Latest news

Cheltenham Feature Day 3

Thu 17 March 2016

Mujamala and Enola

Cheltenham Day Three

If we continue to have the entertainment and fairytale stories that have emerged on the first two days then the 2016 Festival really will be one to remember. The Neptune lived up to its billing as a two horse race and it was the slightly less fancied Yorkhill who came to the fore. His jumping was not the best at times but his engine enabled him to recover lost ground swiftly. His jumping was economical at the business end and he won comfortably enough in the end, Yanworth is a very good horse too and this rates as a decent renewal.

Blaklion was a very smart gutsy horse coming into the RSA but I felt he would just lack the class to win it. His guts saw him through and he put in a fine performance to see off the back to form Shaneshill. He travelled best of all but could not find as much for pressure as the winner. More of That was reported to have bled and seemed in trouble at stages a long way from home. Given what happened he was very brave to get back up for third.

Surely Sprinter Sacre could not regain his Champion Chase crown? That was what I felt as I could not see past the hot favourite Un De Sceaux. He came back close to his best and won convincingly, it was fantastic to watch. He had every chance to throw it in when he was niggled before the home turn seemingly going second best but he found on this better ground and he went away from the front running pair. People may argue they setup the race for him but they still finished second and third. Un De Sceaux in my mind is a much better horse than Special Tiara and he hasn’t run his best for me but you cannot take anything away from the Champion.

The rest of the action was thrilling and it was brilliant to see the veteran Any Currency hold on to beat the hot favourite Josies Orders. The placepot went when Balthazar King fell. Ballyandy has been tough all year and was tough once again when winning the Champion bumper. He found an enormous amount for pressure and I look forward to seeing him go over timber. Diamond King won the Coral Cup well and his shrewd trainer’s patience paid off. The Fred Winter was dramatic and both fallers at the last looked to be travelling well although the Mullins horse was possibly going the better. It was left to Paul Nicholls to claim the first two spots with Diego Charmil just clinging on.



13:30 JLT Novices Chase

This is a really tough race to try and pick apart but I am going for Black Hercules in the expectation he will travel well and be a better horse on this ground. Bristol De Mai has really impressed me over 2m 4f and could run a big race but my second selection for the placepot would be L’ami Serge and I am hoping he will regain the form that saw him run fourth in a Supreme when he got messed about.


14:10 Pertemps Hurdle

It seems significant that Barry Geraghty has gone for Leave At Dawn here as he has an improving profile and has been put away since he qualified for this race. I would forgive Box Office his woeful effort last time and put him in the mix too as he shaped at Sandown as if this was his trip.I have really struggled to find a third and have gone for another JP horse in Cup Final as he looks like he could carry on progressing.


14:50 Ryanair

If the Vautour we saw at Kempton shows up then he surely wins this as he travelled so well throughout the majority of the King George. It is a very hot race and it emphasises what a strong Gold Cup we have, what a shame Conygree is out injured. Roads To Riches was placed in a Gold Cup last year but takes his chance here and the King George third Al Ferof also takes his chance. I would have Smashing in the placepot as a long shot alongside Vautour, he has a lot of potential and hopefully can step up on his facile wins in easier company here.

15:30 World Hurdle

Warren Greatrex is very confident that Cole Harden can come back to life on this better ground but Thistlecrack has seemed to improve with every race this year and I will be very surprised if Cole Harden can beat him. I would add in Alpha Des Obeaux for the placepot as I think he can improve again.

16:10 Brown Plate

I was really hoping Ballynagour would run in the three mile handicap on day one but I can’t leave him out here. You can forget his last run but he travelled very well and this decent ground will suit him. Johns Spirit has been one of my ante post fancies and I cannot desert him now, he has shaped well and his trainer knows how to produce him at the peak of his powers for this meeting, he has his ground too.

16:50 Dawn Run mares’ hurdle

How can you oppose a Mullins trained mare? Limini looks another exciting prospect. Bloody Mary is one of the big unknowns but will have to handle the big occasion. Chocca Wocca is unexposed and I will take her as my second dart at the race.

17:30 Kim Muir

The Kim Muir concludes proceedings and festival favourite Cause of Causes lines up once more. I would not be wanting to be involved in the race but if you forced my hand I would whittle it down to The Giant Bolster, Silvergrove and Splash Of Ginge.

Best of luck


< Back