Cheltenham Festival 2022

Cheltenham Festival 2022 Ante-Post Portfolio

Queen Mother Champion Chase: Shiskin 7-4

Brown Advisory Novice Chase: Bravemansgame 4-1

Arkle: Ferny Hollow 7-4

Champion Bumper: Redemption Day 6-1

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.