So far I’ve offered two tips for Cheltenham. Firstly, If The Cap Fits for the Supreme Novices. Harry Fry announced on Friday that due to a muscle tear, he won’t be running. Secondly, Elgin for the Champion Hurdle. I wrote in support of Alan King’s six year old, largely based on questioning the favourite, Buveur D’Air’s preparation. The argument went that due to the cold snap, Nicky Henderson would be unable to get him out for a run around Kempton yesterday and wouldn’t, therefore, be match fit for the Festival. Buveur D’Air got to have his workout and Henderson reported it ‘was perfect’ as part of his build up.
OK so I’m beginning to look like a bit of a dick head. But more than twenty years of defending hopeless causes before hostile Magistrates has taught me, if nothing else, to be resilient and inbuilt an ability to bounce back.
In an attempt to rehabilitate myself, I’m going to begin by going through the Festival Grade 1 races and give a view on whether to support the favourite. I will avoid any comment on value and, to avoid humiliating myself any further, will try and keep it simple.
So here’s Day one:
Supreme Novices’- Getabird. Current best price 13/8. Lightly raced. Won all three hurdle contests, but nothing at a pace and unused to large fields. Also untested jumping on the likely firmer ground. Doesn’t get my backing.
The Arkle- Footpad. Current best price 11/8. Has won the key Irish prep races and proved himself on good to soft ground. In a division that lacks any strength in depth, he gets my backing.
Champion Hurdle- Buveur D’Air. Current best price 4/7. Looks to have it all, except for a proper test this season, which could be crucial. Having argued the case against him yesterday, I’m going to have to stick to my guns and won’t be backing him.
Mares’ Hurdle- Apple’s Jade. Current best price 4/6. I can’t say I know an awful lot about any of the rivals, but just looking at the form, I would struggle to argue against her. She, therefore, gets my backing.