Paddy Power Gold Cup Preview 2015

Eastlake-Aintree-AP-McCoy-SL_3025804[1]THE Paddy Power Gold Cup has proved a graveyard for favourites over the years. Even horses of the highest of class find things difficult in this race so I’d be reluctant to be looking at anything at a single-figure price.

The two that head the market are Kings Palace and Boondooma and while both look to have excellent profiles for the race, there are enough alarm bells ringing to point me elsewhere – especially when neither are any bigger than 8-1 in the market.

Let’s start with Kings Palace. Three from five at Cheltenham and trained by David Pipe whose father, Martin, saddled no less than eight winners in this famous race, this seven-year-old appears well handicapped considering he is three from five at the track but the staying chaser is a little more complicated
than his bare form suggests.

First of all – and most importantly – there are big question marks over his jumping. Yes his win record is impressive but, throughout his career, when he has really required his jumping ability he has flopped – falling when weakening in the Albert Bartlett two seasons ago and making a bad mistake at a crucial
point in the RSA last season.

Infact, apart from a sole defeat in a bumper earlier on in his career, Kings Palace’s only defeats have come because of jumping mistakes and in the Paddy Power, with a field of 20-plus, his jumping is almost certainly going to come under pressure.

That along with a trip likely to be too sharp, he’s one I’ll be chalking off.

Boondooma is trained by one of the shrewdest around in Dr Richard Newland. While it would seem his three-length victory in a 2m handicap chase at Cheltenham last month won’t have done him any favours with regards to his weight, don’t underestimate the Doctor’s knowledge of this game as he wouldn’t be sending this lightly-raced eight-year-old into the race as a second thought. He’ll be right on the money but I think there could be a few better handicapped horses who have more improvement in them in the field and one in particular catches the eye.

Art Mauresque,
saddled by Saturday’s man-of-moment Paul Nicholls, looks to have the perfect profile for the race. As is often the case with French recruits, this five-year-old has taken a little time to come into himself. A talented but frustrating juvenile campaign was followed by a promising novice chase season where he won three times from four races where his only defeat came when well beaten in a Grade one at Aintree. He followed up with two more victories in April and May with the latter a pulsating 23-length victory
over Cash And Go at Kempton.

Remarkably, the handicapper left him unchanged on a mark of 144. After an encouraging seasonal reappearance when beaten just three lengths by Irish Cavalier, he was put up just 3lbs to 147 for an eight-length romp in a novice chase over the Paddy Power Gold Cup course and distance which should have put him spot on for this giving him a serious chance despite never running in a field of more than six before.

Nicholls looks likely to have just the two in the race with Sound Investment likely to be the other if, as expected, Ptit Zig is taken out.

Sound Investment will, however, have to shoulder top weight and he would have to be a serious horse to give weight to all of this field. That said Johns Spirit came within a head of doing just that last year but he didn’t look out of company at Grade 1 level and Sound Investment would have to be that good to win giving weight to the field.

A horse that could be up to that level is the Nicky
Henderson-trained Cocktails At Dawn.
After taking a couple of seasons to find himself, this seven-year-old bounced back to form in blistering style when winning a novice handicap chase at Sandown in April.

Henderson has claimed Cocktails At Dawn has been working his socks off during the summer and produced a lovely round of jumping to win in fine style at Chepstow last month – the third, Native River, has won subsequently – and while that win has not helped his chances in regards to his handicap mark, he could
prove to be a class above if he continues his improvement. It’s hard to see how he could be out of the places after such a glorious round of jumping at Chepstow and with William Hill paying out the first five past the post, he is worth a punt.

Of the others Buywise will most definitely run his race – as he always does – but he has had plenty of opportunities to score at this level and I’d be surprised if this proved to be his day. He has a serious engine but his unique way of getting from A to B has hindered his chances in the past and he looked,
if anything, too cautious at his fences when third behind Sound Investment in the Old Roan Chase at Aintree last month.

Present View is 1lb lower than he was when finishing two lengths behind the winner last year but his seasonal reappearance at Ascot last month was appalling and he would have to show a big improvement if he was to get involved.

