Weblog: Straight from the sofa
Cheltenham SoFastival - Day One, Part Two
5.47pm Any other business
There are three left in the #twitpot: @jeffman1976, @keitthpunter and some muppet called @benhutt. We'll roll on to the NH Chase tomorrow when Wednesday's #twitpot will run concurrently.
The SoFastival Superstar of Cheltenham trophy is unnamed as of yet as the #twitpot winner gets to do that. I'll have to get thinking. Here are the standings, and I'll try and issue some negative points tomorrow. CRAP Attack has been strangely quiet with cliches at a minimum.
I'll hopefully have finished studying in time to watch Everton beat Liverpool (£20 on at 9-2) but a draw will also suffice (£10 on at 13-5).
SoFastival Superstar of Cheltenham Award standings
10 - Quevega, Willie Mullins, Keiran Burke
8 - Noel Fehily
5 - Donald McCain, Sprinter Sacre, Paul Nicholls, Anthony Knott, Nick Scholfield
4 - Lesley Graham, Richie McLernon
0 - Jamie Moore (3 taken away for his whip ban)
5.35pm Collateral Damage
Not So Sure Dick has form with Hunt Ball and should appreciate the step up to the Kim Muir trip. He's unlikely to make the cut on Thursday but could run well from out of the handicap if he does.
Back in a few minutes with #twitpot and SoFastival Superstar of Cheltenham award standings.
5.29pm Biggest cheer of the day
That's some roar as Hunt Ball and Nick Scholfield make their way into the winner's enclosure, and some story as well. That's his seventh win this season, all for new trainer Keiran Burke, who enjoyed an amazing win at last season's Festival on Holmwood Legend.
Phil Smith the handicapper has just shaken hands with owner Anthony Knott, about whom you could say he can't believe it apart from the fact he predicted it all, including that he'd take it up two out and go clear.
Five points to Anthony Knott and Nick Scholfield in the SoFastival Superstar of Cheltenham Award, and ten to Keiran Burke.
5.10pm Hutton Chops - Pulteney Land Investments Chase
Not much can be ruled out of this given their unexposed nature and the tight weights band. However, I've had my eye on Going Wrong for a while and Ferdy Murphy excels in this race. £50 has gone on at 12-1.
Hunt Ball was utterly dominant last time, the form has been franked by the runner-up, and he should be able to go close off a 15lb higher mark. £50 on at 8-1.
4.51pm Form an orderly Que
She's something else. Not even a dawdle of a gallop can stop her winning and she gets ten points in the SoFastival Superstar of Cheltenham Award, known last year as the Quevega Cup, as does Willie Mullins for turning her out to win this for the fourth successive season, the last three times on the back of whopping absences.
I followed Terre Du Vent's progress carefully and she's worth another chance with Paddy Brennan looking after her when her chance was gone. She made a bad mistake at the back of the packing field in the back straight and was also badly hampered later on.
4.32pm Hutton Chops - Mares' Hurdle
I know you shouldn't feel sorry for bookmakers, but current 20-1 shot Terre Du Vent was available at 28-1 without Quevega yesterday afternoon and I hit max bet each-way for £71.42.
She's now 12-1 on those terms which I wouldn't put anyone off as she was running a cracker behind Grumeti and Dodging Bullets when falling two out, and based on her classy Flat form she will appreciate a stiffer test such as this.
Me and millions of others are banking on Quevega for the Placepot, and me and a handful of others remain in the #twitpot. People seem to be joining all the time, I'm not sure the rules have been read properly.
4.24pm Sad news from the Cross Country
Scotsirish and Garde Champetre have both been put down. Many Twitter users are calling for the race to be done away with, particularly because of the inability to water the course and the going being good to firm.
Ground that was no faster than good would be obviously preferable, and in future years they'll hopefully achieve this as opposed to not running the race at all.
@TheTippingTim wrote on Twitter: "Can't stick the X Country personally but detractors need to remember that without the race Garde Champetre would've been forgotten years ago"
4.18pm Montage Music Guessing Game outcome
Good choice of song though, it's Bigger Than Us by White Lies.
Not really sure how fitting it is for day one though, unless you've had a stinker...
"I don't need your tears, I don't need your love, I just gotta get home."
Horses get a mention as well, but I can't really work out the context: "You went where the horses cry, you've never taken that way with me before."
Another line is: "Apologies on your fingernails."
Right, I've got it, the Channel 4 producers have Googled "songs with horses in" and come up with this.
4.04pm Montage Music Guessing Game
While the Cross Country is on I've put some thought towards what music Channel 4 will play for this closing montage this afternoon.
Here's my five guesses:
Ruby Tuesday by the Rolling Stones
Ruby by the Kaiser Chiefs
Alfie by Cilla Black
Ashes To Ashes by David Bowie
Move Over Darlan (nap) by Dolly Parton
3.57pm Hutton Chops - The Cross Country
I must not put too much money on the cross country, I must not put too much money on the cross country. But Wedger Pardy was three lengths up when taking the wrong course last time, lines up under similar terms today and is 60 on Betfair! I've had to have £20 each-way.
I also think Scotsirish is a class above these, he excels in the sphere and £20 has gone his way at 4-1. It was very tempting to put lots more on though.
A couple of outsiders ran well behind Scotsirish recently and could be better suited by today's race. I've had £5 each-way on Jacks Island at 220 and £2 win on Tally Em Up at 110.
3.37pm Collateral Damage
An interesting one this. The Gerry Feilden Hurdle won by Rock On Ruby at Newbury in November, when rated 145, also featured a 12lb well-in Empire Levant in second, and a subsequent Ladbroke winner in third in Raya Star.
First Fandango finished fourth in the extended 2m contest and is declared in tomorrow's Coral Cup off the same mark. He stays further, will appreciate the quicker ground, and is probably worth something of an interest at 40-1.
3.35pm Rock on Noel
If anyone can get away with scuppering the millions and billions of short-priced accas at Cheltenham, it's Noel Fehily. He always comes across as a thoroughly nice man and has been unlucky with injuries in the last few years.
It was a tremendous ride as well, he was never far away from the incredible gallop, and he kept Rock On Ruby going when he was idling. Eight points to Fehily in the SoFastival Superstar of Cheltenham Awards and five to Paul Nicholls for training his first Champion Hurdle winner.
Binocular made a horrible mistake at the last which meant he lost all momentum, he'd have surely placed otherwise.