UPDATED: Cheltenham Festival 2016: Day Three Preview, Trends, Tips

Vautour Flying High

Vautour Flying High

Cheltenham Festival 2016: Day Three Preview, Trends, Tips

Half way home in the greatest show on turf. We head into the tougher hemisphere of the Cheltenham Festival with warmth in our hearts after the genre-defining sight of Sprinter Sacre bulging past a flagging Un De Sceaux.

Thus, with hope outstripping expectation, but a couple of classy heats to potentially stave off the inevitable handicap losses, it's on to Thursday's septet of equine sudokus.

1.30 JLT Novices' Chase

There have only been five renewals of this intermediate novices' chase, and this will be the third as a Grade 1 contest. Last year's winner, Vautour, was its best, and he bids for Ryanair glory later on the card, having been diverted from his original Gold Cup destination.

It might be interesting to note that Irish-trained runners have won all five JLT's so far, from a third of the runners; and their only three representatives in the race last year finished 1-2-3.

It makes sense then to start with the Irish challenge, which this year is headed by Willie Mullins' Outlander. Winner of his last three, at intermediate distances, including the Grade 1 Flogas Chase last time, the trip will be spot on. But he was readily outpaced in the Neptune last year on good ground and he's short enough given that there are plenty with more toe in this field of ten.

Black Hercules hails from the same yard, and has similar form claims from similar runs on wetter turf over intermediate trips. He too though has been caught for speed on both visits to the Festival, though he was a creditable fourth in the 2014 Champion Bumper. I was impressed with the way he jumped and stuck on when beating Definitly Red at Warwick over three miles two back, and he might have been better suited to the RSA Chase.

There are two other Irish runners, and the one of most interest - to me at least - is Andrew Lynch's Zabana. This fellow has been pleading for quicker ground ever since he was second to Aux Ptits Soins in the Coral Cup at last year's Festival. He then ran a good third over three miles in the Punchestown World Hurdle before a brace of chasing starts.

Having won his beginners' chase on heavy, he was not knocked about behind Outlander in the Flogas, and has a chance to reverse placings at almost three times the price. You have to buy into the ground factor to make that wager. I have, and I have.

Bristol De Mai runs in the Munir/Souede colours, and appears to be first string. He's only been passed by two horses in six chase starts, one of which is the re-opposing Garde La Victoire. That was on soft ground but this quicker surface could truncate the seven length verdict there, and I'd not expect much between them.

Best of the rest of the Brits look to be the two Arkle defectors, L'Ami Serge and Garde La Victoire. The former has good form at shorter but is stepping up to this trip for the first time. The latter, who can be described as 'economical' at his fences (i.e. he gets pretty low), is unbeaten in three chase starts and has a highly admirable career record of ten wins from 16 runs. He's my idea of the pick of the home team if he stands up.

An honourable mention goes to Pat Fahy's Mount Gunnery. This is an Irish trainer in superb form, and it seems rather a long way to come for no reason. He's only won a beginners' chase but he definitely wants better ground and he's 150/1. Clearly, he has a huge amount to find on the book, but at the price, for a pound each way, he might outrun those odds by a big margin in a race where he's expected to be close to the pace from the start.

Likely Pace Angles:

Both Bristol De Mai and L'Ami Serge like to race from the front, though it would be folly for them to take each other on, being as they're in the same ownership. Mount Gunnery could be prominent too, along with Outlander, in a race with a fairly pacey look to it.

JLT Chase Tips:

0.5 pt e/w Zabana 12/1 Ladbrokes, BetVictor

0.1 pt e/w Mount Gunnery 150/1 Racebets

Best JLT Chase offers:

SKYBET - Money back as a free bet if you back a loser (max £25)
BET365 - Back 4/1+ winner on live C4 race, get a risk-free bet on next C4 race (max £25)
PADDY - Money back as a free bet if your horse is 2nd (max £25)
HILLS - Money back as a free bet if 2nd in this race (max £25)
CORAL - Money back as a free bet if your horse falls  (max £25)
BETFAIR SPORTS - Back a winner at 3/1+, get a free bet to same stake (max £25)
BETVICTOR - Money back as a free bet if 2nd to Mullins horse (max £25)
LADBROKES - Money back as a free bet if the Fav wins (max £25)
BOYLE - Money back as a free bet if 2nd or 3rd to SP Fav (max £25)
BETBRIGHT - Money back as a free bet if 2nd in any Cheltenham race (max £25)

**

2.10 Pertemps Final

Two dozen runners over three miles in a devilish handicap hurdle. A touch of trendage may assist...

