Thursday, February 2, 2012

Four early each way bets for Cheltenham

By Stephen Dwyer

With the Cheltenham Festival only five weeks away, we are on the lookout for some value each-way bets. Below are four selections that can be considered for the festival. If you are having a small each way bet, be sure and opt for “no runner no bet”.

Mikael D'haguenet – World Hurdle 


Not many horses have the versatility and class to be entered in both the Champion Hurdle and World Hurdle at Cheltenham. Mikael D'haguenet is far more likely to race over the longer trip and at 14/1 for the World Hurdle he is a value bet. The main question to ask is will he stay 3m. There is every indication that he will. It is worth looking at both times that Mikael D'haguenet ran over the 3m trip in greater detail. He fell three fences from home in last year’s RSA chase when travelling well within himself. The second time Mikael D'haguenet attempted 3m was at the Punchestown festival in the Ladbroke’s World Series Hurdle. He beat only one finisher home that day but that was at the end of a dreadful season and he finished a tired horse. 

So far this season Mikael D'haguenet has won three out of four hurdle races including an impressive victory over 2m 4f at Punchestown. Willie Mullins reports that the 8yo gelding has recaptured his sparkle and he clearly is a different prospect over his preferred hurdles. Big Buck’s is the one they all have to aim at but Mikael D'haguenet is a real cruiser and a thick set stayer. A previous Cheltenham winner, there is every indication he will give you a big run for your money.

Cinders and Ashes - Supreme Novice's Hurdle



Trained by Donald McCain, Cinders and Ashes is a general 14/1 chance (from 33/1) for the Supreme Novice’s Hurdle. He finished fifth in last year’s Cheltenham Champion Bumper and looks a very useful prospect over hurdles. He comprehensively beat Keys, a really classy sort, at Aintree and recently won a Supreme Novices Hurdle Trial race at Haydock where he was eased down at the finish.
Connections believe he will relish better ground and his jumping has improved with every race. Out of a Rainbow Quest mare and by Arlington Million winning sire, Beat Hollow, Cinders and Ashes possesses a high cruising speed and a natural turn of foot. If he handles the quicker ground, he may have the class to turn in a big performance under Jason Maguire.

Last Instalment - RSA Chase



A winner of six from eight starts, Last Instalment continued his winning ways when beating First Lieutenant in the Grade 1 Fort Laney Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas. He is a true stayer and noticeably gathers ground on every jump. It is also worth noting that the Fort Laney Chase has provided the last two RSA Chase winners in Weapon's Amnesty and Boston's Angel.

Last Instalment has lost only twice, both on good ground but he has always been held in very high regard, even as a point-to-pointer. He is a seven-year-old, the right age for the race as the last five winners and 10 of the last 12 winners have been seven. He was not a very highly rated hurdler and at 10/1 is definite value, his odds in the fast few weeks having been cut from 20/1 for the RSA. Grand Crus, as good as is, remains no price in one is the toughest championship renewals of the Cheltenham festival.

Venture Capital -Champion Bumper



Trained by Philip Fenton, Venture Capital is still just a 5yo with one start to his name. There is lots of 12/1 available for this horse which is short considering his sole race. This price however is based on the form of his bumper working out really well. At Fairyhouse, Venture Capital beat Tony Martin’s Thomas Edison as he liked. Thomas Edison has since beaten subsequent winners Champagne Agent and The Mighty Milan who are all top bumper horses.

Philip Fenton will forever be associated a long career riding bumper winners as well as training Dunguib but he believes Venture Capital to be a very useful prospect. After winning at Fairyhouse his trainer noted "I think he's pretty smart. we've always really liked him and we're very sweet on him beforehand" .
Venture Capital is a very nicely bred son of Presenting and it is thought he will have a preparatory run at Naas next week. 

Watch this space.

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