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Friday 14 November 2014

Cheltenham Friday 14th November

It is a great opening day to the 3-day "Paddy Power" fixture at Cheltenham.
I'll get straight into the racing and the opening race is usually a good betting medium even though I try and avoid amateur-rider races like the plague. There are a couple of runners from my alert list in this race: Benbens and Handy Andy. 
The race-fav is Broadway Buffalo a 6yo sent here by David Pipe. After winning a 3-mile handicap hurdle at Haydock in May, he's been chasing but I'm not convinced about him in this sphere. Handy Andy won this race last year running off OR123, and he's only 6lb higher than that on OR129 today. His recent 3rd at Chepstow will have prepped him for this and a repeat of last years effort will see him go very close today as he'll have no problem with the soft ground. My other alert runner, Benbens, is lightly raced for a 9yo and this will be only his 6th chase race - but he has won 2 of those and been runner-up twice. His rating of OR134 looks reasonable and todays ground will be perfect for him. Charingworth was 2nd in this race last year to Handy Andy and meets him on 5lb better terms for 2½ lengths, but he's not won since December 2011 and being one-paced will need to be presented with this race to win it. Ballyoliver should be thereabouts but I think he'll be wanting further than this trip and will be staying-on at the end. The only other horse on my radar is Fruity O'Rooney and while I expect he'll be front-running again (along with Handy Andy) this soft ground isn't ideal.  At the odds, I think Benbens at 7/1 looks the best value as the soft ground should suit him best of the market leaders.

The 20-runner Class 2 handicap chase at 1:50 looks a nightmare to solve. As for the Novices Chase at 2:25, who is going to take a price on Colour Squadron after he threw away a winning opportuity LTO?

The Novice Hurdle over 2m5f at 3:00 should go to Blaklion, and the Cross Country Chase should be in the bag for Balthazar King.

Not much to go on today for value, and it could be a day which the bookies may want to forget with some solid fav's looking very likely to win their races. So, I'm going to give he day a miss.

The only race which looks a betting opportunity for me is the opener. My assessment is the race is between Handy Andy and Benbens, and I really cannot split them.  There is always another day.


  1. Twiston Davies has a great record at this meeting so Benbens should go close. Charingworth has the benefit of a run this time around so the 5lb he receives from Handy Andy could see him turn the tables.

  2. The ground was too soft for Handy Andy so I was right to pass-over him.
    I really thought BENBENS had it won 3-out but (when push came to shove) he had nothing left in the tank. With the fav Broadway Buffalo also not having the stamina for this trip, the race was left wide-open for one-paced plodder Charingworth to take the race - which was gifted to him as I suggested it had to be for him to win it.
    Not strong form in my opinion.