1:10 Kempton Racing Tips (26th March) WATCH RACING UK IN HD MAIDEN FILLIES´ STAKES (DIV I) (PLUS 10 RACE)

A Maiden Fillies' Stakes over 5f on standard going. This race has been split into two division. Originally 19 runners. The most bizarre if not incredible factor of these races is that David Evans has ten two-year-old runners. Quite amazing, and this must be a fair proportion of his entire string. I would imagine he has 30 - 40 two-year-olds. We will focus on this race of which he has five entrants: Bara Brith, Fastnet Spin, Jenji, Little Nosegay & Madam Prancealot. Evans is a very difficult to assess and to be fair does everything in his power to blur the lines between runners to manipulate the odds for the one they think will win. It wouldn't be a surprise to see one or two of his here being non runners. The betting is the best guide to their respective chances. However, yesterday's stakes runner, Davarde, who was substantially backed showed little. It wouldn't be a surprise to see one of his string go well but I will be watching. 

Bill Turner's first two-year-old runner - Who Told Jo Jo - was weak in the betting and finished out of the frame. As I have said before, I would rather take note of his Brocklesby entrant, which is likely to be his best juvenile. Bill's Delight is a home bred daughter of Compton Place out of a poor mare.  

Tom Dascombe's first juvenile runner, Decadent Times, wasn't disgraced at Wolverhampton, showing good pace before fading into third. That colt should give a line to Playful Trickster. This brown filly is a daughter of Intikhab out of a debut-winning mare. A 14,000EUR yearling buy in the ownership of The Roaring Twenties, the same connections of Decadent Times and Secret Lady who finished runner-up at Saint-cloud, France. Dascombe is an interesting trainer whose debutantes can go well especially when priced 7/1 & less. If outside this guide, I would take a watching brief but if fancied has respectable win and place claims.    

The first two-year-old runner of the season for Karl Burke, who is an exceptional trainer. Lavender Sky is a February foal, a daughter of Sir Prancealot out of on an unraced mare. This bay filly is a relatively cheap yearling purchase by Nick Bradley for just 7,000EUR, part of a syndicate including the trainer's wife. The breeding and sale's price don't inspire but the betting is the best guide. Debutantes from Spigot Lodge have decent win and place claims priced 10/1 and less. The betting is the best guide.       

Mark Johnston has started this season as he did last year with the very easy winner Sutter County, who looked a nice physical specimen. This winner will have backers hot on the tail of another talent so Boater is likely to be the focus over this minimum trip. This January foal, a daughter of Helmet, out of an unraced mare, a home bred from Darley. 

Hot N Sassy is a pretty cheap yearling buy at just 4,000EUR. This daughter of Arcano is price at big odds at best watch.

Summary: Boater is likely to be all the rage. If Johnston's two-year-olds follow the same path as last year this filly will go well. On the opposite side of the coin this race has been split into two divisions so you can never quite tell which is the first and second string. In addition with the first juvenile winning so well there is reason to think this filly may be under priced. These pointer are given to appreciate the factors rather than suggest she will not run a big race. It makes no difference to me as I will be watching. Difficult to know what to think about David Evan's multiple runners. It gives the impression one of these will go well. The betting is the best guide but a trainer who is difficult to pin down. Playful Trickster and Lavender Sky have fair each-way claims if fancied in the betting. A watching brief.   

3:30 Wolverhampton Racing Tips (25th March) EBF STALLIONS BET365 CONDITIONS STAKES (PLUS 10 RACE) (CLASS 3) (2yo)

The first British two-year-old race of the season. An EBF Conditions Stakes over 5f 2y on standard going. Eleven juveniles take part from twenty-three declared at the first entry stage. Seven colts, one gelding and three fillies. A mix of stables, many early-season specialists. Win prize money not far shy of £10,000 suggest a number of these juveniles are held in some regard. It will be intriguing to see if the winner will have the Brocklesby Stakes in their sights. 

The early two-year-old season can be slow to gather pace and unless we have very good reason many of these races with be watching briefs, slowly building form lines, trainer information and appreciating significant statistical data. Basically, using our experience to appreciate the best horses in training.

