Horse Racing Betting Tips: Sam’s the man but have a saver on City in the opener
THERE aren’t many races I’ve been looking forward to more at this year’s Cheltenham Festival than this afternoon’s opening Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle (1.30pm).
The Irish have a particularly strong recent record in the contest having won six of the last 10 renewals and look to have a serious chance again with Gordon Elliott’s Battleoverdoyen.
He represents last year’s winning connections and the fact he missed his prep race at the Dublin Festival is probably a plus rather than a negative.
Yesterday’s rain will have only helped his chances and he is bound to come in for plenty of support at a best-priced 3/1 with Coral.
However, regular followers of this column will remember I recommended backing SAM’S PROFILE at 25/1 a few weeks ago and I am not in a hurry to abandon him now.
There is nobody better at readying one for this meeting than Mouse Morris and I still think there is value in his price, even at around 11/1 with Star Sports.
He hurdled appallingly behind Battleoverdoyen last time, but still chased him all the way to the line.
Softer ground will put more emphasis on his stamina here and his shrewd trainer will have done plenty to brush up his jumping.
The best of the home team is without doubt Champ who hasn’t been seen in action since winning the Challow Hurdle at Newbury in December.
It was an impressive performance, but the form doesn’t look as strong as it did at the time and winners of that race have an appalling record here.
A case can be made for the appropriately named Brewin’upastorm who tipped up at the last here when being pressed by Champ’s stablemate Birchdale on Trials Day.
He is another that can go well, but I’m going to have a saver on another Irish raider in CITY ISLAND.
Trained by Martin Brassil, the man responsible for saddling Grand National winner Numbersixvalverde, he sneaks in here somewhat under the radar.
He has been first past the post in all three starts over hurdles and it is pretty hard to gauge the quality of that form.
The reality is, the horses he has beaten keep winning and the way he jumped last time was super impressive.
He can be backed at 10/1 with Ladbrokes and the fact he is owned by the man behind one of the sponsors suggests this has long been the plan.
Last year’s Grand National winner Tiger Roll is back in action in the Glenfarclas Cross Country Chase (4.10pm) and will be many people’s idea of the second day banker at a best-priced 6/5 with Coral.
It is extraordinary that at the age of just nine he already has three victories at this meeting, in the Triumph Hurdle, National Hunt Chase and of course in this race 12 months ago.
He demonstrated his versatility by routing the opposition in a 2m5f Grade Two hurdle last time and will take plenty of stopping if in the same mood.
However, there could be a little bit of each-way value in taking him on with four-time course and distance winner JOSIES ORDERS at 9/1 with Paddy Power.
Despite hitting the grand old age of 11, Enda Bolger’s runner has been in tremendous form this season.
Having won over course and distance in November, he ran a hell of a race to finish third behind Fact Of The Matter and My Hometown here in December.
That was a handicap, meaning Josies Orders had the best part of a stone more in weight than the winner, so finishing within two lengths was certainly no disgrace.
Stablemate Auvergnat is another to be respected having bolted up in first time blinkers in the Paddy Power Chase at Leopardstown over Christmas.
If they have the same effect again, he is sure to be competitive and both will ensure Tiger Roll doesn’t have it all his own way.
City Island e/w 1.30pm Cheltenham
Josies Orders e/w 4.10pm Cheltenham
Sam’s Profile e/w 25