Today’s best bets, by Chris Cook
ITV has been able to offer some more detail about the audience they achieved for their first Cheltenham Festival last week. Friday’s average of 1.15m for the Gold Cup programme is now said to be the biggest recorded for any day at the Festival since 2002, which is as far as the records held by ITV go back, according to a source at the station.
There was also an answer to my query about what ITV would normally expect for the slot occupied by the racing last week; after all, it’s not really enough to compare the audience with Channel 4 Racing, since ITV programmes generally fare better than those on C4. Anyway, the word from ITV is that the Festival achieved an average over the four-day Festival of 0.9m, a 13% audience share, which is said to be exactly in line with the ratings clocked by programmes in that time slot in the equivalent week last year.
Many thanks to all of you who played in our day-by-day tipping competitions last week. Randoob won Friday’s competition on a final score of +23, despite picking losers in the first five races. It was Pacha Du Polder and Champagne Classic who carried him to a last-gasp victory, pipping Bacciodilupo and gashead1105, who both had +22 after pairing Arctic Fire with Sizing John. Congratulations also to our other three winners last week, Bacciodilupo (good week for that guy), aportforsport and TIMEFORM. We’ll be in touch with you all by email this week.
Some of you may have suffered an early setback last week when The Storyteller had a setback that took him out of the Martin Pipe, for which he’d been well fancied. I do apologise for reopening those wounds but the horse has a brother, Alfie’s Choice (2.30), who strikes me as perhaps the most interesting horse running today.
From the Kim Bailey yard where they feel they brushed up against the possibility of a shock Arkle success with Charbel, this one has shown some ability in a bumper and three maiden hurdles. Here, he steps up to three miles for his handicap debut and gets the best racing surface he has so far encountered. There’s been some support for him and 4-1 is still fair.
Also at 4-1, which surprises me, is Kapgarde King (4.50), who has been beaten by just one rival in three runs since switching to fences. His defeat, which was admittedly by 49 lengths, came when he jumped right at left-handed Plumpton. Right-handed Wincanton and Huntingdon have suited him better and it will be no surprise if the same applies to Exeter. This six-year-old can improve again.
The ground is also decent at Wetherby, where I’ll try the 15-2 about Powerful Symbol (4.00), with a tongue tie on for the first time after a weak finishing effort at Leicester. On his previous start, making his debut over fences and in handicaps, he was in front and looking like the winner when he unseated three-out at Catterick. This points winner has definitely got a handicap chase in him off his present mark.
Tuesday’s tips, by Chris Cook
Taurian 2.30 Alfie’s Choice 3.05 Galactic Power 3.40 Clan Des Obeaux 4.15 Kap Jazz 4.50 Kapgarde King (nb) 5.25 Canford Chimes
Brigadoon 2.40 Busy Street 3.15 Whosyourhousemate (nap) 3.50 Fiery Spice 4.25 Ascription 5.00 Dark Profit 5.35 Topmeup
Mr Snoozy 2.50 Delusionofgrandeur 3.25 Fiosrach 4.00 Powerful Symbol 4.35 Without Frontier 5.10 Jester Jet 5.40 Town Head