THE Voice Of Value (@TheVoiceOfValue) takes a look at the closer on Thursday, the Kim Muir.
Cheltenham 17:30 | Kim Muir Handicap Chase| ITV4
I had a nice winner in this last year in the shape of Cause of Causes who of course popped up to win the Cross Country on Wednesday. That was an incredible training and riding performance given that the horse never looked suited to the Cross Country stuff at all.
Gordon Elliott and Jamie Codd head the market again here with Squouateur who has been absolutely smashed in the betting in the last few hours.
The same thing happened before the Martin Pipe last year when he ended up going off at 9/4, which is ridiculously low in a Cheltenham handicap. Needless to say he was hardly sighted and finished 7th.
Will the same thing happen again this year? Or will the incredible form of Elliott (and Codd) continue? His handicap mark is fair compared to his hurdles form but it is also important to note that Squouateur has never won a chase. The fact that I still have no idea how to pronounce his name is perhaps the deciding factor – I’ll pass him by and look for some value elsewhere.
Followers of the Voice of Value (all three of you) will note that I tipped Mall Dini (7/1 10BET) for the Ultima on Day 1 and we got our money back because he runs here. Katie Walsh is an eye-catching booking and although he is a good deal shorter in the betting than he was for the Ultima I am tempted.
Last year’s form was excellent and although he hasn’t performed particularly well in his chase runs in Ireland this year there is no doubt he was being aimed at the festival and he comes here with a fair handicap mark. Crucially, the better ground was one of the reasons that he performed so well last year at the festival and he hasn’t had good ground since then.
Further down the betting we have a very interesting contender. My old pal Alvarado (25/1 10BET), who has had some great performances at Aintree in the Grand National, finishing placed two years in succession, has sneaked in here at the bottom of the weights.
He is unlikely to get in at Aintree this year and this could well be his target this season. He does tend to sit out the back and arrive late and he would benefit if they had to go round for an extra circuit of the course but he looks well handicapped and if he doesn’t get detached early on he will be staying on up the hill when others have run their race.
Another notable one is Venetiin De Mai at a monster price. He has the useful Patrick Mullins on board but the horse is generally better on soft or heavy ground so I am passing him by unless there is a downpour.