Richard Hoiles tipped 13-2 Close Brothers Novices' Chase winner Mister Whitaker last week and looks back on the Festival ahead of four tips running in Britain on Tuesday.
By Richard Hoiles
Another Cheltenham done and dusted. While I have not fully trawled through the replays it was obvious to me that the Festival saved the best until last. Certainly in terms of the Championship races the Gold Cup was by far the pick of the week’s feature events.
Seldom have I ever called a race where so many good horses played no part in proceedings, not down to poor rides but just their inability to keep up with the sustained gallop set by the front pair.
Almost from the word go the likes of Our Duke and Definitly Red could never find the rhythm of Native River and Might Bite and the sustained duel between the pair will live long in the memory.
Buveur D’Air looked there for the taking in the Champion Hurdle, but there was not one smart enough to capitalise while Douvan’s capsize in the Queen Mother Champion Chase left plenty of questions unanswered.
To that point he had travelled like the Douvan of old and had Altior outside his comfort zone but it was too far out to tell whether off the back of that absence he could have sustained it to the line.
The Stayer’s Hurdle bore little resemblance to the race title, with a ridiculously steady pace playing into the hands of the speed horses, while the Ryanair will only live long in the memory of Michael O’Leary as he finally laid his bogey and landed his own race with Balko Des Flos.
In the handicaps Nube Negra and Eamon An Cnoic were two that travelled as if well ahead of their marks before not making it home in the ground and are worth keeping a close eye on before the end of the season.
With snow on the ground it looked as if the Tuesday jumps jinx had returned but fortunately Wetherby has survived where the best bet on the card looks to be:
He has not won for a while but he is well suited to these conditions with a string of placed efforts off similar marks to his name.
While Dedigout has finally shown some form off his much lower mark, he appeals as one to take on in his dotage and Tomngerry’s Bumper win at Southwell hardly amounts to much.
Hopefully if Isaacstown Lad can just reproduce either of his last two runs it will prove enough to prevail.
My gut feeling is that 66-1 debutante runner up Velvet Vision is one to take on and Bobby K looks the most solid opponent to do it with.
He matched the worth of his Southwell victory at Lingfield and so looks pretty versatile across the spectrum of the AW surfaces.
Has been knocking at the door in recent starts, including twice over course and distance.
Rude Awakening could well be a different proposition on his handicap debut but the form shown by Odds On Oli in recent starts looks more than up to scratch for a race at this level.
Has not beaten a horse in his two runs back off a break but was dropped sufficiently by the handicapper last time to enable him to compete in this lower grade.
The yard is going well and there is a fair bit of pace in the race, which, coupled with Newcastle’s stiff uphill final furlong, could play into his hands.
Richard Hoiles' Tuesday tips: