For some of us D-Day has arrived. The first day of Cheltenham 2015 and I just want Paddy to have a miserable time. Really miserable. You hear me Paddy?
So let’s get to it.
We kick off with the Supreme Novices Hurdle (1.30pm) and I am all over the Irish hot-pot DOUVAN (1.30pm).
Some argue that the price is too short and he’s just beaten rubbish. But I know the regard trainer Willie Mullins and owner Rich Ricci have for this horse, and if they are right he will bolt up for Ireland.
I have said it before and I will say it again, a short-priced winner at Cheltenham feels like a big-priced winner at Southwell. It’s not just about value at Cheltenham, it’s about that gooey feeling inside when you score.
The Arkle Chase is at the mercy of Un de Sceaux, but the bet here has to be VIBRATO VALTAT (2.05pm) each-way. He needs a strong pace and he jumps soundly. He will be hard to keep out of the frame for champion Paul Nicholls. If you want one at a big price has a few quid on Smashing each-way as well. He’s better than we have seen.
The 3m1f handicap is tough, but THE DRUIDS NEPHEW (2.40pm) should give us a big shout. He started the season in great shape and ran well in the Hennessy before a comeback over hurdles. Barry Geraghty is a top booking for trainer Neil Mulholland.
The it’s the big one, the Champion Hurdle. For a year now I have been banging on about FAUGHEEN (3.20pm) being a freak, something special, and I hope he shows he’s the Frankel of the jumps world.
I am in for plenty of stick if he does not win as I have banged the Faugheen drum loud and clear, but I’ll take it. I love this horse and he can power away. If he scores I hope it hurts Paddy. Really hurts him.
The Mares’ Hurdle is like the Arkle Chase in that it should be won by a short-priced fav in the brilliant Annie Power. However, I’ll back her and CAROLE’S SPIRIT (4pm) each-way, who is blinkered first time and might be hard to keep out the frame for Daryl Jacob.
The National Hunt Chase is tricky as many of these are unexposed at the trip. I like CAUSE OF CAUSES (4.40pm), who has a high rating and ran a cracking second to Spring Heeled in the Kim Muir 12 months ago. Jockey Codd is a big bonus for a hold up performer.
Finally, in the extended 2m4f Chase I like HORIZONTAL SPEED (5.15pm) for Richard Johnson and Philip Hobbs. He’s an improver and looked good at Wetherby last time winning with plenty in hand. His handicap mark is fair and he should run well.
So here we go. Best of luck, and whatever you back I hope you are a winner. Let’s do it. Yeeehaaa!
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