DWC & Curragh…

So….. That’s Cheltenham done for another year, a gap until the Grand National at Aintree, it gives us time to get in to the swing of the changing seasons!

Welcome to AOLR. The 100% Independent racing website & podcast, with NO affiliate links!

AS we head out of winter & face spring, with a little bit of zest in our step, we all know that the warm weather is on the way & that can only mean that the FLAT is back, whisper it quietly, so the NH stalwarts don’t shout at ya! We at AOLR are fans of both codes.

A big thanks to Neil for his help over the Cheltenham 4 days & no doubt, he will be back soon with another Watty Spots & we recently published the AOBFS 10 Ballydoyle to follow 2023, so go check it out!

Jamie & Rich are here, with their thoughts on the Dubai World Cup from Meydan & it’s Lincolnshire day at the Curragh, on their opening weekend of Flat racing, the UK kick off next Saturday, with the Lincoln at Doncaster!

Jamie –

1:50 – UAE Derby (G2) – 1m 1 1/2f 

Selection: Derma Sotogake  

A wide-open edition of the premier UAE classic as you could make a case for every horse in this 13 strong field. Several runners are coming here on the back of the Saudi Derby and I believe the third home that day Derma Sotogake represents value. Having shown some decent ability back home in Japan courtesy of a listed win over a mile, Derma Sotogake went off second favourite for the Saudi Derby at 7/2. The race got away a bit for my selection rounding the home bend as he was a little outpaced and the front pair got away. However, Cristophe Lemaire (who takes the ride again today) got Derma Sotogake gathered, and he stayed on well up the straight beaten only two lengths. The form of the race is still up in the air and this does look a better Derby but the step up in trip looks like it will suit this son of Mind Your Biscuits. Japanese horses have been cleaning up at these big international meetings recently and I hope they will do so here. 7/1 available in places… Each way advised! 

4:35 – Dubai World Cup (G1) – 1m 2f  

Selection: Country Grammar  

A top-class field of 15 horses line up for the 27th running of one of the world’s richest races. US trained horses have a tremendous record in the Dubai World Cup, with the trophy going to the American’s 13 times. Japan has sent over a strong looking team but I don’t see any reason why Country Grammar and Frankie Dettori cannot repeat last year’s win. I was certainly impressed by how he finished off in the Saudi Cup last month where he flew home to finish second from a long way back. I expect Country Grammar to reverse the form with Panthalassa from Riyadh on a track that will play more to his strengths as will the step back up to 1m 2f which is his best trip. Stall 14 isn’t ideal but he is drawn around the speedier horses so that will help. I am hoping my selection is still in touch turning for home and can stay on well up the home straight. Cafe Pharoah might be worth a look for an each way play at 14s as he ran very well when third in the Saudi Cup.  

Rich –

Curragh – Soft to heavy

3,25 Irish Lincolnshire Handicap – 4yo+ – 1m..

Joe Masseria – Fast Company X Island Home 4yo gelding
Last seen finishing a 2 length 4th of 14 in a 1m Leopardstown Handicap from a mark of 88, which he runs from today. He has won 2 of 12 starts with 2 places. He got off the mark on his 6th run, in a 1m Maiden at Naas on heavy ground in late October 2021 & his last win was in July 2022 over the extended mile ( 1m 73yds)at Galway on soft ground, winning the handicap by 1/2 a length from a mark of 79. His form on Soft/Heavy ground reads – 2/1/4/1/4.
EACH WAY ( Extra places)

3.57 – Park Express Fillies’ & Mares’ Group 3 – 3yo+ – 1m…

Delightful – Galileo X Lilly Langtry – 3yo Filly
Took 4 runs to break he maiden tag but the filly improved for every run, finishing 4th on debut over 7f at this course in August, which was followed by a 3rd in a 1m Gowran Maiden in September by 3/4’s of a length. On her 3rd start, she finished 2nd in a Thurles Maiden by 2 lengths before finally getting off the mark on October 22nd at Leopardstown – EACH WAY

Thanks to everyone for popping by, remember the blog isn’t just for Cheltenham or Aintree…

All the Best – AOLR Team


The Final Day – Gold Cup Day

After 3 days of top class racing & several feathers ruffled, we have reached Gold Cup Day & the last day of the 2023 Cheltenham Festival

Welcome to AOLR, the 100% independent racing website & podcast with NO affiliate links….

