THE finale on Tuesday then? How do you play it? We asked Graeme Johnston (@GrahamJ_83) and The Voice Of Value for their views.
Cheltenham 17:15 | Chaps Handicap Chase | Channel 4
I said earlier that big field handicap chases are hard to find the winner, well this race sums that statement up! What a tough race to dissect. I looked through the field and I struggled to find anything that stood out instantly, but I also struggled to fully discount many either.
I’ve ended up with two selections that I feel can give us a run for our money in this race. First up Keltus, trained by Paul Nichols and ridden by stable jockey Sam Twiston-Davies.
He ran in the Fred Winter Juvenile Hurdle at the festival last season where he ran fourth at 25/1, which is his career beat effort. Switched to chasing, he came second to the much more experienced Court Minstrel being readily outpaced.
He then blundered away his chances at Ascot, before finishing second in a Newbury handicap over 2m 1f to Royal Regatta. Every time I have seen Keltus run he has looked like he is crying out for a step up in distance, and I feel the extra three furlongs this afternoon will help his jumping, and bring his stamina in to play. He should run a big race and is available at 8/1.
Secondly I have gone for a much bigger price, the Vanetia Williams trained Cold March. Cold March won two chases at Auteuil for trainer Betrand Lefevre before coming to these shores.
His first start in the UK was at Taunton and he lasted one fence. In his next three chases he has finished in the first three, and in the last two he has led only to be caught close home where he has not found a great deal in front.
I feel he is another that will thrive in the strong pace in this race, coupled with the step up in trip will work wonders for him. The fact he was still entered in the JLT novice chase tomorrow shows he is highly rated, and I feel that the 28/1 on offer for him in this is huge value.
Best Bets – Graeme Johnston
Cheltenham 17:15 – Keltus to win (8/1 BetBright)
Cheltenham 17:15 – Cold March to win (28/1 BetBright)
Another competitive handicap with more questions for us than answers. Most of these novices haven’t had many runs over fences so there isn’t a huge amount of form to go on. I like to look for a potential improver who perhaps hasn’t reached his peak yet.
In truth, I can’t even pronounce the name of Leap Dearg but I like the form and he is definitely an improver having won his last three on the bounce. Those weren’t particularly good races but he has unknown potential and looks to be in great form so might be worth an each way punt.
Bold Henry was travelling well when he parted company with his jockey last time out. He has a win at Cheltenham to his name and looked a quality horse on that occasion. If he can keep the jumping errors to a minimum I think he is a well-handicapped horse who could challenge.