Ceebee previews Paddy Power Chase day at the Cheltenham Open meeting and he has bets on Spring Heeled, Rigadin Du Beauchene and John's Spirit.
13.50 Cheltenham 3m3f Handicap Chase
I didn’t blog Spring Heeled (due to time constraints and fear of ridicule) for the Limerick National but I did back him. I know, backing a Jim Culloty horse, what was I expecting?! Well to be honest he ran very well and had things gone a little differently he would’ve won. In the end he was beaten 1.5L by the unexposed Sadlers Risk. Spring Heeled missed the break a little (first and most important mistake) which resulted in him sulking a little and needing to be scrubbed along early. If he manages to jump off towards the front he’ll travel far better. He then travelled extremely wide (second mistake) around the constantly turning Limerick track and he found himself behind a wall of horses when trying to get competitive. He was unlucky (like Jim’s last 100 losers).
Seriously though, the extra 3f will suit here. Limerick was possibly a little sharp for him. He’s also won here before (2014 Kim Muir over 3m2f) so trip or track won’t be an issue. The decent ground will suit also, he needs it and it explains some of his poorer runs during the winter in Ireland. Plenty of these staying chasers would prefer some more cut but not this lad. Ger Fox takes off a valuable 3lbs today. I would’ve just assumed Ger had lost his claim by now, despite his young age he’s one of the best in the game here in Ireland.
Prior to Limerick, Spring Heeled had no chance over 2m4f at Listowel and he missed the break completely in Galway (a race that suited to be prominent). Last season was geared towards the National so he really hasn’t had a suitable staying handicap chase chance since the spring of 2014. As a result he’s on a workable mark and is a back-able price. Hard to believe he’s only 8, there’s plenty big days left in this fella.
Note: There is plenty of rain forecast in Cheltenham over the weekend. As this fella wants decent ground I’ll be waiting until closer to the off before getting involved, despite the fact this blog is up Friday evening.
If Black Thunder and Just A Par are really being aimed at the Grand National they won’t be getting too close first time out. Cogry is unexposed but this is a tall ask for a lightly raced 6yr old. Shotgun Paddy is on an attractive mark, mostly due to Emma Lavelle’s poor form all through last season be he would probably prefer more cut underfoot. Le Reve saves his best for Sandown. Sego Success could be well handicapped but he was below-par both here and up at Ayr last March so must bounce back from that. Sausalito Sunrise is another of last year’s novice class who may be unexposed but he has a lot to prove after his last strange effort at Chepstow.
Perfect Candidate ran well here (3m1f) at the Showcase meeting and if improving for that effort should go very close. He’s probably one of the more solid ones in this. Preference however is for one at a much bigger price.
Rigadin de Beauchene won a Haydock Grand National Trial (off 131) on his seasonal reappearance in 2014 so I wouldn’t worry that he’s been off for 7mts prior to this. First time blinkers might also help this lazy/slow sort. In 2013 he won a Warwick Classic Chase (off 122) so these big field staying chase handicaps are right up his street. Now off 129 he’s handicapped to go well. Venetia is firing in the winners (although her record at this particular meeting over the years is not good). The big problem with Rigadin is the amount of letters in his form. Pulled up in 6 of his last 8 starts, he’s a risky proposition. That can be counteracted by having a small win only bet. Unlike Spring Heeled this lad wouldn’t be put out by a drop of rain.
1 point each way Spring Heeled at 16/1 with Stan James
0.5 points win Rigadin Du Beauchene at 25/1 with BetVictor, bet365 and William Hill
14.25 Paddy Power Gold Cup 2m5f
I covered most, if not all, of these in an ante-post preview 10 days, read that here. Thankfully the selections there, Double Ross, Darna and Little Jon, have been declared so we’ll be unlucky not to a get a run for that money (If Little Jon doesn’t get in as a reserve we’ll get the money back). All 3 have rock solid e/w chances with good course form. Darna’s stable are firing in the winners recently. If the rain comes Double Ross’ stamina will help at the death. Having secured some big prices I’m eager to add one of the main contenders.
Buywise was towards the top of the list of one’s I wanted to add but that was with headgear expected to be tried for the first time. I think he needs it to keep his jumping up to the standard required. It’s been left off so I’ll leave him off here. Annacotty is another who could easily run well. First time out for Alan King and with decent course and distance form. The worry is he doesn’t look very well handicapped so you’re backing him under the presumption King can improve him from the horse that was in Martin Keighley’s care.
An important angle here is the pace to the race. It’ll be grease lightening up front. Cocktails at Dawn, Boondooma, Art Mauresque, Next Sensation and Kings Palace (I’ve probably missed a few) not only like to be handy but they all like to dominate. The early battle for the lead may be too strong and tee the race up for those coming from off the pace. This will suit the aforementioned Buywise, Monetaire too should be creeping into it gradually but the one I like who’ll be fighting for last spot in the first few furlongs is Johns Spirit.
2nd beaten by a head in the dying strides last year, a C&D winner at the Showcase meeting the month before, winner of the Paddy Power in 2013 and a C&D winner at the Showcase meeting that season also. If ever it was a case of horses for courses. After his narrow defeat last season he was campaigned in the highest of company. A King George attempt was followed by a Ryanair Chase appearance and then the Melling Chase. Without being disgraced he didn’t make a significant impact and as a result he runs here off an official rating of 157, only 1lb higher than last years near miss. He was badly hampered and pulled up on his reappearance, ignore that completely.
Jonjo’s yard had quite a poor run last season when his horses were never really right. If they’ve recovered fully a change for the better may see some well handicapped horses appearing out of Jackdaws throughout this season. Add in the impressive course form, the fact we know he can get competitive off this handicap mark and that in all likelihood the race will be run to suit means Johns Spirit is worth an each way bet here at 12/1
1pt e/w Johns Spirit 12/1 - & 5 places with Paddy Power, William Hill & BetVictor
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0.75pt win Double Ross 33/1
0.5pt win Darna 33/1
0.5pt win Little Jon 25/1