Cheltenham Festival 2019 Review

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Well where to start what an absolute incredible Cheltenham Festival that was. It had it all and was literally breathtaking stuff.

It was an excellent week for us where we came away with nearly 17 points profit over the 4 days and that is now 11 years in a row of profit at the Cheltenham Festival. Shame we couldn’t end on a high on the last day but the job was done way before the last day.

Profit made = 16.8 Points
Strike Rate = 29.03%
Return On Investment = 25.33%

View Cheltenham Results Sheet

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I pride myself on delivering the most professional service I can and that is pretty much the way we work, whether it be a Monday of racing or a Cheltenham Festival.

Below you will find a full review of the festival where I have gone over every race we tipped in. I have also left a few pointers and horses to keep an eye out for in the future.

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Now on to the Cheltenham Festival Review.

 

Cheltenham Day One Review

Supreme Novice Hurdle

A horse that got away from us as Klassical Dream won very impressively. I actually put him up as a horse to follow from Leopardstown back in February, but come the evening before the race the price had gone down to 9/2. I just couldn’t play at that price but ironically would have at his SP of 6/1. Just one of them things I guess.

We had 3 selections in this race with Al Dancer, The Big Bite and Brandon Castle and none of them run any sort of race. Al Dancer was the main bet and he was sent off fav but put in a poor performance. I am sure he is better than that though, although I don’t think he will ever be good enough to get near the winner Klassical Dream.

The Big Bite and Brandon Castle were big prices and both went off significantly shorter. They failed to land a blow which was a shame as I thought they were at least capable of getting in the top 5 (ew returns).

Can we take anything out of race?
I would take the winner out of this race for sure. I think Klassical Dream is going on to much bigger things. I was impressed with how he travelled and quickened up. He has so much more improvement to come. Whether they go over fences next season or stay over hurdles he will be a force to be reckoned with.

Arkle Chase

A funny race in which both our horses were fallers. Glen Forsa was the best jumper in the field so I did not see that happening while Kalashkinov was brought down when a horse fell in front of him. Pure bad luck in this race and not a lot you can do about it.

Can we take anything out of race?
Not a race I would want to take anything from, purely because it was a weird sort of race. The winner won well but you have to ask would he have won by 13 lengths if Glen Forsa and Kalashkinov did not fall?

Ultima Handicap

We had 3 selections in this race with Beware The Bear, Noble Endeavour and Singelfarmpayment. We found the winner with Beware The Bear who I was quietly confident about pre race. The blinkers have worked the oracle and he won easily enough. It was good to get a 16/1 winner on the board given our luck in the previous race and that is now 7 of the 10 winners in this race. It is certainly a race which has been kind to me over the last 10 years.

Can we take anything out of race?
I wouldn’t mind seeing where Flying Angel goes next and hopefully it will be Aintree. He bounced right back to form in this race coming home 5th and on old form could be well handicapped. In 2017 Flying Angel finished 6th in the JLT Chase and then went and won the Grade 1 Manifesto Novice Chase at Aintree. It is a course he likes and could peak at just the right time.

Champion Hurdle

Well Well Well. Pre race the talk was about Apple’s Jade, Buveur D’Air and Laurina. If someone said that any of those three would not make the frame I would have laughed my head off, that is how surprising the result was. I was keen to take on Apple’s Jade as my write up said and I do feel a bit hard done by that Buveur D’Air fell at the 3rd hurdle. We will never know but I am pretty confident he would have fought out the finish with the winner Espoir D’Allen. Take nothing away from the winner though he won well by 15 lengths. Given he is only a 5 year old he has so much improvement to come and he could turn out to be a superstar.

Can we take anything out of race?
Only the winner Espoir D’Allen. Given his age he could literally be anything.

Mares Hurdle

Benie Des Dieux was a faller at the final hurdle with the race seemingly in the bag. What a strange days racing this was turning out to be. Our selection Lady Buttons came home in 4th.

Can we take anything out of race?
Strange race which would have easily been won by Benie Des Dieux.

Close Brothers Handicap Chase

Our 3 selections were poor in this race. No excuses just simply not good enough. Another winner that got away though as A Plus Tard was in the final 5 selections which were then narrowed down to 3. The price as always is important but looking back maybe the 5/1 was value after all. One of those things I guess but I will only learn from it.

Can we take anything out of race?
The winner A Plus Tard could be a serious horse. Only a 5 year old and he blew the field apart.

National Hunt Chase

Although we had one winner at 16/1 I was glad to see the back of Day 1 after this result. I narrowed it down to 3 selections which were Ok Corral, Jerrysback and Le Breuil and guess what it was another winner that got away. Not happy but what can you do. I took the positives from day one that we were at least in the right direction just without that bit of luck.

