RACING fanatics Tommy Buckley (@tbuckleythinks) and Alan Marron (@AlMarron) share their thoughts on ante-post Lucky 15 they've placed ahead of the Cheltenham Festival.
Cheltenham Festival | Each-way Lucky 15 | 16th-19th March 2021
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 first in a little series of 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 are our combined thoughts on an ante-post Lucky 15 that we think will give us a good run for our money.
BARNAVIDDAUN (Coral Cup) Non-runner
This horse was formerly trained by Tom Mullins and is now in the care of David Bridgewater. The horse has been in my tracker for quite a while since he caught my eye back in October when he ran at Gowran Park, he travelled well on that occasion and looked like he was going to contend turning for home but flattened out.
He ran an absolute cracker on his next start when he finished second to Funky Dady in a very good race at Punchestown when he stayed all the way to the line and looked like he was stamina laden.
He went to Naas for his next run in the “Brown Lad” Handicap Hurdle Grade B and this is normally a very competitive race, this time he showed us exactly what he could do and got the better of Damalisque again showing stamina was his forte.
The form got a major boost when Damalisque came out and won next time out and then was third behind Maze Runner at the Dublin Racing Festival.
The most intriguing thing for me with Barnaviddaun is that he has changed stable but the stable have reported that he has settled in well and they are looking forward to him going chasing next season.
He is also entered in the Martin Pipe Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle on the Friday but with the weights having come out this week he will carry 10-6 in the Coral Cup but would carry 11-0 in the Martin Pipe, at around 20/1 looks worth risking that he takes his chance in the Coral Cup.
I think he is a very unexposed runner with some decent form here in Ireland. He is one that I would keep on the right side of as he looks to be improving.
SOME NECK (Glenfarclass Cross Country Chase)
This enigmatic grey has been the scourge of me on more than one occasion but this discipline sharpened him up last time under Ben Harvey when he got up close home to deny Defi Des Carres.
The fact that he has won over the course and distance looks to be a major bonus in this race and with question marks over many of the runners at the head of the market the galloping grey looks solid each way value.
He was formerly trained by Willie Mullins but is now in the care of John Mc Connell. John knows what it takes to get a winner over obstacles and this horse had a lovely preparation for Cheltenham when finishing down the field in a handicap hurdle.
The most interesting thing for me is that he travelled well throughout the race and led the field to two out, he did weaken but the run suggested he had plenty to work with.
Prior to his run at Cheltenham he had finished third in a very good banks race at Punchestown, the “Risk Of Thunder” which was won by Neverrushacon.
He looks overpriced to me at around 16/1 and represents each way value, being a lovely grey he will be easy to spot as they turn for home. I would expect a big run from him and he should strip much fitter for his latest runs.
STATTLER (Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle)
“He jumps, he gallops, he stays” that's what top trainer Willie Mullins says of STATTLER and when the great man also adds “he's the type of you need for the race” then that will do for me.
Stattler admittedly doesn't yet rank alongside all the other superstars in the Mullins yard but there is no denying Stattler is a horse who has talent & gives everything when he runs, his usual style is to make the running and keep going.
Last time in the Grade 1 Hurdle over 2 miles 6 furlongs at Leopardstown he made all the running in heavy ground, he was headed approaching the last but still battled on & only lost 2nd place near the line.
I think that Grade 1 run, finishing behind a well fancied stablemate who is favourite for the Ballymore Novice Hurdle and the 2nd who is another high class horse, shows that Stattler has the class to be a major player and I think around 11/2 is a fair enough price, think his form is as strong as anything else lining up.
A PLUS TARD (Gold Cup)
Henry De Bromhead heads to this Cheltenham Festival blessed with a high class team of major contenders, obviously majorly boosted by recent events, and for me there is no doubt that A PLUS TARD is right amongst his best chances.
Yes the Cheltenham Gold Cup is a serious test of any horse, yes there is reigning double Gold Cup champion Al Boum Photo lined up for his treble bid and he'll be a tough nut to crack but if he is to crack then I think A PLUS TARD is the one who can do that.
A Plus Tard has Cheltenham Festival winning form when a brilliant winner of a strong looking handicap in 2019, he was then an excellent third in the Ryanair Chase last year, staying on all the way to not get beaten that far at all.
After that run it was stated this Gold Cup was going to be the aim and after an initial seasonal opener in which he surprisingly lost, he bounced back in great, dramatic style to win the Grade 1 Savills Chase over 3 miles at Leopardstown, travelling well before coming under pressure but then finding stamina from somewhere to power home to win in the final strides.
Clearly the 3 miles 2 furlongs of the Cheltenham Gold Cup will be another test to pass but I do believe that A Plus Tard has the scope for more improvement, the proven festival form in the bag and does represent a fair alternative to the favourite with most rivals having big questions to answer.
They are our thoughts on four horses who we believe have live chances at Cheltenham and are worth combining in an each-way Lucky 15. We hope this helps and interests in some way, good luck if you follow us in, always remember to shop around for the best odds and terms.
Cheltenham Festival each-way Lucky 15:
Barnaviddaun – Coral Cup
Some Neck – Glenfarclass Cross Country Chase
Stattler – Albert Bartlett Novice Hurdle
A Plus Tard – Gold Cup