The unrelenting advertising buzz and speculation preceding the Cheltenham Festival will soon be turned into reality with the drop of the starters flag on Tuesday. Don’t get me wrong, it is a superb meeting; it’s just getting too much like Christmas -the hype begins far too early.
But that aside; I would also like you to part with some money for the festival by supporting a worthwhile racing charity.
For many years I have raised donations for the Lambourn Valley Housing Trust (Registered charity No. 1049742). They build affordable homes for stable staff and their families in an area where house prices are far too high for anyone on a low to average wage to reasonably afford. This quote explains their unenviable position:
‘There are many reasons for a successful yard and one of the most important is the staff. They are not as richly rewarded as we would like and we are always likely to lose key trained lads and lasses when they have just married. Quite rightly they want a home of their own together, but cannot afford to rent anything suitable.’
Myself, Donn McClean, John Hunt and Micky Hammond have all contributed to producing a Cheltenham preview. Just £10 and the whole amount goes to the trust.
Online orders via:
Festival preview only: http://www.slh.co.uk/index.php/2016-cheltenham-festival-preview
Preview & Membership: http://www.slh.co.uk/index.php/chel-spec-2016
One race to look at this afternoon is a tight little handicap confined to horses 5yo and older.
2.20 Ayr Ortus Homes Handicap Chase (CLASS 3)
The ground at Ayr will be soft towards heavy with rain forecast in the morning and then drying conditions in the afternoon.
Monbeg River is a horse that was noted earlier in the season having won and finished second over to-days C&D. Both races in the space of five days in late October. Returning from a break, I expect him to continue his progression.
He takes on a couple of inform rivals in Ubaltique who won at Catterick recently and Nautical Twilight who still had every chance when falling at Newcastle just two weeks ago.
However the main danger could be the top weighted Indian Voyage, if he returns to form after a poor run at Wetherby.
My overnight tissue:
Monbeg River 5/2
Indian Voyage 4/1
Nautical Twilight 5/1
Over the four days of the festival, you can keep in touch with me via Twitter and Facebook. But please give a thought to contributing to the good work of the housing trust. Bob Geldof moment over, best of luck with your bets.