We move onto Day 3 of the Cheltenham Festival after a successful first two days of action – with the Preview articles +38.63pts to this point in time! Unfortunately my Laptop has decided to break on the worst possible weak, but I’ve put together the best article I could below. Good luck!
2m4½f Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase (Grade 3) – Thursday 12th March 2020
The Brown Advisory and Merriebelle Stable Plate Handicap Chase (Stable Plate for short!) is run over two-and-a-half miles on Day 3 of the Cheltenham Festival. The race takes place on the New Course, and is open to Horses aged five-years-old or over – providing that they have had at least three runs over Fences. Whilst the Stable Plate is a Handicap, there is no ceiling – which has allowed Horses with ratings as high as 158 to run over the past ten renewals. With the Grade 1 Ryanair Chase run over the same course and distance just over an hour prior, the race is aimed at Horses who are just below this level – and now also provides an opportunity for Horses who can’t get into the ever-competitive Northern Trust Novices’ Handicap Chase on Day 1 of the Festival. For many years this race had been considered a ‘British banker’ in terms of the Prestbury Cup, but the Irish have made a strong resurgence in recent times.
2m½f Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) – Wednesday 11th March 2020
The Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (better known as the Fred Winter) is run over two-miles on Day 2 of the Cheltenham Festival, and is the last Hurdles race of the week ran on the Old Course. The race is for four-year-old Horses only, and serves the purpose of taking lower rated Horses out of the Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle. Despite some seemingly less talented Juveniles running in the race, it is usually extremely competitive due to the nature of improving young Horses. The race has been won by some nice types in the past, with the likes of Sanctuaire, Diego Du Charmil and more recently Band Of Outlaws victorious. French recruits have an extremely good record in the race, but the last two winners have come off the Flat – including Joseph O’Brien’s 8/1 winner for this blog last year.
The Dublin Racing Festival has been a fantastic initiative so far, with two fantastic days of National Hunt Racing at Leopardstown, featuring 8 Grade 1 events. The first of those two days is all about speed, with six races ran over two-miles including the Grade 1 Dublin Chase and Grade 1 Irish Champion Hurdle. Below are my selections for an extremely competitive card. Best of luck!
2m4½f Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys’ Handicap Hurdle (Class 2) – Friday 13th March 2020
The Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle is the concluding race of the Cheltenham Festival, run over two-and-a-half miles. The race is for Conditional Jockeys’ only, and is named in honour of the legendary fifteen-times Champion Trainer. Certain trainers like to target this race due to their admiration and respect for Martin Pipe – especially Gordon Elliot. Whilst the race isn’t one of the most high-class affairs of the week, you can start to get a picture as to who is being targeted for the race around this time of year. The British and Irish Handicappers start giving marks to Novices’ who have had three runs over Hurdles (usually happens around January time), which gives a rough idea as to if a Horse is Grade 1 standard. Although some Horses might not be up to that level before the Spring Festivals, plenty will get a mark that looks exploitable in Handicaps – with further improvement likely to come. When you combine these sorts of Horses with trainers who like to win the Martin Pipe, betting angles start to shine through.
3m6f National Hunt Amateur Riders’ Novices’ Chase (Grade 2) – Tuesday 10th March 2020
The National Hunt Chase is the longest race run at the Cheltenham Festival, traditionally being dubbed the ‘four-miler’. After the controversies of last year’s renewal with only four Horses finishing the race however, a BHA review has made several changes to the race conditions for 2020. Significantly, the race distance has been reduced to 3m6f, with the number of fences jumped decreasing from 25 to 23. The participants also have more boxes to tick; Horses must have a minimum rating of 120, have ran at least twice over fences (including finishing in the first four of a Chase over 2m7f+), and have ran at least once during the current season. With the race being for Amateur riders, the Jockey’s also have new conditions to meet; they must have ridden a minimum of 20 times over fences, achieving at least five winners, all under National Hunt rules. Safety is clearly paramount in Racing, so fingers crossed these changes to the race conditions will provide a middle ground – as some fantastic Horses have graduated from this race in recent years including; Cause Of Causes, Minella Rocco, Rathvinden, Native River and of course the legendary Tiger Roll.
The 2019 Cheltenham Festival has treated us well so far with Tiger Roll, Band Of Outlaws and Envoi Allen all winning for us on Wednesday, so I have decided to treat myself and attend Day 3 of The Festival despite not planning on it! Let’s hope we can pick up some more winners today. Be sure to follow me on twitter @JakePriceTips for live updates from the track throughout St Patricks Thursday.
After a solid Day 1 Preview with Supreme winner Klassical Dream (6/1) and A Plus Tard (16/1 Ante-Post) storming home, we swiftly move onto Day 2, where hopefully we can again pick up some more winners. Be sure to follow me on twitter @JakePriceTips for live updates from the racecourse throughout the day.
Ante-Post Preview #8 – 05/03/2019
2m Arkle Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) – Tuesday 12th March 2019
The Arkle Novices’ Chase is the first of three Championship races open to first and second season Novice Chasers, ran on Day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival. Some of the best horses in our sport have won this race in the past including Moscow Flyer, Azertyuiop, Sprinter Sacre, Altior and Douvan. Last year the race was won by Irish banker Footpad, trained by the genius Willie Mullins – who has won three of the last four renewals. The Closutton handler doesn’t have his normal fire-power this year however due to injuries and dry ground, so the race has a much more open feel to it. With Ante-Post favourite Le Richebourg also ruled out of the race due to injury, this looks a fantastic opportunity for a horse to have their day in the sun.
Ante-Post Preview #5 – 26/02/2019
2m½f Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle (Grade 3) – Wednesday 13th March 2019
The Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle is one of two races at the Cheltenham Festival for four-year-olds, and this race is usually made up of horses not quite up to Grade 1 Triumph Hurdle standard. Last year the race was won by Gordon Elliot’s Veneer Of Charm, with the likes of Diego Du Charmil and Sanctuaire also on the honors list. The race is run over two-miles-and-half-a-furlong on Wednesday of the Festival and is the last race over obstacles on the Old Course, before action switches over to the New Course the following day.
Ante-Post Preview #4 – 13/02/2019
2m4f JLT Novices’ Chase (Grade 1) – Thursday 14th March 2019
The JLT Novices’ Chase is one of three Championship Novice races for Steeplechasers, and opens Day 3 of the Cheltenham Festival. The race is run over an intermediate distance of 2m4f, and last year was won by the likeable Mare Shattered Love. Since the races’ inception in 2011 Willie Mullins has struck up an impressive four wins (50% strike rate!), most memorably when Vautour demolished his rivals by fifteen lengths in one of the all-time great Cheltenham Festival performances. In a weird season which has been halted by both the weather and Equine Flu, we’re set for another competitive renewal. Continue reading “Cheltenham Ante-Post #4 – JLT Novices’ Chase”