Cheltenham Festival Review

With Architect Tips

Cheltenham Festival Review 2018

What a crazy Cheltenham Festival it has been with many highs and lows throughout the four days. However, we managed four winners and eight each-way returns during the meeting and had 2/4 profitable days overall, so in all fairness it was a good Festival for us considering it has been a very hard week. Below you will find my full review on how we did each day, my highlights and low points on each day and a full winners and returns section on our tips.

DAY ONE

What a great start this was for us, bagging 5.5 points profit on the first day.

Supreme Novices Hurdle – 14/1 each-way.
Mengli Khan (14/1) started the week for us with a solid third and each-way returns in the Supreme. He travelled so well throughout, possibly too well and was a shade keen but he was bang there turning into the home straight and stayed on well all the way to the line under Jack Kennedy to reach the frame. He is a horse who will be best suited to better ground and he is one to add into our notebooks for future events.

Arkle Novices Chase – 11/10 Nap success.
Footpad (11/10) was a 2 point winning Nap, absolutely destroying good opposition to win the Arkle under Ruby Walsh. He let the front two go off like a train and the master around Cheltenham judged the pace to perfection. His mount cruised into the race on the home bend before two final good leaps sealed the deal and the pair of them powered clear to win by an impressive 14 lengths. What a horse.

Ultima Handicap Chase – 20/1 each-way.
Shantou Flyer (20/1) was narrowly denied in the Ultima and probably should have won despite bringing home each-way returns under a good ride from James Bowen. He jumped and battled on so bravely at his beloved Cheltenham and I am sure if he met the last fence on a better stride, he would have pegged back the winner because he made up 6 lengths on the run-in and went down only a “neck”. So close there for us but it was a great performance to say the least.

NH Chase 4 miler – 1st 7/1 & 2nd 7/1 each-way.
Our day finished off in great style as we managed the 1-2 in the 4 miler as Rathvinden (7/1) got the better of Ms Parfois (7/1) as both selections battled it out up the hill. Rathvinden was given a confident ride by Patrick Mullins whilst Ms Parfois went down fighting under Will Biddick, finishing runner-up. A perfect way to round off a great day.

My overall thoughts
It was a fantastic start to the festival and we will remember this day for a long time. We managed 4/6 profitable races, two winners at 7/1 and 11/10 along with three places at 20/1, 16/1 and 7/1. It could easily have been more profit but their were no complaints and I was happy to walk away with the profit made.

Highlights
It had to be Ruby Walsh, who came back on Day one to ride two winners including the mighty Footpad in the Arkle, following a leg break that had him out on the sidelines for while beforehand. Also, Buveur D’air becoming the first horse since Hardy Eustace to land back-to-back champion hurdles, battling on bravely to see off Melon. Lastly, the 4 miler chase was excellent for us we had the 1st & 2nd with Rathvinden and Ms Parfois battling it out up the Cheltenham hill.

Low points
There wasn’t many lows on day one but both Report to Base and Mossback suffered fatal falls, which was clearly heartbreaking as both didn’t deserve to lose their life in the last two races. My condolences go out to connections and everyone involved with the two horses.

DAY TWO
Unfortunately, we didn’t manage a winner this day and finished it 3.5pts down.

RSA Novices Chase – 9/1 each-way.

Elegant Escape (9/1) was third and each-way returns in the RSA Chase. Connections were going to run in the 4 miler on the first day but opted for this race instead. This lad is all about staying and Harry Cobden did well to get this horse home in the frame for us at a decent price. However, he clearly needs further than 3 miles and is one to add to the notebooks. In my opinion, he looks tailor made for the Grand National next year.

Cross Country Chase – 13/2 each-way.
The Last Samuri (13/2) made a brave effort in the Cross country at his first attempt and was third and more each-way returns for us. David Bass rode a brilliant race on him and for a horse who had no experience in this kind of race, he ran a stormer to reach the frame. He jumps, stays and doesn’t go down without a fight. It was disappointing he couldn’t win as he was well backed into 11/4 favourite but I was happy to take the each-way money.

Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle – 9/1 each-way.
Nube Negra (9/1) looked like winning the Fred Winter but still ran well to finish another third and more each-way returns. He cruised into the race and kicked for home on the final bend. He was two lengths clear approaching the last hurdle but didn’t find that much off the bridle despite battling on to keep third place for the Skeltons. There is still more improvement to come from him and is another to add to the notebooks for future events.

My overall thoughts
A very tough day for us as we came away with a small loss. But, I thought we did a sound job to have three returns at odds 9/1, 9/1 and 13/2 without having a winner. I do feel we were unlucky with a few selections, as two fell including Douvan, but it could have been a lot worse and that’s the best way to think.

Highlights
Two things that stood out for me. Samcro was one in the opening race. Unbeaten in Ireland he had a massive reputation going into Cheltenham and there was never a moments doubt. He showed so many gears to go past a high-class field before staying on strongly to get favourite backers off to a flying start. He does look a horse who can become an all time great. Mark Walsh had been criticised a lot of late but the ride he provided Bleu Berry was special. The pair of them absolutely stormed up the Cheltenham Hill to land the Coral Cup in a tremendous finish.

Low points
It was possibly the worst day ever for Ruby Walsh, who only just came back from a broken leg. His mount Al Boum Photo fell at the last fence in the RSA, throwing Ruby to the floor and then landing on top of him, fracturing the same leg he only just recovered from. Sadly, this kept him out for the remainder of the day and Festival, missing his biggest rides such as Douvan and many others. That wasn’t the only low of the day. I feel as though Douvan would have won the Champion Chase. He was travelling so powerfully in front when falling four out and he didn’t deserve that at all, but luckily he is ok and will be back to prove he is better than Altior.

DAY THREE
Easily our worst day out of the four as we only managed one return and we finished it 6pts down.

Stayers Hurdle – 8/1 each-way.
Supasundae (8/1) who finished second in the Stayers Hurdle. He travelled and jumped really well and still coming down to the last hurdle, I thought he would beat Penhill for fitness. It wasn’t to be but he ran a very big race on ground far from ideal and this 8yo bought home a decent second place for each-way returns.

My overall thoughts
I did expect everything else to run much better but it didn’t happen unfortunately and we finished the day 6pts down, which was a real shame but it was bound to happen at least one day at the Festival although some of the selections did run well such as Kemboy in the JLT, Un De Sceaux in the Ryanair despite being turned over at odds-on and Maria’s Benefit who finished fourth in the Mares on ground far from ideal.

Highlights
This was Davy Russell at his best. He rode three great winners on the day taking him to top jockey for the meeting. Missed Approach won the Kim Muir in great style. I have tipped this horse up all year and typically the day I don’t he wins his big race. He made every yard to score in the most hardest way ever, leading it from the start. Finally, Laurina and Shattered Love were really good winners, two mares at the top of their game both got on the score sheet in good style.

Low points
It was sad to see The New One well beaten in the Stayers Hurdle, a horse who has done so well over the years. A few horses in that race ran below par and Un De Sceaux was turned over in the Ryanair. Lastly, the old Warrior Cue Card was pulled up in the Ryanair chase. He has been a great horse over the years and ran a hell of a race at Ascot but just didn’t have the legs to be competitive in his final Cheltenham appearance. However, Paddy Brennan looked after him and he was given a great round of applause when he come back into the enclosure. He is and will always be a horse of a lifetime.

DAY FOUR
Another cracking day for us as we managed 3.5pts profit on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival.

Triumph Hurdle – 9/1 winner.
Farclas (9/1) won the Triumph Hurdle under Jack Kennedy. I was so confident this horse would improve and be competitive in the race. He showed a willing attitude to take the opener and reverse the form with Mr Adjudicator with the favourite Apples Shakira well beaten. This horse looks a high-class one and he will remain in my notebook for future events.

