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Cheltenham News – 4th March

by Aidan Elder | March 4, 2011

Non Runner Money Back on Cheltenham

>>> Hooray #1! A wise man once told us ‘shameless self-promotion is no promotion’. He may have been wise, but he was deemed surplus to requirements here at Paddy Power not long after. In some shameless self-promotion, as of 8am this morning, we’ve gone Non Runner, Money Back on all races at the Cheltenham Festival. To adopt a slighty patronising tone for anyone who doesn’t fully know how great that is, it means now if you back a horse to win a race at Cheltenham and he doesn’t run in that race, you’ll get your money back. That’s opposed to ante-post rules under which it gets counted as a losing bet. Paddy Power

>>> Hooray #2! Jason Maguire has had his ridiculous 7 day man reduced to a slightly less ridiculous 6 day ban. It’s a victory for common sense and more importantly, frees him up to ride Peddlers Cross in the Champion Hurdle. We’ve been covering this story all week, so we’d like to thing our sardonic comments have played at least a small part in getting the decision changed. Next up we’re going to tackle another modern day injustice – don’t worry George Micheal, we’ll have you falling asleep at the wheel of your Range Rover in no time. Irish Independent

>>> Trainer Roger Charlton has revealed Keys will miss his tilt at the Cheltenham Champion Bumper. The unbeaten 4 year old had been rated a 12/1 shot for the race and accordingly was considered a leading fancy. Although it is the Champion Bumper and it’s just so crazy that all the horses could be considered leading contenders. Details are sketchy, but from what we’ve been able to piece together, Keys has man-flu and won’t be out of action for too long. Racing Post

>>> So after opening with two positive stories, we’re back to being ‘cheerfulness neutral’ with that news that Hell’s Bay will miss the Jewson Novices Chase. The nine year old was chalked up as second favourite for the race, but after his trainer Colin Tizzard noticed something up with his leg, he has ruled him out for the remainder of the season. “We scanned him this morning and he has a touch of a leg,” he explained which might mean something to vets or lovers of racing parlance out there. Racing Post

>>> Eddie Harty is reporting that Captain Cee Bee is shaping up well ahead of the Queen Mother Champion Chase. The former winner of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle was last seen bringing up the rear in the Paddy Power Dial A Bet Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas, but his trainer says that the 10 year old (ten! – they grow up so fast!) his preparation for the championship race has gone well. “I’m just hoping he’ll be fit and well on the day. If he gets there nice and fresh we’ll see what happens after that,” said Harty, either being totally honest or being slightly coy because he knows he’s on to a good thing. RTE Sport

>>> Despite trainer Nick Williams not being especially bullish about Diamond Harry’s chances of landing the Cheltenham Gold Cup, his jockey Daryl Jacob has been bigging him up ahead of his tough Festival assignment. “I have never ridden a Gold Cup winner, but I think he ticks all the right boxes,” said Jacob, although his confession in the first part of that sentence may seriously effect how seriously you take the view expressed in the second half of it.


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