Older (aged eight to ten) horses have won eight of the last twelve renewals. And the younger winners have tended to carry more weight (i.e. classy improvers). That said, last year's winner, Call The Cops, was only six and carried only 10-12.

Last time out winners have a very strong record, taking nine Pertemps Final's since 1997, from just 78 runners.

The six last day winners in the field are Flintham, If In Doubt, Arpege d'Alene, Missed Approach, Cup Final, and Saddlers Encore.

If In Doubt also ticks the older horse box, being eight now, and he's a logical place to start. As a McManus horse, the Festival will have always been the target, and his campaign has been interesting to say the least. Fifth in last year's Grade 1 RSA Chase, he reverted to hurdles off a mark of 140 last time out. A win there, comfortably, in a Class 2 event delivered a six pound impost, meaning a racing weight here of 11-04. Richard Johnson rides for Philip Hobbs.

Hobbs' other runner, Saddlers Encore, was also a last day winner, and in higher class to boot. He's closely weighted with If In Doubt, more progressive as a novice of just five hurdle runs, and a better price.

McManus also has Leave At Dawn, the favourite, trained by Charles Byrnes. This fellow won a 2m5f handicap hurdle here in November (good to soft) and has clearly been laid out for the race. However, he's a stone higher in the weights this time, so will have to have improved a lot since his previous visit.

More appealing is Missed Approach. Warren Greatrex's six-year-old has won three of his four career starts to date, so what he lacks in experience he makes up for with potential. A facile win in a Newbury handicap last time cost him a whopping twenty pounds penalty from the 'capper but, such was the ease of that victory, it is impossible to suggest he can't overcome the hike.

Cup Final is a third string to the McManus bow, lining up here in search of a hat-trick after ready wins at Sandown and Musselburgh. They were on soft, but his good ground form is solid in defeat. Trainer Nicky Henderson has had a fine start to the week so here is another with prospects.

McManus actually runs SIX in the race, and another worth touching on is the Jonjo-trained Box Office. Campaigned like many Jonjo Festival handicappers, this lad should appreciate the better ground. He was sent off favourite for the Fred Winter last year, so expect an improved performance, especially if there's any cash around for his chance.

Hendo might have another with a chance in the mare, Broxbourne. She was second behind The Govaness at the April meeting last year, and will relish the terra firmer.

Likely Pace Angles:

Not heaps of early dash, I don't think, with perhaps Flintham the most likely to go on. He could be joined by Missed Approach, Saddlers Encore, and perhaps Rolling Maul, but a position near the front might be a good thing in what will be a packing field.

Pertemps Final Tips:

0.5 pt e/w If In Doubt 11/1 general

0.5 pt e/w Box Office 20/1 Coral

Best Pertemps Final offers:

Look for a bookie paying five places. Most are with the exceptions of sportingbet, 888sport, and William Hill.

BET365 - Back 4/1+ winner on live C4 race, get a risk-free bet on next C4 race (max £25)
PADDY - Money back as a free bet if your horse is 2nd (max £25)
HILLS - Money back as a free bet if 2nd in any Cheltenham race (max £25)
CORAL - Money back as a free bet if your horse falls  (max £25)
BETFAIR SPORTS - Back a winner at 3/1+, get a free bet to same stake (max £25)
BETVICTOR - Money back as a free bet if 2nd to Mullins horse (max £25)
LADBROKES - Money back as a free bet if 2nd in any C4 race (max £25)
BOYLE - Money back as a free bet if 2nd or 3rd to SP Fav (max £25)
BETBRIGHT - Money back as a free bet if 2nd in any Cheltenham race (max £25)

**

BIG NEW ACCOUNT OFFER: GET 20/1 VAUTOUR, THISTLECRACK, LIMINI with PADDY

**

2.50 Ryanair Chase

The Ryanair Chase was previewed on geegeez on 17th February. Since then, there has been a major change to the shape of the race with the news that, despite his owner saying Vautour "goes for the Gold Cup or nowhere", that high class chap will indeed run in this race.

