Cheltenham Festival Treble

Un De Sceaux looks a great bet next month at the Cheltenham Festival in the Ryanair Chase where he won’t have to worry about Douvan who is the short price favourite to win the Queen Mother Champion Chase over the shorter tip of 2m.

Clive Buckenham via Twitter

Willie Mullins’ runner has been in good form this season. He was successful in the Grade One Tingle Creek at Sandown back in December on his seasonal reappearance, while more recently he looked right at the top of his game in the Clarence House Chase at Cheltenham.

The opposition to Un De Sceaux in the Ryanair Chase is not that strong, especially now Cue Card has come out of the race to concentrate on the Cheltenham Gold Cup therefore the 5/2 odds being quoted on the former Arkle Trophy winner looks fantastic value.

There should be no stamina doubts about Un De Sceaux stepping up to 2m5f as he has won twice over that trip in France on soft ground which suggests he is equally as good over this distance.

Many people’s banker of the Festival this year is Unowhatimeanharry in the Stayers’ Hurdle on day three of the meeting. Harry Fry’s runner has dominated his division this season with three wins already in the campaign.

Unowhatimeanharry won the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham in 2016 and has had no problems stepping out of novice company. The nine-year-old prevailed in the Long Distance Hurdle by six lengths where he had Ballyoptics and Menorah behind him in second and third respectively.

Timeform via Twitter

It was in the Grade One Long Walk Hurdle back in December at Ascot where Unowhatimeanharry really established himself as the Stayers’ Hurdle favourite at the Festival. He then added the Cleeve Hurdle to his CV this season and as a result is now 6/5 to score in the 3m contest.

Finally, Colin Tizzard looks to have all the aces in the pack in the Cheltenham Gold Cup as he trains the first three in the betting for the race with Thistlecrack, Native River and Cue Card. The preference should be Native River who can score in another prestigious contest this season.

At The Races via Twitter

Native River won the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury back in November to put himself in contention for the Blue Riband event at the Festival. He then followed that up by scoring in the Welsh Grand National off top weight.

Unlike the favourite Thistlecrack, Native River is sure to appreciate the stiff test that comes with the 3m2f contest at Cheltenham. Those who don’t stay the trip normally get found out up the hill in the closing stages of the race.

In the Cotsworld Chase last month, Thistlecrack made a few jumping errors which cost him ground and resulted in him finishing second behind Many Clouds. If he is in a battle with Native River inside the final furlong of the Gold Cup, the favourite may have to settle for second again.

Selections: Un De Sceaux (Ryanair Chase), Unowhatimeanharry (Stayers’ Hurdle), Native River (Gold Cup) – 1-point win treble

‘Deadly’ Double, Wednesday, February 15

In the Racing UK Apprentice Handicap (5.10) at Kempton on Wednesday, Moayadd was beaten in a similar ‘egg-and-spoon’ race over 7 furlongs at Chelmsford last month on his debut for Neil Mulholland, but found the expected improvement when landing odds of 8/11 in a better race, over 1 mile 2 furlongs, at Newcastle eight days ago with a minimum of fuss. His 6lb penalty is offset by dropping back into 0-50 company and he can get the evening off to a good start.

In the 32Red Handicap (6.50) at Kempton, Franco’s Secret has one his last two starts – including over course and distance 12 days ago – by a neck and a head and has been raised just 3lb, in total, so may be able to complete a hat-trick under Tom Marquand. The form of his previous win at Lingfield has been franked by the second, Chevallier, who won a 0-95 contest back at the Surrey track last month, so there are reasons for believing he’s still well handicapped, despite a career-high mark.

Selections: Kempton 5.10 Moayadd, Kempton 6.50 Franco’s Secret, 1-point Win Double

‘Yielding’Yankee, Saturday, February 4

Charli Parcs was good value for his winning margin when beating subsequent winner Poker Play on his racecourse debut at Enghien in November and was never off the bridle when winning on his debut for Nicky Henderson at Kempton in December. His odds are likely to be prohibitive, but he appeals as the type to follow until beaten and can get the ball rolling for us in the 1.30 at Musselburgh.

Politologue last no caste in defeat when beaten 1¼ lengths by the progressive Waiting Patiently at Haydock two weeks ago and may be able to take another step forward in the 2.25 at Sandown. Paul Nicholls held a strong hand in the race at the five-day declaration stage, with Le Prezien, Clan Des Obeaux and Frodon his other entries, so in the absence of Politologue the stable selected looks the one to be on.