Can we take anything out of race?
Nothing in this race to be taken out of it.

Day One Summary

We had 1 winner at 16/1 but I feel we were a little hard done by. Two fallers in the Arkle, a faller in the Champion Hurdle and 3 horses who were amongst the shortlist that went on to win. Just one of those days that I was not going to let affect me going in to Day Two. I took the positives away that we were along the right lines.

 

Cheltenham Day Two Review

Ballymore Novice Hurdle

City Island won this race well while the best we could do was 4th with Brewin’upastorm. I took on the front two in the market which was the right thing to do but not with the right horses. Our other selections Beakstown was poor but don’t give up on that horse when he goes chasing, he will be a monster.

Can we take anything out of race?
I think the winner City Island is a very good horse. He jumped and travelled well. If he was trained by a bigger trainer a lot more would have been made about the performance.

RSA Chase

Finally we were back in the winners enclosure as Topofthegame jumped and travelled beautifully throughout. I was so glad to see him win this race as I said before the race, I was in the Delta Work camp for a while and may get egg on my face. I made the right call and my knowledge brought me to that decision. Topofthegame is a serious horse who will have a huge chance in next years Gold Cup. In fact the front three are all good horses and I believe they are the new kids on the block.

Can we take anything out of race?
Topofthegame, Santini and Delta Work all run very good races. I really think all of these are going to be special horses but preference would be for Topofthegame, given his size and scope.

Coral Cup

We had 3 selections in this race with our best coming 3rd with Ballyandy. We advised him at 25/1 and he went close. He was still in contention jumping the last and only went down by 1/2 length. Our other selections were Killultagh Vic and Dancing On My Own. Killultagh Vic didn’t fire while Dancing On My Own was running a big race but made a bad mistake 3 out.

Can we take anything out of race?
Apple’s Shakira stayed on for 6th place and she should remain on the same mark. She seems to be hitting form and I would be keen to see where she goes next. One of our selections Dancing On My Own may be worth following also as he is still a novice and this was his first try at this trip. He will improve and could be ahead of the handicapper as he will be dropped a few pound for this run.

Queen Mother Chase

A race we didn’t tip in but it was good to see Altior win. Maybe not as visually impressive as Altior has been before, but like all true superstars he got the job done. Be interesting to see where he is campaigned next season as the talk is of stepping up in trip.

Cross Country Chase

What a performance from Tiger Roll to win on bridle over 3m 6f. He is something else and will now go to the Grand National to try and win it for the 2nd year running. He looked that good in the Cross Country, I think he could have won the Gold Cup. He is going to take some beating if he has a clear round in the Grand National but getting a clear round is never easy. We had one tip in this race with Tea For Two who was still in contention when falling at the 21st fence. One to keep an eye on over the Cross Country Circuit next season.

Boodles Handicap Hurdle

A lovely winner for us here with Band Of Outlaws winning at an advised 6/1. I was quietly confident as I put this tip up as a 1 point win with 21 runners. Pre festival trainer Joseph O’Brien mentioned a few times that this is the only horse who can keep up with Sir Erec in training which was a tip in itself. Sadly Sir Erec lost his life in the Triumph Hurdle which was gutting to see but we will move on to that later in the review. Band Of Outlaws travelled very well and as soon as he was squeezed he quickened up nicely. We also had Torpillo who ran a nice race but the top weight probably told late in the race.

Can we take anything out of race?
Band Of Outlaws looks a serious horse so will be interested to see how he gets on in graded company, next time out.

Champion Bumper

A raised stake win for Envoi Allen who we advised at 7/2. I said in the write up he was a future gold cup horse and as tough as they come. That hill was always going to suit him and it was a supremely confident tip. He was sent of 2/1 so the money came for him but we were quick to snap up the 7/2 the night before. He cost a whopping £400k and the future is bright for this horse. One to follow for sure.

Can we take anything out of race?
The winner and the 2nd but for me the winner Envoi Allen looks like he could be special. He is not a 2 mile horse so to win the bumper over an inadequate trip tells us how good he is going to be once he jumps a fence.

Day Two Summary

A great day with 3 winners with Topofthegame, Band Of Outlaws and Envoi Allen and an unlucky Day One was firmly behind us. We also had Ballyandy E/W at 25/1. We made 19 points profit on the day and we were firmly back in the driving seat. Half way through the festival we were 10 points in profit and a great Day 3 would seal the festival. Could we do it when the pressure was on?

