In today’s NTF Blog post Cathyrn Fry casts her expert Irish eye back over the weekend’s action from Leopardstown with her mind firmly on the March spectacle that is the Cheltenham Festival –
Trying to figure out your bets for the Neptune and the Albert Bartlett is always a headache as you are never sure until a week beforehand who heads where. However there is a horse that could prove pivotal to finding the winner of the Neptune, at least amongst the Irish Challengers. Step forward Lyreen Legend. Beaten by Boston Bob by 2 ¼ lengths over 2m4f at Leopardstown on Sunday he was previously beaten 4 ½ lengths by Monksland over 2m4f at Naas. Both Boston Bob and Monksland will improve further for the better ground they will more than likely face at Cheltenham. With these facts in mind I will be backing Monksland for the Neptune who is best priced at 16/1 rather than Boston Bob who is best priced at 6/1
Peter Casey had us all roaring with laughter with his fabulous interview on RTE’ after Flemenstar had galloped his rivals into submission in the Irish Arkle. We won’t see him at Cheltenham this year but I would have him firmly on my mind for Cheltenham 2013. He looks to be a horse with a big future.
My Grand Annual selection AskTheMaster had another nice preparation for the race in the Boylesports.com Handicap Hurdle, finishing an 8 ¼ lengths seventh behind the winner Citizenship. AskTheMaster finished second in the Grand Annual last year at 50/1. He is a twelve year old but his trainer Robert Tyner takes him to Cheltenham after a deliberate hurdling campaign which has seen a win in a Leopardstown handicap at Christmas. He is currently available at 20/1 for the race that closes the Festival.
I am one of Hurricane Fly’s biggest fans but I wasn’t prepared for the ease of his victory in the Irish Champion Hurdle after a lengthy absence. There will be even more improvement in him in the six weeks between now and the Champion Hurdle. Cheltenham in March is a formality for him and I have long been convinced we are looking at a triple Champion Hurdler. There is no doubt that Hurricane Fly is the best we have seen since the great Istabraq. Oscars Well deserves a mention as watching his performance in second place on Sunday; I think he could run into the places behind Hurricane Fly on March 13th before going on to win the 2m4f Hurdle at Aintree in April.
Cheltenham Festival Video Previews…
Cheltenham Festival preview nights. There’s plenty of them the length and breadth of the country (OK I don’t think they’ve reached my home town of Elgin yet but you know what I mean…..) but lets face it we are all busy people and its not that easy persuading your better half to let you off the leash for the night to go and listen to a bunch of racing folk talk about their Cheltenham fancies for a few hours!! Well fear not for I have a solution that will let you watch a Cheltenham Festival preview for FREE, anytime you want AND from the comfort of your own home. Later this month I will be appearing as a special guest (it says special guest on the posters so I’m sticking with that title!) on the inaugural JP Festival TV – Cheltenham Festival Preview Video’s. JP, Cathryn Fry and myself will be filming 8 videos at the track at the end of the month and you can view these videos for free on YouTube.
To keep updated with all the goings on and to be informed when the videos are available to view simply subscribe to the JP.Festival.com YouTube channel – www.youtube.com/user/jpfestivalcom.
It’s free to subscribe and as long as you have a You Tube account (also free) it’s simply a click of a button to join.
Mrs NTF has suggested I shave for the occassion (that won’t be happening!), others have suggested I take a crash course in speaking the Queen’s English (this also will not be happening!). I’m afraid you will be getting a hairy Scotsman giving you his views on the 2012 Cheltenham Festival!! But hey it’s free, you can’t have everything…..