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The Tipping Tim’s Festival fancies – Champion Hurdle Tuesday

| 11.03.2013

After months of feverish anticipation the latest instalment of the greatest show on earth finally kicks off tomorrow, but I’m going to have to tape Extreme Fishing With Robson Green because it clashes with the start of the 2013 Cheltenham Festival.  The Tuesday is always the best day of the festival, and I’m hoping to boot home a couple of winners so that I have a good pot to give back over the next three days.

The traditional Cheltenham roar will be ringing around the Cotswolds as the tapes go up for the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle at 1:30 and the loudest shout of all might just be from JP McManus, who has managed to acquire the two favourites for said race.  My Tent Or Yours and Jezki will certainly be tough nuts to crack, but should they be headed coming to last I wouldn’t rule out Mr McManus buying a couple more in running to strengthen his hand.

With the green and gold mob well bottled up I will certainly be looking elsewhere for my investment, and I am going to take a chance on Puffin Billy advertising the Oliver Sherwood revival on the biggest stage of all.  He never went a yard behind Melodic Rendezvous at Exeter but, having found a valid medical excuse for that run, the in-form yard will be expecting much better from their stable-star tomorrow.  Underfoot conditions should be ideal and I fancy the JP pair to be puffin behind Billy up the famous hill.

Next up is the Arkle but this is a match between Overturn and Simonsig and I can’t see an angle.  Therefore my second selection will be in the JLT Handicap Chase at 2.40, and the pin has speared Merry King in this fiercely competitive heat.  Jonjo O’Neill always does well at this meeting and, unlike some of his runners, this one is easy to find on the formbook.  He sneaks in on a nice racing weight and, provided he takes to Cheltenham’s ups and downs, he looks nailed on to run a big race.

The feature race of the first day is the Champion Hurdle at 3.20, and every judge on the planet seems to have fallen for the Hurricane Fly hype once again.  Whilst he is the highest rated horse in the race and deserves his place at the head of the market, I’ve never been sold on Willie Mullins’ flashy son of Montjeu and all he’s been doing all year is beating the same old lumps on the bridle.  At current prices I have to look elsewhere, and I am loath to desert my old friend Rock On Ruby.  He hasn’t been at his peak in two runs this season but he comes alive at the Festival and, with blinkers strapped to his head to focus his mind, I fancy Harry Fry’s battler to nail back-to-back Champion Hurdles.

The Cross Country Chase and Mares’ Hurdle are a waste of time so, whilst I salute Cheltenham Racecourse for putting them together so I can spend an hour picking up a few bits for the missus in Westfield, my punting boots will remain under the desk until 5.15.  Tuesday’s action closes with the Rewards4racing Handicap Chase, and it doesn’t get any easier.  I don’t really do handicap chases (despite my feeble stab at the 2.40!) but the lads in the office fancy another Jonjo O’Neill one in Johns Spirit so that’ll do for me.

Good luck with all your Festival bets on Day 1!



Tim Smith