Past Cheltenham races are the key to finding winners at the annual Festival.
Cheltenham Races 2009 DAY 1
Supreme Novices' Hurdle 13:30 Cheltenham, Tuesday 10 March
This race often falls to a horse with only a couple of runs over hurdles, preferably won last time out and often includes the 1st or 2nd favourite. Irish raiders frequently carry off the prize.
Torpichen if he runs is high on the list
Cousin Vinny stumbled and unseated last time when looking a likely winner
Kempes is a very useful hurdler
Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy Chase 14:05 Cheltenham Races, Tuesday 10 March
Younger horses at the head of the market hold sway and hold up horses perform best.
Calgary Bay, who prefers to race left handed, fits the bill while likely favourite,
Tatenen prefers to race prominently and lost the only time he was held up.
Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle Challenge Trophy 15:20 Cheltenham Races, Tuesday 10 March
Best suited to the younger generation, 8yo or less and with previous form at the Festival and as with all hurdlers, preference goes to last time out winners.
Shortlist should include
Binocular fast and accurate hurdler
Brave Inca tough but ageing campaigner with 10 grade 1 wins but probably place prospects only
Crack Away Jack
Harchibald another with age against him
Katchit out of form of late but Cheltenham brings out the best in him and could spring a surprise
Osana running well but not won in a while
Won In the Dark would provide a fairytale ending for his young Irish trainer,Sabrina Harty. She persuaded her dad to pay 1800 euros for this diminutive 5yo who is both talented and determined
Cheltenham Races 2009 DAY 2
Ballymore Properties Novices' Hurdle (Grade 1) 14:05 Cheltenham Cheltenham Races, Wednesday 11 March
Irish trained 6yo's have a good record, especially consider horses finishing 1st or 2nd last time out.
Diamond Harry - unbeaten in 6 starts and a real battler who has won at Cheltenham - won't want fast ground
Karabak Strong contender who has won at Cheltenham and last 2 starts
Mad Max has won all 4 starts over hurdles including a defeat of the very useful Karabak at Ascot. A gentle giant with a stride to match.
Mikael D'Haguenet - French import for the Irish stable of Willie Mullins has gone from strength to strength this season in winning his last 4 starts
Pause And Clause - 2nd to Mad Max at Newbury and won last time on softer than preferred. A firmer surface could see further improvement
Quwetwo - another giant horse produced a convincing victory over Bajan Parkes at Doncaster in January on his hurdling debut. Lots of improvement to come but inexperience might find him out.
RSA Chase (Grade 1) 14:40 Cheltenham Races, Wednesday 11 March
National Hunt bred horses are in their element here and 7 or 8yo's fare well. 1st or 2nd last time out is also a strong trend
Carruthers an excellent jumper who must have soft ground. Won last 2 starts
Cooldine a high class hurdler, his 3 runs over fences have produced 2 wins and more improvement likely
Gone To Lunch has won his last 3 races and won't be stopping up at the end his race
Massini's Maguire likes Cheltenham and his record shows 2 wins and 2 places from 5 runs - good outside chance
What A Friend owned by Man. Utd manager Alex Ferguson, had Carruthers behind in his first try over fences and defeated Ballyfitz at Cheltenham last time out.
Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1) 15:20 Cheltenham Races, Wednesday 11 March
To have won at the Festival before is a big plus and the winner can often be found in the 1st three in the betting. Fast and accurate jumping is the order of the day
Master Minded delivered a master class in this race last year and most of the opposition this year will again be under his tutelage.
Big Zeb looked a fine prospect prior to his fall at Punchestown last time out. Any errors at Cheltenham are unlikely to go unpunished.
Briareus made a winning comeback after 2 years on the sidelines but beaten 32 lengths into 4th behind Kauto Star in the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day.
Petit Robin with 1 win and two 2nds this season looks up against it
Twist Magic has talent but like an unruly schoolboy needs to develop consistency
Well Chief is a grand servant to the Pipe stable on his day but surely now in the twilight of his chequered career.
