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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Cheltenham Festival betting 2013: Thursday, day three

A frustrating one yesterday with Tofino Bay trading at 1/100 in-running before getting beat and Boston Bob hitting 1/4 in-running before falling. They would have been two nice winners but those are the breaks. One a more positive note, there was a lovely gap trade on the S&P500 which banked a nice few bob. I've managed to get most of those right this year and it's increased my bank by 25% which is a great return. That said, the S&P has been easy enough to trade as it's been only going one way all year. Anyway, we move on to Thursday at Cheltenham, which is World Hurdle day. Here's today's Irish Independent article:

DOES anyone remember the alternative currency in existence in 1980s Ireland? Butter vouchers were liberally distributed to people on the dole and they were supposed to help out struggling families with their shopping. But because business owners could convert them to cash with no questions asked, the vouchers were essentially as good as money and most shops would accept them for all sorts of purchases; from bread and milk to a packet of Woodbines. Indeed, in 1988, my old man sent me down to the local independent bookmaker with a handful of vouchers to back Galmoy in the World Hurdle and the clerk behind the counter took the bet from me, aged eight, without batting an eyelid. Times sure have changed although the battle with the bookmakers remains constant. Galmoy won the race for a second consecutive year under Tommy Carmody at 2/1 and part of my father's winnings were paid out in butter vouchers - which was no problem at all as the local pub accepted them as cash too. Baracouda, Inglis Drever and Big Buck's would all go on to win the race more than once and connections of the latter have said that he won't be seen again before the 2014 World Hurdle. If he is still injured and doesn't make the race, he'll be retired. He got me out of jail more than once on a Thursday but this year, I'll be relying on Nicky Henderson's Oscar Whisky to relieve the bookmakers of some cash and it could be a cracking race (3.20) as Reve De Sivola, which beat the selection by a neck last time out, also makes the line-up. Why should Oscar Whisky reverse the placings today? For a start, the ground was heavy in the Cleeve Hurdle which was not ideal for both but probably suited Reve De Sivola a little better. With soft ground expected today, they'll go that bit faster and the pace may hinder Reve De Sivola who has often been less than fluent with his jumping. Oscar Whisky's trainer can't figure out why he flopped in last year's World Hurdle but judging by his races since, it looks like a one-off bad day at the office. He travels well and is a genuine sort that can be trusted to give punters a good run for their money. In the Ryanair Chase (2.40), Riverside Theatre is a nice price at 5/1 to follow up last year's win. The heavy ground can be blamed on his lacklustre performance in the King George at Kempton last time and if we overlook that result, he has a fantastic record when fresh. Cue Card is running some career-best races this season and is almost certain to go close. 

Inching Closer won the Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle (2.05) back in 2003 but it has been a dismal race for punters since, with just one favourite placed. Sam Winner looks set to go off around 4/1 this year but when you consider that the latest nine winners were priced in double figures, his odds today looks decidedly short. Lay the six-year-old in the place market at even-money. 

WITH a strike-rate of 29%, the Paul Nicholls/Ruby Walsh combination often sends the bookies running for cover and Wonderful Charm is bound to attract a certain level of support in this afternoon's Ladbrokes World Hurdle (3.20). However, a lack of maturity often sees younger horses struggle over the longer distances at the festival and no five-year-old has ever won the race. Fifteen have taken part since 1997 but less than half of those have managed to place. 

Dynaste looks the real deal over fences. He was oozing class when winning the Kauto Star Feltham Novices' Chase in December and his short price of 7/4 is justified.
This race has become a bookmaker benefit in recent years and the average SP of the winner since 2004 is 23/1. American Trilogy might be worth a small each-way bet at 16/1 now that he's been dropped in the weights.
Cue Card comes here in the form of his life and his sure to make his presence felt although his odds are a little on the short side at 11/4. First Lieutenant is expected to give a good account of himself, but a chance is taken on Riverside Theatre at 5/1 to bounce back from a poor display on heavy ground in the King George.
Big Buck's won't get an opportunity to emulate Golden Miller and Quevega by winning a festival race five years on the trot but owner Andy Stewart has said that they will be back to have a crack at the 2014 renewal. In his absence, Oscar Whiskey can land the spoils at 10/3. The eight-year-old was beaten by a neck by Reve De Sivola in the Cleeve hurdle here last time but he's proved he can stay the distance and should reverse the placings today on better ground.
Ballynagour landed a gamble at Warwick in fine style last month and the form has been franked as the horse he beat that day, Golden Chieftain, went on to win the JLT Specialty Handicap Chase on Tuesday. He looks a seriously good horse and is a confident selection today, priced around 7/2.
A tricky handicap to decipher where at least nine or ten runners have claims. The Venetia Williams trained Relax has been in good form of late and is given a token each-way vote off what looks to be a fair weight.
Tuesday's race has been rescheduled but the selection remains the same. Enda Bolger specialises in the cross country and has had the winner or runner-up of this race in seven of the last eight renewals. Nina Carberry had to settle for second place on Tofino Bay yesterday (traded at 1/100 in-running) but she can land a festival win today on board Bolger's Arabella Boy, priced around 7/2. 

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