Coral Cup (Cheltenham Festival)
Onto the Coral Cup JP McManus has another handicap hurdle favourite with Camprond. Set to be a maximum field normally plenty dark tips being thrown about for this of well handicapped horses
Of those at the front of the market though I think HMS Seahorse is solid, fourth in the the Fred Winter last year could still have more to offer over this type of trip. Gordon Elliot runs plenty and of them I think Fil Dor looks the pick, second in last seasons Triumph he deserves top weight here, he beat Sharjah in a grade 3 at Gowran last time and connections take off a handy 5lb.
Selection: HMS Seahorse – Each Way Alternative: Fil Dor
Onto the feature of the day Edwardstone, Enegumene and Editeur DU Gite all meet last time out here at Cheltenham with the latter coming out on top. Excuses were made for Energumene that day and he will be tough to beat I think in a bid to defend his crown with the ground maybe coming in his favour. That said its Edwardstone of the principals who I want to be with. Last season’s Arkle winner didn’t really have things go to plan last time and had to make a considerable amount of ground up in a short period. Those efforts looked to take its toll in the end but with the race likely to be more of pace collapse this time around I expect a different result. Of the bigger price runners, I`d take a chance on Captain Guinness maybe sneaky a place, he stays further than this and handles conditions. He arrives here a fresh horse after a fair effort behind Blue Lord at Christmas.
Selection: Edwardstone – Each Way Alternative: Captain Guinness
Not a race for everyone but Gordon Elliot is certainly a fan and he trains both the market principals in Galvin and Delta Work. The former would have been the pick on decent ground as he is probably the classiest horse in the race having finished fourth in last seasons Gold Cup. Last years winner Delta Work is expected to just have the edge though, he really appreciates testing conditions and hes shown wnough in finishing 3rd here in a handicap and over a shorter trip than ideal iver hurdles last time to suggest he should be able to defend his crown. Of those at much bigger prices I`m happy to take a chance on Lieutenant Rocco, he has plenty to find on ratings but he’s a good jumper and was an impressive winner last time out, he could out run his fancy odds.
Selection: – Each Way Alternative: Lieutenant Rocco
Grand Annual (Cheltenham Festival)
The Grand Annual is up next always a fiercely run affair and a race in which you generally want something who can travel up with the pace given the difficult nature to make ground on this course.
Plenty in here from last year’s race including likely favourite Andy Dufresne. That said it’s the progressive Final Orders from the Gavin Cromwell team who I want to be with of the market principals. Unbeaten in 5 starts this season including when landing a competitive handicap at the Dublin Racing Festival last time we still don’t know exactly how good he can be. A mark of 150 makes things tougher but his proven ability in these types of handicaps and progressive profile counts for a lot. Of the others Coueur Sublime brings a class angle to the race, good over hurdles including running in a Champion hurdle he’s shown glimpses over fences in graded company that he could have decent pot in him at some stage. Connections claim 5lbs off him which will also help his chances and has claims at double figure odds
Selection: Final Order: – Each Way Alternative: Coeur Sublime
Day 2 closes with the Champion bumper in which 5 of the front 6 in the betting are currently trained by that man Willie Mullins.
A Dream To Share bought by JP after success at the Dublin Racing Festival, I thought there was a lot to like about the performance and I think if he was trained by Mullins or Elliot he would be much shorter. Provided the ground is not to testing he could have to much speed for these
Better Days Ahead was a good winner last time out beating the reopposing Willie Mullins trained Chapeau De Soleil and Id expect the former to confirm that form again, he seems to appreciate the softer conditions that day and I`m surprised he is not a few points shorter in the market.
Selection: A Dream To Share- Each Way Alternative: Better Days Ahead