The Weatherbys Champion Bumper (Grade 1) 17:15 Cheltenham Races, Wednesday 11 March
This race is a standing dish for Irish trainers, notably Willie Mullins who has carried off the prize no less than 6 times.
The winner is often a 5yo who features in the first 6 in the betting. A good lay-off to get them champing at the bit is an extra positive. Horses beaten last time out need not apply and the job spec also includes winning a race with at least 15 runners.
Cadspeed - Willie Mullins trained, has won his last 2 outings bu may not have enough gears for this especially on good ground
Dunguib won well in a big field at Punchestown in November and followed up at Navan the next month. In with a shout.
Gagewell Flyer fits all the stats with 1 winning run on heavy before Christmas for Willie Mullins. Should also be suited by the likely better ground at Cheltenham
Glenlo Abbey is another willie Mullins contender with similar qualifications to Gagewell Flyer. Reported to have been working well at home
Henry King a 5yo who won his sole start at Newbury although his trainer is currently out of form
Lios A Choill another Willie Mullins contestant, won his first start at Fairyhouse recently and will appreciate better ground. However the recent run stat is against him
Meath All Star won his only start at Cork last July and considered by trainer Willie Mullins to be an ideal candidate for this race.
Quinola Des Obeaux another red hot candidate from willie Mullins who ticks all the boxes. A dual bumper winner with a tremendous turn of foot
Rite Of Passage currently 2nd in the betting and trained by Dermot Weld. Won both starts with any amount in hand and strongly fancied.
Shinrock Paddy won all 3 starts and his prominent racing style should keep him ahead of the bumps and hurly-burly which characterises this race.
Sicilian Secret is currently the favourite and one of Willie Mullins best horses.
Cheltenham Races 2009 DAY 3
Ryanair Chase (Grade 1) 14:40 Cheltenham Races, Thursday 12 March
Previous Cheltenham Races form is a big plus particularly past winners
Those who ran in the Paddy Power Gold Cup often perform well and a french bred trained by Paul Nicholls fulfils all the stats.
Imperial Commander - winner of the Paddy Power Gold Cup in November should go well despite a poor showing in the King George
Our Vic is a standing dish in the Ryanair and winner of the race last year. Preparation for this race however has been far from ideal
Schindlers Hunt - not as good as he was and had a hard race at Naas recently
Scotsirish - Bit of a character but could make the frame for Willie Mullins
Tidal Bay - A class act on his day and a previous Festival winner. Has not had an ideal preparation but usually comes good at this time of year and goes well at the course
Voy Por Ustedes - previous winner of the Arkle Trophy and Queen Mother champion chase. Is a class act and could well add another Festival trophy to his collection
Ladbrokes World Hurdle (Grade 1) 15:20 Cheltenham, Thursday 12 March
Horses that contested this race have a good record as are those who ran in the Long Walk Hurdle and the Cleeve Hurdle. Less well favoured are older horses eg 9yo+ and Irish trained.
Big Bucks has enjoyed an excellent season beating the likes of Punchestowns, Blazing Bailey and Fair Along in the Cleeve Hurdle at Cheltenham on New Year's Day. Although he may not encounter such soft conditions for this race.
Blazing Bailey - not produced his best form this year and not difficult to pass over
Fair Along has a good record at Cheltenham winning four times. If the ground comes up good he should make the frame at least
Kasbah Bliss a french horse that knows his way round Prestbury Park, finishing runner up to high class Inglis Drever in this race last year. He can go one better.
Punchestowns - is a classy horse on his day and was only beaten by Big Bucks in the Cleeve Hurdle which was run on very testing ground. He could well turn the form around.
