It’s a case of rip it up and start again as my four sure fire winning tips for Cheltenham on Saturday bit the dust on Friday morning.
Given the huge amount of rain and snow that has fallen across the country recently it is no surprise, but still disappointing, especially with such a great line up of races hitting the bin.
ITV has now added the Lightning Novices’ Chase at Doncaster to its live action, giving us chance to see Shishkin again, as well as three races on the all weather at Lingfield.
I can’t justify tipping on the all weather action as I’ve not studied it anywhere near closely enough to recommend others bet on it, but the Doncaster action is really fascinating and will keep us warm for another week.
Good luck if you’re playing!
As long as Shishkin still has four legs and a jockey on his back he wins this. An impressive winner of the Supreme last season, he has taken to fences as well as Sprinter Sacre and Altior and now surely the Arkle is his for the taking. But you’re not going to find me tipping a heavy odds on shot to win so why not have a tiny each way bet on EST ILLIC (100/1) who beat Fast Buck over course and distance last time and may be an shade overpriced.
Three mares look clear of the rest and given they are trained by Nick Henderson and Paul Nicholls it is hardly a surprise. Nico De Boinville has opted for Floressa who won nicey at Newbury before being outclassed in the Christmas Hurdle last time. Harry Cobden is also up north and partners Miranda whose form is a bit in and out. That means the vote goes to MARIE’S ROCK (5/2) who was 3/3 and a listed winner before injury ruled her out of last year’s Festival. She wasn’t given too tough a time of it once hampered on her comeback run and it would be no surprise were she to resume winning ways. She was being spoken about in similar terms as Epatante not long back and if the ability remains, she looks the best bet.
PAT’S FANCY (13/2) beat a few of these when he took second in a Grade 2 at Cheltenham last time and that pretty much tips the scales in his favour here, especially when I am a fan of Ask a Honeybee who was in third that day. He’s only won once, but has shown plenty and handles soft going. Flash Collonges won in very impressive fashion at Wincanton last time and could be anything – which can also be said of Emir Sacree, who must overcome the bounce factor today.
I am loathe to put up a favourite in a race like this, but CAP DU NORD (5/2) boasts very exciting claims in this and can be taken to tick all boxes and take another step forward. He won a Class 2 off 123 while barely breaking sweat two starts back, a race in which the second has come out from and won since. He then pulled clear of the field with Royal Pagaille last time off a mark of 133, before being beaten just over three lengths. That horse is now being talked up as an interesting contender for the Gold Cup so the form chance is there for all to see. I would rather be a backer than a layer. Rocky’s Treasure could be next best.