Frazzled has turned a strong profit at every Cheltenham festival and he previews Day 2 in the below article.
Neon Wolf has been the name on everyone's lips for the past month or so (longer if I had been paying attention) and he has looked impressive on both his starts over hurdles. However his wins have come on softer ground and while breeding suggests that he will handle this better surface, he looks very short in this. It is a race where there is a real habit of smashing into the favourite, but I will not follow the masses here.
Bacardys looks pretty solid, although his inability to travel through a race may not be fully countered by stepping up to this trip. He would have made a little more appeal if he had gone even further up in trip in the potato race, but has to be respected as a Grade 1 winner. However the Pat Doyle nursery is not one we look to for Cheltenham winners, unless they are in maroon colours and we will pass him over. His stablemate Bob Papa is a horse that could prove to to be a chasing star and he makes more appeal here, given that he looks blessed with pace and has plenty of improvement in him, while Kemboy ran a very good race last time, when nothing really went right behind Let's Dance. However he still looked green here and may lack the know how for this contest.
Willoughby Court would have appealed if he had chased the spuds on Friday, but might get swamped here.
The horse that looks the value to my eyes at the prices is the Nicky Henderson trained Consul De Thaix. He did flop at the meeting last year and is a maiden, but he was an big unfurnished inexperienced horse last season and he has looked in his races that he wants a trip. He ran a blinder behind Brain Power when second to him at Sandown in December on a decent surface and he seemed to run ok last time behind the same horse at Ascot, even though we could see practically none of the race. This step up in trip looks a real positive and the better ground looks to be in his favour. Nicky Henderson had a great day on Tuesday and he has some very good chances on Wednesday. This one might not appear too obvious, but he has loads of scope for improvement at this trip and he is worth chancing each way at 16/1.
1.5 points each way Consul De Thaix at 16/1 with Paddy Power and BetVictor
Nicky Henderson will hopefully have provided us with a big price winner of the first contest of the day and he looks to have excellent chances of landing his first Fred Winter since Une Artiste won the race for him back in 2012. While he has the horse at the head of the market in the shape of Divin Bere, he might have plenty to do under top weight and seems to be very well supported on the strength of the subsequent runs of Mister Blueyes who I will be opposing in the Triumph on Friday.
It is the other Henderson horse that appeals here and Domperignon Du Lys wears the same Munir silks as Une Artiste. He is a son of Great Pretender, who gets some very talented horses, but many have there quirks even if he did produce the resolute and steely Mr Mole! Whether Domperignon has quirks is debatable at this stage, but he appears to have plenty of talent. He won a strong race in France on his debut and then made a very impressive UK debut when he easily beat Nietzsche at Newcastle. He then disappointed when reappearing quite quickly next time at Cheltenham behind Defi Du Seuil, but something was apparently amiss with him on that occasion. It did however convince his trainer that he could protect his mark and aim him at this contest, so he has only had one since, in an egg and spoon race at Market Rasen, where he breezed home at 1/4. His jumping has been a little in and out and there may be a lingering question mark about the track, if you do not accept that he was not 100% back here in December, but he looks a talented horse, with plenty of speed and a fast run race around this easier course, than he would have faced in the Triumph should suit him. His mark of 133 looks quite lenient and he could prove much better than this in time.
This does not look the strongest renewal of the race and there are some horses like Long Call that I have find hard to like at the prices. Others look quite exposed already and I will side with Domperignon at 10/1 given the potential for improvement and the attractive weight that he is carrying.
1.5 points each way Domperignon Du Lys at 10/1 with Betfred, BetVictor and Bet365
This looks a weak renewal of the bumper with horses like the very promising Getabird suffering a setback, Samcro back in his stable watching this on RUK and Daphne Du Clos skipping this with presumably Aintree in mind.
This leaves Carter McKay at the head of the market, although the way the market is shaping up Cause Toujours could supplant him at some stage on Wednesday. Carter McKay is respected, but he had the run of the race last time and I am not convinced that the bumper was strong form. His win at Leopardstown was quite impressive although Bakmaj must have a decent chance of turning around the form given that for some reason the Alan Fleming horses seem to be running quite well at the moment.
Cause Toujours was very impressive on his debut, but beat absolutely nothing and I cannot have him at the price, while Debuchet is a horse that makes plenty of appeal as a smart long term prospect, but winning this race as a 4 year old really does take a very good horse (Cue Card?).
This leaves horses like Fayonagh, who is from an excellent Bowe family that includes Solerina and who was impressive on her first start for Gordon Elliott. However it is hard to not get quite excited about Someday's chances here, despite the fact that he will have less assistance in the saddle than nearly all, if not all of his rivals. His form looks rock solid, with an excellent debut at Punchestown behind Cilaos Emery, when he was very well supported in the market. He was then off for 10 months before returning and putting up an impressive display when beating Voix Des Tiep at Leopardstown on what should still be Hennessy Day. That form looks very decent with the front two pulling right away from the useful Imperial Way and he appeals as a horse that will be very well suited by the extra stamina requirements presented by the stiffer track and the strong pace. He has quite a stout pedigree and looks a lovely long term prospect and the 9/1 that is available in a number of places makes plenty of appeal. I could very easily see him favourite of he had professional handling, but Kate can get a horse to travel through the race and if she can ride a solid finish against some of these other riders, then he has live prospects.
1.5 points each way Someday at 9/1 each way with Paddy Power (4 places paid each way)
The withdrawal of Someday has made me look at the race again and come back to Debuchet. He may be a four year old, but he has very smart form, especially in impressively beating a decent field last time at Leopardstown including the well touted Le Richebourg. He is by a sire that gets plenty of horses that win on good ground and who has a very healthy 23% strike rate with his horses on a better surface. This might be a big ask on his 3rd start, but in receipt of 8lbs on a surface that should not inconvenience him, he looks worth backingat 12/1 each way with Skybet.
1 point each way Debuchet at 12/1 with Skybet