Day 3 Thursday
Formerly known as the JLT or the Jewson – As mentioned on the Ryanair preview, a win for Faugheen at the festival would raise the roof and he looks more likely to line up here over 2½m than the 3m staying chase, being an ex-champion hurdler on “Annie Power day” 2015. Although I would like to see “the machine” have another glory day, I have to take him on as a 12-y-o, age is definitely against him at this level. Many of his opponents at this stage look more likely to go for the Arkle so I’m ruling out: Mister Fisher, Fakir Doudairies and Brewinupastorm in favour of the horse that would have been my Arkle pick, Itchy Feet. Olly Murphy’s fledgling chaser has impressed over fences this season and his performance in last year’s Supreme proves that he has festival form and sufficient class to win. The current second fav, Allaho, is quite short for the RSA and with so many defectors the race is likely to cut-up and give a nice each-way angle
Itchy Feet – each-way @ 5/1
A Plus Tard was an easy winner at last year’s festival and is likely to head for the Ryanair rather than the Champion Chase and he’s a worthy favourite. However, I’m late coming to the party and 9/4 doesn’t appeal at this stage with likely opponent such as: Min, Frodon, Riders Onthe Storm and Un De Sceaux taking him on, that’s a useful team to have on your side if you’re taking on A Plus Tard! The age factor again, with the poor record of veteran’s in most of the championship races, puts me off of UDS and last year’s runner-up, Aso. Riders Onthe Storm had a gruelling race at Ascot and that could take some time getting over, he certainly won’t go to the festival fresh and won’t be carrying any of my money, if I owned him I think I’d be tempted to bank the Grade 1 and wait for Aintree or Punchestown. The first four in the market: A Plus Tard, Min, Frodon and Rider Onthe Storm are around 9/2 ON with NRNB prices, so I will probably have to wait until the day of the race. Just one left of field angle with the record of handicappers that have ha good weight-carrying performances over CD, like Aso and Frodon last year, Cepage ran a cracker under top-weight in the trials day version of the CD Gold Cup. He has the Festival Plate as am option having only gone up 1lb so I wouldn’t risk an ante-post bet (40/1) but may be worth an each-way flutter:
Cepage – 33/1 each-way NRNB
Paisley Park reminds me a lot of the legend Bick Bucks in that he often looks to have hit a flat spot but always powers away at the finish. He’s carried on as he left of last season and trying to find one against him appears to be futile despite the fact that he’s a best-priced 8/11. To some extent the only angle for an ante-post bet would be if there was any suggestion that the favourite won’t turn-up. The only possible opposition I can see is the unlikelihood of Benie Des Dieux being re-routed from the mares’ hurdle, she would be a serious threat to Paisley Park retaining the stayers crown. Summerville Boy, The Worlds End and Emitom are the obvious candidates to take minor honours but none are big enough prices to warrant an each-way bet; City Island returning to hurdles would be interesting but he’s only 12/1. One that might be over-priced is Bacardys (25/1) if you can forgive his last run, based on the best of his back catalogue. I think the value may lie in the day of the race market, where firms will be falling over themselves with special offers.