The bookies took a hammering at Cheltenham yesterday and there are plenty of hotpots in the big races today to give the layers more nightmares.
Neptune Investment Management Novices Hurdle
The two big novice events look set to be dominated by those at the head of the market, with YANWORTH set to get favourite backers off to the best possible start.
His win at the track last time out was just about the best performance by any novice this season and he is going to be very hard to beat.
Yorkhill is a worthy rival, and should improve for the ground and make the frame at least, but he looks to have it all to do to beat the jolly and it was encouraging to see how well Britain’s novices fared against the Irish yesterday.
On the drying ground, the best of the outsiders might be VIGIL, who has finished fifth in the last two Festival bumpers. The longer trip should bring about some more improvement and he could make the frame at a decent price.
|Yanworth (win)||1.30 Cheltenham||6/4||Sky Bet, Bet365|
|Vigil (ew)||1.30 Cheltenham||28/1||Sky Bet, Bet365|
(Sky Bet will refund losing bets on the Neptune if your horse does not win)
Yanworth’s owner, JP McManus, could complete a quick fire double, as MORE OF THAT looks hard to oppose in the RSA Chase. The form of his World Hurdle win looks even better after Annie Power’s success yesterday and he should have a better turn of foot on this ground than market rival No More Heroes.
With eight going to post, it is also tempting to back something each way and either Vyta Du Roc or BLAKLION could be there or thereabouts at the finish. Slight preference is for the latter, who is suited by a battle and this race is traditionally a tough one for young horses. He should also relish the improvement in the ground.
|More Of That (win)||2.10 Cheltenham||15/8||Sky Bet|
|Blaklion (ew)||2.10 Cheltenham||12/1||Bet365|
The day’s big handicap is the Coral Cup and, again, the going will be a huge factor as plenty of these will improve for encountering the best conditions of the winter so far. It is worth noting here that race sponsors Coral offer 6 places for each-way bets.
The layers seem to have got the market about right as DIAMOND KING and Politologue both look to have big chances.
The former really improved for a step up in trip last time and is enjoying a new lease of life since switching yards.
Politologue has a very similar profile to last year’s winner for the same connections and he looks well treated on a mark of 142. He could be the main selection’s biggest danger
Of those at bigger prices, THE ROMFORD PELE is interesting on ground he loves. He is well treated based on his best form over fences and ran nicely on a return to the smaller obstacles last time out.
LONG HOUSE HALL also switches to hurdling after a heavy fall last time out. He’s still lightly raced and so open to improvement, and all his best form has come on this type of surface.
|Diamond King (ew)||2.50 Cheltenham||9/1||Bet365|
|The Romford Pele (ew)||2.50 Cheltenham||33/1||Bet365|
|Long House Hall (ew)||2.50 Cheltenham||16/1||Coral|
Queen Mother Champion Chase
The Queen Mother Champion Chase follows and it looks set to be a great renewal with the last three winners in opposition. None of those head the market, however, with that honour going to Willie Mullin’s exciting young chaser, Un De Sceaux.
Mullins had another dream day yesterday and this horse deserves his top billing, but his jumping can be a bit hit and miss, which makes him opposable at the prices.
All of the former winners have something to prove too, although a win for Sprinter Sacre would be the most heart-warming Festival story for many years and he will carry our sentimental vote if not our hard cash.
Instead, two or three of those at longer prices make some each way appeal.
The ground has really come right for SPECIAL TIARA, who was third in this last year and unlucky to lose out to Sire De Grugy in the Tingle Creek in December, whilst GODS OWN looks to have been massively underestimated given his proximity to the favourite in last year’s Arkle.
Don’t rule out Felix Younger either, although he may not have quite enough toe for this.
|Special Tiara (ew)||3.30 Cheltenham||18/1||Bet365|
|Gods Own (ew)||3.30 Cheltenham||28/1||Bet365|
Glenfarclas Cross Country Handicap Chase
The Cross Country race that follows could also throw up a fairy tale ending as dual champion Balthazar King returns to action after the nasty injury he sustained in the 2015 Grand National.
There is no telling how ready he will be for this and so a safer bet is another course specialist, ANY CURRENCY, who looks great each way value at a double figure price.
CANTLOW is also worth backing as he has potential to be the surprise package on only his second start over a cross country course.
|Any Currency (ew)||4.10 Cheltenham||11/1||Bet365|
|Cantlow (ew)||4.10 Cheltenham||20/1||Bet365|
Our tips in the final two races are as follows:
Fred Winter Juvenile Handicap
|Campeador (ew)||4.50 Cheltenham||9/1||Bet365|
|Messire Des Obeaux (ew)||4.50 Cheltenham||14/1||Bet365|
|Coo Star Sivola (ew)||4.50 Cheltenham||22/1||Paddy Power|
Bet365 are offering 5 places for each-way bets on the Fred Winter (just 4 elsewhere).
Weatherbys Champion Bumper
|High Bridge (ew)||5.30 Cheltenham||12/1||Bet365|
|First Figaro (ew)||5.30 Cheltenham||16/1||Bet365|
|Criq Rock (ew)||5.30 Cheltenham||50/1||Stan James|
Horses fitted with first-time headgear
|Campeador||4.50 Cheltenham||Hood (H1)||9/1||Bet365|
|Voix Du Reve||4.50 Cheltenham||Hood (H1)||14/1||Bet365|
|Doubly Clever||4.50 Cheltenham||Hood (H1)||66/1||Stan James|