Cheltenham Festival 2012: Trainer Tips

Cheltenham Festival 2012 tips

Cheltenham Festival 2012 tips

So what do trainers actually know about tipping racehorses? Well, plenty of National Hunt's finest were congregated at the top table last night down at Exeter racecourse, and - with massive thanks to our mole in the room, Neil Dawkins - we have this report.

Please note, I've copied 'as is' due to work pressures today, but I think you'll find the content enlightening, to say the least. 🙂

Thanks a lot, Neil - top man!




The Panel consisted of

Paul Nicholls

David Pipe

Philip Hobbs

Paul Binfield representing sponsors Paddy Power

Nick Williams

Andrew King (Racing Post)

Paul Jones (Cheltenham Trends)

Zoey Bird, Compère


1.30 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle 2m 1/2f

This is clearly a very open race and there was no clear selection from the panel

Philip Hobbs stated Colour Sergeant was fine after his recent fall, and should go very well

Paul Nicholls says Prospect Wells is very classy at home, and goes there with a decent chance, allowing for poor effort last time

Paul Jones thinks Simonsig will run Neptune, but if running in the Supreme would win

Steps to Freedom has the best form, whilst Midnight Game is improving

Andrew King thought Darlan had a good chance

Paul Binfield thought Galileo’s Choice was the best of the Irish

2.05 Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy Steeple Chase 2m

Paul Binfield said it was quite possible Sprinter Sacre could go off at odds on

Paul Nicholls thought Sprinter Sacre was by no means certain to stay as he has done all his top class form on flat tracks

Philip Hobbs says Menorah jumps well at home, but does make the odd mistake, which he will need to avoid on the day

Doesn’t think anything can beat Sprinter Sacre

Paul Jones says Sprinter Sacre is the one to beat, reminded us the best “hurdler” often wins the Arkle, and that would be Peddlers Cross

David Pipe thought Sprinter Sacre had too much pace for the rest

Andrew King wanted to oppose Sprinter Sacre big time, doesn’t think Cheltenham will suit, similar to the Supreme last year

2.40 William Hill Trophy Handicap Steeple Chase 3m 1/2f

Not a lot on this race

David Pipe said The Package should run well in this race, although the Grand National was his main aim

Massini's Maguire may also take his chance

3.20 Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy 2m 1/2f

Paul Binfield thought Zarkandar had a decent chance of beating Hurricane Fly

Paul Nicholls thought he had a chance and would be better than he was at Newbury

Also said Zarkandar was on anti-biotics and would finish the course next couple days, but seemed OK

Also thought Rock on Ruby was way overpriced on form with Binocular

Brampour will run and may have EW squeak, Celestial Halo will take his chance

Andrew King thought Binocular was the EW bet, impressed with last win

4.00 Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Steeple Chase 3m 7f

Nothing on this race discussed in detail

Paul Jones asked Philip Hobbs about Balthazar King, and I thought he got quite a positive response to his chances 14-1 EW not the worse bet in this race

4.40 David Nicholson Mares’ Hurdle Race 2m 4f

Nobody can see Quevega being beaten

However Nick Williams was very keen on Swinford Flame's chance Each Way

5.15 Centenary Novice handicap Chase 2m 4.5f

Again not a lot discussed although Criqtonic mentioned as having a decent chance


1.30 National Hunt Steeple Chase Challenge Cup 4m

Nothing mentioned

2.05 Neptune Investment  Novices’ Hurdle 2m 5f

Philip Hobbs said Fingal Bay was 50/50 after injuring a hamstring

Paul Jones thought Boston Bob had the soundest chance, indeed had the best novice hurdle form at the meeting

Also didn’t think Simonsig would win this if running

Andrew King thought it was between Fingal bay and Boston Bob

Paul Nicholls said he had been told this would be Boston Bob's target

2.40 RSA Steeple Chase 3m 1/2f

David Pipe said Grand Crus was in great form at home, probably wouldn’t decide on the race, until the 5 day decs.

