mount Ida, Concertista and Zambella all on my shortlist. Zambella is the hope for the British and she had Elimay well beat fair and square at Aintree in December. She has won three of her last four starts and though the Irish trio are naturally feared I think at 12-1 she is a massive price and I am on each-way (3 places, 1/5) BPG.  

2m4½f Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle

The lucky last of the week and as is usually the case it’s a headscratcher of a race. Runner-up in this last year to Galopin Des Champs Langer Dan is back for more and has an obvious chance. Chemical Energy and Adamantly Chosen are two for the shortlist whilst Grand Jury is another to consider. Hollow Games has been mixing it with some good ones and despite having 11-9 to shoulder here must have a big chance. The Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle was the target but he comes here instead. I think it is interesting that his Gordon Elliott said of him recently “.....I just don’t think he’s been finishing out his races as well as I’d like him to. We’ve changed a couple of things with him at home and we might put a tongue strap on him............ but I do think he’s a bit better than he showed in his last two runs.” I am on at 7-1 BPG.  

Thursday:

The rain came and caused havoc on Wednesday, I had a nightmare with Bravesmangame a last minute non-runner and four pulled-up!!!! No time to cry about it, on to day three we go.  

Marketed as St Patrick’s Thursday the Guinness village will be bouncing no doubt with the Lucky 15's playing all of the Irish hits, Jigs and Celtic Reels – apparently. We switch to the New Course on Thursday.  

Grade One 2m4f Turners Novices' Chase  

L'Homme Presse was my ante-post bet here at 8-1 each-way, gutted connections decided to go for the three-miler and the bugger went and won it! I had a saver but for the purposes of the site it doesn’t count. Anyway, this race has cut-up something terrible and we have just four runners and is in fact effectively a two-horse race. Bob Olinger was arguably the better hurdler, he did win the Ballymore, but I think Galopin Des Champs may prove best over the larger obstacles; he looks a natural and jumps like a stag which won’t hurt round here. He has looked very good in his two runs to date. He is the pick at 11-10 BPG.  

Grade Three Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle

The first of three handicap puzzles on Thursday. Dunboyne has bottom weight having been running well with no luck recently and has to be shortlisted. Sire Du Berlais knows what this is all about having won it twice and was of course second in last year's Stayers' Hurdle so is another for the shortlist. Ballyandy is bang in form arriving off the back of a couple of wins and Finn Lambert keeps the ride with a very handy 10lb claim. Sassy Yet Classy is another I took a look at along with Tullybeg but that one might be high enough in the handicap now. Winter Fog is the one I have plumped for at 13-2 BPG (7 Places, 1/5). Lightly-raced he shaped really well on his stable debut for Emmet Mullins caught late. The hood goes on for the first time and with Paul Townend riding he looks the type to nick a race like this.  

Grade One 2m4½f Ryanair Chase  

Allaho has been jolly here for a while and looks a good thing truth be told. Good things do get beat at the Festival though and I can’t be backing him at odds-on. Shan Blue put in some decent efforts at the top level as a novice and looked very good in the G.1 Charlie Hall Chase last October before taking a tumble. Usually, a solid enough jumper I think he can be forgiven that one mistake and have a bit of the 10-1 BPG each-way (3 Places, 1/5). Conflated should be in the shake-up as well.  

Grade One 3m Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle  

I am on Klassical Dream 5-1 NRNB ante-post here and the cash has been coming for him – always nice to see. It’s a wide-open affair this year with Champ naturally feared if he is on a going day, last years winner Flooring Porter on the shortlist as well as Thyme Hill and Paisley Park. Klassical Dream beat Flooring Porter at Leopardstown over Christmas, the pair clear of the rest, and a repeat performance here will do. I am convinced the selection is the best staying hurdler in the race on his day and hopefully Willie Mullins sill have him spot on.  

Grade Three 2m4½f Plate Handicap Chase

Celebre D'allen was off the track for two years, moved to the yard of Philip Hobbs and has returned in fine form arriving here off the back of three wins, two over hurdles and last time over the larger obstacles at Warwick. The way he won returning to Chasing at Warwick, was running in decent race in France back in 2019, suggested there is plenty more to come yet and his mark of 141 here looks workable. I am on at 5-1 that I took on Wednesday morning.  

