David Williams talks Cheltenham hotpots and his sweetness for Sam
It’s Festival Trials Day this Saturday and there’s a bumper card from Cheltenham in store. Firstly, let’s explode a myth.
Because we have, say, 40 per cent more races to look forward to, it does not mean that punters will start the day with 40 per cent more disposable cash for the grand day ahead.
Back in 2008, when we had a similar couple of days at the Festival, there was an uplift but it wasn’t proportionate to the extra races.
Throw in the fact that we have a couple of odds-on pokes in the shape of Thistlecrack and Un De Sceaux, along with the painful reality that we’ve still not reached the end of the working month so some of us (myself included) haven’t been paid since before Christmas, and we realise that it’s not quite a linear deal.
The fact that ITV are now showing nine races is a bonus. Funnily enough, I was supposed to be hosting Ed Chamberlin nine years ago on that ill-fated day of high winds that led to the Wednesday of the Festival being wiped out.
Instead, we spent the day watching Deal Or No Deal in the lobby area of the Holiday Inn in Gloucester and drank cheap wine.
Who was to know back then that one of us would be fronting terrestrial racing coverage almost a decade later, while the other one would be, well, erm, handing out slips of paper to Matt Chapman?
Plenty of hot favourites but will we see any bubbles burst?
Onto the racing then. Un De Sceaux was 4/5 for the Clarence House last week and is now nearer 1/2 for the rearranged fixture.
The absence of Ar Mad is a blow and makes the favourite’s task even easier and if the anticipated rain arrives it won’t necessarily suit the likely second favourite, Special Tiara.
Uxizandre is the interesting one, having not been seen since his Ryanair win a couple of years ago.
He loves Cheltenham, having won a Schloer and been placed in a JLT, so if the cobwebs aren’t too thick he’s worth an each way chance as a classy operator.
Unowhatimeanharry bids to cement his Stayers’ Hurdle favourite tag in the Cleeve Hurdle, which has a habit of springing surprises and bursting bubbles.
I wonder if Ballyoptic might give him his toughest race yet and I am prepared to take a chance on the classy 7/2 chance at this stage of the season.
Last year, Djakadam came unstuck – almost literally – in the Cotswold Chase and Smad Place picked up the pieces.
And while it would be a huge disappointment for a Gold Cup which lacks credible storylines at the time of writing, if Thistlecrack were not to win, I’m with Oliver Sherwood who refuses to be scared off by one horse.
His former Grand National winner Many Clouds looked back to something like his best earlier this season and I’ll take the 6/1 that we get another shock.
Sky Bet Chase hopeful Sam is talk of the trading floor
Elsewhere, my bet of the day comes courtesy of blazing reports from the Warren Greatrex yard who send Out Sam up to Doncaster for the Sky Bet Chase.
He’ll have to see off favourite Bigbadjohn but he couldn’t be in better shape and should relish conditions on Town Moor.
The fancy prices have gone but he’s still around 8/1 and looks set to carry what is left of the vastly depleted Williams Millions.
He’s certainly got our trading boffins feeling a little twitchy and that’s always a good sign?!
Finally, I am told by the vast array of technical wizards that this copy is destined not to be “embedded” within a video this week.
But for those of you who know of something called Facebook Live, you can watch a not-so-live weekend preview via the Ladbrokes official channel.
I am the one who has swapped the Ronnie Corbett attire for Monty Don shabby chic this week.
Enjoy the sport and click here to get your bets on.
And should you so wish, follow me on Twitter @magicsignman.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing