It’s that time of the year where we are facing Festival Racing at Cheltenham 2018. The weather in the UK has been pretty bleak in the last few weeks and we expect improvement as we enter mid-March but that is not forecast by the weather people at the Met Office. This week we could end up with quite a few meetings cancelled again.
My theme this week is Good, Bad and Ugly sides of Cheltenham. Well these observations from me are not aimed at causing distress or offence in any way but I am afraid some of my views HAVE to be stated.
Well on the GOOD front I am looking forward to seeing the battle of the Superpowers in the names of Mullins, Henderson and Elliot fighting for supremacy as leading trainer at the Festival. Who do I fancy? Take your pick perm any one from three because it’s the most interesting battle of these guys I have ever witnessed in over 50 years as a racing follower.
Have you ever been to the Festival? If not you must put it on your ‘bucket’ list of things to attend because there is nothing like it as far as National Hunt Racing is concerned. It all starts at the Irish CoffeeTent around 10.00am and develops from there… that’s why you need to decide on your bets and stakes and STICK to THEM… don’t get brave after visiting the beer tent if you know what I mean!
On Day One where do we start? Footpad, Buveur D’Air and Apples Jade all are tremendous horses who I really fancy. Footpad is the best novice chaser seen this season and deserves to be at the head of the market. Buveur D’Air looks set to retain his Champion Hurdle crown and Apples Jade looks to win the Mares Hurdle for the second year on the bounce. That’s just Day One! If the rest of the meeting is as good as what day one promises it will be the best ever in my opinion.
Day Two looks harder but Altior for Henderson Team looks difficult to beat but I think Min and Un De Sceaux wouldn’t like hearing me say that! The Cross Country Race is very interesting especially if Kim Bailey runs The Last Samurai. I have a sneaky fancy for Mitchouka for the Fred Winter for Team Elliot. Will Douvan run in the RSA Chase On Day Three? Can Laurina strike for King Willie in the Dawn Run? Possible both could run and both could win… have to wait for declarations. Then all of a sudden we are on the last day… Gold Cup Day… massive fields make this a day I might just watch but if you forced me I would say Might Bite, Friday looks the hardest day of the week but what another day full of absolute class horses. Enjoy the GOOD side of the Cheltenham Festival.
The BAD side of the Festival is that some of our four legged friends probably won’t be going home as we always tend to lose some of our horses to injuries by bad falls etc so please everyone say your prayers every night and ask that all horses at the Festival go home after the races.
The UGLY side of racing at the Festival has already soured me and I wrote an article some months ago about Mr Rich Ricci being a prominent racehorse owner and Chairman of Bet Bright Bookmakers. Mr Ricci is in a position where he can influence whether one of his horses runs or does not run… ante post bets are lost if a horse does not run… Vroom Vroom Mag was withdrawn last week and retired… nothing was indicated before that! I do not think a Chairman of a Bookmaking Firm can be allowed to influence the Antepost Markets… ok Vroum Vroum Mag was retired BUT I wonder if Bet Bright still took bets on her even though the decision had been made? I rang Bet Bright and spoke to one of their representatives named Kev who wouldn’t give his surname… he said we have acted within rules of antepost racing and there will be NO refunds at all… thanks Kev and Bet Bright. Come on BHA do your thing and make this UGLY conflict of interest outlawed. You cannot allow any person to have these conflicts of interest!
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