Despite slight doubts about his stamina over 3 miles 45 yards, Rock The Kasbah finished second in a Grade 2 novices’ chase – the form of which has worked out well – over 2 miles 5 furlongs at Ascot in December and may have more to offer. He’s done most of his winning with ‘soft’ in the going description and should have conditions to his liking in the 2.45 at Wetherby.

Last, but hopefully not least, the 3.00 at Sandown may be best left to the progressive five-year-old El Terremoto, who finished third in the murk at Haydock last time and should benefit from stepping back up in distance. Testing conditions hold no terrors for him.

Selections: Musselburgh 1.30 Charlie Parcs, Sandown 2.25 Politologue (if abs., Paul Nicholls’ selected), Wetherby 2.45 Rock The Kasbah, Sandown 3.00 El Terremoto (1-point win Yankee)

‘Twilight’ Treble, Friday, January 27

In the 5.45 at Newcastle on Friday, Custard The Dragon seems equally at home on Fibresand, Polytrack and Tapeta and, off a mark just 3lb higher than when winning at Southwell earlier this month, must have every chance of completing a hat-trick. Jockey Andrew Mullen is 1-3 for the yard on the all-weather.

In the 7.15 at Newcastle, Star Of Spring ran creditably in defeat off today’s revised mark over course and distance last Saturday and, with apprentice Callum Rodriguez taking off 7lb, may be capable of making a swift return to the winners’ enclosure. Iain Jardine’s five-year-old seems better on Tapeta than elsewhere, but is still not fully exposed on the surface.

In the 8.15 at Newcastle, Novabridge is already 2-3 over course and distance this winter and still looks feasibly weighted, off a 4lb higher mark, on his hat-trick attempt. The Avondridge gelding is clearly thriving in his new surroundings, have joined Karen Tutty in October, and can keep up the good work.

Selections: Newcastle 5.45 Custard The Dragon, Newcastle 7.15 Star Of Spring, Newcastle 8.15 Novabridge, 1-point Each-way Treble

Relegation Trebles – Who Will Go Down?

Source: Wikipedia 

At the time of writing, the three bottom placed teams in the Premier League table- Swansea City, Sunderland, and Hull City- are favoured at 13/8 to all be relegated this season. With more than 15 games left to play, there is plenty of time for this landscape to change and for one or more of the doomed teams to pull themselves out of the mire. So aside from these struggling sides, who else could be in contention of slipping down into the Championship next season? By successfully predicting which teams will fall, good returns can be made on the Relegation Treble. Here we suggest three teams to keep an eye on.

Crystal Palace

Palace were rock bottom for points won per game in 2016 in the top four English divisions. This led to the sacking of Alan Pardew, but his replacement Sam Allardyce is also facing similar tribulations. After 21 games the Eagles had a mere 16 points, level with 18th-place Hull and above the relegation zone due to superior goal difference. Allardyce is a specialist at keeping teams up, and has never been in charge of a team that has been relegated. Could this record be about to change?  

Bookies are offering 11/1 odds on Hull usurping the London club and Palace, Swansea, and Sunderland all going down. The Bet365 free bet is a deposit match up to £200, and could be used to produce great returns on this outcome.

Watford

 

Betting on Watford to go down is much more unlikely, as they are currently seven points above the drop zone. The Hornets are enduring a dreadful run of form, though, and have only mustered a solitary win in their last nine top-flight games. In their last five league outings Walter Mazzarri’s side have scored 2 goals, and they are desperately lacking a clinical goal scorer.

Odion Ighalo has managed 1 goal and 1 assist all season, but he put away 16 goals and 3 assists in the previous campaign. Similarly, Troy Deeney’s output has severely diminished. The captain has 4 goals to his name, 2 of which were from penalties. Last term he scored 13 goals and assisted 7. If Watford don’t sign a prolific striker this January, they could find themselves in big trouble.  

Leicester City

Leicester have seemingly lost the fighting spirit that saw them miraculously avoid relegation in 2014-15, and then charge on to win the title last season. Add to that the loss of Riyad Mahrez, Islam Slimani, and Daniel Amartey during the Africa Cup of Nations, and the fact that the Foxes also have Champions League football to contend with, and the situation looks tenuous. Losses to Sunderland, Watford, and Bournemouth this season have shown just how much Claudio Ranieri’s side have changed. If they can’t recapture that champion’s spirit soon they could be overtaken by the other teams that are desperately fighting for survival.

Of course, these are merely teams to consider putting into that relegation treble. It is highly likely that at least one of the current bottom three will go down, but there is a chance that some of the teams that thought they were sitting pretty could sink down to the dreaded drop zone by the end of the campaign.