GRAEME Johnston (@GraemeJ_83) takes a look at some of the key races at Cheltenham this Saturday.
13:50 Cheltenham | Channel 4
The Caspian Caviar Gold Cup is Cheltenham’s second big handicap chase of the season and as ever it’s fiercely competitive. Lots of these have realistic claims and there is plenty of value on offer, but who wins this?
Kylemore Lough was a very good novice last season and he ran a huge race on his seasonal debut last time out. I think he will win races this season however he will be at his best with cut in the ground and I worry this may happen too quickly for him on this ground, he will be seen to better effect later in the year.
Village Vic is one of my favourite chasers in training and on the past 18 months has been on an upward curve. He fell short at the top level but last time out he was second off a big weight in the BetVictor Gold Cup. He is an incredibly accurate jumper and is likely to be leading the field turning for home, however I suspect he may be vulnerable late on.
I’m going to take a chance on one here in the form of the Evan Williams trained King’s Odyssey. He won a good novice chase over course and distance last season and I still think there is more to come from him.
He returned from a long absence with a lacklustre display at Haydock, but if you look at last year he came on a lot for his reappearance and will be much fitter here. Though he still has something to find to win he is unexposed and well weighted so I’m taking a chance that he will prove up to the task.
15:00 Cheltenham | Channel 4
The International Hurdle is one of the main Champion Hurdle trials of the season and this has attracted most of England’s top hurdlers. While Ireland, and more specifically Willie Mullins seems to have a vice like grip on the 2 mile division this is a race worth winning and looks a decent renewal.
The New One is set to go chasing this season but after missing a few engagements makes his return to action in a race he’s won twice before. The Champion Jockey Richard Johnson takes the mount and he has to be respected. However he has to concede weight to most of these and despite having a flawless record first time out I’m against him here.
Old Guard won this race last season and looked like he would become a real Champion Hurdle hopeful, however 12 months on he’s something of a disappointment. Since then he only has a novice chase win to his name and last time out he was last at Haydock. I couldn’t back him at single figure odds here.
My Tent Or Yours has not won in over 30 months but he’s a former Grade 1 winner, the highest rated horse in the race and is receiving weight all round here, so he should really put that right on Saturday.
He was disappointing last time out, but that was on very different ground and he should be fitter also. If he doesn’t win this then serious questions must be asked however at the odds he’s value to me and I plan to back him in this.
13:50 Cheltenham – King’s Odyssey to win (12/1 William Hill)
15:00 Cheltenham – My Tent Or Yours to win (11/8 Bet365)
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