Ceebee previews Friday at Cheltenham and he has bets on 3 races starting with For Good Measure in the first.
12.40 Amateur Riders’ Handicap Chase 3m1f
Always a competitive heat to kick off the November meeting, this year’s renewal will be no different.
Plenty here to make a case for - Three Irish challengers including Gordon Elliott’s Presenting Julio who ran well in a similar race around here back in October. Top jockeys Patrick Mullins and Jamie Codd are over to ride in-form horses for Jonjo O’Neill and Kim Bailey. Jameson ran well in competitive handicaps here in the spring and would be interesting if getting this longer trip. The Young Master dropped 20lbs from his 2017 peak before winning at Chepstow last month (2nd won since).
The preference above all of them is for - For Good Measure - coming from the bang in-form Philip Hobbs yard. This fella runs off just 130. He got to 138 over hurdles and remains massively unexposed over fences. He raced just twice last season, when the Hobbs string were struggling, over inadequate trips so no surprise he didn’t trouble the judge. His sole effort in a 3m chase came at the October meeting here. After being off for 8mts and it being just his third chase start I think it was a fair effort finishing fifth. He was held up and not much got into the race from the back that day. Derek O’Connor coming over to take the ride is also a major positive for his chances.
1pt e/w For Good Measure at 4/1 with Betfair and Paddy Power
13.50 BetVictor Handicap Chase 2 miles
Doitforthevillage won this very race 12mts ago. Off a rating of 135 he was a good 2L winner. It wasn’t a great field but both the 3rd and 4th have won since and are now rated higher. Doitforthevillage is now rated 137, just 2lbs higher, it can definitely be classed as a workable mark. He also ran well over C&D in the Grand Annual. Under an exaggerated hold-up ride he met trouble early and found himself detached for most of the trip but made up plenty of ground to finish 6th. Those around him held up the form as Dolos and Theinval subsequently ran well at Aintree & Ayr. Doitforthevillage was solid if ultimately well beaten when 4th in the Red Rum at Aintree. This is a far weaker race than either the Red Rum or the Grand Annual. First time out for a small stable is a slight worry.
Bun Doran ran in 4 of these style races last season and found one or two too good each time. He was behind Doitforthevillage in the Red Rum. The handicapper hasn’t given him a huge chance either, now off 138 having been beaten in six handicap chases in a row off 139.
Peppay Le Pugh won in Stratford during the summer off a mark of just 93. Now up to 122 taking on better opposition things are going to get tougher as he discovered when well beaten at Ascot last time.
A Hare Breath has run some decent races in handicap hurdles around Cheltenham but he hasn’t always looked a natural chaser and lacks the experience of others here.
Rock on Rocky won back to back handicap chases in the spring and the 10yo will struggle from this new mark in the 130s.
Shanahan’s Turn is still on a fair mark and ran well last time (Baron Alco fans will be keeping an eye on this effort), but I’d be very surprised if the return to 2miles is a positive move. A Grand Sefton prep perhaps?
Movie Legend has dropped 7lbs over fences in the past 12mts after some poor efforts but he now looks to be back on track with a seasonal reappearance win over hurdles at Fakenham last month. Good ground will be no problem to him and he rates the biggest danger to our selection. 7 runners – I’d rather have a win saver than each-way bet.
1.5pt win Doitforthevillage at 11/2 with Betfair and Paddy Power
0.5pt win Movie Legend at 15/2 with Betfair and Paddy Power
15.00 Cross Country Chase 3m7f
He is far better than all of this lot and was very impressive over course and distance at the Festival but Tiger Roll is vulnerable here. This is his first start since April’s Grand National and connections will be eyeing up bigger prizes than today. Most importantly though – this is a handicap; the Festival’s Cross-Country race isn’t.
Josies Orders is a three-time C&D winner but seems to have regressed a little in the last season or two. Bless The Wings turns 14 soon and is difficult to win with. So, I’m looking to the bottom of the racecard instead.
Fact of the Matter is a Cross Country debutant but has schooled around this unique course (thank you Twitter). He’s race fit, stays well (won over 3m1f up the Cheltenham hill), and loves good ground having even won when firm was in the description. His recent second at Cartmel has been boosted by the winner going in again since. Cheeckpieces are on for the first time and they may bring about some improvement. There’s only 7 runners, some of which are very hard to fancy, and Fact of the Matter is getting plenty of weight from his main rivals.
1pt win Fact of the Matter at 28/1 with Betfair and Paddy Power
NH season P&L to date +2.5pts