Win: Art Mauresque (14-1 generally) Each-way: Cocktails At Dawn (16-1 William Hill *5 places)

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      Cheltenham Festival Tipster Competition 2015 Day 2

      Cheltenham Tipster Competition for Ladies Day

      Welcome to our Cheltenham Festival Competition and the comp for day 2. This year to give some back to you all for backing my tipster comps during the year, we are putting up some of own hard cash. Today’s prize is £50 of cash for the top 3 in todays competition, split £25, £15 and £10. Today the feature race is the The Betway Queen Mother Champion Steeple Chase

      Day 2 Table

      PosNameTwitter Username04-Apr
      1John Smithjonsmith5149
      2Simon Knuckey@SMOKEYFORMBY34
      4David KilroyFront_row0121
      5Mark Wilson@w11ber21
      6Sean Fortunetoon_cookie21
      7Steven LeeTheSteveKLee21
      8Glen matthewsUptheposh201418
      9Ken BanksKenkenzobanks18
      10Alison Smith@asplenderleith15
      11David Burza@davidburza115
      12Dean Pickering@PickeringDean15
      13hugh orr@shuglad15
      14John MorrisJohnnyGlen15
      15grant kenwardbeerygranet11
      16Aaron LumsdenAaronlufc6
      17Andrew MorrisonMorrisonarsenal6
      18Larry Nosetab@larrynosetab6
      19Mark BaylissLarasam46
      20Neil Brookesrushallsaddler6
      21Shaun Hirst@hirstyno26
      23Wayne Pendleburywayneyp846
      24Mike Richards@michrichx5
      25Adam hunterAdhunter19840
      26Andrew AtkinsonAndyPandy20160
      27ANDREW PETRIE@downingarms870
      28audrey erringtonaudz620
      29Bruce Benton@ExBamptonPO0
      30chris rokecroke690
      33Gareth Owenposh9160
      34Gary Atkinsongaryakko170
      35GEORGI GOGOVdjeniks700
      37Ian Williamsthe_phonic390
      38James Colford@trueblue1400
      39Jim MacWhirterMacca77730
      40john maddisonjohnmaddison110
      41lewis mccullochlewismcculloch20
      43Lucy Brookessaddlerlucy0
      44Mark Davies@saintmark0070
      45martin hutton@hutts660
      46Mr Rob Cox@coxy1820
      47Paul WatsonPauljwatson720
      48ReBe a Brookesna0
      49rob bland@blandy660
      50Roger Smith@RogerSmith09090
      51Steve Mullingtonmulldog0
      52Steve power1tacyrrah0
      53Tyson Fazackerley@tysonfaz0

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      Wednesday Cheltenham Festival Race Card Races shown on ITV Racing

      13:30 Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle
      14:05 RSA Chase
      14:40 Coral Cup
      15:20 Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase
      16:00 Glenfarclas Handicap Chase (Cross Country)

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        Cheltenham Festival Tipster Competition for Day 3 St Patricks Day

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        Thursday Cheltenham Festival Race Card Races shown on ITV Racing

        13:30 JLT Novices’ Chase
        14:05 Pertemps Network Final
        14:40 Ryanair Chase
        15:20 Ladbrokes World Hurdle
        16:00 Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate

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        • Top 5 Moments of Cheltenham Festival 2014

          Eastlake-Aintree-AP-McCoy-SL_3025804[1] The best week of the year is now over. It was as billed to be a surprising four days and as far a winners go it did not disappoint. I’m not one to be taken in by odds given by bookmakers but just glancing down at the winners just of the four premier races, with the exception of the Queen Mother champion chase, the prices alone can confirm that not many expected many of the results over the last week.

          I was doing some reading on the social media sites on the Monday before kick off and someone had tweeted a picture of what they believed to be the main contenders of the most exciting Champion Hurdle in recent years. The picture showed Henderson’s My Tent or Yours, two time winner Hurricane Fly, Twiston Davies’ young the pretender the New One and the ill fated Our Conor. There was a comment underneath the picture from a user that asked: “Where is Jezki?” and the witty repose was: “Something people will be asking around 3.26pm tomorrow.” This puts a lot of weeks results in a nutshell. Surprise winners and therefore, I believe, exciting racing.

