Cheltenham Festival Day Three (Thursday) Live Blog

17:05 Right, well done to the favourite backers. It's been your day of days this afternoon. Tomorrow surely can't be more of the same, and I'm expecting a correction in favour of those of us who generally look deeper down the betting lists.

I've very much enjoyed your contributions, and blogging in real time. It's always reassuring to know it's not just me!

Have a great night, and I'll be back in the morning with my Day Four 'get out' mission.

17:00 Further salt in my punting wounds was applied by the fact that the placepot looks like it will be around £370, and I would otherwise have had it for £3.20. Alas, I missed the Pertemps.

Regarding this race and high weighted horses, and non-claiming amateurs... the first four home were weighted 1, 2, 3, and 6 and were all ridden by non-claiming amateurs.

16:51 Sunnyhillboy was the Pricewise selection, and it looks as though there will be some bookies re-mortgaging their second homes after today.

Becauseicouldntsee was second, Exmoor Ranger third, and Up The Beat fourth.

Brilliant rides - and runs - from the second and third. The fourth came from a mile back but couldn't quick like the winner.

Benbane Head ran out of gas on the softer ground, and would surely have gone close on faster ground.

My cheeky tenner at 65 on Exmoor Ranger looked promising for a moment, but the winner was very well handicapped.

16:50 Another favourite wins the races! At 13/2!!!! Amazing. Carnage in the ring, as the punters are slayers of the layers.

16:43 Comedy start to a comedy race, with Sona Sasta planted and setting off about twenty lengths behind the rest.

He has caught them up but will have to pass the lot.

16:40 Expect this to be frenetic, and lots of thrills and spills.

Best of luck to punters, horses and riders.

They're not yet away and running for the 'lucky last' (how ironic that statement generally is!).

All jammed against the tape... hmm.

16:37 7/1 the field here. Sunnyhillboy is that horse, followed in by 8/1 Up The Beat, and then 10/1 bar, which brings in Brackloon High, Midnight Appeal and Start Me Up.

Lively outsiders are Exmoor Ranger, Benbane Head and The Hollinwell.

Now 15/2 the field. As Run DMC once noted, It's tricky!!!

16:33 OK, tips coming in now. Jim wants Benbane Head for a very nice e/w Lucky 15

Champion Court (2nd 8/1) cape Trib (W at 16/1) The Cockney Machem (2nd at 18/1) has the last leg of Benbane Head @ 25/1.

Chris W is going with the top two in the market, whilst Will fancies Midnight Appeal and Your Busy.

Good luck all.

16:31 I need a winner! Anybody got a good thing for me here?

16:26 Somewhat mercifully, perhaps, it's the last race of the day upcoming. Amateur riders, three and a quarter miles, and lots of pesky fences.

Here's the stat attack:

History offers us little in the way of clues, aside from the fact that the last twelve winners were aged 7-10 years, with eleven of them between seven and nine years old.

It is material to note that - aside from seasonal debutant, Royal Predica - all of the remaining eleven had a podium finish already that season (and ten finished first or second already).

The Irish have failed to win this for the last 29 years!

And in recent times, the better horses have performed best, especially those ridden by non-claiming amateurs. Best horses, best jockeys: it makes sense, right?

Benbane Head is the horse that best fits my trends. It's a horse I've backed, and so has Jim. Good luck to both of us!

16:19 Back to those favourite stats, and that's 62% of jollies (13 from 21) which have made the frame this week. That does take the edge off my placepot disappointment, as it's very difficult for the 'pot to pay when the results are so market aligned...

16:16 Salut Flo takes the remarkable record of French-bred's in the race to seven winners and four runners up from the last thirteen renewals of the Byrne Group Plate.

16:13 Last year, eight favourites obliged. In 2003, ten favourites obliged. With eight races left in 2012, we've already had eight favourites win.

A proper pasting for the layers. I hope you've been making them pay, because I sure haven't!

16:10 Salut Flo, the Pipe punt, lands the gamble. Well done if you were on. These are the kind of horses I simply can't have, and when they beat me, I just have to wear it.

