Un De Sceaux favourite for Champion Chase 2016

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

We're away and, after a first day of Annie-Mull magic and Min mayhem, there are still three more to go. Don't get too high if Tuesday was good to you; don't get too low if it was cruel to you. We need our wits about us for the long haul: leg two of our quadruped journey starts here...

1.30 Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle Preview

One of the strongest novice contests at the Festival, and historically a good portent of future Champion Hurdlers. Indeed, this was the Cheltenham launchpad for Messrs. I 'braq and H. Eustace to claim multiple blue riband titles, as well as Faugheen, who may yet improve on his score of one. Last year's event has yet to prove its worth but there is every chance that the 2016 renewal will revert to vintage type.

It has also been a punter-friendly contest down the years with every winner bar Massinis Maguire (20/1) returning 12/1 or shorter going all the way back to Danoli in 1994.

I previewed this race on 9th March here, and I nominated A Toi Phil without Yanworth, and a small bet on O O Seven each way. Since I wrote that, a certain Yorkhill has snubbed his Supreme invitation and gatecrashed the Neptune party. He's a huge runner here and, if he acts on quicker ground and it becomes a foot race up the hill (as opposed to a drawn out slog from further out), he could just gobble the whole enchilada.

Certainly he's a very nasty thorn in the side of our 'without' wager, Yorkhill now trading at 5/6 on bet365 in that market. This race is in danger of getting away from us in an ante post context, so below are two suggestions IF the prices become available (they are not at time or writing, and if they don't manifest, I'll be sitting tight on what is already invested and waiting for race two).

Likely Pace Angles:

Yala Enki and It'safreebee should roll along in front ensuring an honest gallop. I expect Yanworth to sit quietly until the second circuit and start moving up along the back straight.

Tipped already: 

1 pt win A Toi Phil 'without Yanworth' 7/2

0.25 pts e/w O O Seven 25/1 1/4 1-2-3

Tips:

There's very little juice in the early prices, so here is a couple of 'contingent' suggestions, based on if the price becomes available.

1 pt Yanworth IF he becomes available at 7/4

1 pt Yorkhill IF he becomes available at 3/1

Best Neptune Novices' Hurdle offers:

I've highlighted those I think are especially interesting for this race... particularly if you like either of the top two in the market

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 RSA Chase

Another early preview race - view the RSA Chase Preview here - and one in which I fancied No More Heroes to win, and Vyta Du Roc as a reasonable each way chance. Both line up in a select field of eight, with More Of That - former World Hurdle winner - shading favouritism.

It is easy to see why More Of That would be favourite: he was the best of these over hurdles (rated as high as 169) and his chase mark is still a stone below that, 154. If he can step forward to within hailing distance of his chase figure, he'll take a lot of beating. It is a sizeable 'if', however, based on, granted, limited, chasing evidence. He's not been seen much since that famous day in 2014 when he fended off Annie Power and the rest (that form rather franked yesterday - ahem!); and his better chase run was over the shorter of the two races he's had so far over fences. Still, that was on soft ground with his best form on quicker. He has a clear chance on ground that is certainly quick.

No More Heroes has the most in the book over fences, courtesy of a pair of Grade 1 victories this winter. He was one of the most unlucky horses at last year's Festival when having the door shut on him up the inside rail as he made his charge for Albert Bartlett glory. He was the value at 9/4 and remains the value in my opinion, at around the same price, though there is an unanswered question about fast ground.

This looks a shallow race and there is a good chance of Vyta Du Roc making the frame, with no such turf doubts in his case. He was in the process of running closest to Windsor Park in last year's Neptune when absolutely howitzing the last and, if jumping clear, his Reynoldstown form looks solid.

The ante post picks are still around the same price, and I'd be happy enough with them - I certainly won't be adding any arrows now. But if you're not on already, I wouldn't put you off joining the No More Heroes/Vyta Du Roc party.

Likely Pace Angles:

Seeyouatmidnight has one way of running: all guns from the front, and he should get his way there. That said, More Of That went on last time and might bid to stay out of trouble again. Expect No More Heroes to be more patiently ridden, sitting in behind the pace setters.

Tipped already: 

1.5 pt win No More Heroes 9/4
0.75 pt e/w Vyta DuRoc 12/1

Day of Race Pick:

None

Best RSA Chase offers:

Most appropriate (in my opinion!) offers in this race are highlighted...

