He started last year’s festival in a blaze of glory and Matchbook’s Micheàl Deasy is hoping to do something similar this year!
13:30 – Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
Fiddlerontheroof went into my tracker after his second to Thyme Hill in the Persian War at Chepstow.
It was fine form in itself but the manner in how he went down caught my eye. He jumped to the lead at the second last and I think he started to idle. Thyme Hill got a nice slipstream behind him for the run to the last and zoomed by him once they touched down to win. Once Fiddler was joined by something in front his ears pricked and he got going again but the race was gone at that stage.
He had the opposite problem in his next start where he had the free going Flic Ou Voyou for company from the word go. Both horses were at it a long way out and were picked up by Edwardstone at the second last who went on to win ¾ length.
He finally got the head in front a month later on heavy ground at Sandown before really announcing himself to the big time with a demolition job in the Tolworth Hurdle in January, one of the best trials for the Supreme every year.
Fiddlerontheroof has learned on the job this year and has improved with each run.
He has the experience in the bag and will fly through the mud. It will take a good horse to beat him.
At a bigger price, I think it’s worth having a small win and place bet on Soviet Pimpernel. Peter Fahey’s horse has been over for a run to Cheltenham already this season at the October meeting, finishing second to Quel Destin on heavy ground. He had a crack off Grade 1 horses in the Royal Bond in December before winning a Grade 3 at Limerick at Christmas.
He has a higher rating than Chantry house but it is almost 6 times the price on the exchange.
He can sneak into a place.
14:10 – Arkle Chase
Notebook has the best form in the book of any of these.
He has been most progressive in his races in Ireland so far this year and can win the Arkle for Henry DeBromhead, 10 years after his win with the mighty Sizing Europe. Notebook’s jumping is outstanding and he has a huge engine. He ran loose before the Irish Arkle, had a real battle beating Cash Back in the race itself and ran on for ages after hitting the line.
He could be different class to his rivals here and is a strong selection.
14:50 – Ultima Handicap Chase
Discorama is probably the most tipped horse in this race over the last few weeks. He ran a cracker last year in the NH Chase and that has been a great trial for future festivals over the last few years. He is in here off a nice mark and has had his wind tweaked which will hopefully put him spot on for this.
Well found in the market by now so I will be backing another runner from that race.
Atlanta Ablaze was in the process of chasing Discorama and Le Breuil home in that NH Chase when she fell at the second last. Before that she had travelled and jumped beautifully throughout the race and was very unlucky not to get home. She is a big price and Henry Daly’s horses are in nice form at the moment
Horses that have previously run well in the Ultima have a great record in it and Big River was a huge eyecatcher last year. He made some mistakes early on and had to be nursed back into the race on the second circuit. Coming up the hill he must have been 25-30 lengths behind but absolutely flew home to grab 4th on the line. He will have 3lbs less on his back this year and if he can get into a rhythm he can go close again.
15:30 – Champion Hurdle
Epatante is by far the best horse in this year’s Champion Hurdle and her price is value in my opinion, she should be a lot closer to 2.0.
Her only bad run was at last years festival which was too bad to be true and she has thrashed two fields already this season.
She gets 7lbs and there is nothing in this field that will be able to give her that. Max bet.
16:10 – Mares Hurdle
Benie Des Dieux should be going for 3 in row here but famously fell at the final fence last year to bring up my bet on Roksana!! She faces a serious rival in Honeysuckle this year but I think BDD is on a different level.
She is not a bet at her prices so stick her in a double with Epatante.
16:50 – Novices Handicap Chase
Hold The Note has been on my radar for this since Christmas. He was travelling well within himself at Kempton and looked to have every chance when his race was ended by a horse falling in front of him. He had been well backed that day which is always a good sign from that stable. His next run was a cracker in defeat at Warwick where he was just outstayed over 3 miles by Two For Gold.
He looked like he was still on the bridle jumping the last and the shorter trip here should be in his favour.
Jarveys Plate was a much tastier price for this last week but he could still be a bit of value to at least hit the frame here. He is a frequent visitor to the track and announced himself to the world when bolting up by 13 lengths on New Years Day last year in a Ballymore Trial.
His first three runs this year were at the top level, notably taking the scalp of Reserve Tank at Chepstow at the start of the season. His run last time out was his first in handicap company and he was very well backed from big odds but I never got involved.
That had the look of a fact-finding mission to me and I would expect to see a different horse out tomorrow.
17:30 – National Hunt Chase
Place laying is a great strategy for dodgy favourites and I think it is the best way to play Carefully Selected in the National Hunt Chase.
He has been favourite for this with a long time, partly by being Patrick Mullins’ nominated selection for this race from early on in the season and Champagne Classic’s injury means his only serious rival is out.
His jumping has left a lot to be desired in all his races this year and this race is going to be a slog.
He may be able to blunder his way around and win just by having more of an engine than others in this but I’m willing to bet that he won’t. Due to his short price will be laying a small liability that he won’t get home or will fall or will simply be outstayed by any of the other horses.
- Fiddlerontheroof (8.4) – 1pt Win
- Soviet Pimpernel (55.0) – 0.25pt Win, 0.75pt Place
- Notebook (4.2) – 1pt Win
- Atlanta Ablaze (34.0) – 0.5pt Win, 0.5pt Place
- Big River (30.0) – 0.5pt Win, 0.5pt Place
- Epatante (4.1) – 1pt Win
- Benie Des Dieux + Epatante – 1pt Win (Double)
- Hold The Note – 1pt Win
- Jarveys Plate (40.0) – 0.5pt Win, 0.5pt Place
- Carefully Selected (1.7) – 1pt Place Lay