What a great start to the 2021 Cheltenham Festival. 4 winners from the first 4 races on a terrific Tuesday.
Vintage Clouds, an each way tip at odds of 28/1, Appreciate It at 5/4, Shishkin at 1/2 and Honeysuckle (NAP) at 2/1.
Along with two other each way tips that were placed in the frame, in two races I tipped the first two past the post. Tuesday was an excellent beginning to the festival for subscribers to my long established racing selections service.
VINTAGE CLOUDS (pictured above with one happy stable lass, Emma Barber) was my each way selection in the Ultima Handicap Chase. An alternative to the 7/2 win only pick, Happygolucky. They finished first and second. Vintage Clouds won the race, at the fifth attempt, at SP odds of 28/1. One of my lovely and loyal members contacted me to express their delight at how their £2.50 each way bet had returned profit of £84.
Here is part of my preview for that race, sent to members of VG Tips the day before racing:- “I’ve long had a sot spot for Vintage Clouds, trained by my one time near neighbour, Sue Smith. He’s 11 years of age now so his very best days are likely behind him. Three of his five career victories have come at Haydock Park. He’s yet to win at Cheltenham but was a close second in this race in 2019 and from a slightly higher handicap mark than is the case this year. The race was run on soft ground that year and Vintage Clouds does appear to prefer some cut in the ground. The “deluge” of rain that fell unexpectedly last night is good news for Sue Smith and her Vintage Clouds. The horse is tumbling down the weights and the handicap mark is back down to his last winning mark when beating Defintly Red by seven lengths at Haydock.”
I was delighted for jockey Ryan Mania, who has known tough times, and for my old neighbour, Sue Smith, her husband Harvey and the team at High Eldwick.
The day had begun with my 5/4 tip APPRECIATE IT easily winning the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle. Next up, another well backed and very easy winner. SHISHKIN won the Arkle with plenty to spare.
The highlight of the day had to be HONEYSUCKLE winning the Champion Hurdle with Rachael Blackmore in the saddle. For me to watch Rachael grow up from a girl who rode ponies to the first female to ride the winner of the Champion Hurdle is delightful. I recall the days when some trainers wouldn’t hire her because she was female. But the gentleman who is Henry de Bromhead gave her early breaks in her career and has stuck by her through thick and thin. Two very nice people who have combined well, understand and trust each other and deliver winners in Ireland and the UK. For them to win the big race on Tuesday made me smile. Lots.
Each way option Sharjah finished second at SP odds of 11/1, so delivering each way punting members some profit. Another race in which I wish I had bet on the forecast. My Paul Nicholls trained each way double, combining Houx Gris with Next Destination was another profitable punt as they each finished in the places, fourth and second respectively.
Thanks to subscribers for their messages already after terrific Tuesday. They already have my analysis and selections for day two, Wednesday.