Day 1

Well another disappointment today with Mon Michel, but no time to cry. Cheltenham beckons, so let’s see if I can cut the mustard as a tipster.

Race 1 – The Supreme Novices

Well I hate to be dull but I just can’t get away from Amaretto Rose. I have always liked progressive fillies, particularly those that mature late, and this is one such horse. It is impossible not to be impressed by what she has done so far. I may have a saver on Hobbs Hill, who looks a classy sort and is a price. I’ll be watching Granit Jack, who carries the flag for John Hales – his daughter picks his horses for him and she’s proved in the past what a good eye she has for this sort of thing.

Race 2 – The Arkle

A top class renewal and some here are sure to go on to greater things. Three vie for favouritism – Fair Along, My Way De Solzen and Don’t Push It, and it’s hard to knock the claims of any of these. In the search for a bit of value I’ll go with Buena Vista, a great looking horse who is made for the chasing game. He has a bit to find, but he may still be progressive. He would probably prefer better ground and perhaps an extra furlong or two, but I’ll take my chances.

Race 3 – The Champion Hurdle

I’m on Straw Bear ante-post and I’m sticking with him. The conditions are right – it’s just a question of whether he is good enough. I spoke to Nick today – he says the horse is as good as he can get him and he’s got his fingers crossed. He may be a few pounds short of the mark on form, but he has the able assistance of AP and could run a big race.

Race 4 – The William Hill Handicap Chase

There are two I like in this one. Commercial Flyer hardly inspires confidence having failed to finish in his last four starts, but this is a horse of significant potential. Distant Thunder has moved from Robert Alner to Noel Chance, and ran well for Chance before being put away, no doubt with this race in mind. I’ll back both and do the forecast – marginal preference for Distant Thunder.

Race 5 – The Cross Country Chase

I’m no great fan of this race – it’s hard to know how to assess it. I’ll go with Enda Bolger’s Spot Thedifference, but not with a lot of confidence.

Race 6 – the Fred Winter

A good race this. Gaspara is an obvious favourite and tries to collect the bonus – he is sure to run well. Pouvoir is a horse I like a lot, similarly Silver Jaro, Pancake and some others. It’s a handicap though, and looking for a bit of value I’ll side with Shazand. Eddie O’Grady seems to do inordinately well in Cheltenham handicaps, and this decent recruit from the flat could find a bit of improvement here.

I’ll have a little at 16 on Timmy Murphy to win the jockeys championship – he is riding a number of my fancies.