Grade Two 2m1f Ryanair mares' Novices' Hurdle  

I am on Party Central at 11-2 NRNB as my ante-post punt and remain happy enough with the bet. She’s won three of her four starts over hurdles to date including the Paddy Mullins Mares’ Handicap Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival Leopardstown last time. Hopefully it has dried out a bit and will continue to today as she probably doesn’t want it too soft.  

3m2f Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Amateur Jockeys' Handicap Chase

The third handicap puzzle of the day and it looks as tricky as ever so the obvious place to start is what does Jamie Codd ride? He is on Smoking Gun for the Elliott yard and the nine-year-old is one for the shortlist the ground might be on the slow side for him now though. Frontal Assault has been running okay over shorter looking to be crying out for further and that’s what he gets today. This has been the target for a while it appears and he might be on a very workable mark despite the fact he has top-weight. I have 7-1 BPG. School Boy Hours and Ain't That A Shame complete the shortlist.  

Wednesday:  

Day two dawns and I am suffering from the traditional opening day hangover. Great day down there yesterday, as ever. Ladies' day as it is now marketed is one of my favourite days, not for girls is daft hats, but because the main event is the two-mile Queen Mother Champion Chase, I do love the race, there is something about a great two-miler that sets the pulse racing.  

Grade One 2m5f Ballymore Novices' Hurdle  

Ginto races later in the week now, luckily, I was on NRNB so no damage done. Sir Gerhard comes here rather than the Supreme on Tuesday and has been installed as odds-on favourite. He has to answer the question does he stay, but if he does should prove too good for this line-up. I can’t be betting odds-on shot at the Festival that may not stay though. The Paul Nicholls trained Stage Star won the G.1 Challow Novices' Hurdle at Newbury in December on proper soft going and with the rain forecast for day two, and proven stamina in the book, he looks the value bet at 15-2 with Hills which I took on Monday morning each-way (3 Places, 1/5, BPG)

Grade One 3m½f Brown Advisory Novices' Chase

Hopefully it’s a quickfire double for the Nicholls yard as I am all about Bravemansgame at 4-1 for this. I backed him ante-post back in January and he is around 2-1 best now. Clear top-rated and pretty much guaranteed to stay I have been banging on about him looking like a staying chaser going back to his hurdles days and now is the time for him to prove me right! L'homme Presse coming for this surprised me as he has been running over shorter, I had backed him for the Turners Novices' Chase. If he stays this trip he is naturally feared, but he’s another that has that question to answer. Threeunderthrufive might be one for the Placepot.  

Grade Three 2m5f Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle

The annual puzzle that is the Coral Cup is no easier for us punters to work out this year with several in with chances; to add to the conundrum Good Risk At All was heading the market on Monday and not even guaranteed to get a run as first reserve! Grand Roi is a pretty consistent type and takes a slight step down in class here having been tried in the G.1 Christmas Hurdle and G.2 Boyne Hurdle last twice. Davy Russell is in the saddle, has rode the winner of this race three times, which can only be seen as a positive round here and the cheekpieces have gone on. He was twelfth in this last year of the same rating, ground probably too quick, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he got a bit closer this year and with a couple of wins on heavy going to his name connections will be hoping the forecast rain arrives. At 16-1 (6 Places, 1/5, BPG) each-way I got on Monday evening and will be doing a rain dance Wednesday morning.  

Grade One 2m Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase

One of my favourite races of the week and I have been on the great British hope Shiskin at 7-4 since December and thankfully he is here and fingers crossed raring to go. Unbeaten in seven over fences his victory against Energumene in the G.1 Clarence House Chase at Ascot in January confirmed him as the best about over two-miles surely and I will be shocked if he gets beat. For whatever reason Chacun Pour Soi doesn’t win outside of Ireland and though the yard is trying a few things differently apparently, I think he is running for place money here.  

