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That’s the Cheltenham Festival done and dusted for another year and it proved to be a profitable meeting for the Ante-Post Service with three winners at double-figure prices; Farclas (20/1), Summerville Boy (16/1) and Rathvinden (10/1) but it could have been a whole better if any of our seven runners-up at 25/1, 20/1, 16/1, 12/1, 12/1, 7/1 and 6/1 could have gone one place better, though most of those were each-way recommendations.
Every year we seem to get a glut of seconds! Rather Be being the most frustrating this season especially as the winner, Mister Whitaker, who was also the bottom weight edged him out right on the line after seemingly not having a prayer of getting in the race when the weights were announced being number 70-something.
I’ve been replaying and digesting the action over the last few days so will finish writing the usual ‘Wash-Up’ in the near future and obviously more than a few horses caught my eye during the race. Before the race, however, two of the younger horses stood out a mile to me with their sheer physical presence and quality so Santini and Farclas will very much be on my radar for big prizes next season.
A couple of overall reflections; (1) I appreciate the Irish are the dominant force (or rather Mullins and Elliott are) but where were Alan King, Philip Hobbs, Jonjo O’Neill and David Pipe who managed just one second place and one fourth place between them and (2) the winners of three of the big four races had run only twice between them earlier in the season. I hope that is not a sign of things to come though I’m sure more runs would have been got into Altior and Penhill had they been injury-free.
I love this time of year as, Cheltenham aside, there is so much to get stuck into and the next big event we’ll (or Ciaran Meagher more to the point) will be covering is The Masters and then it’s onto Aintree and Punchestown (just two weeks between those festivals this year and I’ll cover every race every day) before the Guineas Meeting and then the Eurovision Song Contest. My Eurovision study starts in earnest on Easter Tuesday and, as usual I will be covering the top 30 race days on the Flat and write six weekly ante-post columns in the lead up to Royal Ascot whilst also putting in the groundwork to cover the World Cup in June/July. Not much time for me to put my feet up then.
I must admit I’m quite sweet on our 50/1 shot for the Grand National hoping for lightning to strike twice after Rule The World at the same price in 2016. Especially because of the current top ten in the betting for the Grand National, I can’t say that any of them are really doing it for me bar Total Recall who I have some time for, so I can easily see another upset.
Finally for those of you who have read (or are reading) a copy of my new book ‘From Soba To Moldova’ on my favoured betting angles and all sorts of other nonsense, I very much hope you enjoyed it. Feedback so far has been very positive I’m relieved to say! I chopped out ideas for another ten other chapters so, who knows, in a couple of years’ time there might be the follow up ‘From Troy To Ukraine’! If you would like to read a chapter, just click on the relevant section on the home page which also gives details of how to order a copy.