Firstly, We would like to thank the team for their hard work this week & we would also like to send our love to Chris & Charlie, who are taking a break for personal reasons.
It has been a good week on the whole, the racing has been fantastic with so many exciting races.

Thanks also to everybody, who has worked so hard in the year to get the Stars of the Festival, the horses, ready for this week – You are all amazing.

Let’s get Gold Cup day up & running, Just Rich & Jamie today….

Rich –

2.10 County Handicap Hurdle – Class 1 – 5yo+ – 2m 179yds..

Path D’oroux – Coastal Path X Belle Du Bresil 6yo gelding

4 hurdle starts with 2 wins. Made his debut back in October in a 2m 90yd Galway Maiden Hurdle, winning by 4 & 1/2 lengths from Itswhatunitesus (Field of 20 runners). Ran in a pair of Grade 1 Novice Hurdles, Pulled Up 2 out in the Royal Bond, 2f from home before finishing 4th to Facile Vega in the Future Champions Novice Hurdle by 28 lengths at Leopardstown, both races ran in December.
His last run was on January 21st, when landing a Navan 1m 7f 170yd Novice Hurdle by 4 & 1/2 lengths – EACH WAY

The DANGER is likely to come from Hunters Yarn, Fame & Glory X Full Of Birds 6yo gelding, who has 2 wins from 3 hurdle starts, including a 13 length maiden win on his 2nd start & a Navan 2m Listed Novice Hurdle last month..

2.50 Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle – Grade 1 – 5yo+ – 2m 7f 213yds

Hiddenvalley – Sholokov X Coming Home 6yo gelding

3 hurdle starts with 2 wins & a runner up spot. Naas maiden hurdle win over 2m 3f by 2 & 1/4 lengths from Santonito in November before an 8 length win in the Cork 3m Stayers’ Novice Hurdle Grade 3 in December. His last run was on February 16th, when finishing a 1/2 length 2nd to Monty’s Star in a 3m Clonmel Grade 3Novice Hurdle – EACH WAY

Jamie –

1:30 – JCB Triumph Hurdle (G1) 

Selection: Blood Destiny  

Willie Mullins has such a strong hand in this year’s Triumph Hurdle that Paul Townend has had a tricky decision to make as to which horse to ride, as he has admitted himself. I think he may have chosen the wrong one in the mare Lossiemouth as Blood Destiny has looked an impressive sort this season back home winning both his races this campaign. A French import, Blood Destiny made his debut for Mullins at Cork in December where he won pretty much on the bridle. The form has been boosted by the second and fifth winning next time out. The next step on the road to Cheltenham was a winner’s hurdle at Fairyhouse where my selection romped away to win by a yawning 18 lengths hard held. The form has worked out well with Nusret (3rd) and Jazzy Matty (5th) winning the Dovecote and Boodles Juvenile Hurdle’s since then. Lossiemouth and Gala Marceau have won at a higher level and receive the Mares allowance, but I think Blood Destiny has looked very good and he has some good form as well. The fact Townend has decided to ride Lossiemouth has made Blood Destiny a bigger price, which I don’t mind! He has a big chance and the more rain that falls, the better for him.  

