THE LION TIPSTER: FOUR NAPS OUT OF FIVE: Daqman remains in stunning form for Cheltenham. One of his two winners from three bets yesterday gave him four winning naps out of five. His Monday magic came from Mr Lando (WON 9-4) and The Lion Dancer (WON 100-30) both at cracking prices for 36.5 points profit on the day. His current naps record now reads:
WON 9-4 MR LANDO (Monday nap)
WON 4-11 PITON PETE (Sunday supernap)
2ND 9-2 HORATIO HORNBLOWER (Saturday nap)
WON 11-10 JEZKI (Friday supernap)
WON 11-4 MOABIT (Thursday nap)
TODAY’S CHELTENHAM HEADLINES: Here’s Daqman’s race-by-race guide to the opening day at the festival, with a supernap, and two bull’s-eye bets, making the following headlines:
GETABIRD IS THE FLYING FIRST
SAINT’S A LIVE BET ON BETDAQ
OPEN A BOTTLE OF VINTAGE!
D’AIR A CHAMPION SUPERNAP
IS ODDS-ON APPLE FINALLY JADED?
GETABIRD IS THE FLYING FIRST
1.30 Cheltenham (Supreme Novices’ Hurdle)
STATS The usual suspects – Elliott, Henderson, Nicholls and Mullins (five times) – have won this, with Altior and Douvan on the roll of honour, yet only one outright favourite has been successful in the decade.
Ireland has won 11 out of 17, and 12 of those 17 had raced in bumpers; 17 out of 19 winners had scored on the last day.
FORM ANALYSIS Two winners in four years have come from the race won by Getabird from Mengli Khan on heavy at Punchestown in January.
Though Summerville Boy beat Kalashnikov at Sandown, he’s lost two twice at Cheltenham and the handicapper thinks Kalashnikov 4lb superior because he afterwards won a supposed ‘big handicap’ at Newbury, though not such quality as they would have you believe.
Kalashnikov lost his right-fore shoe in the Sandown race but Summerville Boy’s rider lost an iron in a mistake at the last. I might have put First Flow in my Stick-In-The-Mud gambles of the week but he had an alternative at the meeting at the time. And he comes out six lengths behind Kalashnikov on collateral form.
HIDDEN HORSE Claimantakinforgan is better than the bare form. A question mark about the ground but will love the stiff track.
VERDICT/BETDAQ VALUE Getabird could be a street in front, and the 3.0 may look good in hindsight. On a straight reading of the English form Summerville Boy beats Kalashnikov beats First Flow but Summerville Boy’s stable is in shocking form (last four runners beaten 191 lengths).
And the Kalashnikov Newbury handicap winner has failed badly three times in this recently (Splash Of Ginge, Ballyandy, and even My Tent Or Yours among them).
SAINT’S A LIVE BET ON BETDAQ
2.10 Cheltenham (Arkle Challenge Trophy)
STATS Henderson 3, Mullins 2 in the last six seasons, all odds on, Sprinter Sacre and Douvan among them. Nine of the last 11 had won or been placed over 19f
FORM ANALYSIS Previous Cheltenham festival experience is useful: Footpad was Triumph Hurdle third and Champion Hurdle fourth; Petit Mouchoir Champioin Hurdle third.
Brain Power has had a wind op on a redemption mission since failing to complete twice, and my ante-post bet looks a floperoo, now that he’s drifted like a lonely dog on a raft, over my betting weir to 14.5
Meanwhile Saint Calvados has officially gone past him in the ratings in a very short career.
North Hill Harvey (withdrawn) woiuld have finished about eight lengths behind Brain Power had that one stood up at Sandown but he was slaughtered 39 lengths by Saint Calvados at Warwick.
Footpad landed a hat-trick with an eased-down win in the Leopardstown Arkle, winning the same three races as Douvan, and looked a champion elect that day.
VERDICT/BETDAQ VALUE Saint Calvados is three times better odds than Footpad on BETDAQ. The Irish ace is already in my Fortune Cookies multiples, and taking 4.0 the improver Calvados, plus my ante-post bet, should give me full cover on the race.
OPEN A BOTTLE OF VINTAGE!
2.50 Cheltenham (Ultima Handicap Chase)
STATS Paul Nicholls (one win) and Willie Mullins (none) would be living in poverty if they relied on their Cheltenham handicaps success.
David Pipe does well in this one (three winners in the decade). Favourites don’t win. Stick with horses aged seven and eight (combined they have scored 8-10)
The weights trend has been to higher weights but 12 out of 17 carried 11st or less, and today’s ground should favour that area of the handicap.
FORM ANALYSIS Coo Star Sivola has raced seven times at Cheltenham, including third in the Fred Winter and fourth in the Martin Pipe, yet is still only six.
Gold Present’s success has been on a sounder surface, including when he won. the Silver Cup at Ascot in December (O O Seven fourth, 9lb better off now), Singlefarmpayment fifth.
