The Daily Nap:
Apple’s Shakira: 1.30 Cheltenham, 3pts win, 2/1 generally available
Has looked formidable in all three course and distance wins this season. She is a full sister to Apple’s Jade and can go one better than that horse did in her Triumph Hurdle. Jockey Barry Gerraghty has looked to get her in trouble at times in order to educate, but she stays so well in the mud that she has her rivals crushed by the hill. More of the same is in order.
Friday Other Races:
Flying Tiger, 2.10 Cheltenham, 1pt win, 14/1 generally available
Topweight Bleu et Rouge is very decent but looks lumbered by the handicapper. Flying Tiger will get our vote as he is just 6lbs higher than last year’s Fred Winter win despite running well since – the stable landed a handicap on Tuesday. Mohaayed will do better then when in this as a novice last year, whilst Smaoineamh Alainn, a mare who has snuck in at the bottom of the weights could be dangerous if you can write the ticket !
Santini 2.50 Cheltenham, 1pt win, 5/1 generally available
This was shaping up to be a brutal slog for novices. Chef Des Obeaux relishes a marathon and would be the pick in exhausting ground, but stablemate Santini is all class, has beaten Chef before and had a form boost when January victim Black Op chased home Samcro. With the sun shining and wind blowing the needle moves to Santini.
Might Bite, 3.30 Cheltenham, 1pt win, 4/1 generally available
Every trend in his race points at Might Bite, the ground will be key as his free going style can overcome his quirks unless it gets really soft. Results on Thursday suggest it’s better than expected and that should suit. Even jockey Nick de Boinville will be holding his breath in the run in for fear of the antics of last year, but it’s a chance worth taking.
Wonderful Charm, 4.10 Cheltenham, 1pt win, 6/1 generally available
Burning Ambition looks inexperienced, and this could be booked for last year’s unlucky runner up Wonderful Charm. He won’t want it too soft, but on reasonable ground he can avenge that defeat. Minella For Value looks the each way pick.
Blow By Blow, 4.50 Cheltenham, 3pts win, 14/1 generally available
One of the handicappers we have been most looking forward to all week. Was a grade 1 winning bumper horse, which is the quality you need for this event. Has been quietly improving for his in form stable, blinkers have helped, and any ground is no bother. It’s a tough race, but he is thriving right now and can sluice up.
Theinval, 5.30 Cheltenham, 1pt win, 14/1 generally available
Was a super third in this as a novice last year, and will have been targeted for this race named in honour of the trainer’s father. Is on a good looking weight, and seems to handle most ground. Top Gamble could interest each way backers under the inimitable Davy Russell.
The Daily Yankee:
Apple’s Shakira – Santini – Wonderful Charm – Blow By Blow
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