3:30 – Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup (G1)

Selection: Conflated  

This looks to be a vintage Gold Cup and it will take some winning that’s for sure. The defending champion, a potential generational talent in Galopin Des Champs, a Grand National and King George winner all clashing. What’s not to love! Looking at the betting I think Conflated is overpriced at around 14/1 and worth an each way play. Gordon Elliott’s charge has become a top chaser in the past 18 months and he may not have reached his ceiling yet. Things went wrong at Cheltenham last year when he fell two out in the Ryanair when disputing second. However, since then Conflated has taken his form to another level. Highlighted by a comfortable win in Leopardstown’s Savills Chase at Christmas last time around, reversing the Down Royal form with Kemboy by staying on powerfully through the soft ground. Envoi Allen beat Conflated at Down Royal when my selection was probably in need of the run a bit. That form doesn’t look too bad now after the Ryanair Chase. With the ground set to suit and the team happy with his preparations I think there is every chance he can run into a place.

Neil –

3.30, Boodles Cheltenham Gold Cup, 3m2f , Grade 1

And so it finally arrives, the race which will decide who is the best chaser in the UK and Ireland.

On paper it looks a top class renewal with some seasoned campaigners at the highest level plus two Grand National winners (Aintree and American)  thrown in too, it’ll be a race to savour.

Favourite for this race for a long time has been Galopin Des Champs, just two starts this season have yielded two wins with his most recent one being in the Irish Gold Cup but he won’t find this as easy a task with the likes of Bravemansgame who spearheads the home contingent, another whose 2/2 this season but in the past two seasons has struggled in the big spring festivals.

As usual quite a few bookmakers will be paying more places for each way punters so I’m sticking with a northern based runner to run a big race.

1993 was the last time the Gold Cup found itself going north up the M5 towards Yorkshire and with many ifs and buts about the field I’m going for the Ruth Jefferson trained SOUNDS RUSSIAN.

A model of consistency with a heart like a lion he was moved up in grade after winning some good handicaps, 4th in the Many Clouds Chase at Aintree in December behind Noble Yates he then ran on to be placed in the Rowland Meryck over Christmas before almost getting the better of Ahoy Senor in the Cotswold Chase back in January.

He was sent on a bit too soon but rallied well towards the end, this race is much deeper but he’s yet to finish outside the first four over fences and he can give a good account of himself.

Thanks for your support all week, we really do appreciate you stopping by & it means a lot to us all at AOLR.

Good Luck – The AOLR Team

Stayers’ Hurdle & Ryanair Day

Another BIG day at Prestbury Park, with the Stayers’ Hurdle & Ryanair Chase top of the bill on another day of top class racing comes our way..

Welcome to Arseonlineracing, the 100% Independent racing website & podcast with NO affiliate links…..

On a sad note, it’s a nice touch to name a race after Jack de Bromhead, a race which is known as the Dawn Run Mares’ Hurdle & I am sure his Dad, will be desperate to win it!
Yesterday we saw X, Y & Z take the BIG races, so who will win the Graded races today or will there be a couple of shocks?
That’s why we love horse racing!

Rich, Jamie & Neil give you their thoughts on another days competitive racing

Rich –

3.30 Stayers’ Hurdle – Grade 1 – 4yo+ – 2m 7f 213yds

Home By The Lee – Fame & Glory X Going For Home 8yo gelding
Winner of the 3m Leopardstown Grade 1 Christmas Hurdle on December 28th, when 3 lengths ahead of Ashdale Bob, with Flooring Porter in 4th. That was his 2nd run of the current season, having won on seasonal return at Navan in the 2m 4f Grade 2 Railway Bar Lismullen Hurdle by 2 lengths from Bob Olinger, with Ashdale Bob in 3rd & Flooring Porter back in 4th.
In the form of his life & has the beating of a few of these if running to form. He finished 6th in this race last year – EACH WAY

4.10 Plate Handicap Chase – Class 1 – 5yo+ – 2m 4f 127yds

Hereditary Rule – Imperial Monach X Miss Organ 8yo gelding.
His last run was at this course back in November, when finishing a 10 & 1/4 length 3rd behind Unanswered Prayers in a Class 3 2m 4f Novice Chase, having won on his previous start last September at Downpatrick when running over hurdles.
He has a solid record in Chases’ with 3 wins & 2 places from 7 chase runs. A winner at Carmel over 2m 5f in a Class 3 Novice Handicap Chase in August, beating Jetski by 8 & 1/2 lengths from a mark of 138 & today runs from a mark of 136 with a 5lb claimer on board – EACH WAY

One to look out for – 4.50 – Magical Zoe – for Henry de Bromhead, in the race named in his son’s memory….

