Friday, 7 March 2014

Cheltenham Festival Preview Night - the Selections

I know, I know. You've clicked on to the blog because you need to know what Jimmy Moffatt had to say about Morning Royalty in the County Hurdle.

Hmmm. Should I tell you or should I not. You see you should really have been there - we had oodles of great information from the four expert panellists. Not all of it should be given away quite so easily...

Oh okay. Jimmy is obviously having palpitations, caused by being unsure whether his horse is high enough in the weights to secure a place in Friday's line-up. He's even phoned the BHA's handicapper to ask his opinion and the general consensus is: "yes", he should get a run.

You may be able to back him at 66/1, but Jimmy is pleased with the horse's wellbeing, believes that the strong pace is likely to be an assistance, is confident that the track will suit him well and thinks he is excellent value considering his strong run behind Melodic Rendezvous at Haydock.

Incidentally, we were informed by Marten Julian that John Francome fancies Melodic Rendezvous for the Champion Hurdle - and if he obliges on Tuesday, I don't suppose the 66/1 will last very long.

Marten didn't actually fancy Melodic Rendezvous himself. In fact, if I recall correctly, I don't think he was sure who he fancied - but he kept saying what an interesting race it was. I think he quite liked Our Conor - but he wasn't one of his three big bets of the meeting.

Arthur Moore flew all the way in from Ireland to tell us that Jessie Harrington is very happy with Jezki... and that Jezki might be very happy with the booking of Barry Geraghty as his jockey in the Champion Hurdle. Possibly happier than if he was going to be ridden by AP McCoy - who has been beaten on him during both his last two runs. Barry and Jezki have an unbeaten partnership of four. Interesting that. Who'd have thought?

Arthur suggested that we should back Cause Of Causes (wherever he runs), any horse trained by Willie Mullins in the Bumper and any horse sired by Midnight Legend in the handicap chases. He was also very enthusiastic about Foxrock in the Terry Biddlecome National Hunt Chase.

Brian Harding thought Clondaw Kaempfer might have been laid out for the Coral Cup, as did  Marten. He also strongly fancied Balthazar King in the Cross Country Chase - which may not be everyone's cup of tea, but a winner's a winner whatever the race is.

While Brian and Jimmy opted for Smad Place in the RSA Novices Chase, Marten nominated Morning Assembly as his charity bet in the same race - one of his big three.

Some people still believe that Big Bucks can win the World Hurdle. Amazing! Strangely, no one gave a favourable mention to At Fishers Cross - which makes me wonder if any of the panel knew what they were talking about at all. It was Annie Power, though, who received the most plaudits and there was a bit of encouragement for Zarkander.

On the final day, Jimmy was confident we'd get off to a winner with Broughton in the Triumph Hurdle - and we could play up our winnings with Silviniaco Conti in the Gold Cup. Marten gave us another 3-star bet with Kings Palace in the Albert Bartlett - and then suggested an each way interest on Triolo D'Alene in the Gold Cup. No one mentioned Knockara Beau. I wonder why?

Brian thought we might question his sanity if he tipped Mr Mole in the final race of the meeting, the Grand Annual Steeplechase. But he did it anyway. And then Marten Julian did too! All of which makes me think that perhaps we invited the wrong people...

They didn't tip Menorah in the Ryanair either - but that'll just make the price better for the rest of us.

And Marten's other "top bet"? Oh... dash, I've run out of space. You should have been there.

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