Mark Johnston was something of a revelation with his two-year-olds last season. A increase in his string and training agenda saw him make a flying start with talents such as Ravenhoe [pictured], Sixth Sense, Buratino (who went on to win the Coventry Stakes Group 2, runner-up in the Middle Park Stakes Group 1) & Rah Rah. 

Johnston had two horses entered to run but Sutter County is the sole representative. This February foal is a home bred son of Invincible Spirit out of a twice-raced mare. Juveniles are predominantly priced by stable/owner reputation and with the early success of last year's string this horse is likely to fancied in the betting. A wide draw is never ideal on debut and this turning course will most likely see a few green horses run wide at the first bend. 

Tom Dascombe is a talented trainer who can go well with two-year-olds on debut. Last year's early starters proved disappointing and Kachy was the best of the bunch. Decadent Times is an April foal, an Irish bred son of Art Conoisseur out of a once-raced mare. This bay colt was sold cheaply as a foal and yearling, which doesn't enthrall. The tissue price (Sporting Life) has this horse at 9/2. I would certainly wait until the betting settles if you fancy a wager. Interestingly, owners, The Roaring Twenties  had a two-year-old run for this stable in Saint Cloud (France) on Sunday 20th March, when finishing second. The stable's two-year-old debutantes can go well when fancied in the betting. A low draw is of benefit.

Richard Fahey is a trainer to note with debutantes because he features very similar statistics for fancied horses on their first and second start. This is very unusual for any trainer and indicates that many are primed to run big races on their racecourse bows. Cullingworth is a son of Kodiac, out of a winning mare who wasn't disgraced at Group class. This bay colt cost 36,000GNS at the yearling sales. Definitely one of the more interesting horses on breeding. 

One trainer who never lets the grass grow under his feet is David Evans. His two-year-olds are of interest in the first few months of the year although he is a canny old stick and very difficult to assess, which of his juveniles have ability and primed to go well. Money is often the key so if either of his two debutantes are substantially backed - take note. Let mestopyouthere is drawn in stall one. This Irish son of Sir Prancelot is out of a talented mare who won her first two starts, racing at pattern level. He was purchased by the trainer at the yearling sales for 35,000EUR. Interesting.   

Davarde is owned by Wayne Clifford, who is a regular patron with this stable. This chestnut colt is a son of Dragon Pusle out of an unraced mare. The betting will be the best indicator of stable confidence.  

Patrouille De Nuit is part owned by trainer Stan Moore. A cheap yearling purchase at just 3,200EUR and the only gelding in the field, which may suggest he has been rather unruly at home. Moore is a capable trainer, especially with relatively inexpensive two-year-olds. He can win on debut although they are few and far between and generally indicate a horse of fair ability. A fair draw but a horse I would watch.   

The fortunes of Mick Channon's stable have suffered in recent years and he didn't have much strength or depth of juveniles last season, which is a shame. This February foal runs in the trainer's colours and half-brother to Kyllukey who had an ounce of ability. Stringbark Creek cost just 4,000GNS at the yearling sales. Very few of the stable's debutantes win when priced over 8/1. A wide draw doesn't make much appeal. The betting is the best guide. 

Who Told Jo Jo is trained by Bill Turner, who is associated with early-season two-year-olds. This Irish son of Bushranger was a cheap buy at the yearlings for just 4,500GNS (9,000EUR as a foal). Turner usually has his juveniles fit and ready to roll although his debut strike rate is quite poor. This horse seems relatively fancied in the tissue market, but another horses where I would wait for the betting to settle before jumping in. As I have said before, in general, the best of Turner's two-year-olds runs in the Brocklesby. It will be interesting to see if this horse was originally earmarked for that race or goes there on the 2nd April. I would rather watch and learn today.  

