The Cheltenham Festival Non Runner No Bet (NRNB) concession is massive and worth waiting for every year. Betfred have finally started the ball rolling with their offer of NRNB on the Cheltenham Gold Cup, a race which they sponsor.
The NRNB is a major concession by the bookies. It will not take long before the other major bookies follow suit. I emailed Stan James regarding a NRNB offer for their Sponsored Cheltenham Champion Hurdle? They replied asking me to contact them late next week. So I presume they mean to have the Stanjames NRNB offer available late next Week. Betvictor’s Non Runner Free Bet (NRFB) is available on all Cheltenham races so they are still the leader regarding Cheltenham bookie concessions. The Non Runner No Bet offers give a nice edge to the Antepost Punter and should be availed of like free Champagne at a wedding, in abundant volume!
Oddschecker.com is brilliant for displaying any concession offered by bookmakers and is a website I recommend highly. Oddschecker makes it so easy to find the betting value on offer on a race by comparing bookies prices and listing the prices in an easy to read grid format. You will notice that Flemenstar’s price has shortened as a result of becoming Tom Segal’s Pricewise Antepost Cheltenham Gold Cup pick. There will not be a better jumper or faster horse in the Gold Cup but I would prefer to see how he runs in February’s Irish Hennessy Gold Cup before committing to back him. He has major temperament and stamina issues to answer following his performance beforehand and during the Lexus Chase last Month.
Last weekend saw some very good Cheltenham Trials ran for the Novice & Juvenile hurdlers. You cannot go any higher than Grade 1’s and we witnessed two of them last weekend. Melodic Rendezvous won the Tolworth Hurdle but the more interesting race to me from a future betting perspective was the dramatic Juvenile hurdle ran at Chepstow. The winner was named Ruacana, however the moral victory goes to the very unlucky Swnymor. Have a read below for my thoughts on some runners from last weekend that impressed me and are worth following for the season ahead.
Eye Catchers Report for the weekend 5th / 6th January 2013
Swnymor – Trainer Tim Vaughan – Jockey Richard Johnson
Chepstow – Juvenile Hurdle (Grade 1)
Synymor ran an excellent race and looked all over the winner until taking a crashing fall at the final hurdle and unseating Richard Johnson. Johnson tapped his mount three or fours times on the neck to get him concentrating between the final two hurdles as he was running so green. He was running around as the pace quickened and had loads left in the tank when taking a tumble. His best form is on soft or heavy ground but trainer Tim Vaughan thinks he may not need soft ground. He will be better suited by a faster run race and bigger field where he can be delivered late by his jockey. The Triumph Hurdle will be run to suit and best price 20/1 looks fair so long as he can get his jumping sorted with another race beforehand. Last year the triumph hurdle winner Countrywide Flame came second in this race similar to walkon before going on to win the Triumph hurdle.
Melodic Rendezvous – Trainer Jeremy Scott – Jockey Nick Scholfield
Sandown – Tolworth Hurdle (Grade 1)
Melodic Rendezvous is a horse I am beginning to really warm to. He won the Tolworth Hurdle at Sandown quite easily on Saturday after a sloppy jump two out. He travels really well in his races and is able to quicken up well at the end of his races. Stamina seems to be there in abundance considering he finished second to Champagne Fever in the Champion Bumber at Punchestown on heavy ground last spring. The Supreme Hurdle rather than the longer Neptune Hurdle is his target at the Festival according to connections for which he is best priced at 14/1. The Progeny of Melodic Rendezvous’ Sire “Where or When” seems to perform best on ground conditions with good in the description. That being so Jeremy Scott is right to say “It would be nice to get on some decent ground before Cheltenham to help us make our minds up” regarding committing to running in the Supreme Novices Hurdle.
Williams Wishes – Trainer Evan Williams – Jockey Jack Doyle
Sandown – Handicap Chase (Class 2)
Williams Wishes stumbled and landed on his nose after the second last and lost a few lengths but then picked up really well. He was switched to the inside for his run and jumped last alongside leaders. From here he quickened clear to win by two lengths from Nozic giving the runner up over 2 stone! It was a very taking performance all the more so considering his trainer Evan Williams “cannot figure him out”! Evan mentioned in the post race interview that he is not a great worker at home and saves his best for the racecourse. He has won all of his five chases and is a very progressive. His next target is the Dan Moore Handicap
Chase at Fairyhouse which he must have a high chance of winning. Evan has even mentioned him as a possible Cheltenham Arkle Horse but alas Simonsig or Overturn will provide some very stiff opposition in that race!
Teaforthree – Trainer Rebecca Curtis – Jockey Tony McCoy
Chepstow Welsh National Handicap Chase (Grade 3)
Teaforthree ran his heart out but was well beaten at the end by Monbeg Dude. Teaforthree jumped and travelled well up to the final bend 3 furlongs out from home. He came off the bridle at this stage and it looked as if his stamina levels had run out. However, to his credit he kept galloping all the way to the line but finished a very tired horse. The Aintree Grand National is his next main target where slightly better ground and the larger fences should play to his
Strengths. Rebecca Curtis mentioned post race that jumping is his major strength. She ruined the fact that two fences were omitted in the Welsh National. I can see Teaforthree running a good race at Aintree but not winning due to a lack of acceleration at the end. Teaforthree is a major favourite of mine since running some great races last season especially at Cheltenham so I wish him and his talented trainer Rebecca Curtis every success in the future without the weight of my money upon his back!
Monbeg Dude – Trainer Michael Scudamore – Jockey Paul Carberry
Chepstow Welsh National Handicap Chase (Grade 3)
Monbeg Dude has improved and is improving greatly since upped in trip and is an out and out stayer. He was produced magnificently by Paul Carberry to mow down the leader Teaforthree. But for a final fence mistake and idling on the run in, he could have won by a lot more than the official half a length. Monbeg Dude will not even run in the Aintree Grand National as his jumping is quite poor. He made some big errors jumping and a serious error four out but kept coming back on the bridle. Another error at the last gave Teaforthree supporters myself included some false hope of winning but “the Dude” picked up again to win cosily. He has a huge engine and if his jumping can be sorted out he will win the next Welsh National in December this year. He loves soft ground and has endless stamina. Bradley’s close second to him at Cheltenham in November is looking all the better for Monbeg Dudes win here.
That’s it for this week folks.
All the Best,
P.S. Time to start looking at the difficult puzzle that is this weekends Lanzorote Handicap Hurdle!