Jamie –

3:30 – Paddy Power Stayers’ Hurdle (G1) 

Selection: Teahupoo  

This race has had an open feel to it since the days of Big Buck’s and this year is no exception with 11/4 the field at the time of writing. The one I really like here is Teahupoo who has taken his form to the next level since upped in trip this season after being campaigned as a 2m horse last campaign. Teahupoo’s first step up in trip came in the Hatton’s Grace at Fairyhouse where he stayed on strongly to get the better of Klassical Dream and the mighty mare Honeysuckle over 2m 4f, he was finding top gear right on top of the line. Next time out Teahupoo went off a hot 4/11 favourite for the Galmoy Hurdle and won in great style as expected, coping with the 3m distance no problem. Teahupoo’s chances today are aided by the fact he is at his best on soft going, is the highest rated horse in the field and is seemingly improving all the time. He has a big chance especially with that Fairyhouse form being boosted by Honeysuckle. Defending champion Flooring Porter is the main danger whilst I think Paisley Park could sneak into a place at a good price.  

5:30 – Fulke Walwyn Kim Muir Handicap Chase

Selection: Rapper

Having looked through Thursday’s card for each way value I had a number of tempting options but I have settled on Rapper in the (hopefully!) lucky last. There is plenty going for Rapper coming into this 3m 2f handicap. I like horses with C&D form here at Cheltenham and my selection ticks that box courtesy of an impressive success on New Year’s Day on soft ground, the same conditions he will face today. He was not beaten too far in the Masters Handicap at Sandown last time out. Staying on well to finish 5th of 12. A first time visor being applied will hopefully improve his focus and at 20/1 I think he is a solid each way proposition in what will be a stamina sapping contest on this ground, which will be right up Rapper’s street. Most bookies will be playing six places. – Each way advised.


2.10, Pertemps Network Final Handicap Hurdle, 3m.

A real head scratcher of a race as always as racing switches to the new course for days three and four of the Festival.

Plenty do stand out for me but I’ve decided on this occasion to stick with a yard that knows what it takes to land the final of this popular series and it would be quite odd too because the horse in particular is trained locally by a popular Irishman but it would also count as a British win in the Prestbury Cup if it were to happen.

The horse I like is the Jonjo O’Neill trained AN TAILLUR.

I was at Haydock last Easter Saturday when he won the Challenger Staying Hurdle final over this trip and began this season back at Cheltenham in October when he was third in the qualifier for this, not seen since then to preserve his handicap mark he can make his presence felt here and run a nice race.

2.50, Ryanair Chase, 2m5f, G1.

A very intriguing race on paper here with a field of very useful and very popular horses lining up for what is often referred to as the “Aeroplane Race”

All eyes and I’d expect quite a few wallets will be on the current favourite for the race, Sishkin from the Nicky Henderson stable, he comes here off the back of an impressive win in the Ascot Chase and saw the race out well but the field in that was not as strong as this and I’m happily going to go elsewhere.

One who catches my eye especially as a nice eachway bet is the Henry De Bromhead trained ENVOI ALLEN.

He’s a dual Cheltenham Festival winner and he’s slowly found his feet in the elite level of steeplechasing which included a switch of stables during his novice chase days.

He began the season with a very nice win in the Ladbrokes Champion Chase at Down Royal in November and while his King George run was a tame effort he will surely be a lot better at this venue and currently around a 12-1 chance he will be in with a shout of what could be a potentially nice 48 hours for the Henry De Bromhead, Rachael Blackmore and Cheveley Park Stud team. 

