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|Latest Exhibition||14/1||Ante Post
|Mrs Milner||25/1||Ante Post
Date of Tips: 16/03/2020
Disclaimer The odds for these selections were correct at the time of publishing (11:13 16/03/2020) but may have changed since. Please check the latest price before placing your bet.
Today looked like a day to sit out and allow the racing take care of itself at both Hereford and Wetherby. I’m sure I will be right back tomorrow with some good racing in Ireland to get stuck into. However, with this lull in racing today – I have been trawling through the ante-post markets for Cheltenham in March and seeing whether I could find anything juicy to get stuck into. I think the Stayers Hurdle is one of the most interesting races from a betting perspective and there are two horses who are likely to run this weekend and both could make up into decent horses for this race come March.
The two horses in question may not come as a major surprise to those that are keen followers of the page. The first of which, and the shorter price of the two – runs in this weekend’s Hatton’s Grace Hurdle, and if equipping himself well over hurdles, could shorten up immediately for this effort. The horse is Latest Exhibition, who is returning to hurdles this year having had a season Novice Chasing last term. His efforts last year were more than satisfactory, coming second twice to Monkfish in Grade 1s around Leopardstown before a solid effort when finishing fourth off top weight in the Irish Grand National.
However, despite it being a solid season, connections have sighted reasons for a return to hurdles as ‘he didn’t improve for switching to fences’. This looks correct given the runs he put in as a novice hurdler two years ago, when putting in a super season including a Grade 1 victory at Leopardstown. Looking back at his Albert Bartlett form from two seasons ago, he could make up into a serious player in this division. He is making his seasonal debut in the Hatton’s Grace, and I’m sure that connections are just hopeful of running a solid race while leaving a bit to be improved on. I think the key race for this horse will be the 28th December at Leopardstown, which is a course that he favours. I think he has every chance of winning a contest such as the Grade 1 hurdle over 3 miles on that card. If winning that race, he will considerably shorten for the Stayers Hurdle come March. He is currently a best price of 14/1, which I think is more than fair each way price and one that I have taken.
The other horse is another runner this weekend, and has been pencilled in to run in the Long Distance Hurdle at Newbury on Friday, where she will have to take a big rise in class to come close to running well on that occasion. However, I think there is every chance of Mrs Milner running a huge race at Newbury on Friday and if doing so, she could transform herself into a Stayers Hurdle contender. The race on Friday will be an interesting assignment, where she will have to run against former Stayers Hurdle winners in Paisley Park and Lisnagar Oscar in the process – alongside Indefatigable.
Mrs Milner form took a sharp curve upwards at the end of the season when winning the Pertemps over the exact same C&D as the Stayers in taking fashion. She was off a low weight that day, so was perhaps entitled to win the way she did – but she couldn’t have done it any easier for a festival handicap. She reappeared last month when winning a listed mares contest at Limerick in impressive fashion. There was not much depth to that race and she was entitled to win, but it was a nice stepping stone into this contest. With jumping her best asset, it will be interesting to see how Bryan Cooper rides her on Friday with a view to the rest of the season. If finishing in the first 2 or 3, you’d imagine she would go down this route. With that in mind, the current price of 25/1 which is available across the board looks far too tempting to turn down. She should also be backed each way like her stablemate.
|Cheltenham Tips by Day|
|Day 1 TipsTips for Tuesday 15th March||Day 2 TipsTips for Wednesday 16th March|
|Day 3 TipsTips for Thursday 17th March||Day 4 TipsTips for Friday 18th March|
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Paisley Park was one of a number of high-profile below par performances over the week, and it has since transpired that he suffered from an irregular heartbeat post-race. Let’s hope he recovers fully, but what it did do was blow the division wide open – not only for the Stayers’ Hurdle won by Lisnagar Oscar last week, but also for the 2021 edition.
Anyone with any ounce of interest in the game will have noted that the Albert Bartlett won by Monkfish featured perhaps four of the most promising horses going forward. Monkfish, Latest Exhibition and Fury Road are just three of what could be a fascinating crop of novice chasers next season – when you add Envoi Allen, Shiskin, The Big Getaway and The Big Breakaway to that list, and we might just be treated to the best novice chase division that we have seen for many a year.
