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 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: Column Of Fire (6/1 SkyBet) in the Martin Pipe Handicap Hurdle (5:30)
The Martin Pipe is the climax to the Festival and is always am open race but I am confident Gordon Elliot can land the race again with Column Of Fire (6/1 SkyBet).
Elliot has won two of the last three renewals of the race. He always targets it due to his relationship with Martin Pipe in his early training days and did look set for another win last year with Dallas Des Pictons who looked to have the race won but was pipped by Early Doors.
Early Doors was trained by Joseph O’Brien and owned by JP McManus and they have another big chance with Front View who looks like he’s been laid out for the race.
Column Of Fire races off a mark of 143 here and looks well treated. He was beaten only a length by Longhouse Poet in December, who is now rated 145 was also third to the 146 rated Elixir D’ainay.
He also has some impressive bumper form going back to his early days, finishing second to the now 149 rated stable mate, Commander Of Fleet, who was second in last year’s Albert Bartlett.
He was third at Leopardstown last month over three miles when travelling well and will be fine back to two-and-a-half miles.
The Lay: Al Boum Photo (4/1 BetVictor) in the Gold Cup (3.30)
Al Boum Photo (4/1 BetVictor) is looking to become the first horse since 2005 to retain the Gold Cup and is a short enough price to do so but I think needs to be opposed.
After winning the race last season, he was second to Kemboy at Punchestown before coming back to win on New Year's Day and has been again saved for this, taking the exact same route as last year.
The strength of last years Gold Cup however is questionable and has more competition this year in the form of Santini, Lostintranslation and Delta Work.
It should also be noted how much the Gold Cup has taken out of horses over the last few years, with horses such as Sizing John and Might Bite being prime examples and perhaps last years win may catch up with him.
There is enough value in his opponents to warrant going against last year's winner.
The Each-Way: Cobbler's Way (14/1 SkyBet) in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Chase (2.50)
The Albert Bartlett is traditionally one of the more difficult Grade 1's for punters to solve and Cobbler’s Way (14/1 SkyBet) could be a dark horse for Henry De Bromhead.
He has had four runs under hurdles, starting off over two-and-a-half miles where was beaten quite easily by Andy Dufrense however since stepping up in trip has some good pieces of form to his name and may well be able to run a huge race.
He got off the mark over hurdles in December in a median hurdle that is working out well. He beat Joseph O’Brien’s Sempo who has since won then, with a Willie Mullins pair of Francin and The Big Getaway in third and fourth. The pair have also since won, with the latter also a possible runner in the race.
Cobbler’s Way stepped up into Grade 1 company last time and was an impressive second to Latest Exhibition and there could be more improvement to come. He does have to reverse form with Latest Exhibition but as said, can improve again and can at least hit the frame.