Thanks for popping by, we really appreciate it & look forward to your company on Gold Cup Day!

Good Luck – The AOLR Team

QM Champion Chase Day

The BIG race of today is the Queen Mother Champion Chase….

Welcome to Arseonlineracing. The 100% Independent racing website & podcast, with NO affiliate links…

What an opening day with Marine Nationale beating Fav, Facile Vega in the Supreme, El Fabiolo having a real tussle with Jonbon in the Arkle, Honeysuckle ending her career winning the Mares’ Hurdle & the Machine Constitution Hill landing the Champion Hurdle by 9 lengths!. Hopefully today is no exception with 4 Grade 1 races, including the Ballymore, Browns Advisory, the QM Champion Chase & NHF Champion Bumper! Who will be victorious?

Rich, Jamie & Neil have their picks for the day, so let’s get cracking…

Rich –

1.30 Ballymore Novice Hurdle – Grade 1 – 4yo+ – 2m 5f…

Hermes Allen – Poliglote X Une Destine 6yo gelding.
Made his race course debut in October 22, in a Class 4 Maiden Hurdle at Stratford over 2m 6f beating Theatre Man by 27 lengths & was quickly stepped up in to Grade 2 company in November, when heading this course in the Hyde Novice Hurdle, ran over C&D. He won by 9 lengths from Music Drive. His last run was in the 2m 4f Grade 1 Challow Hurdle at Newbury in December, beating You Wear It Well by 4 & 3/4 lengths.

The DANGER is likely to come from 1 of the 4 Willie Mullins runners & as Jamie, has noted, IMPARE ET PASSE, unbeaten in 2 starts & steps up in Grade & Trip

4.50 Grand Annual Handicap Chase – 1m 7f 199yds…

Dads Lad – Eliot X Little Jess 8yo gelding.
Has 3 wins from 4 chase starts, with 1 win over C&D, which came in a Class 2 Handicap Chase back in October, winning by 3/4’s of a length from Effernock Fizz, back in 3rd was Editeur Du Gite, who has since won the Clarence House, beating Edwardstone & Energumene (Ran at this Course). His last run was also at this course over Hurdles in the Class 1 Greatwood Handicap, when finishing 9th over 2m 87yds. – EACH WAY

Others I noted today are –
2.50 – Fil Dor & HMS Seahorse – both EW

Jamie –

1:30 – Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (G1)  

Selection: Impaire Et Passe  

Irish trained horses have won 8 of the past 10 editions of the Ballymore and that trend looks likely to continue. I have had my eye on the Willie Mullins trained Impaire Et Passe since he bolted up in his maiden hurdle at Naas just before Christmas. Having justified his short odds at Naas Impaire Et Passe was sent to Punchestown for the Moscow Flyer Novices’ Hurdle, a race Mullins has used to springboard many of his top novice hurdlers en route to Cheltenham. Despite the drop to a sharp 2m from the Naas 2m 3f Impaire Et Passe won comfortably in what was not a great race for the grade but it was still a good prep for today’s assignment. With the ground set to suit and the Mullins team sounding confident about his chances, I think he will take a lot of beating as more improvement from this lightly raced 5yo is likely. Impaire Et Passe is my nap of the week.  

2:50 – Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle  

Selection: Benson

The 26-runner handicap hurdle over 2m 5f is one of the toughest minefields of the week but I am going to put one up that I hope will find you some each way value. Sandy Thompson’s 8yo Benson is in the form of his life at present and at a double figure price I can’t ignore his each way claims. Benson’s form figures of 22211 read well and he has got better with every run. I fancied him to run a big race in the Morebattle Hurdle last time out at Kelso, he was given a peach by Ryan Mania to stay on well from the rear of the field to win cosily enough in the end. Other positives for Benson is his experience of racing in big fields I think this son of Beat Hollow is still relatively well handicapped off 11-2. With the ground conditions set to suit him well Benson is primed for another big effort and this race should set up well for a strong finisher. Once again check out what bookmakers are offering extra places and how many.  

