Weblog: Straight from the sofa
Cheltenham SoFastival - Day Three, Part One
3.33pm What a horse!
And what a ride from Ruby Walsh, who made the most of his mount's undoubted stamina against some doubtful stayers.
He saw off Mourad, he saw off Thousand Stars and Oscar Whisky with one dismissive drive, and as Voler La Vedette cruised through to challenge on the bridle he found more again to reward those who kept the faith.
And at 5-6 as well! Will have to check if I was on best-odds guaranteed. Superb run from Voler La Vedette as well, she certainly made a race of it.
Ten points to Ruby Walsh in the SoFastival Superstar of Cheltenham award, five to Paul Nicholls for defying the doubters, and fifty, yes fifty to Big Buck's for his fourth World Hurdle and his 16th win in a row over hurdles.
We'll continue in day three, part two.
3.07pm Hutton Chops - The World Hurdle
The case for lumping on Big Buck's has been made below and So Young is the value option to finish second to him. He trounced Supreme Novices' Hurdle third Trifolium last time out over 2m and he should be even better over further. £100 each-way has been placed without Big Buck's at 10-1, and a £50 straight Exacta as well.
Voler La Vedette has been better than ever as a stayer this season and is in the Trifecta with So Young and win banker Big Buck's.
2.52pm That was something else
What a finish between Riverside Theatre, Albertas Run and Medermit. Plenty of praise for Barry Geraghty for the ride but if I'd backed him (if! I wish!) I'd have been yelling at the telly for him to get away from Captain Chris given that he kept jumping right into the eventual winner.
Jimmy Nesbitt owns the winner and has been more than accommodating providing interviews for the media today, so deserves his win and the accompanying four SoFastival Superstar of Cheltenham award.
2.31pm Hutton Chops - The Ryanair
If Captain Chris can return to his best then he has the form to win this. Based on his Arkle win, and the way he was travelling when unseating in the Haldon Gold Cup, he could hold a class edge over these and £100 has gone on at 14-1.
Great Endeavour was an easy winner of a red-hot Paddy Power Gold Cup, and shaped like the best horse in the Hennessy before failing to stay. You can draw a line through his latest run and I've had £50 on at 12-1.
2.23pm Impending switch of allegiance
The cameras angles used in the Pertemps were dreadful, coming down the hill you want to know what's making headway and where your horse is, as opposed to being given close-ups of the first three in the race, none of whom ended up fighting out the finish. Minus five SoFastival Superstar of Cheltenham points to the Channel 4 producers, and we might watch the action of Racing UK if there's much more of it.
2.17pm Well he was a massive price...
There go the dreams for another year. Great to see Denis O'Regan winning after his crashing tumble yesterday, and there's one on the board for the north as well. Two points to O'Regan and trainer Malcolm Jefferson in the SoFastival Superstar of Cheltenham award.
A retrospective five points to Davy Russell for what was, with reflection, a tremendous winning ride on Sir Des Champs in the Jewson. If he'd this strong stayer up he might have too much to do, but made sure he was prominent and in the right position to strike.
2.01pm The best longshot of the week
Scotsbrook Cloud is an amazing price in the vicinity of 200 on Betfair, and I've had £50 each-way on at 100-1 (five places) and I'm trying to get another £50 each-way placed on the exchange.
You can strike through him pulling up at Haydock last month as it was on heavy ground and was his first run since September.
When last seen he was a staying-on second over 3m3f at Fontwell on good ground, finishing behind Snake Charmer, who was unlucky off 13lb higher next time, with Rey Nacarado in third, who appeared to be very well handicapped over hurdles.
Many of these are exposed and whatever wins probably won't need to be miles better than their rating. Scotsbrook Cloud is 2lb higher than at Fontwell and 3m around a stiff track like Cheltenham, on dryish ground, should be ideal.
1.52pm Hutton Chops - Pertemps
I had to be quick this morning to back two of my Pertemps fancies as they coincided with Tom Segal's picks. Pineau De Re (£50 each way at 28-1) should relish the ground, while there should be plenty of improvement to come from the lightly raced Sergeant Guib's (£50 at 10-1).
Fivers have gone the way of Ashkazar (65) and Pettifour (46) who are overpriced if they return to form.
And one more bet, coming soon...
1.45pm Neigh nomenclature - Sir Des Champs
I forgot to explain to you how the Jewson winner got his name. Owner Michael O'Leary holds the knighted inventor of vending machines for aeroplane sickbags in the highest regard, so named one of his brightest prospects after Sir Desmond Champs.
Willie Mullins is already thinking about the 2013 Gold Cup, and was doing so even before today's race. William Hill's 12-1 isn't going to last long.
1.41pm Collateral Damage - non existant
Nothing much to be gleaned from the result of the Jewson in terms of pointers for other runners this week. Sir Des Champs won here last year though, beating Son Of Flicka, and that one... oh, hang on a minute, I'm a day late.
