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Cheltenham Preview Night

Newbury Cheltenham Preview Night – All agreed Vautour won’t stay

Newbury – 10th March

Lee McKenzie (LM) (host), David Bass (DB), Brendan Powell Jr (BP), David Williams (DW) & Dan Horsford (Assistant to Alan King) (DH)

Day 1

Supreme

DH – [Min] He’s only the price he is because of his reputation and the value has to be elsewhere. On what the Henderson pair have achieved they should be shorter. Altior was impressive last time and wouId be my fancy. At bigger price I also like Moon Racer and Charbel, who was 2nd to Yanworth.

DW – Yorkhill has been well backed for this and the Assistant Trainer, David Casey, fancies him. Min is a hideous price and anyone backing him at the current price wants locking up; wait until Tuesday morning because someone will go 5/2 or 11/4.

BP – If it continues to rain then Yorkhill would be interesting. Silver Concorde has also caught my eye at a bigger price; he’s won the 2014 Cheltenham Bumper and Dermot Weld is a master trainer.

DB – Nicky has a bad record in the race despite throwing some really good horses at the race, but if it is genuine soft ground I think Buveur D’Air could win. Altior would want better ground but his form before Kempton isn’t that good. I ride Charbel in the race and I really like him and he was 2nd to Yanworth before winning impressively at Musselburgh. He is better going right-handed which isn’t ideal but we will make plenty of use of him and he’s a good each-way price at 25/1.
Arkle

DH – [Douvan] I don’t think there is much point of anything else turning up and it’s hard to see anything getting close to him.

DW – If he stands up, he wins and it will be a lap of honour. I’m not a huge fan of Vaniteux so Sizing John could be the one to chase him home, but this is a race for the purists to watch Douvan skip round.

BP – It’s a race to watch and appreciate Douvan. Sizing John is the only one who can get anywhere near him.

DB – We’ll let the Irish have this race; I can’t see anything beating him.
Ultima Handicap

DH – Doctor Harper has been the talking horse and has to be of interest wherever he runs. We will run Ziga Boy but the handicapper has probably got him now.

DW – Doctor Harper is fascinating but the money we’ve had over the last 48 to 72 hours suggest he’ll go for the Kim Muir. Out Sam is interesting; the yard is confident he’ll get in and they’re confident he’s well treated. Carole’s Destrier has attracted some interesting money too and has to be on the shortlist.

BP – Theatre Guide showed his class last time out and despite the hike in the weights he has good course form. I also like The Young Master, he’s steadily coming down the weights and Neil Mulholland does well with his handicap chasers. They are two for me who could sneak into places.

DB – I can’t have Out Sam at all and I don’t know why he is favourite. I know him as he used to be at Nicky’s; he won’t know what’s hit him and I don’t think he’s brave enough. I also like The Young Master; Neil Mulholland trained the winner of the race last year, Sam Waley-Cohen takes some weight off and he’s interesting.
Champion Hurdle

DH – I would go for the Mares’ race with Annie Power to get some black type. If My Tent Or Yours was back to his best I think he’ll take all the beating in a weak renewal of the race. If The New One was back to his best, he’d go well too. Hargam is a final one I’d give a mention too at a bigger price on better ground.

DW – If this race was run 10 times I think you’d get 6 different winners which would suggest it’s a poor renewal. Annie Power will be 3/1 on the day; bookmakers will have to take her on. The New One has had the most uninterrupted preparation he’s ever had and he was ever going to win one it would be this year.

BP – The New One is nowhere near a Champion Hurdle horse; he wants 2m4f and a pair of blinkers on. Sam wanted to put blinkers on him but Nigel is not keen. Maybe Identity Thief as he’s very consistent, but I haven’t got a clear view on the race.

DB – Nicky’s got five in the race and I still can’t get a ride, but I won’t dwell on that. Of his My Tent Or Yours is the best but it’s not ideal that he’s been off the track for so only. He has had two away days though and he’s is in good form, so should close. It’s between him and Nichols Canyon for me. If it was soft I’d fancy Nichols Canyon, who is a six-time Grade 1 winner. I’m not keen on Annie Power and can’t have Identity Thief.