          I have picked out my Top 5 favourite moments of the meeting.

          5. Balthazar is king of the Cross Country:

          This was undoubtedly one of the most impressive and popular performances of the week. As we have learnt from this festival especially it takes a great horse to come back to a festival let alone defend his crown. In the case of Balthazar King it wasn’t what he did, it was the manner in which he did it. Having lead most of the way through the twists and turns of Cheltenham’s famous cross country race, he was hard pressed by the fast finishing Any Currency but held on to beat him by a short head. Not only was this one of the most exciting finishes of the week it was a prime example of why Richard Johnson is the second most successful jockey in history. He has a way of hunting round, not panicking and let his horses approach a race naturally. Hopefully the National will be the next stop for this talented horse and if he does come round the Elbow in front it will be Johnsons first win in a race and you can’t help but think he deserves to win.

          4. Jockeys, jockeys, jockeys

          I wonder what the odds for Barry Geraghty having three winners at the Festival were? Pretty short I would imagine. Take Nicky Henderson out of that equation and I would think if there is a person out there who took that bet they are most likely sitting on a beach somewhere in the South Pacific having paid off the mortgage and all their children’s school fees. It was almost unbelievable. But what it exemplified was…Need someone for a big race? Barry’s your man. The rides he gave all three horses were exceptional. Especially on More of That. Coming up the hill Annie Power looked to be going the better of the two and but Geraghty’s strength in a finish is second to none. This week it also seemed he liked a nice spin round on a spare ride preferably a JP Mcmanus horse.

          De Boinville vs AP?….De Boinville
          We truly are in a Golden Age of jockeys. The list of top class riders is endless, AP McCoy head and shoulders above the rest? However young rider Nico de Boinville based at Nicky Henderson’s Lamborn yard is possibly most known for being the work rider for both Sprinter Sacre and Long Run. Now he will be most notable for riding his bosses sole winner of the 2014 Cheltenham Festival. It came in the Coral cup on Wednesday aboard the Dai Walters owned Whisper. This victory was sweet redemption for the young rider having been beaten a short head the day before but also because the man he beat into second was the magician in a finish, the man who many people believe has the capabilities to get a 15 year old donkey across the line in front. It was pure guts and determination and absolute joy to witness.

          3. Nostalgia as Culloty is back in the winners enclosure.

          It was nearly 10 years ago to the day that jockey Jim Culloty was in the winners enclosure at the festival, albeit in an entirely different outfit. Jockey aboard in all three of Best Mates Gold Cup runs, Jim Culloty must have found it hard to fight all sorts of emotions swirling around his head on Friday. Although Lord Windermere was possibly not the horse most people expected to see come into the enclosure with that rather apocalyptic music blasting from the rooftops, it was however a familiar and satisfying site to see Jim return to the very spot he had made his own for so many years.

          He said after the race that his instructions to Davy Russell were to ride a patient race from the back, but half way round admitted to wanting to “sack the jockey” after he believed he had taken the instructions rather too far, as the horse lay right out the back for the best part of two and a half miles. It was the shock of the festival, but no one was more dumbfounded than the jockey himself. It goes to show that these animals can surprise anyone, even the pilot on board.

          2. Sire de Grughy doing it for the family..

          If there was a horse coming into the week with everything to prove, I believe unfairly, it was the Gary Moore trained Sire de Grugy. This horse had done everything right this season and with the absence of Sprinter Sacre in the 2 mile Champion Chase he deserved to go off favourite. Although the morning of the race he was about as weak as second hand teabag. There were horses who had to find a lot more than this horse, like Captain Conan who were vying for favouritism.

          Coming up to the last fence in the Queen Mother there were, I’m sure, plenty of people hanging their heads in shame for ever doubting this progressive chaser when he hopped over the last fence and surged up the hill in front. It was an amazing win for Gary Moore, a trainer who does not get enough credit for the horses his produces for the big days and the way he has handled this horse is nothing short of genius. He has never been afraid to run him, to take on the big guns and always had absolute faith in the horse. It is something we should all admire him for.

