By Angus McNae
We have reached the halfway stage of the Cheltenham Festival. If the second half is as dramatic as the first, then we are in for a treat.
I have four selections for you, starting with:
At about 14-1 this horse warrants each-way support. He is trained by the in form Alan King, handles any type of ground and handles this track as his third in the Coral Cup last year proves.
He was in good form on the Flat last year, winning at Newmarket and has now been freshened up after running in a qualifier for this at Kempton in November.
As an improved performer on the Flat last season it’s likely he can carry that improvement into this sphere and give a prominent showing here.
Has been a star over the years and over this 2m5f trip with cut in the ground he is a formidable opponent for any horse around.
He still retains all his old enthusiasm but is more amenable to restraint now if unable to lead. His jumping is also better than it used to be.
This is not a stellar renewal of this race and his price of 11-10 is fair. I expect him to back up last year’s success.
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This horse was impressive when winning the Albert Bartlett last year where, despite being hampered at a crucial stage, he stormed up the hill to win convincingly.
He has only had one run since and has to overcome a lay-off here but, unlike all of his opponents, he is totally unexposed.
He clearly handles the track well and ease in the ground is no problem to him either.
On official ratings he has about 10lb to find with the principles but we simply don’t know how good he could be and at around 14-1. I am happy to support him each-way.
This novice is running in a handicap for the first time, but he really does look as if he has been laid out for this.
I felt he was given a considerate ride at Cheltenham last time out where he finished third of four, at least proving he handles the track.
He also showed a real aptitude for jumping the larger obstacles when beaten by Finian’s Oscar the time before also at Cheltenham.
His mark of 142 could easily underplay his ability and although he has been well found in the market he can still be backed at 9-1 which is by no means restrictive.
He just could be a handicap good thing! Time will tell.
Angus McNae's Thursday fancies:
Select any odd to add a bet