Khelly's Edge is one of three fillies, a daughter of Kheleyf out of a a talented mare [Edge Of Light] who won on debut, far from disgraced in the Princess Margaret Stakes Group 3. This bay filly hails from Scott Dixon's stable, who knows his two-year-olds. Many readers will remember his Brocklesby winner Cock Of The North (2014) and narrow loser in the Salario Stakes Group 3. Khelly's Edge is owned and bred by ex-trainer Christopher Mason, who was a previous owner with trainer Bryn Palling. It is interesting that this home bred was sent through the sales ring and bought in for £10,000 by Scott Dixon. This approach is used so horse are legible to race in auction maiden stakes, which is an intelligent move. If well backed it would give encouragement.       

Phil McEntee doesn't have many juveniles but he's a trainer who knows the time of day and has sprung a surprise debut winner or two over the years including the tough Baytown Kestrel who won well at odds of 50/1, before faltering in the Queen Mary Stakes Group 2. Red Mohican is a daughter of Harbour Watch and cost 12,000GNS when purchased by the trainer at the yearling sales. Eventmaker Racehorse have done well with McEntee, and the 5lb claim puts this youngster on a handy weight. A relatively wide draw isn't ideal but this filly is likely to be a big price. 

Merry Banter is a daughter of Bated Breath, a relatively cheap at 8,000GNS (purchased by trainer). Unless very well backed, I'd take a watching brief. 

Summary: The first two-year-old race of the season. Unless something really catches the eye these are watching briefs for me - the start of working out the jigsaw puzzle. I would wait for the betting to settle if you fancy a wager. Sutter County should be respected after Johnston's flying start last season. I often find his horses difficult to assess - easy winners or poor losers. I will be watching. The betting is key for Decadent Times and Stringbark Creek. If both are 7/1 & less they have fair win and place claims. The latter may be weak in the market and a wide draw doesn't appeal. I would take a watching brief of Who Told Jo Jo. If this horse has been earmarked for the Brocklesby I would consider it in a different light. Cullingworth, Letmestopyouthere & Khelly's Edge have fair breeding and hail from trainers who often strike on debut. The others are best watched. The betting will be a good indicator but the slightest signs of inexperience on a turning course can really put pay to any chance. Cullingworth hails from a trainer who has his horses primed on debut and that is a positive. This race type suggests that a number of these horses will be winning sooner than later. The prize money pretty much guarantees a few of these are the best early horses in their respective stables. A watching brief but intriguing start to proceedings.             

Cheltenham heroes head to Aintree

Empire Of Dirt might head to Aintree for the Topham over two miles and 5 furlongs.

In-form Irish challenger Empire Of Dirt features among sixty four entries for the Crabbie's Topham Chase (ladies Day, Friday, April 8).
The nine-years-old won at Leopardstown in January and defied the rise in the weights to win the Grade Three Brown Advisory & Merriebelle Stable Plate by four lengths at Cheltenham last week.
Trainer Colm Murphy, who is primarily based in Co Wexford, noted: "Empire Of Dirt is first-class and seems to have come out of Cheltenham well.
"We can see how he's over the next 10 days or so however I'd think he'll go to Aintree.
"He's undoubtedly in the Topham and he will doubtless be entered in the 3m 1f handicap on Grand National Day (Saturday, April 9 - the Listed Betfred Handicap Chase) and perhaps even the Red Rum Handicap (Thursday, April 7) over two miles.
"I am not sure what we will do but he appears versatile enough.
"His jumping has been first rate the last couple of runs. He made a few novicey errors earlier however he seems to have ironed that out and was first rate in Cheltenham.'' 
Village Vic (Philip Hobbs), a two time winner over fences at Cheltenham this season, while Ayr scorer Rathlin (Micky Hammond), who finished third last year when trained by Mouse Morris, and Killer Crow who is an eye-catching entry for Irish trainer Gordon Elliott.
Gloucestershire-based trainer Nigel Twiston-Davies is among the most a success handlers over the Grand National fences and has 5 horses engaged, incluuding Astracad.
Nicky Henderson, who has won the last three renewals of the Topham Chase, might have two contenders this time around in four-time Grade One victor Captain Conan and Cocktails At Dawn.
There are sixteen Irish entrants, including seven from strong of champion start trainer Willie Mullins.
They encompass the Susannah Ricci-owned pair of Ballycasey (additionally in the Crabbie's Grand national) and Blood Cotil, plus 2013 Cheltenham Gold Cup runner-up Sir Des Champs and Turban (each in the Crabbie's Grand countrywide).
The weights for the Crabbie's Topham Chase are published on Wednesday, March 30.
There are 39 entries for the Crabbie's Fox Hunters' Chase on Grand Opening Day, Thursday, April 7.
Enda Bolger followed up his Cheltenham success with a facile victory within the Crabbie's Foxhunter Chase three hundred and sixty-five days ago and is on course to repeat the double after a slim victory over Marito (Colin McBratney) in the St James's region Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham closing week.
2014 scorer Warne (Robert Waley-Cohen, ultimate 12 months's runner-up Pacha Du Polder (Paul Nicholls), who gave Victoria Pendleton a dream run when fifth in last week's St James's Foxhunter Chase, and Salsify (Rodger Sweeney, who won the Foxhunter Chase at Cheltenham in 2012 and 2013.
Grade One hurdler Marasonnien (Willie Mullins) is also engaged.

