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

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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


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