Unfortunately for me, and anyone unlucky enough to be following me today, I'm having a mare... 🙁

16:07 Good grief! Another favourite obliges! Can you remember a year like it for jollies?

16:00 Sorry about that, had to make a cup of tea for Mrs Matt, who's just returned from a busy day working.

They're lining up... and they're away! Pretty much on time.

Best of luck here - you'll need it!! 😉

15:53 Crack Away Jack and Niceonefrankie well backed. Salut Flo easy to back, having been hammered by connections long since!

15:52 Ferdy and Venetia, those wiliest of wily handicap trainers at the Festival, are the fancies of the comment crew.

That's Divers and Niceonefrankie. Easy to see why in both cases, so good luck boys!

15:43 After the brilliance and bravery of Big Buck's, we're greeted with the conundrum of the Byrne Group Plate.

With its intermediate distance of 2m5f, this has come to be a race which favours French-bred horses. To wit, a French-bred has been in the first two in ten of the last twelve runnings (six winners, four runners up).

However, the last two have been notable by their absence, though they were under-represented in 2010.

All bar two of the last two dozen horses rated higher than 141 were beaten in this race and, given that there are likely to be around ten horses with higher marks this year, I’ll be fielding against them.

Younger horses do better here than in other handicap chases at the Festival, with seven of the last twelve aged eight or younger. Those figures include six of the last eight winners.

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This lack of predictability is reflected in the starting prices, as every winner since the turn of the century returned at 12/1 or bigger. Majadou, in 1999, was the only winning favourite in nearly thirty years.

So good luck if you’re rowing in with Salut Flo at a deflating 9/2 as I write..!

Niceonefrankie is the trends horse, and also fits my little handicap system (less than eleven stone, won last time out, 33/1 or shorter).

15:38 Just watching the race again. So Young didn't stay, Mikael d'Haguenet doesn't have the bottle for a battle, Five Dream was ridden from the front for the first time ever!, Mourad and the rest just not good enough in a true run top class staying hurdle.

It will be very interesting to see what the ratings boys make of this Big Buck's performance.

15:33 Oscar Whisky clearly didn't stay, which doesn't help me having backed him for the Champion Hurdle at 33/1 early in the season.

Smad Place, just a 5yo, ran a belter in third.

And then came the 2m4f horses, Thousand Stars and Oscar Whisky. They'll likely cross swords again at Aintree over their right trip.

What was your take on the World Hurdle?

15:30 Voler La Vedette, who has run magnificently, looked set to cruise past BB up the hill. But when BB sees a rival trying to usurp his crown, he fights. This was a full field, and a high class field.

Any Big Buck's knockers - not we'll hear from them now - are firmly in their place. This fellow is 'da man'!

15:28 Bloody hell! What a monster! He looked like he was going to get swamped, and Big Buck's just kept finding more.

15:20 They're off for the World Hurdle! Good luck Big Buck's, and all of them. Race well and come home safely!

15:19 Almost post time, and they bet 5/6 Big Buck's, 4/1 Oscar Whisky, 8/1 Thousand Stars. Rock solid market here.

15:17 An outbreak of common sense from Vasilis, who commented that we should probably make bigger bets at the smaller tracks, and just have fun wagers here at the toughest meeting of them all (with the exception of Royal Ascot).

You're right, Vasilis, but where's the fun in that?!

15:15 Lots of you (Ray, Chris, Will) trumpeting the each way chance of Dynaste. Seems like a considerably more sensible shout than my Five Dream place suggestion.

15:12 Tactics will be interesting here. I'm presuming that Dynaste will take it along, perhaps with one of the Mullins quartet.

Oscar Whisky normally races prominently, but will presumably be held up to get the trip. In that case, he'll either come into the race stylishly or never get to the front... possible in running place lay?

So Young and Mikael d'Haguenet also can make the running, as can Mourad!

At a monster price, Five Dream might plug on into a place. He's 28/1 on Betfair to do that, which implies I might be talking nonsense... Not for the first time!

