RACING fanatics Tommy Buckley (@tbuckleythinks) and Alan Marron (@AlMarron) share their thoughts on a Lucky 15 they'll be placing ahead of the Cheltenham Festival.
Cheltenham Festival | Lucky 15 | 10th-13th March 2020
Over the years, ante-post betting on the Cheltenham Festival has been both my friend and my nemesis. It's had me jumping for joy after landing a Lucky 31 but also had me literally dumbstruck with disappointment.
I used to start having ante-post bets for Cheltenham literally as soon as one Festival had finished but my approach these days is to hold fire with any main bets until the weekend before. It's just too risky given the confusion over multiple entries, injuries etc.
My modern day plan now begins a few weeks before the Festival, a softly softly, basically risk-free approach by using only the free bets I gain via my weekly betting and rewards schemes with leading bookmakers.
This is the second of two ante-post multiples I'll be covering and I'm delighted to say that this year I'm (Tommy Buckley) joining forces with Bar One Racing blogger Alan Marron (@AlMarron).
Here our combined thoughts on an ante-post Lucky 15 that we think will give us a good run for our money.
Latest Exhibition in the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle (Tommy Buckley)
Paul Nolan is a trainer to be greatly respected when he brings one over for the Cheltenham Festival and in Latest Exhibition I believe he's got a solid chance to enjoy more Festival glory.
No doubting the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle is a tough, demanding test that always requires the combination of class and guts but I do believe Latest Exhibition has proven those qualities in his runs this season whilst also looking like a horse who still has more to give.
The step up to three miles is something that Latest Exhibition has to prove he can handle but all of his runs have suggested he gives more the further he goes, his trainer has stated belief that the trip will bring out further improvement.
His form looks solid and I do believe he has what it takes to have a real good crack at this test.
Minella Indo in the RSA Chase (Tommy Buckley)
I've been a big fan of trainer Henry De Bromhead since the days of Sizing Europe giving him Cheltenham Festival success on a couple of occasions and I do feel that Minella Indo is a talented chaser that can do likewise after winning the Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle last season.
Minella Indo has done nothing wrong in his progressive career to date, he's a proven winner over the three-mile trip, he's always looked a good jumper, he's a dual Grade 1 winner, he's tough and will be well prepared to give everything once again.
In my opinion, Minella Indo should be favourite and looks fair, solid value.
Cash Back in the Arkle Chase (Alan Marron)
Cash Back is a very interesting runner for the Closutton maestro Willie Mullins and he's a horse that reminds me very much of the recently retired Un De Sceaux. He likes to get on with things and I would think it will be no different on Day 1 of the Festival.
On his debut over the larger obstacles he made a decent horse in Cappucimix look average when he quickened away from him at Navan to win by seven lengths impressively. Cappucimix has let the form down a little since but finished second last time out in Gowran Park so it shows that he will be able to pick up a beginner chase sooner rather than later.
On his next run Cash Back was even more impressive when he absolutely bolted up at Naas leaving good horses like Zero Ten and Dunvegan well in his wake. He was electric over his fences and the most noticeable thing was how Danny Mullins struggled to pull him up after the line.
Patrick Mullins was talking to Lydia Hislop on Racing TV a week or so later and said the ground was nice at Naas that day and it was a very very good performance. He also highlighted the fact that the horse ran through the line and struggled to be pulled up.
Then he went to the Dublin Racing Festival where he finished second to Notebook. This race for me was a little messy. Cash Back made a couple of sloppy errors and that ultimately cost him as he went down by an ever diminishing three-quarters of a length.
I don’t think that Cash Back ultimately needs to make the running at Cheltenham but if he does and he gets into a rhythm he will be very hard to beat. The pace looks very strong in the Arkle as a number of horses like to get on with it. Cash Back looks the value to me and I think he will be very hard to beat.
Canardier in the Coral Cup (Alan Marron)
One of the trickiest handicaps of the week but one horse really stands out to me and that is Canardier who is now trained by Willie Mullins after leaving the stable of Dermot Mc Loughlin in recent times.
Canardier had a foray over the larger obstacles this season and was likely going to win at Navan when he tipped up. He went to Leopardstown over Christmas and ran a shocking race but that was likely down to a very bad mistake and it looked to knock the stuffing out of him.
His hurdles form is what makes him of massive interest here. He was fifth in this race last year off a mark of 141 and the handicapper looks to have taken a chance by letting him in off 145. He hasn’t been seen since Christmas and with the recent stable change it suggests to me that the connections have there eye on this race.
The Coral Cup last season was a competitive race but Canardier really caught the eye turning in and then flattened out up the straight but ran an excellent race to finish fifth.
No doubting the ability of McLoughlin as a trainer but the main question is can Mullins get a little improvement out of this horse? The answer for me is most definitely and his handicap mark could look a blot on Day 2 of the Festival. I think he is better than 145 and he could arrive there hard on the bridle turning in and be well backed to do so.
I think we all need to watch the market in terms of this horse, I cant see the double figure prices lasting too long. Many firms have gone NR no bet so I would get on as soon as possible for this race as he looks likely to be his main aim.
Cheltenham Festival each-way Lucky 15:
Albert Bartlett Novices' Hurdle – Latest Exhibition
RSA Chase – Minella Indo
Arkle Chase – Cash Back
Coral Cup – Canardier