A day full of Cheltenham clues. Graeme Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) shares his best bets.
14:05 Haydock | Channel 4
A Grade 2 hurdle over 3 miles and as with a few races today it’s a bit of a head scratcher. None of these come in to this with stand out claims, though almost all the runners have a legitimate chance. Old warrior Reve De Sivola heads the market but he looks vulnerable to me.
Reve De Sivola comes here on the back of a flop over fences and reverts back to hurdles and looks to notch his first victory of the season in this. It’s 14 months since he last won, and though he has run a couple of decent races (notably behind Thistlecrack) he looks to me like he’s declining.
One Track Mind is a progressive young horse who has won four of his seven races but this represents a significant step up in class. He won well last time out in a Newbury handicap giving weight and a beating to San Benedeto and bizarrely for a Grade 2 event is the only runner to bring a win last time out in to this. However he still needs to improve to win here so I’m happy to oppose him.
Silsol returns from chasing to line up here and on his best form over hurdles he has a chance. His best performances was winning the Welsh Champion Hurdle in a real slog, but the extra distance here combined with his flop last time out makes me feel like there are better options here.
The one I like is At Fishers Cross. A few years ago I thought he had the staying hurdle division at his feet such were his performances as a novice, however he never progressed from there and is something of an enigma now.
However he still retains plenty of ability and despite not winning out of novice company yet he has produced a couple of big performances. He improves for his seasonal debut every year and if he comes on for it this season he can take advantage of the weight he receives from RDS and gain an overdue victory.
15:20 Wincanton | Channel 4
The Kingwell Hurdle has attracted four runners and it does not look like a vintage renewal. However with Rayvin Black in the field we should have a properly run race but it looks short on quality for a Grade 2.
Rayvin Black has shown real improvement this season, winning a Sandown handicap, pushing The New One in a race and finishing ahead of Peace and Co last time out. However I get the feeling he has been flattered by his finishing positions in these races and I expect him to struggle here.
Pain Au Chocolate was a decent juvenile hurdler last season and has taken to fences well. It looks like he’s here to pick up some place money as his form falls below these over hurdles and I don’t expect him to be involved in the finish.
Melodic Rendezvous fell just short of being a top class hurdler but on his day is still a threat to these. However his days look numbered and he’s readily opposed.
This leaves us with one. Irving is not one for maximum faith, however he is better than these and goes well fresh. He disappointed in the Fighting Fifth Hurdle but that was his third run in quick succession and he runs better with a gap between races. He has a good record at the track and has won in small fields before and I think he represents real value at even money.
14:05 Haydock – At Fishers Cross to win (9/2 Paddy Power)
15:20 Wincanton – Irving to win (Evens Skybet)
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