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“Don’t read them.”

That’s my advice to those who complain about the critics. The critics are out there, they’ll always be out there. Whether you own a horse or wrote a book or run a restaurant or coach a team, the critics will swipe at you. The Internet has honed the knife – sharp and constant. It’s easier to be a critic and it’s easier to get your point across.

My advice to those hurt, concerned or undone by the critics – “Don’t read them. Simply, don’t read them.”

Now, here we are 15 days before Cheltenham and I’m reading them. Actually searching for comments and commentary regarding the Arkle Chase and more specifically, Valdez.

Makes for interesting reading.

Paul Jones, author of the Cheltenham Festival Betting Guide:

It is now common knowledge that we should look for a classy hurdler when seeking the Arkle winner, which wasn’t always as key a factor in punters’ eyes, so trends followers have lost a little edge there in recent years. Only Voy Por Ustedes of the last 14 winners had not posted an official rating of 142+ over hurdles and it could even be argued that he was a fortunate winner, only narrowly beating Monet’s Garden in receipt of 5lb, a weight allowance that no longer exists.

This wouldn’t be a good statistic for Valdez fans, then, as he was beaten when rated just 132 on his last hurdles start. It is certainly a positive for Rock On Ruby’s supporters, however, as he was rated 167 over hurdles, 1lb above Grandouet. That makes Rock On Ruby the best hurdler in this Arkle and the best hurdler has won it five times in the past 13 years.

Jack Keene, on Sporting Life:

Another horse who features prominently in the betting Valdez. Let’s not beat around the bush, he’s not good enough. With a peak hurdle rating of 135 – some 22lb below Champagne Fever’s and 35lb below Rock On Ruby’s – it’s an impossible task he faces to make up such a class gap over those two rivals for the switch to fences.

Although entitled to come on for his comeback effort at Doncaster, he was at full stretch to catch Arnaud that afternoon and I fancy he’d have to grow a fifth leg to stand a chance in the Arkle.

Simon Panting on Cheltenham Zone:

Next up we have VALDEZ who is no bigger than 10/1. I really can’t have this lad at all. Two facile wins in weak contests told us very little, and when stepped up in class he was hardly convincing. That step up in class came in the Grade 2 Lightning Novices Chase at Doncaster, where he was pretty much all out to beat Arnaud and Fox Appeal. The former has shown fair form over fences but still looks shy of the top level, whilst the latter was only a few lengths back despite numerous jumping errors. In fairness to Valdez there may be improvement forthcoming with the situation at the Alan King yard (where it was shut down for a brief period), however I just can’t see him having enough class to win this race.

Then there’s ejpartridge77 on the comments section of The Racing Post:

Anyone who thinks Valdez will get beat in the Arkle is an idiot.

I like that ejpartridge77. More comments like his, can be posted below.

Watch Valdez win at Doncaster.

– Watch Valdez win at Newbury.

Watch Rock On Ruby win his chase debut.