ALWAYS one of the toughest handicaps of the meeting. Can Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) or The Voice Of Value pick the winner?
Cheltenham 14:40 | Coral Cup | Channel 4
A 26 runner two mile five furlong handicap hurdle that is always a popular betting heat, and at 8/1 the field we will be well rewarded if our selection wins.
I could make a case for six or seven of these, but I’ll focus on the one that catches my eye the strongest. I reckon Goodwood Mirage trained by Jonjo O’Neill can give retiring champion jockey AP McCoy his first winner of the week.
He won a Wetherby two mile handicap hurdle off top weight in October, and was then pulled up in the Ladbroke Hurdle at Ascot. At this time though, the O’Neill stable was under a cloud so I can forgive him this. He then fell at the first in another big field handicap, this time the Betfair at Newbury.
AP McCoy obviously likes something about Goodwood Mirage as he is riding him ahead of two rides for retainer JP McManus, and I believe this faith can be rewarded. I make him a great each way bet at 10/1.
Best Bet – Graeme Johnston
Cheltenham 14:40 – Goodwood Mirage each way (10/1 BetBright)
Volnay De Thaix has more than a touch of class about him and that is reflected in his position at the top of the weights. Nicky Henderson is using Peter Carberry as the jockey because he gets a weight allowance of 3 lbs that might help to improve the competitiveness of the horse in this tough handicap.
Sometimes class can tell in a handicap race and although there might be one or two sneaky ones in the field that have been plotted for this all season, I expect Volnay De Thaix to travel well and hopefully outrun his surprisingly big price.
Daneking’s form is a little bit up and down but he sneaks in here at the bottom of the weights. He clearly isn’t a strong fancy for the Mullins stable but he has Ruby on board which has to be a positive sign and I must admit I have been swayed by the price of this one as much as anything else. Low weight, Mullins and Walsh, chunky each way price…. rude not to have a couple of quid each way!