          1. Quevega.

          There are not enough adjectives in the English dictionary to explain the enormity of what this mare has achieved. Her win at the Festival this year was her sixth triumph. To get a horse back for any race at the festival is a feat that not many can ever match, but to get a horse back six times and win all six of them is something I don’t believe will ever be matched again. Coming down the hill although Ruby was looking comfortable, there were also a host of horses which were looking as comfortable and for a second I was naive enough to think that the Queen’s crown was slowly slipping away.

          But in usual style she stalked through the field and came up the hill, which incidentally she believes is flat, and produced her normal dominant performance that we as racegoers have rather begun to take for granted.

          It is a true testament to Willie Mullins and his incredible team that she has kept her fit and healthy for this long and on Tuesday the heroine became a legend. It truly was the performance of a lifetime, something that will most likely never be repeated.

          Away from the good stuff….

          Although the week was one of exceptional sporting excellence, one must also not forget that our entertainment can come at a high price. There was a moment on Friday that exemplified no more clearly that elation can often come hand in hand with despair.

          Daryl Jacob had been having, by his own and boss Paul Nicholls standards an average week, with no winners. To him Lac Fontana’s win in on the Friday must have had him breathing a heavy sigh of relief. But within 30 minutes of this he was being stretched off the course and on his way to hospital after a freak accident saw him thrown off his horse on the way down to the start.

          It is the moments like this we must remember that not everything is about the money we may have lost on the horse. But that everyday these men and women out their health on the line for the benefit of the sport they love so much and sometimes this is repaid in the most unkind of ways.

            Top 5 Cheltenham Festival Highlights 2013

            What a week it was.

            Although I’m still in sulk that I didn’t get to go racing, I did however manage to watch most of the big races mostly thanks, and to an extent the patience, of my classmates who let me put the races up on the big screen while we trying to pump out an 18 page publication about news in Islington. They had to put up with my grumpy demeanour when it dawned on me on Tuesday night, with a feature still unfinished, that a trip to the festival was looking highly unlikely.

            Even though I wasn’t there I thought I would give my Top 5 Festival Highlights:

            The New One5. The New One: That was an incredible performance and is an example of when class and heart just collide. The way he found more and more when he reached the hill was just so impressive. There was a funny moment in an interview after the race when trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies admitted to his son Sam that he almost missed the race because he was in the bathroom. You would not be alone if you had missed the final furlongs because this horse just shot out of nowhere, up the hill and into the abyss. I cannot wait to see this horse next season, you can only imagine he will come back bigger and stronger.

            4. Hurricane Fly: What a moment. There is a reason that when horses tend to lose their crown they very rarely get it back. It is hard. But Hurricane Fly did this with such ease it was just an absolute joy to watch. Rock on Ruby did himself and his connections proud. Now people can stop going on about how last year was fluke because after that run it can safely be assumed that it was no such thing.

            3. Solwhit: Although the festival was without one of its biggest stars for the first time in many years and it was sad. Of course the absence of Big Buck’s left a big whole and it was a disappointment not to see him there. But Solwhit’s win was a true crowd pleaser. It was fantastic to watch a horse that maybe had been on the outskirts of greatness his whole career and not quite made it there, until this moment. It was amazing for him and everyone connected with the horse. People will forever go on about how Big Buck’s wasn’t there and he would have won if he had been. Perhaps this is true, but at the end of the day when all is said and done you can only beat what is put in front of you. Solwhit deserved this win and I’m glad he got it.

            Also we should not forget the run by another horse that has been a pillar of consistency right through his career. Celestial Halo’s run is one that make’s you realise why people love this game. Coming a close second in a champion hurdle and a second in a world hurdle is some feat that should not be forgotten.

            2. Quevega: This was a highlight not just for the festival but racing in general. This was an unbelievable achievement and I bet there was not a dry eye in the house and there shouldn’t have been. Winning five times at the Cheltenham Festival is the hardest thing. We should stand up and salute this mare who oozes class and ability. Well done and hopefully see her next year for number six.

