Cheltenham Festival Review 2020

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Cheltenham Festival 2020 Review

First of all I would like to thank you all for signing up. I hope you all enjoyed the Cheltenham Festival can see the hard work that went into it, leaving no stone unturned. I am a great believer that you get out of it, what you put and although this was not the most profitable festival, we still made small profits.

In total we had 8 winners throughout the week and 8 E/W bets.

We came away with 6.2 points profit making sure we secured 12 years in a row of profit.

Points Profit = 6.2

Strike Rate = 29.31%

ROI = 8.63%

Results spreadsheet can be found here.

It was not our best year and I did want more profit but a few fine margins and a few better rides, it really could have been a spectacular Cheltenham Festival. They are the fine margins sometimes in this game.  

With 8 winners we still had plenty to cheer about but we were missing that big priced winner, that we have found over the last few seasons. 

Many customers have emailed in and said how much they enjoyed this week and appreciate the hard works that goes in.

For those who are new to JPW Racing Tipster, we run 16 festival special’s a year with more information via the the website.

We will now go over the Cheltenham Festival in full and every race. We will give an update on how our selections ran and we will also leave a horse to follow, where we see appropriate. 

 

WINNERS 

THE CONDITIONAL 15/2

EPATANTE 3/1

IMPERIAL AURA 11/2

ENVOI ALLEN (in a double and treble)

CHAMP 4/1

FERNY HOLLOW 12/1

SAMCRO 4/1

SIMPLY THE BETTS 4/1

 

EACH WAY BETS

CHANTRY HOUSE 15/2

VINNDICATION 6/1

RELEGATE 13/2

ARAMON 8/1

UA AND THEM 20/1

THEINVAL 50/1

HAPPYGOLUCKY 50/1

MILL GREEN 66/1

 

I have produced a review below and some of this was written before the cancellation of the Grand National Festival.

 

Cheltenham Festival Day One

1:30 Supreme Novice Hurdle

We had 3 selections in this race with Chantry House, Fiddlerontheroof and Mario De Pail. Chantry House ran a great race to come home 3rd for E/W money. I said in the write up, I feel he will come into his own over fences and I think he could go right to the top. 

Fiddlerontheroof was very poor and I can’t have that as his true running. Another horse who will be suited better by fences. 

Mario De Pail did not get involved but he was tipped at 80/1 so the chance’s were up against him.

On the whole the race was read perfectly as I thought Asterion Forlonge jumping right would cause all problems, just didn’t find the right horse to take advantage. I said the race had a superstar in and Shishkin looks every bit that horse. He found trouble in running and still managed to get home in front. Even the 2nd Abacadabras travelled so smoothly through the race and if he had better ground, may well have won. I imagine the first 3 home will all go chasing and look a very good crop of horses.

Horse To Follow 

Chantry House, I think Shishkin will be followed by many and rightly so but Chantry House will still keep on improving. Let’s not forget the might Sprinter Sacre finished 3rd in this race and look what he went on to achieve. 

 

2:10 Arkle Chase

We had 2 selections in this race with Fakir D’Oudairies and Esprit Du Large.

Fakir D ‘Oudairies was travelling ok and looked to be coming with run, but hit the 2nd last fence. Do I think he would have won? Well the winner did not look like stopping but it was quite a bad mistake from our selection, and it cost him many lengths and momentum.

Esprit Du Large ran a good race and tried to get involved on the outside. He was a beaten horse when falling three fences out. 

Horse To Follow

I can’t imagine any horse from this race will be good enough to get involved next year’s Champion Chase and was a pretty poor renewal of the Arkle Chase.

 

2:50 Ultima Handicap Chase

We had 3 selections in this race with The Conditional, Vinndication and Townshend.

This is a race I absolutely love and have found the winner in this race, 8 out of the last 11 years and we once again found the winner with The Conditional. This was an excellent ride by Brendan Powell who saved ground up the inside all race. It was also excellent to see a small trainer like David Bridgwater get a winner.

Vinndication ran his heart out for E/W money in 4th place. To run like that carrying a huge weight, given the field massive amounts of weight, deserves a lot of credit. It was a run which would not have been out of place in the gold cup.

Townshend was travelling ok for a long way but the inexperience of a conditional jockey cost him lots of ground, by going on the outside of the field.

Horse To Follow

Kildisart would not have liked the ground with it being described at soft (heavy in places). To only go down by a neck was an excellent effort. If he can get decent ground over the next month or so, he looks one to follow. 

 

Champion Hurdle

We had 2 selections in this race with Epatante and Supasundae. 

