Cheltenham Preview Nights - A Bluffer’s Guide To Guiding Bluffers
Few parts of the festival build-up are more enjoyable, just don’t imagine you will be given a winner
“You’ve got Ruby Walsh up against Tom Scu. That’s a choice between Cheryl Cole and Old King Cole.” Mark Winstanley on the Albert Barlett duel between Briar Hill (Walsh) and Kings Palace (Scudamore)
“These horses had a choice in life. They could run in this race or they could become Tesco burgers.” Davy Russell on the Triumph Hurdle
“If Tony Martin had Last Instalment, he wouldn’t have been going for the Gold Cup - he’d have been running off 10st in the Grand Annual.” Patrick Mullins ribs the Meath trainer about his liking for a handicap coup
“Yeah, but he’d have f**king won!” Martin doesn’t miss a beat in reply
“They dressed him up in more headgear than Hannibal Lecter.” The Couch dismisses The Giant Bolster’s Gold Cup chances.
“I spent an hour looking at this race and I came up with Broughton but I can’t for the life of me remember why.” Andrew McNamara’s red-hot tip for the Triumph
“If Sire De Grugy was a young lad, you’d have the shit bet out of him, he’s that lazy.” Russell on the Champion Chase favourite
“Iriving’s been winning around flat tracks in Germany. Mind you, they’re all flat tracks over there, ain’t they? Bomber Harris took care of that.” The Couch on the favourite for the Supreme
You’ll Not Make Your Fortune
Remember this above all else. These people do not know the results ahead of time. They have theories and ideas and strong opinions but Cheltenham is a book with not a single drop of ink committed to it yet. These nights are enjoyable and you will usually pan a nugget or two.
But nothing’s gospel and no good word should be treated as such.
For what it’s worth, here are the results of the juries at the two CPNs The Irish Times went to last week . . .
Bobs Worth will win the Gold Cup. Faugheen will win the Neptune. Nobody knows who will win the Champion Hurdle. Nobody fancies Big Buck’s for the World Hurdle.
Carlingford Lough is a great bet for the RSA (“If JP [McManus] gets a hold of that 12/1, he’ll make pure shit of it,” says Russell).
In the handicaps, Tony Martin says to back Living Next Door in whatever race he decides to put him in.
Mossey Joe will win the Foxhunters. So will On The Fringe. Le Rocher will win the Triumph.
So Will Royal Irish Hussar. Sea Beat is a smashing bet if he gets into the Fred Winter. Mr Mole will save us all in the Grand Annual on Friday evening.
Pay your money, take your chances. Just don’t say you didn’t see the government health warning.