But I digress, it is the horse in fourth in the Albert Bartlett, Thyme Hill, whose run was one of the most eye-catching of the whole week. Squeezed up going to the last, and then again after last, he couldn’t quite force his way into the frame. Added in to the fact that he travelled widest of all for virtually the whole race, affording mountains of ground to the three horses that finished in front of him, and his run was an absolute belter.
His trainer Philip Hobbs has expressed that Thyme Hill is not the most robust of horses, so I would be surprised if he went chasing. There is a lovely run of staying hurdle trials through the winter, and I expect Thyme Hill to take high order in that division. 20/1 could be long gone by mid-winter.
The other bet in the Stayers’ Hurdle 2021, is the dual Pertemps Final winner Sire Du Berlais at 25/1. Gordon Elliott is a master at bringing horses back to the Cheltenham festival to win or run well on multiple occasions – Tiger Roll, anyone.
Sire Du Berlais won the Pertemps in a time 2.98 seconds quicker than Lisnagar Oscar won the Stayer’s Hurdle this year, on the same day. Enough said. Given the Irish handicappers domination of this year’s handicap hurdlses in particular, it is highly likely that Sire Du Berlai’s eyes will no longer be on handicaps from this point onwards.
The following content was added at 8am on Monday 1st February 2021
There is a possibility that some of the races that were planned in for Cheltenham Trials Day will be re-arranged for this coming week, and chief among them will be the Cleeve Hurdle – which was going to be Paisley Park’s final act of public preparation for the Cheltenham Festival.
Other than the Cleeve Hurdle, there is only the Boyne Hurdle at Navan over 2m5f and the Rendlesham Hurdle over 3m at Haydock Park, both run over the same weekend in late February, that could provide any further clues as to the Stayers’ Hurdle make up.
With that in mind, now is a good time to have a good look at that race, as with the ante-post favourite in mind, Paisley Park, and his likely opponents in any re-arranged Cleeve Hurdle, anything other than a resounding victory would surprise, and provide an opportunity for the layers to shorten others.
Most likely, it could be that there is little movement in the Stayers’ Hurdle market for the upcoming few weeks at least – and having secured two lovely prices about Thyme Hill and Sire Du Berlais just after last year’s Festival – it may serve to add another string to the long-distance bow.
That horse ran this week, finished second in a Grade 2 and was confirmed as having the Stayers’ Hurdle as his target by his trainer. While at his best last season, he beat subsequent Albert Bartlett winner and current Festival Novices’ Chase favourite Monkfish, by an ever-widening 7 lengths over hurdles.
What price would Monkfish be for this race if he had stayed over hurdles? I dare say he wouldn’t be 50/1. More like 5/1. However, Diol Ker is available at 50/1 with Ladbrokes and Coral for the Stayers’ Hurdle, and just has to be added to the list of ante-post each-way bets at that price.
Chasing was aborted after a fall and a couple of runs soured by sketchiness over the larger obstacles, and that lack of efficiency in jumping was in evidence on his subsequent assignment back over hurdles. Which, despite meeting virtually every hurdle on the wrong stride, he still won.
But fitted with cheekpieces this week in the Galmoy Hurdle, and Diol Ker was back to his low and fluent best, which was a feature of his novice hurdling, when he saw off the mighty Monkfish, as previously mentioned.
Diol Ker has a huge engine, as evidenced by the fact that at the end of three of the most gruelling miles in bottomless ground at Gowran Park, he was still able to finish stronger than anything. Only his conqueror, Sam’s Profile, was anywhere near raising a gallop to the same extent.
It is entirely possible that Diol Ker is reliant on heavy ground, but he would’ve won a novice hurdle with consummate ease at Leopardstown on a sound surface, but for stumbling after the last. I am of the opinion that Diol Ker could well be suited to a very truly run race, as he simply has no bottom to his stamina levels.
At 50/1 with Ladbrokes and Coral each-way for the Stayers’ Hurdle, he is wildly overpriced.