I have always been a massive fan of Epatante and was my NAP of last years festival, where I got egg on my face. I was confident that was not her true running and have continued to follow her this season. It was a serious performance from a horse who is what I call, a proper Champion Hurdle horse. She is fast and slick over her hurdles and has a turn of foot that puts the race to bed in stride. She also has a 7lb claim which comes in very handy. I think she could go on and win the next 3 Champion Hurdles as she is only going to get better and is only a 6 year old.

Supasundae was not good enough. I thought he would feature but he had every opportunity to go through with the race but faded late on. A return to 2m 4f at Aintree will be appreciated.

Horse To Follow

Epatante is a superstar in the making and could literally go down as one of the Champion Hurdle great’s in years to come.

 

Mares Hurdle

Benie Des Dieux was part of the double and treble this week. She could only manage 2nd to Honeysuckle but in my opinion, was giving a terrible ride by Paul Townend. She was still travelling so he had two options, either let Honeysuckle take you into the race, as she was being ridden along or, coming alongside Stormy Ireland and squeeze him on to the rail, blocking the inside for Honeysuckle to come through. Either of those two tactics would have won the race in my opinion but he chose neither and instead, came out for full view of the hurdle, losing a couple lengths on Honeysuckle who came up the inside. If the pair were to meet again I would be on Benie Des Dieux, as I do still feel she is the superior horse, just not on this occasion. 

 

Northern Trust Company Novices Chase

We had 2 selections in this race with Imperial Aura and Espoir De Guye.

Imperial Aura was very impressive here to win by 3 lengths, with the 2nd pulling a further 9 lengths ahead of the 3rd. The time was also fast at 4m 50s. The year previous A Plus Tard won this race in over 5m, on the same ground and it looked a demolition job. I really think this form will turn out to be solid. I said I was trying to get him beat but given my handicap NAP of the week was Simply The Betts, later in the week, I could not look elsewhere. This horse will continue to improve but it all depends what the handicapper does with him from here.

Espoir De Guye was never travelling. I thought they may have gone from the front as that is where he has always looked most comfortable. With a standing start this is always the problem and from the off, he lost his position and could not recover. He will come down the handicap so could be worth another chance.

Horse To Follow

The horse in 2nd was Galvin and he came there strongly but got outstayed. I would say he is a horse who wants better ground so be interesting to see where he goes next. 

 

National Hunt Novice Chase

Our sole selection was Carefully Selected and he was actually our best bet of the day at 2 points. We found massive value at 9/4 the night before as he was sent off 10/11 fav. I think Patrick Mullins gave him a bit of a shocker and had him way too far off the pace. You had Lord Du Mensil out in front and as we have seen in the past, he don’t stop in front. Patrick Mullins should have realised this and on the 2nd circuit moved him to within a few lengths of the leaders. He fell at the final fence in the end when the race was lost. Ravenhill was the eventual winner and that was a winner that got away if I am being honest. Gordon Elliott put this horse up as his handicap NAP a couple of weeks before the festival. He switched to the National Hunt Novice Chase at the last minute and that was a tip in itself really. Not many times something like that gets past me with my way of thinking.

 

Cheltenham Festival Day Two

Ballymore Novice Hurdle

We had 2 selections in this race with Envoi Allen as part of our double with Tiger Roll and The Big Breakaway as a back up E/W bet.

Envoi Allen was top class here and it was a performance which would have seen him go close in a Champion Hurdle in my opinion. Davy Russell was super cool in the saddle and didn’t get scared when the front two horses went clear coming around the bend. He knew the amount of horse he had underneath and when asked to close on the leaders, he took off. In a matter of strides he went into the lead and jumped the final hurdle very fast. This is clearly a serious horse and they have two choices now, the Champion Hurdle or Novice Chasing. I think they should go Novice Chasing given what happened when they sent Samcro over hurdles. He has chaser written all over him and is just a joy to see.

This was a race too soon for The Big Breakaway but it is was worth a chance as I said in the write up. He came home in 4th place but this was only his 3rd start under rules. He will improve for his next run and a step up in trip. He also has a big future over fences and looks built for it. 

Horse To Follow

Envoi Allen is the obvious one but given The Big Breakaway lack of experience, I expect him to improve massively next season. 

 

RSA Chase

We had 2 selections in this race with Champ and Slate House.

The race of the festival without a doubt. Just when you have thrown your ticket away, Champ finishes like a train to win by a length. Extraordinary outcome given how far the front pair were in front of him. Champ is obviously a horse with serious talent and you would like to think he will improve again next year. The problem with the horse is his jumping and even in this race, he never looked a natural. They can only aim him at the Gold Cup next year and he is obviously good enough, it is just whether he sorts his head out.

Slate House was jumping well and creeping into it but was never really travelling with his usual zest. A potential National Horse for next year especially as he will be rated around 151 after this race.