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Andrew king thought Bobs Worth would go well, but Grand Crus would win if running

Paul Nicholls said Join Together has won twice at the course, and would stay on as well as anything in the race

Paul Jones respected Invictus and Bobs Worth who is 3/3 at Cheltenham

Indeed thought Bobs Worth EW at 5-1 was one of the best bets at the meeting

3.20 Sportingbet Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase 2m

Paul Binfield thought Big Zeb was the better bet at the prices

Philip Hobbs says Wishfull Thinking has breathing problems, not sure they are resolved still he is not quite right.

Paul Jones thinks Sizing Europe is the best chaser in training anything above Evens is a decent bet

Andrew King thought Wishfull Thinking at his best would be interesting

4.00 Coral Cup (Handicap Hurdle) 2m 5f

Lots of horses but no information specific to the Coral Cup, most horses are multiple entries

4.40 Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle 2m 1/2f

Hinterland will run in this race and hopefully go well

5.15 Weatherbys Champion Bumper (Open NH Flat Race) 2m 1/2f

Paul Binfield thinks Sword of Honour is a decent EW bet

Philip Hobbs thought Village Vic would run very well

Andrew King likes New Years Eve and Population

Paul Jones said that the top BHA rated horse on the flat do run well in this race, and Moscow Mannon would be the horse backed on the day

Nick Williams said Horatio Hornblower was nice horse and would run, if the going had “soft” in it



1.30 Jewson Novices’ Handicap Steeple Chase 2m 5f

Paul Nicholls said Cristal Bonus was running on Saturday and should go well, and then would run in this race, as long as going was soft enough

Nick Williams thought For Non Stop had a good chance but no more than that

Paul Jones thought he had never seen Ruby Walsh look happier than the last time he got off Cristal Bonus who jumps for fun, also likes Sir Des Champs, winner would come form one of these two

Andrew king thought For Non Stop could go off favourite and was the most likely winner

2.05 Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle) 3m

David Pipe expected Buena Vista to run well again, he had been concerned from two races ago, when he seemed to lose form, but last run was pretty good

Buena Vista still has a chance on official rating

Paul Nicholls was keen on Sonofvic, 20-1 seems a decent price

2.40 Ryanair Chase 2m 5f

Paul Binfield said Noble Prince is the selection here, last race, ground was too soft

Massive chance this time

David pipe thought Great Endeavour had a really good chance which would improve on better going

Andrew King thought it was between Somersby and Great Endeavour

Paul Jones thought Somersby was very good EW bet, but not sure he wouldn’t go for the Queen Mother Chase.

Great Endeavour and  Medermit needed to find around 7lbs


3.20 Ladbrokes World Hurdle 3m

Paul Nicholls said Big Buck's was Ok, no cough

Indeed he said the older horses all seem Ok, it’s just the younger ones who have shown some signs

Big Buck's has come on from last run

He did think Oscar Whisky would be his toughest challenger yet

David Pipe said Big Buck's was certainty and that Dynaste was playing for one of the places

Paul Jones wished they would run Thousand Stars in this race rather than Champion Hurdle

4.00 Byrne Group Plate Handicap Steeple Chase 2m 5f

Paul Nicholls said Crack Away Jack would run here, seemed quite keen on a decent run as well I thought

David Pipe said Salut Flo was entered in just about every race; there was some money for this one yesterday in this race

4.40 Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Steeple Chase 3m 1 1/2f

No discussion on this race

5.15 St Patricks Day Derby (Charity race)

No discussion on this race {Editor's note - I should bloody well think not!! 😉   }


1.30 JCB Triumph Hurdle 2m 1f

Minsk is the favourite for this race, not run all season – unbelievable.

Philip Hobbs said Sadlers Risk runs this Saturday, very happy with him

Nick Williams said Urbain De Sivola would run if ground was on the soft side

Paul Nicholls said Pearl Swan has the best form so far of his horses, but also said Dildar runs this Saturday, against Sadlers Risk

I got the impression he has very high hopes for Dildar

Andrew king liked Grumeti and Pearl Swan

Paul Jones thought Minsk could go off as low at 2-1, as his flat form is far in excess of anything else

Paul Binfield likes Darroun

Paul Nicholls did say he wouldn’t be surprised if Minsk never ran either this weekend or at Cheltenham!

