Cheltenham ante-post dabbles: January 2021
I took a while to warm up to the Jumps season this Coronavirus-hit
year. No crowds, few foreign raiders and poor prize money had combined to dull the
enthusiasm. Small fields and uncompetitive races didn’t help. And the weather…
With six weeks to go, finally, the sap is rising. Look, even
a blog post for the first time in months. I’ve made a start on the ante-post
schedule too. Here’s the progress. This is everything, including the bets
already binned. Not that much activity yet, but I’m starting to get busy. This
weekend’s Dublin Racing festival will be the catalyst for more action, either
before the tapes go up or just after.
The 2021 Festival will be a shadow of previous years. Without
being there on the Tuesday; without the lads down the Barley Mow for Festival
Friday, it’s gonna be a tough one. Bt when push comes to shove, what the Friar
Tuck else is there to do? We’ve even got a Zoom Preview evening lined up. If
you can’t beat ‘em…
SUPREME NOV HDLE
I was really impressed with Metier’s run in November at
Ascot, and so I backed him for the Supreme the day before his Tolworth win. I had
a bit on the day too, and was surprised to get 2/1. In a way, hope he doesn’t
turn up in the Betfair Hurdle next weekend. It can be a brutal race before
Cheltenham. Over in Ireland, Appreciate It looks really good. Impressive
engine. Though I want to see him jump a few more hurdles than in that low-sun
farce ‘the last day’. This weekend’s Leopardstown fixture is looking really
strong and he should be in action. My
punting pal Bacchy has also lined this one up with a pre-Tolworth bet. We’re
both on the same Supreme horse. You don’t get many of those to the decade.
This is a recent bet. If you believe Epatante is not the same
horse as last year then this race is wide open. I see Hendo says he’s sorted
her bad back, but I remain to be convinced. The run in the Fighting Fifth was
visually impressive, but she didn’t beat a lot once Silver Streak and Not So
Sleepy had both crashed out. I wanted to get onside with something before this
weekend’s action in Ireland. Love the way Aspire Tower battles. His jumping
needs to be more consistent and will need to improve to compensate for the loss
of the age-for-weight allowance. But there’s every reason to suggest that’s
what he’s doing. 14/1’s good enough for me at this stage. Will look again after
I backed him immediately after that Chepstow win, despite a
rubbish price. His run had me as excited as any race I’ve seen this season.
Visually he looked stunning and yes, I’ve lapped up all those Denman
comparisons like a junkie high on nostalgia. This is one for some dirty combis
too. There’s loads of confidence behind Bob Olinger and he’s another who will
be good to see this weekend.
RSA NOV CHASE
Dead. Got carried away after the Feltham, and too late saw
that the 3m race was not on the agenda. The Skelton’s have probably made the right
decision. Unlike me.
No bet yet. This one has caught my eye a couple of times this
season and I will back him for this if he’s entered. Not sure when the entries
Backed Itchy feet on a whim right at the start of the season,
but this is now a poor bet. He’s more likely to end up in the Coral Cup! His jumping
has just not come together at all, even out of his seemingly preferred soft
ground. I hoped he would progress, but there’s no sign yet.
The Mister Fisher punt was a reaction to the Peterborough
Chase win. He’s a lively outsider in a ace where both Min and Imperial Aura
catch the eye.
This was an early bet once Hobbsy confirmed Thyme Hill would stay
over hurdles. Wish I’d put more on. Don’t know why I was so feeble. I haven’t
seen much that’s come out to challenge this one or Paisley Park, so this one could
be another for spawny combis. I’m worried about Paisley’s return to form and can
see him doing TH in the last knockings again.
MARES NOV HDLE
The Glancing Queen
I like this one of Alan King’s. She’s probably
just short of the top novices, so I’m hoping she turns up here, though she could
go down the handicap route. This is NRNB, so it’s a bet to nothing.
Dead. Another wide-eyed punt. McCain loves one for the
Triumph (Navajo Pass) and I thought they’d go with this one, but he hasn’t been
entered. Bollocks. Incidentally, I do like Navajo Pass. That beating of Buveur
D’Air the other day wasn’t the fluke some think it appeared to be. I may line
him up for the Aintree Hurdle at a nice price.
4 x acca
Shishkin,Monkfish, Chacun Pour
Soi, Envoi Allen
Just a bit of fun, this one. And there will be plenty more where
this one came from as we inch closer.
I haven’t had a Gold Cup bet yet. Al Boum Photo was less
convincing at Gowran Park than his reappearance last year and I do fancy
something to run him closer this year. Maybe Minella Indo. Hard to know what to
make of Venetia’s Ricci horse, Royal Pagaille. Who runs in the Peter Marsh as
Festival Grade 1 prep these days? At 11/1 for the Gold Cup, I’d be more
interested at 11/2 in the far easier old 4-miler!
And I wish they’d stop faffing around with Waiting Patiently.
Surely he’s a 3-miler these days. Gets outpaced over anything shorter. Give him
a go over the Gold Cup trip and watch him stay on, slowly, up the hill. Maybe.
On to Leopardstown then, with carefully stoked eagerness.