Tuesday, March 15, 2022
Last year we tipped up Vintage Clouds the 28-1 winner of the Ultima (2.50), citing the Sue Smith trained gelding’s excellent record in the race. He was third in 2018 off a mark of 141, second in 2019 off 144, eighth in 2020 off 151 and won last year off 143. This year he’s back up to 144 so is handicapped to go close again and at 16-1 he makes each-way appeal, though at the age of 12 winning again might just be beyond him. The Irish surprisingly don’t have a good record in this so for once it may pay to focus on the home contingent. The drying ground should suit Tea Clipper who ran very well at last year’s Festival over hurdles when a staying on third in the Coral Cup at 33-1. He’s attracted support from 16-1 to 11-1 following the 48 hour declarations. Day Two: Wednesday In the Champion Chase (3.30), it’s hard to oppose the machine that is Shiskin from a ‘win’ perspective, but with rain forecast on the day then Put the Kettle On, who’s done us a huge favour at the last two festivals does make each-way appeal. ‘Polly’ is 4 from 5 at Cheltenham, like Shishkin has won at the last two Festivals and the 22-1 currently on offer consequently looks too big. In the Cross Country Chase (4.10) Tiger Roll goes for his fourth victory in the race and his sixth Festival success of all. He’s likely to be tough nut to crack again (he won the race last year doing handstands) but that is factored into his current price of 6-4. Win, lose or draw let’s hope he comes back safe to loud cheers on what could well be his last race before retirement. In the Coral Cup (2.50) previous course form is usually a big advantage with 10 of the last 12 winners all having run at Prestbury Park before. Last year Grand Roi was sent off favourite but got checked at a crucial stage when rallying and in first time headgear could be worth chancing again each way at 16-1 for Gordon Elliot who saddled the second in 2020 and the winner in 2016. The Shunter won at the Festival over fences last year and is respected too given his course form. Thursday and Friday to follow….