With just seven weeks to go in the Tipster Challenge 2016/17, sponsored by Betting Gods, we head to Cheltenham for day two at the Festival.
Harry Lang, Marketing Director at Pinnacle, has been given a second bite at the cherry this week after last week’s abandonment at Fontwell. He will be up against sixth placed Stephen Harris of bettingexpert and the experts from Timeform.
All our tipsters are backing short odds favourites Might Bite and Douvan, but Lang will need to find some longer odds winners at Cheltenham if he is to rival AppBet’s Sarah Shannon at the top of the leaderboard.
bettingexpert: Neon Wolf
Former winning pointer has impressed when winning all three starts so far over hurdles, clocking a good time when making all and jumping fluently to see off the useful Elgin last time out at Haydock. The step up to 2m5f seems sure to suit, and this strong traveller will not mind the better ground expected at Cheltenham.
Third in the Champion Bumper last year before turning the tables on the two who beat him at Aintree, and he’s unlucky not to be unbeaten over hurdles.
Pinnacle: Neon Wolf
Won at Haydock on last outing, jockey wearing an outfit more in keeping with the Elves in Lapland. Dead cert.
bettingexpert: Might Bite
Nicky Henderson’s progressive chaser was one of the unluckiest losers of the season when coming to grief at Kempton in December, poised to win a competitive Grade 1 novice by twenty lengths when falling at the last. He has a high cruising speed on decent ground, and the form of his defeat of Premier Bond previously has worked out well, so there is no reason at all that he will not go very close here if his confidence is unaffected.
Timeform: Might Bite
Was going to hack up from subsequent handicap winner Royal Vacation in the Kauto Star (Feltham) when he fell at the last and, having since restored his confidence at Doncaster, he should take plenty of beating.
Pinnacle: Might Bite
A Boxing Day fall at Kempton is the only blemish on a steep upward trajectory. Plus, it’s trained by Nicky Henderson – usually a pretty strong indicator of good things.
bettingexpert: River Frost
Looks well treated starting off in handicaps and could improve a chunk if settling better in the early stages, with a fast pace/better ground sure to see him in a better light.
Timeform: Peregrine Run
Has been one of the most progressive hurdlers of the season and November’s C&D novice win has been very well advertised since. With drying ground at Cheltenham in his favour, he can confirm his revised mark to be lenient.
Pinnacle doesn’t offer racing so out of all my picks, I’ve really gone to town on the research for this race and ‘Tombstone’ came out on top. Plus, it’s a great movie – Kurt Russell at his moustachioed best.
Confidently expected to make all, and land an incredible win number 14 for Willie Mullins.
The best National Hunt horse in training and, barring an unlikely mishap (he’s a magnificent jumper), will surely land a third Festival success at Cheltenham.
Betfair’s offering 6/1 in their promo offer which looks like a no brainer. A solid win chance – I’m hoping it hasn’t forgotten how to chase the hare.
Edna Bolger’s 7-y-o is less exposed than most of these and stamped himself a leading contender for this prize when winning well at Punchestown in February.
Cantlow was about as clinical as it gets over C&D in December, and his defeat since on Trials Day shouldn’t be held against him (hampered at a vital stage and giving 15lb to the winner) so he looks very solid.
Pinnacle: Sausalito Sunrise
I once spent a very happy weekend in the moneyed enclave of San Fran known as Sausalito – so this brings back fond memories. Galloping bravely into the fray with a good showing at Ascot last month, it should at least make it past the halfway mark.
bettingexpert: Project Bluebook
Progressive northern juvenile looks well handicapped and has the excellent Brian Hughes up to do the steering.
Quickly landed back-to-back handicaps in January. The demands of this race ought to suit Brian Ellison’s free-going sort and he gets the nod.
Pinnacle: Domperignon Du Lys
Won as the favourite at Market Rasen last month and now handicapped accordingly – it’s a great name for a horse – let’s see if it’s a true vintage. Plus, I checked with my astrologer and she said “your future will be a life of luxury.” You can’t argue with that kind of logic, so I’m piling in.
Comes from a red hot stable and did well to win last month having pulled hard in the early stages.
Timeform: Carter Mckay
Stamped his class on both bumper outings in Ireland, barely having to come off the bridle to see off West Coast Time, and is selected to provide Willie Mullins with a sensational ninth win in the race.
Pinnacle: Carter Mckay
Won on his last time out in a NH flat race at Naas but in a field this size it could be anyone’s race. My e/w would be ‘Someday’ if only for the Elmer the Elephant silks.
Where will Harry Lang enter on the Tipster Challenge leaderboard?
|1||Sarah Shannon - AppBet||3||13.69|
|2||Alan Alger - Betway||3||11.41|
|3||Jacob Johns - Easyodds||3||7.72|
|4||Phillip Anderson - Before The Off||3||6.17|
|5||Ciaran O'Brien - William Hill||3||5.29|
|7||Ben Cleminson - Square in the Air||1||4.50|
|8||John Hill - Coral||2||4.25|
|9||Alex Donohue - Ladbrokes||2||4.11|
|10||Michael Shinners - Sky Bet||2||4.00|
|11||Stuart Tilly - Argyll Entertainment||1||4.00|
|12||Darren Moore - Betting Gods||2||3.66|
|13||Trevor Keane - Sportego||2||3.50|
|15||Matthew Hulmes - Betfred||2||3.25|
|18||Charlie McCann - BetVictor||1||1.75|
|19||Stephen Power - @racingblogger||2||1.69|
|20||John Cruces - Dafabet||1||1.25|
|21||Michael Whittle - Team FA||1||0.91|
|22||Ed Nicholson - Unibet||1||0.73|