THE roar that goes up next Tuesday at Cheltenham when the runners kick off the festival in the opening Supreme Novices’ Hurdle will be immense and I guarantee that I will be making a worthwhile contribution to the noise!
I am going to look at the feature races on the first two days this week and then next week cover Thursday and Friday. So beginning with Tuesday’s Champion Hurdle, a quick note that we are refunding all losers if favourite Hurricane Fly wins so if you fancy anything else in the race, it makes sense to have a bet with us.
I personally would love to see ‘The Fly’ win but I think it’s a very stiff ask as it’s very difficult for horses that have won a championship race at Prestbury Park to come back and regain their crown having already lost it in a previous year.
Yes I know trainer Willie Mullins is very bullish and he’s been very impressive in his three wins this season, but I’m concerned that he hasn’t beaten a great deal and even though he was too good for Binocular last time, I think that fellow needed the run and will come on a lot.
So I’m going to opt for last year’s hero Rock On Ruby who was third on his reappearance in the International Hurdle over course in distance in December when trainer Harry Fry had warned punters that he would need the outing.
My selection got back to winning ways last time in a Listed hurdle at Doncaster last month on that desperate day when Darlan was fatally injured. Darlan had looked set to win the race that day but in his unfortunate absence, Rock On Ruby can prove that last year’s success was no fluke.
The Queen Mother Champion Chase is Wednesday’s feature and with Sprinter Sacre looking unbeatable, I’m going to concentrate on the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle instead and go for Pont Alexandre. I think that this chap is one of the Irish bankers of the week after remaining unbeaten in three starts when easily making all from Sizing Gold in a Grade 2 hurdle at Leopardstown in January.
The fact that Willie Mullins let him take his chance in a top-class race on his first start here probably says it all and he didn’t just win the Navan Novice Hurdle, he scored by a ridiculously comfortable 13 lengths.
I was at Leopardstown last time and the champion trainer was positively gushing about this lad’s ability and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we’re talking about him for the RSA Chase at this time next year.
Mind you the Neptune does look a particularly hot renewal this year with connections of The New One adamant that you will see a better horse than the one who was beaten last time and Taquin Du Seuil who has been described by Jonjo O’Neill as his best chance at the fixture. But I have the utmost faith in Pont Alexandre.
An intriguing clash between Liverpool and Tottenham takes place on Sunday and while I might opt for a Spurs win if they were at home with Gareth Bale currently in such devastating form, instead I’ll go for a draw at current odds of 12-5.
Tottenham were not always fluent against North London rivals Arsenal on Sunday but they still did enough to master them 2-1 and secure their 11th success in 16 league games.
After a dismal 2-0 defeat by West Brom at Anfield, Liverpool have also come good beating Swansea by five goals and then thrashing Wigan 4-0 away on Saturday.
The Reds are on a roll and this match has all the ingredients of a draw.
Sunday, Anfield 4pm - Liverpool to draw with Spurs
Tuesday, March 12 - Cheltenham 3.20pm Rock On Ruby
Wednesday, March 13 - Cheltenham 2.05pm Pont Alexandre