If you haven’t noticed, I’ve uploaded two previews for Tuesday: Supreme & Arkle. smithmustscore has also given you a preview of the Champion Hurdle, too, and I am fully on board that train. This is just to go through the other races on the card. submitted by
When I was studying recent renewals of this race, I expected to see that to win this valuable handicap horses would need to have significant amounts in hand of the handicapper - but that’s not actually true. Since 2010, only ONE horse has had to show any improvement on their previous best to win this, Coo Star Sivola last year, with the other eight winners all running between one and four lbs below their best on Timeform Ratings. What you need to win this is an experienced chaser with a touch of class, and there is one in here that’s the classiest of them all. The biggest Cheltenham cliche is spotting one in a handicap which has been “laid out for it”. It’s true of most festival fields, so it goes without saying. Except this time, I’m sorry, I must point out the obvious and say that Minella Rocco has been laid out for this. Well, if not this then the Grand National, but there’s no reason he won’t win this on the way. Since finishing second in Sizing John’s Gold Cup he hasn’t shown any form of note, but that performance stands up in terms of form and on the clock. After that performance he got hike up to 166 by the handicapper and didn’t take up the National that year, presumably with the aim being to win the Aintree showpiece the following year and from a much lower weight. Jonjo spent the next 12 months getting his mark down to a workable 155, but last year the ground was too soft for him to run. In two runs this season he has shown little since, but for the first time since that Gold Cup he has got a tongue-tie and cheek-pieces combo back on, and he’s had a nice little spin over hurdles LTO in preparation for this - the same prep that Alfie Sherrin had in 2012, who also won this for the same jockey, trainer and owner. He is the best horse in this field, and one of the best handicapped, he’s still only nine years old, and as far I’m concerned the only thing that stands between him and first place is his jumping ability. If he jumps well he wins this, and if he takes to the Grand National fences he wins that too.
I have no strong opinion on this. Benie Des Dieux, on her best form, deserves to be about even money. Roksana would be my pick against her - won a Grade 2 Mares’ race last season, and then a screamer when second to Santini in a Grade 1 at Aintree. She’s only ran once this season, but that’s as clear a prep as you’ll ever see and I would trust Dan Skelton to have her primed for this.
This race tends to be won by a horse who is still improving - only one renewal since 2010 did a horse win this without doing so, and that was Ballyalton in 2016. There’s one in here who I found surprising to still be a novice, who is lightly raced enough to still be better than we have seen and who looks on a really good mark, and that’s Movewiththetimes. He ran some really good races in his first novice season - five lengths behind North Hill Harvey and Sceau Royal, and then two lengths behind Finian’s Oscar - but always had a mistake in him. He looked to have put that behind him when running a blinder in the BetVictor Gold Cup back in November as he jumped like a stag and looked set for third, before then over-reaching at the last and falling. Ahead of him that day he had Baron Alco, who was in the form of his life, and Frodon who has since won a big handicap from a rating of 164 and a Grade 2, and will probably be in the frame of the Ryanair. He was on a mark of 140 then, and 140 now, but this looks a less-hot race. You need to show about 5lbs worth of improvement to win this, but he has easily got that in hand of the handicapper. The fact he hasn’t been seen since suggests that connections think he’s too well handicapped to waste that anywhere but here - this team did something similar with Le Prezien to win the Grand Annual last year, in terms of putting one away and bringing them here fresh. He’s currently 7th favourite at around 17/1 on Betfair Exchange, but he often gets backed and it wouldn’t be a surprise were he to be a money horse on the day.
I think Ballyward is the nap of the day. He has just gone 4.00 favourite on Betfair Exchange, but I think he will go off a lot shorter because, at the moment, OK Corral is holding up his price. OK Corral doesn’t really strike me as a four miler and Nicky Henderson’s record of training horses over really long distances does not inspire - since 1997, he has only trained 3 winners of races longer than 3m3f from 87 attempts since 1997. Willie Mullins, meanwhile, has trained the winner of this twice with a further three hitting the frame. He has only had two starts over fences, but he’s a solid jumper and his performance LTO shows he’s clearly the best horse in this race. It is the best chasing performance on the clock from any in here, and the form has been franked as the horses he beat by 11 and 12 lengths respectively, on their next start finished first and second in a Grade 2. Discorama did fall when meeting Ballyward and is definitely over-priced at 8.00, but I do think Ballyward would have won anyway. For me, his price should be somewhere between 3.00 and 3.50, so while he’s still available at 4.00 he’s worth backing and probably worth doubling up with Apple’s Jade.
My bets for Tuesday. - Apple's Jade is ante-post. If he drifts, I will also back Buveur D'air to cover myself.
Cheltenham > Ante-Post Betting > Cheltenham Festival View Market . Cheltenham Festival 2012: Irish Handicappers to watch Chase and Scotsirish appeals as one of the best-handicapped horses 3. Cheltenham Festival 2020: Ante-Post Betting Previews & Features. Our tipping and preview package will continue to build ahead of the Festival so don't forget to bookmark this page and keep RACING fan Tommy Buckley (@tbuckleythinks) has shared his thoughts on another ante-post multiple he'll be placing ahead of the Cheltenham Festival. Cheltenham Festival | Canadian | 12th-15th March 2019 We’re now into March and for all jump racing fans, that means the Cheltenham Festival edges ever closer. I count myself amongst the hundreds of thousands ofRead More The five-year-old is available in the ante post stakes of both the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle and the Ballymore, with the latter the most likely destination for him to back up a debut Cheltenham Festival victory last year in the Champion Bumper. Envoi Allen (148P from 142P) Produced the best performance by a novice hurdler in Ireland this season. The Cheltenham festival is really not that far away and with the ante-post markets constantly moving we think we have a horse at a double figure price that is worth taking note of. The Close Brothers Novices Handicap Chase is a very difficult race to call every year with normally plenty of horses in with a chance coming up to the last fence.