On Monday March 5th we hosted our inaugural Cheltenham Preview Night in Dublin. No trainers or jockeys or TV celebrities, and a focus on assessing the handicap races created a workshop approach.
Peter Nurse chaired the panel with Daniel Watkins, our horse racing writer and writer of the annual festival guide, and Michael Greaney, Irish racing Twitter regular “The Fly” (@MichaelGreaney3), providing the analysis. After assessing the 10 handicaps, a lively Q&A saw some outstanding contributions from the floor. So, apart from being an enjoyably detailed night of horse debate, did it provide meaningful insight? Oh yes…oh yes….
Daniel kicked things off with a confident pick of Coo Star Sivola (won 5/1 – although was a bigger price at the time of the Preview, like many that follow here) in the Ultima, with Beware The Bear the each way pick (placed 14/1). More was to follow when he identified the trend for handicap form in the Close Bros, picking out Barney Dwan (placed 15/2) and Mister Whitaker in the unlikely event he got in the race (he did and won 13/2).
Wednesday was our blow-out day. William Henry (placed 8/1) was picked in the Coral Cup, although Daniel identified the trend for lightly raced Irish horses near the head of the weights, and Michael revealed the profits in backing Mullins blind in the hurdles, and yet we did not identify pretty much the only horse to combine this, Blue Berry (20/1). More was to follow when the aim of finding a low weighted Gordon Elliott contender for the Fred Winter rested on Kuraka, who missed the cut, and so missed the similar claims of winner Veneer of Charm (33/1).
No worries. The Pertemps was Daniel’s confident pick for Who Dares Wins (14/1) who may have preferred it quicker but still placed with nearly all bookies paying on 5th. Here the Q&A chipped in its first winner with Delta Work (6/1) picked out by the floor in the discussion. The floor wasn’t finished there, putting up Kim Muir winner Missed Approach (8/1) against the panel’s unanimous pick of runner up Mall Dini (4/1).
The Plate continues to evade Daniel, but Michael had already suggested Davy Russell in every handicap and pinpointed The Storyteller (won 5/1) as the alternative to his first choice, and subsequent non-runner Tully East.
The best was saved til last. Daniel picked out Mohaayed (won 33/1) as a confident each way pick in the County Hurdle (where Michael’s Whiskey Sour also placed at 7/1), and then followed that up with a bullish pick for Blow By Blow in the Martin Pipe (won 11/1). Unfortunately Theinval (placed 16/1) couldn’t land an amazing Friday treble in the Grand Annual, finishing behind another Q&A recommendation from the floor, Le Prezien (won 15/2).
A remarkably successful night that hopefully provided the bedrock for profits for those in attendance. Many thanks to those attending, for providing lively discussion and some cracking tips. A late fire-induced venue change unfortunately derailed our hopes of broadcasting the event, but we will be sure to be repeating it in future (Dublin and London next year), although the bar has been set high when it comes to tipping !!
Thanks to O’Donoghue’s for last-second hosting, Mick Byrne for sound, and Tanya Kenny for audience participation. Thanks also to Irish Injured Jockeys, a contribution of €325 was raised for that worthy cause on the night.