Ceebee previews Wednesday at Cheltenham and he has bets which include Neon Wolf, Might Bite, Old Guard and Project Bluebook.
Neptune Novice Hurdle 2m5f
Neon Wolf looks the best novice hurdler in the land. It could be that simple. His recent wins have been mighty impressive. Pushing him out to 15/8 is risky by the bookies.
The 7lbs mare allowance certainly catches the eye with Shattered Love and as a result could give the favourite most to do. She is a 3m point to point winner who will relish the step up to 2m5f. The Irish mares have been good this season. Finishing second to Airlie Beach over 2miles and Lets Dance over 2m2f is real strong novice form; it’s almost irrelevant that they were mares only races as both those winners won open graded hurdles next time. Now it’s Shattered Love’s turn to face graded open company.
Bacardys has strong bumper form including at the Festival last year but his hurdles form is closely tied in with Bunk Off Early who he defeated at Leopardstown. BoE had conditions and trip to his liking on Tuesday and flopped. Brelade only has 3L to make up on Bacardys from their recent Leopardstown clash. So could be over priced.
4pts win Neon Wolf at 15/8 with Paddy Power, Bet365 and Betbright
1pt win Shattered Love at 11/1 with Paddy Power and Bet365
0.5pt e/w Brelade at 28/1 with Bet365 and Betfair Sports
RSA Chase 3miles
For many Might Bite, the favourite here, is the lay of the meeting. For others he’s a banker. It’s all about the price really. The talent is there as he showed at Christmas when almost hacking up (clear when fell at the last) but between the ears he’s a crazy yoke. The occasion might get the better of him. If it doesn’t it’ll take a good one to go with him. If he stood up at Kempton he’d have been quicker than Thistlecrack was an hour later over the same course and distance. He won easily at Doncaster either side of that fall
Alpha des Obeaux has a lot to prove having pulled up (burst blood vessels) at Christmas. His price is based on hurdles form from last year which makes him a risky play. Whisper has won over 3miles before but hasn’t always looked a thorough stayer at the trip – you need to be one in the RSA. Acapella Bourgeois will not be at his best on this drying ground. Our Kaempfer has never looked much more than a decent handicapper.
I tipped O O Seven in this PIECE and still like him at the prices. Aidan Coleman is a good booking.
Bellshill is the other I’d give a squeak too. He has disappointed at the last two festivals, but both times he ran over the wrong trip. Up to 3miles on good ground will suit him. His recent fall (also fell in public schooling) doesn’t bode well but Rule Supreme took this race for team Mullins after falling in his previous outing.
Bellshill has twice finished second in Aintree G1s and won two Punchestown G1s so he definitely comes into his own at the spring festivals. The fact he won two novice chases during the winter is a bonus. He’ll step up markedly on all those efforts tomorrow. 8/1 is a bit short for one with big jumping questions to answer.
3pts win Might Bite at 7/2 with Paddy Power, Betfred and Bet365
1pt win O O Seven 33/1
Coral Cup 2m5f
I wrote an ante-post preview of this race when the weights came out. Read that HERE. The same applies for most of the handicaps during Cheltenham but especially so in the Coral – you could back five in this and not get one placed. Trust me.
To recap on those mentioned in that blog piece: Bleu et Rouge and Taglietelle don’t run.
Old Guard – I really like for this. He travelled eye-catchingly (have I invented a word there?) well in the Cleeve before running out of stamina and being nursed home. Under top weight in the Lanzarote he was wide and behind for most of it before staying on when the race was up. Down 3lbs from that, back at the track he won a Greatwood and Bula, he can be involved under a more prominent ride.
Peregrine Run is a well handicapped novice with course form. Now 8/1 he doesn’t appeal as much but should go close.
Tombstone looks well handicapped but still has to go do it. He’s yet to prove he truly handles good ground, big fields or the 2m5f trip. Got to be against him at the prices. Romford Pele was 8th last year but is off a higher mark this year making it even harder. Mister Miyagi seems to have been well backed – is it just me or are Dan Skelton horses always overbet/underpriced? He’d want to be a lot better than he was in the Supreme last year. At a big price Waxies Dargle wasn’t beaten far in last year’s renewal and may return to form for Noel Meade. But the on the day bet I’m adding is Sure Reef.
On jockey bookings this fella doesn’t look like a Mullins first or second string but I like his chances. He’s lightly raced as a hurdler so we may not have seen the best of him yet despite winning a G2 novice hurdle 3yrs ago. His last run, fourth at Fairyhouse, may look average at best but that was a strong race. The winner was really well handicapped. Sure Reef should come on for that, improve for good ground and with an extremely underrated jockey on board could go close at a big price.
1pt e/w Sure Reef at 40/1 with BetVictor, Coral and Ladbrokes
2pt win Peregrine Run 16/1 – now 8/1
1pt e/w Old Guard 33/1 – 25s still available so recommend 1pt e/w if you’re not on already.
Queen Mother Champion Chase 2miles
Like Altior in the Arkle on Tuesday, Douvan will win easily enough. Another no-bet race for me.
Cross Country Chase 3m7f
JP McManus and Enda Bolger hold the key to this one but that doesn’t help you. And I can’t either.
Fred Winter 4yo Hcap Hurdle 2miles
Wednesday at the Festival tails off with the Cross Country, this mad 4yo handicap and a bumper. Add in a boring (albeit with a superstar on show) Queen Mother and it’s exaggerated in 2017. I’m looking forward to Thursday (my favourite betting day) already.
Romain de Senam went very close in this last year and he had non 4yo handicap form in the book already. Those coming off the flat who were successful in this race were all above average (OR >75) on the flat. Project Bluebook ticks both of those boxes. He was also rather unlucky during his last race when shuffled back midrace around the tight Musselburgh track before also getting his run blocked at the last. With a better passage he’d have won there and gone up a few more lbs. He has them on his side now and this stayer on the flat should enjoy Cheltenham’s stiff finish. Back him each-way in what is a bit of a lottery.
1pt e/w Project Bluebook at 14/1 with Paddy Power, BetVictor and Skybet
Champion Bumper 2miles
I don’t really follow bumpers and don’t bet on them too often. Apparently the two bumpers that Carter McKay won were slowly run and turned into a sprint so he might find this an altogether different task. His Naas win took a knock when the 3rd was subsequently well beaten at Thurles. So another favourite to take on.
Better Getalong defeated Sam’s Adventure at Ayr. Sam’s Adventure is 3 from 4 in bumpers. Next time out at Kelso Better Getalong beat another previous bumper winner. Can’t do much more than that. He stays well (crucial here) and races prominent, has had 3 runs so won’t lack for experience. At 50/1 that’s enough for me.
Of the market leaders Next Destination is the pick.
1pt e/w Better Getalong at 50/1 with Paddy Power, BetVictor and Betfair Sports
Summary of bets for Day Two:
The day tails off quickly from a betting point of view. A boring Champion Chase is followed by an unappealing Cross Country chase, super-impossible Fred Winter and unappealing bumper. (Don’t worry lads, Thursday is a glorious betting day). Keep it simple; Neon Wolf and Might Bite to get favourite backers off to a good start then take a few e/w shots at juicy prices in the Coral Cup before adjourning to the bar.