Shopping for value?
Crack Mome 12-1, Supreme Novices’ Hurdle: If Melon lives up his home reputation, he may well provide Willie Mullins with another success in the Festival opener, but the race looks more open than in recent years, and the stable has claims with three other runners:
Bunk Off Early, Cilaos Emery and Crack Mome.
The lastnamed also had a considerable reputation prior to making his debut, in Clonmel, and duly obliged, but was a little disappointing when beaten next time. However, that effort can be forgiven as the but the testing ground was against him, and much better can be expected on predicted good-tosoft going tomorrow. As big as 16-1, he looks a decent bet in an open race.
Cause Of Causes 4-1, Cross Country Chase: Douvan, like Altior, will be the first name on most dockets on day two, but punters searching for a cornerstone to their each-way multiples should look no further than Cause Of Causes, in the Cross Country Chase. A winner at each of the last two Cheltenham Festivals, he caught the eye on his previous run on the crosscountry course here, and has since been back to fine-tune his technique and grow his affiliation with the obstacles. At around the 11-2 mark, a big run looking assured, and can upset long- odds favourite Cantlow, who sports the same colours.
Snow Falcon 16-1, Stayers’ Hurdle: Favourite Unowhatimeanharry is seeking a ninth straight victory and, along the way, has proven himself the best of the British staying hurdlers.
While this hasn’t been the best of races for Irish raiders, the standard he sets is far from insurmountable, and Snow Falcon and Shaneshill can give him plenty to think about. Shaneshill beat Snow Falcon when they met at Gowran, and has a fine, if frustrating, record at this meeting, having finished runner-up in all three runs here. However, Snow Falcon has potential to improve as a stayer, and was still going well when falling three out in a race won by Unowhatimeanharry in November, at Newbury. A stiff finish seems to suit Noel Meade’s gelding and, having finished fifth in the Neptune Novices’ Hurdle on his only previous run here, the track holds no fears. At 16-1, he represents real each-way value.
Monalee 9-1, Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle:
It seems likely Monalee will take on old adversary Death Duty in the Friday’s Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle and, while he has something to find on their previous meeting, when he was beaten almost four lengths while in receipt of 3lbs, he is a gelding with real scope for improvement, and his most recent outing, at Clonmel, was very pleasing on the eye.
Perhaps Death Duty will always prove superior, but this is another fine prospect and double-figure odds offer eachway value for the Henry De Bromhead- trained runner.
Johnny Burke on Very Much So, left, holds off Nina Carberry on Snow Falcon to win The Goffs Land Rover Bumper at Punchestown. Snow Falcon is a tasty 16/1 for Thursday’s Stayers’ Hurdle. Picture: INPHO/Morgan Treacy
2015 Cross-Country Chase winner Cause of Causes can repeat the feat on Wednesday.
Crack Mome: Better ground should suit him