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)

**

2.50 Coral Cup

A race where 26 are scheduled to face the starter in one of the most competitive handicaps of the season. This is trophy wagering stuff, and I'll mostly be trying to get through the placepot. But I'll probably have a cheeky bet on something, so let's look at some who might go well.

Big field form is very important in races like this, as is Festival form. Call The Cops beat all in the Pertemps over three miles last year, thus scoring highly on both counts, and was entitled to need his first run since Aintree last April when blowing up in a recent Musselburgh handicap. That was over six furlongs further than this too. 33/1 about a horse proven in the conditions is fair, if not spectacular, on the basis of a stone hike in the weights for last season's endeavours.

Out in front isn't a bad place to be with scrimmaging behind assured, so Baron Alco might offer hope 'til he runs out of rope. He's been progressive this season, moving up from 116 to 140 in the ratings, and may not be done with yet. I doubt anyone would begrudge trainer Gary Moore a winner at this Festival after the rotten luck he's had with Violet Dancer, Ar Mad and Traffic Fluide all missing the gig. At least two of them will have fine chances next term, albeit perhaps against each other (and Un De Sceaux and Douvan in what could be the mother of all Queen Mother's!)

Back to Baron Alco, and he's a hard horse to pass, eventually giving best to Rock The Kasbah last time, but with fifteen others fended off. That one re-engages here, on two pounds worse terms, so his quote of 14/1 compares unfavourably with Baron Alco's 25/1, on the face of it at least. In fact, Rock The Kasbah may be the more progressive, though both have ten runs on the board. Philip Hobbs' lad has won five of his ten, including his last two, and will be close to the pace.

Diamond King, in the same ownership as Rock The Kasbah - that of the Whateley's - is trained in Ireland by Gordon Elliott. He's been characteristically shrewdly campaigned at around two miles, his breeding suggesting the step up to this trip is what he's been screaming for. For all that, Elliott has won just two handicap hurdles at the Festival, from 28 tries. Not a bad strike rate but not sufficient to excite me to take 8/1.

One thing worth noting in the Coral Cup is the record of French-bred's. Since 1997 - 18 renewals - they've won eight, from 88 runners. That's 44% of the winners, including the last three, from 18% of the runners.

Politologue, representing last year's winning trainer, Paul Nicholls, fits the bill well and, like that one (Aux Ptits Soins), is a handicap debutant. He's raced on soft surfaces exclusively thus far, and I'm not totally convinced by his breeding. Nicholls himself was scoring his maiden Coral Cup at the 17th time of asking in this race last term, so 8/1 is resistible.

In the same stable, and another French bred, is Baoulet Delaroque, aged five. That age group, capable of most improvement all other things being equal, have been responsible for three of the last six winners (six year olds took two of the other three), and I like this fellow. On his first start in a handicap, he skipped away from The Geegeez Geegee and co in a Class 3 event at Wincanton. He then followed up a week later in a better race at Huntingdon, a penalty for which has enabled him to creep in at the bottom of the weights here. Boyle's 16/1 and five places is attractive.

It is way too early to be writing off Willie Mullins' Blazer, who made a great impression at Leopardstown before flopping in the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury. He may not have been suited by the lack of pace there, so this likely quicker tempo should enable him to show his true colours. Given that those colours are the green and gold of J P McManus, he may go off somewhat shorter than the current offer of 16/1 and again, he's playable at that price point.

There are roughly twenty more with chances, so don't take this as a full precis of the race, but rather a few possible options.

Likely Pace Angles:

Baron Alco should be on the speed, as might Avant Tout and Mister Fizz in a race with a nice shape to it. Big fields like this inevitably lead to hard luck stories, so caveat emptor.

Tentative picks:

0.5 pts e/w Baoulet Delaroque 16/1 Boylesports 1/4 1-2-3-4-5

0.5 pts e/w Blazer 16/1 Skybet 1/4 1-2-3-4-5

Best Coral Cup offers:

Look for a bookie paying five, or preferably six, places. Sponsors CORAL are paying SIX places; most others are paying five, except sportingbet, 888sport and Hills.

