Friday, March 17, 2023



Horse-by horse Guide 

 Key trends: *Age: Just one winner older than 8 has won in the last 10 years, and no horse older than 9 since 1998. 

Nine of the last ten runnings have been won by horses aged 7 or 8. 

* Every winner this century had won at least one Grade 1 race. 

*Last four winners trained in Ireland ; six of the last seven winners Irish-trained. 

*18 of last 22 runners had won or been placed before at the Cheltenham Festival. 

 1. AHOY SENOR Odds 25-1 

His form figures under Rules Oct-Dec: UR, 1, 2, 5, 3,5. Jan-April 2,1,1,1,2,1,1 Won the Cotswold Chase over the course in January and although he’d still need to step up on that, he was a good second on testing ground in the RSA at the Festival last year and has definite each-way claims for in-form yard if his jumping holds up. 

2. A PLUS TARD Odds 4-1 

Last year’s 15l winner, and the runner-up in 2021, he has only had the one run this year when very disappointing in the Betfair Chase at Haydock, but de Bromhead’s stable stars are running well this week and if he’s back to anywhere near his best then he has an obvious chance. 


Impressive winner of the King George in December, and he certainly wasn’t stopping at the end there. Can’t be ruled out given he’s only lost once over fences, but would have been more confident that he’d definitely get the trip without the recent rain. 

4. CONFLATED Odds: 18-1

 Developed into a top-class performer having started out in handicaps, did win the Savills Chase at Leopardstown impressively at Christmas; probably needs to step up again, but not entirely ruled out if stamina holds out. 

5. ELDORADO ALLEN Odds: 125-1 

Solid enough performer but has had a number of gos at the highest level but up to now has generally come up short and it would be a surprise if he can change that today.

 6. GALOPIN DES CHAMPS Odds: 5-4. 

Only defeat over fences came at the Festival last year when crashing out at the last when he had the Turners at his mercy. Three more good wins since then including on his first try over 3m in the Irish Gold Cup at Leopardstown. If his stamina holds on the soft ground then he has a worthy favourite’s chance and rates the likeliest winner though he may be too short now for many punters.

  7. HEWICK Odds: 50-1 

Has been a revelation these past 12 months landing the old Whitbread Gold Cup, the Galway Plate and the Grand National Hurdle in America! On good ground you could make an each-way case for him even though its his first run in UK Graded company but the going looks to have gone against him. 

8. MINELLA INDO Odds: 16-1. 

Winner in 2021, runner-up last year, he looks a big price considering his record in the race and at the Festival in general (two wins and two seconds), but from a win point of view his age is a negative as we’ve had no ten-year-old winner since Cool Dawn in 1998. 

 9. NOBLE YEATS Best odds: 14-1.

 Bids to become the first Grand National winner to subsequently win a Gold Cup and only the third horse to win both races. Has to enter each-way calculations based on his staying on 3rd in the Cotswold Chase when he was technically the best horse at the weights; the cheek-pieces which were on at Aintree last April are now back on. 

10. PROTEKTORAT Odds: 18-1. 

Ran a very good race to be third in this last year; would have got closer without blundering at the last, disappointed in the Cotswold Chase having been a very impressive winner of the Betfair, but does tend now to alternate between very good runs and disappointing ones, another with definite each-way possibilities if all goes well.

 11. ROYAL PIGALLE Odds: 40-1 

6th and 5th in last two runnings, softer ground may help him get closer this time but while he might run into a place (was 2nd in the King George), he is 0-5 at the highest level so a win is probably unlikely. 

12. SOUNDS RUSSIAN Odds 40-1. 

Improving all the time over fences and ran his best race to date when 2nd in the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham in January- he probably would have won without a mistake 3 out. Has to improve again but Northern challenger not without a chance given a clear round. 

 13. STATTLER Odds: 14-1. 

Won the National Hunt chase at the Festival so definitely will have the stamina for this; recent rain will help his cause but price probably just about right. Yet another with place possibilities. 

VERDICT: It’s hard to remember a better Gold Cup, with so many in with each-way chances. Red hot favourite Galopin Des Champs is the likeliest winner but if he doesn’t quite get home on the testing ground there are plenty of others who might land the spoils. Last year’s 15l winner A Plus Tard has attracted market support, while at longer odds Cotswold Chase trio Noble Yeats, Ahoy Senor and Sounds Russian could figure, while last year’s third Protektorate is another danger if back to his ‘A’ Game. Bravemansgame has to go on the short-list too if conditions start to dry up while Conflated and Stattler are two ‘dark horses‘ from Ireland.2021 winner Minella Indo ticks nearly all the right boxes but has the age stat against him.

