Find out what one of the UK's top pro-punters is backing or laying today.
Do you ever have occasion to wish that you simply hadn't bothered? Take last night for example. Continuing an attempt to lose weight (I will do it this time) I plodded off for a four mile run promptly locking myself out for nearly an hour until the rest of the Hunt family returned. After a morning at the dentist, I then tucked into a sumptuous feast of plain pasta and cauliflower with only the prospect of a couple of evening bets to act as dessert.
I Backed Crystal Palace at Leicester (very happy with the 7/4) and layed Amy in the big brother house (as you would) at Evens. Net result, after the worst game I’ve seen for ages and a dismal BB show, was all bloody square! Like I say, wish I hadn't bothered. Still, that's far better than losing I suppose and now, twenty four hours on, the fires on, a lovely stir fry consumed and my bet on Sunderland looking OK (ish), thoughts easily drift off to the Cheltenham Festival.
Nothing really grabbed me at Cheltenham on Saturday, I must say. Knowhere's win in the Letherby and Christopher left me pretty cold. In beating Our Vic, (David, for goodness sake he doesn't get the trip) we learnt nothing we didn't already know. However, Neptune Collonges ran well particularly if the vibes before hand can be believed, namely that he was in need of the run. I'd certainly consider backing him to win a decent race when the mud starts to fly again. Franchoek was good, but do I want to back him at 4/1 for the Triumph Hurdle? Like Katchit last year, no! And what about Inglis Drever? Ultimately impressive but perhaps I am on my own in the belief that he is getting increasingly lazy mid-race and, with the immediate talk of him being banker material in the World Hurdle, I'm inclined to take him on right at this moment.
Remember, not even the majestic Baracouda managed to win the World Hurdle three times and I am quite happy to fly in the face of the popular belief that he is already passed the post.
A couple of interesting thoughts about Sunday at Leopardstown where the Champion Hurdle market ignited following the wonderful victory of Sizing Europe in the AIG Europe Champion Hurdle. In what is developing into a poor year for the hurdlers, nothing comes close to matching his eight length win, by some way the performance of the winter thus far. Enjoying his win though was balanced slightly by persistent rumours on the track that all is not well with the current champion, Sublimity.
I really don't like reacting to rumour, and certainly wouldn't lay him on the strength of it, but don't be too surprised if the negative undercurrent surrounding the horse develops into confirmed news over the next few weeks. Whilst the whispers were unwelcome, I am mindful of what Lorcan Wyer told me years ago. If we, as punters, heard about every last problem trainers encounter with their horses, we would never back a horse ever again. Be careful either way.
A quick quiz question to finish with that may focus Champion Hurdle thoughts. Which horse was a strong finishing third in last years race and is currently a three figure price to win it this year? Afsoun is the answer and whilst he has been extremely frustrating so far, is it completely beyond belief that Nicky Henderson will sprinkle a little March magic and produce him as a live each way chance this year? Sizing Europe aside, there is not another horse in the race I'd rather back. And Sunderland are two up. Maybe I'm hitting form at just the right time.
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