Cheltenham Festival Day 3 – Big Buck’s or Girl power?

Proform

I can’t really complain about the way day two panned out in the end as the day went really well. So pleased with Sire De Grugy. The 3/1 was an enormous price, I just hope that plenty of you managed to get on. The scenes in the winners enclosure were brilliant. So chuffed for the Moore team. I know some of the team closely and they really deserve a big race champion. What the jockeys did for Jamie was a touch of class. I’m sure Mattie Batch who has been associated with the yard since he was a kid was the ring leader. Hit the crossbar again with Smad Place, Katgary and Orgilgo Bay but shouldn’t grumble.

1.30 – JLT Novices´ Chase (Registered As The Golden Miller Novices´ Chase) Grade 1 (CLASS 1) (5yo+)

The penultimate race at the festival that I have a decent standing ante-post position in the form of Paul Nicholls WONDERFUL CHARM. A smart hurdler that has really taken well to fences. His jumping is fluent and accurate and he seems to stay well so a strong gallop at this intermediate trip will really suit. I made my ante-post move after he tried to give 8lbs to Oscar Whiskey in a race that Barry Geraghty dictated from the front. Oscar Whiskey’s speed and the weight allowance gave him the edge that day but I fully expect Wonderful Charm to turn the tables today. Felix Younger is respected as danger, I do wonder if there may be one or two too quick for him on this ground. Taquin De Seuil may want slightly softer ground but is certainly respected as the setup of the race will suit and Vukovar is completely un-exposed.

I really like WONDERFUL CHARM and he is a strong selection.

2.05 – Pertemps Network Final (A Handicap Hurdle) (Listed Race) (CLASS 1) (5yo+)

I wrote an ante-post piece on this race for JPFestival.com. One of my selections is a non runner the other will go with every chance at that is JOSIES ORDERS for Jonjo O’Neill. A rapid improver over the last few months and has been given a break of 48 days since laughing at his rivals at Huntingdon. The son of Milan will need to improve again but with Maurice Linehan on board taking off 5lbs he gets a nice racing weight here and he must have a huge each way shout at 14/1.

There is no doubting the potential class in the race lies with Phillip Hobbs as he will saddle the Exeter first and second FINGAL BAY and IF IN DOUBT. They both have excellent claims. Fingal bay on his day is very classy indeed. He gave Simonsig a beating at Sandown back in 2011. A revised mark of 148 is by no means beyond him and I expect him to run a massive race. If In Doubt I really like. I backed him at Kempton when behind the rapid improver Saphire De Reu. Tom O Brien did not pick up his stick at Exeter and today is very much the day for him. McCoy will be getting the shaleylee out this time around for sure. My only question mark about him is the ground. If he goes on it, he goes very very close.

Being such a competitive race I must throw in a couple at big prices. I would love to see LIE FORRIT run well but this may be too much for him now. I like the chances at big prices of both UTOPIE DES BORDES and ON THE BRIDGE. UDB may seem like the Henderson second string with jockey bookings but I’m not so sure. Back from a break after a couple of runs on desperate ground, she is back to the mark where she ran a blinder behind Gevrey Chanbertin at Haydock bakc in November and she will love this better ground. OTB was a rapid improver last summer, will love the ground and wouldn’t have to improve too much more to take a major hand. There could be some big prices floating around on the exchanges about these two.

Selections:

Josies Orders e/w with savers on Fingal Bay/If In Doubt

Back both Utopie Des Bordes and On the Bridge at big prices on Betfair and in the place market.

2.40 – Ryanair Chase (Registered As The Festival Trophy Chase)

A race that for me is fairly straight forward. DYNASTE for me brings by far the best piece of form to the table with his run in the Betfair Chase. We can forgive him his run in the King George as he reportedly pulled muscles that day. If he returns to his best, he will reverse the form from last years Jewson with Benefficient and win. I will be having a money back saver on AL FEROF as he is very classy on his day and he rarely runs a bad race here. If you are looking to back one at a big price then I do think RAJDHANI EXPRESS is likely to out-run his odds.

Strong bet on DYNASTE with a saver on Al Ferof.

3.20 – Ladbrokes World Hurdle Grade 1 (CLASS 1) (4yo+)

Well the feature of day three is a mouth-watering clash between the people’s champion in Big Bucks and the new girl on the block in Annie Power. I’ve no doubt that AP will go off a very short price favourite. She is clearly very very good as her unbeaten record shows. The main question about her is if she will get the three miles in a championship race up the hill. To give you an idea how good she is as far as mares go, last March she beat Glens Melody (2nd to Quevega in mares race on Tuesday) twelve lengths without coming off the bridle over two and a half miles. I think she will probably get the trip. Big Buck’s is just all class. He undoubtedly needed the run in the Cleeve and will come on a bundle for that. If he retains all his ability this will be another great finish. Paul Nicholls is very bullish, as always.

I’m not as convinced as everyone else is that it is a two-horse race. I do respect At Fishers Cross as Rebecca Curtis’s horses have hit a real hot vein of form. His jumping and love for soft ground would be a concern for me. More of That is still very raw and is unbeaten. He could certainly be involved in the finish as could SALUBRIOUS who was travelling very well before a bad mistake at Ascot in the Long Walk.

