Paul Jacobs gives the low-down on his month and future fancies
MY PUNTING MONTH
It was without doubt one of the most memorable Cheltenham Festivals I have NOT attended having been asked to show my ugly mug on Setanta TV to present their output.
Actually it felt as if I was still at the hub of the action being based in Dublin within a stone’s throw of the River Liffey and even more important 17 Guinnessladen Irish bars within three quarters of a mile of my hotel; life simply doesn’t get better!
I was joined in studio by the hugely astute Rory Delargy and former jockey KenWhelan who was a constant source of entertainment and knowledge. Some of his stories would have to be censored even in an adult mag, but suffice to say his riding career was colourful to say the least.
My reign at the top of the NAPS table remains intact as we go into the squeaky bum time of April courtesy of 10/1 winner Salmanazar and a few 9/2 shots here and there.
Cheltenham itself was a big success punting wise as I pushed the lay button more often than I care to remember on Silviniaco Conti.
Over the past two years I have got myself into so many scrapes with wellknown pundits having suggested that two years ago when he fell at the top of the hill in the Gold Cup that it was the demise of a tired horse.
I was lambasted by several trainers as well about this view,but I think the last two renewals have gone some way to per- haps giving more credence to that theory.
Remember RubyWalsh can more often than not make a horse look good in the run, better than you or I think so my flat track prognosis was put forward well before most scribes suggested it the week before Cheltenham 2015! Cue a self-indulgent pat on the back!
P.S. – he will not be the last winner of a King George not to last home in a Gold Cup,Wayward Lad was the best and most notable of them and in my view he was a much superior horse to Conti.
PJ’S APRIL WATCHLIST
Going forward from this year’s Festival notebook picks includedVALUE AT RISK after he travelled like much the best horse in the Albert Bartlett until stopping too quickly for my liking coming around the home turn.
Whether it was his interrupted prep (pulled a few muscles on Trials’ Day) or he was simply too immature to carry his big frame through the closing stages, he remains a horse of huge potential especially over fences next season.
And so onto April and I have ensconced in my ante-post book at the moment three against the field for Aintree in the form of last year’s fourth ALVARADO – 33/1, (good warm-up run at Doncaster), SAINT ARE (33/1) and AL CO (40/1), third to Pertemps Hurdle winner Call The Cops last time out and seemingly a forgotten player.
If the ground came up genuinely good then all three would have huge chances and I wouldn’t expect them to start at their current prices.
I have also had a saver on SHUTTHEFRONTDOOR and you can still snaffle some double figure odds on the exchanges about a horse Jonjo thinks is Gold Cup class.If that is correct,a mark of 153 is hugely playable.
In the shorter term Charlie Longsdon is the trainer to follow as the quicker ground comes to the fore with his stable beginning to pick up the beat.
Stay onside in the short term with allweather play MONALEEN, needs a mile and a quarter at least to fulfil her potential, while BIG BAZ looked unlucky not to catch Lunar Deity at Lingfield recently and will win a nice handicap on sand or turf this season when getting an end to end gallop over 1m/10 furlongs.
As for the Gold Cup 2016 debate I much prefer DON POLI to VAUTOUR, cue my Silviniaco theory although the JLT winner looks a shoo-in for the King George and 4/1 looks a legendary price!
I have had a saver on SHUTTHEFRONTDOOR and you can still snaffle double figure odds on a horse Jonjo thinks is Gold Cup class