3m6f Glenfarclas Chase Cross Country Chase

Tiger Roll will be popular with many and if the old boy can win again there will be some emotional scenes around Prestbury Park no doubt. The twelve-year-old is plenty short enough though and I am not interested at the price. I have backed Easysland for this the last couple of years but pulled-up the last twice aint the form you want to read. He had moved to the yard of Jonjo O'Neill in January in the hope of re-lighting the fire that had seen him win this race in 2020 so emphatically. This is his game but I can't back him off his current run of form. Prengarde is a seven-time winner in France that was purchased privately by JP McManus after his Listed win at Compiegne in November. Tailed-off effectively in a Hurdle at Naas on stable debut last month it is interesting that he appears to be the number one for Enda Bolger and McManus despite that. All those wins in France came on soft or heavy so any rain won't be a problem and as a multiple cross-country winner, bought for the job, he is the tentative pick to find the French from here. I have 15-2 BPG this morning. 

Grade Three 2m Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Challenge Cup Handicap Chase  

It’s another day-two puzzle in which a case can be made for a few. Sky Pirate has form here, including of course winning this last year, and that is no bad thing and even though he is 4lb higher up the ratings this year he is a pretty consistent type who looks sure to be in the mix as they head over the last. He has a couple of wins on soft going so the rain arriving won’t bother him too much. At 14-1 with Paddy Power (6 places 1/5) on Monday he is a solid looking each-way punt and I have that.  

Grade One 2m½f Weatherbys Champion Bumper  

It looked for a while like there wouldn’t be a hotpot for this for a change and then the world and their wife seemed to plunge on Facile Vega. He arrives two from two but I honestly think he is so short purely because he is out of Quevega and his trainer is Willie Mullins. Yes, he looked above average winning at Leopardstown but he beat horses we now know aren’t that good and don’t forget Kllcruit and Appreciate It both won that race and we know what happened to them! I think people have plunged on the wrong Mullins one and I am more than happy with my ante-post punt Redemption Day at 6-1 ante-post. Equally impressive to my eyes winning his sole start, Patrick Mullins was stood up in the irons with the gelding on the bridle clearly doing it as he liked back in December, also at Leopardstown. A couple behind him that day have come out and won since giving the form a fair look as an added bonus.  

Tuesday:  

It's Cheltenham Festival week and there is even more excitement than usual down at Triple G Towers as we can get back trackside after least seasons spectator less Festival. I am back in the old routine and as is now a long-held tradition for Champion Hurdle Day I will be up at sparrows fart for the pilgrimage to Prestbury Park. It’s the usual suspects of Mr Wilson and Mr Griffiths as ever on the trip along with Mr O'Leary who has come in off the subs bench. We are on the Old course for the first two days and the going on Monday evening is Good to soft-soft in places with the forecast for spring like warm weather Tuesday, rain Wednesday, and then pretty decent Thursday and Friday.  

There will be little sleep from now until Friday evening; four days, twenty-eight races, bets, bets and more bets, let’s have it!

Grade One 2m½f Sky Bet Supreme Novices' Hurdle

There has been a far bit of will they won’t they with a number of the runners for this but the one that was pretty much guaranteed to run here was always Constitution Hill. To say I was impressed with his win at Sandown on Tingle Creek day would be an understatement and he returned there in January to take the Tolworth in similar impressive fashion. This five-year-old could be a real champion and I am on at 5-2 overnight (BPG). Dysart Dynamo looked a decent one at Punchestown and has to be feared.

Grade One 2m Sporting Life Arkle Challenge Trophy Novices' Chase

This is a race I have struggled with since Ferny Hollow, my ante-post punt, got injured and in truth it probably isn’t a vintage renewal. I was never that impressed with Edwardstone but in fairness he has kept improving and winning this season. He does look the one to beat in theory but I am still not entirely impressed; I am not convinced it’s the best division here in the UK. As for the Irish, Blue Lord is unbeaten in three starts over fences including the Irish Arkle Novice Chase at the Dublin Racing Festival. Riviere D’etel give him a bit of a scare there (getting 9lb) and in fact would probably have won if she hadn’t blundered the last; was also cut up in the run-in by the winner. She has a chance again but the mares only get 7lb allowance here. Her form behind Ferny Hollow prior to that obviously looks pretty decent as well. Saint Sam led for most of the race at Leopardstown and many experts think he went too hard too early. They are unlikely to hang about here so I see no reason to think he can reverse the form. I have had an investment on the grey mare Riviere D’etel in the hope she doesn’t blunder the last this time as she nearly got Blue Lord back at Leopardsown and if she shows that same type of attitude here, she will be in the shake-up. I am on at 4-1 (BPG).  

