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Friday, March 15, 2013

Cheltenham Festival betting 2013: Friday, day four

A day for the bookies yesterday with a few double-figure priced winners. Here's hoping the punters can turn the tables today.

Today's Irish Independent article:

ANTHONY Storr (1920-2001) was a well-known English author and psychiatrist and his work is often quoted by academics around the world. Storr once said that in order to be successful in the field of psychology, "the professional must learn to be moved and touched emotionally, yet at the same time stand back objectively". I reckon Storr's phrase is equally applicable to the business of betting on horses and in a sport which draws huge passion and emotion, it's often quite difficult to remain objective when studying the form. In a big race like the Gold Cup (3.20), it's particularly hard to remain impartial when one of the horses on the card has won for you before and it's quite natural as a punter to look more favourably on an animal that has lined your wallet in the past.  Having won a nice few quid on him in the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury, I find myself in that situation with Bobs Worth and I hope I'm not getting sucked into backing him just because he done me a good turn in the past. But having studied the runners as best one can and considered all the options, I still think Nicky Henderson's eight-year-old is the one to side with today, priced around 5/2. It's quite amusing to think that no-one wanted to buy him as a yearling; Henderson picked him up for just twenty grand some time later and he's certainly got his money's worth. He's got guts, he's got a huge heart and he always gives his best although on the downside, all Gold Cup winners since 1991 had raced more than once in the season. Bobs Worth missed his intended prep race, the Argento Cotswold Chase, due to a dirty scope but I wouldn't be getting overly concerned about his lack of recent action as Nicky Henderson has always been keen not to over-do it. It's noteworthy too that Bobs Worth has never been beaten at the course (for wins here including last year's RSA Chase) so there's no fear of him getting stage-fright on the big day. His jumping was strikingly accurate in the Hennessey despite the heavy weight burden and if he's on song today, he could be unstoppable. Of course Sir Des Champs (3/1) loves Cheltenham too and he's screaming out for this trip. It cost me a fair few bob opposing him in the Irish Hennessey and his presence has the potential to make this year's Gold Cup a classic. Long Run has become a real staying type lately and he would have been right at the top of my shortlist had the ground come up heavy. Condition's don't appear to be in his favour today although the fact that he's never finished outside the top three in his 24 races to date gives him plenty of appeal each-way. Silviniaco Conti (4/1) looks outstanding and was mighty impressive in the Charlie Hall at Wetherby but I'm not the only one who feels that he may be best suited to a less undulating track than Cheltenham.
Salsify won the CGA Foxhunter Chase Challenge Cup (4.00) at last year's festival and it seems that punters have latched on to the eight-year-old again, pushing his price down to 5/2. He has strong claims to complete the double but Chapoturgeon, Cottage Oak and  Tricky Trickster will all be breathing down his neck and his price is simply too short in such a big field.
WHILE a number of favourites have been beaten in recent years, the Gold Cup (3.20) hasn't thrown up too many shocks lately and the last horse to win priced in double figures was the Paul Nicholls trained See More Business (16/1) in 1999. Each of the last twelve winners were found in the first three in the betting although last year's winner, Synchronised (8/1), just about made that statistic having traded as high as 16/1 the morning of the race.

Our Conor proved himself as the best juvenile hurdler in Ireland when easily taking a Group One at Leopardstown last month and one of the horses he beat that day, Flaxen Flare, has franked the form by winning the Fred Winter on Wednesday. He'll take all the beating in the opener at 3/1.
A tricky race to figure out, the dual purpose gelding Kian's Delight is worth a second look at 25/1. He had a spin on the all-weather at Kempton recently to keep him fit and it wouldn't be a total shock to see him settle for minor honours.
The Rebecca Curtis trained At Fishers Cross has now won four in-a-row and the horse he beat here on trials day, The New One, won Wednesday's novice hurdle. A cracking prospect at 9/4.
An intriguing renewal where a strong case could be made for a number of horses including Sir Des Champs, Silviniaco Conti and Long Run. But Bobs Worth's performance when beating subsequent Lexus Chase winner Tidal Bay in the Hennessy at Newbury stands out, and his course form is a major plus.
Chapoturgeon is taken to reverse the placings with last year's winner Salsify. The selection was held off the pace a little too long last year but still produced a noble effort in defeat by a length when asked to kick on. Lessons have been learned and he can go one better today.
Gordon Elliott's Toner D'Oudairies has been running reasonably well over fences without setting the world alight but he can make his presence felt back over the smaller obstacles. Second in this race last year, he still has improvement to come and should be worth a small each-way punt at 10/1.
Oh Crick won this race in 2009 and while it's over a year since he's seen the winner's enclosure, he wasn't disgraced when fourth last time out in the Rifles Handicap Chase. He may just sneak a place at 20/1.

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