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What a way to to kick off Cheltenham.
The bookies were hurt badly but they were breathing a sigh of relief after the way it ended. An incredible ending as Ruby Walsh was chasing a freaking grand slam – and it looked like he had it up until that last hurdle.
I don’t think I’ve ever screamed like a girl as much as I did when that happened. poor Annie Power – thankfully the horse is okay.
Let’s do the Cheltenham Day 2 Betting Tips:
1:30 – Vyta du Roc. Tough race, and Parlour Games looks a fine horse, but the stats for seven year-olds point against him. Vyta du Rock is a course winner and appreciates the longer trip. Was finding more against Parlour Games last time out, and Cheltenham Hill should help reverse the form. The Walsh/Mullins factor will push Nichols canyon into too short a price, so we should have a bit of value on Vyta du Roc, who is going to be guaranteed a great ride from Barry Geragthy, who already has a win under his belt for the festival.
2:05 – Southfield Theatre. Trying to find a bit of value because, yet again, it’s Mullins and Walsh on the short price favourite. Southfield Theatre finished second in last year’s Pertemps Final, lugging 11st 11lbs round, so the course form is there. He won last time out, and, but for a jumping error, he would have been undefeated over fences. He’s only rated 2lbs lower than the front two in the market, Don Poli and Kings Palace, and the Twiston-Davies team will be full of confidence.
2:40 – Goodwood Mirage. A horrible race to try and sort out. The stats indicate that looking a bit down the handicap is the best bet, and you also wouldn’t wanting to be backing a horse that’s too old. It’s a race for progressive types and Goodwood Mirage fits the profile. He was entered in the Fred Winter this time last year and was brought down at the second. Last time out, he fell at the first, The booking of McCoy is what appeals here, but it’s a wide open race, so keep an eye out for any big gambles.
3:20 – Dodging Bullets. The feature race of the day, the Champion Chase, and it’s perhaps one of the weakest renewals of this race for a long time. Every runner has a question mark hanging over them, with Sprinter Sacre’s health problems well documented, and we don’t know if Sire de Grugy is the real deal. Dodging Bullets kind of fits the profile of a winner, he doesn’t mind the course and looks progressive. Whatever the result, we wouldn’t think this year’s winner is going to win back-to-back Champion Chases.
4:00 – Any Currency. Not a race for the faint of heart, both the jockeys and the punters. The favourite looks decent enough in what can end up being a horrible race. Any Currency has won over course and distance, which is vital when it comes to winning this race, as the experience over these unconventional fences is crucial. Not one for the purists, but a fun race to watch, that’s for sure.
4:40 – Thunder Zone. There’s an interesting line of form through Kitten Rock last time out. Kitten Rock ran exceptionally well in the Champion Hurdle considering the dominance of Faugheen, and for a handicapper, it’s a nice piece of form. He’s well weighted and Bryan Cooper is the superstar-in-waiting, so the jockey booking is great.
But again a wide open race, so watch out for late plunges in the market.
5:15 – Wait For Me. An impressive winner on his first and only start, and it’s that great combination of Johnson and Hobbs that we love backing. Willie Mullins, as usual, holds the key to the race, and you can’t gauge just who he fancies the most looking at his jockey bookings. Plyonthepressure looks handy, but doesn’t have his usual jockey on-board. It’ll be a confusing race, but Wait For Me looks nicely lightly raced and should go well at a decent price. The fact he’s coming here exactly one month since that run shows the stable are liking their chances.