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)

**

3.30 Queen Mother Champion Chase

One of the earliest previewed races, I looked at the Champion Chase on 26th January. In that preview, I confidently nominated Traffic Fluide as a great alternative to the favourite, Un De Sceaux. As you may have read above, that went west with the unfortunate injury to Gary Moore's runner. As usual, we protected our bankroll with NRNB, but we were denied a fine chance of a return in the process.

This is a race in which I was trying desperately to get Un De Sceaux beaten but, ultimately, I think he is likely to prevail. From a sporting perspective, I'm looking forward to that very much. From a wagering stance, odds on is generally unplayable for a man of my limited means.

Your first 30 days for just £1

There are so many question marks over the field, as I alluded to in my preview, that I'm going to sit this one out.

I can report that there is a lot of stable confidence behind Sprinter Sacre, who is apparently back to somewhere close to his best. If that turns out to be even remotely true, then he'll be hard to kick out of the frame and 5/1, a quarter the odds, means you'll be able to buy a cup of tea with the profit.

Felix Yonger stays further, something which might be advantageous if there's a ferocious early meter, and he's been well touted by the Mullins camp along with his more established stable mate.

Special Tiara, if not thrust into a speed duel with UDS, is another who could hit the board. But I'm looking forward to watching this one, not wagering on it.

Likely Pace Angles:

Special Tiara and Un De Sceaux are the clear pace angles, with Just Cameron (if he can get close to them) and Sizing Granite other possible for the early lead. That should make for a frenetic gallop, and the prospect of jumping errors. It should also ensure that you need a strong stayer at the trip to prevail.

Interest bet, if I must:

0.25 pt e/w Felix Yonger 14/1 general

Best Champion Chase offers:

Lots of ways to get a free bet if your pick runs close to Un De Sceaux, and Boyle especially looks tempting (if you can get on!)

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 Cross Country Chase

I love this race, though I'm unsure what effect the move to a conditions race - it has thus far always been a handicap - will have on results. Despite that uncertainty, I've played Josies Orders for my biggest ante post stake. He's two from two over these fences, giving the impression on both occasions that he had more in the tank.

Josie was rated as much as 18lb 'wrong' with some of his rivals when he won here the last day, and he's still nine pounds amiss with Third Intention (cross country debut) and five awry with the king, Balthazar.

These races tend to turn into sprints up the home straight, however, and in that context we know Josies Orders has what it takes. He will be spot on after a spin over hurdles a month ago, and he'd be my idea of the nap of the week (ignoring the really short stuff). The 11/4 currently available is very generous. I reckon Josies should be about 7/4.

The absence of Foxrock from the final entries helps, but there are still dangers. The Balthazar King of two years ago would be the horse to beat, but he had an horrific fall at Aintree a year or so ago and has had some major surgery to repair that. Trainer Philip Hobbs reports that BK is going well but he's got a dent in his ribcage as a memento of that Liverpool crash, and Hobbs is unsure whether that will impact his ability to get as much oxygen as he used to. A more everyday concern would be the lack of a run for a year. If my wager has to come unstuck, I hope it is at the hooves of this fellow, but that's my heart speaking. My head can't really see it.

I've written some rude things about perma-loser (see, there I go again), Quantitativeeasing, but there's little doubt he's a talented fellow in these races. He showed that ability when winning the Risk Of Thunder Chase, a cross country race that has been a great portent to this race, at Punchestown in November; and he was then down the field with barn mate, Josies Orders, at Navan last time.

The Risk Of Thunder looked a sub-standard renewal to my eye, and I would hope that the favourite has too many guns for QE, even if that one brings his A game and doesn't find his usual poor luck in running. Again, the Risk Of Thunder was his first win for 22 starts. I think we all know how this ends. Sigh.

It is difficult to envisage the likes of hardy perennials Sire Collonges and Any Currency having the boot to usurp Josie, nor can I foresee Rivage d'Or rolling back the clock (or turning back the years, if you prefer that mixed metaphor) to repeat last year's win. But they are mostly all credible place players in a race I love to watch. Others are less keen, shame on them!

Likely Pace Angles:

Pace? What pace? This is the Cross Country race! Valadom and Ballyboker Bridge, a pair of non-stayers, should go on. But, in all probability, they'll bimble round until the inner circuit and then dash up the hill.

