A gruelling day at Cheltenham awaits. In-form Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) takes a look at the card for us.
13:50 Cheltenham | Channel 4
The Bet Bright trial over just shy of the Gold Cup distance is one of the last recognised trials for the Gold Cup and sees the ante-post favourite for the big race line up. We also have a Grand National winner, an RSA winner and a Hennesy winner in what is a small but select field.
Smad Place won the Hennesy before being out classed in the King George but is a seriously talented horse. He is the likely pace angle in this and it’s possible he will get his own way in front. However even if he does he is unlikely to be good enough to win this and I’m against him.
Many Clouds won this last season before going on to claim the Grand National and bar his runs in the Gold Cup and Charlie Hall is a remarkably consistent horse. He looked back to his old self when coming second to Don Poli last time out but again I feel he is up against it here.
Djakadam is the current favourite for the Gold Cup and on his only start this season he was sensational. He handles heavy ground and looks almost bomb proof here. He has drifted slightly during the week but at 4/6 he looks value. Obviously this is a prep for the Gold Cup so he may not be 100% but the stable is in unbelievably good form and I expect them to add another big race to their CV.
14:25 Cheltenham | Channel 4
A nine runner handicap chase and there is only one horse here I am interested in. The favourite Champagne West looks like a very progressive horse and only found the incredibly well handicapped Village Vic too good last time out.
Before the race trainer Philip Hobbs said he expected Champagne West to improve for that start. If that’s the case then he is going to be very hard to beat here.
Irish Cavalier, Annacotty and Tenor Nivernais bring solid handicap form to the table and will be hard to beat but they look exposed compared to the selection.
He done really well to finish as close as he did yo Village Vic and at one point looked like a major threat. I rate the winner that day as a serious horse and in my opinion Champagne West is my bet of the day.
13:50 Cheltenham – Djakadam to win (4/5 Bet365)
14:25 Cheltenham – Champagne West to win (2/1 Bet365)
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