Rally a race to savour. My heart will probably make me back BIG BUCKS. He is around 10/11 for a place on Betfair. That is an absolutely cracking bet in my eyes as I really can’t have him out the first three.

4.00 – Byrne Group Plate (A Handicap Chase) Grade 3 (CLASS 1)

A real tough race again this year and one that the class may shine through in the form of old rivals Colour Squadron and JOHNS SPIRIT. They have met twice already this year and the score is 1-1. Johns Spirit is the one I really like. To me he looks like he has potential to be a little bit better than a handicapper and the vibes from the yard over the last few weeks have been very encouraging. He travels strongly and jumps well in the main (made a mistake early last time that knocked him back). If he gets a good passage through and Richie is patient on him I expect him to go very close on this better ground. Colour Squadron is still a maiden over the larger obstacles but he has run some cracking races in defeat. He will surely be in the mix here again and has to be included.

If you are looking for something a bit more adventurous price wise then Third Intention’s Ascot third got a huge boost yesterday and he drops into handicap company off a nice mark.  BLESS THE WINGS and NADIYA DE LE VEGA both have first time headgear for in form trainers at big prices.

Johns Spirit 2pts win @ 10/1, Colour Squadron 1 pt win @ 9/1.

Potential each way savers on Third Intention 16/1, Bless The Wings 25/1, Nadiya De La Vega 25/1

4.40 – Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase (Amateur Riders)

A nightmare to finish and probably a small stakes race unless we are miles in front. One horse though that jumps off the page at me is OUR FATHER for the David Pipe team. Now he comes with dangers attached as he is a bit of a thinker and is fragile. He is just as likely to finish last as he is first. He is however very dangerously handicapped (though of as a Gold Cup horse at one point) and also has the first time blinkers which may have been needed for some time. He was very well backed ahead of the Hennessy and went off the 11/2 fav on a mark of 147. That would suggest that he could be thrown in here IF and it’s a big IF he’s on a going day. That is factored into the price though and he is as big as 22/1 with Victor Chandler. I would not at all be surprised if he starts an awful lot shorter than that.

There is very likely to be an upset in this, the one towards the head o fthe market I like is SPRING HEELED who should relish being back on better ground and has an excellent pilot.

OUR FATHER STRONG BET AT 22/1, saver on Spring Heeled.

All the best today, back plenty of winners.

MG

@markagrantham

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Sunday 20th October!

Proform

Afternoon campers. I hope you all enjoyed a great days sport yesterday. Champions day went pretty well with a stunning victory for Farhh in the feature. Lots of credit has to go to the team for having him fit and ready off such a long lay off. He will now head straight for stud duties…. lucky sod. Jack Dexter ran an absolute blinder in the sprint but just failed to get to Slade Power. When previewing the race in the morning with Dicko on Coral TV he was worried about the lack of an out and out front runner and he said SP was a solid bet. A really great shout (again). Very pleased with Dark Lover winning at Cheltenham, although a little lucky as Balder Success looked in control when falling two out. Delighted to see Balthazar King lead at a good pace, jump like a stag and win. I know a lot of people fancied him yesterday.

At Wolverhampton things didn’t pan out. Ajeeb ran a stinker and is probably gone at the game. I won’t touch him again unless I see strong early money. He could do with a change of yard. Available ran well to be 3rd but for one who likes to be on the pace he had to go via Milton Keynes to get near the lead after traveling well into the race. Hannah’s Turn was much to keen and didn’t really do herself justice. I cannot wait to see her back on fibresand where she will win!

Nothing from the http://www.proformracing.com horse watcher today. I do think that Fitzwilly (2.30 Bath) is interesting if getting a soft lead. Maybe a play in running!

NFL SUNDAY

Cincinnati Bengals at Detroit Lions

Two improved teams on what we saw last year and I think we are in for a tight one in the early game on Skysports this evening. Both sides have weapons on each side of the ball and I have really enjoyed the progress of Giovani Bernard and Tyler Eifert for the Bengals. They are finally a franchise moving in the right direction. Andy Dalton is not the greatest QB in the game but he is a very good game manager and I expect them to push the Lions all the way. Turnovers could end up being the difference between these two teams today so defense is going to play a huge part. I think the handicap line is so tight here it doesn’t justify a play. I think the under 47 total points is the best play in the game market with the NAP coming on GB to score anytime.

UNDER 47 pts @ 10/11 with William Hill

GIOVANI BERNARD anytime touchdown scorer with Paddy Power at 7/5 (NAP)

Houston Texans at Kansas City Chiefs

The later game on sky is a tale of two franchises in opposite ends of the scale that we expected. Houston we have a problem has been used more times than ever in the last few weeks! QB problems a plenty they will be ripe for the picking at Arrowhead tonight. Kansas are 6-0 but they are not a genuine 6-0 team. They have had a soft schedule so far and we will see them in a much better light when they play Denver in two weeks. I think I’ve found a cracker in here though in the sacks market.