Grade Thee 3m1f Ultima Handicap Chase

Robery Wahey-Cohen got the chequebook out and purchased Noble Yeats last month apparently with the National in mind with his son Sam in the saddle; I know my mate Matty weren’t thrilled when he read it. It looks as though they are sticking to the plan and he has a chance but Sam Waley-Cohen riding does put me off a bit. Does He Know hasn’t done much wrong over the larger obstacles thus far, just one defeat when second to Threeunderthrufive here and if  over three-miles in November. Interestingly a change of tactics saw him with the lead at Ascot, been ridden off the pace previously, and the ability to be up the front from the off is no bad thing in a big field such as this. He looks a stayer to follow to me I have a bit of the 8-1 each-way (1/5 five places) NRNB that I got with Hills last week.  

Grade One 2m½f Unibet Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy  

This looks to be all about Honeysuckle and it is hard to see her getting beat barring an error. I am on the ‘without Honeysuckle’ market and have a bit of 6-1 each-way (3 places) about Zanahiyr. As I said back in February the gelding has been chasing home Honeysuckle and Sharjah regularly and with Sharjah now out of contention, he looks a pretty solid bet to finish in the first three and in the 'without Honeysuckle' market he looks nailed on to be in the frame. He has drifted in the betting which I am surprised by. I tipped him for the Triumph last year when fourth and I think he must be in the shake-up. Appreciate It might be the other one in the frame.  

2m4f Close Brothers Mares' Hurdle (The David Nicholson Mares' Hurdle)

I think this is a real puzzle and if I was going to leave a race alone on day one this would be it. That said I have ploughed through the form and have a bet. Winner lof last years G.2 Mares' Novices' Hurdle at the Festival Telmesomethinggirl has an obvious chance and she has Rachael Blackmore on her back again who rides the Hurdle races here so well; the concern is the yard aint exactly in form. Willie Mullins looks to hold a strong looking hand with three lining-up. Stormy Ireland won the G.2 Relkeel Hurdle here on New Years Day. Paul Townend rides suggesting she is the stable first string and that last run saw here back to the sort of form from when she won the G.1 Mares Champion Hurdle at Punchestown last spring. I am on the Mullins mare at 11-2 (BPG) overnight.  

Grade Three 2m½f Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (The Fred Winter)  

I am on HMS Seahorse 12-1 each-way NRNB (1/5 five places) for this. A well-bred type this colt's career on the Turf never really got going and he was purchased for 24,000 Guineas by his new connections at the end of last year which may prove a bargain. He has had three runs over timber to date, winning over the sticks at the third time of asking on his latest outing at Fairyhouse in February which qualified him for a handicap mark and a tilt at this. Second to The Tide Turns at Punchestown on his second start he gets a 9lb pull in the weights with that one here but it is the form of his first run over Hurdles, at Punchestown on New Years Eve, is the one that really catches the eye. He was third behind Pied Pipe that day, my bet for the G.1 Triumph, and Vauban who shares the head of the market for the Grade One so that appears to have been a really good effort. An opening handicap mark of 128 could prove to be lenient.

Grade Two 3m6f National Hunt Challenge Cup Amateur Jockeys' Novices' Chase  

Just the seven line-up in the heat this year but it is still a bit of a puzzle as it so often is. Run Wild Fred is officially top-rated and has Jamie Codd onboard who has the top percentage strike-rate of any jockey at the Festival in the last few years telling you all you need to know about how he is the guvnor in this type of race. I was interested to read his comments when asked about this one in an interview recently “I think he is tailor-made for it. Second-season novices have a good record in the race - Ravenhill, Rathvinden, Galvin and Cause of Causes were all the same profile. His form is really strong - second in an Irish National and a Thyestes as well as winning a Troytown and he sets a high standard.” I am on a few Gordon Elliott trained ones this year, who also said in an interview recently “I think the race is made for him” and hopefully he can end day on with a winner as I have the 2-1 (BPG) overnight.  


