All set for Day 3. 4PA has gone all conservative on us today, risking just a couple of points in the Ryanair. On The Nose (OTN) is looking to press home the advantage they gave themselves by yesterday's strong performance, putting eight points at risk today. Some juicy prices in there too. Potential to hit the jackpot or crash and burn.
1.30: Jewson Novice's Chase
Wishfull Thinking was the win only selection from OTN in the opener (7/2). Making nearly all, jumping beautifully, it looked like we could collect. Shadowing it for much of the way around was Loosen The Load, put up by Northern Monkey Punter (NMP) each way at 7s. This much was very encouraging, but from about a mile from home, Noble Prince under McCoy was travelling very sweetly indeed. You always worry a little more when McCoy is on one that is stalking yours, and in this instance, that anxiety was well founded. Coming to the last, Wishfull Thinking went for a big one, got it wrong, lost momentum, and Noble Prince swooped under a masterful ride to claim the winner's spot. Loosen My Load finished third so a small return there.
2.05: Pertemps Final Handicap Hurdle
An expensive race. Lush Life was the big one, tipped up at 12/1 by both PJA and OTN. It was coming under strong pressure not too far from the front as it approached the winning line. Trouble was, there was another circuit to go. No, it wasn't Barry Geraghty having an almighty 'moment', it was just that the horse didn't seem interested (or perhaps was injured in some way). Either way, it was pulled up not long after. Hope springs eternal though, and Viking Blond, OTN's each way tip at 40/1, was running a decent race, going around in third/fourth. Rivage D'or, PJA's second tip was also going ok but unfortunately with both, when the race got serious at the bottom of the hill, they were found wanting.
Right. Time for 4PA to contribute something other than crippling losses...
2.40: Ryanair Chase
Don't know why, but that race has me really hacked off. 4PA's tip, the favourite, Pocquelin each way (4/1 on a Hills special offer, and 11/4), finishes fourth and so the bad run continues. I'm a great fan of 4PA - performance has been outstanding - but it's non-performance this week is making life really tough.
J'y Vole was put up antepost by NMP and it ran well but didn't seem to last home, and OTN's Roberto Goldback (25/1) was never really competitive.
This is turning into a pretty bad day. Badly need a winner soon.
3.20: Stayers Hurdle
Well, that win has come, but the wrong horse really. Big Bucks came in to complete the NMP double (near 5/1) that he had with Quevega on the first day so a nice profit there, but the big bet was the Winning Racing Tips' each way selection Grand Crus (4/1). At one point I thought that Grand Crus was going to get up but Big Bucks powered away after the last. So a nibble taken out of the chunk of losses accrued today, as opposed to a bite. Trouble is, a nibble isn't particularly comforting to somebody who is starving hungry.
4.00: Byrne Group Plate
This is getting painful now. OTN had Quartz De Thaix antepost at 20/1 going off at 7/1 and coming nowhere. He also had Beautiful Sound this morning at 7/1 each way which was backed heavily into favouritism and after not being far from tailed off early in the race, finished strongly to take third. Edgebriar was NMP's tip - nowhere. Matuhi and Bible Lord were PJA tips - both nowhere.
Only the 4.40 left now for Cheltenham. A 24 runner, amateur riders handicap chase. Great. Oh, and one of the bets is win only at a double figure price!
4.40: The Fulke Walwyn Chase
Two selections from OTN (Saddler's Storm and Minella Theatre), neither of which were ever in it.
4PA: Staked 2pts, -2pts.
ProBandit: Staked 1.75pts, +0.25pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 1.2pts, N/A.
Northern Monkey Punter: Staked 2.75pts, +1.219pts.
On The Nose: Staked 8pts, -5.937pts.
Chasemaster: Staked 0.5pts, +0.125pts.
Financial loss on the racing of £241.86.
Thursday 17th March: Staked £522, -£241.86.
Week to date: Staked £1,728, -£437.72.
Month to date: Staked £8,695, +£135.75, roi 1.56%.
To be quite honest, I'm feeling pretty cheesed off. The first three months of this year are proving to be the hardest I have known. It is proving to be impossible to get ahead. Not losing money, not winning money. Two steps forward followed by two steps back. Cheltenham so far has more or less wiped out what had been promising progress this month. Perhaps tomorrow will be better. Let's hope so.