Racing, Uncategorized

Festival Day One

day 1 blog

Finally after months of talk the Declarations for Day 1 of the greatest show on earth are here. While unfortunately the rain has also come to the party. Soft, Heavy in places and with the weather forecast suggesting the rain is not finished. Likely to be heavy all over.

The one saving grace for this is the ground should be fresh. Simon Claisse usually keeps the festival ground for the festival and sod the rest of the meetings.

Any comments and thoughts let me know @theweldon88 and of course the best of luck!!

13:30 Supreme Novices

After the recent plunge with Bet365 with Samcro, Ante post punters in both the Ballymore and this race can breath again as he was declared for the former.

Getabird looks like another Rich Ricci, Mullins and Walsh  Supreme winner but I am not convinced and after not getting involved with bigger prices am willing to oppose. This in truth looks a poor field. Kalashnikov brings handicap form (all losers 21/62 placed) to the race and the general thought is he needed better ground. The price gap with him  and Summerville Boy based on Tolworth running is over exaggerated and there is not that much between them. The Tolworth is not usually a good trial. In grade one novice hurdles only two have gone on to win at the festivals. Noland 2006 and Yorkhill (Neptune).

First Flow of Kim Baileys was supposed to skip the festival and only a tweet earlier last week suggested he would turn up with the ground now in his favour. He is unbeaten over hurdles and won impressively in a Grade Two last time. Whether or not that form accounts too much is hard to weigh up but he must have a good chance.

Paloma Blue was another I was interested in. He absolutely tanked through the Deloitte and was upsides Samcro before tiring and been outstayed by Samcro and Duc Des Genievres. He won a two-mile Leopardstown maiden in a decent time and has placed at Graded level in Bumpers behind Fayonah.

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The final one of interest is Slate house of Colin Tizzard. He won a trail for this race over course and distance in November. Both runs since have been disappointing. I am happy to ignore the most recent as he blatantly didn’t stay and the yard had been under a cloud. Back amongst the winners now and this one is way overpriced with the assistance of a first time tongue tie.

Willing to throw two darts at this with Paloma Blue who would have been an easy enough winner in the Deloitte a good trail for this race and both horses that beat him that day do not re oppose.

Slate House is overpriced and has shown ability to handle course, distance, ground and is a massive price.


.5pt E/W Paloma Blue 14/1 William Hill and 888sport

.5pt E/W Slate House 25/1 Generally

14:10 Arkle

Small field here with only five taking up the engagement and with that I have no real angle into the race.

Footpad has been flawless over fences and no surprise to see him hack up. Would also not be a shock to me if Petit Mouchair overturned the form from the Irish Arkle. Even if he does Saint Calvados is potentially be a freak and Brian Power has the class to be involved but doesn’t seem to jump well enough. Robinshill is not good enough to be considered.

Sitting firmly on the fence here.


No bet.

14:50 Ultima

The first handicap of the week and its a very tricky one to solve. Gold Present leads the market and is solid, tick plenty of boxes on trends and has had a nice break, If he can handle the ground he will hard to keep out of the winners enclosure.

Singlefarmpayment has run well here in the past without winning and has been very frustrating. Not winning since December 16. He is still 12lbs higher than that win and was beaten in this a short head last year. While this looks easier he was arguably in better form last year.

The David Pipe horse Ramses De Teillee is very interesting. Four chase runs with form figs of 1212, all on heavy ground and all over around three miles. He looks a bit of a plunge horse is one for the shortlist at least.

Shantou Flyer is another who will be going on that list, James Bown takes a valuable three pounds off his back. He loves it around Cheltenham. My only fear is he is very well exposed now and three miles may just stretch him. However at 20/1 I’m willing to chance.

The main selection will be Beware The Bear. This second season chaser loves soft going and a trip. While he disappointed in the Welsh national he was very good at Newcastle flying late to get up. He is a dour stayer and ran well in the National Hunt Chase last year (rider lost irons). He is liable to a bad error but if he gets it right I can’t have him out of the places.

