So instead, I spent most of the day in bed.
It was all for luck though, as my flight ended up being cancelled. A repeat of that type of fortune today and I’ll be blissfully unaware of any illness!
Mind you, at the time of writing, I’m not sure if I’ll make the journey at all. The plan is to travel over this morning but I would need to improve a good bit.
Obviously I want to be there as I believe I have two very strong chances of adding to my seven Festival winners to date.
The Supreme Novices’ Hurdle is one of the strongest races of the entire meeting, although I can’t remember the last time there were only 12 runners. In the last 24 renewals, the smallest field has been 15 — in 2000 and 2011.
Like Bostons Angel and Jetson, Jezki (1.30) travelled over fine and has shown no ill effects. He is eating up and ready to run. I can do no more now. It’s up to him.
And I’m happy for that to be the case. He has the Grade One form in the book. Some have said that he has never done it in big fields. This isn’t particularly big now but there were 12 runners in his maiden hurdle so that’s not a concern.
I’m not particularly worried either who makes the pace but it will probably be Champagne Fever or Puffin Billy. It’s interesting that Ruby [Walsh] plumps for Champagne Fever over Dodging Bullets. He obviously thinks that the Irish form is better than the English form and I hope he’s right.
My Tent Or Yours is a very obvious danger but it’s the Supreme Novices’ — there are quite a few of them. I wouldn’t swap Jezki for any of them. He has the experience, has proven he can handle the ground and is in great form.
Bostons Angel (4.00) is bouncing as well. I’m so pleased that he is in this type of form and the Cross-Country Chase has been the target from the start of the season.
I’m not in any way worried that he hasn’t gotten his nose in front since winning the RSA Chase two years ago. He’s a different horse this year to last year. Hunting has been the key to him and he’ll be trying his hardest, have no doubts about that.
Outlaw Pete and Arabella Boy are the two favourites and he is better off in the weights with them both after finishing second to them at Cheltenham and Punchestown. In fact, he is 15lbs better off with Outlaw Pete for a seven length defeat, while Arabella Boy hasn’t run well at Cheltenham in two attempts. So I think it’s fair to say that Bostons is a very strong each-way chance.
If you’re looking to make money on the Arkle, I’d go with a trifecta of Simonsig, Overturn and Baily Green (2.05). I really think Baily Green will run a big race but, with only seven runners, the each-way bet might not be on as the top two look very strong.
Simonsig should win for me and it’s the same with Hurricane Fly (3.20) in the Champion Hurdle. They like to crib his form in Ireland, but he can only beat what’s in front of him. Willie is confident he is in much better condition than last year and I just can’t see him beaten.
Quevega (4.40) should make it a double in the Mares’ Hurdle. It is some training feat to do what he does. She basically only runs twice a year and in the last three years, Cheltenham has been her first run of the season. It would be an amazing achievement to do the five-in-a-row.
Overall, I like the treble of Simonsig, Hurricane Fly and Quevega, which comes in at about 17/2.
Our Mick will probably go off favourite in the handicap chase but I would suggest The Package (2.40) might be a good each-way alternative. He was fourth in the race last year and just touched off in second in 2011. He has won around the track too and with David Pipe’s record must be respected.
I had fancied Carlito Brigante in the last race of the day but the ground has gone against him I fear. The Druids Nephew (5.15) might be the one.