Ray Flanagan with Cheltenham selections
thought for the day: “Do not bite the hand that feeds you”
Any Second Now (6-1) was a winner for us in the concluding race yesterday. A few selections for today.
Cheltenham 2.10- Western Ryder and Lisp
Western Ryder might find the bit of necessary improvement fitted with first time blinkers today. A solid performer as a novice last season he can be somewhat workmanlike but he appears to have some of the best form on offer including a good third to Brain Power here in December in open company. Harry Teal claims a valuable five pounds and he should run well.
Lisp has claims at a big price. Has contested some decent races and has the ability to travel well in a strongly run race.
Cheltenham 3.30- Bellshill
Outstanding renewal of the Gold Cup.
Last years winner Native River will be hard to beat if in the same form as 12 months ago, while Clan Des Obeaux is coming strong this year for the richly in-form Paul Nicholls. Presenting Percy has that touch of class that perhaps the others do not have. He is likely to go close for Galway trainer Pat Kelly, yet I have a sneaking feeling for Bellshill to provide Willie Mullins with his first Gold Cup.
This durable type is as tough as nails jumps well and a repeat of his two spring efforts last season in the Irish National and Punchestown Gold Cup should put him bang in the mix.
I think him and Presenting Percy could well jump the last together with Percy travelling sweeter. I have a feeling though that up the final climb that the bells will ring loudest and Mullins wins a Gold Cup.
Cheltenham 4.10- Shantou Flyer
Magnificent effort in Ultima handicap chase last season behind Coo Star Sivola. Has taken well to Hunter Chases and could easily win.
Cheltenham 4.50- Not Another Muddle
Improving type who shaped nicely on reappearance before winning next time both at Sandown. Still at the right end of the weights and good chance.
Cheltenham 5.30- Acapella Bourgeois
1 pt ew- Western Ryder-2.10 Cheltenham-16-1 SkyBet
1 pt ew-Lisp-2.10 Cheltenham-25-1 SkyBet
1 pt ew-Bellshill-3.30 Cheltenham-10-1 General
1.5 pts ew- Shantou Flyer-4.10 Cheltenham-8-1 General
1 pt win-Not Another Muddle-4.50 Cheltenham
0.75 pts win- Acapella Bourgeois-5.30 Cheltenham-14-1 General