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11th March 2022:

I wasn't going to have a punt at Cheltenham today but one on the shortlist for the Grade Thee 3m1f Ultima Handicap Chase has been backed. Does He Know hasn’t done much wrong over the larger obstacles thus far, just one defeat. Interestingly a change of tactics saw him with the lead at Ascot, been ridden off the pace previously, and the ability to be up the front from the off is no bad thing in a big field handicap such as this. He looks a stayer to follow to me and I have a taken a bit of the 8-1 each-way (1/5 five places) NRNB with Hills as most of the Bookies are now as low as 6's. 

10th March 2022: 

Ginto has been confirmed for the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle by Gordon Elliott - at least I am on for the Ballymore NRNB!  The trainer, who was forced to rule Albert Bartlett fancy Minella Crooner out of the race due to injury has stated that after meeting with Ginto's owners Noel and Valerie Moran on Thursday afternoon, a decision has been taken to tackle the three-mile contest instead of the Ballymore. Elliott said: "I met with Noel and Valerie today [Thursday] and we're going to go for the Albert Bartlett with Ginto. He's a Grade 1 winner and, looking at the Albert Bartlett, I think the race will suit him and he'll go there with a chance. It was disappointing having to rule out Minella Crooner for the race but he should be back for the spring festivals. We're hoping Ginto can represent us well in the Albert Bartlett now." Paddy Power are letting you cash out early for your stake back and that's what I have done. 

10th March 2022: 

Not everybody's favourite race I actually quite fancy one in the Grade Two Ryanair Mares' Novices' Hurdle on the Thursday. Dinoblue is all the rage but her win was on heavy at Clonmel and she didn’t have much to beat truth be told. Party Central has won three of her four starts over hurdles to date including the Paddy Mullins Mares’ Handicap Hurdle at the Dublin Racing Festival Leopardstown last time. Gordon Elliott (yes it’s another one of his) said of her recently “I thought she was good at Leopardstown, and she’ll go for the Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle. The better the ground, the better her chance. She’s in great form. She’s never looked as well as she does now.” If the forecast is correct it looks like a lovely spring Festival with not a drop of rain in sight. They’ll never race on faster than the soft side of good at the Festival but is should be perfect underhoof conditions for her – the mares one defeat came on soft. Hills are biggest at 11-2 NRNB in the build-up and I have taken a bit of that, she’s 9-2 in places.  

9th March 2022: 

I backed another Gordon Elliott one yesterday ante-post and I am at it again today, in fact I have had two bets, both Irish raiders that I think have been placed to plunder a couple of the bigger handicap prizes.  

The first bet I have had is on the Gordon Elliott trained Top Bandit for the Grade Three County Handicap Hurdle on the Friday - the fourth Elliott trained horse I am on, don't do anything silly this year Gord! Steadily improving with every run, the form of his win here at Cheltenham in October last year has worked out well, second Brorson has won twice since and third that day Jetoile found only Constitution Hill too good at Sandown after before winning twice himself. The six-year-old has won his two starts at Punchestown since in convincing fashion and he has just this entry at the meeting. It didn’t go unnoticed at Triple G Towers that Elliott gave him an entry at Kempton early this year, a tactic he has used before to get a feel for the mark his runners may be given here in the UK. The British Handicapper gave him a mark of 139 that day and that is what he gets for this suggesting connections are happy enough with that. Hopefully it will prove a very workable mark as I have taken the 6-1 NRNB about him ante-post with Hills.  

The other I am on should go in the Grade Three Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle on day one, the old Fred Winter, and is trained by that old shrewdie Paul Nolan – he doesn’t send many but those he does often run big races. HMS Seahorse started his career at Ballydoyle with Aidan O’Brien as a son of Galileo out of the fair mare After, 100+ rated in her day. This colt's career on the Turf never really got going and he was purchased for 24,000 Guineas by his new connections at the end of last year which my look a bargain before the week is out. He has had three runs to date, winning over the sticks at the third time of asking on his latest outing at Fairyhouse in February which qualified him for a handicap mark and a tilt at this. The form of his first run over Hurdles, at Punchestown on New Years Eve, is the one that really catches the eye as he was third behind Pied Piper, my bet for the G.1 Triumph, and Vauban who shares the head of the market for the Grade One. An opening handicap mark of 128 could prove lenient and with Hills offering 12-1 (1/5 five places) I am on with them each-way NRNB ante-post.  

