As the Cranberries sang, everyone is else is doing it, so why not me. By now everyone is inundated with tips but on the basis that Cheltenham without tips is rather like Christmas without heartburn, here are six of the, ahem, best for the week ahead.
Allure Of Illusion (Supreme Novices Hurdle): Fancy a 33-1 winner to kick things off? Not a problem. It’s not as if Willie Mullins doesn’t know how to throw up a long-priced winner of this race. Dead-heating with King Vuvuzela might not look obvious festival winning form right now but that came over two and a half miles on heavy ground. A quick two miles will be a very different story. Easy, right? OK, then, go each way.
Alle Garde (National Hunt Chase): There are those close to the Mullins camp who won’t hear of defeat for the horse carrying the Dorans Pride colours. Certainly a Grade 1 third behind Last Instalment and First Lieutenant reads very good in the context of this race and stamina is not expected to be an issue. His last start behind Medical Card wasn’t great but reports afterwards indicate he was completely unsuited by the heavy ground. It’s likely to be a different story now.
Call The Police (Jewson Novices Chase): Remember last year how this fella started a red-hot 7-2 favourite for the Coral Cup? Well, he’s going to be a lot bigger this time and for a race where he looks to have a much better shot. It might not do to get too carried away with how close he got to Last Instalment in the Moriarty but it was still a hell of an effort for a horse having just a second start over fences. Better ground could be crucial to him, and yes, I realise that is three Mullins horses now but there’s no knowing how dominant the champion trainer could be this week.
Jetson (Pertemps Final): Around the turn of the year there was no doubting the dry-streak being endured by the Harrington team and yet the one exception was Jetson who won the Leopardstown qualifier in excellent style. That was his first start at three miles and it looked to be a major plus for him. For a novice whose form ties in with Boston Bob and Mount Benbulben, Jetson doesn’t look too badly handicapped.
Somersby (Ryanair Chase): A horse and a race that look a natural fit. Somersby broke his Grade 1 duck over Finian’s Rainbow at Ascot when running over an extended two miles. He has also run well in a King George. The Ryanair could have been designed with Somersby in mind. Riverside Theatre , Rubi Light and the hat-trick seeking Albertas Run are all rated slightly over Henrietta Knight’s horse on official figures but Somersby looks a horse coming to a peak at the right time.
Shadow Catcher (Triumph Hurdle): It would be fair to say Gordon Elliott’s horse won’t be asked to make his move as early as when he was run out of the Grade 1 at Leopardstown last month by Hisaabaat. Shadow Catcher turned into a perfect target for his rival and patience will be the order of the day on Friday. Some doubt whether or not the Irish four year olds are up to much this year and there is no knowing how they compare with their cross-channel rivals. But it’s almost an annual thing to run down the juveniles. Last year’s crop haven’t turned out too bad.
So there you go. Work out the accum’ odds yourself. It should allow you sit out this recession in style. But even if one of them lets us down, just remember to enjoy the week. It don’t get any better!