Wesley Ward Plans to Win Brocklesby Stakes

Wesley Ward is no stranger to two-year-olds with talent but race fans may have been thinking his first juveniles may appear at the royal meeting. However, you don't have to dust down your top hat and tails because he plans to start the new Flat turf season with the Brocklesby Stakes at Doncaster 2nd April. 

Create A Dream will be his first runner, with a team of five juveniles in Britain. In fact he already has Frankie Dettori booked to ride. The team will be shipped from America to Manton with both Britain and France on the agenda.   


The trainer said on Tuesday: "I am very excited about it. We have a filly that rose to the top of the ranks on grass at Palm Meadows [in Florida]. "I work all my two-year-olds on the turf to see which have Royal Ascot potential. This filly in particular has soared right to the top of the board there."


Ward said he was looking for a variety of early-season two-year-old races to test the water with regard to Royal Ascot. 

He said: 
"I talked with John Sparkman, who is the manager of St Elias Stable and the owner Mrs Viola, and we decided to go ahead with this particular race which kicks off your season," said Ward. "I am very excited to get Frankie aboard and hopefully the luck with us will continue."

Such is Ward's interest in the Brocklesby that his transporter had contacted Doncaster's clerk of course Roderick Duncan asking how early they could bring a horse. 

Duncan said:   "I didn't realise what race it was for but if the Brocklesby is where it's going that is great. We're delighted and we'll see where it goes. It's fantastic for Doncaster."



Don Cossack lands Gold Cup win on final day at Cheltenham

Don Cossack claimed victory in the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival on Friday as the pre-race favourite held off a late surge from second-favourite Djakadam, to give jockey BryanCooper a famous win. Trained by Gordon Elliott, Don Cossack led an Irish top three, with the runner up and third places Don Poli being trained by Willie Mullins. It was a first Gold Cup win for Elliott, who famously achieved Grand National glory with Silver Birch back in 2007.

Meanwhile, Friday also saw former Olympic gold medal winning cyclist Victoria Pendleton ride to a fifth placed finish in the Foxhunter’s Chase, in what was a remarkable achievement considering she only started riding a little over a year ago. This year’s Cheltenham Festival certainly lived up to its billing, with thrills and spills a plenty provided by a packed race schedule over the four day event. 

Other highlights from the West Country meeting included Thistlecrack winning the World Hurdle in impressive style as well as ten year old Sprinter Sacre surprising the rest of the field on his way to glory in the much coveted Queen Mother Champion Chase. Meanwhile the first day of the festival was all about Ruby Walsh. The veteran jockey secured three opening day victories including guiding Annie Power to a commanding win in the Champion Hurdle.

