Continuing with day two of the Festival, where I attempt to answer the simple question of whether the favourites will win the Grade 1 races:
Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle – Samcro. Current best odds 4/5. One of the very things I’ve got right so far in the lead up to the Festival is that this will be the chosen race for Gordon Elliott’s 6 year old gelding. I can only see two rivals, On The Blind Side and Next Destination, working on the basis the latter doesn’t end up in the Albert Bartlett. Both have good records, but from what I’ve seen Samcro is a class apart and has the necessary gears to win. In spite of Elliott saying ‘he still has to keep improving’ I’m backing him.
RSA Novices’ Chase – Presenting Percy. Current best price 3/1. This looks to be one of the best betting races of the week, with Presenting Percy and Monalee (4/1) currently battling for favouritism. I may be missing something , but I would struggle to present an argument for either. I’ve also written previously about my faith in Black Corton and a man has to display some loyalty so I’m against Presenting Percy.
Champion Chase – Altior. Current best price 8/11. All that fuss about Altior and the wind op seems like history now and all people will remember is that win at Newbury earlier in the month. And he looked the real deal. I’d like to make a case for Politilogue, but Altior looked in a different league running against him. Min is a threat, but has shown he can be beaten at the highest grade. In spite of only having raced once since April of last year, he’s a proven winner at Cheltenham so I’m backing Altior.
Champion Bumper – Blackbow. Current best price 6/1. For the avoidance of doubt, I’m hopeless at picking the winner in Bumpers. There will be a lot of unexposed horses who have won on their last time out. The only trick I’ve been told is to look for the distance of the previous victory. But to keep it easy, on the basis only one favourite has won this race in the last ten years, I’m against Blackbow.