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Cheltenham 2016

Day Four at Cheltenham Racecourse National Hunt Festival on Gold Cup Day. 1.30 Triumph Hurdle. L2r Apple's Jade ridden by Bryan Cooper and race winner Ivanovich Gorbatov ridden by Barry Geraghty jump the last picture by Mikal Ludlow sport 18-3-16

Day 1

With the drying ground causing a significant drift, I feared Buveur D’Air would struggle in the Supreme Novice. Fortunately he ran very credibly to finish 3rd and with more luck in running he could possibly have been runner up. Either way it was a decent start, getting the place money out of €300 each way at 12/1.

I was never as relaxed about a max bet as I was watching Douvan saunter around in the Arkle, €900 at 4/9 and never a moments doubt. Personally I would like to see him in the Champion Chase next year, Willie Mullins has never won a Championship Chase at the festival and this is surely his best chance.

To go along with my €150 each way on Nichols Canyon I topped up the place part of the bet with an extra €150 at 7/4. I regret not backing Annie Power and was thriller with her win, it must be said Nichols ran a lovely race back in third. The only losing bet I had on the Tuesday was €300 place on Polly Peachum. I ended the day up €861, not happy but content to be off to a winning start.

Day 2

A tasty €300 each way at 7/2 meant Yorkhill was my 3rd biggest winner of the week. I don’t buy the comments that Yanworth was an unlucky loser – Yorkhill is the real deal and will be a serious force next year over fences. The RSA was muck, I watch on in disgust as Shaneshill ran a great race (I had backed him for the JLT). I lost €600 on the race thanks to Vyta Du Roc and Drumacoo (both €150EW), although the latter didn’t turn up.

I nicked a few bob in the bumper getting paid for 4th place but the Queen Mother was truly amazing. I had backed Sprinter Sacre without Un De Screax (€300 at 2/1) but it was one of those races where the bet wasn’t the driving factor for cheering. The horse has been a personal favourite since 2011 and what he did in 2013 was unforgettable. This was the return of the king and a moment to savour.

Day 3

Thursday was all about the short priced favourites. I fancied all three of them and had €600 on both Vautour (1/1) and Thistlecrack (11/8), I also had €300 on Limini at 4/5 and took just over 8/1 about the treble for €150 in William Hill. As everyone knows all of them won, netting me almost €2,800 which more than made up for the lost €900 in antepost bets on Shaneshill and Gilgamboa.

Day 4

I was having an excellent week and landed in Newcastle for a stag that morning. 3 antepost bets meant I didn’t even have to place a bet on the day. €300 at 6/1 on Ivanovich Gorbatov, €150 each way at 12/1 on Shantou Village and €300 each way on Don Poli at 6/1. I was delighted for Joseph O’Brien to land a winner but I think I was more delighted for myself – it was my best result of the week! Shantou Village was “struck on the leg” during the race according to the BHA but he looked a non-stayer to me, perhaps both are true. Either way he ran a shocker. Don Poli had a shocker too, I’m not sure if that’s down to ability or the ride he was given. Fortunately he stayed on to be placed and that was that for another year! I punted €7,666 and returned a mega €13,591

Conclusion

 It was an incredible Cheltenham for punters, anyone who knows anything about racing will know how rare these results were. However, the bookmakers only have themselves to blame – cutting each others throats and offering insane value. Personally I have had a record festival and I’m focused on building on these profits for the rest of 2016. I do however note, how tough antepost punting is getting. I will still bet where I see value but it is getting harder and harder to come by.

Fairyhouse, Aintree & Punchestown are up next and I can’t wait!

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