A good if slightly overlong week with some excellent races to savour. I had big bets on Starluck in the Triumph and Tatenen in the Arkle, both failing, but I made the ground back on a few lesser races and finished nicely up for the week.
Kauto Star did the business again and reminded us all what a star he truly is. Most of the expert opinion I heard suggested that this would be his day – I couldn’t back him as I still don’t quite trust his jumping and it was a short price for a horse I wasn’t 100% on, but he did it like an odds on shot.
With hindsight Starluck was probably a bad bet. He came cruising and traded as low as 1.62 in running, but he was found out by the hill. I did wonder if a horse of his natural speed and ability might be burning too much energy to be able to deal with the stamina sapping finish at Cheltenham, and so it proved.
I was happy with the analysis and bet on Tatenen. He fell at the third – there was always a danger that he would fall.
The social side at Cheltenham means more to me now I’m away from Betfair. There have always been people who I see once a year at the festival – now there are a lot of extra Betfair people who I rarely see and I get the chance to catch up with them as well. It’s the top ranking event on my social calendar.
I still wish they hadn’t gone to four days though. Most of the new races don’t quite do it – the winners aren’t best of breed in their class and some of the top races get diluted. Master Minded was a virtual shoo in in the Champion Chase – Voy Por Ustedes might have given him a race, but he had an easier option in the Ryanair Chase which he fluffed. We were robbed of a proper Champion Chase by the management’s desire to keep the beer flowing for one more day.
I’m suffering from betting fatigue, but I’ll have a couple of bets today nevertheless.
Raining Horse runs in a three mile hurdle at Newcastle having had a hard time over fences recently. He had a nasty fall at the end of last year, and didn’t appear to enjoy himself when running at Doncaster in December. He’s potentially well treated over hurdles, and his stable wasn’t in form when he last ran over hurdles in November. He’s had four runs at Newcastle and he’s won three of them – he’s never won anywhere else. At seven he isn’t too old to come back and win a hurdle – he might be a spring horse. All in all plenty of reasons to like him today.
Badgerlaw was in his novice chasing season when he came second in last year’s Midlands National. He travels over again this year having had a fairly busy time running over shorter distances. He should do better this year with the extra experience under his belt, but he gets to run off a lower mark. He feels like a very solid bet.