With the historic Grand National just a matter of weeks away, horse racing fans really are being treated to a feast of action over the months of March and April. Despite news that the start time of 2016’s Grand National has been changed, it is still likely to be one of the most enthralling sporting events of the year with excitement building leading up to the big race. Grand National betting this year seemingly points in just one direction, with reigning champion Many Clouds tipped as the 8/1 odds on favourite with Coral. However, with the famous unpredictability of the race all to evident over the years, the likes of The Last Samurai and Cheltenham runner Don Poli may well be in with a shout come race day.


Having recently been crowned as the leading trainer at the recent Cheltenham Festival with seven victories over the four days, Irishman Mullins will be looking to continue this form heading into the Grand National, with Don Poli his main hope at the circuit which ranges overfour miles in distance. However, with up to forty horses expected to battle it out in what is arguably the most famous steeplechase event in the world, you will write off others at your peril.

3:30 Cheltenham Racing Tips (18th March) TIMICO CHELTENHAM GOLD CUP CHASE (Grade 1) (CLASS 1) (5yo+)

For many, the highlight of Cheltenham comes with the Gold Cup Chase. This Grade 1 race over 3m 2f 70y is run on good going. 

Who do you fancy to win? 

Its inaugural winner, Red Splash, came in 1924, trained by Fred Withington in the silks of Major Wyndham.  

The greatest of all National Hunt horses have won this contest. Do you know the horse with the most wins? In a period of five years Golden Miller won five times (1932 - 1936). 

Other historic winners not to be forgotten include Vincent O'Brien's Cottage Rake (1948 - 50). L'Escargot, The Dilker & the incredible mare Dawn Run (1986). In this modern era, who could forget Best Mate, a three-time winner (2002 - 04), dual winner Kuato Star & Denman (2008). Last year saw Mark Bradstock's Coneygree prevail, ridden by Nico de Boinville at 7/1SP. With Coneygree out with injury, nine horses ply their trade. 

The betting suggests six horses have claims here with Gigginstown Stud fielding two runners Don Cossack & Don Poli for Gordon Elliott and Willie Mullins respectively. The latter trainer has Djakadam and outsider On His Own. 

So who are we going for here? Cue Card - an Irish son of King's Theatre -  is no stranger to success and total earnings just under £1M. Fifth place or better would achieve that incredible goal. Colin Tizzard's ten-year-old is, perhaps, coming to the end of his glory days but you wouldn't doubt this gelding on his last three starts. Connections will be hoping this step up in distance and differing tactics will see a bold attempt and at each way prices is worth a small bet. 


A Dog Has His Day: Greyhound Betting Explained

Much of the excitement around watching the magnificent specimens featured in greyhound racing compete comes in successfully betting on the outcome of a race, but with the constantly fluctuating conditions of the sport and the dogs that drive it, picking a single winner reliable is a dubious prospect at best. However, intelligent bet structuring can greatly increase your odds of coming away a winner at the track, and devising a consistent strategy for online greyhound betting starts with understanding the various types of bets available.


Win, Place and Show

These greyhound racing terms for first, second and third place finishes also denote the bets associated with them. A winning wager on a dog to win obviously requires a first place finish, but a “place” bet is successful if the dog finishes 1st or 2nd and a “show” bet pays out if the dog finishes anywhere in the top three.

Quinela and Perfecta

A quinela bet is a two-dog wager that predicts the competitors will finish first and second, and the dogs can finish in either order so long as they are the first two across the finish line. Similarly, a perfecta also requires the selection of two dogs, but is slightly more difficult as they must finish in a predetermined order or the bet is lost. However, a perfecta bet makes up for the increased risk with a more attractive payout for the same wager.

Trifecta Types

As the name suggests, a trifecta bet is a prediction on the performance of three competing dogs, and they must finish in an exact order for the bet to be successful. A key trifecta centers on the performance of one dog who must win the race, with the other two dogs selected to finish second and third in either order. A trifecta box hedges the bets even more by allowing a wagerer to pick three dogs to finish in any order, but has a higher bet cost because it is effectively a combination of 6 single bets.

Superfectas

A superfecta bet focuses on the fortunes of the top four dogs in a race. There are two types of superfecta bet, a straight bet which requires that the top four finish in a specific order and a more expensive box superfecta bet which allows the chosen competitors to finish in any order as long as they are the top four performers in the race.

