Cheltenham Preview Night – Haydock Park – Monday 6th March
MC – Jonathan Doidge (JD)
Henry Brooke – HB
Micky Hammond – MH
Andy Gibson – AG
Kyle Drummond – KD
Day 1 – Champion Hurdle.
HB – Impressed by Buveur Dair LTO at Sandown but Cheltenham is a much different track.
KD – Would lay Buveur Dair. Feels it is an afterthought with the switch back to hurdles after Faugheen etc. pulling out. Will give 4/1 for up to £100.
AG – Depends on the ground, if it is actual Good/Soft or a PR Good/soft. BD would like it Good/Soft. Noel Fehily good pair of hands and will guarantee a place. AG suggests backing BD in running as he is likely to be held up.
MH – Petit Mouchoir has excellent chance but also likes BD. Has been told BD is working very well at home. This isn’t a vintage Champion Hurdle. Would lay Yanworth, not good enough.
JD confirms Mark Walsh will ride Buveur Dair.
HB – thinks you can discount Yanworth’s last win.
AG – Yanworth is quirky, clouts a few hurdles and will trade higher in running. Thinks PM will lead and The New One will go after him but doesn’t think PM will last home (fade 2 or 3 out) so may be a trade off opportunity in running.
KD – Brain Power has come on a lot this season and entitled to be here but will go off bigger on the day.
MH – Says Brain Power has more to find and BD will win.
AG – If Limini is supplemented it would be interesting, travels well but also has a bit to find.
KD – The New One has no chance, move on.
KD – Altior, so impressive and is a banker. Charbel E/W as an alternative
AG – Should have backed Charbel in the without Altior market when he was a much bigger price. Was 12s now 5/2.
MH – Yorkhill will go JLT, Altior was great at Newbury, will win. Race to sit back and enjoy.
HB – If he could ride anything in the race bar Altior it would be Cloudy Dream but nothing will get near Altior.
AG – Better ground would suit Cloudy Dream and the trainer says he has an E/W chance.
KD – Melon is so short as he is a Mullins horse and will give 5/1 on him.
AG – Melon is a false favourite, also says due to the horse and jockey. His times are not as good as PM or even Let’s Dance, would oppose at this price.
MH – Moon Racer has a chance if he turns up here. Melon has right connections and Mullins has several to pick from so he must think Melon has a good chance here. Thinks winner will come from first 3 or 4 in market.
HB – Doesn’t think Neon Wolf will run here and Melon does has a chance.
AG & MH both like Ballyandy.
HB – Expects Ballyandy and Moon Racer to battle out the finish.
AG – No Bet, Vroum Vroum Mag worthy favourite and will probably win.
HB – VVM fan, won well LTO at Doncaster and he was ill.
MH – VVM.
KD – Taken next to nothing Ante-post on this race or the Close Brothers handicap.
JD – Likes Rock the Kasbah.
AG – Likes Singlefarmpayment but unsure if he runs here or the Kim Muir (until I tell him at the break!!). Ballylongford is a decent E/W at about 50s.
MH – Likes Champers on Ice wherever he runs (here or the 4miler) and also the Druids Nephew both E/W,
HB – Holywell E/W.
AG – Backed Foxtail Hall. AG then mentions that Brian Hughes who hasn’t made it tonight is very keen indeed on his ride Double Ws and suggests and E/W bet. BH says he has a MASSIVE chance. Interesting!!
MH – Would back Foxtail Hill.
HB – Make sure you pick a solid jumper in this race as they go quick.
Couple of questions from the floor but nothing else really to note from Day 1.
Day 2 –
Queen Mother Champion Chase
MH – Douvan worthy favourite. Gods Own e/w possibly but would back Special Tiara e/w
AG – Backed Special Tiara e/w, good bet
HB – Gods Own will plod on. Douvan is best horse in training and won’t be beat.