            1. This is hard and a tie was necessary. When you watch these two horses there should be an emotion that seeps through your body: “Wow, aren’t they both immense.” But no it’s jealousy because the same man, the Cheltenham specialist who enjoyed his 50th Cheltenham winner this season, trains them both. Nicky Henderson must think himself the luckiest man in the world not just racing to have horses like Bobs Worth and Sprinter Sacre in his yard at the same time. Some people wait a lifetime for a horse even half as good as these two to come along and Henderson has them both now. What are the chances?
            Bobs Worth
            Although they are both brilliant what makes them capture the imagination the most is they are completely different. You have Sprinter Sacre the “James Bond” as Nicky puts it and Bobs Worth the “Head Boy” maybe not so cool, maybe doesn’t get as many girls but is good at everything- The Overachiever.

            Bobs Worth’s Gold cup was incredible. Again like the New One it was an example of the collision of heart and class to make up one perfect animal. The hill only seems to help him and he keeps going and going it was truly amazing. I don’t doubt this will not be his only Gold Cup- there will be more for sure. Fairytales can come true, Barry Geraghty had “Bob” as youngster and then seven years later won the Gold Cup on him. It’s a story Hollywood would be proud of.

            And what more can you say about Sprinter Sacre? Here is a horse that just does everything with such immense ease. His jumping is out of this world and he goes from A to B with speed and agility. We are lucky to have had Frankel last season and now we have him. We are truly in a Golden Era of horse racing.

            This year was the best, until a dark cloud was cast over Prestbury Park on Thursday when Amateur jockey JT McNamara was taken to hospital with serious spinal damage.

            I know this might seem strange but it as at times like this you see racing the for what it really is, a community where people look out for one another. All people could think about on Friday was not whether their horse was going to come up the hill in front, it was whether their friend was going to be OK. I say friend because this is what all these boys are to each other. Friends. Yes on the track they are competitors but when all is said and done they look out for each other.

            AP, Barry’s and JP McManus’ interviews after their races were not ones of elation, but of compassion and perspective. It was truly emotional and heart warming.

              Top 10 Things to do At Cheltenham Festival

              Top 10 ways to spend your time at the Greatest show on Turf
              cheltenham-festival Ladies Day
              I am sadly only going to one day of the festival this year. I normally do all four if I can. Unfortunately this year and last my turn out has been less than satisfactory.

              Last year I only went to the Gold Cup because I had the small problem of a hefty 15,000-word dissertation to contend with. This year I am on a masters and I’m not sure taking four days off for horse racing will really cut it. Which is a shame

              But in my absence I thought I would give you lucky people who have the privilege to attend the best sporting event of the calendar some pointers of how best to spend your time.

              1. Make sure you pay a visit to the pre-parade ring. There is nothing better than seeing the trainers final prep before the big race in the saddling enclosure. You catch a glimpse of the some weird and wonderful routines each trainer has. But also to see the horses before they come out in front of the big crowds it can really give you some good inspiration in terms of betting.

              2. Watch the Cross-Country race from the middle of the course. There is nothing more exhilarating than watching the chaotic events of the cross-country race unfold before your very eyes. If you go to the centre of the course to enjoy this spectacle you can get so close that you may even have splatterings of mud on you when you return to the centre. There is even a bookie over there in case you want a cheeky bet.

              3. Watch the Gold Cup from the lawn. There is no better place in terms of atmosphere. But a warning…before you have a rant about a horse that may have lost you a packet have a look round first. Often many of the trainers watch from the lawn so it’s likely you will be rubbing shoulders with racing royalty.

              guinness800_2426186[1]4. Spend some time in the fun areas of the course. Go and spend your winnings in the Guinness Village. The Guinness might be overpriced but it still tastes just as good. The Arkle bar is a good place to quench your thirst and the good news is you’re only a stones throw away from the winning post.

              5. Have a wonder round the Hall of Fame. This is a great museum right on your doorstep. Wonder through the halls where you are surrounded by colours of former Gold Cup winners right from Red Splash in 1924 taking you all the way up to Synchronised in 2012. This is great place to pass the time if the weather is bad, but also if you just have a free moment.

