Cheltenham Day 1: Here we go…!

“There may be a lot of rubbish going on in the world at the moment; we may have just come through a bleak couple of winter months; the fields for a a few of the races may be smaller than ideal – but it’s the first day of Cheltenham – and Cheltenham is always brilliant.”  – A., Racing Service 1.

“If a jumps winner at Cheltenham doesn’t excite you more than some clogger at Southwell then you have probably been operated on by Howard Johnson’s vet! Mine perhaps isn’t a take you’d find in the ‘pro punter textbook’, which states you need to take all emotion out of betting, but bugger that. To me, Cheltenham is about getting your prep done in advance. Get all the bets on. Then jump around the office or living room each day giving it the big ‘oi oi’s and basking in the glory, if you are lucky to experience any winners.” – Wayne, Northern Monkey.

I can’t describe this year’s Festival, or the Cheltenham experience as a whole, any better than these two chaps have, so I’m not going to try.

Here we go…

1.30: Supreme Novices Hurdle

NMP: Appreciate It and Soaring Glory – in a couple of doubles with horses running later in the week.

There have, of course, been many weird things happen over the past 12 months.  So weird in fact, that their very weirdness often loses its impact because the world as a whole is so, well, weird.  But as the eight horses for the first race of the 2021 Festival were sent on their way by the Starter,  I found the lack of the famous ‘Cheltenham Roar’  really striking.  ITV’s imposed sound effect didn’t quite hit the mark.  But what would we rather have?  A rather surreal atmosphere but four days of top class racing, or no meeting at all?  I know which I would prefer, and anyway, hopefully next year will see a return to what we remember and associate Cheltenham with.

As for the race, well, Appreciate It absolutely bolted up to get some stakes rolling up for later in the week.  Not much else to say in what over the first two races, is a fairly quiet start.

1.55: The Arkle

NMP: Shishkin in various ante post (AP) multiples.

So here we go.  Is this the start of another memorable NMP Cheltenham day?  Shishkin becomes the second odds on favourite to win in a canter in two races so far, and in so doing netted about 4 points profit from a number of multiples.  To be fair, Shishkin didn’t so much win easily as saunter up the Cheltenham hill puffing on a big Cuban with a copy of the Racing Post tucked under one if its hooves, winking at the cameras.

2.30: The Ultima Handicap

Bet Alchemist: Pym ew 12/1, Aye Right ew (AP) 20/1.

NMP: Happygolucky ew/win 20/1 (plus in doubles), Aye Right ew/win 12/1.

PCB Pricewise: Alnadum 8/1, Aye Right ew 6/1.

Now that felt more like a Cheltenham race.  Big field handicap, a number of horses in with a chance coming down the hill, and some real excitement as Happygolucky was in obvious contention approaching the last.  Success would have meant a big return for NMP, but unfortunately it wasn’t to be as veteran Vintage Clouds came home first, Happygolucky finishing second.  Aye Right landed the place for PCB and Bet Alchemist.

3.05: Champion Hurdle

BA: Saldier ew 20/1.

NMP: Abracadabras ew 12/1, Epatante in doubles and accumulators.

RS1: Epatante 4/1.

A third easy winning favourite of the day as Honeysuckle beat off all-comers, sadly without any of my money on it.  The best I could do was Epatante which finished third.

3.40: Mares’ Hurdle

BA: Great White Shark ew 20/1.

NMP: Dame De Compagnie ew 6/1, Concertista 11/10 in multiples.

PCB: Concertista 5/4.


Hot favourite Concertista would have been a big result for NMP (not to mention PCB).  Entering the home straight at the bottom of the hill, the odds-on hot thing kicked for home and moved a length or two clear, but as we all know by now, that hill often takes a toll.  Fast closing Black Tears managed to get up in the last few strides to pip us by a head in an excruciating finish.  Bugger!

4.30: Boodles Handicap Hurdle

BA: Riviere Detel ew 8/1.

NMP: Glorious Zoff ew/win 33/1, Nassalam ew 10/1

RS1: Sage Advice 18.5/1.

OK, not the best, and it’s got to that point, where it does every year, where I feel I need a winner.  For a moment I thought Sage Advice was going to come through late to land the spoils at a nice price, but it wasn’t to be.  Ultimately, not one horse finished in the frame.

Not going to see the last.  Here’s hoping we get a result…

4.50: National Hunt Chase

NMP: Galvin ew/win 4/1, plus in multiples.

RS1: Remastered 13/2.

Ask for a winner, and the Betting Gods, should they not be in too malevolent a mood, shall (sometimes) deliver.  Galvin was a darned good win for NMP, worth over 14 points profit to round Day 1 off very nicely indeed thank you!  Didn’t see the race so can’t comment.  Just checked the result, saw Galvin had won, and finished my dog walk off with a spring in my step.

Summary of Day 1

Northern Monkey had last week described the first day of the Festival as likely the most important betting day of the year, and to be fair, he’s delivered.  It is hard to avoid a quick “what might have been” thought, because if odds on Concertista had just managed to hold on, it would truly have been a day to remember.  No complaints from me, though, and it’s on to Day 2.

Below are today’s numbers.  I will be double-checking at some point later as it really isn’t impossible, with so much going on, I’ve missed a place return here or a small losing bet there.

Bet Alchemist: Staked 5pts, -2pts.

Northern Monkey: Staked 8.5pts, +15.38pts.

PCB Pricewise: Staked 4pts, -2.9pts.

The Value Bettor: Staked 1.5pts, -1.5pts.

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