15:05 OK, onwards and downwards! It's time for the magnificent Big Buck's to strut his stuff. And he's 4/5 to do the job!

I nailed my colours to the So Young mast a long time ago, and have a wager in situ accordingly.

It's a wide open race, and the recent trends are skewed somewhat by the multiple winners, Baracouda, Inglis Drever and Big Buck's himself.

He's nine now, but Inglis Drever won at that age, so no big problems there.

Oscar Whisky is 4/1, it's then 8/1 Thousand Stars, and 16/1 bar, which brings in Dynaste and So Young.

What's your bet against Big Buck's?

15:00 Brilliant run from Albertas Run in the hat-trick bid. Game horse indeed, and I did him a disservice by suggesting he was too old and the break wouldn't suit. His record suggests he's best fresh.

The Irish are now 0 from 23 runners in the race. And didn't manage a horse in the first four this time.

14:55 All in agreement that was a great race. Pity some ran well below form (mostly the ones I'd backed). Riverside Theatre allegedly a shocking result for William Hill.

After Sir Des Champs in the opener, it's been a dark day for the Leeds firm so far. Big Buck's winning will hardly lighten the mood...

And Councillor Jim is out of the placepot as well.

14:48 The Hendo magic potions strike again! Riverside Theatre was never in front until strides from the line.

Many ran stinkers. Albertas and Medermit were notable exceptions, as was Captain Chris and Forpadydeplasterer.

Personally, an absolute horror story for me.

14:41 Poquelin withdrawn, with a dribble of blood in his mouth. Not sure what caused it.

They're off!

14:40 Best race of the meeting for me, this. Really deep and classy field. Excellent contest.

The best of luck to all who are playing in it. Noble Prince and Rubi Light if ground is softish, for me.

14:39 No horse aged older than ten have placed - bad news for Albertas Run fans...

14:36 Great news for Councillor Jim - he's had 33/1 Cape Tribulation ante post, and got through the placepot with Catch Me. Well done that man.

Not such great news for Anton, who needs Noble Prince here or he's going to have to go back to work. That's really awful news, Anton!

Best news of all is that Sonofvic got up after that slithering fall in the last race, and lives to race another day.

14:30 Trends for the Ryanair. It's a relatively new race, but there are some good trends.

All seven winners had previously won at Cheltenham... and so had five of the second-placed horses.

Course form very important.

This has been a poor race for the Irish, who have yet to register a winner from nineteen attempted runners. They do have a couple of really strong chances this time, with Rubi Light and Noble Prince.

Personally, I have marks against the following:

Albertas Run - off a long time and eleven now
Captain Chris - can't jump, won't jump?
Forpadydeplasterer - getting on now (10yo) but likes it here, half an each way squeak
Great Endeavour - out of form? (Respect the Pipe's though)
Kalahari King - too old and off a long time
Little Josh - not good enough
Medermit - fancied to run well without winning. A very unlucky horse.
Poquelin - been beaten in two less competitive renewals, so can't fancy him here.
Riverside Theatre - bounce bounce bounce? Or has he been at the magic Henderson juice?
Rubi Light - I was worried about the ground, but with all the watering they've done, it might be ok for him. Interesting.
Somersby - not convinced this is the right trip for him. We'll see.
Blazing Tempo - she might not be good enough, but she will try and she's in great form.

Right, that's cleared things up then.... not!

What are you on in this one?

14:22 Right lads, listen up! Bookies William Hill are gloating about barely laying a penny on Cape Tribulation.

In the next race, they went 7/1 this morning about Noble Prince, and I didn't get on alas.

I really like Noble Prince here, and it wouldn't surprise me if Blazing Tempo runs a blinder with her allowance.

What are your Ryanair fancies?

14:18 Malcolm Jefferson was interviewed before the race and seem extremely unnerved to have been caught by the cameras. He seems a lot happier now.

14:15 Seven deep in the placepot, and down. 🙁

Terrible result for me personally. Can't believe I didn't have the winner in the placepot. Too many have run badly there.

