Cheltenham Approaches …

March 4th, 2018 | Marten's Current Racing Diary

I am delighted to report that the Bulletin Book goes to print on Monday, packed with over 30,000 words of analysis covering every race.

It would not be fair to subscribers to give too much away, but the main query as the big week approaches relates to the state of the ground.

Clerk of the course Simon Claisse has not entirely dismissed the possibility of the word ‘heavy’ appearing in the description for the start of the meeting, with 12-15mm of rain forecast for the end of the week and next weekend. This, on top of ground covered by 200 tons of snow, could make conditions quite testing for the start of the meeting although we must not overlook the fact that fresh ground is used for much of the week.

The other factor relates to the wellbeing of the various yards following the cold snap. There have been numerous reports of sterling efforts being made by stable staff to clear the gallops and access areas of snow but, even in this age of all-weather gallops, there will be a few traienrs bemoaning the cold snap after the races are run.

From a personal perspective I have focused my attention more on the handicaps than the high-profile races, mainly because that is where I expect the value to be. We approach the week with seven relatively short-priced favourites – Samcro, Buveur D’Air, Altior, Laurina, Getabird, Apple’s Jade and Footpad – which together, based on today’s odds, come to about 60/1. You are either for them, against them or for and against a few of them!

Any bookmaker offering 60/1 as a novelty bet about all seven horses winning would certainly be accommodated although few of us can forget the last-flight tumble of Annie Power which saved bookmakers a multi-million pound payout three years ago.

I will be updating this page on a more regular basis with snippets of news as we approach the meeting. For those interested my Bulletin Book is published this Thursday, available to online subscribers to view on Tuesday evening.

Bye for now