Odds

Standard bets such as a straight trifecta have a relatively low success rate, with less than 2 races out of 100 correctly predicted by wagerers. On the other hand, box wagers are much more likely to pay out, with a three dog box correctly predicted in approximately 1 in 14 races and a four-dog superfecta box paying out more than 20 percent of the time. “Wheel” bets, which combine a prediction of a first or second place finish for one dog with any finish from the rest of the field, have an even higher chance of success, with bettors experiencing win frequencies of over 25 percent by leaning on the right choices.

With roots stemming back into the traditions of English noblemen who bred these premium pedigree hounds for sport, greyhound races have long held fascination for spectators and wagerers. While the sport is not nearly as predictable as horse racing, it can be nearly as lucrative with a sound betting strategy.

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3:30 Cheltenham Racing Tips (17th March) RYANAIR WORLD HURDLE (Grade 1) (CLASS 1) (4yo+)

This Grade 1 race over 2m 7f 213y on good going. Thirteen runners take part for this winning bumper prize of £170,000 for horses aged four years and older. 

The most successful horse since 1972 is Big Buck's with four wins, trained by Paul Nicholls, ridden by leading jockey Ruby Walsh and owned by The Stewart Family. Big Buck's reigned supreme from 2009 - 2012. An exceptional horse. Other major talents to win this race include three-timer Inglis Drever. Baracouda was another favourite who was successful on two occasions. 

Last year saw Warren Greatrex with his bay gelding Cole Harden at odds of 14/1, staying on strongly to beat Saphir Du Rhea from Zarkandar. At Fisher's Cross, Whisper, Un Tempts Pour Tout & Lieutenant Colonel are similarly competing. 

The relatively lightly raced Thistlecrack has made a name for himself this last year - an official rating of 135 to today's 168. This gelding has certainly come a long way since disappointing here in the Neptune Investment Novices' Hurdle at seven. Colin Tizzard's charge looked very impressive when winning at Cheltenham  (January), crushing Ptit Zig and others by twelve lengths. This is a step up in class but this son of Kayf Tara looks ready to take on all challengers although at 5/4 there seems little meat on the bone. 

I will have a tentative each-way bet on Cole Harden to come back to his best.       

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3:30 Cheltenham Festival (16th March) 2016: Queen Mother Champion Chase (Grade 1)

Ten horses declared for this Chase over 1m 7f 99y on good to soft going. The inaugural race was won in 1959 by Quita Que, ridden by Bunny Cox and trained by Dan Moore. 

The most successful horse to win this race three times was Badsworth Boy (1983 - 85). 

Jockeys Pat Taaffe & Barry Geraghty have won this race five times, while Tom Dreaper is the most successful trainer with six wins.  

The betting suggests this is a two horse race with Un De Sceaux and Sprinter Sacre battling for Willie Mullins and Nicky Henderson, respectively. 

Dodging Bullets won this race last year against a few old adversaries Sprinter Sacre, who pulled up, Somersby, Special Tiara & Sire De Grugy.  

Un De Sceaux could well be sent off an odds on shot. This eight-year-old bay gelding, a French son of Denham Red is an exceptional horse. Sixteen runs have seen him triumphant fourteen time, falling twice, when pretty much guaranteed to win. He has run once at Cheltenham when quickening clear in the Racing post Arkle Challenge Trophy. With prize winning over £400,000 Mullins' charge must take some beating. 

Sprinter Sacre needs little introduction and a truly inspiring horse at best. This ten-year-old is trained by Nicky Henderson, racing in the silks of Mrs Caroline Mould. 

No stranger to Cheltenham, this gelding, a son of Network (GR), has won the Supreme Novices' Hurdle (2011) & Arkle Challenge Trophy (2012). He has mixed fortunes in the Queen Mother Champion Chase winning in 2013. However, he was pulled up last year when things started to fall apart. Sprinter Scare has shown he is enjoying his racing this season with two comfortable wins and plenty of supporters will be excited by the potential dual. 