LM – I like Sempre Medici at big odds (25/1); he’s going the right wait and those at the top of the market look quite fragile, so I could see an outsider winning this.

8/1 on Willie Mullin to train a Cheltenham winner!

Get it here:

coral-willie


Day 2

Neptune

DH – [Yanworth] I think he’s really, really good and think he’s a certainty for this. You don’t win four races, beating good horses, without being given a squeeze. He’s not flashy but I really can’t see him getting beat.

DW – The RPR Yanworth achieved that day was good enough to win 28 of the last 30 Neptunes. We’ve seen a bit of money for A Toi Phil but it’s very hard to see the favourite getting beat.

BP – Yanworth’s got the form and he looks the class horse, but he is very short. He’s only a handicap hurdler but Yali Enki for Venetia Williams at 40/1 could be one to sneak a place if it keeps raining.

DB – I wanted to take on Yanworth with Bellshill until his last run. That run was too bad to be true and his won his previous two starts impressively. He’s by Kings Theatre so should appreciate better ground and could serve it up to Yanworth but that last run is still at the back of my mind.
RSA

DH – Of the two market leaders I think More Of That; he has great course form and has won a World Hurdle. I’ve also been impressed with Vyta Du Roc and he’ll have an each-way chance.

DW – I think it’s dangerous to bill this as a match because of Blaklion; he’s as game as they come, he has
Cheltenham form and I think he’s being overlooked.

BP – I’ve been looking forward to riding Native River in this all year but might not go for this now. If I could choose one it would be Blaklion; he’s battle hardened and the ground won’t be an issue. More Of That is the class horse but he’s only run in two small fields over fences so hasn’t been asked any real questions and he could be found out if they go a stride to quick.

DB – I wouldn’t give Blaklion a chance; I don’t think his form is anywhere near good enough and I can’t have him. I think 9/4 for More Of That is a seriously good price. He’s a World Hurdle winner and he beat Sametegal who has come out and won well since to frank the form. I think he’s the classiest horse in the race and I think he’ll win.
Queen Mother

DH – Un De Sceaux is the one to beat; the dangers are in front of him and not behind. Sprinter Sacre is not the same horse and Dodging Bullets was very disappointing last time; I don’t think anything will get near him with a clear round.

DW – There are questions mark surrounding all of them. If Sprinter is 80% of the horse he used to be, he could serve it up to Un De Sceaux, and the vibes are good. Unless all of Rich Ricci’s good things go in on the Tuesday, I think you’ll get EVS on Un De Sceaux.

BP – You have to question what will come from in behind. The fall probably did Un De Sceaux the world of good and he looked more experienced at Ascot. He looked untouchable in the Arkle and a fall can be the making of these type of chasers. Sprinter Sacre is not getting any younger and I think youth will come out on top.

DB – Sprinter Sacre is in very good form and Nico thinks he’s better now than he was when he won at Kempton, but on the form he has showed beating Sire De Grugy, he’s probably not good enough. I thought Un De Sceaux lost ground at every fence at Ascot and still hacked up; people have said you must be insane to back him at 4/6 but I wouldn’t think anyone was insane to back him at that price at all.

Day 3

JLT

DH – The each-way bet in the race for me is Three Musketeers. I know some people in the Skelton yard and they like him a lot. Bristol De Mai is good when he gets an easy lead but he won’t get one in this race.

DW – I think Bristol De Mai needs very soft ground and he probably won’t get it come the Thursday. It’s the perfect trip for Outlander and there’s been fascinating support for Zabana, who needs better ground; he looks a perfect each-way play.

BP – Maybe Kings Odyssey at a big price; he’s been in top form the last couple of starts, but it is a close race and Bristol De Mai is probably the classiest in the line-up.

DB – I think we can take Bristol De Mai on! If you put a line through L’Ami Serge’s last run, he could go very well and could be the value in the race.
Ryanair

DH – We run Annacotty and if it came up soft he’d have a squeak but he probably won’t see which way they go. At a big price maybe Gilgamboa; he may have headgear on and he could have an each-way chance in a race which will cut up.
World Hurdle

DH – I don’t think Thistlecrack is unbeatable but he will probably win. I do like Alpha Des Obeaux though and he’s trained by an absolute genius who will have him spot on for this. He’ll like the better ground and he could serve it up to Thistlecrack.

