RACING fan Gaurav Chaddah (@GauravChaddah) shares his NAP, his best each-way bet and the market leader he suspects is most vulnerable on Day 1 of the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday.
The NAP, the lay and the each-way on Day 1 at Cheltenham Festival
The best four days of the racing year are upon us and racing fans have a feast of action to look forward.
The Prestbury Park meet gets underway on Tuesday and I’ll be looking at my NAP of the day, my lay of the day and a horse to back at a nice each-way price on each day of the meeting.
The NAP: Asterion Forlonge (3/1 Bet365) in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle (1:30)
Willie Mullins is looking for his seventh success in the Festival opener and Asterion Forlonge could give him just that. He’s still rather unexposed, having ran only twice over hurdles to date but his most recent win of the Grade 1 Pharma Novice Hurdle was impressive enough, beating Gordon Elliott’s Easywork by 10 lengths.
Asterion Forlonge made an instant impression on hurdle debut in January, beating Pencilfulloflead easily, who since has come out and won. There still should be more improvement to come from the six-year-old, who will be having just fourth start under rules and looks to have a perfect profile for the race and could potentially be a future superstar.
As usual, the Irish have a strong challenge. Abacadabras is another Grade 1 winner in the field and his form behind Envoi Allen looks solid but also vulnerable when in front and will need to be delivered late whilst FiddlerontheRoof is the only English Grade 1 winner, having won the Tolworth at Sandown and is sure to go well.
Nicky Henderson has a strong chance too, Shishkin has been all the range in the market but his two hurdle victories don’t look strong enough for me and his best hope could be JP McManus’ Chantry House, who’s two from two over hurdles.
The Lay: Shiskin (11/4 Bet365) in the Supreme Novices' Hurdle (1.30)
As mentioned above, I’m not really convinced by Nicky Henderson’s charge Shiskin here, so much so that I feel Henderson has a stronger chance with his other runner, Chantry House.
Shiskin was impressive enough in his bumper last year and is two over three from hurdles so far, however, did fall at the first on hurdle debut. He was impressive enough last time at Huntidgdon over two-and-a-half miles and was an easy winner at Newbury in January too.
His form however doesn’t have any substance – no horses have come out of his races to win and it begs the question to how good he is and how good the horses he’s beaten are.
He’s won a novice hurdle and then a listed race, but they didn’t look strong renewals. Compare that to the rest of the field and Shishkin would need to improve a fair bit.
There are three Grade 1 hurdle winners in the field and in the form of Chantry House has a house with a lot more form. I am completely against Shiskin here.
The Each-Way: Darver Star (12/1 Betway) in the Champion Hurdle (3.30)
It’s an open and weak looking Champion Hurdle and it’s more than worth taking a chance on a double-figure price here – Darver Star is certainty one of the more unknown quantities and has some smart pieces of form to his name.
After winning some low key affairs, he was appropriately stepped up into Grade 1 company and finished third in the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse behind Ballymore favourite and the highly touted Envoi Allen and Gordon Elliott’s Abacadabras, who went onto win a Grade 1 and is a leading hope for the Supreme Novices’.
Gavin Cromwell’s eight-year-old proved that was no fluke next time either, finishing a half-length second in the Irish Champion Hurdle to Honeysuckle, staying on well at the end.
It’s an open looking affair and with question marks for many, Darver Star certainly has at least place claims with some of the most impressive form in the field.