Cross Country Bet:

3 pts win Josies Orders 11/4 general

Best Cross Country Chase offers:

BEWARE: Paddy and Hills only a 1/5 1-2-3, all others 1/4 1-2-3. Again, Boyle is a great option here if you fear Josies Orders but fancy something else.

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 Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle

Probably the most impossible handicap of the week, and that is some back-handed compliment! 22 runners, 17 of which are making their handicap debut, and all of which are capable of improving on what is in the book already.

Despite the folly of this race, I have an ante-post position on Diego Du Charmil and, if I'm honest, I haven't got a clue about him. I heard the news that he worked well with Triumph Hurdle second favourite, Zubayr, and a literal interpretation of that gives him obvious claims in a handicap where he carries nine pounds less than the top weight. Sadly, that is all I can tell you about a horse yet to win in three starts in France. Actually, it's not quite all. I can tell you I wouldn't touch it with a bargepole at odds of 6/1.

This is a guessers' race, and there is at least a touch of certainty about the form of top weight, Fixe Le Kap. We know he's good because he, unlike most of his rivals, has already demonstrated as much with two juvenile hurdle wins and second place in the Victor Ludorum Hurdle.

I'd imagine a French bred horse will win this, but given that narrows things only down to thirteen, it doesn't really help. Go mob handed in the placepot and repair to the bar!

Likely Pace Angles:

On what we know - not a lot - Duke Of Medina and Romain De Senam might lead. But then again, any number of horses hitherto hiding lights under bushels may suddenly decide front rank is the place to be.

One moderate value guess amongst guesses:

0.25 pt e/w Fixe Le Kap 14/1 Coral, Hills

 

Best Fred Winter offers:

bet365 are the only bookie 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)

**

5.30 Champion Bumper

This is another guessers' paradise, and I'm afraid I just don't know. I really, honestly, genuinely don't know.

Coeur Blimey wants softer ground, but as the full brother to a horse geegeez readers own, called East Wing (unraced to date), I hope he wins. The one to get closest to him last time was Ballyandy, and he probably has the best form in the book. Then there are 22 others in the race, all of whom are lovely sorts who will have big futures.

Watch the race, take notes, and have a nice cup of tea.

Likely Pace Angles:

Seriously, I just don't know.

Tips:

Don't have a bet in this race.

Best Champion Bumper offers:

Plenty of firms paying 1/4 1-2-3-4 (so they should!) including bet365, skybet, totesport, betfred, BetVictor, Ladbrokes, Coral, winner, betfair sports and racebets.

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? Good luck? Bad luck? Sporting highlights? Leave a comment on the blog to let us know!

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10 replies
  1. pancake says:

    Thanks Matt, just broke even on day 1 although i backed your each way suggestion in the last and i thought he was coming with a winning run when he fell, of course I had an 8/1 winner going onto to him so maybe I was seeing things.Still I appreciate your hard work!!

  2. Gordon says:

    Interesting thoughts as ever Matt – managed to save myself big time with Ballyalton in the lucky last at 16’s.
    Good luck today

  3. Phil. Root says:

    Both exellent reads today and yesterday. Where I managed to stumble into a profit of £16 for the day. Keep up your good work. Cheers.

  4. Matt Bisogno says:

    Well done with Ballyalton, Gordon. And well done all who squirreled a profit on Tuesday. A long way to go yet, mind…! 😉

    Matt

  5. jimmy says:

    Had the Mullins four in trebs and a quad,the first one beat me for a good bet,all in all about evs on the day.

    • Matt Bisogno says:

      You and about a million other people, Jimmy! 😉

      Hard luck there, but even is still a good result.

      Matt

  6. RomJim says:

    Good day Tuesday. Chas and I have developed a new approach of small stakes combos and for a total stake of 41.60 we cleared 327.40 (mind you that did include legacy gold at 50/1 – If only he had won!!).

    • Matt Bisogno says:

      Excellent work, Jim (and Chas)!

      Hope it goes rolling for you the next three days. See you soon, old bean. 🙂

      Matt

  7. Chris Worrall says:

    Eked a profit yesterday, largely down to backing Un Temps Pour Tout at 16/1 as one of 4 winners. Swerved Annie Power wrongly, though.

    Also had 4 lines on the placepot, so decent enough. Today looks grim.

Comments are closed.