So here we are, then. The final day of the 2021 Cheltenham Festival. In truth, I’ve found it a strange one, inevitable under the circumstances I guess. It’s been great to have top class horse racing to enjoy, and to date it has also been great to make a few bob. But if we’re honest, the lack of crowds have leant a surreal air to it all. Sport of any kind needs atmosphere to be at its enthralling best, and it is a crowd that creates that atmosphere.
Whatever happens today, I want to say acknowledge the tipsters who have worked so hard. The thing is, tipsters and us bettors dance every day with the mistress that is Variance. Variance is, we all know, a cruel mistress. She can be kind, joyful even. But she can also be vindictive. If she were a television character, she’d be Villanelle from Killing Eve; charming, witty and engaging one day, but you know she’d nick your carotid with a stanley knife in a flash if the mood took her, and show not even a flicker of remorse as she watches your very life essence drain away.
So no matter how talented, when it comes to Cheltenham, our tipsters are playing a dangerous game. It is simply too short a period of time to ensure that they can avoid the gleam and swish of the knife. What can’t be ignored however, is the sheer hard work the tipsters put in, which makes me so want them to do well. They deserve to do well. It’s not all about putting a few quid in our pockets. It’s about getting a just reward for your efforts.
So, tipsters (if any of you read this)…I salute you.
1.20: Triumph Hurdle
BA: Quilixios (AP) ew 8/1
NMP: Zanahiyr (in a series of doubles)
PV: Quilixios 5/2
That’s a very pleasant start to the day and a triumph (see what I did there?) for Bet Alchemist who had 8/1 early on Quilixios who won convincingly, going off at 2s. This was Rachael Blackmore’s sixth winner of the week which is quite something. I think I’ve just heard that only AP McCoy has won more, with seven.
1.55: County Handicap Hurdle
BA: Buildmeupbuttercup ew 20/1, Cayd Boy ew 20/1
NMP: Thirdtimelucki (AP) win/ew 10/1 (and in a double), You Raised Me up (AP) win/ew 16/1
PCB: Ganapathi ew 6/1
RS1: Le Patriote ew 50/1 (non-runner), Petit Mouchoir ew 33/1
A storming run from RS1’s Petit Mouchoir who battled back up the hill to run into 2nd. Other than that, this was a ridiculously competitive race that we move on from quickly and without looking back.
2.30: Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle
BA: N’golo ew 25/1
NMP: Fakiera 9/2 (first leg of a double), and (AP) win/ew 11/1
PV: Fakiera 9/2
RS1: Streets of Doyen SP
Well after proceedings got off to a good start, they’ve taken a more disappointing course since. I’m not writing too much after each race as there’s not much to write about. No hard luck stories, no being pipped in an exciting finish. Just horses not really getting into contention.
So, the Gold Cup next. The big one. What price we get the 1-2-3…?
3.05: The Gold Cup
BA: Minella Indo ew 15/2
NMP: A Plus Tard (AP) win/ew 10/1 (and in a double), Champ 5/1
PCB: A Plus Tard ew 7/2, Minella Indo ew 9/1
PV: Al Boum Photo 5/2, A Plus Tard 4/1
RS1: Minella Indo 8/1
Well, would you believe it? 1. Minella Indo, 2. A Plus Tard, 3. Al Boum Photo. Yup, that’s the 1-2-3!
Minella Indo was a big result for today’s betting and hats off to Bet Alchemist, PCB and RS1 for picking him out. It means every tipster has had a good winner this week, and we can’t ask for much more than that. As for the race, it seemed that there were so many horses making clunking jumping errors or going through flat spots. I may be wrong, but I don’t get the feeling this will prove to be a classic Gold Cup. But who cares about that when you’ve backed a great winner!?!
3.40: The Hunters’ Chase
BA: It Came To Pass ew 8/1, Latenightpass ew 20/1
NMP: Bob And Co (AP) ew 11/2
PCB: Bob And Co 9/2
PV: Billaway 5/2
Just pipped at the post by the shortest of short heads as Billaway finished second. My big hope was Bob And Co, and although when falling three out it was impossible to say whether it would have been in the final reckoning, it would’ve been nice to find out. Oh, well. Not to be.
Latenightpass picked up useful place money for BA.
4.15: Mares’ Chase
NMP: Colreevy 100/30, Elimay (AP) (in doubles)
I’ve not been able to see the last two races, but a quick check in the results show NMP got the 1-2 here. Given the choice, second placed Elimay would have won, but it seems churlish to complain after a winner!
4.50: Conditional Jockeys Handicap Hurdle
BA: Mill Green ew 33/1
NMP: Fire Attack win/ew 10/1 (plus second leg of a double), Leoncavallo ew 25/1, Galopin Des Champs (AP) win/ew 25/1
Well, I asked in the title to this post whether we were going to have a grand finale today or an anticlimax, and with Galopin Des Champs winning, it is definitely the former! And it feels appropriate for NMP to finish what has been an amazing Festival for him with a 25/1 winner in the last race. He’s has an incredible week – fully merited and it’s great to see him reap the rewards for his endeavour.
So, here we have today’s figures, and in brackets, each tipster’s performance for the week. It’s been great. Can’t wait for next year now, with crowds and all. For those of you who have read this far, thank you. See you next week.
Bet Alchemist: Staked 9pts, +5.7pts (Staked 31pts, -1.951pts, roi -6.29%).
Northern Monkey: Staked 9pts, +1.322pts (Staked 31.875pts, +43.396pts, roi 136.14%)
Precision Value: Staked 5pts, -1.5pts (Staked 9pts, -1.5pts, roi -16.66%)
PCB Pricewise: Staked 6pts, +2.1pts (Staked 20pts, -1.6pts, roi -8%)
Racing Service 1: Staked 1.5pts, +5.812pts (Staked 5.5pts, +1.812pts, roi 32.94%)
TOTAL ROI: 43.42%