No question in my mind now. With Thistlecrack out, you must get on Native River the Hennessy Gold Cup, Welsh Grand National and Denman Chase-winning superstar who must now have the bookies quaking in their boots.
They know CUE CARD won’t help; they know DJAKADAM can’t help, they’re stuffed and I’m helping myself to a chunk and a lot at 3/1.
Don Cossack, Coneygree and now Thistlecrack have all now had to come out of the Gold Cup through injury and Native River and Cue Card are now pressing each other for joint-favouritism.
As we have suggested elsewhere Cue Card and Sizing John have statistical flaws and I am uncertain as to Djakadam’s ability to get the distance. In fact, it is over 2 years since he won the Thyestes over 25f and on every other occasion since over a distance, he has looked flawed. I’m afraid this is going to guide me towards NATIVE RIVER as my Gold Cup Saver read Saviour.
Here are my five selections for an exciting 26 x ½pt each-way Canadian coupled with five 2pts e/w singles to make a 46 pt bet.
- MOON RACER – Supreme Novice Hurdle – 6/1
- The Betfair Hurdle on Saturday 11th provides the raison d’etre for this selection. The winner (BALLYANDY) and second (MOVEWITHTHETIMES) have both been beaten by our selection, and are both decent animals. Whether BALLYANDY follows the likes of Flying Angel to the Martin Pipe HCap (or similar) or has a pop at the SNH, is anyone’s guess. The second will almost certainly run in The County. In any event, our selection is a near banker for Day 1 Placepots and could win this – but for this little stat HERE
- BAYWING – National Hunt Chase – 33/1
- Our selection took the G2 Towton Novice Chase at Haydock at the beginning of February by 22 lengths on the Soft ground. That might well be the ground he needs – but by backing NRNB, we’re not losing anything if he draws because of good ground. If he stays in and if there is cut in the ground – I’d be tempted to sell the wife and lump on.
- OUTLANDER – Gold Cup – 12/1
- Gordon Elliot’s charge hosed the Lexus Chase, beating a host of decent animals including DON POLI and DJAKADAM on a faster surface than historically considered ideal. That was his fourth race over a short period and while I was expecting him to take a bit of a break – I am surprised not to have seen him given a stretch somewhere. Again the NRNB concession is key – but if he turns up and Gordon has got him race-fit, then he’s a solid contender at a decent price.
- POLITLOGUE – JLT Novices Chase – 8/1
- A decent run at Kempton LTO – albeit a two-runner near walkover. Jumped clear and never gave cause for doubt. I picked him after his Ascot win last December, and I suspect that he ran up to his winning mark when beaten by WAITING PATIENTLY, at Haydock in January. The Malcolm Jefferson-trained winner will skip Cheltenham if the ground comes up fast and that might give us a clue to the Haydock result. I’m not sure he’s going to win the JLT, but I am reasonably confident that on faster ground POLITOLOGUE will give a decent account of himself.
- LIL ROCKERFELLA – World Hurdle – 25/1
- “Are you completely barmy?” I hear you say. I know his Relkeel 4th beaten 21 lengths doesn’t look good, but then again 2½m is too short for him nowadays. Remember he was only 4l shy of UNOWHATIMEANHARRY in the Long Walk and before that he was second to YANWORTH. Both these should win at The Festival, and frankly, 25/1 seems a bloody decent e/w price. I shall also do the forecast with the favourite.
Remember to play NRNB
Here are my Top Ten Bets for The Cheltenham Festival with the prices available today – Sunday 12th February.
I will have these in 45 x 1pt doubles and 252 0.1pt five-folds Total Bet of 70.2 pts to give me an interest across all four days.
- UNOWHATIMEANHARRY – World Hurdle 6/4
- CANTLOW – Cross Country Chase 11/4
- DEFI DU SEUIL – Triumph Hurdle 7/2
- UN DE SCEAUX – Ryanair Chase 7/2
- FINIANS OSCAR – Neptune Novices Hurdle 4
- MIGHT BITE – RSA Chase 9/2
- YANWORTH – Champion Hurdle 5
- MOON RACER – Supreme Novice Hurdle 6 (This stat might put you off HERE)
- WHOLESTONE – Albert Bartlett 7