Supreme Novices – SHISHKIN 4/1
Rarely do I only have one bet in the supreme, but such as the confidence I have in this horse means that everytime I look at the card I just keep landing on the fav. Unfortunately, fell on hurdles debut but more than made up for it next time out when he wasn’t stopping at the line after pulling Nico’s arms out. He then went up north and hacked up over just short of 2 and a half miles beating some well fancied horses in behind. I can’t see past him so I’m keeping it simple for the curtain raiser.
Arkle – FAKIR D’OUDARIES 4/1
I love the way this horse jumps. The ground should be ideal for him on day one with a bit of juice in it. He stays further then 2 miles which I’m hoping will play in his favour as you certainly need a horse that can see out 2 miles strongly at Cheltenham, particularly at the festival where races are run naturally faster then any other race during the season. With Notebook and Cash Back being quite quirky and head strong, they haven’t had this type of test yet and I’m hoping Fakir can get into a good rhythm, jump for fun and stay strongest up the hill.
Ultima Handicap Chase – DISCORAMA 15/2 EW & ACTIVIAL 28/1 EW
Paul Nolan’s mount has finished second, twice at the festival so clearly performs at the biggest stage. He’s had a disappointing season in the context of the promise he’s shown, but he hasn’t run badly over fences. Perhaps ran over hurdles to protect his mark and looks to have a big chance against a field that lacks any obvious horses who can make that step up to graded company. Last season he was second to Delta Work and infront of A Plus Tard over 3 miles at Punchestown, who both contest grade 1 championship races at the festival. 3 lengths behind Champagne Classic this season who I’d personally fancy for an RSA.
My second selection for the race is Activial. Finished sixth last year off 151. He’s dropped down to a mark of 145 and will have a great each way chance. Had a lovely run around Newbury which should see him right for this.
Champion Hurdle – CILAOS EMERY 6/1 EW
I don’t have a strong fancy for this to be honest. I’ve landed on Cilaos Emery because I’m actually surprised he’s not a shorter price, considering he’s been supplemented and his connections. Sharjah would have been a good bet if the ground was good, but conditions won’t suit.
Mares Hurdle – BENIE DES DIEUX 4/7
Benie will hopefully win this and make amends for last year’s fall. She deserves it, she’s a super mare.
Northern Trust Novices Handicap Chase – PAINT THE DREAM 33/1 EW & KNIGHT IN DUBAI 33/1 EW
Got to have atleast two in the race, it’s so competitive. After his first two starts of the season I thought Knight In Dubai would be a candidate for the Marsh chase. Travelled well last time out but looked like he just got stuck in the mud in heavy conditions and got out stayed by the tough Sam Brown. He has a chance here off 143 but I’m a bit disappointed Harry is riding Beakstown, but understandable considering the hype.
The form behind Midnight Shadow off level weights and Infront of Deyrann De Carjac is very eye catching as it’s important to have a good run at Cheltenham going into the festival in my opinion. I would have strongly fancied Deyrann De Carjac if he’d turned up so it’s no surprise I like Paint The Dream off 139 with Jack Tudor taking off a valuable 5 pounds. He just didn’t turn up at Ludlow last time out and jumped left at a few fences and hated going right handed. Stuck in off a lovely mark and I think he will go close.
National Hunt Chase – NEWTIDE 10/1 EW & LORD DU MESNIL 6/1 EW
I won’t go into depth with these two as I’m gutted Champagne Classic doesn’t go here. The reason for selecting these two is I can’t have Carefully Selected with his questionable jumping. Ravenhill wants better ground and has been shoe horned into this because Jamie Codd wants to ride Le Brueil in the Kim Muir where I think Ravenhill would have been better suited. He has kept his Irish mark, the ground will be better and he’s not been allowed to take advantage of that which is a shame.
I’ve decided to take them on with two strong stayers with good a couple of top amateur jockeys on board. Barry O’Neil an experienced champion point to point jockey and multiple winning big race jockey Sam Waley-Cohen.