I would have to favour Un De Sceaux to win but at 5/1 Sprinter Sacre could well be a fair each way bet.     

Cheltenham Festival 2016 - Day 1: 3:30 Cheltenham (15th March) STAN JAMES CHAMPION HURDLE CHALLENGE TROPHY (Grade 1) (CLASS 1) (4yo+)

A Grade 1 race over 2m 87y on soft ground. Win price money of £248,302. Thirteen runners detailed (Sunday). An exceptional race with an impressive history. A number of brave horses have won this race three times: Hatton's Grace, Sir Ken, Persian War, See You Then & Istabraq

Nicky Henderson and Peter Easterby have achieved the most wins as trainers and the former may fancy his chances to make this race his own. This is true of leading owner J P McManus with five wins. 


Take a look at last year's winner, Faugheen, trained by Willie Mullins and ridden by Ruby Walsh.  


Even with five runners Nicky Henderson may struggle to win this race for a sixth time. The shortest priced of his being My Tent Or Yours, who went close to winning this race in 2014 when second to Jezki, ahead of the New One. However a lay-off over 700 days means this nine-year-old gelding has to re-capture those glory days. 



Henderson said: "He has been a bit behind but we're looking at somewhere like the Christmas Hurdle - he did a fair bit working this morning. "But we just thought if all Ireland was going to come over here then why not the English go to Ireland?"

Peace And Co has been a major disappointment this season and one to watch.

Willie Mullins has every trainer running scared and with three representatives he is the man to beat. 

Annie Power is the only mare in the field but this daughter of Shirroco is the leading light and favourite. Fifteen starts have seen thirteen wins, runner-up and fell once. She has run at Cheltenham three times and course and distance winner. 

The horse to beat.    

The Ultimate Cheltenham Gold Cup Quiz




The Cheltenham Gold Cup Quiz, brought to you by the team at Myracing.com They provide expert Cheltenham Festival Tips for each day's racing at The Festival

Cheltenham Gold Cup Preview

The 2016 Cheltenham Gold Cup looks wide open with five horses vying for favouritism. To complicate matters further, three of them are trained by Willie Mullins who is chasing his first victory in chasing’s blue riband event.

Djakadam spearheads Mullins Gold Cup challenge.

Mullins looks set to resist the temptation to allocate different targets for his Gold Cup runners and his challenge will be led by last year’s runner-up Djakadam.

The seven-year-old moved well into the home straight last year but could not pass the determined Coneygree, eventually failing by a length and a half. With that rival absent through injury, Djakadam was promoted to Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite after winning impressively at Punchestown in December. His 12 lengths victory over Valseur Lido looks even better in light of the runner-up’s unlucky last fence exit in the Irish Gold Cup last month.

Djakadam was expected to confirm his status as market leader in the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham in January but crashed out at the tenth fence. Mullins does not feel that the setback has damaged his preparation significantly and he remains a leading contender.
Valseur Lido has been neglected in the market in recent days and has drifted out to 20-1. Mullins believes that the Gold Cup trip will suit him much better than the extended two and a half miles of the Ryanair Chase. He is as short as 5-1 for the latter and the final decision rests with the owners, Gigginstown House Stud.

Cue Card and Vautour set to renew rivalry.

The King George VI Chase on Boxing Day provided a thrilling spectacle as Cue Card battled to a head victory over Vautour. The two are set to clash again in the Gold Cup along with the beaten favourite Don Cossack who crashed out at the second last.

Cue Card has been a magnificent servant to the Colin Tizzard stable and has already won a Champion Bumper and a Ryanair Chase at the festival. He dispelled doubts about his ability to stay three miles when winning the Betfair Chase at Haydock in 2013. He won the race for a second time in November before his epic battle with Vautour.

Connections of the runner-up were thrilled with their horse who was kicked for home early in the home straight. That was his first attempt at three miles and there remain question marks about his stamina for the extra quarter of a mile at Cheltenham. He was a brilliant winner of the JLT Novices’ Chase at last year’s festival over two and a half miles.