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Thursday, March 16, 2023

Intelligent Punters Guide to the Cheltenham Festival- Day 3

INTELLIGENT PUNTER’S GUIDE TO THE 2023 CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL (Day 3) Neil Clark Well, it’s been pretty good tipping so far this week but can we keep it up on a tricky looking Day 3? Here goes. 1.30 Mighty Potter . N.B. Appreciate It 2.10 Maxuum, The Bosses Oscar e-w. 2.50 Shishkin should win but French Dynamite cld be each-way value. 3.30 Teahupoo, Gold Tweet e-w. 4.10 Marvel de Cerissy e-w. Born by the Sea ew (highly speculative!). 4.50 Luccia; The Model Kingdom each-way 5.30 Royal Thief, Dunboyne. If I help you/have helped you back a few winners, all donations large or small gratefully received!

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

The Intelligent Punter's Guide to the 2023 Cheltenham Festival (Day 2)

Neil Clark After a great day 1 at the Cheltenham Festival for our Intelligent Punter's Guide it's time to turn our attention to the action on Day 2. 1.30 The Ballymore Willie Mullins has won this five times, including last year, while Gordon Elliott has bagged two of the last five runnings. Mullins saddles four of the 10 runners, and having won it with the favourite last year who was unbeaten, could well do so again courtesy of Impaire et Passe who looked very good when landing a Grade 2 at Punchestown in January. Having won yesterday's opener with Marine Nationale the Connell/O'Sullivan combo's Good Land has to be respected and put on the each-way shortlist. 2.10 The Brown Advisory (aka 'The RSA') Gerri Colombe, unbeaten in seven races under Rules looks a worthy favourite but Sir Gerhard, who won the Ballymore on this day a year ago could be a big threat. At 6-1 CD winner The Real Whacker, who also had a Gold Cup entry, makes definite each-way appeal. 2.50 The Coral Cup. It looks impossible with 26 runners going to post but we've done very well in this down the years and hopefully again this year. You need to have three or four horses in your portfolio for this and among those who might reward each-way support are HMS Seahorse (a good fourth in the Fred Winter at the Festival last year), and Captain Conboy who's been well backed. Messrs Henderson and Elliott have an excellent record in this so it's probably wise to include at least one of their runners in your 'team' . Hendo's Call Me Lord is 50-1 but is a course winner while the unexposed Riaan (28-1) might be Elliott's best value entrant. 3.30 The Champion Chase It's the battle of the 'Es' with Editeur Du Gite, Edwardstone and Energumene (last year's winner) the leading contenders. You could make a very good case for all three, but marginal preference is for last year's Arkle winner Edwardstone based on how the race is likely to be run (yesterday on the soft going it suited those horses produced late). 4.10 The Cross Country Gordon Elliott is the go-to man in this having been responsible for five of the last six winners and he can strike again courtesy of last year's winner Delta Work, who was easily the best horse at the wieghts in the CD handicap in January. At 66-1 Elliott's Mortal might be worth a small each-way interest too as he's run quite well on two previous tries over CD and could stay on for a place. 4.50 The Grand Annual Dads Lad won over CD at the October meeting after running in the Greatwood Hurdle in November was put away for this presumably to protect his mark over fences. He has to go on the each-way shortlist, along with last year's winner Global Citizen and Final Orders, who has been in tremendous form in Ireland. If you have enjoyed reading this and made some money with my tips yesterday, then all donations gratefully received!