It's the right race in my opinion, though Mr Ricci probably needs to reconsider opening his mouth without getting official sanction from Wullie the Guv'nor in future.

Enough of the politics and on to the form. Vautour is the best horse in this race, he is running over the right trip (in my view) and I think he'll win.

On official ratings he has eleven pounds in hand of the next best, the 11yo Al Ferof. That probably doesn't overstate his superiority.

If you like shorties, this one fits the bill as 'bar a fall' material to me, with the slight niggle that the vibes from his stable haven't been super strong. If you don't like shorties, the 'without' market is your friend. There, you can bet 4/1 the field in a 14 runner race. I am personally looking for a closer, to pick up perceived pieces off a frenetic gallop, and that could be Taquin De Seuil.

Jonjo's chaser won the novice version of this, the JLT, in 2014 and, after a spell in the doldrums, came back to life with a handicap chase win at Warwick last time. His jumping let him down when midfield in this race last year - and that is a concern again - but a clear round could see him run into the frame. He's 20/1, 9/1 without Vautour, both each way a quarter the odds.

I'd already advised an each way bet on a couple - Josses Hill and Dynaste - before Vautour re-routed. At least those who followed the advice to bet with bet365 are on Best Odds Guaranteed, because both horses have drifted as a predictable consequence of the interloper interloping!

In truth, it's a messy race, with negatives against pretty much all of the field, so good luck whichever way you decide to play.

Likely Pace Angles:

This should be quick. All of Road To Riches, Vautour, Smashing, Village Vic and Josses Hill could go on, and often have done in the recent past. Jumping will be critical then, as will stout stamina. Oh, and speed and class!

Suggested day of race play:

0.5 pt e/w Taquin De Seuil without Vautour 9/1 bet365 1/4 1-2-3

Already advised:

2pts win Don Cossack 6/1 NRNB bet365 (Money back)
1 pt win Vroum Vroum Mag 6/1 NRNB bet365 (Money back)
0.5 pt win Josses Hill 14/1 NRNB BOG bet365
0.5 pt win Dynaste 16/1 NRNB BOG bet365
0.5 pt win God's Own 25/1 NRNB bet365, Coral (Money back)

Best Ryanair Chase offers:

BET365 - Back 4/1+ winner on live C4 race, get a risk-free bet on next C4 race (max £25)
PADDY - Money back as a free bet if your horse is 2nd (max £25)
HILLS - Money back as a free bet if 2nd in any Cheltenham race (max £25)
CORAL - Money back as a free bet if your horse falls  (max £25)
BETFAIR SPORTS - Back a winner at 3/1+, get a free bet to same stake (max £25)
BETVICTOR - Money back as a free bet if 2nd to Mullins horse (max £25)
LADBROKES - Money back as a free bet if 2nd in any C4 race (max £25)
BOYLE - Money back as a free bet if 2nd or 3rd to SP Fav (max £25)
BETBRIGHT - Money back as a free bet if 2nd in any Cheltenham race (max £25)

**

BIG NEW ACCOUNT OFFER: GET 20/1 VAUTOUR, THISTLECRACK, LIMINI with PADDY

**

3.30 Ryanair World Hurdle

Another of the early previews, 25th February this time, and I sided with Cole Harden without Thistlecrack; and Kilcooley and At Fishers Cross each way. I think and hope that Thistlecrack wins, but am really happy with the ante post advices (probably means they're doomed), and don't care to add anything further to what I wrote then!

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Likely Pace Angles:

Cole Harden will bid to run trap to line, like last year, and he may be harried early by Knockara Beau, and possibly Martello Tower. This should be run honestly without compromising any runner, and it looks a really exciting race - one of the best of the week in my opinion.

Suggested day of race play:

The ante post selections are still available within hailing distance of the advised prices, and retain a degree of value against a solid favourite.

