Cheltenham Day 2: Unbelievable, Jeff! as NMP can’t stop tipping winners…

A consequence of yesterday’s NMP-driven profit making was that after a period of drawdown, the entire portfolio – that’s racing, golf, and sports – is pushing close to setting a new high profit mark for the year.  Another semi-decent day today should get me there.  So, no pressure there then, you racing tipsters, you.

Imagine for a moment, if you will, a scene from a Martin Scorsese film.  We’re sitting together, mi amici and I, crowded around a green velvet top table.  A Bronx gambling den in the basement of Giuseppe’s Joint on 49th, cigar smoke swirling above our heads, a deck of cards laid out on the table. I’m there, Don Denman, a knowing smile playing across my lips.  But there’s no smile in my eyes, dark, cold, unforgiving.  I appraise the Usual Suspects sitting in front of me… Northern Wazza, ‘Trigger Finger’ Andy from the Value Gang, Double Barrell Paulo, and Irish ‘Nicky’ Nico.  They’re nervous.  They’re under no illusions as to what they need to do.  The smile suggests camaraderie and bonhomie, a we’re-all-in-this-together brotherhood, but the eyes give it away.  Everyone knows it.  The smile tells all.  A clear warning to anyone who dares let me down.  A smile that tells the gang that unless they come up with the goods, and unless it’s at 5/1 or longer, then tonight, someone’s gonna swim with the fishes.

I think the stress is getting to me…

1.20: Ballymore Novices’ Hurdle

NMP: Bob Olinger (second leg of a double).

PV: Gaillard Du Mesnil 2/1

A nice little pick up for NMP which landed the double with yesterday’s Supreme winner Appreciate It, when Bob Olinger – which never really looked like not winning right from the bottom of the hill – drew clear up the straight to win convincingly.  An Irish 1-2 on St Patrick’s Day; you can’t help but think just a little wistfully to how the reception would have been had we the normal Cheltenham full house.

1.55: Brown Advisory Novices’ Chase

NMP: Monkfish (AP) 7/4.

Bet landed despite the 1/4 shot doing his level best to blunder away the lead at the last!  (Didn’t actually see the race as had to run an errand, but that’s certainly how it sounded on the radio!).

2.30: Coral Cup

BA: Monte Cristo ew 11/1, Grand Roi ew 7/1.

NMP: Thomas Darby ew 12/1, Heaven Help Us win/ew 25/1.

PCB: Thomas Darby ew 16/1.

Racing Service 1: Guard Your Dreams 9/1

Heh!  Who’d have thunk?  All the ante post bets in NMP’s Cheltenham dossier, and there we have it, a 33/1 winner given a wee small stake as a bet just this morning.  To be honest, Heaven Help Us made an ultra-competitive handicap look anything but.  All the way round, it was off in front and I was sure it was just another of those horses that go like the clappers and then fade badly towards the end to finish nearer last than first.  But as they went down the hill, it just looked stronger and stronger, and it didn’t slow down at all coming up the hill.  Lovely stuff.

3.05: Champion Chase

BA: Chacun Pour Soi (AP) 4/1

NMP: Put The Kettle On win/ew 12/1

PCB: Chacun Pour Soi 5/6

Yesterday was supposed to be NMP’s big day, but bloomin’ eck.  He’s just gone and got the winners of all of the first four races.  Unbelieveable, Jeff!

On a serious point, this race epitomised what to me, is the essence of National Hunt racing.  Put The Kettle on had blazed the way and as she was overtaken two from home by odds on favourite Chacun Pour Soi, I wrote her off.  But clearly a very brave horse, Put The Kettle On fought back and got up again near the line.  Guts from the horse, determination from the jockey – full commitment from both and in its basest terms, it’s all very admirable, not to mention fantastic, exciting sport.

3.40: Cross Country Chase

NMP: Easyland (second part of a double).

PCB: Hogan’s Heights ew 25/1.

I say it every year, but I don’t like this race.  I find it dull, not a proper Cheltenham race.  Still, a winner is a winner whatever race it’s in.  Neither of my bets won, so we move on, and put this one behind us, forgetting all about it.  Not a particularly difficult thing to do.

4.15: Grand Annual Handicap Chase

BA: Chosen Mate (AP) ew 12/1, Bun Doran ew 28/1 (t6)

NMP: Embittered win/ew 9/2, Sky Pirate (AP) ew 10/1 and backed again today at 14/1.

PCB: Embittered 9/2.

PV: Embittered 5/1.

This is getting a bit silly now!  Embittered was clearly the big one with it being the tip for three services, and unfortunately it fell down the back straight.  And yet, we had the winner.  And yes, it came (again) from NMP with Sky Pirate.  It only just held on by a short head and a wee bit, but to be honest with you, as it jumped the last I couldn’t help but feel there was an inevitability to the fact that it was going to win, simply because of who tipped it.

I won’t be watching the last.  Does NMP have a bet in it?  Yes?  Bound to win then…

4.50: Champion Bumper

NMP: Sir Gerhard (AP) 4/1.

….It did!

Bet Alchemist: Staked 7pts, -7pts.

Northern Monkey: Staked 5.25pts, +25.217pts.

PCB Pricewise: Staked 6pts, -6pts.

Racing Service 1: Staked 0.5pts, -0.5pts.

I will need to go over all the NMP bets again to make sure I’ve got my calculations correct.  Could be I’ve missed something here or there.

And so on to Day 3.  Perhaps the time for the others to start chipping in.  Let’s see.

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