Don Cossack appeared to be staying on when he fell at Kempton and he bounced back with a bloodless victory at Thurles in January. Gordon Elliott’s nine-year-old thrashed Cue Card at Aintree last year on good ground and connections will be hoping that the ground does not become too soft.

Bryan Cooper expected to side with Don Poli

Jockey Bryan Cooper has to choose between the four Gigginstown entries; Don Poli, Don Cossack, Road To Riches and Valseur Lido. It will be a surprise if he deserts Don Poli who has won both of his races this season. Yet another representative of the Mullins stable, he burst into the Gold Cup picture when winning the RSA Chase impressively last year.

Road To Riches also holds an entry in the Ryanair and he really wants good ground to be at his best. Noel Meade felt that the testing conditions were responsible for his defeat by Carlingford Lough in the Irish Gold Cup. The winner was almost pulled up with four to jump at Leopardstown but the leaders folded up in the home straight. His main objective is thought to be the Grand National but he could take his chance if the going is suitably testing.

Cue Card is not completely alone in attempting to keep the Gold Cup on home soil. Alan King’s Smad Place won the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury in November before finishing fourth in the King George. The popular grey earned his place in the field when profiting from the fall of Djakadam in January.

Grand National winner Many Clouds is also in the line-up after his intended prep race at Kelso was abandoned. He finished sixth last year and a similar performance on Friday would set him up perfectly for another tilt at the Aintree showpiece.

The Cheltenham Gold Cup is due off at 3.30 on Friday 18th March and will be screened live on Channel 4.

By Harvey Mayson


Cheltenham Festival 2016 Ante Post Racing Tips

The 2015/16 jumps season is nearing a close which can only mean one thing, the road to Cheltenham is not far away. Those who count down the days to the start of the flat season don’t have long to wait either, with the Lincoln and first of the English Classics all in sight in an exciting part of the year in horse racing.
The Festival is the biggest week of the year in jumps racing and here are some of the best bets for the 2016 meeting.

Cue Card – Cheltenham Gold Cup
The Cheltenham Gold Cup this year could be one of the best in a long time with a number of novice chasers taking their chances against the more experienced horses.
One of the runners with a wealth of experience at this level and in this division is Cue Card. Colin Tizzard’s runner won the biggest race of his career on Boxing Day when he got the better of Vautour by a head at Kempton in the King George. The victory brought up his third win of the season as he has also scored in the Charlie Hall Chase at Wetherby among others.
The now 10-year-old has proven his stamina over the 3m trip and showed a fluent round of jumping on all three of his starts this season. Cue Card is definitely worth a bet on the Gold Cup with Paddy Power where he is 13-2 to win the race for the first time.
Annie Power – Champion Hurdle
The whole complexion of the Champion Hurdle was shaken up when Faugheen was ruled out of the opportunity to defend his crown in the race through injury. Trainer Willie Mullins has therefore had to shuffle his pack and it is thought that he will supplement Annie Power for the premier 2m hurdle contest this season rather than run her in the Mares’ Hurdle or the World Hurdle.

Barring a last hurdle blunder in 2015, Annie Power would have won the Mares’ Hurdle at the Festival by a large distance. She made up for that error by winning at the Punchestown Festival in May, while more recently she also scored in Ireland in her preparation run for Cheltenham.
This year’s Champion Hurdle looks much weaker without Faugheen in the field so Mullins clearly thinks his runner can become only the fourth mare in history to win the race where she is 2-1 to do so.
Outlander - JLT Novices Chase
Mullins has the strongest stable he has ever brought over to the UK for the Festival this year. One of the horses which isn’t quite getting as much attention as his recognised superstars is Outlander who is set to run in the JLT Novices Chase where he is 5-1 to win the race.
The eight-year-old has had a faultless campaign with three wins from three in his opening campaign over fences. His latest success was in a Grade One contest at Leopardstown where he finished ahead of Monksland and Pont Alexandre. He looks good enough to add to Mullins’ tally at the Festival this year.