              6. Have your picture taken with the various statues dotted around the course. You have a plethora of greats from old and new. Have a picture snapped with the great Golden Miller or the beautiful mare Dawn Run.

              7. Have a bet on a horse just because you like the name. I went to the festival one year with a group of friends who did not know a huge amount about racing. One friend placed a bet on Bertie’s Dream at 33-1 and came away 80 quid better off.

              8. Go to the Best Mate statue. Every year there is a band around the 3 times Gold cup winner Best Mate’s statue. They normally have a poem read out about his wins. It’s a nice way to spend some time while waiting around for the next race.

              9. Hit the shops. This is a good way to spend time waiting at the end of the day if you hate traffic jams. Wonder aimlessly through the shopping district. But men are warned if they take along their wives or girlfriends, it’s unlikely you will leave with the day’s winnings!

              10. Finally…Make sure you do enjoy every race of the meeting whether they be Grade One’s, Handicaps or Amateur races because it truly is the Greatest show on Turf….

                Arkle 2013 Preview Cheltenham Festival

                simonsig This year’s Racing Post Arkle seemingly holds the perfect balance of talent and rivalry as the two unbeaten market leaders, Simonsig and Overturn, go head-to-head for 2m novice supremacy.
                Both have been foot-perfect this season with has created a rivalry that has created a number of opinions from a range of trainers and punters.
                Bookmakers however remain reluctant to take on Simonsig and whilst he currently stands best price 8/11 with Coral, he may go off close to last year’s winner and stablemate Sprinter Sacre’s 8/13 price with money continuing to come in for him.
                Latest Prices

                Overturn however is 11/4 with the majority of firms and many punters are looking to this race for an upset on a day of red hot favourites.
                Both have won their respected races this season very easily which in both cases is down to both their talent and maybe the lack of opposition against them.
                Overturn’s three victories have accumulated a total of 68 lengths whilst Simonsig’s two races accumulated a whopping 84 lengths. Their superiority is the main reason why this race is dubbed a two horse race.

                Overturn’s ability to gallop strongly has been there for all to see on the flats and hurdles and he has managed to keep that speed when taking to the fences.

                What is even more impressive about the Donald McCain trained 9-year-old is the accuracy in which he has jumped this year and he will undoubtedly be the first to test Simonsig come the Arkle.
                However, when you spin it round, Simonsig will be the first to test Overturn this year and will he manage the jumping at such speeds when put under pressure?

                The duo’s closest rival in the betting is Irish trained Arvika Ligeonniere (9/1 Ladbrokes) whose preparations were dealt a blow when he fell in a three horse race last out leaving outsider Benneficient to score from Oscars Well.
                However the fall would concern me less than his lack of fluidity even in races that he’s won.

                His races have been run against just as little as Simonsig and Overturn yet he has failed to win as convincingly as his rivals and has a big ‘F’ next to his name whilst the others ring ‘1s’.
                With the betting very much dominated by the top two, there could be some good each way prices out there and Module at 40/1 with SkyBet is the one that catches my eye but in truth he is most likely to be some distance behind Simonsig and Overturn.


                It would seem in the betting that the race is Simonsig’s to lose and I would have to agree with that. He will undoubtedly be given a test by Overturn but I have a feeling that ‘that test’ may come in a similar form to that of Sanctuaire’s efforts to conqueror Sprinter Sacre in the Tingle Creek this year.

                Overturn will give a strong gallop but I sense he may be surprised when Simonsig simply goes with him. That will leave it to the final couple of fences and I think it will be here when we see how good Simonsig actually is.

                He will kick on from then and if Overturn manages to go with him and get him off the bridle then racing fans are in for a treat coming up the hill. However, if he doesn’t get Simonsig off the bridle, he will be well beaten. That said, whether we are witness to yet another Nicky Henderson Arkle onslaught or a tight thriller, I believe Simonsig will still win and most probably go on to better things.