2.05 Vincent O’Brien County Handicap Hurdle 2m 1f

Philip Hobbs said Snap Tie is in good form, he reported this last year but the horse never got in, hasn’t run for two years, so you’d want a very big price, not sure 33-1 is big enough to tempt me

2.40 Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle 3m

Paul Nicholls very keen on Rocky Creek

As mentioned earlier he believes Boston Bob will go to the Neptune

Andrew King thought Rocky Creek would go off 7-2 if Boston Bob was NR, so 10-1 at the moment was excellent

Paul Jones was not taken by Brindisi Breeze last run, not up to the standard to win this race


3.20 totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup Steeple Chase 3m 2 1/2f

Much of this was taken up discussing the merits of Long Run's last run, and whether Grand Crus would run

Paul Jones thought the front two were vulnerable, and that Weird Al was the best bet at 20-1

Andrew king thought What a Friend EW, although Paul Nicholls dismissed this saying 3rd was his best chance if everyone turned up

Paul Nicholls said Kauto Star was in top form at home, as good as he has seen him

Wasn’t sure Long Run had trained on, and that meant there was not a lot between them

Philip Hobbs was asked about Captain Chris, he said he has always jumped right, so that was not an issue as such, however he was not at his best IF HE RAN it would be Ryanair or Gold Cup, however then said he wouldn’t really want more than 3 miles, so I give him next to no chance of running in the Gold Cup, and I got the impression he was by no means certain to run at the Festival

4.00 Christie’s Foxhunter Steeple Chase 3m 2 1/2f

No discussion, although couple of tips at the end

4.40 Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle 2m 4 1/2f

As usual; David Pipe gets questioned on this race, however he said it is very difficult to even get a horse in this race, he tried with Grand Crus a couple years ago, but couldn’t as he had an OR of only 124

A few mentioned and maybe the most likely is Salut Flo if this

5.15 Johnny Henderson Grand Annual Steeple Chase 2m 1/2f

No discussion on this race


Charity Bets

Andrew King    Rocky Creek                 Albert Bartlett

Paul Jones        On The fringe               Foxhunters

Zoey Bird         Scotsirish                  Cross Country

Nick Williams   Swincombe Flame EW    David Nicholson Mares

Paul Nicholls    Chapoturgeon              Foxhunters

David Pipe        Alfie Spinner                National Hunt Chase

Paul Binfield     Salsify                          Foxhunters

Philip Hobbs    Sadlers Risk               Triumph

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12 replies
  1. Jim says:

    Lot of hard work to get all that lot in a notebook and then on the blog -well done!!

    Some interesting ones to keep an eye on this weekend – will be fascinating to see how the Nicholls youngsters perform after the recent problems.


  2. chas says:

    cheltenham is hard to find winners but thanks for that matt very interesting chas

  3. Ian - SP2A Owner says:

    Thanks to Neil = BRILLIANT EFFORT….will be well worth a look at this come Cheltenham!

  4. rob says:

    Ur man on the inside did well dude. Would be interesting to see ur thoughts on the trainers selections matt:)

    • Matt Bisogno says:

      Hi Rob

      To be honest, I think trainers do best when they train; just as footballers do best when they play football; and jockeys do best when they ride.

      When they open their mouths, strange things happen!

      Nevertheless, I will be very interested to see how horses like Swincombe Flame perform, and Horatio Hornblower from the same yard is a certain future winner (though highly unlikely in the Cheltenham bumper).


  5. tonyl7 says:

    This must be the best method for the “Humble Punter” without professional knowledge to obtain the genuine opinions of the people who really know what is going on……..the Trainers.

    Your summary is simply excellent and whilst not guaranteeing profit, to keep your report as a reference should at least cut down this Punter’s losses!


  6. john mitchell says:

    As usual Matt an outstanding column. Did you have to beat these guys to get the tips out of them. My 4 Barnburners for Cheltenham are still; Big Buck; Hurricane Fly; Sizing Europe; Sprinter Sacre. I will be very interested to hear your final selections in time for the off.
    Great work Matt.
    Your mate in the States,
    John M.

  7. Simon says:

    Hard to know what to take in from them,i have 3 doubles big bucks and the fly big bucks and quevaga and big bucks and grand crus in the rsa do so hope he goes there as got him at 3/1 ,also done a 12 team acum from a 10r and i am now only waiting on sprinter sacre at 5/4 for a nice few bob so hope all goes well

Comments are closed.