*Each way advised*

Neil –

2.10, Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase, Grade 1, 3m.

This Wednesday card has some very tough races to solve for sure, so much so i was half thinking about chucking in a couple of Huntingdon selections instead!

One race which is always red hot is the 3m chase for the novices, in effect it’s the Gold Cup for juniors and this looks a fairly decent renewal although it’s a pity that the home side could only field three runners in it.

In it I’m plumping for dual festival winner Sir Gerhard for the Willie Mullins yard to make it three festivals in a row here, the 2021 Bumper and 2022 Ballymore winner had had a quiet start to his chasing campaign with only a three runner beginners chase win at Gowran Park to his name.

In the last two seasons after winning at the Festival he’s then gone on to flop at Punchestown so with that in mind I’m going for him to do the business here this afternoon.

2.50, Coral Cup Handicap Hurdle, 2m5f.

A race with a field size only slightly bigger than the number of BBC football reporters who amazingly all found that for some reason they had other engagements last Saturday and Sunday afternoon!

Quite often it can be good to have experience in big field races so your horse can be a bit turfwise when it comes to weaving through traffic and dodging others when making an important move.

One horse who I like is Run For Oscar who would be an appropriate winners seeing as this race comes a few days after the big Hollywood event, Charles Byrne has a useful dual purpose type here who bagged the Cesarewitch at Newmarket back in October then ran in two high quality hurdle races at Haydock and Punchestown finishing third in both of those respectively.

Like many he could prove to be a plot job and the 2m5f trip should suit him, he’s one I’ll be having a few pennies on for sure.

Thanks for popping by, we really do appreciate it. Everyone involved with the blogs work hard to put this together..

All the Best – AOLR Team

Cheltenham Tuesday

Can you hear that? The ROAR of the crowd when the tape goes up for the first race? The Cheltenham Roar!

Welcome to Arseonlineracing. The 100% Independent racing website & Podcast with NO affiliate links!

Formerly known as Ruby Tuesday, but these day’s it’s known as just Tuesday! Will Tuesday have a new nickname? Whose going to win the BIG races today?

Rich. Jamie & Neil will take you through Tuesday & Wednesday, there maybe a change on Thursday & Friday….. SO LET’S GET STARTED!

Rich –

2.50 Ultima Handicap Chase – Grade 3 – 5yo+ – 3m 1f…
HappyGoLucky – Jeremy X Mydadsabishop – 9yo gelding.

A C&D winner from December 2020 when beating Mighty Don in a Class 2 Novice Handicap Chase. Runner up in this race in 2021, when 5 lengths to Vintage Clouds before going on to win at Aintree in the G3 3m 1f Handicap Chase. Was off the track for 595 days & has only run twice this season.
He finished 3rd of 9 in the Rehearsal Handicap Chase at Newcastle in November, when 4 lengths behind winner L’Homme Presse before his last run, on January 1st at this course in the NYD Handicap Chase, Class 1 over 2m 7f 127yds, he finished a 21 length, 10th of 16 to Midnight River.
Wears 1st time Cheek Pieces.
EACH WAY (Extra Places some Bookies)

4.50 Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle – Class 1 – 4yo Only – 2m 87yds….
Shared – Almanzor X Between Us 4yo gelding.