                Win: Simonsig (4/6 Coral)

                Each Way: Module (40/1 NRNB SkyBet)

                  RSA Chase Preview 2013 Cheltenham

                  Boston BobThe RSA betting market jumped into life this week as it emerged that long time ante-post favourite Dynaste, is likely to drop back in trip for the Jewson Novices’ Chase.
                  Dynaste currently remains the 2/1 favourite, but with the majority of bookmakers offering non-runner no-bet, it is not in their favour to change that and connections have revealed the Jewson Novices’ will be his preferred option.
                  His absence could be down to a whole host of reasons, yet will still come as a surprise to many after winning so easily over 3m in the Feltham Chase at Kempton on Boxing Day.
                  His route to the festival matches that of stablemate Grands Crus’ route last year that ended in defeat in this race. In fact, no horse has ever won both the Feltham and the RSA in the same season and that, as well as the probable heavy rainfall, may have contributed to trainer David Pipe changing his mind.
                  Dynaste’s probable absence leaves a massive whole in at the top of the betting with the Irish trained Boston Bob leading the way at 4/1 to fill it.
                  Boston Bob was imperious as a hurdler and went into last year’s festival a red hot favourite in the Albert Bartlett. However, his run came to an abrupt end when he had little answer to the late Brindisi Breeze coming up the hill.

                  Latest RSA Chase Betting

                  If you had read our ‘5 to follow’ feature at the start of the season you’d know that Boston Bob was one of our selections and a so far promising season as novice puts him in a good position to out his festival blues right.
                  However, despite impressing this season, he has not looked sensational in his two runs despite unbeaten and scoring a Grade One at Leopardstown.
                  His maiden run over fences came at Navan when he got up by ½ a length to win as the 1/5 favourite. Not flattering by any stretches of the imagination.
                  He followed that up with an even closer victory at Leopardstown when battling to get up by a nose in a trilling finish winning as the 6/4 favourite.
                  Boston BobWe may not have seen the best of Boston Bob yet and his pedigree suggests he will stay the 3m so you’d have to give him a great chance without Dynaste in the race.
                  Unioniste has been a revelation this season and his consistent jumping and ability to stay will put him up there with a fantastic chance of success.
                  His only defeat this season came at Cheltenham’s Open Meeting when he had no answers to Dynaste’s speed up the hill.
                  Since then, he’s responded with an impressive victory in the December Gold Cup at Cheltenham, course form that will prove vital when running in the traditionally gruelling RSA Chase.
                  Nicky Henderson trained Hadrian’s Approach was just beaten by Unioniste last out and could be deemed quite unfortunate not to win that race. His performance when a well beaten second in the Feltham Chase is decent form even though he was more than nine lengths behind Dynaste.
                  A horse that has been a real eye catcher this year is David Pipes Goulanes. I said after his latest victory at Wetherby that he could potentially be a player come the festival after getting up by a head to Super Duty, and I stand by that comment especially with stablemate Dyanste not in the race.


                  This race looked like Dynaste’s to lose but with him looking Jewson bound, the race is wide open and I sense there will some big priced contenders challenging.
                  Boston Bob looks likely to go off favourite for the race and that is probably justified going off his impressive hurdling form and unbeaten start over fences. However, he doesn’t need to be much shorter than he is right now as there a range of other potential contenders out for the crown.
                  He is the classiest horse in the race but will be in good company with the likes of Unioniste and Goulanes looking really solid jumpers and stayers. Boston Bob will undoubtedly have to raise his game to win this.
                  Unioniste’s December Gold Cup win came from bottom weight of 9-9 with 16lbs in hand on second placed Walkon. He was undoubtedly better than the handicappers made him out that day but he was lucky to beat Hadrian’s Approach last out.
                  Goulanes looks a real good horse but this is a massive rise in class and he is somewhat unexposed at this level. However, at 10/1, he is much better value than his rivals and doesn’t look that far away.

