A fantastic Cheltenham Festival with some really impressive winners and a great week for RatingTheRaces TOP TIPS which made a handsome 37.90 points.
Supreme Novices Hurdle
A fast pace was set by Champagne Fever just like he did when winning the Champion Bumper last season and again this proved to be perfect. Coming off the bridle just after the 2nd last Ruby Walsh kept pushing along and Champagne Fever kept finding for him. He held off My Tent Or Yours and Jezki up the hill and looks a smart horse.
With 2pts e/w on both Champagne Fever @ 6/1 and UnAtout @ 6/1 (at William Hill who paid 5 places) we made a fantastic start to the festival.
This race was actually ran quicker than the Champion Hurdle and so it probably felt further than 2 miles. We think that My Tent or Yours ran really well based on this and the Champion Hurdle looks perfect for him next year. Champagne Fever looks to stay really well and instead of going to the Arkle next year we think he should run in the RSA Chase as he looks a Gold Cup horse of the future. Jezki ran really well but looks like at Cheltenham he would have problems beating Champagne Fever and My Tent or Yours which ever way he went. If they send him Novice Chasing next season, a run in the Jewson looks the best option.
Simonsig was our Ante-Post TOP TIP in this race and he duly delivered in good fashion. He is a very quick horse but also has proven that he has a bit of stamina and a step up in distance looks likely with Sprinter Sacre likely to stay at 2 miles. With this in mind he could be seen in the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day before returning to Cheltenham to run in the Ryanair Chase as he has Sprinter Sacre in the Champion Chase and Bobs Worth and Long Run in the Gold Cup. If he appeared in either or both of these races he would be very tough to beat.
TOP TIP Hurricane Fly won the Champion Hurdle from last year’s winner Rock on Ruby. Countrywide Flame and Zarkandar finished 3rd and 4th and these were well clear of the rest. Ruby Walsh appeared to kick on slightly early on Hurricane Fly and we think his winning distance could have been more than this had he delayed his challenge slightly.
My Tent or Yours is likely to be seen in this race next season and he looks the most likely danger to Hurricane Fly as the race isn’t likely to be run as fast as the Supreme Novices and he can use his turn of foot to better effect.
Neptune Investment Management Novices Hurdle
Ante-Post TOP TIP The New One was a very impressive winner of this race who showed a devastating turn of foot coming into the last and ran away up the hill to win comfortably. Having appeared outpaced turning for home this small brave horse really picked up when Sam Twiston-Davies got to work and he powered clear. It remains unclear whether this horse will be better suited over shorter or further. Instead of coming back to Cheltenham next season for the Champion Hurdle or World Hurdle it may be better to wait for Aintree and run over 2m4f there.
Our Ante-Post TOP TIP Boston Boblooked to have made a winning move when hitting the front turning for home. He had a narrow advantage when falling at the last but we know he stays really well and surely would have ran away up the hill to win by a couple of lengths. As it happened Lyreen Legend was left in front only for her to get caught on the run in by the fast finishing Lord Windermere. With Boston Bob falling the race seemed to lack any potential and I wouldn’t be backing any of those that stayed for races next season.
Queen Mother Champion Chase
The Queen Mother Champion Chase was turned into a procession by Sprinter Sacre which wasn’t what Coral wanted to see as they had allowed members (new or old) to have up to £20 on Sprinter Sacre at Evens. The amount of winners all logging on to the website caused it to crash so it would appear this stunt by Coral backfired.
Sprinter Sacre beat former Champion Chase winner and 14 time chase winner Sizing Europe in effortless fashion. It would appear for the time being nothing can beat him. The only horse who could possibly have a squeak is Simonsig and because he is also trained by Nicky Henderson it is highly unlikely the will race against each other.
Cue Card showed his real class here and consistent course form to win here by a comfortably 9 lengths from First Lieutenant who himself had only been beaten by Bobs Worth at the course having previously beaten Rock on Ruby over hurdles at Cheltenham.
Cue Card was allowed to lead and settled really well, travelling well 3 out he forced a blunder from his main rival and closer First Lieutenant and never looked like getting caught after that. He should be a big player should he come back to defend his title, however I believe this could be the target for Simonsig.
The World was probably the most disappointing Grade 1 at the festival with plenty of big fancies (Oscar Whisky, Peddlers Cross, Reve De Sivola and Get Me Out of Here) not running anywhere near their best. This left Solwhit and Celestial Halo to battle out the finish with the former coming out on top. The form of this race looks very weak especially with Celestial Halo finishing 2nd who is surely nowhere near as good as Big Bucks. If Big Bucks comes back to Cheltenham next season then he would only need to be about 80% fit to beat this lot. His only danger looks that of the Albert Bartlett winner At Fishers Cross whose form was franked by plenty throughout the festival including The New One, Salubrious and Inish Island.
Our Conor was a very impressive winner of this winning as he liked by 15 lengths however looking into this race in more depth has shown that the race wasn’t particularly quick and it could just be that he has beaten a very average field. We think he is likely to go the Champion Hurdle route but on what he has achieved he is too short a price right now. Other than Our Conor the rest of the Triumph look very ordinary and most will probably go into handicaps in the future when they take on their older compatriots.
Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle
3 Times TOP TIP At Fishers Cross was all the rage having previously beaten The New One who won the Neptune Investment Management Hurdle and duly won very impressively without really coming off the bridle. The race was very different to his win at the course when he beat The New One. That day it was a very strongly run race and he showed his stamina when outstaying The New One. A slowly run affair this time round didn’t prove any problems and he came there travelling on the bit at the last before running away up the hill. He should continue improving and looks World Hurdle in 2014 bound where he should run well but may not be good enough to beat Big Bucks.
2 ANTE-POST TOP TIPS in this race and we came away with the winner Bobs Worth and the 3rd placed Long Run. Long Run was allowed to lead and jumped a travelled beautifully. Turning for home and with Silviniaco Conti falling it looked between him and Sir Des Champs with McCoy even looking between his legs to see where his rivals were. However after straightening up for home it was clear that both Bobs Worth and The Giant Bolster were finding their feet and finishing to great effect. With 4 separated by a length at the 2nd last Bobs Worth showed his class and stamina to power past Long Run and Sir Des Champs and stay on up the hill best of all. With the ground being softer than ideal for Bobs Worth he was still too good for his rivals and a repeat next season looks on the cards already with only Boston Bob looking a danger and he has to prove that he is the class of these.
A successful Cheltenham for the RatingTheRaces TOP TIPS with an impressive 39.90 points profit. We are very pleased with this but this could have been even better had Caid Du Berlais @ 20/1, Meister Eckhart @ 20/1, Regal Encore @ 8/1, Kid Cassidy @ 14/1 or Boston Bob @ 6/1 won.