For a few weeks before the Festival commenced I was looking for that one bet that would pay for everyone’s week. The novice events looked relatively simple to solve and suggesting Vautour or Faugheen would have seemed a bit like using a safety net whilst tight rope walking the Grand Canyon so, I ignored them. It would have looked good but everyone watching would have felt, “dangerous but….”.
Instead I trawled through the handicaps and eventually arrived at the same race I chose for last year, the Grand Annual. Last season we all got on @ 13/2 Alderwood and enjoyed a brilliant finale but, this season, I came down on the side of Ted Veale, trained by Tony Martin. It had the look of “banker” and so the advice went out on March 1st, to get on.
Two days later though, Mr Martin, for reasons known only to himself and those connected to the horse, decided to run in a race in which they had no chance of winning, The Arkle. I couldn’t understand it then but, I can now…the day after the event.
My race profiling, which was finalised at around 3-30pm on Thursday, suggested the following:
JOHNNY HENDERSON GRAND ANNUAL
I am still gnashing teeth here. I am still absolutely convinced we would all be forming an orderly queue at the pay window had Tony Martin left Ted Veale in this race and I still cannot believe the decision to run in the Arkle.
I genuinely feel we have been stitched up…not just us, but anyone else that saw what looked a nailed on winner sitting favourite for weeks before this race and went in ante-post. Why else run a horse in a race he cannot win? Enough gripping, let’s see if we can get that money back.
I’m not interested in anything older than nine years of age.
We lose six of them on that score but that still leaves us 18 to sift.
Nothing rated 145 has won any of the last 10 running’s of this and that, unfortunately, scuppers Raya Star….sorry, Sean!
Only three of the last 10 winners had been rated 140+ so, I’m running up a shortlist of those in that preferred banding of 129-139:
CHANGING THE GUARD
Favourites do not have a great record, having won only two of the last 10 Grand Annuals but, the winner of six of the last 10 were to be found in the first four in the market.
Based on current location on the tissue only Ned Buntline would get a look in and I’ll finish my Cheltenham betting off with a 20/80 the Noel Meade runner, who currently trades 7/1CF of three.
NED BUNTLINE – 20/80
Bet was placed, confident enough of at least a place and the money came for it, backed from 8/1 > 6/1 JF.
What happened next will be something I’ll remember for the rest of my betting life.
Tony Martin trained one of the rank outsiders, Savello. It opened 33/1 but, all of a sudden, it moved….and kept moving, going off an apparently well backed 16/1. The rest, as they say, is history. The horse came through to take it up on the run in and won by just over a length from….Ned Buntline.
If anyone has a better example of salt being rubbed into a wound, I’d like to read it!
I’m now a wiser man for this and will not let it happen again.