Don't mind admitting, I'm really nervous about today's betting. Things went a little bit too well yesterday. The logical part of my brain too, is telling me that when the racing is so competitive, and when the day starts in negative territory due to a couple of horses backed antepost not making it to their respective races, it could be an uphill battle.
Let's see what transpires. What I can say with some confidence is that if 4PA have a good day, then so should I. Here's hoping.
1.30: 4m Amateur Riders' National Hunt Chase
Just the one bet in the opener, Alfie Spinner, put up by On The Nose. Ultimately unsuccessful, but not before the horse gave a good run for the money, jumping well and racing prominently before not quite being able to go with the leading four or five from the bottom of the hill.
2.05: Neptune Novices' Hurdle
Well, I mentioned the importance of 4PA to today's chances of success, and this was the first race in which they played. Monksland was issued this morning and ran a decent race to finish third, but never really threatened to win. Monksland had been a small antepost bet issued by Northern Monkey too, each way at 8/1 so a small return there.
Simonsig however, backed antepost at 7/2, was extremely impressive and won very easily. He was helped considerably two out when the horse he was ranging alongside ducked out and jettisoned his jockey into the rails (how brave are these guys!?!). It's true that both horses were going well at the time but to my, admittedly untutored eye, Simonsig looked to be going slightly the better.
So a good start for 4PA. It's the next race that worries me though. Get through this one without too much damage, and I'll begin to put my anxiety down to pre-match nerves.
2.40: RSA Chase
Bollocks! I just knew it. I had a nasty feeling this race was going to bite me on the arse and it did just that!
Firstly, the horses I'd backed antepost that didn't make the race: 4PA gave Silvianico Conti and Northern Monkey had given Invictus. So down before we started.
Both On The Nose and Northern Monkey had Lambro antepost at 25s and 20s, but that one never threatened to find the frame.
4PA had also given First Lieutenant antepost, a win only bet at 9s, and went big this morning on Grand Crus. Grand Crus ran a very disappointing race and First Lieutenant, running keen for the first half of the race, jumped the last alongside the eventual winner but perhaps having taken a little too much out himself, couldn't get up and finished second.
Much like the Champion Hurdle yesterday, this has proven to be a very expensive race. The only thing I'm impressed by are my skills in clairvoyance. Saw this one coming from a mile away.
3.20: Queen Mother Champion Chase
Well, that's the way to bounce back. Just the one bet in the race, Winning Racing Tips giving Finian's Rainbow at 6/1. Nice.
So that's Hurricane Fly, Grand Crus, and now Sizing Europe beaten, all at short prices and considered by many to be invincible this year. Makes me worry about Big Buck's who is running tomorrow and upon whom I have a sizeable antepost bet.
Heh. There I go again, being all negative.
4.00: Coral Cup
A complete minefield of a race and although taking a small loss, it feels like it's been a bit of an escape.
Northern Monkey had a small bet on First Fandango which, at a fancy price, ran very prominently for the first half of the race before fading.
On The Nose gave Act Of Kalinisi, which I thought had a decent chance about a mile out, but unfortunately he couldn't maintain his challenge.
4PA had two, one of which finished second - Getmeoutofhere at 9/1 to provide something of a return and did succeed in helping to control losses on the race. The other, Silverhand, actually finished fourth at 25/1 but unfortunately was tipped win only.
Coming to the (partial) rescue though, was The Market Examiner. Unusually the bet given was advised each way and amounted to a reduced quarter point, but Son Of Flicka proved to be the gamble of the day and early odds of 22/1 were landed.
So, after all that has happened so far, I'm in deficit to the tune of about £2 so far! One more race to play in at Cheltenham today although Northern Monkey does have an outsider running at Kempton this evening.
4.40: Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap Hurdle
And not a good finale with no returns at all.
4PA had Gorgeous Sixty which never got into it and Vendor win only which stayed on to finish third after seemingly being outpaced earlier in the race.
On The Nose also gave Vendor, but also had Lemon Drop Red at a big price. This one was second much of the way around but couldn't last home to place.
So a loss on the second day at Cheltenham, but a loss which amounts to less than a third of yesterday's profits so can't complain. Always felt today was going to be tough and to be honest I'm thinking it could have been a lot worse. It is slightly ironic that the two races that have really cost me - the Champion Hurdle and RSA Chase - looked before the Festival to be two of the more solvable contests. Just goes to show, eh?
I'm aware that this narrative might not to be to everybody's liking and I may not do this tomorrow. The aim was to give an impression of the highs and lows but to be completely honest, I've not really felt either elated or dejected so far, and therefore the writing comes across as being a little flat. I read my posts from last year's Festival this morning, and I was reminded about how difficult I found things last year. I really did go through the mill emotionally twelve months ago and at the time I noted that I needed to change things within my portfolio to achieve two aims. One, to avoid having such a ridiculous level of correlation within a lot of the races (ie. backing five or six different horses within the same race on a frequent basis), and two - by consequence - to reduce my stress levels.
Well, those changes have been made and the desired results achieved. I've been able to keep far more level headed this year, and only on one occasion (in today's Coral Cup) have I had more horses than seems reasonable in just the one race. I suppose there were too many selections in the Arkle yesterday, but the stakes in this race were relatively low and certainly not high enough to shake me out of my comfort zone. I do believe that on a personal level, this does demonstrate progress, and I'm rather pleased to be able to say that. Doesn't necessarily make for interesting blogging though.
4PA: Staked 9pts, -2.875pts.
On The Nose: Staked 4pts, -4pts.
Northern Monkey: Staked 2.46pts, -1.71pts.
Winning Racing Tips: Staked 0.5pts, +1.875pts.
Month to Date
Northern Monkey: Staked 12.55pts, -8.995pts, roi -71.67%
4PA: Staked 24.5pts, -4.062pts, roi -16.58%
Chasemaster: Staked 3.375pts, +1.681pts, roi 49.81%
WRT: Staked 4.1pts, +2.768pts, roi 67.52%
The Sportsman Racing: Staked 2pts, -0.237pts, roi -11.89%
On The Nose: Staked 8.5pts, +7.5pts, roi 88.23%
The Market Examiner: Staked 17.5pts, +9.055pts, roi 51.74%
TFA 7/22: Staked 10pts, +5.91pts, roi 59.1%
Skeeve: Staked 33pts, +1.98pts, roi 6%
Football Elite: Staked 9pts, +6.257pts, roi 69.52%
The Sportsman: Staked 0.35pts, 0pts, roi 0%
On The Oche: Staked 1pt, -1pt, roi -100%
Strike Zone (h): Staked 7pts, -4.103pts, -58.61%