SkyBet are going 10/11 on over 5.5 sacks! Neither offensive line is particularly strong and you should get as much as SkyBet will allow on!

Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts

One simple and easy bet for you here. OVER 55 PTS. Maximum bet material.

New England Patriots at New York Jets

Once again last week Tom Brady showed why he is probably the best ever. The Pats 4th quarter winning drive was just a joy to behold and had his rookie receivers held on to the ball better in recent weeks they would still be unbeaten. I was very disappointed with the Jets last week and I had the Pats in as 7 pt favs here so the fact you can get -3 on the handicap across the board is a bonus.

NEW ENGLAND -3pts @ 10/11.

I may well stick Bernard (7/5), Pats -3 (10/11), over 55 pts (den v ind) in a sexy treble!

Enjoy the games!

MG

NFL Thanksgiving Feast! Skybet running for cover!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I trust that today’s blog finds you in good form and you are looking forward to tucking into your turkey and roast spuds (cooked in goose fat of course) later with lashings of gravy and three big divisional rivalries!

Firstly lets touch on the racing. Yesterday was painful. Again I was in the “I’ve backed a winner” camp when getting on Shore Performer at 14/1 in the morning and see it get smashed into 4/1 fav. At this point you generally feel like a very smug punter who is already counting the cash. Well it doesn’t always work out that way does it? She was much too free and finished out the back. Brimestone Hill didn’t add to my elation either. He travelled like a dream, showed the world what a well handicapped horse he is, got stuck on the rail, couldn’t get out and finished on the bridle. Double bugger.

We have lost two of today’s meetings due to this beautiful english weather. Racing goes ahead at Market Rasen but I couldn’t find a single angle there at all. So I’ve gone into detail on the Kempton card in an attempt to pay for tonight’s festivities!

For what it is worth I think ESTEDAAMA (6.40) is still ahead of the handicapper and I think he will win again. Stanjames are sticking their neck out at 7/4 so that will be the target for the bullseye.

The first of my three strong fancies comes in the 4.40 in the form of MY SWEET LORD. He has taken his time to learn his trade but has actually run a bit better than his results suggest. He has been missing the break and struggling to get back on terms. This is probably the weakest race he has contested and if they go quick (which they should) I though he was of major interest tonight to get us off to a winning start.

I do really like the chances of SELKIES FRIEND (6.10) and would just about make him the best bet of the day. Henry Candy’s gelding has only had the one start to date when winning a soft ground maiden at Newmarket back in July. On the back of that he has been given an opening mark of 78 and some of the horses behind him that day have gone on to achieve better (one is rated 93). He is US bred so a switch to an artificial surface is likely to be in his favour. He also gets a 2lb weight for age allowance and sneaks in off bottom weight. Massive chance and a decent bet at 9/2.

SUGARFORMYHONEY (7.40) travelled like a dream last time and almost led them a merry dance from the front. She struggled to see out the mile that day and she could be a very well handicapped animal dropped back in trip and hopefully Charles Bishop can time it just right.

Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys – 9pm

Every now and again a little golden nugget comes along when the odds compilers at all the major firms just show that they don’t know enough about the sports they are betting on. The NFL is one of those sports and tonight we have a mortgage job. Firstly the facts…..the Cowboys and Redskins have played each other six times on Thanksgiving. The Cowboys have won all six. A big factor to this stat is that Dallas have been the home team on all six occasions. This year the Cowboys are 5-5 and the Skins are 4-6. However these records do not tell the full story. The Redkins are really struggling on defense but there offense is very potent under RG3. I watched the Cowboys game against Philly two Sundays back and both teams were dire, it was painful to watch and Dallas eventually came out on top due to a couple of late turnovers. When I priced this game up I had thought the enemy would honestly go 10/11 the pair. So as you can imagine I nearly choked on my corn flakes on Tuesday when I saw SKYBET were going 13/8 Washington and 1/2 Dallas. MAJOR BALLSUP!! I told as many people as I possibly could at the time and needless to say that 13/8 didn’t last too long. They are still readily available at 6/4 which in no uncertain terms is a maximum bet of epic proportions.

Why? Well Dallas have beaten only two teams with winning records. The Giants in week one when New York were too bad to be true and Tampa who are 6-4 but are flattered by a soft schedule. Their other wins have come against Carlolina (2-8) Philly (3-7) and Cleveland (2-8). Three of the worst teams in the NFL by some way. In comparison Washington have beaten New Orleans, Tampa Bay, Minnesota and Philly. They have also lost in tight games to Atlanta (9-1) NYG (6-4) and Cincinatti (5-5) in games you could argue that they probably should have won.

The major outcome of this game lies with the Redksins defence as offensively the Skins will definitely out score Dallas. If the skins D steps up then that 13/8 will be bloody lovely and they actually match up really well against this Dallas team!

I have backed Washington maximum outright and have put them into a treble with Houston and New England!

It should be a cracking night’s entertainment and I hope you enjoy. A big thanks to Skybet……ooooooooosssshhh.

Be lucky today!

MG