ONE of the toughest races of the week to call and Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) has drawn the short straw.
Cheltenham 14:05 | Pertemps Hurdle | Channel 4
I’ll be honest with you right from the start. Unlike most of the betting public, I don’t like punting on these races. They’re just too…hard. I have pinpointed three however that I like from this 24 runner field.
First up is Big Easy. He’s running from high up the handicap so will carry more weight than most of the field. That’s simply because he’s a better horse than most of the field.
Over the last two years he’s won one the big handicaps on the Flat, the Cesarewitch, finished second in two big Cheltenham handicaps and finished in the first six at the Festival in a 28 runner handicap. On top of that he’s also finished second in a Grade 3 at Haydock to one of the stars of the season Aubusson.
Big Easy has that blend of class and knowhow to be a force in tough, gruelling races like this. He’s also performed well on a range of grounds and is my main pick.
Next on my list is Unique De Cotte. He’s carrying a much lighter weight than Big Easy and has only run five times in the UK since he came over from France. There is a suspicion that we might not know how good he is yet.
He kicked off this season with a handicap win at Cheltenham (course form is crucial) and then followed that up with a decent run at Newbury before winning last time out at Ascot.
He’s up against better horses here but it’s hard to have a go at what he’s done so far. He’s lightly raced and we know he likes Cheltenham and will be making my shortlist.
My third and final pick is Katkeau. He’s the biggest priced of the three but has finished in the first three in seven of his last 11 races.
Granted, there are some bad races in there, but he’s another one that likes Cheltenham after beating Big Easy there in November. Last time out he finished second in a qualifier for this race. I think he’s worth at go at a big price.