With the Cheltenham Festival 2013 about to start this afternoon Crockford gives his Dead Cert and Whispers for the first day

As the traditional roar goes up from the crowd for the first race who will be the first winner cheered home? My Tent Or Yours has been the hot favourite for the Supreme since his win at Newbury and is many punters idea of a Festival banker. But on this first day he will not be Crockford’s.  The Irish have a strong hand in the form of Jezki who is unbeaten over hurdles and also in the Mullins pair of Un Atout and Champagne Fever. Ruby Walsh has added fizz into the race by choosing Champagne Fever who Mullins believes is back to his best. Priced at each way odds Crockford believes that this horse is much more attractive as a betting proposition than the Henderson favourite. Another that seems to have slipped under the punters radar is Oliver Sherwood’s Puffin Billy who has only been beaten once and was proved to be not right that day. If he had come here unbeaten he would be certain to be at least half the odds offered for him now. Elliott’s Cause of Causes also looks overpriced given his performances this year in strong company.

Simonsig should be unstoppable in the Arkle especially given the soft ground not being in Overturn’s favour. The JLT Speciality Chase looks an open contest where Nick Gifford’s Tullamore Dew is overpriced and Fruity O’Rooney should go well. The Cross Country will again be dominated by the Irish with the favourably priced  Bostons Angel and Shakervilz catching Crockford’s eye.

Quevega looks to return again to the Festival on another winning seasonal debut hoping to claim a place with the greats in sealing a fifth win in the Mares Hurdle. This year it will not be straightforward for her with the Festival winner Une Artiste and the progressive Swing Bowler looking to spoil the party.

Swing Bowler
Swing Bowler (centre) looks a threat to Quevega

The final race on the card is a competitive affair where  Gordon Elliott’s Carlito Brigante looks thrown in at the weights for another big Festival performance. Vulcanite has also been the subject of many whispers in the lead up to this week and it could just be the day that Restless Harry provides a surprise by returning to form at a massive price.

Crockford’s Dead Cert – Hurricane Fly (Stan James Champion Hurdle 3.20)

With the confidence as high as it is in the Mullins’ camp and the impressive performances this year he must be a Dead Cert to regain his hurdling crown.

Crockford’s Whisper – Tullamore Dew  e/w (JLT Speciality Chase 2.40)

Thrown in the weights this genuine horse stayed on into fourth last time out at Cheltenham in a competitive handicap. The 33/1 odds available for him is unmistakable value for a horse that there are strong whispers about.

Crockford’s first day gambles at the Festival:

Supreme Novice Hurdle (1.30) –  Champagne Fever e/w, Puffin Billy e/w and Cause For Causes e/w

Arkle (2.05) –  Simonsig

JLT Speciality (2.40) – Tullamore Dew e/w and Fruity O’Rooney e/w

Stan James Champion Hurdle  (3.20) – Hurricane Fly

Cross Country (4.00) –  Shakervilz e/w and Bostons Angel e/w

OLBG Mares Hurdle (4.40) – Une Artiste e/w and Swing Bowler e/w

Rewards4Racing (5.15) – Carlito Brigante e/w, Vulcanite e/w and Restless Harry e/w

 

(Featured Photograph – Tullamore Dew after his run at Cheltenham by Stuart Rice)

(Photograph – Swing Bowler before the Betfair Hurdle by Stuart Rice)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tullamore Dew