MH – Also likes Special Tiara e/w
AG – Neon Wolf’s performance LTO was brilliant. Unknown around Cheltenham, would prefer soft ground. No bet for him. MDO to place is pushed
KD – Couldn’t believe his firm put up Neon Wolf at 3s in racing post. Wouldn’t oppose him
HB – Finians Oscar has done what is expected of him, gets job done. Loves Neon Wolf, won’t have a problem with the hill.
MH – Thinks Finians Oscar will make a great chaser in time. Neon wolf will have too much toe for them. Would like to see Death Duty in here.
AG – the form of FO has collapsed lately.
AG – Might bite very good LTO but only time at Cheltenham didn’t jump all. However he could quite easily make all.
KD – in previous preview nights the Henderson team are really keen on Whisper as is Davy Russell who will ride. Also thinks MB may make all. If ground becomes testing then he would back American but he is a fragile horse.
MH – Royal Vacation has a slight chance but Whisper is his idea of a winner
HB – Royal vacation has won races due to others failing. Would listen to the Henderson yard over Whisper.
KD – Dan Skelton keen on Cause Tojours. Currently about 10/1 e/w.
MH – Ballyward e/w
AG & HB – No real thoughts.
KD – Elliot wants to run Tombstone here. Owner wants Champion Hurdle
AG – Peregrine Run in off 142 e/w at 12s. Be suited by a fast gallop
MH – Air Horse One e/w if he runs
HB – Points out that all Elliott’s runners will have a chance of winning. Bryan Cooper very bullish about his rides.
JD – Likes Divin Bere.
AG – If he had to pick one would go Dinaria Des Obeaux. Not strong but catches eye.
KD – Long Call is extremely well fancied by Tony Martin yard
MH – Domperignon Du Lys looks a likely improver
HB – If on soft side then Brian Ellison’s Nietzsche is apparently flying at home
AG – Unowwhatimeanharry is probably best value of all short price favourites. The fly in ointment could be quick ground
HB – Harry has great profile but would back Cole Harden e/w
MH – Jezki e/w may improve for step up in trip. Thinks Harry will win.
KD – Can’t put up anything up against Harry. Skinny but worthy price.
AG – backed Cole Harden e/w at 14s and 12s. Warren Greateaux thinks CH is beck to best but doesn’t want rain. Ballyoptic or CH without the fav could be the bet.
JD – CH e/w as well.
JD – Antepost bet on Uxizandre, one of bets of week. UDS wants it soft.
AG – UDS only proven over trip at Auteuil so would discount this although on his day is the quality horse on show. Would like to see Sizing John here. Empire of Dirt is of interest as won like a classy horse. Sub Lieutenant is a great placepot selection. Uxizande will be ridden aggressively and ideally wants a visit. Be best to back him and lay in running.
MH – Uxizandre goes well here. Empire of Dirt e/w bet to nothing. Thinks UDS would go ok on good ground.
HB – UDS will appreciate step up in trip. Uxizandre only one run in 2 years would be a question mark.
AG – Yorkhill has more ability than others. Bit worried about him jumping left and not straightforward but could well win easy and the price will look a snip after the race.
KD – Will give punters 2/1 on Yorkhill. Wins unimpressive and would take him on.
MH – That 2/1 offered by KD is best price in town. Little bit worried about his schooling round.
HB – concerned the fence 3 out may catch him out if not timed right going at speed. Second half of schooling round was good. Charbel should run here.
AG – could go either way with Yorkhill. Back Politolgue e/w may lay off on day. AG thinks Charbel will go Arkle. Top Notch may be of interest if he were a bigger price.
AG – Strongest Antepost handicap bet on For Good Measure e/w (Hobbs yard) got in on 138 and could be a plot.
MH – Also likes For Good Measure. Thinks he should be rated 150 plus. Small Mention for Jury Duty.
HB – Big fan of Presenting Percy. Won well at Fairyhouse. He’s spoken to Davy who also likes him.
JD – Go Conquer if he turns up,
AG – Quite by Chance be his placepot selection and should be in prize money
MH – Sizing Codelco could be decent e/w
HB – If Thomas Crapper gets in would back him. Wind been done.