Cheltenham Gold Cup – 5/1 2 point winner.
Native River (5/1) won the Cheltenham Gold Cup for us at an advised 2 point win bet. What a performance this was from this powerful stayer. I was so confident he would win this with the ground finally in his favour. He finished third last year after a hard season on ground quicker than ideal but this time he was kept more fresh and Richard Johnson rode the perfect race. It was mainly a two horse race from the start and although Might Bite cruised upsides him on the home bend, Johnson was all action and his mount put in two great jumps late on before gamely out-staying his rival on desperate ground to lift the Gold Cup. It was a gutsy ride from the champion jockey and this will go down in history as one of the best duels in Gold Cup history. Out of all the races this week, this is the one I wanted to win and Native River did not let us down at all as our Nap of the day. A memory I will never forget, that’s for sure.

My overall thoughts
What a way to round off a memorable week, bagging the Cheltenham Gold Cup winner, who was my Nap of the day along with securing the Triumph Hurdle winner in the opener. Two good winners on the final day at 9/1 and 5/1 was enough to give us success on the last day. We were unfortunate to have not added more profit with a couple of unlucky fallers, who sadly passed away both Sandsend and North Hill Harvey, but I am more than satisfied to have secured a good days profit on a tough days racing again.

Highlights
Native River winning the Gold Cup was a special moment for us, connections and rider and everyone involved with the horse. Farclas winning the Triumph Hurdle under Jack Kennedy was special as I believe this lad will be a champion jockey in years to come because he is very good. Lastly, my favourite moment of this day was when Harry Skelton celebrated after finishing sixth in the county hurdle because his partner won the race! A truly heart warming moment and this is what the Cheltenham Festival is all about. Just to mention it was amazing to see Pacha Du Polder win the Foxhunter again, this time under Harriet Tucker who dislocated her shoulder and still won, that was incredible.

Low points
My condolences go out to Sandsend, who was in the process of landing the county hurdle but stumbled and broke his front leg in the most horrific way possible and sadly had to be put down. He really didn’t deserve that at all and the final race we had North Hill Harvey, who looked set to win the Grand Annual but fell three out who also lost his life sadly. Clearly, this is the worst part of horse racing.

My thoughts on this year’s Cheltenham Festival.
Although we walk away 1pt down for the meeting, it has been overall a good week and no one can say it wasn’t because we were also unlucky with the likes of the sadly passing of Sandsend, who looked set to run a big race and go close in the County but for breaking down late on. Whilst North Hill Harvey looked set to go close in the Grand Annual when falling three out, which was very unfortunate. However, considering we have tipped in nearly every race, I think we have done a tremendous job to finish it nearly even with only a 1pt loss because it’s always tricky every year and we have managed two great days with time with a good number of winners and places at decent odds. I hope you have all enjoyed the week as much as I have and enjoyed the tips I provided, which have secured plenty of success this week.

Below you will find our winners and returns section.

WINNERS
Triumph Hurdle – FARCLAS (9/1) WON.
Cheltenham Gold Cup – NATIVE RIVER (5/1) WON – 2 point win bet.
Arkle Novices Chase – FOOTPAD (11/10) WON – 2 point win bet.
NH 4 miler – WON RATHVINDEN (7/1) + 2nd MS PARFOIS (7/1).

EACH-WAY
Supreme Novices Hurdle – MENGLI KHAN (14/1) 3rd each-way.
Ultima Handicap Chase – SHANTOU FLYER (20/1) 2nd each-way.
RSA Novices Chase – ELEGANT ESCAPE (9/1) 3rd each-way.
Cross Country Chase – THE LAST SAMURI (13/2) 3rd each-way.
Fred Winter Handicap Hurdle – NUBE NEGRA (9/1) 3rd each-way.
Stayers Hurdle – SUPASUNDAE (8/1) 2nd each-way.
Albert Bartlett – SANTINI (4/1) 3rd each-way.

My sympathy goes out to all the casualties involved this week, RIP to the following
MOSS BACK
REPORT TO BASE
SANDSEND
SOME PLAN
DRESDEN
NORTH HILL HARVEY

Thankyou for reading,

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