CeeBee previews an excellent card at Cheltenham, headed by the Betbright Chase and has a number of bets including Sam Winner without Djakadam.
13.50 BetBright Trial Chase
I’ll still call it the Pillar if that’s ok. Ruby will be eager to give Djakadam as soft a race as possible over 3m2f in testing ground. He’ll be played fairly late and eased down if clear. If looking for a bet find an unders winning margin. The competition is strong to be fair; he didn’t scare them all off.
I’m eager to take on Smad Place, Many Clouds and O’Faolains Boy in the without market. The first two have big targets on their agenda in Mar/Apr, whilst O’Faolains has yet to truly prove he’s back after injury. For me Smad will find this ground a little too deep. The Giant Bolster (don’t laugh) could be of interest in the W/O market. This is his Gold Cup day, twice on winner on Trials Day including this very race in 2014. He was rancid the last twice, but has headgear reapplied today which should help his cause. Getting weight off all, trip and ground no issue. Sam Winner also has some fine Cheltenham form, especially on soft. Paul Nicholls will have his horses chasing every penny as he hopes to cling onto his trainer’s title.
14.25 freebets.com Trophy Chase
The handicaps on Trials Day are always worth a close watch with a view to finding Festival winners. Interesting that Gordon Elliot and Alan Fleming entered a few to see what UK mark they would get; none of them were declared.
Champagne West will be very hard to beat. The form of his last effort here in December worked out well on New Year’s Day. That was his first effort in handicaps and his first run in 12 months; he’ll improve enormously. I thought they’d actually save him for a Festival Handicap, but I guess win this and challenge for the Ryanair is the plan. 9/4 here isn’t exactly generous though is it?!
Johns Spirit is one I have in mind for the Festival Plate. He prefers better ground. Salubrious returns quickly after a fairly average effort just last week. Tenor Nivernais is consistent, but has been punished accordingly; now 16lbs higher than his season starting point. Irish Cavalier folded a little too quickly in the Paddy Power for one who stays this trip so well. I’m not convinced the stable are truly firing despite apparently getting over their bug. 1 from 15 in 2016, the two in Ascot last Saturday were poor. Lost Legend is badly handicapped. He can win bad races from the 130s but has no chance in this company off 142.
Annacotty is apparently best when fresh, so with hindsight it was no major surprise to see him struggle to follow up his Paddy Power win. With 7wks off and back on testing ground he’ll appreciate this test. He won it last year off a 7lb lower mark. Now only 8yrs old and in the care of Alan King he could be able to defy the higher mark. The relatively short priced favourite and 9 runner field is making this a tempting e/w race.
15.00 Neptune Trial 2m4f
I’m not completely convinced by Shantou Village’s form. He was impressive winning here in November but his rivals didn’t look to run to form and had obvious excuses. However Yanworth is not overly appealing either. He’s taking quite a step here. Up in trip by a half mile, on testing ground, in what is sure to be a strongly run affair, after showing loads of pace to date… I’m not convinced he’ll see it out. Perhaps it’s ripe for an upset? There was one last year.
15.35 Cleeve Hurdle 3m
In the Cleeve; The Young Master is the most interesting. Ok he won’t be good enough to win and with just 7 runners he’s not an each way bet, but he’ll out-run his price. He’s a 150 rated chaser getting 8lbs off most. The 3m trip with loads of cut won’t bother him. He ran well last time out as well. Camping Ground and Ptit Zig have stamina question marks hanging over them whilst the other three don’t look good enough.
Coming from the same yard, the Druids Nephew ran well in this 12mts ago before winning the Festival Handicap Chase. I wouldn’t bet against a repeat for Mulholland’s team.
13.50 - 1 point win Sam Winner at 7/1 (w/o Djakadam) with Paddy Power
13.50 - 0.5 points win The Giant Bolster at 14/1 (w/o Djakadam) with Paddy Power
14.25 - 1 point each way Annacotty 8/1 with Paddy Power and BetVictor
14.25 - 1 point SFC Champagne West / Annacotty