DW – Thistlcrack is the one they have to beat. I’m not saying he won’t act on better ground but I think his main rivals will be much better suited by it and Cole Harden has been trained all year for one race only, and this is it. I also know that Paul Nicholls is extremely sweet on his two and there have been positive vibes for them.

BP – Thistlecrack never stood out at home in the early years but he’s progressed for the step up in trip and if he returns in the same form as his last run I can’t see anything beating him. He’s improving all the time and is still a big baby; the only one to get near him on better ground would be Cole Harden.

DB – I’d love to ride Thistlecrack and he’s been really impressive, but I think the best value in the race is Whisper. He never performs in the winter and is always better in the spring; on decent ground he could run into a place and is each-way value.

Day 4

Triumph

DH – The ground was the issue for Ivanovich Gorbatov last time but I still couldn’t have him at the prices. We’ve got a fairly strong hand and I like Who Dares Wins. He was giving weight away when he got beat last time and was too keen in bad ground. Who Dares Wins and Clan Des Obeaux took each other on too far out and even when he was beat he still picked up on the run to the line. Sceau Royal is our best jumper and you need to be slick in this race but he’s very well developed so I can’t see much more improvement in him. I think the other two are more progressive and the better gallop and better ground will see Who Dares Wins in a better light.

DW – The race wasn’t run to suit for Who Dares Wins last time out and I could see him going close. Zubayr fits the profile for the Triumph and it’s an intriguing race; we will get this favourite beat!

BP – [Zubayr] It take a lot of doing to win on just your third ever start and there will be lots of improvement to come from him physically and mentally; I don’t think he’ll be ground dependant either. The other one would be Clan Des Obeaux and he would be more of a fancy if it continued to rain.

DB – I don’t fancy Ivanovich Gorbatov at all and I’m all over Zubayr. I think he won the best trial in the Adonis and I can’t believe where he came from. The way he stayed on really impressed me and I think he’s top class. He’s by Authorized who is a sire I like and he’s already produced a Triumph Hurlde winner in Tiger Roll. I think Fixe Le Kap is a nice horse but he’s more of one for the future who looks a chaser in the making. I also don’t think Protek Des Flos runs.
Albert Bartlett

DB – [Barters Hill] At Doncaster he lost a shoe which may have affected his jumping, but I’m not worried about his jumping because of the way he’s jumped in his previous two starts. He is very deceptive and plenty of good horses have tried to beat him but they can’t get passed him, and I think he’ll win. He’s lazy and idle but he’s not slow and I think we’d beat Yanworth if we ran in the Neptune.

BP – Barters Hill only does what you ask him. I think Shantou Village is interesting and probably the best novice Neil Mulholland has trained but he still might struggle to get past Barters Hill.

DW – He’s [Barters Hill] a worthy favourite but we have a chance of getting him beat.
Gold Cup

DH – Smad Place will make the running, especially now Coneygree is not in the race, but I don’t think he’ll win; he’s probably a notch below top class and Djakadam is the one for me.

DW – You have to wait and see what Ruby rides and whatever he does will go off favourite. You can make a compelling argument for about six of these and I will be staggered if on Friday morning if we aren’t 5/1 the field.

BP – Cue Card would nearly be better than ever. It’s amazing what he’s done and since he’s had his wind done he’s been a revelation. Now he’s older and relaxes better, has a lower head carriage and is more mature, which can help him see out the extra coupe of furlongs. Don Poli is definitely a danger, as long as he has something to aim at as he only does what you ask of him, but he won’t give Bryan Cooper and easy ride that’s for sure.

DB – It hurts me to say this but I think this race is definitely going to Ireland. I think Don Cossack would have beaten Cue Card in the King George and on good ground he’d have to go close, and he’d be the one to be for me. On slower ground I’d prefer Djakadam and you couldn’t write off Don Poli; Bryan Cooper has a tough decision to make.

The general concensus of the panel was that Vautour would not stay.

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