Fresh from tipping 20-1 winner Mr Antolini at Sandown on Saturday, Dave Nevison turns his attention to day one of the Cheltenham Festival.
By Dave Nevison
The four timer will never be quite the same as it was when Annie Power was set to demolish the share price of all high street bookies three years ago.
We all recall how that story ended but there will be more than a few punters who want to rewrite the story with a happy ending on Tuesday courtesy of Getabird, Footpad, Buveur D’Air and Apple’s Jade.
I certainly would not put them off, either, and to be honest I can think of many worse ways to play the opening day of the festival.
Pundits have been increasingly negative about Getabird despite the wet weather meaning conditions will be very much in his favour.
I have said my piece about Footpad. I concede that Petite Mouchoir was the better hurdler but that was then and this is now. I simply do not see what the grey’s fans saw in his run behind Footpad last time run to think he is about 9-4 to turn the tables.
Buveur D’Air wins the Champion Hurdle on everything we have seen this term and If you have got that far my advice is be brave and do not go anywhere near the Cash Out button as Annie Power syndrome won’t happen again. Easy!
2.10: Footpad at a general 11-10
Is quite simply the fastest jumper at speed that I have seen in novice chases in decades of watching this game. I will be surprised, disappointed and skint if he doesn’t win the Arkle.
Sean Bowen got his eye in for Cheltenham with a four-timer at Hereford on Saturday.
This horse will be fresher than some in the Ultima Chase and I believe if his career had not been interrupted by injury he would be running off much higher than 139 by now.
He is consistent, a very good jumper on his day and if as good left-handed will go close. The bookies will be falling over themselves to give extra places, so take the biggest number and back him each way.
5.30: Barney Dwan each-way at a general 8-1
This is a class act and was in no way lucky to win up at Musselburgh last time despite two challengers falling at the second last.
He is a strong traveller who loves a fast pace and a big field. His jumping is an issue but my slightly rose tinted view is that it has got better as he has gained experience and I am also of the opinion he may well do better when he does not have as much time to think about what he is doing.
A convoluted case, I know, and clearly designed to suit my book but I have long thought Barney Dwan is a Festival winner in the making and this is his chance to prove it.
Again, look for the bookies giving extra places and back him each-way.
Dave’s top trio for day one of the Festival:
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