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Saturday, 28 January 2017

Trials day at Cheltenham

A cracking day of racing lies ahead.
Most of today's blog was sent out on Friday evening so some of the odds in the narrative have now shortened-up. However, my advised wagers are at the odds available at 10am on Saturday morning.

The Timeform Novices Chase at 12:35pm over a shade under 2m5f at Cheltenham looks a stonker of a race. I really like Singlefarmpayment as he is possibly 10lb better than his OR142 rating.  A course winner, he will stay this trip and more and he's won on good ground and on soft so he should have no issues at all. Royal Vacation is tricky to assess as he had no right winning the old "Feltham" on Boxing Day having been presented the race when the runaway leader fell at the final fence. Ibis De Rheu is another tricky to assess as the form of his Festival win last March hasn't exactly worked out and he looks to be still learning his way as a chaser. Burtons Well is a very lightly raced 8yo who could be better than his OR137 rating, and he is likely to be running prominently. Mercian Prince won well LTO and it is surprising to see this horse still rated under 140 by the handicapper, but he does indeed run off OR135. Only a 6yo, he could be the sort that you want to catch onto early. I think Champers On Ice needs 3-mile and he will be staying-on in the final half-mile.  Zarib was fortunate to find a weak Class 3 chase LTO, he may struggle in this. An interesting horse is More Bucks who was not disgraced LTO at Kempton in a Class 2 handicap against some decent rivals, and this drop in trip from 3-mile may well suit this front-runner who certainly won't give up without a fight. The odds of 6/1 about Singlefarmpayment look generous as I'd have him the clear fav at about 7/2, and I would certainly have More Bucks at about 8/1 as though he may not win (lacks a change of gear) he looks virtually guaranteed to be 2nd or 3rd if a few more fancied rivals don't perform.

The next at 1:10pm could be another chase in which Paul Nicholls has a hand in, as this 2m4f trip should suit Saphir Du Rheu perfectly, but this handicap of OR153 leaves no room for error. I really cannot see Thomas Crapper being up for this and if by some chance he wins then I will be calling for an enquiry. Shantou Flyer has been hit by the handicapper too hard in my opinion and could find it tough, and the same can be said for Aso, who runs this track well.  I'm not sure what to make of Walk In The Mill off his revised rating of OR138 as he's gone up 12lb, which looks like it's taken him out of the competition. Buywise is too unreliable, and of the remainder only Tenor Nivernais, who has held onto his form and was 2nd in the race last year unlike the winner that day Annacotty, looks interesting. All-in-all, this race looks there for the taking by Saphir Du Rheu should he run to form, but I'd expect a few of the others (especially Tenor Nivernais) to push him close.

I cannot see Un De Sceaux being beaten in Clarence House Chase at 1:45pm as he looks easily the best horse in the field at this trip.  While it is great to see Uxizandre back racing he will need to be at his very best to win this, and the same has to be said for Dodging Bullets. I'm sure that Special Tiara will try and push the fav into making a jumping error, but he looks held on known form.

The Cotswold Chase at 2:15pm sees Thistlecrack return to Cheltenham on what should be his final outing before the Gold Cup in March. Remember, this will be 4th chase race run over this ground and I expect it will have cut-up badly by 2:15pm and the race could prove testing.
Thistlecrack won't have things all his own way as last years 1st and 2nd, Smad Place and Many Clouds have both been running as well as ever this season and will stay every yard on a track they both handle well. I rated the performance of Smad Place LTO in the Hennessy GC better than when he won the race in 2015, but as he was rated 11lb higher on OR166 he had no chance. He could really test Thistlecrack tomorrow and I'm likely to take the 13/2 that is currently on offer.

The Doncaster card is equally impressive today and I always feel it is a shame that it clashes with the Cheltenham Trials meeting.

The Class 2 handicap chase over 2-miles at 1:55pm looks a tricky race to fathom and I am not sure that I can support the 5yo Romain De Senam against these hardened handicappers. I'm also not sure that Cyrius Moriviere can be relied upon and so it may be one of those days that Upsilon Bleu finds himself back in the winners enclosure as, on his day, he is a classy 2-mile chaser. We know he's fit and well and LTO the trip of 2m4f was too far for him and this trip today will suit him well. The odds look a bit poor though as he's only 6/1 at best.

The Skybet Handicap Chase over 3-mile at 3:40pm is a cracking handicap chase and a case can be made for several.  Those I expect to do well are Vicente, who will enjoy the ground but may want further than this trip, Coologue, who was 2nd in this last year and is fairly treated on OR145; Ziga Boy, who won this last year and is bang in-form and will love today; and finally Southfield Royale who has his seasonal debut today and looks very well treated for a horse who was one of last seasons top staying novice chasers. Running off OR147 this C&D winner (on heavy ground) looks the best handicapped in the race, and odds of 8/1 (Bet365 and Paddy Power) look very attractive.

What are my wagers today?
The money has come in for SINGLEFARMPAYMENT so I hope those on my email list took the 6/1 available when I sent out the email last night, as he's 9/2 now.  
Betfred and Tote go 6/1 (Stan James is 11/2) about SAPHIR DE RHEU and that looks very generous to me.
I will also be taking the 8/1 on SOUTHFIELD ROYALE.
And finally a small personal wager on the 7/1 available on SMAD PLACE.

Advised Selections
Cheltenham 1:10pm SAPHIR DU RHEU, £5 eachway @ 6/1 with Betfred and the Tote
Doncaster 3:40pm SOUTHFIELD ROYAL, £5 eachway @ 8/1 with Bet365

1 comment:

  1. Another 2nd with Saphir Du Rheu doing everything right bar win.
    And the narrative provided another winner in Upsilon Bleu @ 11/2.
    Unfortunately, having put Ziga Boy in my shortlist of potential winners of the Skybet Chase I opted for Southfield Royale who ran a stinker.


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