8th March 2022: 

Following a gallop at Leopardstown on Monday Gordon Elliott was talking of a number of his string and one comment caught my eye reading the interview. I quite fancied Ginto for the Grade One Ballymore Hurdle over 2m5f but he is also entered in the Albert Bartlett over slightly further later in the week, Elliott said on Monday “Jamie [Codd] was very happy with Ginto – he definitely goes to the Ballymore. That should suit him.” I am not sure Sir Gerhard will want the 2m5f and would be better suited to the Supreme Novices' Hurdle and the same can be said of Dysart Dynamo whilst Constitution Hill surely goes for the opener on Tuesday. Ginto has been winning over 2m4f, looks like he might get further, and has proved he can front run if required as he did when winning the Grade One at Naas last time. There is every chance at least couple at the head of the market with him will run elsewhere so I have taken 9-2 NRNB with Paddy Power; there is every chance he may end up going off jolly! Gordon Elliott has the best percentage strike-rate of the 'big name' trainers over the last ten years or so (when he is here) so it's never a bad thing to have a few of his in your portfolio (I am already on Zanahiyr each-way without Honeysuckle in the Champion Hurdle and Pied Piper for the Triumph). 

7th March 2022:

I have taken the early price about on for the Grade One Paddy Power Stayers' Hurdle over the three-miles on Thursday. I think Klassical Dream is the best horse in the line-up when he is in the mood and therein lies the problem, will the real Klassical Dream show-up at Cheltenham? Fourth in the G.2 John Mulhern Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran park as his prep, despite giving weight away, was not the plan, I am sure. He did show what he could do in the G.1 Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown prior to that though and the G.1 Champion Stayers Hurdle at Punchestown last spring. Willie Mullins has admitted it was probably he’s fault he got beat at Gowran park “sent him there on a wing and a prayer thinking it would be fine, but it didn’t work out so I’m going to put a line through that run.” He has had his injury issues so I held off until the Bookies went Non-Runner No Bet and at 5-1 NRNB with Hills I have taken a chance he will show just how good he is, as If he does, I am convinced he can win. I do like Champ but his run in the G.2 Cleeve Hurdle over C&D hardly fills you full of hope for his chances here, he is a danger though, whilst Flooring Porter is back to defend his crown. 

3rd March 2022: 

Paul Nicholls appears more than happy with Bravemansgame and that is music to my ears. A perfect four from four over fences to date I am on at 4-1 for the Brown Advisory Novice Chase (formerly the RSA). Nicholls said during a press morning at his yard on Thursday “Bravemansgame is a fantastic looking horse and has done everything right. We got well and truly put in our place last year by Bob Olinger, but he still ran well. He’s won four from four this season and is now rated 164, which is a high mark for a novice. Nobody knows what is going to turn up, but he’ll run in the three-mile race unless it was really attractional. If it got heavy we might think about the shorter race. If a horse like Galopin Des Champs turns up of course you’d be nervous, but we’re going into it with a stronger horse than we had last year and he keeps winning – he’s a lovely horse with a lovely chance.” The seven-year-old is 2-1 best now and with the very real possibility that Galopin Des Champs may go for the shorter Turners Novices' Chase on the Thursday he may yet go odds-on! 

23rd February 2022:

I was chatting recently via the Facebook page of the site with an old mate of mine regard the JCB Triumph Hurdle which looks likely to effectively become a match between Pied Piper and Vauban in my eyes. I have been impressed with Pied Piper, came out on top when the pair met at Punchestown in December, and the son of New Approach looked very good when winning the G.2 JCB Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle over track and trip at Cheltenham in January. Though I am perhaps not as confident as my old mate, who makes the chestnut gelding his banker of the meeting and reckons the gelding would still win even with him riding, I have taken the 9-4 NRNB with Hills about the Gordon Elliott trained four-year-old as the way he went away from the field on the Trial was eye-catching - I am keeping everything crossed my mate Paul doesn't get the call to ride as he will be carrying a stone or six overweight!  