It's a hard, hard race. Well done for CT backers.

14:12 The trials and Tribulations of Cheltenham handicap hurdles! Gavin's Festival Trends top rated the winner and had Cantlow on joint second top-rated. He's here gloating, as I didn't back the winner...

14:05 Outsider shouts for Houblon Des Obeaux and Reindeer Dippin and Prince Erik.

Expect Buena Vista to try to make it. here we go!

13:58 A fair few like Sir Kezbaah at a decent price. I've heard whispers for Barwell Bridge, Buena Vista (of course), Sonofvic... and about a dozen others.

Money for Buena Vista, Thehillofuisneach, Cape Tribulation, and top weight Restless Harry.

13:53 Right, as Will F said in the comments, this is MUCH tougher!

Trends for the Pertemps Final are as follows:

Aged six to nine (like eleven of the last twelve winners);

Weighted 11-02 or less; rated below 142;

Win or second place in last three starts (as did eight of the last twelve winners; two of the failers were both Buena Vista).

Finally, nine of the last sixteen winners also won last time out, and Buena Vista was responsible for two of the non-winning seven.

The shortlist is one horse deep! Bellflower Boy

13:46 My placepot tickets - created with the brilliant bet builder tool - are below:

Click the image to actually SEE the numbers I went with..! 😉

13:40 Ed Crompton from William Hill tells us it wasn't a good race for them.

They offered 5/1 this morning and many - including me! - took advantage. Thanks Jerry for putting the bet on for me. 🙂

I'll be back with my placepot tickets in a minute.

13:39 Travelled brilliantly, jumped brilliantly, and he has a great chance of being the first Jewson winner to win the Gold Cup next year.

Champion Court ran a blinder, and was a most deserving silver medallist.

For Non Stop ran a very honest race, having not travelled well early in the contest. That's as good as he is, I'd say.

Good start for you? How are you doing? (I backed the winner and the third...)

13:35 Sir Des! Quite easy in the end, for Sir Des Champs, who was much the best.

Peddlers ran a shocker.

13:29 Lots of you like Sir Des Champs and For Non Stop. Let's hope you're right! Champion Court also got a mention, and is for local trainer Martin Keighley. His owner was just on the box in a very, erm, fetching suit formed from the horse's colours!

They'll be lining up here in a second. Good luck whatever you've backed.

13:24 No trends for the opener, as it was first run last year. I'm against Peddlers Cross, after his last race wobble, time off the track, and bad vibes from the yard.

Personally, I think For Non Stop's win in the Scilly Isles Novices Chase at Newbury (Grade 1) is the best form in UK; and Sir Des Champs has the best Irish form.

What are your fancies? Leave a comment, or tweet me @MattBisogno

13:20 WELCOME to the 2012 Cheltenham Festival Live Blog!

Apologies for late arrival. London Transport, normally so reliable, had a few minor mishaps. I'm literally just in the door, and raring to go...

...starting with the Jewson Novices Chase at 1.30pm.


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61 replies
  1. Avatar
    Ed says:

    Hello Matt,

    This looks exciting. Can we interact? I’m at work today so may have a few insights! As you know there’ll be no “inside info” though, as so many people think I’m privy too!!

    Looking forward to it.



  2. Avatar
    brian says:


    well done with Bobs Worth

    thankfully more than made up with Finians Rainbow and Une Artiste, though I do think the excuse for how the omitted fence in the Queen Mother was handled was very lame to say the least!

  3. Avatar
    Malcolm Evans says:

    Hi Matt,
    I’ve just spent the last two days at Cheltenham,small profit on Day 1 fair loss on Day 2.Some things annoy me intensely these days!
    1.The entrance price £25 for Best mate just to stand in a Pub really with Racing as a sideshow.
    2.How can the bookies get away with offering 1/5 the odds in 16+ H’caps very few 1/4 to be seen also 1/6th on the QMCC with most in BM enclosure.Luckily the Tote queues were reasonable at least on WEdnesday.
    3.Theres just no variance in the market anymore each bookmakers board shows almost exactly the same odds.It only seems to have happened since the introduction of the electronic system,are they all linked perhaps?You may as well stand in front of one giant screen with lots of customere service staff![Perhaps theres the future]!the fun of looking for a good price has just gone.
    Good Luck today, I’m off to local bookie now.

