Posted on 13 March 2018.
The view from our Traders for Cheltenham Day one ;
Our traders don’t talk very much, so we asked them to ‘jot down’ their thoughts for Cheltenham Day one. Here’s what they reckon;
(Please note prices are subject to change)
The festival curtain raiser sees Getabird (13/8)as favourite in the famous pink silks of Rich Ricci, representing top trainer Willie Mullins, ridden by Ruby Walsh (who has won his race against fitness after breaking his leg in 3 places in November) and hoping to get the Irish off to a flyer for the week. The above combination will have the bookies fearful from the start. Kalashnikov (5/1) leads the British challenge and was a very impressive winner of a valuable handicap last time out on testing ground. With the forecasted heavy going it may pay to side with First Flow (10/1) for trainer Kim Bailey. A winner on his last three starts, all with a bit of cut in the ground, he was most impressive when landing a trial for this race at Haydock last time. Mengli Khan, Paloma Blue & Summerville Boy are the best of the rest and have strong each way claims.
A small but select field of 5 runners go to post and yet again Mullins & Walsh provide the favourite in the shape of Footpad (1/1). A decent hurdler the last two seasons but the move to the larger obstacles has brought a marked improvement winning all 3 of his chase starts culminating in beating Petit Mouchoir (7/2) in the Irish Arkle at Leopardstown. Petite Mouchoir (7/2) lines up in opposition again but although he should be fitter this time around I can’t see him reversing form. On the other side of the Irish Sea Saint Calvados (11/4) has been a revelation since joining Harry Whittington winning 3 chases also with the last being a 22l success. Although he hasn’t beaten the quality of horse that Footpad has conditions will be perfect for Saint Calvados and that may swing it in what will be an excellent race.
2017 Champion Hurdler Buveur D’Air returns to reclaim his title in Tuesday’s feature race. Owned by the infamous JP McManus, trained by leading English trainer Nicky Henderson and ridden by top jockey Barry Geraghty odds of 8/13 are probably reflective of the lack of a realistic alternative rather than what Buveur has achieved on the racecourse this season. The lack of a proper preparation race for the horse has been noted by his trainer and although that is a legitimate concern the fact that the next 4 in the betting are all trained by Willie Mullins suggests he isn’t confident that he a horse to beat Buveur D’air. Mullins representatives (Faugheen (6/1), Yorkhill (12/1), Wicklow Brave (14/1) & Melon (16/1)) all have their own obstacles to overcome –
Faugheen – 2015 Champion, very impressive when returning from injury but has lost twice since. Joint highest rated horse in race but is 10yo now and will be given an easy time of it if the race doesn’t go well in the early stages.
Yorkhill – Has won at the festival the last 2 seasons but has been campaigned over fences since 2015 and this entry is very much an after thought after a poor performance at the Dublin Festival
Wicklow Brave – been known to be caught out at the start, as it was in this race last year
Melon – Runner up in last years Supreme he has been very underwhelming in top class hurdles this season
The smart bet could be to back Wicklow Brave each way or without the Fav (11/2), has won 4 races on heavy ground and looked in contention in last years race despite the bad start and he has probably the least to forgive of Mullins 4 contenders.
Another race where last years champion defends her title and another short priced favourite. This time it’s Apples Jade (4/7) for Gordon Elliott owned by Gigginstown Stud (Michael O’Leary). Unbeaten in all 4 starts since winning the 2017 Mares Hurdle she looks like one of the NAPs of the week, her last two victories have been in Grade 1 company against the boys and if ground conditions don’t hamper her she could be the easiest winner of the week. The opposition is led by theMullins/Walsh/Ricci team again in the shape of Benie Des Dieux (4/1), has won 2 chases in her last 2 runs and although reverting back to hurdles isn’t ideal she has some decent hurdle form in her earlier career in France.
These 4 races provide the now traditional Tuesday quad as the four short priced favourites are well backed by punters. If Getabird, Footpad & Buveur D’Air win the bookies will have major liabilities running on the Apples Jade in Mares Hurdle. Currently the odds for the quad are around 16/1
The trainers title looks a 3 horse race Willie Mullins is favourit/e @ 5/4 followed by Gordon Elliott and Nicky Henderson both at 2/1. These 3 trainers are responsible for 21 favourites out of the 28 races.Ruby Walsh in favourite to be Top Jockey, he has a lot of strong chances in the main races but may take a limited book of rides so there could be some value elsewhere. Nico De Boinville (10/1) is Henderson’s No.1 jockey and Davy Russell (9/1) may not have the hotpots that Ruby has but he has some interesting rides in the festival handicaps.
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