The former flat runner has only had 3 starts since changing yards & didn’t make his Hurdle’s debut until January 26th at Wetherby, when he won by 2 lengths from Chicago Girl in a Class 4, 2m Novice Hurdle. Stepped in to Listed Company on his 2nd start at Musselburgh over 1m 7f. finishing 5th of 6 runners by 4 lengths on February 5th.
A drop back to C4 Novice Hurdles on February 22nd at Doncaster, had the gelding back on the winning path, when beating School Days Over by 1/2 a length over 2m 125yds…
EACH WAY ( Extra places some Bookies)

Jamie –

1:30 – Supreme Novices Hurdle (G1) – 2m  

 Selection: Facile Vega  

The famous Cheltenham roar will see the 14 Supreme runners on their way this year. Like we’ll see so many times this week Willie Mullins holds a strong hand with a quartet of runners and I am still a believer in Facile Vega, despite flopping at Leopardstown last time out. It had been a faultless season so far for the 6yo with an easy maiden hurdle success at Fairyhouse followed by top level glory at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting, where he beat Il Etait Temps. Things went wrong last month at Leopardstown as Paul Townend admitted to going too hard a gallop up front early doors with High Definition and Facile Vega weakened on the turn for home and was eased down. I believe Paul will revert to the hold-up tactics that worked very well for Facile Vega in the bumper last year and allow him to show that turn of foot. He has winning form on soft ground and perhaps crucially has proven that he likes the track. I still think he is the best horse in the race.

4:50 – Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle  

Selection: Afadil  

I always like picking one for this race and with my list whittled down I am going to take a punt on Afadil for Champion trainer Paul Nichols, who I think may offer good each way value at a big price. Like Facile Vega, Afadil is looking to bounce back after a poor showing last time out at Haydock. However, Paul Nichols believes the race came too soon (13 days) after his previous outing. That race was north of the border at Musselburgh where Afadil showed a good attitude to land a 2m listed juvenile contest. On his British debut for the Ditcheat stable Afadil coped with soft ground well to win at Taunton. So, we know he will like the soft ground today. With the stable in good form and racing of 10-7 today I think Afadil is a live one in this race with a bit of luck in running. Shop around different bookmakers as most will be offering extra places for this contest.  

*Each way advised*  

Neil –

1.30, Supreme Novices Hurdle, 2m 1/2 f, G1

It all begins here then, the traditional curtain raiser to four days of the very best that National Hunt racing can offer to the world as thousands upon thousands of hardy racing fans make their way to Cheltenham and since last years G1 bumper all that has been spoken about especially on social media is about how far Facile Vega wins by, people were already celebrating as if the race was already won by time Baaeed won the International at York back in August!

For myself I’m happy to avoid him and go and find something for you each way punters who want a good run for their money and with many bookmakers no doubt paying for more than three places to try and entice you in to part with the old hard earned, I hope I have got one for you here.

Course form always counts no matter what the meeting is and Irish trainer John C McConnell has one who might squeeze into a place in Fennor Cross.

A four time winner on the flat upto 10f he won a maiden hurdle over course and distance in October before following up in the Supreme Trial in November although due to low sun they only jumped six of the scheduled eight flights.

Back in third that day was a horse I was very impressed with at Carlisle back in October called Springwell Bay, he won a race at Ascot last month .

In a race of this nature many bubbles will get burst but I like the fact he’s been saved for this and avoided the main winter novice hurdles, currently around 50s at time of typing he will need to improve but with two course and distance wins to his name he will not be put off where as some are having their first Cheltenham experience.

4.50, Fred Winter Juvenille Hcap Hurdle, 2m 1/2 f

With so many of the opening day races having very short priced favourites, it’s a case of having to play the waiting game, you can’t necessarily have a great Cheltenham Festival by the end of day one but you can certainly have a poor one if all of your selections stay in the satchels of the bookmakers.

One race which will have plenty of support being as it’s a big field handicap is this one and any regular readers of my “Wattyspots” column on here will have read from my last one at Haydock about a horse who ran a credible second in the Victor Ludorum called Punta Del Este.

Well as predicted he made the cut for the Fred Winter and carries a fair racing weight of 10st 10lb for Harry Skelton, the extra furlong will play into his hands and providing he doesn’t meet any traffic problems he can have a say in this trappy and wide open contest.

Thanks for popping by, fingers crossed for a cracking days racing & everyone comes home safe

Good Luck – The AOLR Team