  4. Avatar
    Jim says:

    Hi Matt

    Hope you’ve had a great time away.

    Tough racing today.

    I have 3 in 1.30 – Peddlers Cross; Champion Court and For Non stop.

    I fancy The Cockney Machem as a twister job horse in 4.00.

    good luck


  5. Avatar
    Dick says:

    I do like Champion Court and a saver on Solix.

    Good luck for the day, whatever you punt.


  6. Avatar
    Ed says:

    A good start for me personally, not the best for the bookies. A large liability on that one after being backed in from 5’s!
    Onto the next……

  7. Avatar
    Will Freeman says:

    Hi Matt good start a little bit tougher the pertemps next might just have 2 small each way bets here on thehillsofuisneach and sir kezbaah i can’t have our father winning or buena vista winning although for achievement if the latter wins good luck to him.

  8. Avatar
    Dick says:

    In the next (Pertemps) I fancy Sir Kezbaah and Prince Erik each way with a little on the standing dish Buena Vista.

  9. Avatar
    anton says:

    Our Father and Buena Vista in next race ive got… any other tips for last minute bet?

  10. Avatar
    Chris says:

    Small E/W play on Restless Harry for me now that I’ve guaranteed myself a profitable day.

    • Avatar
      Jim says:

      Problem is big weight – winners normally carry less than 11.02.

      Big prices rule so I have gone for Cape tribulation; catch me and reindeer dippin courtesy of Gary!!


  11. Avatar
    Mondo Ray says:

    I’m looking for a big outsider in the 2.05 and that would be Houblon Des Obeaux. I’m on at 60 and 11.5 place.

  12. Avatar
    Ed says:

    The bookies are feeling flush after that one as the weight of money on Our Father and the two Pricewise tips was massive. We pay out hardly a penny!!

  13. Avatar
    Will Freeman says:

    a tough race it was well done Jim and Mondo Ray i. am just going to have a win bet on noble prince if it was softer i would have gone to rubi light but the prince for me

  14. Avatar
    anton says:

    Noble prize has to take this.. or else im stopping watching n going back to work!

  15. Avatar
    Jim says:

    Wow!! antepost on Cape Trib at 33/1 plus catch me in placepot and place on Reindeer dippin courtesy of Bet365. Best result for me so far.

    Great Endeavour and Noble Prince for the placepot.

    good luck folks


  16. Avatar
    Chris says:

    Seeing as the 2.40 is so easy to call (not!), it’s just a small E/W on Blazing Tempo for me.

  17. Avatar
    Jim says:

    Just started to review a tipping service for Online Betting Exposed and first tip just won by a mile at Towcester.

    See Pocquelin has been withdrawn – bitten tongue????? or something else??

    Nicholls horses not running very well it seems to me.

  18. Avatar
    Jim says:

    Ah well – out of placepot.

    Knew my fate early on.

    Great result for Riverside Theatre – Henderson and Geraghty carry on.

    Upset by beating Big Buck’s next on the cards?????

  19. Avatar
    Ed says:

    Can’t stop. That result killed us!! Busy now and if Big Bucks wins I won’t get home until after midnight!

  20. Avatar
    Will Freeman says:

    Great win for Riverside Noble prince pulled up miles out never going well p/u with blazing tempo long before the turn for home.For the world hurdle will just have a e/w bet on Dynaste

  21. Avatar
    Chris says:

    I’m with Will on this one: small E/W on Dynaste for me too. Hoping for a better run for my money than I got from Blazing Tempo!

  22. Avatar
    Mondo Ray says:

    I’ve got a win bet on Oscar Whiskey at 6 and a place on Dynaste at 4. Be nice to see Big Buck’s win again, but Nicholls’s horseys don’t seem to be firing right this year.