Shakervilz - a Willie Mullins runner who won the Grade 2 Tara Hurdle at Navan in December. There is probably more to come and has place claims
Jcb Triumph Hurdle (Grade 1)13:30 Cheltenham Friday 13 March
Trainers that have a good record in this race include Alan King, Nicky Henderson, Willie Mullins and Philip Hobbs
We should also be looking at a horse that has won at least twice over hurdles, winning last time out and with a flat rating of at least 80
The winner can often be found in the first 4 in the betting
Ebadiyan won a couple of good hurdles including a grade 3 at Punchestown in January - has shown stamina and deterination and won't be shirking the final slog up the Cheltenham hill
Jumbo Rio beat Ebadiyan on his last outing in a Grade 2 at Leopardstown - leading player
Lethal Weapon was rated 92 on the flat and has won all 3 of his hurdles races, ending with a defeat of Tharawaat in a Grade 1 at Leopardstown. Is open to further improvement
Master Of Arts won 6 times on the flat ending on a mark of 95 before being sent hurdling and winning his first start. However he does prefer soft ground and just one race over hurdles could leave him vulnerable to more experienced rivals
Starluck has won 3 times over hurdles with a very good display at Kempton. Only raced on flat tracks but is very progressive and should be thereabouts
Walkon A prolific winner on the flat in France has taken well to hurdles winning twice, latterly at Cheltenham conceding 7lbs to the runner up Reve De Sivola on ground softer than ideal. This horse can go all the way and is a worthy favourite
Zaynar is a very classy recruit from France to Nicky Henderson's yard. He won a hurdle easily at Newbury and followed up next time at Ascot with a somewhat laboured defeat of Amore Mio. Boasts a similar profile to Walkon
Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle(Grade 1)14:40 Friday 13 March
The conditions of the race favours the older horse 7yo+ with experience over the Cheltenham fences. Stamina is at a premium so winning form over 3m is necessary and preference is for horses who finished 1st or 2nd last tme out. The winner usually comes from the first five in the betting
Alpha Ridge - the 7yo has gone from srength to strength this season winning 4 of 5 starts. Form has to be taken on trust as his sole defeat was by a large margin 26 lengths. Also prefers some cut in the ground
Bensalem went down by 1/2 length to Diamond Harry at Cheltenham last time out after winning his previous 4 starts. That is good form in the context of this race and there could be more to come
Cape Tribulation won well at Doncaster over 3 miles last time out although his trainer reckons he needs soft ground and be better at Aintree than the Cheltenham Races
Pride Of Dulcote has won 3 of his 4 starts over hurdles but fell when travelling well in a Listed event at Chepstow. Shown plenty of stamina and scope for improvement which will be required in this company
Totesport Cheltenham Gold Cup Chase (Grade 1)15:20
Again experience counts with 2nd season 7yo's predominating. Previous winners at the Festival and in the King George have also excelled in this race.
Kauto Star - winner of this race 2 years ago and beaten by stable mate Denman in 2008. Has come back as strong as ever this year disposing of a quality field in the King George. Main stat against him is that previous losers have a poor record
Won well with a bold display of jumping in a grade 1 at Leopardstown in February. Will come here at the top of his game. But has failed to win on 3 previous visits to Cheltenham and may have to settle for a place again
Produced an imperious display to win this race last year but off with heart trouble until his return at Kempton in February. His 23 length 2nd to Madison Du Berlais revealed he was a long way off his best
Madison Du Berlais accounted for Denman with an eyecatching effort at Kempton in February and if turning up in the same kind of form is a force to be reckoned with.
Exotic Dancer has had plenty of chances in this race and looks up against it again
Barbers Shop the queen is more noted for her flat runners than national hunt but this horse is not without a shout. His trainer Nicky Henderson says "I was extremely pleased with him when he worked with Mad Max at Newbury on March 1 and the extra distance of the Gold Cup will suit him."
The Boylesports International meeting, Friday 12th - Saturday 13th December at Cheltenham is considered a warm-up for the Cheltenham Races in March.
I am tipping all races at this meeting and selections are as follows: Although the selections are mine, to save time I have used The R.P. Spotlight notes to highlight their chances
12.15 Boylesports.com BEST ODDS JUVENILE NOVICES' HURDLE (2) 2m1f
Recovered losses from odds-on debut defeat when beating pair of subsequent winners at Haydock but certainly wouldn´t get carried away with that form and substantial improvement probably needed, though trainer knows juvenile hurdle form like back of his hand. Starluck Win
Useful at best on Flat in Ireland and has stamped himself an early favourite for Triumph Hurdle after trouncing yesterday´s Doncaster fourth Laterly at Fakenham following a stylish winning debut at Huntingdon; obvious chance but main concern is he was taken out her last month when ground was considered too soft.
