Upsets in store at Cheltenham
We’ll get plenty of Festival pointers on Saturday
Horse Racing punters are truly spoiled for choice on Saturday, with a bumper nine-race card planned at Cheltenham for the festival trials day. If that’s not enough, the rescheduled Clarence House Chase is also thrown into the programme.
Read on as we pick through our race notes for the afternoon, with an eye on how the day will affect the Cheltenham Festival…..
12:00 Triumph Trial Juvenile Hurdle
Charli Parcs goes into the weekend second-favourite in the antepost betting for the Triumph Hurdle, and is expected to further boost his stock here, widely-tipped to take the opener on Saturday. Nicky Henderson and Barry Geraghty team up on this talented four-year-old who made a winning debut at Kempton in December over this trip. He led home nearest rival Master Blueyes by eight-lengths, which got everyone talking.
2:15 Trial Cotswold Chase
Punters get a look at the shape of Thistlecrack on Saturday, with Tizzard’s superstar back in action following that win in the King George VI Chase on Boxing Day at Kempton. Cue Card was slapped down on that occasion, and the nine-year-old barely put a foot wrong on-course to victory. He has now won each of his last nine starts, and a perfect 10 is odds-on here. He’s also tight enough in the betting for the Gold Cup at the festival.
2:50 Cross Country Handicap Chase
Cantlow is current leader in the market for the Cross Country Chase in March, and is the pick of many to win this race on Saturday, but I’d be surprised to see either coming good. There’s no doubting his talent, and he arrives chasing down a hat-trick, following success at Punchestown and Cheltenham, but I’d rather take him on with a price. Richard Hobson’s Valadom is just that, opening at 25/1 with Coral for this race, and I am expecting our pick to charge to the front early and serve it up to his rivals. If beaten by better horses, then fair enough, but the price looks worth a gamble.
3:25 Classic Novices Hurdle
Wholestone is rated for the Albert Bartlett Novices Hurdle, and would do his chances no harm whatsoever with a win here. He has scored in three of his last four, finishing as runner-up in the spare, and traders have him bang in the mix to show the way home here. Again, I’d rather take a chance and am having Coo Star Sivola at a meaty offer. Nick Williams’ rep won on New Year’s Day over track and trip and I was somewhat surprised to see him written off in the market. He demands respect.
4:00 Cleeve Hurdle
Unowhatimeanharry, antepost jolly for the Stayers Hurdle on Thursday 16th March, currently ahead of Jezki and Vroum Vroum Mag, he’s expected to live up to expectations at the weekend. He hasn’t let backers down under Harry Fry and is shaping up as the darling of the betting ring. Chasing what would be his eighth win in-a-row, he carries a 4lb penalty, but I am more than happy that he’s capable of taking it on the chin.
12:00 – Charli Parcs
12:35 – Burton’s Well
1:10 – Annacotty
1:45 – Un De Sceaux
2:15 – Thistlecrack
2:50 – Valadom
3:25 – Coo Star Sivola
4:00 – UnowhatImeanharry
4:35 – Byron Flyer