Cheltenham Festival: Neptune Investment Hurdle – Henderson at the 23rd attempt with SIMONSIG

March 12, 2012
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Nicky Henderson has been unsuccessful in 22 attempts at landing this crown at the Festival, with Fingal Bay now missing and Barry Geraghty sure Simonsig wants the trip, it could be on. Alan King is in fine form though and Batonnier is his big hope.

I am already committed on BATONNIER at a decent price for this race but so too have I backed SIMONSIG for the Supreme Novice Hurdle on Tuesday. Hendersons promising novice owes me nothing after a couple of wins from three outings this terms. The fact he was unable to beat Fingal Bay when they met at Sandown in December, I believe played a huge part in the decision to leave him in the Supreme Novices race and when Fingal Bay came out of this, there was only one way the Seven Barrows inmate was going. Lambourn is alight with anticipation of his entry here and he is very much expected to be the one to beat, and so the market agrees. He now occupys the favourites position at a best priced 5/2. If you are going to back him though, I would wait until Wednesday, I think we should be able to get 3′s or bigger on the day.

So what of the chance of Batonnier, now that Simonsig is confirmed in the race? Well, as I have mntioned I am committed already and my committment is a win only bet at 10/1. He is only a couple of points shorter than that now and I shant be topping up or even covering the place. I am happy with the bet and letting it ride. Alan is bringing arguably one of his strongest strings to the Festival in 2012 and this is one of his better chances.  These are my previous words on his chance, and nothing has changed

With most of the talk about the possible inclusion of SIMONSIG to take on BOSTON BOB in the Neptune Investment Hurdle at Cheltenham 2012, there is one runner in the field whose form has been franked in the most remarkable fashion 

BATONNIER has done his fair share to suggest he has a chance in the Neptune Investment Hurdle at Cheltenham on Wednesday, but in his absence something more remarkable has happened which may have gone under the radar. Alan Kings 6yo has had a couple of outings over the Prestubury Park track and has shown an ability to get up the hill, winning on his last visit at the end of Jauary. A good win it was as well, given that Broadbackbob and Knight Pass well beaten on the day. One other runner in the race who would not have made any notice to many was Charlie Manns 150/1 shot Low Gales. Beaten 60 lengths plus on the day and well back in ninth under Noel Fehily, he would have made few notebooks. To be honest he didnt make mine either, but just looking through the relative form for this race, and this shows just how deeply I do dig!, I find that Low Gales has since come out with Sam Thomas aboard at Ludlow, and not only beaten Phillip Hobbs favourite in the race Danandy, but also had Henderson’s Beringer well back in the field too, and landed 33/1 odds. It is an excellent piece of form franking, and his price hasnt really changed as a result, 12/1 still generally available. 

The Irish have played a part in the story of this race with five of the last nine winners taking the trophy back across the sea. Willie Mullins has BOSTON BOB lining up following a hat-trick of wins this season including the beating of Gordon Elliots Mountbelbulben in a grade 1 at Navan and most recenty landing a grade 2 novice event ahead of some decent rivals at Leopardstown. He is just another in a long list of great chances Willie Mullins has prepared this season, and another that could go toward the Thomas Pink Trophy for the trainer with the most number of winners over the four days.

Noel Meade will want to do his bit for the Irish too, and if he can prevent Willie Mullins or anyone else getting their hands on this trophy, his chance must come with MONKSLAND who has a form line with Boston Bob through Lyreen Legend whom they have both beaten in separate races. Although Monksland would hold bragging rights over the distance of victory, Boston Bob backers could fight back over the quality of the race. Many would have already had a good slice of the 10/1 that was available Ante Post, halved in price to 5′s now, he is still an option.

COTTON MILL is one who is coming along nicely. Unbeaten in three hurdles to date his last win over Ambion Wood was one to catch the eye. not so much the fact that Ambion Wood had been held off when favoured in the market but the manner in which he did so with the remainder of the field well held. Of course that rival has more than franked the form subsequently. The fact that the third horse on the day Same Difference has been well held again doesn’t add anything to the form but coming up against Rocky Creek and Gullinbursti, nothing more was expected. He has certainly come into the reckoning for this race at a late stage. Still as big 16′s for win and place players.

SOUS LE CIEUX and MAKE YOUR MARK are other in with chances. Alike Simonsig, the former had an option for the Supreme, but this trip is considered more suitable and Make your Mark could have been backed at 20/1 at the beginning of the month. 7′s and 8′s are the best you’ll find for this pair now, but double figures could appear on the boards on the day.

For me, I shall be taking a Bet on SIMONSIG for the race now, but will wait for Wednesday to make the bet and my 1 point win stands on BATONNIER. I’m afraid this is now turning into a major investment race as i can’t leave COTTON MILL out of the reckoning

SIMONSIG 1pt win (looking for 3/1 or bigger on the day)

BATONNIER 1pt win 10/1 (ante post)

COTTON MILL 1pt EW 16/1

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