Ceebee previews Day 4 of the Cheltenham Festival and he has bets including Mad Jack Mytton, Barters Hill, Mr Mercurial and Westend Star for Gordon Elliott.
13.30 Triumph Hurdle
No selection for me here. This looks a trickier than usual Triumph hurdle.
If pushed Connetable at 12/1 would be my call. His form with Rayvin Black is very strong and even his defeat by Gibralfaro first time out wasn’t bad. Nicholls had the 1,2 in the Fred Winter so clearly has a strong bunch of 4yos.
Ivanovich Gorbatov looks a bad price based on hype. Zubayr may find things happening a bit too quickly for him on this quick ground. Same goes for Footpad who looked a stayer last time.
2.10 County Hurdle
As per usual you could take your pick of a dozen in this and not get one in the places. Towards the head of the market I could easily make a case for Great Field, Starchitect, Wait for Me and Henry Higgins. Longshots with plenty going for them include Ivan Grozny and Some Plan. But the three who’ll carry my money are:
Hawk High – a previous winner of the Fred Winter, that all important festival form (Cause of Causes just after winning again!) He wears blinkers for the first time and they could bring about the little bit of improvement required. He ran well on his first start for 11mts when 5th at Musselburgh last month. He didn’t get asked any hard questions that day and should strip fitter now. Good ground is also a requirement for him to be at his best.
Mad Jack Mytton – I fancied this fella in the Newbury Betfair Hurdle but he got no sort of a run. It was a messy race and he got interfered with more than once. Very few got into it that day so I think just put a line through it. His two defeats this season behind Superb Story (8/1 here) and Solstice Star are pieces of rock solid 2m handicap hurdle form. His best form last season was in the spring with two wins on good ground – bodes well for today.
Blue Hell – is one we hold a nice ante-post position after this piece in January. His form got a boost in the Coral Cup and hopefully will take all the beating.
1pt e/w Hawk High at 33/1 with Bet365, Paddy Power and BetVictor
1pt e/w Mad Jack Mytton at 25/1 with Bet365 and Stan James
2.50 Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle
I’ve long been a Barters Hill fan (here’s a piece I wrote about him 3mts ago) but what had for a long time looked a weak race is now anything but. There are 5 serious horses taking him on. Both Long Dog and Bleu et Rouge have won G1s over 2miles. If either stay the 3miles strongly they have the class to go very close.
Barters Hill will cope with the ground, he did in Aintree last year. Drifting out to 9/2 now and possibly bigger is generous looking. He’s 7 from 7 - one of the best novices in training.
1pt win Barters Hill at 9/2 with Skybet, William Hill and Betfred
3.30 Cheltenham Gold Cup
A terrific race in store! 3/1 the field and 5 horses sub 10/1 tells its own story though. His is not a great betting race. For me: Cue Card beats Don Cossack and Don Poli. No bet, sit back and enjoy.
4.10 Foxhunters Chase
On The Fringe won this race by a country mile last year. He’ll love the ground but to be honest he was very poor last time so an each way bet against him wouldn’t be a bad idea. Especially with the bookies going ¼ odds 4 places.
Mr Mercurial catches the eye. The younger horses always appeal more than older handicappers who have regressed. Sheila Crow’s 8yo showed 3m2f at Cheltenham was no issue when winning here last April. His best form is on good ground also. Handling good ground and staying 3m2f fully will be enough to beat half this field! And he won a point to point three weeks ago to prove he’s in good form.
0.5pt e/w Mr Mercurial at 25/1 with Betfair Sports
4.50 Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle
The right two head this market. Gordon Elliott has already had handicap success this week and in Squauateur he has a very well handicapped young horse. His form got a boost in the Pertemps Final and he also has one of the best conditional jockeys on board. Qualando has been laid out for this for 12mts. He ran well last time and already has festival winning form in his book (last year’s Fred Winter). Against those two at a nice each way price I like Westend Star.
Luke Dempsey rode what looked like Willie Mullins’ second string last year but came out on top. This time he’s on Elliott’s second string. And like Killultagh Vic last year, is also an Irish novice hurdler. Westend Star looked very smart when opening his hurdles account on Stephen’s Day and even better when winning in Thurles 2wks later. He disappointed next time in Clonmel but connections were disappointed with him and it’s hard to believe that’s as good as he is. It may have worked out though as he remains on a favourable, exploitable mark.
I wouldn’t put anyone off Tully East at a big price either. Alan Fleming’s first runner this week did us a nice turn getting placed at the same price on Tuesday.
1pt e/w Westend Star at 18/1 with Paddy Power
5.30 Grand Annual
Due to two ante-post pieces we hold a nice position in the finale. Croco Bay HERE and Next Sensation HERE. Solar Impulse and Lough Kent would be two more who could run very wall at decent prices. Lough Kent looked the winner here in November until he made a dreadful mistake at the second last. Nico and Nicky are having a fine week, it wouldn’t surprise if they went out on a high.
Solar Impulse’s last handicap start was almost 15mts ago and he was rated 145. He since peaked at 149 but runs off 140 now. He could have a few lbs in hand if returning to his best. He’s only 6yrs old, coming off a break Nicholls may have freshened him up to outrun his 33/1 shot odds.
1pt e/w Lough Kent at 16/1 with Bet365 (1/4 odds 5 places)
0.5pt e/w Solar Impulse at 33/1 with Bet365 (1/4 odds 5 places)