We move into the final day of the four day meeting and with heavy rain forecast I think we’ll need plenty of luck in finding a winner or two. A heavy down pour(s) could force a going change so you may have to adjust your bets throughout the day in the hope of getting ahead. We have two of the most competitive handicaps of the year on this card so don’t be surprised if you draw a blank, just like yesterday.
Run on Gold Cup day on the New Course, the Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle is a severe test of stamina for a young horse. Any kinks in staying power will be found out so finding a horse that stays is key. Given previous winners like Weapons Amnesty (2009), Wichita Lineman (2007) and Bobs Worth (2011) went on to prove their worth over fences looking for a horse of stature should help in terms of indicating staying power.
1.30 Cheltenham – Jewson Novices´ Chase
A race that revolves around David Pipe’s classy grey, Dynaste. One of the festival big talking horses, there was much debate about where he was to run. He ditched the RSA to run here and it was the right call for me.
With the defection of the three time champion Big Bucks due to injury, we have the most open looking World Hurdle in years. In fact, you’d have to go back to 2006 when Alan King’s My Way De Solzen scored to get any resemblance of an open looking Stayer’s Hurdle. This year’s race is shaping up to be the most competitive renewal in a decade.
The Ryanair Chase was added to the festival back in 2005 and the race has been a welcome addition for me. The intermediate trip of two miles five furlongs gives top class chasers, who find two miles too sharp and three miles plus too taxing, an out in a quality event.
The presence of Sprinter Sacre means eight other entries have been received for the 2013 Queen Mother Champion Chase. Odds of 2-7, best priced, can be obtained about the “Black Aeroplane” while he’s as short as 1-5 with a number of bookmakers. Those prices tell you all you need to know about Nicky Henderson’s sexy stable star.
The Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle has a pristine roll of honour that includes some of the greats of National Hunt racing. A race for young, up and coming types it’s been a stepping stone on to bigger and better things, for hurdlers and chasers.
2.00 Aintree – Matalan Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle
Ten runners go to post for the Matalan Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle and after looking at the race it looks a tough one to crack. This coupled with prices that appear on the skinny side means it’s probably a no bet race.
A mouth-watering race is once again in store in the 2013 Arkle Novice Chase. A race down the years, on paper, has always delivered. In action, it’s rarely disappointed. No better sight in jumps racing will you see than top two mile chasers, racing at speed jumping proper fences.
Here’s hoping, but it’s already shaping up to be a superior Champion Hurdle this coming March than the previous year. A number of horses look to have returned to form, some are back from injury and as ever, we have the young pretenders hoping to step-up and challenge their elders.
The four day festival bonanza, as ever, will kick off with the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle on the Tuesday. Historically a hugely competitive race finding the winner in the opener is tough, but if nabbed it could be the start of an excellent four days. A big field is nearly guaranteed which should add to the tension and action.