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Non-Smoking Man

Cheltenham NH Festival 2019

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Master Dino, recently installed as fav for the JLT Novice Chase following an impressive Plumpton win, is out injured, for the season.

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I'm sure you have read, but it looks like Samcro will miss Cheltenham this year with a lung infection.

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3 hours ago, antonio66 said:

I'm sure you have read, but it looks like Samcro will miss Cheltenham this year with a lung infection.

Yes I saw that. Next Destination is also out for theseason (Mullins).

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CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL TRACKER (Now you see them, now you dont..)

A Mullins phantom was due to run at Faireyhouse tomorrow - Cilao's Emery - but, alas this Arkle 20/1 shot misses the engagement, which would have been his seasonal debut. The clock is ticking...

Meanwhile, back here OK Corrall makes a second appearance over the bigger obstacles and faces, inter alia, Rocky's treasure. RT was 4 legths inferior to Santini recently so after the 1 50 at Warwick we will, hopefully have a line between the 2 Henderson hopefuls.

I am not expecting OK Corrall to win this and Im a spectator only. Indeed there has been a flood of money for OK Corrall to win the 4 mile National Hunt Chase, following the engagement of the amateur Derek O'Connor to ride tomorrow. (the NH Chase is for amateurs. Ive missed that market and now Im facing a 'Non' about a horse I have bet to win the RSA for hundreds at huge prices. C'est la vie...(One year only a third of my antepost bets made it to the starting line.) Nicky Henderson said OK C would run in 3 mile chases this season - thanks, Nicky.

Entries for the massive Leopardstown Feb 2/3 meeting are out. Well worth perusing...notable absentee is Draconien - given the fact its drifted like a barge lately I think the horse is sidelined with injury. That's a Non, then.

My 'Easy Gme' is entered on both days over 2 miles, but the jewel in the crown has to be the Irish Champion Hurdle for which these are entered :

Cilaos Emery;



Petit Mouchoir;

Samcro (doubtful);






Apples Jade;



Edited by Non-Smoking Man
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Quite agree Antonio..

Guessing what will run where is half the battle antepost - connections have a huge advantage as punters, witness JP Mcmanus's shrewd handling of OK Corral to switch from the RSA to the 4 miler. Clearly his money was down b4 the booking of OConnor for OK Corral signalling the target would be the 4 mile NH Chase. It went from 21 to 8 in a stroke.

In the case of the Irish Champion the odds are partly determined by individual bookmaker's intelligence on the likely stable selected.

For example Betfair Sportsbook go 25/1 Saldier for the Irish Champion Hurdle, and William Hill 10/1.

I couldnt resist the 25/1 and I bet £10 with Paddy Power and £4 Betfair. (I was capped at £4. Are they restricting my account or just playing cagey on this race..?) Not certain if Apples Jade (fav) will take her chance. If she switched from the OLBG Mares to the Cheltenham Champion Hurdle she would be nearly favourite over Buveur D'Air.

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Part 1 argued that Kalashnikov was too short a price and a subsequent defeat has seen it drift. So far so good - but I didnt make a case for a winner, or, better, a value bet.

I think I have found one..

Basically you have the irish on the one hand and the English on the other. The form lines crossed once when Ornua ventured over to Sandown and was runner up to Dynamite Dollars in the Henry V111. That made the Irish form look better because it had been beaten further in Ireland, but Ornua hasnt been out since so that isnt helping an interpretation.

I shall provide a 'Class chart' accompanied by my own speed figures and then look at the prices on offer. (For 1st year form students, the best races are divided into classes, or 'Grades', Grade 1 being the highest, then grade 2 , then, finally grade 3.)

Dynamite Dollars (GB) Grade 1 (1st), Grade 3 (1st) 81, 78.  