Already advised:

1pt win Cole Harden 'without Thistlecrack' 9/2 Paddy Power

0.5 pt e/w Kilcooley 25/1 general (non-runner no bet)

0.25 pt e/w At Fishers Cross 50/1 Skybet (non-runner no bet)

Best World Hurdle offers:

BET365 - Back 4/1+ winner on live C4 race, get a risk-free bet on next C4 race (max £25)
PADDY - Money back as a free bet if your horse is 2nd (max £25)
HILLS - Money back as a free bet if 2nd in any Cheltenham race (max £25)
CORAL - Money back as a free bet if your horse falls  (max £25)
BETFAIR SPORTS - Back a winner at 3/1+, get a free bet to same stake (max £25)
BETVICTOR - Money back as a free bet if 2nd to Mullins horse (max £25)
LADBROKES - Money back as a free bet if 2nd in any C4 race (max £25)
BOYLE - Money back as a free bet if 2nd or 3rd to SP Fav (max £25)
BETBRIGHT - Money back as a free bet if 2nd in any Cheltenham race (max £25)

**

4.10 Festival Plate

The Festival Plate, known this year as the Brown Advisory and Merriebelle Stable Plate (gulp), is a 2m5f handicap chase. It's been a Pipe benefit down the years, with father Martin winning it four times, and son David already possessing three Plates of his own in the last six years and narrowly failing to add a fourth last term.

It has been a race for huge shocks in recent times, with 9/2 Salut Flo a brief respite for punters in the teeth of a storm of 66/1, 50/1, 33/1 twice, 25/1 and 18/1 winners just since 2008!

Bad news then that I really fancy the 6/1 favourite, Johns Spirit. I noted him in this post when he was 25/1 and he is comfortably my best result of the week as a consequence. As you'll note from the returned SP's of recent winners, these things rarely go to plan, so while I'm excited about his chance - he's a stone lower than when winning better races having had his mark expertly massaged by his judge of a trainer, Jonjo O'Neill - I am resigned to glorious failure!

With him in the bank, however, we can go looking for a likely fat priced winner as well. David Pipe runs three, the pick of which might be Kings Palace. A decent novice last term, he races prominently (and therefore out of trouble), and he's slipped to a workable mark of 150. It wouldn't be the first time this week that Pipe out-plotted Jonjo.

Salubrious won the Martin Pipe in 2013, and has dropped a stone since then. Still with Paul Nicholls, it would be no surprise to see this 33/1 shot bounce back in a race where shocks are the norm.

Venetia Williams also has a great record in the Plate, with three winners since 2007, including 50/1 and 33/1 pokes. She's four-handed this time, and the pick of the quartet could be Niceonefrankie, for whom the better ground is a big plus. Only three pounds higher than his Grade 3 handicap chase over (the other) course and distance here, 25/1 is tempting.

And Kings Lad, a 50/1 shot running for Colin Tizzard, is the sort of wild guess that could run well if on a going day, a comment which applies to a large tranche of this field.

Likely Pace Angles:

Expect Niceonefrankie and Tenor Nivernais to be near the front, a good place to be in this race of thrills and spills. Sew On Target, Kings Lad and Baily Green are others who could be in the driver's seat early. Johns Spirit will be held up, and will need all the luck from there. .

Suggested Festival Plate play:

0.5 pt e/w Niceonefrankie 25/1 Skybet 1/4 1-2-3-4-5

 

Best Festival Plate offers:

Look for enhanced place terms. bet365, Skybet, totesport, betfred, Coral, winner and racebets are paying FIVE places.

BET365 - Back 4/1+ winner on live C4 race, get a risk-free bet on next C4 race (max £25)
PADDY - Money back as a free bet if your horse is 2nd (max £25)
HILLS - Money back as a free bet if 2nd in any Cheltenham race (max £25)
CORAL - Money back as a free bet if your horse falls  (max £25)
BETFAIR SPORTS - Back a winner at 3/1+, get a free bet to same stake (max £25)
BETVICTOR - Money back as a free bet if 2nd to Mullins horse (max £25)
LADBROKES - Money back as a free bet if 2nd in any C4 race (max £25)
BOYLE - Money back as a free bet if 2nd or 3rd to SP Fav (max £25)
BETBRIGHT - Money back as a free bet if 2nd in any Cheltenham race (max £25).

**

4.50 Dawn Run Mares' Novices' Hurdle

A new race, and one where there is a bundle of confidence behind favourite, Limini. She has a big engine, and the stable clearly have plenty against which to gauge her ability, but she does have a flaw: she has jumped moderately. If leaping like the last day, she'll probably be beaten. If she can be remotely professional she will probably win. Probably, but not definitely, making odds on quotes unexciting.

