And so it’s finally here. Seriously wet weather and the Coronavirus have done their level best to ruin it all for everybody, but there seems to be no stopping the Festival. Let’s see how we fare over the next four days of superb sporting action.
1.30 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle
Bets: Bet Alchemist – Asterion Forlonge to win 4/1 (antepost), Abracadabras each way 9/2; Racing Service 1 – Asterion Forlonge each way 6/1 (antepost), Precision Value – Abracadabras to win 3/1.
A thrilling race to kick the Festival off that had a bit of everything bar a win. After an anticlimactic false start the race itself looked to be going as hoped with Asterion Forlonge making all the running with Abracadabras going well tucked into the field. Asterion was still in the lead jumping the second last but Abracadabras was to my eye going the best of the lot but was so nearly brought down by two fallers. Breathing a sigh of relief I genuinely thought that we were getting the Festival off and running with a bang, getting that bit of luck we need as Abracadabras forges into the lead approaching the last looking all over the winner. It must have hit a pretty low in running price on Betfair! However, Shishkin came seemingly from nowhere and the two entered a tremendous duel up the hill. With a different stride patten Abracadabras would have won on the nod – instead, it lost. Let’s hope this isn’t a sign of things to come.
Bet Alchemist: Staked 3pts, -1.1pts; Racing Service 1: Staked 2pts, +0.2pts; Precision Value: Staked 1pt, -1pt.
2.10 Arkle Novices’ Chase
Bet Alchemist – Brewinupastorm each way 6/1; Racing Service 1 – Notebook to win 3/1; Racing Service 2 – Esprit du Large to win 12/1.
A complete damp squibb of a race. A second false start in as many races and Notebook one of the chief culprits. Alas, it showed more alacrity and willing before the start than in the race itself. Brewinupastorm never looked to be going well and the jockey seemed to jump out the side door going over one of the fences down the back straight. Esprit du Large fell when well beaten at the second last. All very anticlimactic.
Bet Alchemist: Staked 1pt, -1pt; Racing Service 1: Staked 2pts, -2pts; Racing Service 2: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
2.50 Ultima Handicap
Bet Alchemist – Kildisart each way 10/1, Atlanta Ablaze each way 33/1; Racing Service 1 – Kildisart each way 10/1.
I hope this isn’t going to turn into one of those meetings. So far, it’s certainly been one of those days. Atalanta Ablaze ran well enough without ever really threatening to land a place. Kildisart on the other had jumped the last looking good, looking like it was going to get up to win, but despite a last ditch rally failed to get up by a neck. That’s two second now in three races where the aggregate of the losing distances adds up to about two feet!
It would be nice to break the duck and get one over the line….
Bet Alchemist: Staked 2pts, -0.25pts; Racing Service 1: Staked 2pts, +1.5pts.
3.30 Champion Hurdle
Bet Alchemist – Supasundae each way 12/1 (antepost); Racing Service 1 – Sharjah each way 14/1; Precision Value – Epatante to win 5/2; Racing Intelligence – Supasundae each way 4/1.
Well, I asked for a winner, and a winner I got. Probably not the best of the three horses backed to have come in as the price was short. Sharjah ran a fine race and approached the last hurdle swinging on the bridle and I thought we were in for a big one, but ultimately the favourite won quite cosily, although a place return on Sharjah is not to be sniffed at. With horses backed running well, at least we’re not really losing money, but we are still waiting for the big priced winner that will truly set us on our way.
Nothing in the next race and then I’ll not see the last two races as they’re not being televised, and I need to take the dog out. Poor thing, she’s sitting here with her legs crossed!
Bet Alchemist: Staked 1pt, -1pt; Racing Service 1: Staked 2pts, Precision Value: Staked 1pt, +2.5pts; Racing Intelligence Staked 4pts, -4pts.
4.50 Novices’ Handicap Chase
Bet Alchemist – Hold The Note each way 10/1, Precious Cargo each way 16/1; Racing Service 1 – Precious Cargo each way 16/1; Racing Service 2 – Hold The Note to win 10/1.
The theme of selections running well but not winning that has fast emerged from this year’s Festival continues with Hold The Note coming in third. One more race to go to find that elusive win that will forge the day into profit.
Bet Alchemist: Staked 2pts, -0.25pts; Racing Service 1: Staked 2pts, -2pts; Racing Service 2: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.
5.30 Amateur Riders’ Novice Chase
Bet Alchemist – Springfield Fox each way 6/1; Racing Service 1 – Ravenhill each way 12/1.
At last! Last race of the day, first big win of the Festival as Ravenhill, a big drifter, wins a duel to the line with Lord de Mesnil to win by a shade over two lengths. Hoorah! This is more like it – a bit of a drifter too in the markets.
I listened to race commentary on the radio in the car. I reckon you could have a horse 30 lengths in front with 100 yards to go and it would still sound exciting. Had to beep the horn a couple of times for that one!
Bet Alchemist: Staked 1pt, -1pt; Racing Service 1: Staked 2pts, +14.4pts.
And so we reach the end of Day 1. That result in the last made things a lot better, but still end in the red, although not by much. Star of the Day easily Racing Service 1. Let’s see what Day 2 brings.
Day’s Figures: ROI -4.29%
Bet Alchemist: Staked 10pts, -4.6pts.
Racing Service 1: Staked 12pts, +13.9pts.
Precision Value: Staked 2pts, +1.5pts.
Racing Intelligence: Staked 4pts, -4pts.
Racing Service 2: Staked 1pt, -1pt.