BOOKIES avoided a hammering on day one at Cheltenham as Rock On Ruby sunk odds-on favourite Hurricane Fly landing an 11-1 SP. Unfortunately our tipster Ross Clark, from Winning Insights wasn't able to make a winning start but fingers crossed for a change of luck on day two. Here Ross brings us his views on two of the featured races for the second day of the festival.
Invictus has been declared a doubt to run and we still await news as to where Grand Crus and Sir Des Champs will run. The field for this looks to be sorting itself out, however, into a handful of runners, who appear to have the most chance of winning. This shortlist is of runners who have been in form, have the necessary experience and are rated highly, generally also being seven year olds.
Other than the two just mentioned the main contenders all seem to be at the top of the betting, namely Bob’s Worth and First Lieutenant.
Bob’s Worth was an impressive winner of last year’s Albert Bartlett at the Festival and has also won at the distance.
First Lieutenant also ticks most boxes though he has been off course for 77 days which is more than normal for this race’s winner.
Having said that so has Grand Crus and if he participates, he is a good favourite.
There’s very little between Sir Des Champs and First Lieutenant in the betting – my preference is for the Willie Mullins' horse of these two.
My selection though is Bob’s Worth. Although beaten by Grand Crus in December at Kempton, this will be a different race. Bob’s Worth has also run since which is a plus. If Sir Des Champs also runs, I would suggest a bet on him too.
Ross Clark's Tips
- Bob’s Worth 1pt win
- Sir Des Champs 1pt win (if running)
Neptune Investment Novices Hurdle
A few key trends to look at here to help us sort out the field. Only two favourites have won in the last 10 years so we shouldn’t be frightened to look further down the market.
Current market leaders are Simonsig and Boston Bob but the trend statistics boil down to a shortlist of about six or so for me.
Simonsig is in there but I’m not sure I’d be wanting to take 5-2 at this stage.
The others are interesting. All meet the criteria for RPR ratings, recent form, freshness, age and hurdling performance. The interesting angle for me is the prices currently being offered.
My short list has in it Batonnier, Benefficient, Cotton Mill and Felix Yonger.
No Boston Bob (who is a seven year old) or Monksland, and quite a few others are discounted.
Of course the stats may prove wrong on one or two factors this time, but sticking to the guidance, this is the list we have.
I’m not sure if Felix Yonger, though a Willie Mullins entry, wouldn’t prefer softer ground.
Batonnier has course and distance wins but has won only one of five hurdle races and that’s a niggling concern.
I’m going to elect for two others runners, both each way.
These are Benefficient and Cotton Mill. Both are very capable of running well at Cheltenham and give some really good value for us going into the race. Both tick all the boxes and have real chances. Neither is that far behind Simonsig in the RPR ratings either.
Historically this race is won by a horse in the top five in the betting, so it may be worth keeping an eye on what happens to the prices of these two to check market support between now and the race, and on race day itself. Cotton Mill has already both come in to 20s from 33, and Benefficient is 20s from 50.
At time of writing, both are also entered for the Albert Bartlett and may still run in that instead, so ensure No Runner No Bet.
Ross Clark's Tips
- Benefficient 0.5pt each way
- Cotton Mill 0.5pt each way