Friday 16th November – The Cheltenham Open Meeting

Firstly I’ll touch on yesterday. Isola Verde just had absolutely no chance, so needless to say Christmas has been put back until 25th December. Hayley made a series of split second judgements through the race that meant that she ended up about ten horses wide coming into the straight and the horse almost finished on the bridle. Fingers crossed it went largely un noticed and we will be able to get the turkey money next time.

Today the attention moves onto Cheltenham and the Open Meeting. A great three days racing that gets off to a flying start with the Steel Plate and Sections Novices Chase. We see the re-appearance of both Fingal Bay and Dynaste, two classy hurdlers in their own right. Fingal Bay has already had a pipe opener over fences when winning at Chepstow. He wasn’t flashy that day but after ballooning the first couple he largely jumped very well and has long been seen as a star chaser by the yard. Arguably Dynaste achieved a little more over hurdles and in receipt of 5lbs today actually might just have the edge. It will be a great start to the meeting and I just ever so slightly favour the David Pipe beast.

Some of the handicaps are devilishly difficult. In the 1.50 Free World, Consigliere and Oh Crick all look over priced to me and I’ll be happy to play them at 12/1, 20/1 and 22/1.

The 2.25 (Sharp Novices) is a cracking race with Paul Nicholl’s Dodging Bullets setting the standard so far. River Maigue looks particularly interesting though for Nicky Henderson. I have a feeling his bumper form from Ascot last year will work out really well and could be a big player getting weight today. It will be very interesting to see how Tominator gets on at this higher level over hurdles as he was top class on the level and the yard seemed to have turned the corner.

My best bets of the day come away from Cheltenham though……

Aldermoor – 2.10 Lingfield is the best bet of the day for me. He needs a strong pace to run at (should get it) and is on a winning mark after returning to from last time I expect him to run a big race!

Similar sentiments for ANJAZ 7.15 Wolverhampton. Based on the two wins at the backend of last year there are reasons to believe this mark is very workable. Looks to me like he has been crying out for a drop in trip and finally gets it tonight. this should suit.

You all know about the old boy TARO TYWOD. He goes again tonight (7.45) in a classified contest and comes out much the best at the weights. He should finally get his head in front. I’ve also stuck Archie Steven (12.00) and Layali Dubai (1.35 Ling) in a double.

The last horse of the day to mention is REACH FOR THE SKY (4.45 Wolv). A horse that went into the notebook a long long time ago that is well handicapped on his old achievements. He has been off the track for nearly two years and returns from stall 13 (far from ideal). Will be massive prices on Betfair but is basically just a watching brief this evening to see if the ability is still there……he could be one for the future xmas turkey money.
Enjoy the first day of the Open,

Be lucky!



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