 

Cheltenham Day Three Review

JLT Novice Chase

A race in which I could only see one possible outcome and that was a Defi Du Seuil or Lostintranslation win. We even tipped up the forecast for the only time of the whole festival and we got it spot on. Defi De Seuil is a horse I have always loved and he jumped very well in this race. Jumping the last I thought he may have got outstayed by Lostintranslation but he stuck his head down and went all the way to the line. Credit to Lostintranslation who jumped very well throughout and that horse will appreciate a step up in trip.

Can we take anything out of race?
Apart from our two selections I thought Mengli Khan ran a decent race. This was his first try at the trip and he improved for the step up. I am not saying he is as good as the other two but I would think he could improve over this trip again.

Pertemps Handicap Hurdle

We had 3 selections in this race and didn’t even get close if I am being honest. The winner was Sire Du Berlais who was a huge gamble which came off. Great ride by Barry Gerraghty to get him up on the line.

Ryanair Chase

The race of the festival for me and not just because we had the winner with Frodon but because this was what National Hunt Racing is all about. Frodon jumped super throughout, he got headed after the last but Bryony Frost worked here magic and Frodon dug deep up the hill, to win by just over a length. No matter what the others tried they just couldn’t get to Frodon and even those that did, once they got looked in the eye he went past them again. The interview afterwards was of sheer class where Frodon was described as ‘Pegasus’ and a horse who has wings.

Can we take anything out of race?
If you look at the age of the top 7 horses, Frodon is actually the youngest at the age of 7. You would have to think he is going to improve again next season. He has had a long season so hopefully he will now be rested and we see him even better next season. Other than Frodon a horse I would take out of the race is Road To Respect who came home 3rd. He was mounting a challenge 3 fences out where he made a bad mistake. If he had jumped that fence he may well have won the race as he was only beaten 2 1/2 lengths in the end.

Stayers Hurdle

What a performance from Paisley Park who powered up the hill to win by 3 lengths. He even made a mistake at the last hurdle yet still motored up the hill. He is a serious horse who may hit a flat spot but just has so much power late on in his race. He reminds me so much of Big Bucks and he is going to be so hard to beat in this race for many years to come. We were on Faugheen who I thought may get him in trouble when he used his burst of speed. For a split second my plan looked like working until the monster Paisley Park got going. I thought Faugheen ran a decent race to stay on for 3rd but this race was all about the Paisley Park. His owner is blind and those last 10 seconds of the race I couldn’t imagine what was going through his head. To listen to the commentary and hear your horse has made a mistake at the last, obviously momentarily wondering if he has falling, to then listening to hear if he goes on to win just makes you think how much the owner went through in those final stages of the race. It was such an amazing story though and what Cheltenham is made of, it is made of dreams. Pure magical stuff.

Can we take anything out of race?
Two words ‘Paisley Park’.

Brown Advisory Plate

So close to another winner as Janika came home 2nd and Spiritofthegames 3rd. We picked up E/W money but would have been good to get the winner. Fair play to the winner Siruh Du Lac who stuck his head down and got the job done.

Can we take anything out of race?
I still think Janika is going to turnout the be the best horse in the race. He may be a bit high for handicaps now so he will have to step up in grade. Whether he will be good enough for that we will have to wait and see but to carry 11st 12lb in a handicap at the Cheltenham Festival and go down by under a length, takes some doing. He could be a proper horse.

Mares Novice Hurdle

I must say although we had a great day on the Thursday, this was my most disappointing tip of the festival. Epatante was my NAP of the festival yet she did not turn up and was very disappointing. I am not sure she was given the best ride and maybe did look a little in-experienced. I just thought and still think she is a serious horse and that would get her through the race. I trust what I see when I see a good horse and I am sure Epatante is much better than what she showed in this race. I guess time will tell but I will at least be giving her another chance. She will learn a lot from this race.

Kim Muir Handicap Chase

What a great race to end a terrific day. We had the winner Any Second Now advised at 10/1. I said Derek O’Connor was the best amateur around he is worth a stone in weight. He gave this horse a great ride and win by 4 lengths. We also had Crievehill for E/W money in 4th place, advised at a huge 50/1.

Day Three Summary

What a day with 3 winners and a number of E/W bets. We sealed a profitable festival with one day to spare. Whatever happened on the Friday we were walking away with profit regardless. I think this was my favourite day at the Cheltenham Festival ever. Not just because of the winners but because of how well the coverage of the sport of kings got in that amazing hour. From Frodon winning and Bryony Frost interview, to Paisley Park winning for blind owner Andrew Gemmell. It was the best hour in Horse Racing I have seen in a long long time and it can only do the popularity of the sport we love good things.

 

Cheltenham Day Four Review

Triumph Hurdle

This race was so sad to watch as Sir Erec had to be put down with an injury which looked so nasty on TV. Regardless of whether we had the winner or not in this race, thoughts have to go to all connected with Sir Erec who had the world at his feet. I am not going to review this race as for me it is all about a top class horse who lost his life and what was witnessed by everyone was not nice. RIP Sir Erec.

