The below notes have been provided by excellent Cheltenham judge and good friend, "Hammer".
Another very enjoyable evening hosted by Lee Mottershead bringing a wealth of knowledge to the table in the form of ex Senior Handicapper Phil Smith, whose betting pot now represents his life force. ("Once it's gone, you're gone" according to Mrs Smith), Maddie Playle from Racing Post podcast, author and pundit Matt Tombs and Martin Chapman representing Star Sports and providing the market movers and shakers.
PS All need to improve on current ratings to get near the level of a poor winner. One of them surely will do so but hard to be confident whom. Al Dancer has the added confidence of handicap form giving substance to his rating. Interested in Angel's Breath who will stay further.
MP given Elixir De Nutz profile, Thomas Darby's form earlier in season provides hope that he may be some value.
MT Fakir De D'oudaries has it all to do if he turns up here as 4yo old form is a gulf short of all age form. Front runner Elixir De Nutz nominated as a very solid each way play.
Summary: Elixir De Nutz each way
PS Hardline highest rated and good price for progressive profile. Preferred to Duc Des Genevres.
MP Glen Forsa uncomplicated and stays further. Strong handicap form.
MT Lalor may like freshness angle but big ask for K Woollacott. Preferred Hardline through smashing up of Us And Them when race wouldn't have suited Hardline.
Summary: Hardline each way
PS Buveur D'air 2/1 "wow".
MP Buveur D'air will get good tow from Apple's Jade.
MT Closutton confidence in Laurina. "The Vibes” are strong with this one! However came down strong on Apple's Jade whose Leopardstown form was "so good". In Istabraq/Faugheen class if weight allowance factored in.
Summary: No obvious standout. Star Sports did offer 5/2 price push about the reigning dual champion. There will be worse bets.
Other Tuesday snippets:
PS Dounikos would have been of interest in Ultima given his handicap mark in UK untypically more favourable than his Irish mark. He doesn't run unfortunately (may be worth a sneak in the Grand National though..). However General Principle who finished close behind him does run and his mark is on a par with his Irish mark which is effectively a bonus.
MP keen on Mister Whittaker in Ultima for step up in trip with festival form. Also name checked Impulsive Star for NH chase. Fourth last year and form of Rathvinden and Sizing Tennessee working out well.
MT liked Red Indian in Close Brothers.
PS Tower Bridge could have lenient mark in Close Brothers on line through Duc Des Genevres who he would rate higher than 153.
PS Champ just looks like a winner. Others were less convinced worried about him settling in a race they typically go steady.
MT worried slow pace may also make Battleoverdoyen susceptible to a speedster stepping up from the 2m ranks. He nominated Klassical Dream (if runs) over Brewinupastorm who needs to overcome bad fall last time out.
MP liked City Island and Beakstown.
Summary: Take on the top of the market. Klassical Dream favoured if runs.
MP Delta Work solid
PS Delta work "bombproof". Topofthegame preferred over Santini also.
Summary: Delta Work worthy favourite.
PS Altior wins. Not seen bottom of him yet.
MT Un De Sceaux value NRNB at 12/1 if soft (won't run otherwise). Also available NRNB at 4/1 without Altior
Summary: Altior wins. UDS in alternative markets NRNB.
Other Wednesday snippets
MT Whiskey Sour lobbed in for Coral Cup
PS No horses get lobbed in!
PS Back an Irish horse in the Boodles that has had only 3 runs
MT liked Get In The Queue and Sempo for Bumper
PS preferred to dutch the McManus pair over Tiger Roll in the Cross Country
MT concurred re Auvergnat who has massively improved. He also noted that Chic Name travelled favourably last year and could be worth a small each way.
MP liked Lostintranslation. A horse she is coming to fall in love with. Stays further.
MT liked Voix Du Reve of the likely runners. (Travelled well for long way in Coral Cup last year). Could get own way in front too and find rhythm. But do watch out for a switcheroo from big yards. With NRNB Topofthegame or Hardline are likely non runners but will massively shorten if their current plans changed.
PS liked Reel Steel. Rated 152 that should be good enough for a JLT.
None of the panel were warm on Defi.
Summary: Split opinions
PS Frodon top rated
MP Frodon probably won't be good enough but likes the combo with Bryony
MT Watch out for concerted Footpad support. If not Monalee soundest option.
Note Road To Respect now going Ryanair
Summary: Nothing conclusive. Wait for "the vibes" with Footpad?
Nobody over bullish on Paisley Park but it might be a case of is there anything to beat him?
PS Originally said Faugheen would beat him on 3 legs but he didn't have the updated PP rating since the Cleeve.
MT hoped Ifthecapfits might get supplemented as this test would suit.
Summary: Paisley Park or Faugheen will provide a story either way
Other Thursday snippets:
MP Queenofhearts in Mares Novice
MT/MP Eamon An Cnoic travelled really well at festival last year. 25/1 poke for Plate
MT also liked River Wylde in Plate. Could be the proverbial group horse in a handicap
PS shared some trends. Irish Novices in Pertemps. Plate Mullins/Elliott graded form. Even if 4th of 4. Some will be on good marks especially Gordon's.
Not a race to look for big prices. 10/14 winners from Top 3 in market.
Summary No obvious value. Sir Erec could go off odds on. Should have plenty of time to recover from the stone bruise
MT Split stakes on Derrinross (better soft) and Defi Bleu
Summary: Defi Bleu won't be 33/1 if Gordon's had a good few days (which I expect he will!)
PS Native River was good Gold Cup winner and is the one to beat. Best bet of week.
MP Shattered Love might be best outsider
The panel merited Clan Des Obeaux's improvement but lingering doubts about jumping right and whether may be too classy to tough it out.
MT if good ground it is a speed test. This will suit Kemboy who has not got enough credit for Savills run as he pulled hard and ran inefficiently. Presenting Percy the reluctant selection if soft.
PS/MT showed visible disliking to Pat Kelly's contemptible treatment of the racing public as the sport has moved on since the 90's. Percy certainly not likely to be the most popular winner in these quarters at least.
Summary: Pat Kelly is not nice. Native River if soft, Kemboy if good.
Other Friday snippets
MT Foxhunter Hazel Hill a proper pointer who has been smashing up opposition for years. Caid Du Berlais (good)
PS Foxhunter Stand Up And Fight/Ucello Conti
MP loves Finawn Bawn wherever runs.
Enjoy next week folks. Will be craic'ing week as ever!