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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Cheltenham Festival betting Wednesday

Tuesday was a cracker with four winners:

Vautour @ 7/2
Holywell @ 10/1
Quevega @ 8/11
Present View @ 8/1

Plus the lay of the day, Champagne Fever was beaten at 11/4.

It's unlikely that Wednesday will go so well but feck it, we'll give it a lash!


From Wednesday's Irish Independent:

Sire De Grugy
HENRY de Bromhead will saddle up Sizing Europe for the Champion Chase today (3.20) and not many would begrudge the 12-year-old success in a race he won in sensational style at the expense of Big Zeb back in 2011. Indeed the Cheltenham Festival has been good to the gelding with two wins and two seconds from five races, including victory in the 2010 Arkle Chase. He's a credit to his trainer who has brought him back to life on more than one occasion but at 12 years of age, a big Festival win may be too much to ask. To his credit, he did run one of his career bests when finishing just five and a half lengths behind the great Sprinter Sacre at Punchestown last year and with that horse out of action at the moment, it's certainly worth having another crack at this. But to my eyes, it seemed that age was catching up with him at Leopardstown over the Christmas and I reckon his odds of 12/1, which suggest his chances of winning are around eight percent, are probably about right. The best placed to take advantage of Sprinter Sacre's absence today then is Gary Moore's Sire De Grugy. I'm a huge fan of the eight-year-old although for some reason, the racing public hasn't quite seemed to fully warm to him yet. Perhaps it's because all the two-mile chasing discussion revolves around Sprinter Sacre but Sire De Grugy is a top class chaser in his own respect and he can continue to build his reputation by taking the Champion Chase today, priced around 2/1. It was unfortunate that Sprinter Sacre was pulled up in the Desert Orchid Chase at Kempton but we can't keep wondering 'what if'. Kempton gave Sire De Grugy his eleventh career victory followed later by the Clarence House Chase in January and while the form of some those races might not be rock solid, he can only do what is asked of him on the day. Of the rest, Captain Conan is the one I'm most worried about. While beaten in the Tingle Creek by the selection, he's a bold jumper who likes a good pace and his presence will make it an interesting race from a tactical point of view. Arvika Ligeonniere is also one to consider following an eye-catching win in the Tied Cottage Chase last month. 

Big Shu won last year's Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase (4.0) in good style and then went on to win the La Touche Cup at Punchestown. A second successive victory is far from impossible but odds of 7/2 look far too short considering he'll be carrying 11lbs more this time around.

24 of the last 26 RSA Chase (2.05) winners finished first or second in their previous race. Based on those figures, should backers of Carlingford Lough (7/1) which unseated Tony McCoy in the Dr. P.J. Moriarty Novice Chase last time be concerned? Others horses which didn't finish in the top two last time out are outsiders Gevrey Chambertin (33/1), Just A Par (33/1) and Samingarry (50/1).

British trained horses have won the last two renewals of this race but the Irish can get back on the scoreboard today courtesy of Willie Mullins' FAUGHEEN. Unbeaten in four starts, connections believe he could be something very special.
BALLYCASEY beat hot favourite Don Cossack in a Grade One at Leopardstown last month and looks a very smart chaser in the making. At 9/2, he can land the spoils for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh although the likes of Smad Place, Carlingford Lough and Corrin Wood will ensure the Presenting gelding is tested to the limit.
The 2009 Cheltenham Champion Bumper winner Dunguib shaped well when winning the Grade Two Boyne Hurdle at Navan last month but of the 20 horses rated 150+ that have contested this race, not one has won. With 28 runners going to post, it's going to be hard to pick the winner but MEISTER ECKHART gets a token vote each-way at 14/1. He was second in this race last year and he went very close in the National Spirit Hurdle at Fontwell last time.
SIRE DE GRUGY is a worthy favourite in the absence of Sprinter Sacre. Some have suggested that he's not as useful going right handed but he was runner-up twice at this course and he's also clocked up victories at places like Chepstow and Stratford. Very impressive in the Clarence House last time out, he can silence the doubters today priced around 9/4.
Big Shu will prove popular with punters as he attempts to win this race for the second year running but he's got a fair bit of lead to carry this time around and looks a bit short in the betting. Instead, a chance is taken each-way on QUANTITATIVEEASING at 10/1. Second in the 2013 Galway Plate, the selection's trainer has an excellent win and place record in this race.
Gordon Elliot won this race last year and both his entries are respected. Of the two, CLARCAM makes the most appeal at 14/1 following a career best when second in a Listed juvenile hurdle at Musselburgh last time. He likes to race prominently and dictate the pace so I hope to see Brian Cooper get him out early and give him a positive ride. At the prices, he can be taken each-way.
With eight wins to date, Willie Mullins trained horses are the obvious starting point for the Bumper although choosing which one is often the hard part and not many fancied Briar Hill last year at 25/1. His three entries all trade under 10/1 this year and KILLULTAGH VIC might be the one to side with at 15/2. He's related to some decent sorts and he destroyed the field by 16 lengths in his latest race at Naas.

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