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Friday 13 December 2013

Cheltenham Friday

There was no selection for the blog yesterday, tho' I did write that (should he be fit) Riverside Theatre had a huge chance at the weights, and he duly won fairly comfortably - even after looking a beaten horse 3-out. Captain Chris managed to be 3rd, so if you'd had an eachway wager on him in the morning when he was 4/1 you would have finished "even".
Onto today and there are quite a few horse alert runners at Cheltenham, plus a couple at Bangor.
Cheltenham 1:05 – AL ALFA
Cheltenham 1:40 - MAXI CHOP
Cheltenham 2:10 – EMPEROR'S CHOICE
At Cheltenham, I think WONDERFUL CHARM will really cement himself as a top staying novice chaser in the 12:30 over 2m5f. He's so far won all 3 of his chase starts to date – trainer Paul Nicholls is taking no chances with this one going to the next Cheltenham Festival in March lacking any education over fences – and he'll take all the beating today. In opposition, Oscar Whisky is on a recovery mission and I cannot see him defeating WONDERFUL CHARM. David Pipe clearly thinks a lot of CLOSE HOUSE to send him into this race on his chase debut, but I'm expecting this one to be a 3-mile chaser in time.
The 1:05 which is a handicap chase over 2m5f for conditional jockeys, has 17 runners and looks very competitive. No horse has won this race with more than 11st 5lb in the past 10 years, and the longest priced winner was 14/1, so it may be best to use those to filter the likely winner. Alert list runner AL ALFA fits this criteria with only 11st 4lb to carry and with current odds about 12/1. Also, being a front runner, he'll be thereabouts thru'out. Today's "good" ground is in his favour and he should make the 1st-4 places if his jumping holds up.
The 1:40 see's alert runner MAXI CHOP return to Cheltenham. He was 4th here last month, and both those horse that finished in front of him that have run again since have won. That was good form and this horse does not know how to run a bad race. Today's odds are tight tho' even with Uhlan Bute in the race, but it is very hard to see MAXI CHOP not being in the 1st-3 home.
The 2:10 is a handicap chase over 3m1f & 110 yards, in which alert runner EMPEROR'S CHOICE goes to post. This horse ran a stinker LTO at Fontwell in the Southern National and it could be he needed that run as trip and ground were in his favour. Today's ground tho' isn't in his favour, as he likes it soft/heavy. One horse I know well in this is Prince Of Pirates as he stopped me having a 66/1 winner with Circus Of Dreams at Kempton last February. Prince Of Pirates will love todays ground and stays this trip well; he's also only rated 1lb higher on OR136 than he was when he won last February. With AP McCoy riding he must be in the shake-up, but odds of 5/1 leave no room for value. Saying that, Hennessy 3rd Theatre Guide may well have not recovered from that race even tho' he does look well handicapped having been raised only 2lb for that run, and Monbeg Dude is another horse that would prefer it soft/heavy. Duke Of Lucca may have won at Cheltenham before but it was only a 4-runner novice chase and I don't think he'll handle this track.  As such, 5/1 about Prince Of Pirates looks interesting and he should be in the 1st-3.
The race at Bangor at 12:10 is for watching only as it looks very competitive.
No vlaue to be found in my opinion, so no recommended wagers from me today.

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