  23. Avatar
    vasilis says:

    i believe most punters will do well if they stop bettina at the Cheltenham festival and concentrate on smaller, everyday race tracks with smaller fields. The festival is too unpredictable, too many variables, you need luck and inspiration to win.
    I would suggest to bet little amounts of money at at Cheltenham as a fun bet, an intellectual exercise to see if you could pick a winner.

  24. Avatar
    Jim says:

    I’m on thousand stars with the Ladbrokes half odds offer.
    Also done a combo tote swinger on Mourad, Mikael Dhaguenet, Oscar whisky and Smad place.

    But Big B will prob win.

  25. Avatar
    Will Freeman says:

    This race might have a effect on the Gold Cup if Big Bucks loses surely Kauto Star would drift out again and Long Run come in what do you reckon everyone

  26. Avatar
    Will Freeman says:

    Well done BIG BUCKS did’nt back it but i just enjoyed the race what a good sp 5/6 when you look at its price over the last few weeks

    • Avatar
      Will Freeman says:

      Another easy race Divers to win e/w on Niceonefrankie good luck everyone

  27. Avatar
    Jim says:

    Niceonefrankie looks good for V Williams but I like The cockney machem for the twister.

    my combo for exacta is The Cockney Machem; Fine Parchment; Gansey and niceonefrankie.

  28. Avatar
    Chris says:

    Way too difficult to call, so it’s small E/W bets on Hectors Choice & Fine Parchment.

  29. Avatar
    Mondo Ray says:

    I backed e/w Fine Parchment at 32 & 6.8 and Matuhi at 36 & 6.4 earlier today, but I’ve since had a couple of shouts for Holmwood Legend, so I’ve popped a couple of quid on at 32 & 6.2

  30. Avatar
    Jim says:

    Good run from The Cockney Machem but you have to give it to the Pipe gambling machine. Barclays!!

    So my Lucky 15 of Champion Court (2nd 8/1) cape Trib (W at 16/1) The Cockney Machem (2nd at 18/1) has the last leg of Benbane Head @ 25/1.

    Good job I did it each way!!!

  31. Avatar
    Chris says:

    With the fancied horses going so well today, I’m going to stick with the top 2 in the market for the 4.40.

  32. Avatar
    Will Freeman says:

    Not been great since Race 1 but midnight appeal and your busy e/w with a win bet on midnight as well good luck in the last everyone

  33. Avatar
    Chris Tyler says:

    More bad news Matt,

    I see SOTD Tartan Tiger – 2nd ½length!!


  34. Avatar
    Mondo Ray says:

    Two years ago Katie Walsh did me two great favours – not THAT! I should be so lucky – when she rode two winners here. I’m hoping she’ll ride the grammatically incorrect Your Busy (36win 7place) to victory.

    My saver is Adam’s Island

  35. Avatar
    Chris says:

    SotD was fine. I advised an E/W bet at 13/2 for that one.
    He finished like a train, but he’d allowed the eventual winner to just get too far ahead.

  36. Avatar
    Jim says:

    Just seen an air ambulance lifting jockey Joe Colliver to Newcastle hospital on ATR. here’s hoping he’s Ok.

    Tends to put our fun betting into perspective.


  37. Avatar
    Chris Tyler says:

    Hi Chris,

    SOTD at 11/2 by the time I got to it. Washed its face so to speak.
    Rather concerning that Dougie Costello got mugged by a 7lb claiming amateur.


    • Avatar
      Chris says:

      I know what you’re saying, Chris re: Costello.
      As for the 13/2, that was still available at betVictor until at least 3pm this afternoon.

  38. Avatar
    Scott says:

    Sunnyhillboy the third winner this week to come out of the hurdles race Grand Vision won at Haydock on 18th Feb.

    • Avatar
      Matt Bisogno says:

      Good shout Scott. Grand Vision will be in the Albert Bartlett tomorrow, so let’s hope he runs well.


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