Cheltenham debrief - 33/1 Sizing John winner and a 1-2-3 in the Gold Cup
18th March 2017
Bookmakers generally seemed to have the upper hand over the punters at this year's Festival and, Thursday aside, it was a bookies benefit meeting.
The NMP selections broke even over the course of the week, though, with the winners including Apple's Jade (9/2) in the Mares' Hurdle, Supasundae (20/1) in the Coral Cup and Presenting Percy (8/1) in the Pertemps Final.
We had Let's Dance in the Mares' Novice Hurdle at 5/2 in a double with another jumps pick before the Festival, while we also had Defi Du Seuil (Triumph Hurdle) at 11/4 in a nice double with a sprint winner at Lingfield.
However, the most pleasing result of the week for us - by some way - was the Cheltenham Gold Cup as we were on the impressive winner Sizing John at ante post prices up to 33/1 and also went in on the day again because I was so keen on him. Members were told on the morning of the race,
"We are on three in the Gold Cup but SIZING JOHN, by far, is the one that interests me most this morning as he oozes class and the ground has come up perfect for him.
Robbie Power gave him a brilliant ride in the Irish Gold Cup and having a man that is unfazed on the big stage is also a big plus.
The big question is whether he will stay the trip, but he is unexposed over it and the manner he kept on over 3m in Ireland last time suggested Jessica Harrington, who has already been among the winners this week, simply had to go for this race with him.
Djakadam is a danger having enjoyed a smoother prep than 12 months ago when second (would have been third if Cue Card hadn't fallen) but he's 3/1 and Sizing John is almost treble his price.
Native River has enjoyed a superb season and, for all the 8/1 we have about him is a great bet, he has slight doubts over the ground even if he is fully proven over the trip.
I cannot have Cue Card at all. Cheltenham is no place for old bones and his chance was last year when he fell. Sentiment has undoubtedly influenced his price (and may drive it in further today).
Outlander is unlikely to be good enough (Gordon Elliott preferred Empire of Dirt but the owner wanted that one in the Ryanair), Champagne West and Bristol De Mai could be lambs to the slaughter as they struggle to match strides with Native River upfront and I would worry More Of That, a bleeder, might not even complete, despite glowing reports from the gallops.
Of the rest, there is only one I think is good enough to potentially win a Gold Cup, Minella Rocco, and we are on him at good prices previously. The jockey bookings getting shuffled after the injury to Mark Walsh (Fehily now rides as Coleman shifts to More of That) boosts his claims and I think he could run a race at a price if those from further back in the field can get into it.
However, I don't think he, too, has the class of Sizing John, who has a gorgeous profile for the race. I am all over him and have put my free bets from William Hill on him as I still think he's a very good price this morning!
He was campaigned over the wrong trip, it seems, for Henry de Bromhead but has really come to life this season as Harrington has stepped him up in distance."
We were also on the Gold Cup second, Minella Rocco, at prices up to 33/1 ante post, while we had the third, Native River, on side ante post at 8/1 too. If anyone played a tricast on those three it paid £521.34 to a £1 stake, while the Trifecta on the Tote paid £584.20!
Personally, I did not have the winning combination covered in my own permutations, but would have collected one if Djakadam had clung on for third!
It was a great result for us all the same, with the horse bouncing off the good ground and producing a magnificent jump under pressure at the last to seal the victory.
Elsewhere at the Festival, we had also backed Cantlow (Cross Country) and On The Fringe (Foxhunters) in some nice multiples, while we were on Yanworth, who went off 2/1 favourite for the Champion Hurdle, at 12/1 ante post. We also had prices up to 20/1 for Unowhatimeanharry, who went off 5/6 favourite in the Stayers' Hurdle!
Although all four of these fancied selections disappointed, we would have only needed one or two of them to have gone in, which was entirely feasible, and it would have been an excellent week with a further 20-30 pts on the board!
We are looking ahead to Aintree and also the AW Finals next, while the turf season is soon approaching too. The turf season, in particular in the summer, is where we are expecting to make the bulk of our profit this year.