BIG day of horse racing. Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) takes us through his best bets.
13:50 Cheltenham | Channel 4
The Caspian Caviar Gold Cup over just shy of 2 miles 5 furlongs has attracted a field of 15 runners and it’s looks wide open. Some hardened handicappers line up here and with the soft ground this is going to be a real battle.
Annacotty won the Paddy Power Gold Cup in good fashion beating five of these and comes in to this race as the most likely winner. He took his form to a new level last time out, he is progressive and likes the course so he can’t be confidently ruled out, but these handicaps are hard to win and almost by the law of averages I’m opposing him here.
Top weight Sound Investment was third in the Paddy Power last time out and looks likely to run his race again despite his welter burden. John’s Spirit also has to be respected also as he is lowered in the handicap and has fantastic course form. He’s been out of sorts of late but he is always dangerous in these races.
Buywise is my selection for this race. He has spent the last year running in to place money in big handicaps and hitting the post in the Paddy Power, and despite gradually climbing up the weights he remains open to improvement and will enjoy the soft ground here.
The extra distance will play to his strengths and with a bit of luck in running he can get the big win he deserves. I’m backing him each way as he is almost guaranteed to run his race.
14:05 Doncaster | Channel 4
The Bet365 Summit Juvenile Hurdle has attracted a field of six and four look to hold serious claims. Only two of these have won previously but there is a very interesting newcomer and a runner up looking for revenge here in an intriguing race.
Who Dares Wins from the Alan King stable beat Fouburg last time out in a close finish and both look like potential improves. Fouburg was keen on his hurdling debut and if he settles better he has claims to reverse the form. However Alan King is one of the top trainers of juvenile hurdlers and I’d expect him to have left plenty to work with and I expect Who Dares Wins to uphold the form.
Robertsown from the John Ferguson yard makes his hurdling debut at a high level, but he was smart on the flat for Jim Bolger and has the potential to be a top juvenile over obstacles .
Though he’s taking on rivals that have hurdling experience, his main rivals only have one previous start, and if his trainer who has numerous juvenile hurdlers, feels he is worthy of starting here then he’s probably above average. However it’s a tough start and I’m prepared to oppose him.
Sir Chauvelin from the Jim Goldie yard comes here on the back of a hurdling debut win at Ayr. He won well that day and looked the type to take his form to a new level over hurdles.
Though he doesn’t have the same top connections of his rivals he wasn’t far behind these on the flat and his form over obstacles entitles him to be a shorter price than he is in this race. The 15/2 available on him is insulting and I’m backing him each way here.
15:00 Cheltenham | Channel 4
The Stan James International Hurdle is one of the best Champion Hurdle trials around and like most timber races this season it’s attracted a small field.
It sees the return of last seasons Triumph Hurdle winner Peace and Co and it will be interesting to see how far he is able to go this season. This unbeaten four year old has the hurdling division at his feet.
With Faugheen looking vulnerable for the first time in his career the door is open for someone to take his crown and Peace and Co is the most likely heir.
He’s a big horse and looks open to further improvement from his summer off. He’s currently third favourite for the Champion Hurdle in March and he is the most likely winner this side of the Irish Sea. He should be good enough to win this race first time out, and I hope he does, but I’m backing one of his rivals in case he needs the run.
Hargam was third behind Peace and Co in the Triumph Hurdle and came fourth on his seasonal debut last time out. He looked like he needed the run that day, he’s normally a strong traveller and was pretty flat.
He wasn’t far behind Peace and Co last season, and if he comes on for his reappearance his race fitness could see him get his head in front here. Though I expect Peace and Co to achieve more after today I’m backing Hargam each way at 9/1 in a six runner race that I expect him to be involved in the finish.
13:50 Cheltenham – Buywise each way (9/1 BetVictor)
14:05 Doncaster – Sir Chauvelin each way (15/2 PaddyPower)
15:00 Cheltenham – Hargam each way (9/1 Bet365)