14th February 2022 : 

I have had a little go on the Unibet Champion Hurdle - Betting Without Honeysuckle market. I am on Zanahiyr at 6-1 each-way NRNB  3 Places, 1/5 Odds with Hills. The gelding has been chasing home Honeysuckle and Sharjah regularly and with Sharjah now out of contention he looks a pretty solid bet to finish in the first three and in the 'Without Honeysuckle' market he looks nailed on to be in the frame. Gordon Elliott has said in the build-up "We have six-and-a-half lengths to find with her (Honeysuckle), but I think Cheltenham will suit him better than Leopardstown. We are going to put cheekpieces on him too, not because we think he is ungenuine, but just to help sharpen him early in the race."

4th February 2022: 

L'Homme Presse runs in the G.1 Scilly Isles Novices Chase at Sandown on Saturday (5th). I tipped him when he won at Cheltenham on New Year's Day and he is very much on my shortlist for the Festival next month with the aim probably the G.1 Turners Novices' Chase. If he wins the Scilly Isles well that will surely be the race he goes for even though Bob Olinger will surely be waiting and is already odds-on. I have decided to take the 8-1 each-way (1/5 3 places) with Power for the Turners Novices' Chase next month as I am confident he can win on Saturday and the old Bookies won’t be offering any bigger than about 5’s for the Festival after he does!

28th January 2022: 

Ferny Hollow has been ruled out of the Sporting Life Arkle Trophy at the Cheltenham Festival. The Willie Mullins-trained gelding has a sore suspensory and connections have decided not to run him again this season. "He came home very sore from Leopardstown and we were just hoping he might have got away with it. He did his first canter during the week and, unfortunately, he's sore again after it. We've decided to pull up stumps for the whole season, rather than trying to get him back for Punchestown." trainer Willie Mullins told reporters. I am gutted but that's the way it goes some days. 

24th January 2022:

Redemption Day won his sole start thus far the Midland Legal Solicitors INH Flat Race at Leopardstown in nice style back in December and looks as good as any I've seen thus far for the Bumper. Patrick Mullins was stood up in the irons with the gelding on the bridle clearly doing it as he liked that day with what looked to be bundles left in the tank and though it’s hard to know what he beat I was very impressed. This race looks pretty open this year, Mullins also has Facile Vega as a possible, but I will be amazed if this one isn’t in the shake-up as they come up the hill. I have the 6-1 ante-post.   

5th January 2022: 

Bravemansgame won for me in the 3m Grade One Ladbrokes Kauto Star Novices' Chase on Boxing Day and he looks a top-class stayer in the making to me; I have mentioned several times now how I thought Chasing would be his game. Trainer Paul Nicholls said after the Boxing Day run "It's not in set in stone, he'll be entered in the two races at two and a half (Turners])and three miles (Brown Advisory Novice Chase). We'll almost likely run over three miles unless it's very, very testing. That's sort of where we're heading.” It looks the obvious choice to me. I know Galopin Des Champs, who I backed to win the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys' Handicap Hurdle last year, hacked-up in a Beginners Chase out in Ireland but none of them behind at Leopardstown were exactly top-class with respect whereas Bravemansgame was beating a decent if small field at Kempton. I have taken the rouf 4-1 about the seven-year-old, it is after all a brave man's game!  

The other bet I have decided I simply have to place is another I tipped on Boxing Day to win in the shape of Ferny Hollow at 7-4 for the Arkle. I was very impressed with the win at Leopardstown where he was giving 13lb to the mare Riviere D'Etel. Big race jockey Paul Townend was equally impressed saying "We went a proper gallop and he never missed a beat. It’s a long way up the straight with no last fence, but when I did give him a smack he pulled out plenty. I schooled him the other morning and he’s electric to jump." Obviously open to improvement yet I haven't seen a two-mile Novice Chaser that I think can trouble him yet this season, Edwardstone looks above average but this seven-year-old could be very, very good. 

27th December 2021:

I had five bets in place by the first week of January last year so with just one bet at this stage I could be accused of being cautious! I have backed Shiskin for the Queen Mother Champion Chase at 7-4 as if he wins the Grade Two Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton today, as he should, he'll surely go odds-on. It's not the bravest bet I will make for the Cheltenham Festival but 7-4 should look huge come March. 
Update: Shiskin won by ten lengths hard held and is now 11-10 best.