In the event of a tie, the player with most winners gets the free night!!
Tuesday 10th March: Champion Hurdle. 2 Miles. Wednesday 11th March: Champion Chase 2 Miles. Thursday 12th March: World Hurdle 3 Miles Friday 13th March: Gold Cup 3.2 Miles
Due to a general lack of indepth racing knowledge, Kim has come up with some useful hints and stats. Hope you enjoy it and don't blame Kim if you lose your shirt!!
CHAMPION HURDLE. ARCTIC FIRE. Age 6. Trained by Willie Mullins in Ireland. Finished 3rd in Irish Champion Hurdle behind Hurricane Fly and Jezki. BERTIMONT. Age 5. Trained by Dan Skelton in UK. Beaten last 3 runs. FAUGHEEN. Age 7. Trained by Willie Mullins in Ireland. Known as ‘The Machine’. Unbeaten over hurdles, 3 wins this season. HURRICANE FLY. Age 11. Trained by Willie Mullins in Ireland. Twice winner of the Champion Hurdle, unbeaten this season. Winner of 21 Grade 1 Races. JEZKI. Age 7. Trained by Jessica Harrington in Ireland. Won this race last year ( The New One 3rd, Hurricane Fly 4th). Beaten 3 times by Hurricane Fly this year. KITTEN ROCK. Age 5. Trained by Edward O’Grady in Ireland. Crafty trainer thinks this is his best ever horse. Unbeaten this year but has been running against lower grade opposition. THE NEW ONE. Age 7. Trained by Nigel Twiston Davies in UK. Unlucky 3rd last year, and unbeaten this season. VANITEUX. Age 6. Trained by Nicky Henderson in UK. Talented but 2nd on every run this season.
ODDS Evens Faugheen, 3/1 The New One, 5/1 Jezki, 8/1 Hurricane Fly, 14/1 Arctic Fire, 25/1 Kitten Rock, 33/1 The Rest
KEY STATISTICS: No Winner aged 10 or older in last 20 years No Winner aged 5 in last 15 years. Previous Festival Form is key.
CONCLUSION: Is Faugheen going to live up to the hype? If so, he should be a superstar and leave the others trailing. Previous Festival form counts, and Jezki is a better horse in the spring, but HURRICANE FLY has beaten him fair and square this term and is surely the each way value. The New One had a tough race last time which may count against him.
BALDER SUCCESS. Age 7. Trained in UK by Alan King. Improving with every run and won last 2 CHAMPAGNE FEVER. Age 8. Trained in Ireland by Willie Mullins. Twice a Festival winner, and just beaten in 2014 when looking likely to make it 3. Beaten over 3 miles and fell once this year but very impressive win last time. CLARCAM. Age 5. Trained in Ireland by Gordon Elliott. Well beaten by Un de Sceaux (runs on Tuesday) Ireland’s top novice, but 2 good wins this year. Lacks experience. DODGING BULLETS. Age 7. Trained in UK by Paul Nicholls. Very much the form horse. Has one the two best 2m races this year, beating Sprinter Sacre last time. MR MOLE. Age 7. Trained by Paul Nicholls. Improving with every run, winner of 3 races this season. Ridden by champion jockey AP McCoy. Needs to improve again, but may do so. SAVELLO. Age 9. Trained by Tony Martin in Ireland. Has not won this season. SIMPLY NED. Age 8. Trained by Nicky Richards in UK. 1 from 3 this year, beaten on last 2 runs. SIRE DE GRUGY. Age 9. Trained by Gary Moore in UK. Last year’s winner. Had an injury in December, unseated rider on comeback race and then won most recently. SIZING EUROPE. Age 13. Trained by Henry de Bromhead in Ireland. Twice a winner of this race, and winner of a Grade 1 this season but well beaten behind Champagne Fever last time. SOMERSBY. Age 11. Trained by Mick Channon in UK. Second last year, but has run 3 times this year without winning. SPECIAL TIARA. Age 8. Trained by Henry de Bromhead in Ireland. Beat Balder Success on latest run in December. SPRINTER SACRE. Age 9. Trained by Nicky Henderson, UK. Won 10 races in succession, including this in 2013. Had a heart problem and missed last season. Beaten by Dodging Bullets in comeback race but ran promisingly after long absence.
ODDS: 3/1 Sprinter Sacre, Sire de Grugy, 5/1 Dodging Bullets, Champagne Fever, 10/1 Mr Mole, 14/1 Balder Success, 20/1 Special Tiara, Simply Ned, 33/1 others. TRENDS: Multiple Winners are rare. 10 of last 13 winners had won their previous start.
CONCLUSION: Major doubts about the front two; whatever excuses you make for Sprinter Sacre he was not the force of two years ago, and Sire de Grugy has had his problems too. Dodging Bullets is rock solid, but CHAMPAGNE FEVER, a dual Cheltenham winner, looked very impressive last time.