Monday, March 13, 2023

The Intelligent Punters Guide to the 2023 Cheltenham Racing Festival

DAY ONE (Tuesday) Neil Clark And they're off! It's time again for the Olympics of National Hunt racing: otherwise known as the Cheltenham Racing Festival. Let’s take a look at day one (Tuesday) to see where the best bets for ‘Intelligent Punters’ lie: 1.30 The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle Festival maestros Mullins and Henderson have won eight of the last ten renewals, a period which has also seen just one horse win at double figure odds. But just four outright favourites have obliged so the percentage, value call, as Henderson has no runners this year, is an each-way play on a Willie Mullins shot available at around 5-1/6-1. Il Etait Temps, who beat favourite Facile Vega (also trained by Mullins), at the Dublin Racing Festival last month fits the bill. But its probably wise to have a bet on Facile Vega too as three of the four winning favourites since 2013 were trained by the Master of Closutton. 2.00 The Arkle Again, its Mullins and Henderson who have the best record in this with seven wins in the last ten years. They train the two market leaders this time, in the shape of El Fabiolo and Jonbon, who was runner-up behind stable-mate Constitution Hill in last season’s Supreme. That Festival form might just give the Henderson runner the edge, while last season’s Champion Hurdle fourth, Saint Roi (trained by Mullins) is an each-way alternative at around 8-1. At huge odds, Straw Fan Jack would be a fairytale winner for Sheila Lewis, but while he’s up against it on the ratings he is a CD winner and could perform better than expected. 2.35 The Ultima Just one favourite has obliged in this ultra-competitive 3m1f handicap chase in the last ten years, and while we’ve had two winners during that time going off at 28-1, six of the winners in the past decade have been between 8-1 to 11-1. It’s also worth noting that four of the last five winners have carried 11st or less and with testing going this year the advantage could again be with the lower weights. Given the domination of the Emerald Isle at the Festival in recent years, it’s pretty striking that there’s been only been two Irish winners of this since 1967, and none since 2006. Into Overdrive has done really well over fences this term and has to be short listed, while Monbeg Genius, representing a yard (Jonjo O’Neill) that has won the race three times before, and Cloudy Lane, who ran very well for a long way on his return to action at Haydock last month and whose trainer saddled the 14-1 fourth in this twelve months ago, are among others that you could make a cogent each-way case for. Horses that have run well in the race before have a good record- think of Vintage Clouds’ victory at 28-1 which we tipped up two years ago, so on that basis Oscar Elite, third last year off just a 1lbs lower mark, needs to be considered. You can’t rule out last year’s winner Corach Rambler doing it again but at 11-2 arguably the value in the price has gone seeing he's 6lbs higher this year. 3.30 The Champion Hurdle The phenomenon that is Constitution Hill seems to have scared away a lot of potential runners as only seven have been declared, the smallest Champion Hurdle field since 1974. At 1-3 the Henderson hot pot, who won last year’s Supreme Novices’ doing handstands, is hard to oppose but with just two places on offer, the race doesn’t make much appeal to small-stakes punters, but it will hopefully be one to savour. 4.10 Mares Hurdle There’ll be a huge cheer if dual Champion Hurdle winner Honeysuckle- who also won this race in 2020- can end her stellar career with victory here, but she faces tough opposition in the shape of Henderson duo Maries Rock- who won the race last year, and Epatante, who won the 2020 Champion Hurdle and who’s been placed in that race the last two years. Love Envoi, a winner at the Festival last year can’t be ruled out either as she’ll absolutely love the ground. It’s a very tough call but some of Honeysuckle’s best performances have come at the Festival and her 3-3 record here just tilts things in her favour. If you can get 11-2 about Epatante then she looks a solid each-way alternative. 4.50 The Fred Winter If ever there’s a race to have a punt on long-priced outsiders at the Festival this is it. In the last ten years we’ve had three winners at 33-1, two at 25-1 and one at 80-1! Incredibly Yer Man Willie Mullins is yet to train the winner, though he has been knocking on the door. So bearing in mind the average SP of winners, we need to cast our net far and wide. Two other points to consider: Gordon Elliot has won the race twice in the last five years and Irish-trained runners have won it five years in a row. Possibles for the short-list are the Elliot pair Ludus (28-1) and Jazzy Matty (14-1) and Sir Allen (11-1), who’s shown good form on testing ground. Jessie Harrington’s Mighty Mo Missouri (25-1) is another long-shot to consider each-way. 5.30 National Hunt Chase Messrs Mullins (W) and Elliot have dominated this in the past decade, with six victories altogether. Mullins saddles the red-hot even-money favourite Gaillard du Mesnil, who looks the likeliest winner, but at 6-1 Elliot’s Chemical Energy, who won at Cheltenham at the October meeting, has to be backed each-way. . If my tips/analysis help you to find a winner or two-(hopefully they will!), or if you have simply enjoyed reading the Guide, then please feel free to hit the ‘Donate’ button as it‘s all unpaid work. All contributions gratefully received!