Horse To Follow

Natural progression from this race is the Gold Cup but I can’t believe Champ jumping would be good enough in a Gold Cup. Best watched for next season where I expect they will be thinking of the Betfair Chase as a possible starting place in November.  I do think Minella Indo is made for the Grand National and that is was he should be aimed at all next season.

 

Coral Cup

We had 3 selections in this race with Burrows Edge, Traffic Fluide and Champagne Well. 

None of our horses were involved in this race. Our best chance seemed to be with Champagne Well who was still their travelling strongly at the 2nd last hurdle. Unfortunately he made a bad mistake and was eventually pulled up. Burrows Edge could not go through with the race while Traffic Fluide just didn’t have the speed to get involved. The winner Dame De Compagnie and has not stopped improving. 

Horse To Follow

Carnadier is a horse who could be winning soon. He looked set to place but fell at the last hurdle. He only joined Willie Mullins 3 weeks ago and is a horse who wants better ground. As long as the fall has given him no ill affects, he has a big race in him.

 

Queen Mother Chase

Our NAP of the festival and Egg on my face as Defi Du Seuil was dreadful. In hindsight after this race had been flagged up as the race of the festival, when Altior and Chacun Pour Soi were running, you could sense a result like this would happen. At the end of the day Defi Du Seuil just didn’t turn up on the day and was way below what he was capable. His jumping was poor and he never travelled. Take nothing away from the winner though as Politologue jumped them into the ground from the front and a masterful training performance from Paul Nicholls. 

 

Cross Country Chase

We were waiting on Tiger Roll for the double and I honestly thought he would not be beat. I guess looking back the ground was a bit heavy, especially on the cross country course which went against him. The winner Easyland, was sublime and fair play for a 6 year old to do that was an exceptional performance. Tiger Roll will now go on to the Grand National and will clearly need better ground to be seen at his best. 

 

Boodles Juvenile Hurdle

We had 2 selections in this race with Mick Pastor and Palladium.

Palladium was heavily backed into favouritism but just never went a yard. Not sure what went wrong really, maybe the tacky ground and will improve for better ground. 

Mick Pastor ran some sort of race but was a never nearer 10th of 22. 

Horse To Follow

All depends what happens with the handicap marks. I have my eye on a few from this race but as long as the handicapper does what I think he will do.

 

Champion Bumper

We had two selections in this race with Ferny Hollow and Panic Attack.

Probably one of the best rides of the festival for me was Paul Townend on Ferny Hollow. I gave him some stick on Benie Des Dieux but this was a masterful ride. He switched Ferny Hollow off at the back of the field and simply cut through the field to win by 2 lengths. The headgear worked on his last start before Cheltenham and they have done the trick here. Our biggest priced winner of the week on the ride of the festival. This horse has lots of potential.

Panic Attack was simply not good enough even with lots of weight against the whole field.

 

Cheltenham Festival Day Three

Marsh Novice Chase

We had two selections in this race with Faugheen and Samcro

The whole of Cheltenham wanted to see Faugheen win as the roof would have gone off. In all fairness I thought he ran a mighty race given he is a 12 year old and had he jumped that bit better, it may have been on the cards.

It was our other selection Samcro who done the business and the wind operation really did do the trick. A great training performance from Gordon Elliott to get the horse back after so many problems, since winning the baltimore novice hurdle, 2 years ago.

Horse To Follow

I thought Melon jumped very considering he has not had a great season. If he can improve again, he could be a force to be reckoned with over fences.

 

Pertemps Hurdle

We had 3 selections in this race with Relegate, Welsh Saint and Unowhatimeanharry.

Relegate was our best performer, coming home 5th for E/W money. I thought she travelled extremely well throughout but was just a bit too far off the pace. She closed up quickly but used up too much energy in doing so. She has improved her jumping massively from last season and with a ride closer to the pace, she will be winning soon enough.

Unowhatimeanharry and Welsh Saint did not show up. The first named was there for a long way but faded late on, while Welsh Saint was very poor, given I was expecting a big run.

Horse To Follow

Relegate will be winning soon enough and are more prominent ride should do the job. She has clearly improved her jumping which was the one thing letting her down last season. 

 

Ryanair Chase

Frodon was our sole selection in this race and it is safe to say he was poor. I think Bryony Frost got bullied up front and gave the lead away far too easy. Frodon needs to front run to be seen at best and she should have done a bit more to keep that lead. Even if it meant going a bit faster and turned it into a stamina test, so be it. Min was the winner and held on well up the hill from the battling on Saint Calvados. 

Horse To Follow

Saint Calvados would have won this race if he had jumped the last fence. Unfortunately he fluffed his lines and lost momentum before rallying again up the hill. He is a much improved horse this season and has showed he is versatile in how you ride him. He was once a front runner but he has now learned to settle in behind them. He is only a 7 year old who is still improving.