County Hurdle

We were so close to a huge 33/1 winner as We Have A Dream came home in 2nd. He was still in with contention jumping the last and I did think his class would get him through. Looking back at the race the winner Ch’tibello was well in on the handicap and had obviously been targeted at the race for sometime. Our other selections were Mr Adjudicator and Western Ryder who finished down the field.

Can we take anything out of race?
I do have a few in this race but I want to keep them under wraps ahead of Aintree especially if we get better ground. Won’t be long until they are revealed.

Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle

I was never going to tip up the winner so regardless we would not have had the winner. We got 4th place for E/W money with Dickie Diver while Birchdale was terrible being pulled up. Looking back at the race he was probably better off going for the Ballymore Novice Hurdle over a shorter trip. I think Dickie Diver will improve with more experience and we haven’t seen the best of him yet.

Can we take anything out of race?
I think Commander Of Fleet looks every bit a chaser while Dickie Diver lack of experience obviously told. He will continue to progress and interested to see where he goes next.

Gold Cup

Willie Mullins finally got a Cheltenham Gold Cup winner with Al Boum Photo and watching the replay back, he won very well. He was always going to improve but I did not see him improving that much, credit where it is due. Anibale Fly hit the frame again and looks set to go to the Grand National again, seemingly with a big chance. Bristol De Mai came home 3rd and he is still entered in the Grand National. If it did come up soft he could run well in the race. We had 3 tips in the race with Clan Des Obeaux who run well in defeat but maybe didn’t quite get home. He will improve again next season as he is only a 7 year old. Presenting Percy came back lame and looking back maybe I should not have tipped the horse with his preparation. I think I got a bit sentimental with the horse given he has won for us at the last two festivals and all the hype around the horse. That is not me normally but we live and learn though that is the main thing. Elegant Escape was our other horse who came home 6th and he goes on to the National where the trip is tailor-made for him.

Can we take anything out of race?
A weird race if I am being honest. I think Clan Des Obeaux is better than what he showed and I also think the same could be said about a lot of these. I wouldn’t be rushing to back anything next time out in a Grade 1 as the form is a bit unknown, although take nothing away from the winner, he won very well.

Foxhunters Chase

We were on Stand Up And Fight who came home in 6th place. The winner Hazel Hill won well and he has now won 15 of his last 16 races. It is excellent to see trainers like Phillip Rowley win at the Cheltenham Festival as this really is there Gold Cup.

Grand Annual Chase

A 66/1 winner of the race in Croco Bay and I can safely say he wasn’t on my radar. We were on Magic Saint who travelled well into the race but got tired late on. He is only a 5 year old and will learn a lot from this experience. He has a bright future ahead of him regardless of the outcome here. We were also on Le Prezian who ran a decent race but also got tired late on.

Can we take anything out of race?
Again I do have a few in this race but I want to keep them under wraps ahead of Aintree especially if we get better ground. Won’t be long until they are revealed.

Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle

We had two tips in this as Mount Mews refused to race. Coolanly came home in 5th at 33/1 for E/W returns. Getareason ran well for a long way but faded late on in the race. The winner Early Doors was there to be bet given he finished 3rd in the race last year.

Day Four Summary

We couldn’t go out on a high which was unfortunate. It was a difficult day of betting and I think the price of the winners on the day at 66/1, 50/1 and 20/1 tell you all you need to know. A shame as we were in top form on the Wednesday and Thursday.

 

Whole Festival Summary

What an excellent festival it was for us. We had 8 winners and countless E/W’s through the week. We done some excellent work on the Wednesday and Thursday which sealed the deal for us. We came away just under 17 points in profit which I would have taken at the start of the week.

 

Best Performance Of The Week

Personally from a tipping performance, it has to be the Defi De Seuil x Lostintranslation reverse forecast. It is never easy to call one winner at Cheltenham so to call 1st and 2nd and advise a forecast was pretty satisfying. I called the racing perfectly and those type of tips give you the most pleasure.

 

Best Performance Outside Tipping

Tiger Roll is probably the best and most easy on the eye, although I don’t think a lot is being made of Klassical Dream in the Supreme Novice Hurdle. Believe me when I say that was a serious performance and he is a serious horse.

 

Best To Watch

Frodon winning under Bryony Frost. That race had everything in why we all love National Hunt Racing. A special bond where they both showed guts and determination. A moment which makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

 

What’s next of the festivals?

We move on to Aintree next which get’s underway in just over two week’s. It is another big festival and is not to be missed.

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