108 POINTS UP ON CHELTENHAM DAY 1: Daqman landed a naps hat-trick and a Fortune Cookies double (two out of two) for 108.40 points profit on on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival yesterday to take his three-day earnings to 148.50 points.
Daqman now leads Pricewise by 290.70 with a 20-12 lead.
Tuesday: profit 108.40 (2-3 winning lays not included)
WON 6-1 CORACH RAMBLER (20pt Fortune Cookie)
WON 11-10 EL FABIOLO (20pt Fortune Cookie nap)
WON (2nd 9-4) FACILE VEGA Lay
WON (unplaced) TEKAO Lay
Monday: profit on the day 26.20
WON 10-11 ROCK CHANT (nap)
WON 11-10 KILLAOAN
Sunday: profit on the day 13.90
WON 3-1 HAUTE ESTIME
WON 8-13 JOURNEY WITH ME (nap) from 2.25 on BETDAQ
A STAR IS BORN AT CHELTENHAM: Michael O’Sullivan (22) from Cork, a claiming professional only since September, wears the yellow jersey after Day 1 at Cheltenham with a dream double on Marine Nationale (9-2) and Jazzy Matty (18-1).
OVERALL SCORE: Ireland 5, GB 2.
TRAINERS: Willie Mullins (2) and one each for Henry De Bromhead, Barry Connell, Gordon Elliott, Nicky Henderson and Lucinda Russell
JOCKEYS: Michael O’Sullivan (2), then Rachael Blackmore, Nico De Boinville, Derek Fox, Paul Townend and Mr P W Mullins.
HERMES THE WINGED HORSE
⭕ 1.30 Cheltenham (Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle)
FORTUNE COOKIE Bred in France and a Point winner in Ireland but Hermes Allen, trained in England by Paul Nicholls is my banker of the week.
That’s brave of me – and of him – with Ireland eight out of nine in the Ballymore, including success with Bob Olinger and Faugheen.
But, as I said on Sunday, Hermes’ Challow performance was that of a champion, the form boosted and bolstered by multiple winners in the race and from the race.
Like Hermes, the Mullins pair, Gaelic Warrior and Impaire at Passe are unbeaten this season; so, too, Good Land, still standing, and the mount of Michael O’Sullivan for a bullish Barry Connell.
Gaelic Warrior finished close to Nibiru at Leopardstown, after Nibiru had twice been hammered – 17 lengths and 36 – in December by handicappers.
Impair Et Passe is one of those horses who does nothing at home, so they hardly know which race to put him in or how good he is; nor do we.
Good Land beat Absolute Notions at Leopardstown after that one was outstayed in a small-field Grade 2.
BACK GERRI: IT’S ADVISORY!
⭕ 2.10 Cheltenham (Brown Advisory Novices Chase)
NEXT YEAR’S GOLD: Another one who doesn’t impress at home, Gerri Colombe has a will to win on the track. He steps up in distance today but races well within himself as if the trip will be no problem.
The first five in the betting won the last day but it’s a favourite’s race (5 out of 8), with Gerri at 2.54 on BETDAQ ticking all the stats, except that he hasn’t been to Cheltenham before.
‘They’ think he’s a Gold Cup horse for next year, so must be winning here and over 3m at this stage.
CD-scorer The Real Whacker had the Press leaping about when he won the Dipper here on New Year’s Day but the runner-up, Monmiral, was 27 lengths behind Gerri Colombe next time out.
There’s nothing in the pedigree to suggest that Sir Gerhard can step up to 3m and he’s had only one run over fences. But he’s a dual festival winner (bumper and Ballymore).
OUTSIDERS WITH GOOD RISK
⭕ 2.50 Cheltenham (Coral Cup)
OUTSIDER’S RACE Eight winners from 12-1 to 50-1 in the decade, with the top yards responsible: Gordon Elliottt 12-1 and 50-1, Nicky Henderson 14-1 and 28-1 and Willie Mullins 20-1
Consequently favourites are only 1-19 but you’ll have to pay a high price for a lay, whether Captain Conby (3F232 form is offputting) or Run For Oscar, the Cesarewitch winner.
I warned last Wednesday that I fancied Icare Allen (Mullins) because kept to 2m but a soft-ground lover related to 2m 4f chase and 4m 4f cross-country winners.
Sam Thomas’s Good Risk At All has a high cruising speed but found 3m too far the last day. This faster-run race at 21f may suit.
San Salvador (Joseph O’Brien) beat a good yardstick on heavy at Punchestown. Langer Dan is better than the bare form.