Singlefarmpayment, who has won on the new course here on heavy, was second in this Ultima last year, beaten a short-head by a David Pipe contender, but his stable is out of form.
Pipe now saddles Ramses de Teillee, who is ultra consistent and loves the heavy ground. Form in the last year 3221212
HIDDEN HORSE Beware The Bear’s defeat in the Welsh National has him out at 18.5 this morning but is 23101 after a break.
VERDICT/BETDAQ VALUE Vintage Clouds (10.0 offers) was fourth in the Welsh National and was likely to get a place in this Ultima a year ago, if not win it, when he fell.
D’AIR A CHAMPION SUPERNAP..
3.30 Cheltenham (Champion Hurdle)
STATS Horses aged six and seven are 7-9. Previous winners, like Buveur D’Air last year, have a good record. Favourites 4-7. Willie Mullins 4-7
Only Comedy Of Errors (1975) and Hurricane Fly (2013) have regained the hurdles title but none after a two-year-gap as Faugheen endeavours today.
FORM ANALYSIS Buveur d’Air is 9-10 and has won eight times on soft-heavy in 13 wins out of 16 races.
The handicapper says that he is already (off 169) a 2lb better horse than Faugheen and has two years age advantage.
My Tent Or Yours, second three times, could get a fourth place though now 11, but it may take a younger horse to come at Buveur’s stablemate Charli Parcs, who is likely to set the pace and, only five, still has a big future.
HIDDEN HORSE Though behind Melon in the Supreme Novices last year, Elgin has edged past him (161-160 ratings) in recent months
VERDICT/BETDAQ VALUE Buveur d’Air earns you 6.3 for 10 invested on BETDAQ this morning, and I think that Willie Mullins is throwing yesterday’s horses at him.
You can’t say that for sure of Melon but you can say that he’s disappointed since the festival last year. And that 19.0 suggests not a penny for him. Elgin is 23.0 but you can expect him to be snubbed against the form horses.
But the Kingwell has won it before for Alan King (Katchit) and I’ll shave off the Buveir d’Air decimals for a single-unit win and place Elgin.
IS ODDS-ON APPLE FINALLY JADED..
4.10 Cheltenham (Mares Hurdle)
STATS Willie Mullins trained eight in a row – six of them with Quevega – until Gordon Elliott pipped his 2016 winner, Vroum Vroum Mag, with Apple’s Jade a year ago.
FORM Apple’s Jade is back today as odds-on favourite, five wins in a row since then, with Willie obliged to rely on the year older, and officially 11lb inferior, Benie Des Dieux
Benie, a quick jumper off heavy ground, has won all three since moved to Mullins.
Kayf Grace is 20lb behind the favourite, and Jer’s Girl was comfortably held by Apple’s Jade at Navan, after a half-length defeat by La Bague Au Roi at Kempton in the autumn
FORM ANALYSIS La Bague Au Roi has improved 16lb since November and runs here instead of the stayer’s hurdle, with only 4lb to find on the favourite, if the handicapper is correct.
Apple’s Jade has seven Grade-1 wins to her name, is a year younger but has been around a long time and might be vulnerable as a front-runner here against the improver.
BETDAQ VALUE: La Bague Au Roi, 6-1 and 13-2 with the fixed-odds layers, was over the top at 8.6 against Apple’s Jade at 1.59.
4.50 Cheltenham (NH Chase) Paul Nicholls has a shocking record; only two placed from 17 starters. The stats don’t help much otherwise, and I discussed this yesterday in the shape of two against the field, Ms Parfois (8.6 this morning) and No Comment (11.0) .See Stick-In-The-Mud bets
5.30 Cheltenham (Novices’ Handicap Chase) You want horses aged six and seven (9 out of 12), with three to five runs over fences (10 out of 12).
Again I put one up as a mudlark, Any Second Now, twice placed behind Footpad. Since he’s favourite, I’ll find one to beat him.
Ballyhill is big at 26.0 as a recent winner here on heavy over this kind of trip and with the stable having a cracking season
1.30 Cheltenham (ante-post to win 50)
BET 3pts CLAIMANTAKINFORGAN
(on the day to win 20)
BET 10pts win GETABIRD
2.10 Cheltenham (ante-post to win 50)
BET 6pts BRAIN POWER
(on the day to win 30)
BET 10pts win SAINT CALVADOS
2.50 Cheltenham (win 50)
BULL’S-EYE BET 10pts win VINTAGE CLOUDS
SUPERNAP 30pts win BUVEUR D’AIR
BET 1pt win and place ELGIN
4.10 Cheltenham (to win 50)
BULL’S-EYE BET 6.5pts win LA BAGUE AU ROI
5.30 Cheltenham (win 30)
BET 1.25pts win and place BALLYHILL
Cheltenham Fortune Cookies’ Daq Multiples
BUVEUR D’AIR (3.30)
Cheltenham Stick-In-The-Muds (10pts win on each)
Ms PARFOIS (4.50)
NO COMMENT (4.50)
ANY SECOND NOW (5.30)
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