Against her is a rock solid each way option in Smart Talk. Brian Ellison's lass beat a proven good class handicapper in a Grade 2 on good ground last time, notching a fourth win in five races in the process. She's the highest rated of the British runners, though she may be more exposed than some of these.

Nicky Henderson has a couple of unrated mares in the field, Chocca Wocca and Bloody Mary, both nicely progressive. The former was unimpressive when winning at Market Rasen in an ordinary novice mares' event last time while the latter won well on his British debut (heavy) having run up a five timer in France in provincial NH Flat races (four) and an Auteuil hurdle. It's hard to know what to make of that form except that she clearly has a winning attitude, and that she has winning form on top of the ground.

Likely Pace Angles:

Smart Talk should be close to the lead, with Girly Girl, Tea In Transvaal and Bantam. Expect Limini and Bloody Mary to be mid-division.

Suggested Dawn Run play:

This looks a race for the head of the market making Smart Talk a good option against the favourite, and in the 'without' market

1 pt e/w Smart Talk 7/1 bet365

1 pt Smart Talk 'without Limini' 11/4 bet365

 

Best Dawn Run offers:

BET365 - Back 4/1+ winner on live C4 race, get a risk-free bet on next C4 race (max £25)
PADDY - Money back as a free bet if your horse is 2nd (max £25)
HILLS - Money back as a free bet if 2nd in any Cheltenham race (max £25)
CORAL - Money back as a free bet if your horse falls  (max £25)
BETFAIR SPORTS - Back a winner at 3/1+, get a free bet to same stake (max £25)
BETVICTOR - Money back as a free bet if 2nd to Mullins horse (max £25)
LADBROKES - Money back as a free bet if 2nd in any C4 race (max £25)
BOYLE - Money back as a free bet if 2nd or 3rd to SP Fav (max £25)
BETBRIGHT - Money back as a free bet if 2nd in any Cheltenham race (max £25)

**

5.30 Kim Muir Handicap Chase

Three and a quarter miles, amateur riders. Sound the klaxon! Actually, this race isn't so bad as it used to be, with some very capable non-pro's getting the leg up. A point worth keeping in mind is that eight of the last ten winners were ridden by non-claiming jockeys, from about half of the runners.

This is a race in which the older boys tend to do well, eleven of the last eighteen winners being nine or more.

Younger and classier than most winners is eight-year-old Cause Of Causes, who bids to follow up last year's NH Chase win. Clearly the course holds no fears, and nor does the distance. Jockey Jamie Codd knows this quirky fellow well having been aboard last year, and a weight of 11-09 may not stop him following up. 11/2 is an unsexy price in a big field of amateurs, but Cause Of Causes is a serious player.

So too is the other joint-favourite, Doctor Harper. David Pipe's handicap chase debutant got a yellow card from the official handicapper when awarded a mark of 141, one too high to run in the novices' handicap chase, and this extra distance may find out a thoroughly unexposed runner. If it doesn't, and his jumping holds up, he will be in the frame I think.

Wouldn't it be great to see The Giant Bolster win here? Second, third and fourth in Gold Cups, this is a steep drop in class for a veteran who may not be quite as good as he was. Still, he wouldn't need to be, a mark of 139 a whopping 25 pounds below his pomp. I couldn't really back him but it would be lovely to see. Lovely. 🙂

Katie Walsh has been booked for David Pipe's Top Wood, a last day winner. Despite the excellent rider, the horse's two Cheltenham runs have been awful, so it's a big leap of faith to back him in this big field.

At a huge price, 33/1, Corrin Wood is of mild interest. He's had more P's than Bird's Eye lately, but if a run close to his best can be coaxed from him, he has the speed and the talent to get involved for a yard that's won this twice since 2007.

Plenty of others that 'could' win, as with all the handicaps.

Likely Pace Angles:

Waldorf Salad, Capard King and The Giant Bolster will lead between them. Corrin Wood should be close as well, staying out of trouble hopefully.

