Cheltenham Showcase Meeting Day Two Preview

COGRY (©️ JTWEquineImages)

By Samantha

Here is my preview of the card at Cheltenham, with a focus on the first race- a interesting handicap chase full with some old favorites. Also featured is the Vertem Futurity Trophy from Doncaster.

14:00 Cheltenham – Matchbook Betting Exchange

This is a really exciting race!
Older chasers like The Young Master and Cogry take their chances at the ripe old age of ten. The Young Master won on seasonal reappearance at Chepstow last season and then won here in November in an amateur riders race. He pulled up in the Ladbrokes Trophy; then was third in the Kim Muir and was second in the Bet365 Gold Cup at the end of last season. He ran on the flat and came eleventh twenty four days ago. Cogry has won this before and was a very close second in this last year. He won here in December and then unseated in the Scottish Grand National.

On the other end of the spectrum is Onefortheroadtom. Aibhe O’Connor rides him and he was second to Heron Heights in a Grade B Chase in May. The Conditional also placed last time, behind The Hollow Ginge at Worcester in September, and that was the first run for David Bridgewater. Na Trachtalai Abu was third in the Kerry National so that should put him right and he won’t be fazed by the big field. Possibly the Grand National could be a target. Shantou Village was going well when unseating in the Kerry National. He was sixth in this race last year.

Get On The Yager and Back To The Thatch ran in the Uttoxeter Midlands Grand National. Get On The Yager was third in that race and before that was out of his depth behind Cyrname. He is one of three for Dan Skelton Harry Skelton rides top weight Cobra De Mai, who won three times and was fourth in a grade two last time. Bridget Andrews rides Captain Chaos, who hasn’t won for a while. He was sixth at Chepstow on seasonal debut and was also sixth in the Kim Muir. Back To The Thatch fell in the Midlands National and seems to struggle to stay on his feet.

ROCK THE KASBAH (©️ JTWEquineImages)

CROSSPARK was very consistent in three runs this year – he came third in the Warwick Chase, won the Eider and then was second in the Scottish National. He looks like value at 20/1. Minella Rocco pulled up in the English and Irish Grand Nationals but this is easier. Rock The Kasbah fell at the nineteenth at Aintree. Before that, he’d won in here November but then came sixth behind Cogry. Fellow nine year old Royal Vacation was fifth in a handicap at Chepstow when last seen. He often runs in this company very well.

Rocky’s Treasure won four from five in the latter part of 2018 but got beat a long way, including second to Cobra De Mai. Mindsmadeup is two from four this summer and the softer the better for him. West Approach mixes between fences and hurdles but came sixth in the Bet365 Gold Cup behind The Young Master and Rolling Dylan and ahead of Rock The Kasbah. Rolling Dylan won a novice cuase in February 2018 and that was the last time he won. Bob Mahler won at this course and Newbury last season and is a lovely horse. Red Infantry won in November last year and may struggle a little bit.

QUEL DESTIN (©️ JTWEquineImages)

14:35 Cheltenham – Masterson Holdings Hurdle

QUEL DESTIN was a high-class performer last year and won a grade one at Chepstow. Next time, he beat Torpillo over sixteen lengths and was one place behind Nelson River in the Triumph Hurdle. Torpillo ran poorly, after coming fourth to Quel Destin, in the Fred Winter. He won on seasonal reappearance really well but I think Quel Destin needed his reappearance on the flat and Torpillo has a bit to find. Nelson River won here at Cheltenham in December and then followed in Fakir D’Oudairies and then in the Triumph Hurdle when he ran a career best.

15:10 Randox Health Handicap Chase

Saint Calvados lost his way last season and has a hefty weight. Mcgroaty has won his last three so is definitely a danger as he seems to be on good terms with himself. KNOCKNAUSS carries 11st1 and that could be fair as he won easily in novices’ chases at Fakenham and Newbury. He then came second to the smart Master Dino but fell in behind Le Richebourg in February. He was fifth in the Arkle and at Aintree too. He seems to be a cut above these.

15:45 Pertemps Network Handicap Hurdle

This race is a qualifier for the Festival and Tobefair was second in the final last year so has to have a good chance in this is replicating that. Since then, he’s won here easily so is a player but the Rebecca Curtis team is flying and they have SUNSET SHOWDOWN. He’s three from four this summer and looks like he’ll be suited to this race.

16:20 Randox Health Novices Hurdle

THE BUTCHER SAID has won his last four ridiculously easily and that could be down to some genius placing by Olly Murphy and the McNeills. Adrian Heskin is riding out of his skin and Olly Murphy is flying as well. Good luck to them.


16:55 Matchbook Best Value Betting Exchange Novices Chase

This is a good little contest! SECRET INVESTOR was an excellent chaser last season and has smartly been put in to this to exploit the fact that he is still a ‘novice’. Go Another One and Topofthecotswolds are also penalized as they’ve already won. Whamore won well in an easy assignment on chase debut and Dead Right has been second in novice chases on the past two occasions. First Assignment ran well in Pertemps races last year and should make a decent chaser. Pym was a useful novice hurdler, winning twice, but needs good ground. Slate House ran over fences last season without any success but he’s more experienced than a lot of these. Garo De Juilley looks out of his depth.

17:30 Cheltenham- Royal Gloucestershire Hussars Standard Open NH Flat Race

Lots of good horses will come out of this race. One of those will be THE NEWEST ONE if he can follow in his big brother The New One’s hooves. He won the Champion Bumper so hopefully this horse can make a successful debut.


15:25 Vertem Futurity Trophy

There’s group one action at Doncaster as well but it’s very much the Aidan O’Brien show due to no fault of his. Magna Grecia won this last year and he went on to win the 2000 Guineas. The most fancied to win this is MOGUL. Donnacha rides the Galileo Colt, who won a group two last time, beating Royal County Down. That was the second of his victories after winning at the Curragh. He’s 8/15 and it would be good to see him win this as his form is completely separate to that of Pinatubo. Royal County Down is the outsider but Ben Curtis wouldn’t usually get the opportunity to ride for Mr O’Brien so he must be doing something right. After Mogul in the pecking order is Innisfree. He won the Beresford Stakes at the Curragh on heavy ground so he’ll be happy it is heavy ground. I have a tiny suspicion he may handle things better than Mogul. It took Louisiana four attempts to win and did so very well sixteen days ago. Andrea Atzeni rides Iberia, who was second to Stela Star in a group three on heavy last time out. The only British horse is Kameko who comes from Andrew Balding’s yard. He’s no mug and has followed in Positive and Royal Dornoch this season. He was only beaten a quarter of a length on both occasions but the ground could be problematic.

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