Le Richebourg (RoI) Grade 1 (1st) 75

Hardline (RoI) Grade 1 (1st), Grade 3 (1st) 80

Lalor (GB) grade 2 (1st), Grade 1 (3rd) 71, 69

Mengli Khan (RoI) Grade 1 (4th) 69

Us And Them (RoI) Grade 1 (2nd) 71, 72

Kalashnikov Grade 2 (Gb) (2nd) 72

Betting: Lalor 5/1

               Kalashnikov, Dynamite Dollars, 7/1

               Le Richebourg 8/1

               Mengli Khan 14/1

               Hardline 25/1

The stand out value is Hardline whi equal top on class, and only 1 spot behind Dynamite Dollars on time, yet is X5 the price.

There is a formline that connects 2 parts of the Republic Of Ireland (RoI) form provided by Us and them who was beaten 10L by Hardline but only 4L by Le Richebourg next time out. That means that Hardline should beat Le Richebourg 6L when they meet. (That assumes Us and Them hasnt improved in the interim. Which the Racing Post ratings say it did - by 12L. Isay it didnt because its speed figures (see above) are virtually identical across the 2 races.)

HARDLINE then, for me and ive backed it to win £440.

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Ive heard the phrase 'non runner no bet' a few times on the RP podcast so, as I said, this thread will end here, apart from a 'denouement' post at the end of it all, and a statement of my antepost book (warts and all) in a few days b4 the big event.

Meanwhile I want to dicuss the 2 mile novice hurdlers...


I think this is wide open and I dont think the favourite Angel's Breath hasnt done nearly enough to warrant being 11/2. I think it should be 10s the field.

AB has won 1 hurdle race, which, admittedly was a Grade 2, but Seddon who was third then is only rated 132 and they only jumped 4 hurdles because of low sun (I take it). They dawdled early on and therefore the time was poor. It runs on Saturday in another grade 2 which will tell us more because a good yardstick is due to challenge - Mister Fisher (from the same stable).

Next in the betting is Al Dancer, who has only won a 0-137 handicap off 129.

Elixir De Nutz won the Unibet Tolworth Hurdle (Grade 1) which provided the winner of the Supreme last year, but Summerville Boy that day recorded an 87 speed figure against Elixir's 69  in the same race.

Vision D'Honeur is next in the betting at 12/1 and he is the shortest of the Irish. And, yes, he was visually impressive in winning an £8K maiden but the time was poor and I dont see why it has improved past Klassical dream who beat it the time before.

Aramon is  another Grade 1 winner over hurdles in the race, but that was slow (SF 47) and that doesnt impress me.

Battleoverdoyen we have spoken about , but that may go for the Ballymore at the Festival. When it made its debut I gave it 78 which is far superior to all the horses I have mentioned but, in more hotly contested Grade 1 next time out it recorded a 60.

On the same card I watched another Gigginstown horse win an £8K  maiden impressively, also registering a 60. This horse is called Valdieu and is trained by Noel Meade, rather than Gordon Elliot. It needs to improve to win a Supreme but in the absence of competitors with obvious credentials its not inconceivable that it could be good enough on the day.

VALDIEU has another opportunity to showcase its nascent claims in  the 2 mile Chanelle Pharma Grade 1 novice hurdle in Leopardstown on Febuary 3rd. Currently Valdier is 12/1 plus there and that's a price I have taken as, apart from Battleoverdoyen, they are much of a muchness, and 12/1 is value. (So is the 120 available on Betfair for the Supreme - Ive dropped a few quid on that.) One thing I like to see in a horse's profile, especially a novice, are these form figures: 3,2,2,2,1,1. This suggests the animal has risen to every increased 'ask' that it is faced with. Bigger tasks ahead, of course, but the Supreme looks well below the normal standard. Whatever wins the Pharma might well win the Supreme. The Irish have won roughly 2 out 3 at Cheltenham for the past few seasons.

Jack NSM

PS Trainer Noel Meade has just commented on Valdieu in a panel discussion about the Dublin Ferstival. He said its a definite runner in the Pharma, and its a horse they've always liked (they all say that though). They'll see how he gets on b4 anything else (meaning whether he will go for the Supreme). The discussion was on Racing TV. Felix Desji will not run in the Pharma, stated its trainer.

Edited by Non-Smoking Man

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