Suggested Kim Muir play:

1 pt win Cause Of Causes 11/2 general

0.25 pts e/w Corrin Wood 33/1 bet365, Betfair Sports 1/4 1-2-3-4-5

 

Best Festival Plate offers:

Look for enhanced place terms. bet365, Ladbrokes, Winner, Betfair Sports and Racebets are all paying FIVE places.

BET365 - Back 4/1+ winner on live C4 race, get a risk-free bet on next C4 race (max £25)
PADDY - Money back as a free bet if your horse is 2nd (max £25)
HILLS - Money back as a free bet if 2nd in any Cheltenham race (max £25)
CORAL - Money back as a free bet if your horse falls  (max £25)
BETFAIR SPORTS - Back a winner at 3/1+, get a free bet to same stake (max £25)
BETVICTOR - Money back as a free bet if 2nd to Mullins horse (max £25)
LADBROKES - Money back as a free bet if 2nd in any C4 race (max £25)
BOYLE - Money back as a free bet if 2nd or 3rd to SP Fav (max £25)
BETBRIGHT - Money back as a free bet if 2nd in any Cheltenham race (max £25)

**

p.s. how's the Festival going for you so far? Leave a comment on the blog to let us know!

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11 replies
  1. Manyanga says:

    Big thanks for these helpful daily previews.

    You must burn the midnight oil. It exhausts my whole day just working out what bets to place (and then usually to no avail).

    • Matt Bisogno says:

      It’s a labour of love, Geoff, and takes a devil of a lot of time. But it’s nice to be able to share some workings out as well as ‘just’ a tip.

      Always great to know that there’s value for readers in its verbiage! Thank you.

      Best,
      Matt

  2. tony t says:

    as an avid ntd/ g elliot follower it is just getting better and better. the lucky 15 new one/blacklion/ ballyandy/ bristol becomes a treble but a tasty one if bristol does it. also did the pipe winner on day one. tmorrow ive gone with road to riches(vatour beat if any justice)/taggietelly/silver grove .my e/w poke in the pertemps is all hell to pay. and young jack riding for venetia gets my punting juices going

  3. phill says:

    Hi Matt,
    Im having a triffic chelts 6/7 day 1 and 5/7 today, I really did a lot of homework since oct.
    my multiple doubles not too bad 15-1 and 6-1 and some places got johns spirit -cossack and shantau to come so hopefull – went with tinky winkys word that sprinter was burning the gallops up – so had a tear in my eye when he won.
    Quantitive easing would have been a nice place for me -but I cant be greedy eh ?
    Bet of the meeting tomorrow for me with thistle very impressive

  4. Rotund legend says:

    Good stuff Matt. Back at the hotel trying to get over the momentous event of Sprinter winning! There was a party in the Centaur after the homage to the horse in the winners enclosure, Missed the last 3 races! I do like Flintham as a horse. Also King’s Odyssey in the first but I take your point re an Irish winner. I cant see past Vautour or Thistlecrack. Good luck tomorrow.

  5. Hugh says:

    Well Matt, so far so fantastic, all either directly or indirectly due to you as the resources I have used were Geegeez, Gavin’s Route 66 and Josh’s Racing To Profit to which you introduced me plus a dash of my own deduction. 3 winners on day one and 5 today. Unprecedented. I aim to be very cautious tomorrow as it looks very tough, Vautour having left me with some poor ap coupons.
    Have not managed to see the bumper as I am now stuck in broadband free Northants for tonight and tomorrow.

  6. John Carus says:

    After having a truly wretched year and a half in punting terms Matt. One winner from 15 bets in Jan/Feb, I have had 6 winners from 14 bets and a 2 grand profit at half way. Still cannot believe my change in fortune. Including 2 fallers at the last and me backing Diego Du Charmil. Onwards and upwards. Great reading as usual.

  7. Matt Bisogno says:

    Great stuff, guys. Very well done. For those not backing stacks of winners, one good draw in the last two days will turn things around. Day three awaits us! 🙂

    Matt

  8. Chris Worrall says:

    4/6 yesterday, just backing 2 in each race.
    Puts me at 8/13 for the Festival and +35pts.

    I’ve been posting my selections in the forum for all to see/follow if they choose to.

  9. mike says:

    interesting read matt,not have a great chelt so far ,4 seconds ,one third ,two winners ,two fallers ,and the placepot ondayone ,£38 ,

Comments are closed.