 

Stayers Hurdle

We were on Emitom in this race who came home 4th place. I know some bookies paid 4 places so hope a few were on, although we only advised 3 places. I think Emitom will continue to improve and we have not seen the best of him over 3 miles, particularly as he is only a 6 year old. Lisnagar Oscar was the 50/1 winner of this race and in all fairness, he was there to be bet. He travelled well in the Cleeve Hurdle, back in January to finish 3rd, beaten 4 lengths to Paisley Park. On the day Paisley Park was 4/6 yet Lisnagar Oscar was 50/1. I guess the prices were too far apart and although hindsight is a wonderful thing, I feel it was a bet missed. 

 

Brown Advisory Plate

We had 3 selections with Simply The Betts, Death Duty and La Bague Au Roi.

Simply The Betts was my handicap NAP of the festival going into the week. As I mentioned on the day in the write up, a little annoyed I didn’t put before Imperial Aura won on the Tuesday, as the price just crashed. I did mention in Imperial Aura write up about Simply The Betts, so hopefully, even if a handful of you, used your own initiative and backed him pre Imperial Aura. I thought Simply The Betts was good enough to run in the Marsh Novice Chase and so it proved. A hors with a bright future and great to see Harry Whittington horses running well this week. 

Death Duty travelled well for a long way but couldn’t go through his run when it mattered. He was subject to a huge gamble on the day, eventually going off 8/1. I do think he has a race in him and he will now come down the handicap again.

La Bague Au Roi was jumping and travelling well but unfortunately was a faller at the 10th fence. We will never know but she was handicapped well in my opinion and would have been there at the end of the race.

Horse To Follow

As I already thought Death Duty and La Bague Au Roi were well handicapped going into the race, I will be monitoring where they go next to see if a chance presents itself. 

 

Mare’s Novice Hurdle

I was quietly confident about the chances of Floressa going into the race but she ran no sort of race, beaten very easily.

 

Kim Muir Handicap Chase

We had 2 selections in this race with Fitzhenry and Le Breuil.

Fitzhenry finished just outside the places in 5th place, just a neck back in 6th. Again Patrick Mullins had him right at the back, similar to the way he rode Carefully Selected. He stayed on well but was given too much to do. Some may have been paid out for this in 6th, but we advised 5 places. 

Le Breuil was give in the right place as the winner came from alongside him. He just wasn’t good enough on the day.

 

Cheltenham Festival Day Four

Triumph Hurdle

Solo was our solo selection in this race and after what he done at Kempton, in the Adonis Hurdle, I thought he was a horse would improve again. Unfortunately he never really travelled and could not go with the freak Goshen, who despite falling at the last, would have won by 15 lengths. I do think Solo has potential when he goes over fences so will watch where he goes next. 

 

County Hurdle

We had 2 selections in this race with Aramon and Rathhill both E/W.

A great run from Aramon in 2nd but could not get near the obviously very well handicapped Saint Roi. 

Rathill was at the back of the field and did run on at the end of the race, but still well beaten. A horse who is still well handicapped and with more experience can win races.

 

Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle

We had Thyme Hill and Latest Exhibition in this race.

Latest Exhibition was beaten only a neck after travelling smoothly throguhout. He reportedly lost a left hind shoe which would have done him no favours.

Thyme Hill was given a strange ride by Richard Johnson on the outside and went further than everyone else. He was still travelling and he tried to go through several gaps but was closed on a few occasions. You could say he was an unlucky loser given the ground he covered and the amount of times he got squeezed out. 

The winner Monkfish is a huge horse who looks built for chasing and over fences should improve further.

 

Gold Cup

We had 2 selections in this race with Delta Work and Clan Des Obeaux.

Delta Work just didn’t jump good enough and came home 5th. He is better than that but jumping is the name of the game.

Clan Des Obeaux just never travelled with the same zest that he normally does at Kempton. Cheltenham is not his course clearly and I imagine he will never run here again.

 

Foxhunters Chase

Minella Rocco came home 5th and ran with credit but could not get to the surprise 66/1 winner. No excuses as had everything in his favour. The ground dried out perfectly for him. I would be keen to see if he goes to Punchestown, of course if it is on.

 

Grand Annual

We had Us And Them and Theinval in this race and both placed at 20/1 and 50/1. Finally some returns after a torrid last day. 

 

Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle

We had Happygolucky and Mill Green in this race who again both placed at 66/1 and 50/1 to give us some nice E/W returns.

 

Conclusion

I wanted more from this week and a couple more winners or a double or treble that lands, and we are on our way to lovely profit. We still made it 12 from 12 years in profit but would have liked to have done it comfortably. 

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