                  Winner: Goulanes (10/1 Bet Victor)

                    Neptune Investment Novices’ Hurdle Preview 2013

                    365284_1[1]This year’s Neptune Investment Novices’ Hurdle looks set to be a real blockbuster with the best of British and Ireland going head-to-head for festival glory.
                    Ante-post favourite Pont Alexandre looks a real classy hurdler and punters will feel even more confident about their backing this five-year-old, with trainer Willie Mullins, claiming this is his best chance of festival success. A bold statement, especially when you think he has Quevega (as short as 1/2) to continue her festival winning streak.
                    His class is there for all to see. He has bags of speed and combines that speed in his jumping and looks a real stayer. You don’t really look for much more in a race like this.
                    He smashed his rivals on debut at Navan, coming home 13 lengths ahead of Busty Brown. The odds on favourite Don Cossack fell at the last in that race but it would not have stopped Pont Alexandre from slamming him.
                    He is not the only Irish chance in this race with Jonjo O’Neill trained Taquin Du Seuil 6/1 and Rule The World 10/1, emphasising the Irish stronghold on this race.
                    Taquin Du Seuil will be the mount of champion jockey AP McCoy and although his all round speed and jumping don’t stand out as much as other rivals, he has quietly gone about his business and picked up the coverted Grade One Challow Hurdle.
                    Trainer Jonjo O’Neill thinks the world of this six-year-old but he had no answers to My Tent Or Yours pace on his second run and only loss of the season.
                    However, despite that defeat, O’Neill believes he has improved leaps and bounds since we last saw him and that he’ll have his star novice in tip top condition come the festival. Another plus point is how versatile he is with the ground. With unpredictability surrounding the ground going at The Festival, that will prove in his favour.
                    Despite the Irish having three of the top four in the betting, the race is by no means going to Ireland as The New One holds massive claims on behalf of Britain.
                    The Nigel Twiston-Davies trained five-year-old looks the real deal despite a ¼ length defeat by At Fishers Cross on heavy ground at Cheltenham last month.
                    He will have definitely learnt more from that race and improve for it. Jockey Sam Twiston-Davies probably went slightly too early on him and on another day, on better ground, would have gone on to win easily.
                    Last year’s Champion Bumper sixth followed up that festival ride with an emphatic win over My Tent Or Yours at Aintree on Grand National day. Bearing in mind My Tent Or Yours emphatic Betfair Hurdle win last month, that form looks very good.
                    Twiston-Davies regards this five-year-old as potentially one of the best he has trained and a win in this race come the festival will set him on his way to potential greatness.
                    Puffin Billy (12/1) was beaten last time out by Melodic Rendezvous. Connections suggested there were genuine excuses but he looked well beaten for most of that race and will have to improve immensely to challenge.
                    Chatterbox (14/1) is a very interesting one, should he run, as he holds some potentially tremendous form yet is a large price considering.
                    Unbeaten in his three starts but gave out a thumping to a somewhat under-par stablemate, My Tent Or Yours. The form obviously stands out but is dismissed by many as the race time was run extremely slowly. However, with the weather the way it has being, it is hardly surprising that that was the case.


                    This race is so close I have personally changed my mind three times in the space of a couple of weeks. Off first impressions my allegiances lied with Taquin Du Seuil after I was very impressed with the way he went about his win in the Challow Hurdle.
                    However, backed into 6/1 from 12’s since tipped by Pricewise leaves me thinking he is now too short.
                    Pont Alexandre looks set to go off a short priced favourite with money continuing to come for Willie Mullins’ star. He looks as bomb proof as it gets looking at his performances in Ireland and that is backed up by his trainer’s confidence.
                    Many have compared Pont Alexandre to the great Denman and you can see why. He looks like he will go on to be a potential staying chaser as he looks blessed with staying ability. However, should you look further into the comparisons with Denman, you’ll see that Denman went on to lose this race and that is what I see happening to Pont Alexandre.
                    The horse that will deliver this defeat will be The New One. I was super impressed with this five-year-old on his first three victories over hurdles, but I was even more impressed the way it was defeated by At Fishers Cross at Cheltenham.
                    Jockey Sam Twiston-Davies let him go at an area of the course that is avoided by most on heavy ground but he simply kicked away at phenomenal speed. Should Twiston-Davies have got another chance he’d have held on longer and I’m certain he’d have won very easily.
                    Winner: The New One (4/1 William Hill)
                    Each Way: Chatterbox (14/1 Ladbrokes)