That was a very classy win and the reason I wasn't on was that I thought he needed further - which bodes well for the future.
1.18pm Hutton Chops - The Jewson
For Non Stop appeared to win the rearranged Grade 1 Scilly Isles with much more in hand than the two-length margin of victory suggested, and there should be even more to come at this stiffer track. His staying-on second to Cue Card, also at Newbury, was boosted by the winner in the Arkle and £50 has gone his way at 9.2.
A sentimental fiver each-way is pending on the Bruce Mactaggart-trained Red Tanber. I've been doing some course reporting this season and Red Tanber has been showing up frequently during my shifts and winning at Musselburgh (lots) and Kelso (last time).
He's got loads to find, but in this regard you can't knock a winning profile as we haven't got to the bottom off him. I reckon a stiff 2m4f will be ideal so that fact that he managed to win over 2m1f at Kelso last time bodes well.
He doesn't make the #twitpot cut though, the much more solid Sir Des Champs goes in along with For Non Stop. This is your 12-minute warning for the #twitpot, and numbers are down so you have a better chance of winning!
1.01pm The Big Buck's conundrum
He's currently a general 8-11 and has won in each of the last two years at 5-6 and 10-11. He's looked better than ever this season and is coming up against a couple of rivals he's never faced before in Oscar Whisky and Thousand Stars.
Both are undoubtedly classy, but Big Buck's possesses the better form and neither of them are guaranteed stayers - the French Grade 1 win of Thousand Stars over an extended 3m1f should not be taken as proof of his stamina.
There's bundles of 8-11 available and, although the intention wasn't to back him, it's just too darn tempting given that the price looks to represent amazing value, and there's the double whammy of him having an incredibly good chance of winning as well.
I try to subscribe to the theory that the bigger the price the more you should have on, but every now and then a shorty makes a massive amount of appeal and I bet accordingly.
This could make or break the week - £500 has gone his way at 8-11.
12.35pm Blogbuster and Blogbuster Gold Run
The Blogbuster, the blog that could very well bust this blog on account of me downing tools through excitement, has had its sights lowered on account of a losing week thus far. It's a £10 reverse Exacta on Captain Chris and Great Endeavour in the Ryanair.
Similar comments apply to the Blogbuster Gold Run, which is a £5 reverse Exacta featuring Divers and Glam Gerry in the Byrne Group Plate. Not quite one of Steve Palmer's patented facespitters if it comes in, but it should still pay well.
12.02pm Official #twitpot launch for day three
Go on, get yourself on Twitter, have a read of the rules via the link towards the top right of this piece, and get involved in the #twitpot. Two seconds of thought for an afternoon of fun.
It's just been announced that Bold Sir Brian is a non-runner, that'll teach me to beat the queues with my Placepot. Likely to get Peddlers Cross as a substitute or possibly Sir Des Champs, without fancyinge either.
11.31am Mickey Bubbles, green tea and an oxymoron request
By the spit, I've put some weight on since I last wore my Kauto Star T-shirt. I nearly had to call the fire brigade to get me out of it.
After the pressure of the mother-in-law's request, tranquility has been achieved once again by a bit of singing to Mickey Bubbles in the shower and a pot of green tea, which Niall Hannity has been using to speed up his metabolism in order to lose those three stones. The green tea obviously, although a bit of booty-shaking in the soap suds to "Haven't Met You Yet" surely can't do any harm.
Distressing news I'm afraid, the Dog Walk Revelation has been cancelled as I just haven't got time to take Meg out. Don't be too upset though. And don't call the RSPCA either, she'll go for a trundle after racing.
For this week's RPSunday I've been asked to do a small scouting report on a horse that shaped with promise in defeat in one of the novice races in the Festival.
I've got one in mind, but it's not that good, so if any of you have spotted a suitable candidate then please let me know.
I told a colleague that I was going to put a call out for an under-the-radar eyecatcher in the blog and all he said was "oxymoron".
Well my tips might not be doing that well and my jokes might be rubbish but there's no need for that.
10.30am The quest for big bucks
The big one has arrived. Not Big Buck's, but the ultimate quest for big bucks.
At around 7.23pm last night it dawned gradually and then there was the eureka moment: the discovery of the whopping, ginormous, astronomic, gargantuan, colossal, monstrous outsider with an excellent chance.
All will be revealed later on. And let's hope he/she/it drifts a bit more between now and then.
After a poor day yesterday the midnight oil was sipped and the ale burned until 1.30am this morning to ensure no quest was left unturned to get the stone for winners back on track. I was a bit delusional by the end of it all but hopefully it won't affect me today.
I managed to have a lie-in this morning (until 7am, wowsers!), with no interruptions for little mutts to be taken outside, so I have woken up ready to back some winners, feeling relaxed and stress-free.
And then the mother-in-law gets in touch asking for tips.