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.5pt E/W Beware The Bear 14/1 Generally

.5pt E/W Shantou Flyer 20/1 Generally

15:30 Champion Hurdle

Thirteen runners to post for the feature on Day One. Reigning Champion Buveur D’Air tries to do what only Faugheen has done in the past ten years and win at odds on. Nicky Hendersons horse will also become the first to retain the Champion Hurdle crown since Hardy Eustace. He hasn’t really had a race this year and its hard to say how good he is. Rated 169 he is the best in this field by a country mile taking into account that Faugheen hasn’t run to that mark in a long time. Both Willie Mullins and Nicky Henderson run four each in this race. To me that screams Faugheen isn’t back to his best, while the cheek pieces might help him to try to make all. While Nicky is trying to ensure he gets a proper pace for Buveur D’Air.

The rest are a much of a muchness. Melon hasn’t gone on this season. Wicklow Brave will be better later in the year but has to have a live place chance. My Tent or Yours the ground has to be against him. Elgin brings solid handicap form but surely isn’t good enough.

Mick Jazz has been good in defeat and took advantage of Faugheens failure at Christmas. All this leads me, and don’t laugh, to Yorkhill.

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He is a three-time grade one winner as a novice, twice winning at the Cheltenham festival, won on heavy ground and has shown the class previously to win. The remains of his ability have to be taken on trust as in two runs this year he has shown no resemblance to a race horse but lets look at those two runs over fences. Leopardstown Christmas chase he was far to free over three miles and at the Dublin Racing festival made a bad mistake early. Back to a place he loves on ground that will stifle a few and his extra stamina will come into play. While he was never the most slickest of hurdles he would get over them without losing too much momentum the opposite of what was happening over fences. It wouldn’t, to me be the strangest result and at current odds I’m happy he can finish second to the Fav at least.


1pt e/w Yorkhill 14/1 William Hill. 12/1 Generally

1pt Win Yorkhill W/O Buveur D’Air 5/1 Willliam Hill

16:10 Mares

Another shortie in Apples Jade and this one is pretty much as banker as they come. She won the race last year in what to me appears to have been a better renewal and has taken her form to a higher level winning in open company twice in Ireland. I cannot oppose but at the prices she is one for multi if that is your thing.

The potential spanner in the works in Benie Des Dieux but at 7/2 the price has long been taken and she would need to step up massively on what she has previously shown. Not a given but definitely a possibility.

La Bague Au Roi is another fly in the ointment but my thoughts are she wants three miles and might just set it up for Apples Jade.


No Bet

16:50 National Hunt Chase

Another race that has badly cut up from the very early entries we had. I have this down to three runners.

Jury Duty – well tipped up on preview nights. Jamie Codd takes the ride and first time tongue tie. Yard have also won this race three times in the last ten. So whats not to like, the horse has its quirks and has twice shown it. Once over hurdles at Punchestown and more recently when left clear and pulling himself up over fences at Naas. Now some will say that he would have won had Mossbank not fallen but it’s not a trait I want over a marathon trip

No Comment – Owners and jockey have excellent record in the race but the fear is Philip Hobbs yard form and the lack of experience over fences means he is a terrible price at the quoted 6/1

The selection is Ms Parfois a very progressive mare, she has won three times this year and placed twice. Last time with a career best behind leading RSA hope in Black Corton. She loves soft ground and at is available at a very fair each way price. She doesn’t have too much to find with these and getting a weight allowance has to go close.

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1pt E/W Ms Parfois 8/1 Bet365, Skybet and Boylesports

17:30 Novice Handicap

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Ibis Du Rheu looks like this has been the plan for this since last years festival (pulled up in Ultima). One run since then to finish fourth when Paul Nicholls horses clearly needed the run and five-pound lower mark than last years run. He ends up only two-pound higher than when winning the Martin Pipe handicap. In that race he beat Tully East a future winner of this race and based on previous form he looks well overpriced.

The Irish contingent look to have a good hand with Any Second Now – finished to the favourite of the Arkle, JTL and the RSA. This is his first time in a handicap and its near impossible to say how good he can be, however based on graded runs over fences he would need to jump better.

De Plotting Shed rates as one of Gordon Elliot best handicap chances for the weak but for me he is very vulnerable. He seems to always find one too good and whether that is by design is unknown.

Barney Dwan is a decent nag and finished a good second in the Pertemps last season, however he hasn’t looked in his runs this season as an ideal chaser and again is  opposable.


1pt E/W Ibis Du Rheu 25/1 Bet365 20/1 Generally.


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