12.45 JENNY MOULD MEMORIAL HANDICAP CHASE (2) 2m110y
Something Wells win
Now 5lb higher than when good second over this trip at Haydock last month on reappearance when Tidal Fury was over 20l behind him in sixth but will handle ground and in-form stable won a good prize here yesterday, so high on list.
1.20 RELKEEL HURDLE (Grade 2) (1) 2½m110y
Talented if slightly quirky horse both on Flat and over hurdles but answered his critics when turning over odds-on shot over 2m4f at Sandown last week; faces tough task under maximum penalty.
Catapulted himself into Festival reckoning with easy win under big weight in handicap here last month and runner-up franked form next time; ground will suit, best in on official figures and hard to oppose.
1.55 Boylecasino.com NOVICES' CHASE (2) 2m5f
Buck The Legend Win
Pick of these over hurdles (Coral Cup winner here last season) and hugely promising chasing debut when close second at Haydock; unsuited by drop back in trip when outspeeded by decent sort over 2m1f next time but should go well if ground doesn´t become too bad.
2.30 Boylesports.com GOLD CUP (HANDICAP CHASE) (Grade 3) (1) 2m5f
Did the business in Galway Plate in July and has acquitted himself with credit off his revised mark since; would have finished closer but for mistake two out when about 9l fourth to My Petra at Ascot but not convinced he can reverse form despite healthy pull.
Imperial Commander Win
Trainer´s high opinion of him totally vindicated by his impressive Paddy Power win here last month and 13lb raise looks all the more justified after the only rival to give him a race, Barbers Shop, won a Listed chase next time; connections continue to exude confidence and he will be hard to beat if in same form.
3.05 Boylesports.com INTERNATIONAL (HURDLE) (Grade 2) (1) 2m1f
Hugely talented but much maligned, winner of this race three years ago following narrow defeat in Champion Hurdle; ground softer than ideal when running no race in last season´s Champion and maybe even next time behind Punjabi at Punchestown but 8lb penalty for last year´s Fighting Fifth win makes life tough even if back to best and rain would be a worry
Crack Away Jack Win
Showed his class when winning Listed novice handicap at Cheltenham and proved he had progressed again over the summer when winning at Chepstow on reappearance; has come out of his defeat by Chomba Womba over 2m3f at Ascot so well that trainer has done anabout turn regarding this race and no surprise if he reverses that form with better jumping.
3.35 ALBERT BARTLETT NOVICES' HURDLE (Bristol) (Grade 2) (1) 3m
Diamond Harry (Reverse Forecast with) Massasoit
Diamond Harry has yet to taste defeat and best performance yet from him when stylish winner of what´s usually a good Grade 2 event over 2m5f here last month; already a leading fancy for the staying novices at the Festival (shorter price ante post than Massasoit) and this further step up in trip shouldn´t be a problem.
Massasoit Dual bumper winner in testing conditions for Malcolm Jefferson and looked like horse with big future when making short work of last week´s Sandown odds-on failure On Raglan Road in 2m4f novice hurdle at Aintree in October; expected to stay and officiallyrated 3lb superior to Diamond Harry.