But another from the big yards has the potential: Sa Fureur, who has landed the hat-trick, would not be a deputy-dawg winner for Davy Russell, because it was Davy who broke the gelding’s maiden (on heavy) and Jack Kennedy has not been involved in his two subsequent rungs up the ladder.
What I like is that he is half-brother to well-known winners at 3m and this step up in trip today should suit.
Betdaq Betting Exchange 13.5 Langer Dan, 14 Sa Fureur, 15.5 Good Risk At All, 30 Icare Allen
CHAMPIONSHIP SET IN STONE
⭕ 3.30 Cheltenham (Champion Chase)
FORTUNE COOKIE Edwardstone has to write himself a monument in a graveyard for short-priced favourites: Altior, Chacun Pour Soi, Defi Du Seul, Douvan, Shishkin and Un De Sceaux were all beaten at odds-on.
In a reduced field, Editeur Du Gite is being opposed in the market, yet he had Edwardstone pulled up behind him at 2-5 in the Desert Orchid over Christmas.
But, when he then pipped Edwardstone a head in the Clarence House in January, with Energumene blundering his chance away at the last, it marked down Edwardstone as the bet for today.
Energumene might even take over as favourite. Not credible but what does make sense is that Arkle winners have a good record in this race. Again, that’s Edwardstone (pictured below).
ALPHA BET ON DELTA DOUBLE
⭕ 4.10 Cheltenham (Cross-Country)
ROLL OF HONOUR Banks horses farm these marathons – Tiger Roll won it three times – and his trainer, Gordon Elliott (4-6 in this since 2017) has Tiger Roll’s jockey on a double bid today.
Keith Donoghue, who set up a Jumps partnership with the Tiger to rival Dettori and Stradivarius on the Flat, has never really had the credit he deserves.
And he would rather not be deputy dawg for Jack Kennedy on Delta Work but would not swap him for anything else in the race in an extraordinary double bid by the horse that beat Tiger Roll in an emotional finish last March.
Delta Work returned to form, third, when the Glenfarclas January version was run on goodish ground; Snow Leopardess was 6th, Plan of Attack (last year’s third at the festival) 7th.
The winner that day, Back On The Lash, won one of the three Glenfarclas last season but pulled up in this festival finale and has to show today that he is a genuine banks horse and can put two of these races together.
Franco De Port is classy and this Willie Mullins enigma could take to cross-country racing but Delta Work can make it six from seven in this for Team Elliott.
BETDAQ value 2.44 Delta Work, 8.9 Franco De Port
HERMES THE WINGED HORSE
⭕ 4.50 Cheltenham (Grand Annual)
ANOTHER REPEAT? Andy Dufresne was one of five beaten favourites in the last seven seasons, when second to Global Citizen last year.
Global Citizen has also been plotted up for the double by Ben Pauling in only his eighth chase at the age of 11.
For the Irish, Dinoblue is inexperienced but unexposed, and Final Orders has shot 30lb up the handicap for five wins consecutive.
BETDAQ VALUE 7.1 Dinoblue, 7.8 Final Orders, 19.5 Global Citizen
⭕ 5.30 Cheltenham (Champion Bumper)
FUN FINISH: Willie Mullins is going for a four-timer in this, which would give him five out of six.
My fancy is his Fun Fun Fun, a bay mare by the grey Martaline, who has a 58% winners-runners ratio and who has even better strike-rates with some individual progeny, such as Mighty Potter (78%).
Fun Fun Fun is the first foal of a Presenting mare, half-sister to a high-class bumper scorer and to dual festival winner here, Yorkhill.
Fun’s trainer Mullins won this with a mare, Relegate, who started at 25-1 in 2018.
BETDAQ value 8 Fun Fun Fun
DAQMAN’S CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL BETS
+STAR STATS on race records 3.30 Edwardstone, 4.10 Delta Work
BET 20pts win (nap) HERMES ALLEN
2.10 Cheltenham (win 12)
BET 7.75pts win GERRI COLOMBE
2.50 Cheltenham (win 50 bull’s-eye bets x 3, plus win 12)
BET 3.75pts win SA FUREUR
BET 3.5pts win GOOD RISK AT ALL
BET 1.75pts win and place ICARE ALLEN
BET 1pt win LANGER DAN
BET 20pts win EDWARDSTONE
4.10 Cheltenham (win 12)
BET 8.25pts win DELTA WORK
BET 1.5pts win FRANCO DE PORT
4.50 Cheltenham (win 50, win 12 x 2)
BET 2.75pts win GLOBAL CITIZEN
BET 2pts win DINOBLUE
BET 1.75pts win FINAL ORDERS
5.30 Cheltenham (win 20)
BET 3pts win FUN FUN FUN
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