An absolute behemoth of a weekend in store! It’s making me immensely happy just looking at the title. Look at all that, get in! It’d make sense to start off with the Grade 2 Mares’ race on Friday at Huntington, the meetings 2.30 feature has a fairly decent line up attracting a Willie Mullins runner in Whiteout, trading at around 3/1 she has a big run in her as we saw at Punchestown last year when beating Limini however preference for me in this one has to be on the favourite Kotkikova. The Nicky Henderson runner is a short price at around 5/4 to take this but I believe she will back her odds up and get the better of both Whiteout and Paul Nicholls’ Lifeboat Mona. Before leaving Huntington there’s a Class 2 next the 3.00 and I really fancy Harry Fry’s Wotizname Trading at around 8/1 I think that could be a massive price for a horse that has a form reading of 21-12. On to Cheltenham and the massive Trial Day card, this card really is a cracker leading up to the festival and its kicked off with a Grade 2, some of these I wont have odds for as im doing this on Thursday however I suspect Defi Du Seil will be a short priced favourite, as I doubt Dolos will run as he’s down to run on Friday. With that being said Phil Hobbs’ charge Defi Du Seil will be my selection to take this. Big handicap next in the 12.35 of which I fancy two to go well in this firstly in Tom Georges’ Singlefarmpayment who has been in a cracking form of late and can be found trading at around 11/2 and Ventia Williams Burtons Well, who also is in great form and trading at around 7/1. Two very decent each way prices. Another big handicap up next in the 1.10 and my prediction for this would be an each way punt on Gary Moore’s Antony if he goes. Wasn’t at his best last time out but won his previous two starts and is looking on a very handy mark to go well in this at a fairly big price at 12/1. Definite each way shout. Onto what should of been last week’s Clarence House Chase. With Moore chucking his toys out of the pram in regards to Ar Mad we are left with Un De Sceaux odds on favourite at around 8/15, and despite potentially getting a bit of mither of Special Tiara out in front I think he should be taking this. Un De Sceaux all the way for me. Moving swiftly on to the Cotswold Chase and this shouldn’t take to long to predict either, Thistlecrack wins. And will probably win at odds of around 1/3. Will Many Clouds give him any problems? No. The Cross County next and again I haven’t any odds for this but im guessing Edna Bolger’s Cantilow will be the market leader followed by Willie Mullins Alechi Inois as they are the first two in the betting for this at the Festival. I can’t see anything beating Cantilow in this if truth be told, everyone knows these races to Bolger are what Roland Garros was to Rafael Nadal. I’d be going for a Cantilow win, with Alechi Inois and Any Currency to get in the placings. The Cleeve Hurdle next which is headed to probably my favourite National Hunt horse of the current time in Unowhatimeanharry. Seven wins from his last seven and is even money to take this as well. I will be backing him because of obvious reason but I do think if he gets around Ballyoptic could give him some serious problems, the second favourite looked to be going well before departing when the last two met and if he stays up it’ll certainly be interesting. Cole Harden might be a decent each way shout at around 12/1 as he’ll probably try to serve it up from the front. On to Doncaster and to the Grade 2 Mares Hurdle of which again I have no odds for but I’m pretty certain Vroum Vroum Mag will be a very short price to take this and rightly so. Can I see anything getting near to her in this? Not really no. I think she’ll take this and go on to take the Mares Hurdle at Cheltenham following Annie Power’s absence. Sky Bet Chase is next and is a tough race to call on paper, anything could take this to be honest but my selection is Warren Greatrexs’s Out Sam. He’s always thought a lot of this one has Warren and seems to be at a very useful mark in the weights. Ran a decent third at Kempton last time out and I think 8/1 is a very respectable each way price. All the way over to Ireland and Leopardstown’s Sunday Card starting off with the Grade 1 Arkle Chase headed by the highly impressive Min, trading at around 4/9. Now, I’ve spent the start of this year telling everyone that I believe Min will beat Altior at Cheltenham and I believe he will doing nothing here to change that view. I think he will see off Identiy Thief and none of the others really stand out to challenge. Bleu Et Rouge could be a decent shout for place money at 12/1 but Min win this comfortably for me. It’s the highly anticipated return of the machine next, Faugheen! It’s been over a year since this absolute monster of an animal has been on the track and this is perhaps going to be the most interesting race of the whole weekend. Trading at around 4/6 he’s fancied to get the better of Petit Mouchior and enhance his grasp on the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham. We all know he got beat at 1/6 odds after a lay off by Nichols Canyon last season, I think he’ll win this but there is a part of me that thinks it wont be straightforward, I really hope it is though and he wipes the floor with the field to make 4/6 look like a monster of a price in hindsight resulting in his Cheltenham odds being slashed even further. Go on the machine. Right, i’ll end this in America with the massive $12 million race headed by California Chrome and the apparent ‘best horse in the world’ Arrogate. The latter got the better of the Chrome the last time they met back in October in the Breeders Cup classic which was largely in my opinion down to a ride by Victor Espinoza that still stresses me out thinking about it today. My prediction for this is if Victor doesn’t spend the entirety of the home straight having a little look around California Chrome will get his revenge and turn the tables. Chrome win for me. Don’t be silly Victor.
Cheltenham Trials Day. Doncaster Sky Bet Chase Meeting. Huntington’s Friday Card. Ireland’s weekend cards & The Pegasus World Cup.
27 Jan 2017