Have only had two antepost so far bets and both are small…The season has been so disjointed that a lot of horses will go to the festival fresh and many unproven so I have held back…
1 – Mr Gardner 1.5pts win @ 26/1 in the Jewson, he looks to be Henderson’s No1 in the race so will have Geraghty on board. I liked the way he ran in the Grade 1 Scilly Isles Chase at Sandown, he was in with a good chance until pecking at the last but is a rangy horse who jumped well and slighly left (no bad thing for Cheltenham), looks like he needs more of a trip and at the price seems good to me. More to come next season too I think.
2 – Woolcombe Folly 1.5pts win @ 10/1 This is a less logical choice than the above but in a market where no horse has stood out I think a fresh Woolcombe looks a decent bet. Master Minded doesn’t seem to have the zip of previous years and Big Zeb doesn’t jump fast enough for me (I know he one last year but still). Nicholls comments that he was quite pleased WF missed his latest run were also quite encouraging. Somersby doesn’t strike me as good enough so I’m happy with WF.
My big fancy for the festival is Menorah but at 5/1 with 2 ahead of him in a competetive market I can’t see any needs to take the price yet as the other horses at the head of the market especially Binocular may well be heavily backed nearer the time if reports from the various yards are good – this tends not to happen with Hobbs horses. I just think Menorah has a lot in his favour, a proven attitude, a like of the track and the festival etc. I expect to have a decnt bet at 5/1’s as soon as all is definitely fine, for the reason above there is no rush.
I was not remotely surprised to see Cue all but confirmed for the Supreme. I don’t think anyone expected otherwise?
The Gold Cup is a race I am looking forward to but I see no reason to have a bet yet and it is in my view very hard to assess. Nearer the time I will probably look at the place market as much as anything – a good few oppurtunities there.
The World Hurdle – to complete the biggest races – Grand Crus appearance on the scene is very exciting indeed but I can’t help feeling all it will do is bring out even more quality in Big Bucks. I was more taken with BB when I saw him at Newbury (even through the fog) in late December that by any other horse and it has left a lasting impression. Could be even be next years GC horse for Nicholls? He has a few to follow Kauto & Denman but surely winning more World Hurdles will prove nothing…we’ll see.
Anyway, that’s where I am now on Cheltenham lots more to come though sadly I won’t be going this year…