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Cheltenham Races 2008 DAY 1
Anglo Irish Bank Supreme Novices Hurdle
Blue Bajan each way
Captain Cee Bee, Khyber Kim, Rippling Ring, Muirhead, Cork All Star
Cheltenham Races - Irish Independent Arkle Challenge Trophy
Tidal Bay won 6-1
Kruguyrova each way 2nd 9-1
Noland, Tidal Bay, Clopf, Mahogany Blaze, Ring The Boss, Thyne Again
Cheltenham Races - Smurfit Kappa Champion Hurdle
CATCH ME each way
Sizing Europe, Osana
Cheltenham Races - William Hill Handicap Chase
AN ACCORDION won 7-1
An Accordion, Ofarel D'Airy, L'Ami, Monkerhostin
Cheltenham Races - Cross Country Chase
GARDE CHAMPETRE won 4-1
Wonderkid, Headsontheground, Garde Champetre, Le Duc, Royal Auclair
Cheltenham Races - Fred winter Novice handicap hurdle
CRACK AWAY JACK won 14-1
HARRY TRICKER Each Way
Ashkazar, River Liane, Harry Tricker
Cheltenham Races 2008 DAY 2
Ballymore Properties Novices Hurdle
Aigle D'Or, Forpadydeplasterer, Group Captain, Breedsbreeze, Trafford Lad, The Tother One
Cheltenham Races - Royal and Sun Alliance Chase
Roll Along 2nd 20-1
Tidal Bay, Nevada Royale, Silverburn, Albertas Run
Queen Mother Champion Chase
Voy Por Ustedes 2nd 5-2
Master Minded, Twist Magic, Tamarinbleu, Voy Por Ustedes
Cheltenham Races Coral Cup
none as yet
Peter O'Sullevan N H Steeple Chase Challenge Cup
Over The Creek 2nd 7-1
Old Benny 1st 9-1
Pass It On
Weatherbys Champion Bumper
Corskeagh Royale 2nd 7-1
Cousin Vinny 1st 12-1
Zaarito, Apt Approach, Lilywhitedancer, Cousin Vinny, Gold Award, Big Eared Fran
Cheltenham Races 2008 DAY 3
Jewson Novices Handicap Chase
Finger On The Pulse 1st 9-1
Dear Villez, Silverburn, Arturio, Ambobo, Lead On, Barbers Shop
Turko 3rd 7-1
Mossbank, The Listener, Monet's Garden, Tamarinbleu, L'Antartique, Don't Push It
Ladbroke World Hurdle
Without the favourite
Kasbah Bliss 2nd 9-1
My Way De Solzen
The Market Man
Inglis Drever, My Way De Solzen, Special Envoy, Wichita Lineman, Hardy Eustace, Blazing Bailey
The Racing Post Plate Handicap Chase
Bible Lord 3rd 6-1
Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Challenge Cup Handicap Chase
Bob Bob Bobbin
High Chimes 1st 14-1
Cheltenham Races Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle
Cheltenham Races 2008 DAY 4
Results of Cheltenham Races Friday selections
DAVID NICHOLSON MARES ONLY HURDLE
BALLYMORE PROPERTIES NOVICES' HURDLE
Venalmar 2nd 11-1
Naiad Du Misselot won 7-1
Shazand each way
Song Of Songs - A McManus owned horse
Kicks For Free
JCB TRIUMPH HURDLE
Franchoek 2nd evens
ALBERT BARTLETT NOVICES' HURDLE
Nenuphar Collonges won 9-1
Gone To Lunch
The Tother One 3rd 9-2
TOTESPORT Cheltenham Races GOLD CUP
Denman won 9-4
Kauto Star 2nd 10-11
Bon Accord 2nd 15-2
Alert The Earth
Man From Highworth
Agus A Vic
JOHNNY HENDERSON GRAND ANNUAL CHASE
My Petra 2nd 3-1
VINCENT O'BRIEN COUNTY HURDLE
JCB Triumph Hurdle
Franchoek, Binocular, Celestial Halo, Ashkazar, Won In The Dark
The Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle
Gone To Lunch, Carruthers, The Tother One, Lodge Lane
Cheltenham Races Gold Cup
Kauto Star, Denman, Neptunes Collonges
Christie's Foxhunters Chase
Agus A Vic, Lou Du Moulin Mas, Drombeag, Thisthatandtother, Bon Accord, General Striker, Amicelli, Man From Highworth
Cheltenham Races Grand Annual Challenge Cup
My Petra, Wanango, Andreas, Crozan, Enlightenment, Fier Normand
Vincent O'Brien Handicap Hurdle
Psycho, Jered, County Zen, Imsingingtheblues, Mon Michel, Wingman
David Nicholson Mares Hurdle
Chomba Womba, Sweet Kiln, Gaspara, Theatre Girl, Amaretto Rose, Lounaos
End of analysis for Cheltenham Races 2008