AG – Would like to see Singlefarmpayment here but was told in break he is going for Ultima (by me)
KD – nothing been backed here Antepost
MH – Bro in law Neil Mullholland Says his best chance at festival is Southfield Royale at 14/1
HB – would look at Jockeys here. Jamie Codd, Rich Harding etc.
Raffle – I won a nice bottle of champagne. Money goes to injured jockeys fund.
AG – Cue Card a bit short now. Winner will be from Cue Card, Native River or Djakadam. Would do the one you fancy in a forecast with the other two. I.e. CC to beat NR and CC to beat Djakadam. Djakadam fallen here twice in 4 rides. Sizing John e/w chance. More of that and Bristol de Mai may outrun odds. Backed NR and Djakadam in multiples.
KD – biggest loser for bookies would be cue card. Bit short now. Would be against Djakadam but respects NR. Good outsider more of that. Travelled well before unseating lto.
JD Asks will Sizing John stay?
MH – doesn’t think Cue Card will stay up the hill. Keen on NR and will stay. Don Poli will stay but only for place money. Lay CC.
HB – fan of NR, will stay and very impressive. Maybe e/w squeak for Smad Place
JD – BdM similar profile to imperial commander but can’t have him.
AG – BdM more of a Betfair chase horse.
MH – Defi du Seuil skinny price but a fair chance. Will be a quick pace race. E/w chance for Landofhopeandglory at 16s
HB – Project Bluebrook e/w. Brian wasn’t happy with him the last day but schooled really well since and 20/1 is a great price.
KD – DDS price is about right. Someone walked into Corals and asked for £1000 e/w on Soldier in Action at 33/1. Corals said win only but ended up with £500 e/w at 25s. Master Blueyes gets better each race.
AG – likes MB massive improvement in last race after taking a while for penny to drop. Has small win bet on Mega Fortune at 25’s. DDS shorter than he should be. Would be tempted to run him in supreme on his ideal ground. May dry out by Friday. AG also says Landofhopeandglory wasn’t busy on his last run. Similar profile to Ivanovich Gorbatov.
MH – Death Duty worthy favourite. Jack Kennedy says his festival banker.
HB – JK is an exceptional rider and would take his word on DD. Likes West Approach e/w.
AG – Wholestone is generally the better call, jumping is good and strong in finish. DD not proven at the trip or ground or even at course. Rather back both Wholestone and West Approach against DD. DD so short as trainer and jockey been talking him up. If it hoys down would back Ami Desbois e/w.
JD – North Hill Harvey is interesting at 7/1
HB – Skelton very keen on North Hill Harvey. Harry Skelton will throw kitchen sink at him.
MH – Peace and Co could run well
AG – Watch Skelton’s well handicapped horses. Winter escape e/w at 20s if he gets in. Gamble may appear on this one.
JD jokes last time at a foggy Haydock Callum Bewley whacked his horse 16 times down back straight and no one could see him.
KD – nothing of interest here
MH – The Storyteller looks to be laid out for this
HB – Worst race in the festival to ride in. Everyone wants to be handy, it’s carnage.
AG – says this is a race to watch. If had to pick would go The Storyteller or No Comment
KD – Owners of Sleep Easy had £3000 e/w on him. They don’t leave their money behind. Got to be worth a bet with nrnb
AG – Brian Hughes likes Cloudy Dream, Cyrus Darius (champ Hurdle), Hawk High stepping up in trip and Project Bluebrook. His biggest chance is Double Ws who he says has a massive chance in the Close Brothers.
MH – Vaniteaux e/w
HB – Upsilon Bleu e/w (Henry will ride)
AG – Was hoping Savello would run
KD – good luck with this race!!
JD – Foxtail Hill win
KD – Uxizandre e/w in Ryanair
AG – Cole Harden e/w or without Harry. Maybe Ballyoptic
MH – Domperignon du Lys
HB – Presenting Percy in Pertemps
Many thanks to @johnthehammer at FatJockey for the notes.
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