WORLD HURDLE. ABYSSIAL. Age 5. Trained by Willie Mullins in Ireland. Won 4 from 8 starts. Fell last time. AT FISHERS CROSS. Age 8. Trained by Rebecca Curtis in Wales. Looked a superstar 2 years ago but out of form this season. AUBUSSON. Age 6. Trained by Nick Williams in UK. 1 from3 this year, beaten last 2. BLUE FASHION. Age 6. Trained by Nicky Henderson in UK. Beaten by Faugheen latest ( no disgrace) COLE HARDEN. Age 6. Trained by Warren Greatrex in UK. 1 from 4 this year, beaten by Saphir de Reu latest. DEDIGOUT. Age 9. Trained by Tony Martin in Ireland. In good form, winning 2 Grade 2 hurdles recently. JETSON. Age 10. Trained by Jessica Harrington in Ireland. Half brother to Jezki. Won Grade 1 hurdle at Punchestown last May. 2nd both starts this season. LIEUTENANT COLONEL. Age 6. Trained by Sandra Hughes in Ireland. Sandra’s father, Dessie trained this horse till he died in February. He was a legend and it would be an emotional result. Beat Jetson narrowly latest. MONKSLAND. Age 8. Trained by Noel Meade in Ireland. Just beaten and closely matched with Dedigout latest. PONT ALEXANDRE. Age 7. Trained by Willie Mullins in Ireland. Unraced for 2 years, previous winner at the Festival. REVE DE SIVOLA. Age 10. T rained by Nick Wiliams in UK. Last run 2nd to Saphir de Reu, previously beat Zarkandar. Solid form. SAPHIR DE REU. Age 6. Trained by Paul Nicholls. Highly rated chaser who returned to hurdling after fall. Impressive win last time. SEEYOUATMIDNIGHT. Age 7. Trained by Sandy Thompson in Scotland. Last win Feb 2014 on heavy ground. TIGER ROLL. Age 5. Trained by Gordon Elliott in Ireland. Never raced over further than 2.2 miles. Well beaten by Hurricane Fly and Jezki latest. UN ATOUT. Age 7. Trained by Willie Mullins in Ireland. Poor from this season. UN TEMPS POUR TOUT. Age 6. Trained by David Pipe in UK. Beaten by Saphir de Reu latest . WHISPER. Age 7. Trained by Nicky Henderson in UK. Highly rated but disappointing beaten favourite last run. ZAIDPOUR. Age 9. Trained by Willie Mullins. High class in the past but not on form recently. ZARKANDAR. Age 8. Trained by Paul Nicholls in UK. High class performer, beaten by Reve de Sivola latest.
ODDS: 4/1 Saphir de Reu, Zarkandar, 8/1 Lieutenant Colonel, 10/1 Un Temps pour Tout, Whisper, 14/1 Monksland, Blue Fashion, 20/1 Others.
CONCLUSION: A very open race, with much to be taken on trust. Paul Nicholls has a proven record with horses returning to hurdling after an aborted chasing career and Saphir de Reu is taken to be the next one. Jetson should run well at a price.
BOB’S WORTH. Age 10. Trained by Nicky Henderson. Winner in 2013. Promising runs this year. BOSTON BOB. Age 10. Trained by Willie Mullins. No wins this year. CARLINGFORD LOUGH. Age 9. Trained by John Kiely. Winner of Irish Hennessy last time. Ridden by AP McCoy. CONEYGREE. Age 8. Trained by Mark Bradstock. Unbeaten over fences and very impressive but inexperienced ( only 3 runs). DJAKADAM. Age 6. Trained by Willie Mullins. Plan was Gold Cup 2016 but progressing fast and in good form this year. HOLYWELL. Age 8. Trained by Jonjo O’Neill. Winner last time, trained local and a big hope for the home team. LORD WINDERMERE. Age 9. Trained by Jim Cullotty in Ireland. Last year’s winner and been running well without winning this season. MANY CLOUDS. Age 8. Trained by Oliver Sherwood in UK. Won key race at Newbury last time. Major player. ROAD TO RICHES. Age 8. Trained by Noel Meade in Ireland. Best form in Ireland this year. Big chance. SAM WINNER. Age 8. Trained by Paul Nicholls. Beaten by Road to Riches in Ireland latest. SILVINIACO CONTI. Age 9. Trained by Paul Nicholls. Top form in England this year. Worthy favourite, although a suspicion that he is better on a flat track. SMAD PLACE. Age 8. Trained by Alan King in UK. Good form at Cheltenham. 2nd to Many Clouds latest. THE GIANT BOLSTER. Age 10. Trained by David Bridgewater in UK. Has been placed at big prices in 2 of last 3 Gold Cups and 5th last year.
ODDS: 3/1 Silviniaco Conti, 8/1 Many Clouds, 9/1 Road to Riches, 10/1 Coneygree, Djakadam, Holywell, Carlingford Lough, 14/1 Lord Windermere, Bob’s Worth, Smad Place, 20/1 Others.
CONCLUSION: On paper this looks very open, but beware trying to make excuses for beaten horses. The form horses are Carlingford Lough, Many Clouds, Djakadam, Road to Riches, Silviniaco Conti, and Coneygree. Of these, Silviniaco Conti has been very impressive, but his price reflects this, and is Cheltenham is track? The Irish horses appear closely matched and I will be taking a chance on exciting novice CONEYGREE.